The worst N64 games ever made (they're really bloody awful)
1st October 2021
Most of us remember the Nintendo 64 era fondly as a heyday of 3D platformers, seminal action-adventure titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and trailblazing first-person shooters in the form of Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark.
However, it wasn't all Jiggies and rainbows, no sir. Unfortunately, the console also saw quite a few badly-made games that attracted scathing reviews and bombed spectacularly on the shop floor.
Many of these stinkers have been largely forgotten (admittedly for excellent reasons), but today, we're going defy all our instincts of self-preservation to dig into the vault of shame and take another look at some of the N64's very worst games, largely in the interests of pointing at them and laughing hysterically.
So let's put on our full-body biohazard suits and wade into the sludge, shall we?
We can't start anywhere else, really.
Superman 64 - or, to give it its full and actual title, Superman: The New Superman Aventures - has widely gone down in history as one of the worst games to appear on any system, ever. You could make a good case that it was to gaming what The Room or Troll 2 were to movies.
Infuriating to control, plagued with unsightly distance fogging and full of tedious and repetitive 'challenges' such as endlessly flying through rings, Superman 64 looked less like a finished game and more like a frantically rushed job where the developers had just scrambled to get something, anything, out of the door.
Frame rate drops were common, bugs were everywhere, and the Man of Steel himself controlled like a bus. The UK N64 Magazine at the time ran a review that called it "an utterly hopeless, consistently appalling leper of a 'game'... bordering on the illegal". Ouch.
So what happened - why was the game such a train wreck? The developers, Titus Interactive, cited tension with and meddling from Warner Bros (the Superman rights holders) as the main reasons for Superman 64 being so appalling, as their arduous approval process for each and every detail proved to be an ongoing bottleneck to production.
Nobody knows for sure if this was really the true cause, or if the sorry state of affairs could be more easily attributed to good old-fashioned developer incompetence, but the fact remains that Superman 64 is an absolute plop of an N64 game and will continue to "enjoy" its position in the all-time gaming hall of shame for a long time to come.
The ClayFighter series was a popular fixture on the Super NES, but when the time came to bring the franchise to Nintendo's 64-bit hardware, it all went downhill.
Designed to be a broad parody of fighting games such as Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, the game had a wacky sense of humour that many people seemed to like (although I must admit, it wasn't for me). Unfortunately, that was about the only thing anybody thought it got right.
With critics citing buggy gameplay, choppy animation and bewilderingly laggy controls (not to mention a camera that completely fails to show you what's going on half the time), ClayFighter 63⅓ didn't exactly knock the socks off the reviewers of the time - and it hasn't aged well, either.
In the end, it's sort of a weird look to be making fun of the fighting game establishment while simultaneously delivering a genre entry that is much, much worse than the games being parodied.
Speaking of fighting game franchises...
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero
Unfortunately, Mortal Kombat's N64 outing wasn't exactly a "Flawless Victory".
Mortal Kombat Mythologies came out in 1997 for both the Sony Playstation and the Nintendo 64, and while the PSX version fared a little better with critics and punters, neither iteration ended up being much to write home about.
As well as some truly craptastic graphics and comically bad animation throughout, the N64 version of Midway's beat 'em up also sported levels that varied from 'tedious' to 'infuriating' along with some decidedly low quality audio to boot.
Worse, the FMV cutscenes that critics had highlighted as one of the few commendable elements in the Playstation version were entirely absent from the Nintendo outing. I mean, I don't know why people liked those live-action cinematics, because as far I'm concerned they were pretty much just amazingly funny and cringeworthy, but never mind.
Add to that some clunky and godawful game design decisions - such as needing to press a button every time you wanted to turn around (?!) - and you've really got a game that was worse than a merkin sandwich.
Sub Zero? More like Sub Standard! 🔥
Nintendo really would put their "Seal of Quality" on the packaging for literally anything, wouldn't they?
Published in 2000 by Titus Interactive - yes, the same people who were responsible for crapping out Superman 64 - the N64 instalment in the Carmageddon franchise was frankly a shabby, unplayable mess.
With bizarrely fuzzy graphics, muddy textures, on-screen text inexplicably rendered in pixellated Comic Sans, conspicuous pop-in, cack-handed controls, wonky physics, embarrassingly poor sprite work and a headache-inducing cacophony of a soundtrack, well... it's sort of amazing that anybody ever thought this was fit for release.
I mean, how did they even get it through Nintendo's certification process? I can only assume a bribe or two must have exchanged hands somewhere along the way, because this was better suited to being inserted in a toilet than a console cartridge slot.
Developed by the Japanese software house ASCII Entertainment, AeroGauge is probably best described as an extremely half-hearted attempt to rip off beloved sci-fi speed racer games like F-Zero and WipeOut.
Ironically, AeroGauge was itself a total wipeout. For a start, it was ludicrously difficult for players do anything successfully, thanks to horrible controls, cheating AI racers, and a track that would pop into view about one second before you reached it. In fact, in most cases it was practically impossible to come in anything other than last place no matter what you did.
Resplendent with disgustingly unappealing graphics and a laughably unexciting MIDI soundtrack, AeroGauge was an ugly, impossible snoozefest that pretty much failed on every conceivable point. To be honest, it was probably so bad that the developer should have paid me for playing it.
Alright, I've had enough of rolling around in the muck. I think it's time to go for a nice long shower, wash all the crappy game-ness out of my hair, and do something fun. You know, like staple my hands together.