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Wave Race 64 Review
Review Score:

I so wished you looked better, so I could play you again

Thanks to the world of high definition TV’s even 64 bit games start to look like shit. I went back and tried to play the original Destruction Derby and the cars begin to look like Lego, boot up a dusty Golden Eye 64 cart and the landscape looks like a dog pissed on a canvas painting. Unfortunately for those that appreciate decent water based sports titles there really isn’t, much out there and if there is, nothing has bettered Nintendo’s Wave Race 64. Ironic really given that it’s sequel on the Gamecube Blue Storm was absolute garbage, it had the care and attention of a UPS delivery.

Wave Race 64 is set over a varying amount of courses from a Dolphin Bay to a Glacier ridden death trap. There are a small number of characters and even a female character to keep the feminist groups at bay! I prefer the guy in the yellow and green suit as he like a pork pie of two! Interestingly enough you can tweak around with the handling settings pre-race which is a nice touch. It works especially well if you are focusing on stunts, or you just want a steady tight ride.

The Championship Mode is a 3 lap affair whereby you have to pass checkpoints correctly (either to the left or right of each bollard) otherwise you’ll lose maximum power and fall behind the pack. It’s a very clever system, especially when you combine it with a disqualification for missing too many bollards. You’ll progress through the ranks, unlock a few new tracks and get on the high score leader board’s. It’s simple stuff there isn’t any real un-lockable content to be had here, though if you know the cheat you can ride on a dolphin. Yes Greenpeace! We’ll ride that bitch until its fins drop off!

To give the game more clout you have a time trial mode and for once I actually played it and tried to beat the set computer scores, it’s pretty addictive. You’ll also get to change weather patterns as well to bump up the difficulty, I personally loved Port Blue in bad weather, if you hit a wave formation correctly you can fly straight over a barrier gate. It feels rewarding. There is also a stunt mode on Wave Race too, so you can make the most of those back flips, front flips and barrel rolls as well as performing some gymnastic moves on your Jet Ski.

What makes Wave Race the crème-de-la-crème of Jet Ski games is down to two reasons (one which doesn’t really hold much water anymore) the graphics and the physics. The wave formations in the game are truly clever. You’ll often rarely have a race that feels the same each time. The fact as I mentioned earlier that you can manipulate the weather to your advantage by hitting big jumps, is an absolute joy.

Questions must be asked though. Why hasn’t Nintendo made a Wii version of this title? It would be easier on the eye and it’s the perfect title they could implement into its motion peripheral (just look at Wii Sports Resort) Are they afraid they may screw it up again like they did with Blue Storm? Or were the sales of the GC version that bad it lost weight in the board room for a third iteration? Questions we’ll very unlikely hear the answers to but one thing for sure. Even nearly 15 years onwards Wave Race 64 is the king of water based sports games.

So for those that haven’t played Wave Race 64 go out and play it. Preferably pick yourself up a cathode tube TV to play it on as well. Well you want to be retro right?

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Wave Race 64 Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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