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My N64 and Banner Saga

On 07/08/2018 at 11:06 AM by KnightDriver

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Earlier this week I revisited my N64 and a bunch of games. Then I dug into the first Banner Saga in preparation for Banner Saga 3 later this month. 

The N64, what a cool console. So simple. Pop the cartridge in and play. Wonderful. I luckily had some rubbing alcohol and Q-tips on hand to clean up the contacts. That solved every problem I had. So, I revisited some interesting games but not for very long. I let small issues stop me so I could get through a lot of titles. I was hoping something would really hook me but it didn't happen. Maybe I didn't let it. Here's some details. 

Ocarina of Time: I got to the Deku tree and realized I didn't have a slingshot. I forget where to get that thing and I couldn't climb a spider filled wall without it. I guess I rushed through the village a little too fast.  

Rayman 2: The Great Escape: Almost hooked me but I couldn't get past an area because I didn't have enough lums. I backtracked but hit a wall. It seems I was stuck. Not really though. Out went the cartridge. 

Excitebike 64: This is a fine motorcycle racer. Controls are just fine. I wasn't much into racing in circles at the time though. 

Hexen: I love this Raven Software game. Doom in a fantasy setting. I played a ton of this back in the day. All those sound effects are fresh in my mind even today: the frog's croaking, the orc's grunts, the “pew pew of the magician's wand. But dark. Man, I needed to adjust my screen but I was too lazy. Onward. 

Super Mario 64: I'm not much into platformers but every time I pop this in I'm amazed at the range of movement and things you can do with Mario, especially for the time. You get that excited feeling in the first few minutes of play as you realize you can jump, slide, and climb with ease. I love running and jumping into a full head-first slide. It's like sliding into home in baseball. But I found myself doing circles within the first picture world looking for a solution. The areas are large and I wasn't in the mood for combing the area meticulously. I just climbed things and jumped from a hand-stand. Weee! What a revelation this game must've been at the time. 

Destruction Derby 64: Mark and I played a ton of this back in the day. It's Burnout before Burnout. Two teams of cars race a road in opposite directions and inevitably crash into each other. The survivor with the least damage wins. Or is it the most kills. I'm not sure now. In any case, what I like is that it's destruction derby on real roads, not arenas, and there are fast head-on collisions. Controls are perfect too. Boy does this game look fuzzy and low in detail. What do you want for 1997? Anyway, I moved on. 

Clayfighter 63 1/3 Sculptor's Cut: I love the opening song this version of the game adds. The line, "pounding clay is all the rage" still gets a chuckle out of me. The fighting in this one-on-one fighter isn't the best but I put up with it to see all the crazy moves and voice work by people who did the Animaniacs tv show. I wanted to get to Sumo Santa but I didn't want to suffer through all the battles to unlock him. I remember now there is a cheat that does that in an instant. I didn't remember it then though. I moved on and marked the game to be sold. It's a very rare game. I only have a loose cart though so it won't get crazy money. But, it's worth selling. 

Battletanx: Global Assault: Another game Mark and I played like crazy back when. i played a few levels and it was really good. Like and arcade version World of Tanks. Ha! Not really. But you can wreck house every second of this game in various types of tank. 'nuff said. It's great. 

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil: The game plays clearly like it was made for PC: first person, controls a little awkward on a controller. Definitely ambitious though. I played it fully back in the day but today I couldn't really put up with the controls. I've played too many super smooth FPS's by now. It has kind of ruined me for these old games. 

Majora's Mask: I played into the town and promptly couldn't find the North side of the village. I explored and talked to everyone but I was beginning to retrace my steps. Again, I was impatient. I didn't want to hunt and find something so basic. Where's a map when you need one? What an interesting change of theme from Ocarina of Time though. They really took a chance with this one. 

Pokémon Snap: The Pokémon game that anticipated Pokémon Go. I love photography and I love taking pictures and having Prof. Oak analyze them for points. So cool. But I don't like the analog stick on this controller. It's wobbly at best, probably because it's old and worn out. It made it a little tricky to maintain my aim at Pokémon. There was a secret passage in the Tunnel area but for the life of me I couldn't find out how to switch tracks on the "mine-cart" you ride in. Maybe you don't? Whatever. I got other things to do. 

Star Wars Rogue Squadron:  Ah, what has become of Factor 5, the developer on this game. Gone thanks to the failure of Lair for PS3, I suppose. But this was a great Star Wars air/space battle game. I jumped in a Naboo Fighter and then an X-Wing and took out drones and Tie-Fighter bombers. I found the targeting somewhat suspect at times. It seems those laser blasters on the X-Wing don't have a very long range and sometimes they go where ever they darn please. I had to suicide smash a few At-Ats'cause I just couldn't accept a point-blank miss. Otherwise one my favorites from the time. 

After all that, I handed over my N64 to my friend Mark. I'm paring my collection down and I don't think I'll need to return to this system in the future. Some of the key games I can play on other systems like the Rare games. It is what it is. I got to move on. 

Banner Saga:  I'm determined to finish this game finally. I restarted from the beginning and got farther than I did before. The graphics in this tactics game are really stunning. The story is interesting and the voice work great. I love the turn-based battles even though I nearly got beat so badly I almost quit at one point. I hate losing characters but most of the time you don't. They only get injured and need rest after the battle. I'm still figuring out the correct strategy. It seems it's important to knock an enemy's armor down first before going for its strength. The lower the armor, the easier it is to hit and the more damage you can inflict. I haven't quite got the full understanding of it yet though. 

I'm going to finish this and dive right into Banner Saga 2 and finish that too. Then I want to pick up 3 when it drops. That's my current day plan. As for retro. I'm breaking out the PlayStation next week and go through what I have still on disc. Maybe I keep the system and games, maybe I don't. I'm keen to clear my closet but if something really grabs me, I'll keep it at least until next year when I visit it again. 





07/08/2018 at 11:57 AM

Ocarina, Perfect Dark, and Doom64 were my favorites. I didn't like any of the 3D platformers on there. Actually Ratchet and Clank are the only ones on any platform I dug.


07/13/2018 at 11:37 AM

I'm not a big platform game player but I do like those Ratchet & Clank games. Give me something to shoot and I'm in.

Blake Turner Staff Writer

07/08/2018 at 03:28 PM

I found Rayman origins weirdly creepy as a child. Fom memory it was pretty dark for a kids game.

If you're having trouble with Turok 2, night dive studios did a remaster of both Turok 1 and 2 on pc that fix a lot of options with the game, let you run it on modern hardware, and removes the insane amount of fog in both games. They're around $15 on steam, so if controls are the main issue and you want to finish them again thats an option.

I lost too many hours to Pokemon snap as a child. Even had the Pokemon n64!

Aaron bought me a copy of Hexen and heretic back when he still frequented here. I kinda miss him. Good game though.



07/12/2018 at 11:39 AM

Thanks for the info on the Turok games. I had both of them for the N64 but they both got sold at some point. I didn't know about these remasters. Just picked up both of them as a bundle. 33 bucks Canadian. 


07/13/2018 at 11:01 AM

Oh, I saw that Turok collection on Xbox the other day and thought it must be Turok Evolution on original Xbox but no it's the first and second games. I might actually try them out if it comes to Game Pass. I think the Xbox controller would be better than the N64 one for these games. I wonder why they didn't add Rage Wars?


07/13/2018 at 11:31 AM

I want to play that remaster now. I loved Turok back then.

That Pokemon N64 is pretty cool. I came close to getting one once.

I loved Heretic on PC back in the 90s and then played the heck out of Hexen on N64. Mark and I both played it, sometimes co-op. Punching orcs into mush never gets old.

Super Step Contributing Writer

07/08/2018 at 03:57 PM

I was going to comment on a lot of these, but you reminded me Lair was a diappointment. Whhhhyyyyyyyy?! Riding on and shooting with dragons. How the hell did that not work? Then Scalebound was cancelled. Just ... where are my dragons, man?


07/13/2018 at 11:27 AM

You and me both, man. It still hurts me. I want a collector's edition of Lair just to remind me of what could have been.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

07/08/2018 at 05:08 PM

You're supposed to get the slingshot inside Deku Tree.


07/13/2018 at 11:26 AM

Ok. I had forgot. I wanted to climb this wall but I couldn't. I thought I missed something. It's been a while and I was impatient. I've played like 20 hours of it in the past and still didn't beat it.

Cary Woodham

07/08/2018 at 09:54 PM

I'd love to play that ClayFighter N64 game.

I wish they'd make a Pokemon Snap sequel.  Did you know HAL made it?


07/13/2018 at 11:11 AM

Clayfighter is fun to an extent. At one time I played it to completion. Not without a lot of expletives though.

I wish for a sequel too. I just saw this mine cart rollercoaster game on xbox the other day and it made me think of what a modern day Pokemon Snap might look like.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

07/09/2018 at 12:48 PM

I loved Banner Saga but it took me a couple playthroughs to beat it too. It was worth it though. I havent played the sequels but i plan to.

i used to love those Rogue Squadron games. 


07/13/2018 at 11:08 AM

I got to the very last boss and couldn't beat him because I hadn't leveled properly. I nearly threw my controller at the tv and broke it. I erased the game from my library. Later though I thought about replaying it. I think it would be fun. But not right now. I've installed Banner Saga 2.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

07/13/2018 at 11:39 AM

You should at least watch the ending on youtube.  Its important and a bit tragic


07/15/2018 at 11:14 AM

Oh no. I'm not watching it until I beat it. I'll return to it and replay it. I kind of want to do that right now but I want to experience 2 and get 3 when it drops first. I shall return!


07/10/2018 at 01:55 PM

I wasn't an N64 fan when it was released but later on I've really enjoyed the games the N64 offered. Star Wars RS is a lot of fun. Damn I should have bought a copy during the Summer Sale. Maybe next payday I'll break my rule of no more games until Black Friday and pick it up on Steam. 

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