The Best Undiscovered Nintendo 64 (N64) Games

Usually, when you get a new-to-you console, you can usually find or remember the major games to check out. But what happens when you need something different to play? This is where the “Hidden Gems” come in.
Read More About My Criteria For Hidden Gems
See All The Hidden Gems Articles


Obvious Choices:
Super Mario 64, Yoshi’s Story, Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, Rayman 2

 Featured Game: Space Station Silicon Valley
“Space Station Silicon Valley followed a Pikmin-esque anti-hero named Dangerous Dan and his rickety robot Evo as they searched for a missing space station and it’s crew members. With each ongoing minute, the game serves to impress the player with it’s unending array of uniqueness. It begins with the bumbling duo arguing their way into a rough landing on a strange planet. They manage through this, to kill an android dog in love with an android sheep (yes). Evo the robot is destroyed, his parts quite separated, and in order to survive, his microchip inhabits and reanimates the mutilated pooch. They then set off to restore Evo and solve the numerous other mysteries at hand. Thus begins one of the most amazing and mistreated games of any generation…. Space Station’s pacing and sense of progression is absolutely brilliant. By the game’s epic conclusion, you’ll certainly feel the experience as complete, and the triumph of the developers will become very apparent.”
SegaVega’s Review of Space Station Silicon Valley
Find Space Station Silicon Valley on eBay

More Great Games:
Rocket: Robot on Wheels (eBay)
Goemon’s Great Adventure (eBay)
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (eBay)
Disney’s Tarzan (eBay)
Looney Tunes: Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck (eBay)
Iggy’s Reckin’ Balls (eBay)
Chameleon Twist (eBay)
Chameleon Twist 2 (eBay)
Mischief Makers (eBay)
Glover (eBay)
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (eBay)

Action Adventure

Obvious Choices:
Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Resident Evil 2, Spiderman, Castlevania, Gauntlet Legends, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

Featured Game:  WinBack: Covert Operations
“[WinBack] has the look and animation of a Resident Evil game but smoother and faster. The spy and stealth tactics of a Metal Gear Solid but simplified and stripped down. It has elements that compare to a variety of games across a variety of systems but the hide-and-attack innovation is the feature that makes WinBack a game in its own category. Considering that it’s one of the few non-kiddie titles and that there’s nothing like it available on the console this holiday season, I’d take a long look at WinBack to fulfill your need for a grown-up style action-thriller.”
IGN’s Review of WinBack: Covert Operations
Find Winback: Covert Operations on eBay

More Great Games:
Body Harvest (eBay)
Shadow Man (eBay)
Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (eBay)
Earthworm Jim 3D (eBay)
Kyojin no Doshin 1 (eBay)

Vehicle Action

Obvious Choices:
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Star Wars: Battle for Naboo

 Featured Game: Blast Corps
“Blast Corps is really about one thing – driving vehicles through cities and suburbs, and laying waste to them. Ostensibly, it all has a purpose, but forget all that for right now. You drive vehicles into buildings until they fall over, then do it some more. The entire game is about that…

Once you get the hang of it, Blast Corps is fairly simple, but that just makes it a very enjoyable game, as opposed to a struggle against time. It’s worth dusting off a copy of it for an afternoon of guilty, mass destruction of public property, pleasure. Until you figure out the trick of each level, you’ll often find yourself doomed to repeat the level, and even now, when I mess up on a level, I make sure it’s me who augers myself into the side of the truck, and not some punk ass building, “I’ll see you hell, nuclear truck!” Also, the vehicles are purposefully hard to control; when you get them figured out, they drive just fine, but it’s the initial learning curve that makes them very frustrating to use at first.”
Fourhman’s Review of Blast Corps
Find Blast Corps on eBay

More Great Games:
BattleTanx (eBay)
BattleTanx: Global Assault (eBay)
Vigilante 8 (eBay)
Vigilante 8: Second Offense (eBay)

First Person Shooter

Obvious Choices:
Perfect Dark, Goldeneye 007, Turok, Quake, Doom, Etc

 Featured Gem: Jet Force Gemini / Star Twins
“At first glance, Jet Force Gemini seems like a chemical compound that incorporates the best elements from several successful franchises: Take Turok’s enemies, add in Banjo-Kazooie’s gameplay, include GoldenEye’s sniping action, then throw in a Star Wars-like theme complete with sidekick droids and furry Ewok-like creatures known as Tribals – and mix…

What makes Jet Force Gemini work is a philosophy that is prevalent throughout Rareware’s games: Make it easy to beat, but difficult (and rewarding) to complete 100 percent. Since you’ll find new power-ups along the way (such as robot droids, keys, weapons and jet packs), you’ll want to backtrack through the levels to explore previously unreachable areas and find secrets – this boosts the game’s replay value immensely. It’s in this area of the game that Jet Force Gemini really shines.”
GameSpot’s Review of Jet Force Gemini
Find Jet Force Gemini on eBay

More Great Games:
Forsaken 64 (eBay)
007: The World is Not Enough (eBay)

3D Rails Shooter

Obvious Choice:
Star Fox 64

 Featured Game: Sin and Punishment: Successor to the Earth
“What this exceptional piece of software does offer is pure arcade-style fun, with brilliant level designs and huge bosses (around every corner) to go along with it. There has to be at least 25 different bosses and mini-bosses in Sin and Punishment, if not twice that.

There’s so much giant opposition that it brings a smile of awe to your face, because with every boss comes the chance of an accomplishment. At some moments you will even face three bosses in a row, which is a big adrenaline rush. The superior opposition is definitely one of the highlights of the gameplay.

The level designs are also huge and clever. Everything is placed to increase drama, and all the atmospheres change dramatically throughout the quest. You will fight atop elevators, take to the sky and defy gravity, bear the desert heat, side-scroll, clash swords with the enemy, and even fight the earth itself. Needless to say the levels are a treat for the senses and will always keep you on your toes.”
IGN’s Review of Sin & Punishment
Find Sin & Punishment on eBay

2D Shmups

 Featured Game: Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh (Bangai-O)
“While it’s a little hard to explain, Bangaioh’s gameplay is classic yet innovative. Treasure’s building blocks for the game’s myriad levels are extremely versatile – some are puzzles, some have racing aspects, and others are just insane blastfests.

While there are a lot of levels, every one of them is different enough so that you don’t get bored. Every level, however, is completely manic, with hundreds of projectiles and tons of enemies. Additionally, Bangaioh rewards players well for mastering the basics – rack up enough consecutive hits, and a portal to an upgrade shop will open.”
Gamespot’s Review of Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh
Find Bangai-O on eBay

More Great Games:
Dezaemon 3D (eBay)
Robotron 64 (eBay)


Obvious Choices:
Super Smash Bros., Killer Instinct Gold, Ready 2 Rumble, Mortal Kombat 4

Featured Game: Custom Robo

“Virtual On for the N64? You wouldn’t think so, but at its heart, Custom Robo is Virtual On with a little Armored Core thrown in for good measure. That’s a really simplified way of putting it, but to acknowledge the sum of its parts, Custom Robo is essentially a Virtual On-style RPG for Nintendo’s cartridge-based system. Developed by Marigul subsidiary Noise, Custom Robo takes standard RPG gameplay and uses the storyline as a launch pad for the successive string of arena battles that make up the majority of the gameplay.”
GameSpot’s Review of Custom Robo
Find Custom Robo on eBay

More Great Games:
Fighters Destiny (eBay)
Fighter Destiny 2 (eBay)
Mace: The Dark Age (eBay)
Tom and Jerry: Fists of Furry (eBay)


Obvious Choices:
The New Tetris, Bust-A-Move, Bomberman

 Featured Game: Pokemon Puzzle League
“Pokemon Puzzle League, at its core, is the same exact game as Tetris Attack. If you liked that game, you’ll certainly love this one as well. For those of you unfamiliar with Tetris Attack, here’s how the game plays. You must clear the blocks off of the screen before they reach the top. Instead of blocks falling from the top of the screen ala Tetris, the blocks slowly rise from the bottom of the screen. Each square block will have a colored icon on it. Matching up at least three of the same icons will make those blocks disappear. You can line these blocks up vertically or horizontally, but not diagonally. You can move the blocks with a cursor that highlights up to two blocks at once. By pressing the A or B button you can switch the blocks around. If only one block is highlighted, it will move to the open area. This allows you to move blocks horizontally across the play field and, if need be, allows you to move a block to an empty spot where it can fall down on top of other blocks.”
Gaming Age’s Review of Pokemon Puzzle League
Find Pokemon Puzzle League on eBay

More Great Games:
Wetrix (eBay)
Tetrisphere (eBay)
Puyo Puyo Sun 64 (eBay)
Lode Runner 3D (eBay)
Charlie Blast’s Territory (eBay)
Magical Tetris Challenge (eBay)
Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness (eBay)
Tetris 64 (eBay)

Traditional Car Racing

Obvious Choices:
SF Rush, Ridge Racer, Cruisin’ etc

 Featured Game: Beetle Adventure Racing
“Beetle Adventure Racing is literally an outstanding racer. There’s nothing quite like it for the 64. For instance, the single player mode is an incredible blend of platform concepts, racing and sheer exploration. In addition, the multiplayer action rivals Goldeneye with it’s unique blend of 4 way competition….

The reward system of B A R is fantastic! Similar to Goldeneye’s “pay for your play” access to upper levels, you have to earn the right to play certain boards and cars in BAR. In fact, most of the good stuff has to be earned. The best thing is the way that the doors are opened to upper levels. You don’t beat times in B A R like in most conventional racers. You have to collect a total of 100 points on a level and beat varying degrees of difficulty. Points can be found in boxes scattered througout the courses. But you really have to explore to find all of them. This is what makes B A R a winner in the replay and challenge department.”
Nintendojo’s Review of Beetle Adventure Racing
Find Beetle Adventure Racing on eBay

More Great Games:
World Driver Championship (eBay)
Monaco Grand Prix (eBay)
Top Gear Rally (eBay)
F-1 World Grand Prix (eBay)
Top Gear Overdrive (eBay)

Cart/Battle-Style Racing

Obvious Choices:
Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing

 Featured Game: S.C.A.R.S
” Up to four players go head-to-head on 10 gorgeous tracks, ranging from a snowy mountain with ski lift to a futuristic military base, complete with UFOs and translucent bridges. Although S.C.A.R.S is Vivid Image’s first Nintendo 64 title, the London-based developer managed to squeeze smooth framerates, vibrant colors and unprecedented lighting effects out of the hardware that put even Rare’s efforts to shame. Especially the night races, where the tracks are illuminated only by street lanterns and the racers’ headlights, are a sight to behold.

But S.C.A.R.S isn’t only about eye candy. Vivid Image can look back on years of experience in creating addictive multiplayer racers, such as Street Racer (Super NES) — and S.C.A.R.S doesn’t disappoint in this respect. During the races, players can pick up weapons and power-ups to boost ahead or take out the competition. You will find turbos, “hot potato” time bombs (toss them back and forth until they explode), barriers, magnets, missiles, and more. The one-player mode is already challenging enough, but plug in three more controllers and you will be playing into the wee morning hours. Sick of playing the same old Grand Prix over and over? Create your own by picking and choosing the tracks and take on your friends.”
IGN’s Review of S.C.A.R.S.
Find S.C.A.R.S. on eBay

More Great Games:
Mickey’s Speedway USA (eBay)
Re-Volt (eBay)

Other Racing

Obvious Choices:
F-Zero X , Wave Race 64, Wipeout 64, Excitebike 64, Road Rash 64, Hydro Thunder, Star Wars Episode I: Racer

 Featured Game: Micro Machines 64 Turbo
” Based on the popular toy car series, this highly addictive multiplayer racer takes gamers back to those blissful days of playing with toy cars in their grandparents’ backyard — only this time, the toy cars are armed with deadly hammers, missiles, and mechanical arms. Better even, sitting on your trusty couch and staring at a big-screen TV should deliver all the fun of the real thing, minus the ants in your pants and the presumably healthy dose of fresh air.

Instead of going for the full 3D treatment like most racing games, Micro Machines is presented from an overhead view, just like the NES classic. While the game has been improved here and there, gameplay is largely identical to the PlayStation version. Press A to accelerate, B to brake, jump with R, honk with Z or use a weapon — but instead of having to steer your cars with the digital pad, the N64 version offers excellent analog control via the stick. The D-Pad can also be used, of course.”
IGN’s Review of Micro Machines 64 Turbo
Find Micro Machines 64 Turbo on eBay

More Great Games:
Snowboard Kids (eBay)
Extreme-G (eBay)
Hot Wheels: Turbo Racing (eBay)
Monster Truck Madness 64 (eBay)
Stunt Racer 64 (eBay)
Penny Racers (eBay)


Obvious Choices:
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Paper Mario , Harvest Moon 64

 Featured Game: Hybrid Heaven
“Hybrid Heaven is indeed a hybrid of action and roleplaying. However, the action elements are fairly straightforward. Controlling the main character, players run around the 3D environments much like in Konami’s own Castlevania. The whip and sword have been replaced by a painfully wimpy weapon called the Defuser (don’t get your hopes up, it doesn’t get more powerful), enemies that can be “defused” are limited to floating laser probes and mouse bots, and the deadly guillotine traps that plagued Schneider have made way for equally pesky flame barriers.

If you’re the type who easily gets bored with the turn-based battles in many of the Japanese roleplaying games like Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy, then you may want to stay away from this game – the action is not enough to carry it. But if you’re a sucker for “battle and training” games and you would like to see a game unlike any other on Nintendo 64, then Hybrid Heaven is definitely worth a look.”
IGN’s Review of Hybrid Heaven
Find Hybrid Heaven on eBay


Obvious Choices:
StarCraft 64, SimCity 64, Command & Conquer

 Featured Game: Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber
“Ogre Battle 64 offers a detailed branching story and great depth of customization, both executed brilliantly within the limitations of a 35-meg cartridge… Perhaps Ogre Battle 64’s greatest strength lies in its replay value. Because of divergences on the world map and decisions you are forced to make, there is no way to get every major character and see every event by playing the game through once. Additionally, how you play will affect your reputation. Some characters simply won’t join your cause if you haven’t gained enough support from other characters and earned the trust of the masses. The huge amount of customization possible and the ability to shape the involving story unfolding before you make the game a very enjoyable experience for any RPG gamer willing to venture into the realm of challenging strategy and micromanaGameent.”
GameSpot’s Review of Ogre Battle 64
Find Ogre Battle 64 on eBay

More Great Games:
Virtual Chess 64 (eBay)
Worms Armageddon (eBay)



Rae says:

Could anyone help me track down the name of a rare japenese game that featured a green worm type creature with 3 prongs on it’s head for the snes? I know the title started with a W.

It was re-released in australia under a different name.


Paulo Jr. says:

Fantástica lista! Alguns desses games são melhores que os mais famosos, muito melhores! Sina and Punishment que o diga!


Spondee says:

A great unknown racing game is Lego Racers, just try it and you’ll understand.

mowatt138 says:

A bugs life! sounds childish but i swear it’s fun!

Haruspex says:

A Bug’s Life (1999) for Nintendo 64 is a totally average 3D platformer aimed at Nintendo 64’s younger audience. This audience isn’t likely to mind that it’s basically a quick, in some cases sloppy port of the PlayStation original, which debuted for the 32-bit console a year prior (1998). Nor will it mind that A Bug’s Life has been done plenty of times before for Nintendo 64 — and better — in games like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64. And that’s not such a bad thing because A Bug’s Life isn’t an especially bad game.

But for those of us who have played through and loved the likes of Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64, well, A Bug’s Life just doesn’t live up. It plays slower, it’s less intuitive, it’s less inventive and it looks exactly like a quick and easy port of the PlayStation original.

In the end, the license is the strongest part of A Bug’s Life for Nintendo 64 — and that’s never a good thing.

xmysterioso says:

Wow, I definately forgot about micromachines, added it to my emulator. :]

Ethan says:

Earthworm Jim 3d is also a really good one, really trippy.
funny, and easy to get in to.

Leng46uk says:

Multi-Racing Championship is a much derided and sadly misunderstood gem. Despite two serious problems, it is actually the best racer on the system.
The immediate problem is that the default garage settings give very poor performance, especially the tires, and the various settings in the garage are not explained well. Tracks have both road and off-road sections and with the wrong tires you have no grip! This problem has resulted in poor reviews. But, get the right setup for the track and the sensation of speed is wicked; puts Ridge Racer to shame, and it has real physics for skids. Indeed, the physics simulation is in a different league to most of the N64 racers. Second problem is that there are only three tracks.

Kurono says:

The Mischief Makers is one of the best 2D scroll games in the history, and it’s one of the most enjoyable games of the N64. Win Back are amazing too.

Master_OrHan says:

Sin and Punishment should definitely be played with the new translation patch. Get it for your emulator today! Make sure to get that copy of Superman 64 while you are there! 😉

Jeff says:

Jet Force Gemini and B A R were amazing games, I wish they were put on WiiWare…

Justin says:

In the Car/Battle Style Racing please include Destruction Derby 64. I don’t think it was hugely popular but it was one fun game with both arena and track modes and a unique scoring system that encouraged damaging the other cars!

paperwasp says:

for shame for not mentioning Rakuga Kids under fighting

thingonaspring says:

If you lived in the U.K. pretty much every game was a hidden gem, ’cause we never got to see them! Apart from the lucky few that could import, we pretty much got screwed in this country. So without emulation/virtual console we would never have got to try any of these hidden gems.

mayhem says:

Lol, I remember buying Hybrid Heaven for $5 on a clearance rack. I was surprised that I actually liked it. Interesting game.

aasdfasdf says:

Mischief makers should have been featured..

lo says:

I second putting Destruction Derby 64 in the Cart/Battle-Style Racing section. The single player isn’t very good, but the multiplayer is excellent, especially playing bomb tag with the radar off.

I’m SOOOOOO surprised no one has mentioned 1080 Snowboarding. It is such a good game. It deserves at least an honorable mention for sure.

Chobo says:

You forgot sports…. NBA Hang Time

mystical ninjaman says:

mystical ninja starring goemon was the best game ever.

Oli says:

does anyone remember the name of a fighting game, i am for certain it had earthworm jim as one of the main character’s and a whole bunch of other’s. Im sorry thats all i can remember but if anyone recognises this game please let me know cheers

Blade says:

Re-Volt was a cart type racing game that featured RC driven cars that raced on toy like levels as well as many other outside themed tracks. In my opinion (of course behind Mario Kart 64) it is one of the best racing games for the N64. Very uncommon to see it in a “Top 100 N64 Games” list however.

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