THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME (NINTENDO EAD) – 1998
The special golden cartridges remain a treasured item for many fans
Wherever Ocarina Of Time (OOT) is mentioned, the words that follow usually comprise of any combination of the following words and phrases: ‘wonderful’… ‘timeless’…‘masterpiece’. The first 3D Zelda experience has racked up so many plaudits and awards over the years that it has become hard to keep count – nearly eight million copies were sold worldwide, and at release it earned over fifteen perfect review scores from various gaming publications (resulting in a sensational average of 99 out of 100 over on Metacritic). Since then, critics and gamers alike have regularly hailed Shigeru Miyamoto’s classic as ‘the greatest game ever made’, a benchmark which has rarely been touched.
Time to play devil’s advocate: I reckon Ocarina Of Time is actually somewhat quite overrated, and people have become a tad blind to some of its obvious faults. Continue reading
SUPER SMASH BROTHERS (1999) – HAL LABORATORY
I wonder how well it would have sold without Mario....
There are rumours flying about at the moment that Sony is looking to collect its very best characters from first party IP’s and put them all together in a fighting game. Potentially, it could be a very good title – but the thing that amuses me is that while fans argue about the validity of putting certain characters in, I wonder why it has taken Sony so long to emulate a game that Nintendo got organised more than a decade ago, in the form of the original Super Smash Brothers. Considering the enormous success of the franchise, in particular the sequels Melee and Brawl which regularly top lists of people’s favourite multiplayer games, it seems strange that the idea of putting your very best mascots into a fighting game was a foreign concept in 1999. People generally looked towards the established names of the genre (like Tekken, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat) if they wanted a good bout of fisticuffs, but the lure of being able to kick the crap out of Pikachu as Mario soon drew in the punters. 4.3 million sales later, and Nintendo’s little gamble (it was only ever intended to be released in Japan) gave us one of the best multiplayer games of the fifth generation. Continue reading
CONKER’S BAD FUR DAY (2001) – RARE
Conkers’ Bad Fur Day is a very rare game in several respects. First of all, it was the last game made by Rare (a tenuous link I know) for a Nintendo console for quite some time, before Microsoft bough the studio in 2002. Second; it is rare in the respect that it was one of only two games to have an enhanced 64MB cartridge for the N64, the other game being Resident Evil 2. Third, it’s a rare game: if you want an original copy you could be looking in excess of £50 for the privilege. Finally though, and most importantly, it’s a rare game in the sense that it manages to be hilariously funny and crude in a way that not many games since, the Grand Theft Auto series included, have ever come close to being.
Conker himself made his debut in a rather low-key role as a character available to race with in Diddy Kong Racing, another Rare title. This game was in production for four years and was meant to be a cutesy platformer (following on from the success of Rare’s Super Mario 64 clone, Banjo Kazooie), but at the last moment Rare decided to go back to the drawing board and in the end produced a cutesy platformer…albeit now with swearing, gore, drunken behaviour and adult themes thrown into the mix. Many adults bought this game for their children to play and were greatly shocked methinks when they saw the content on display; despite it saying on the box and the loading screens that this was a mature title and not meant for children (a rarity in itself for the family friendly N64). The game sold poorly on release due to Nintendo not advertising it properly, and as a result it was passed over by many. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it now, because behind the profanity and blood lies one of the N64’s great titles. Continue reading