It seems my N64 console has a mind of its own. I got cheap copies of Perfect Dark and Mischief Makers recently, and couldn’t test them until last night, because my N64 console had apparently given up the ghost. Come last night it was working, after me doing nothing other than check the status of its PSU (not outputting 3.3V/12V, instead 3.3⁄11?).
In any case, I’ve got a couple of reviews to proffer up later this week. I’m not going to review Perfect Dark, instead I’m reviewing Mischief Makers and the SNES Starwing/Star Fox.
For now, consider the Super NES.
The Super Nintendo
After wasting a whole lot of time on Yoshi’s Island and DKC 2, and watching way too much Game Grumps, I think I’ve come to appreciate the the technical and artistic prowess of the Super NES library. I could parse that statement in another way, and say that if I had to recommend a platform to someone, I would recommend the Super Nintendo.
While very few of the JRPGs that were released in the US on the SNES were able to be accessed in the PAL region, I think it can be fairly convincingly argued that the SNES harbours an absolutely stellar group of games in all of these genres:
Mega Man 7, Mega Man X, SMW, Yoshi’s Island, DKC series, Super Metroid? (there obviously being more).
Zelda: Link to the Past (Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and tonnes more, if you can secure an NTSC-> PAL converter).
Gradius III, Super R-Type, Cybernator, Starwing…
Still emerging at the time, therefore stellar due to Mode 7: SMK, F-Zero.
Street Fighter, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat 2…
Super Bomberman, Kirby Superstar, Goof Troop.
I can’t think of another platform that achieves such a good-quality and varied library. Broadly speaking, the NES does brilliantly with with platformers, and little else. The Mega Drive has a few stellar titles, but really fails to surpass the SNES: these titles are far too few and far between. The Playstation is mired in racing games and sub-par platformers and muddy first-generation FPSs.
The N64 comes in a close second behind the SNES for its mastery of first-gen console FPSs and brilliant 3D platformers, but its absolute failure to secure any kind of third-party success. The Gamecube suffers from this as well.
The problem with the Playstation 2 (must like the first PS, actually) is the reverse of the N64–it is swathed in so much third-party activity that it is impossible to discern any kind of structure in its library of games. Concessions can be made for the PS2 (Final Fantasy X, various multi-platform releases and ports), but it was more of a DVD-player and light-entertainment centre than a true gaming platform–Gran Turismo and GTA featuring prominently in the platform’s library surely being proof.
I won’t mention the Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii or PS3 here, I think they’re difficult to deal with.
To sum up, the SNES is a really ‘safe’ platform for both the discerning and uninitiated gamer. If one wanted to maximise the amount of ‘virtue’ they had in their gaming library, I would most definitely point to the SNES, and then the N64. This might just be a shallow concern, but the fact that the SNES slightly cracked the 3D-generation threshold really demonstrates just how much this platform achieves.