Wave Race 64
|Wave Race 64|
North American Nintendo 64 cover art
|Release date(s)||Nintendo 64
|Mode(s)||Single player, 2 player simultaneous|
Wave Race 64 (ウエーブレース64 Uēbu Rēsu Rokujūyon?) is a racing game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 in 1996, as the successor to F-Zero and a follow-up to the Game Boy game Wave Race. In Wave Race 64, the player races on jet skis in many different weather conditions, on a variety of different courses. The game was sponsored by the Kawasaki Heavy Industries brand, and featured product placement for The Coca-Cola Company's brand Fanta. Wave Race 64 was released August 6, 2007 for the Virtual Console in North America; in PAL territories it was released on August 17. It received critical acclaim.
The objective of each race is to beat the other racers while also successfully maneuvering the jet-ski around various buoys. There are two types of buoys: red colored, which are signified by an R on them and must be passed on the right side, and yellow buoys, which are marked with an L and must be passed on the left side. Each time a buoy is correctly passed, a power arrow will light and the jet-ski will gain speed. Up to five arrows can be lit in order to obtain maximum power. As a result, maintaining the process will allow the player to maintain their power without any misses.
Failure to do either of these will result in a loss of power (though the arrows can be lit again) and missing five buoys over the course of a race will result in disqualification. Leaving the course (either by leaving the area limited by pink buoys or by leaving the water altogether) for more than five seconds will also result in disqualification.
The game modes are:
- Championship: the player must beat a series of tracks and win the first place. Up to four levels of difficulty can be chosen: the starting Normal difficulty, as well as three unlockable difficulties; Hard, Expert and Reverse (the last being basically Expert with the tracks oriented backwards). Also, the difficulty determines the number of courses played (six in Normal, seven in Hard and eight in Expert/Reverse). Each track has a specific set of points that the player must achieve in order to move to the next track. If the required quantity is not met, the player will be disqualified and the game will be over. The ranking the player finishes each race in determines the amount of points given: first place receives 7 points, second place receives 4 points, and third and fourth places receive 2 and 1 points, respectively. Players who are disqualified during the race do not receive any points.
- Warm Up: In this mode, the player trains to use the jet-ski in a special course known as Dolphin Park. In the bottom of the screen a prompt will indicate a set of instructions to control the vehicle, though the player can ignore it and practice by him- or herself. The player can also start Championship mode from Dolphin Park if they decide to, and can only be selected in Normal mode.
- Time Trials: In the typical time-attack mode, the player race solo in order to perform the best times, which are recorded in the game's data. Only the courses that have been unlocked can be played.
- Stunt Mode: In this mode the player plays solo in order to earn points by executing stunts and passing through rings. The points depend upon how many hoops the player passes through without missing, as well as the class of stunt that has been performed, in which conditions it was executed, and the frequency that particular stunt has been done (the more times a single stunt is successfully completed, the amount of points awarded decreases). The game keeps track of the best scores. Only the unlocked courses can be played, and the warm up level, Dolphin Park, is also available. Players will also be on timer on this mode and can only traverse through the course in only one lap. Checkpoints were also added to extend their time. Players will also be disqualified if the timer hits zero.
- 2P VS.: A versus mode with a second player. The screen is vertically divided into two sections by a horizontal line. Like in other modes, only the unlocked tracks can be played.
The options menu allows the player to check audio, look over and erase records, and manage saved data from either the game itself or the Controller Pak. The names of the characters and the racing conditions (required laps, wave conditions, etc.) can also be changed.
Wave Race 64 was originally developed as a racing game featuring futuristic speedboats that changed forms by retracting or expanding themselves, as shown in footage from the 1995 Nintendo Shoshinkai show. The game features accurate wave physics, which are notorious for being difficult to program.
Wave Race 64 has four characters:
- Ryota Hayami (18 years old, Japan): the most balanced character, Ryota can be used by beginners and experts alike.
- Ayumi Stewart (21 years old, USA): the only female character, Ayumi is the skinniest and slowest character, but has the best handling and acceleration. She is recommended for beginners.
- Miles Jeter (24 years old, Canada): the only character who was later absent in Wave Race: Blue Storm, Miles has the quickest steering responding and worst grip, but is average in all other categories. He is recommended for intermediate to expert players. His skills are especially very useful in the stunt mode thanks to his quick responding controls and tight cornering.
- Dave Mariner (32 years old, USA): the fattest and fastest character, Dave has poor handling, grip, and acceleration. He is recommended for advanced players. He can also take harder bumps without wrecking.
Every character's categories may be customized before starting the race. However, this will only change the skills of the character in a limited tolerance. For example, even setting Dave Mariner to maximum control will not result to an equal controlling experience as with Miles Jeter.
Wave Race 64 was a critical success. It was rated the 127th best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games list. It received a rating of 9.7/10 from IGN, and 9/10 on the Wii's Virtual Console and in a list of 100, Wave Race 64 was rated, by IGN, as the 33rd greatest game of all time as of 2003. In the 2005 IGN list, its position was #37. GameSpot gave it an 8.6 and praised the game for its graphics and controls. Sales were also high, with 1,950,000 units in the United States and 154,000 in Japan.
Like Super Mario 64, Wave Race 64 was re-released in Japan in July 1997 as Wave Race 64 Shindō Pak Taiō Version (ウエーブレース64 振動パック対応バージョン?). This re-release took advantage of the Rumble Pak (known as the "Shindō Pak" in Japan), as well as adding ghost functions for time trial. In addition, some of the songs and sound effects in the game were altered as well.
Wave Race 64 was released on the Virtual Console on August 6, 2007. Unlike almost all other Virtual Console games, Wave Race 64 was modified, with the in-game Kawasaki and Fanta banners removed, most likely owing to an expired licensing deal. They are anachronistically replaced by Wii and Nintendo DS advertisements. The Jet Skis themselves have also been slightly modified and bear no Kawasaki logos. The Kawasaki logo on the title screen was also removed. However, when it was released on the Wii U Virtual Console on December 31, 2015 in Europe, and in North America on August 11th, 2016, the Kawasaki banners and logos were restored.
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