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Wave Race 64 (Wii U Virtual Console)

Wave Race 64 has simplistic course layouts that are being made interesting by two defining traits. Firstly, waves have programmed starting points, so the player will have to adjust each lap to keep the ideal racing line. Secondly, buoys that need to be passed on either the left or the right side make things more challenging than they seem at first glance. This becomes especially apparent once you increase the difficulty, because each of the four championship series has its own course variations. There are only four racers, but a points system with no retries - you automatically move on to the next race even if you get disqualified for missing five buoys - and a minimum threshold demands your attention.

While I like the gameplay of Wave Race 64, it's kinda disappointing that there's no boost system like in the follow-up Wave Race: Blue Storm. The multiplayer is forgettable and I was never fond of stunt mode either; driving through rings and performing tricks gets old fast. But as long as the controls feel good and the main attraction of the game delivers, it's all good. That's the case here. The eight main courses each have unique traits. Sunny Beach is your typical basic intro track, Sunset Bay takes place during sunset (surprise!), Drake Lake greets you with fog that clears up over the duration of the race, Marine Fortress throws high waves at you, Port Blue provides has you racing around a harbor with a huge ship, Twilight City is a night course, Glacier Coast... you guessed it, ice. And finally, Southern Island lowers the water level and reveals more and more surface of the beach with each passing lap.

The Wii U Virtual Console version provides PAL regions with 60 fps.

Controls 10 The analog stick is used for steering and leaning the bodies
of the characters. Leaning back allows sharper turns.
Gameplay   Racing on water. Pass buoys on the correct side.
A boost system like in the sequel Blue Storm is missing.
Story   Not
Single-player   Four difficulty settings, each with its own course variations.
Different waves each lap keep you on your toes.
Multiplayer   Only two-player-splitscreen with no CPU opponents
despite scaled back graphics.
Graphics   The focus was clearly on creating the water which benefits
the gameplay. Character models are blocky.
Sound   Oddly enough, the MIDI soundtrack has some memorable
tunes despite sounding quite cheap.
Value   29 course variations in championship mode. Time trial,
stunt mode and a barebones multiplayer mode.
Replay Value   Options for wave height, amount of laps and allowed misses
allow you to shake things up.
Score 8 Another Nintendo racing title with timeless gameplay. Looks rough
because it originated on the Nintendo 64, but plays great.

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club