Jet Force Gemini – Definitive 50 N64 Game #27
The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games
Following the massive success of the Donkey Kong Country trilogy on the Super Nintendo, English developer Rare blossomed into one of Nintendo’s premiere N64 studios. The first of many Rare games we’ll look at on this list is Jet Force Gemini.
Among the towering figures in the pantheon of Rare’s numerous N64 classics, Jet Force Gemini is too often overlooked. The title provides some wildly unique gameplay plus all the charm you’d expect from a Rare game.
Jet Force Gemini features three truly stylish futuristic heroes. Two humans: Juno and twin sister Vela, and one dog: Lupus. The trio are the last remaining members of the Jet Force, which has been decimated by Mizar and his swarms of giant insect-like alien forces.
You’ll need to fight through a variety of sprawling Mizar-occupied worlds to reach the big bad guy himself. Doing it all demands mastery of a unique genre blend.
Jet Froce Gemini is a frantic, arcade-y shooter, a 3D platformer, and an action adventure game all rolled into one. You’ll go from blasting giant blue ants one minute to bounding through caves another.
Each of the three team members has his or her own special abilities, with Lupus even able to hover. Depending on where you are in the game, you may be limited to using one of these characters, or have your choice.
In classic Rare fashion – Jet Force Gemini demands a great deal of exploration to find certain necessary, well, not items exactly. Each level contains a number of Tribals, koala-looking creatures who have been enslaved by the Mizar. Rescuing all of them is the key to saving Earth.
Okay, so I have to admit that Jet Force Gemini has its flaws too. Perhaps due to the sheer audacity of its genre bending gameplay, the controls are frequently awkward. Problems with aiming in third person are solved with lock-on and some extreme auto-aiming, but any time you have to aim manually, hitting your target can be a struggle.
Maneuvering your characters in third person isn’t the liberating romp found in Rare’s own Banjo Kazooie, either. Perhaps due to the necessity to do so much with the N64’s limited controller.
Jet Force Gemini also comes packed with several multiplayer options. The campaign can be played through with a second player manning a drone that follows the first player around, but all of the exploration is left up to player 1, player 2 just gets to blast fools.
There’s also a fairly robust mutliplayer battle mode for 2-4 players with selectable weapons, levels, and characters – options reminiscent of some of Rare’s more famous shooters. Racing and firing range mini games can also be unlocked.
As one of the founding members of Nintendo’s so-called “Dream Team” of N64 developers, as well as Nintendo’s most prolific 2nd party studio, Rare produced many of the Nintendo 64’s best games.
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Check back next week for entry #26 on the Definitive 50 N64 games.