Wave Race 64 Review – Definitive 50 N64 Game #12

The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games

What’s there to say? Wave Race 64 is AWESOME. Playing Wave Race 64 is like going on vacation.

Despite being an early N64 title, Wave Race stands as one of the system’s best looking games. The realistic water physics that blew minds back in 1996 still hold up today, and the clear blue water looks good enough to drink. Taking your jet ski out in the tropical settings… spotting the occasional dolphin or even whale… it’s almost too much fun.

Wave Race 64’s Championship mode will have you racing through some truly stunning scenery, while you battle other jet skiers and rolling waves for first place victories. There are four difficulties to play through, and additional tracks to unlock here.

The game’s buoy system provides real depth and challenge along the way. Wave Race’s courses are full of yellow buoys you must pass on the left, and red buoys you must pass on the right. Do it correctly and your Power gauge will slowly build, granting extra speed. Miss a marker, and you’ll have to start the build all over again. Miss too many buoys and you automatically lose the race.

But before you compete for a Championship, it’s important to check out Warm Up mode. Maybe this sounds ridiculous… but Wave Race 64 features what I think is the most fun practice mode of any game. At Dolphin Park you can just jet ski around, get your bearings for your craft, try out tricks, and ride the waves with dolphins.

Beyond those modes, Wave Race 64 includes an addictive Stunt Mode that has you compete for high scores by passing through rings and performing tricks. I always liked heading out to the peaceful Drake Lake for this one. Both acrobatic stunts like handstands and aerial moves off ramps like back flips and barrel rolls are possible with the right moves on the joystick.

Requisite Time Trial and VS. modes are also available, although only up to 2 players can compete in the multi.

Interestingly, there are several slightly different versions of Wave Race 64 available. The original release did not include Rumble Pak support, but there was a Japan-only re-release that added it. The game is also available on Wii Virtual Console, where the Kawasaki branding is removed in favour of Wii and DS ads.

Sadly, the GameCube’s Wave Race: Blue Storm was not nearly as well received as its predecessor, and the franchise hasn’t been back since. I’m still holding out hope for a sequel, but it’s getting kind of pathetic.

Let me know what you think of Wave Race and the Definitive 50 in the comments section below. Don’t forget to like this video, share this video, and subscribe. Check back next week for entry #11 on the Definitive 50 N64 Games.