Developer: Nintendo EAD
NA Release date: Nov. 5, 1996
Media: 64-Megabit cartridge
Wave Race 64 was originally going to be a futuristic speedboat game. Screenshot and videos shown while the game was still in development shows a different looking game with bigger jumps and higher speeds. However, because of the similarities between Wave Race 64 and F-Zero X, Nintendo decided to make Wave Race more of a realistic jet-ski simulation game. The game is sponsored by Kawasaki and shows Kawasaki jet-skis featured throughout. It was released on November 5, 1996 in North America. It was late re-released in 1997 with rumble support and is reportedly one of the most advanced N64 games of all time.
In Wave Race, players race around courses on Jet-skis as they compete with other players in a goal to get the highest rank possible. A challenging aspect added to the game are the buoys placed throughout the courses. The player must weave in and out of them successfully or the player’s jet-ski will lose speed. Missing over 5 buoys in a level will result in a disqualification from that level. There are a variety of tricks that can be performed as the player jumps off ramps placed throughout the levels. There are a few modes of play including championship, warm up, time trials, stunt mode and 2p move. The game features 4 characters; Ryota Hayami (18 years old, Japan), Dave Mariner (32 years old, USA), Ayumi Stewart (21 years old, USA) and Miles Jeter (24 years old, Canada).
The graphics in Wave Race 64 are pretty amazing for their time. Not only are the characters and jet-skis well modeled but the wavy water looks really great too. The sound and music however are a bit repetitive and boring. Mastering the controls is one of the more difficult tasks to accomplish in the game. They take a while to get used to with the analog stick but eventually feel accurate and tight with a lot of playtime. The amount of modes in the game makes the replay value high here. Although there are only eight courses, they are all well designed and fun to play. Overall, Wave Race 64 is a very good game. Once initial interest is lost, you’re still likely to pick up and play every once in a while thanks to fun modes like stunt mode.
- Dolphin Park (Warm-up Course)
- Sunny Beach
- Sunset Bay
- Marine Fortress
- Port Blue
- Twilight City
- Glacier Coast
- Southern Island
- Right Shoulder Button – Power slide
- C-Up – Cycle the camera through 4 different positions
- C-Down – Cycle the camera through 4 different positions (reverse)
- C-Left – Turn the camera to the left of the rider
- C-Right – Turn the camera to the right of the rider
- B Button – Softens the bounce
- A Button – Accelerate
- Z Trigger – Same as A button
- Start – Pause game
- Control Stick – maneuver your craft