|[ Writer ] = BAD
|[ 07/27/01 ] = Lost Hopes, Lost Opportunities To Create Great Things
The Nintendo 64 horizon looked to be pleasant and hopeful, with developers like Capcom, Konami, and Atlus signed. Unfortunately, as time passed, developers got discouraged, and fearful of high cartridge production and marketing costs, and so began the trend of cartridge fear. The PlayStation, although with weaker processing and graphical ability, was the goal for many developers (that had also been signed with Nintendo) to develop for; not because it was a particularly stronger machine than the Nintendo 64, but becauase - you guessed it - because it was cheaper. Don't get me wrong here, the PlayStation is a great machine, with a plethora of great 2-D and 3-D titles I enjoy. But, to tell the truth, if given a choice to have some of the same games on cartridge for the Nintendo 64, I might have very well taken the latter.
Several arcade games could have made it to the Nintendo 64 in great translation, if it hadn't been for the developer's fear of spending a bit of money on cartridges and programming for the N64. 3-D games like Fatal Fury Wild Ambition, Samurai Shodown 64, and Street Fighter EX2 could have taken advantage of the Nintendo 64's polygon pushing power, while 2-D games like Street Fighter III, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Slammasters II, Alien VS Predator, and Battle Circuit could have also been ran well on Nintendo's graphical monster hardware. So why weren't they? Simply because of the cost. Yes, you heard right. We never got any of these games because of cartridge cost. Street Fighter III would have ran fantastic with the RAM cart on the Nintendo 64, and a Slammasters Duo would have been 4-Player ready madness! Street Fighter III could have fit on an N64 cartridge, maybe even without a RAM cart - several of Capcom's games could have fit on the Nintendo 64's huge cartridges (they're not as weak as the media and EGM tell you they are). Games like X-MEN VS Street Fighter would have utilized from the N64 RAM cart just as the Saturn's RAM cart was. Instead, we were given Mickey Mouse Tetris (RE2 and Megaman 64 are out of this, since they are not arcade translations) - wouldn't Capcom have made more profit if they would have made one of their other arcade-based games on the N64? Capcom's arcade titles would have sold great if developed on the Nintendo 64, because most of the people who bought all of Capcom's CPS-1 games on the SNES bought the N64 in hopes of getting more Capcom goodness, as well as titles from SNK and Konami.
One developer that would have particularly went good with this plan is SNK. Why? Well, look at SNK; they have had experience with cartridges for a long time, so they would be able to work wonders for the system. SNK could just as easy create games on an N64 cartridge as they would an MVS cartridge, making translations easy. Games could have also been translated easy from the Hyper Neo Geo 64 hardware (I know most of you wouldn't want this, but I'm an SNK purist) as well, then I'd be able to play Fatal Fury Wild Ambition in high-res like it was meant to be played. SNK was smart in distribution and production of Neo Geo cartridges, and this wouldn't change for the distribution of Nintendo 64 games if they made them. I would love to see Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 on the Nintendo 64, utilizing the RAM cart, but sadly, it may not ever happen since the N64's life is nearing it's end (while SNK burned the bridge and obviously hasn't looked back). A KOF game would be great as well, with quick fights and lots of animation, again, utilizing the N64 RAM cart. Savage Reign could make it to the N64 with nice animation, as could Metal Slug. They could turn the N64 into a hardcore machine by bringing some of the older games to it, like Ghost Pilots, KOF '94, or Aero Fighters 2. Sure, the system may be able to power more than just some older SNK games, but if they can port Arcade's Greatest Hits, why can't they get the real arcade's greatest hits on the system? The Nintendo 64 controller is also ideal for SNK and Capcom games, since most of them use a similar layout in the arcade cabinets; six-button face, perfect fit.
And now, we get to Konami; Castlevania 3-D was awesome, International Superstar Soccer is still my favorite sports game of all time (Sports Jam looks cool, though), they brought Deadly Arts (G.A.S.P.) home - the more the merrier, right? Well, not exactly, because no matter how hard Konami tried to get it goin', look what happened. While Konami is bringing out quality titles, everyone else is turning their head to making games for the PS just because it's cheaper to press discs. So they shouldn't make games on the PS just because they are CDs? No, that's not what I am saying. I'm saying that the games should be converted for both, just like Resident Evil 2 was. Now, why couldn't this be done with arcade-based titles?
Taito gets mad props for their work in getting Bust-A-Move 2 and Bust-A-Move '99 (3) to the Nintendo 64. These titles are fantastic on the Nintendo 64, running in high-res with a 3-4 player option. The Nintendo 64 ran these games just fine, by far toppling the other versions of the game on the other hardwares in not just graphical shine but multiplayer also. That's not all - as I was talking before, I stated that SNK was smart in cart distribution and production, and well, Taito shares this with SNK since their Bust-A-Move games on the N64 are extremely rare. Although Acclaim distributed the two Bust-A-Move N64 games in the US, Taito's distribution and production strategy still showed in the end.
Don't even get me started on Namco. Sure, Ridge Racer 64 was ok, but the Namco Museum titles hardly do the N64 any justice; what ere they trying to do, intentionally make the N64 look like shit? Tekken Tag Tournament would have turned out absolutely perfect on the N64, and Tekken 3 would have blown the PS version out of the water if that motherfucker would have ever saw the light of day on Nintendo 64. I don't know why they didn't put Time Crisis on the N64 either; now Time Crisis Project Titan is out for PS - the third game in the series.....back on the PS. What the fuck is going on? Time Crisis would have looked good on the N64 given time to develop! Instead, we get the jagged, polygon-clipping fun in Time Crisis Project Titan. Fuck. Oh, and don't even get me started on how Namco went out on the DreamCast with a game like Mr. Driller after what they did with Soul Calibur (sorry, different article)...
Atlus supported the N64 just as they should have - with an exceptionally knock-yo-balls-right-out-of-da-sack game known as Ogre Battle 64. Fucking awesome. I don't like RPG's at all...actually, I hate them. But this game...is not just an RPG...this game is a display of what the other developers should have used the N64 for. This game was crafted with the GAMER in mind, not production or distribution costs. Best strategy/RPG game EVER, hands down (don't even try to say any one of the Final Fantasy games on PS has anything over this work of art). 2-D greatness from Atlus, with a good selction of 3-D games too, like the Snowboard Kids games (they're actually cool games!); this is what all the devlopers should have did with Nintendo's machine (they didn't make it that strong for nothing...).
Treasure did a splendid job as well, with Mischeif Makers and Sin & Punishment, but I still have to say the best Treasure game is Bangaio. Bangaio on the N64 is outstanding, fantastic, great game. The resolution is great, and the on-screen chaos is what makes the game, well, Bangaio. Great characters, great animation, incredible sound, and a cool story are what make Bangaio the best 2-D game on the N64 that proves what could have been done with this system's power. Mischeif Makers was a cool game, with lots of animation in the characters and bosses...which (again) proves that things could have been done on this system. Sin & Punishment has been touted (by many, many many people) as being outstanding in its own right...again proving the system was capable of so much more. Thanks for showing what could be done with the system Treasure.
Why is it that all the developers with lower funding had more on the N64 than that of developers with money-raking franchises? Atlus, Treasure...now where was SNK? Hopefully this strikes a chord in the heart of an SNK or Capcom rep, and we get some limited production of CPS-II, CPS-III, or MVS translations for the Nintendo 64 sometime.