Hollywood, Blockbuster, and the N64 - Part 5

Final rentals, final thoughts.
By Bro
January 04, 2016
First off, let me wish all of my fellow retrojunkers a belated Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. One of my christmas gifts was a copy of Super Mario Maker and a 30th Anniversary Mario Amiibo, so I'm able to fulfill, in part at least, my childhood dream of making a Mario game. Can't wait. :) Anyway, once again we've come to the end of the line. This is my last entry in the not-quite-saga of Nintendo 64 rentals, and just like when I finished my list of SNES rental memories, it will accompanied by my thoughts on my time with the console as a whole. It's been a very bittersweet trip for me this generation around, but I'll get to that when the list is over. I hope you all enjoy the last tale of Hollywood, Blockbuster, and the N64...


I can associate NBA Hangtime with one word: Pain. I mean that in both the literal and figurative sense. I rented this and took it to my friend Jonathan's house to spend the night. We didn't get around to playing any video games for awhile the first day. He had a swimming a pool and it was a gorgeous day outside anyway. We swam and hung out in his backyard for awhile before coming in for a snack. My literal pain came from the fact when it was finally time to sit down and play, I had a very annoying headache. Since the N64 was mine, I told Jonathan it was fine to go ahead and play without me while I rested. It took a little time, but eventually I felt better and challenged him to a couple virtual games of hoops. The other pain comes from the fact that I could not beat him. It drove me nuts because it was either an outright slaughter, or it would be neck and neck only to have him win at the very end.

As far as actual gameplay itself, I thought it was fun but it I also thought it felt exactly like NBA Jam and could discern very little if any difference between the two. That's not bad. I borrowed NBA Jam on the SNES from my cousin Alan once and enjoyed it. This just seemed like the same game with better graphics. I've never followed basketball but I also assume the player roster was updated. Because I never followed basketball, I also didn't have a favorite team. I usually went with whoever had a uniform color I liked or who I thought had a neat team logo. Silly, I know, but I had fun regardless. These games aren't listed in the order I rented them, but this was the last sports title I rented for system. Haven't played it since.


I had played Doom on the pc several times before I heard this was coming. Everything looked bigger and enhanced and it just seemed even cooler than it did before. I rented this two or three times, but the first time is what I remember most. Earlier, I said a friend of my family had a son named Bryon who we called "Big Brian." We were going to hang out one afternoon and he was going to rent this and plenty of demon blasting fun was going to be had. I was not disappointed. What we would do was take turns on deaths or level completion, whichever came first. I don't remember how far we got, but I had a ball. We aren't related, but I guess to me it felt like hanging out with an older brother. It was cool. We did this the following afternoon as well.

One thing that made Doom 64 stand out is the fact that it was built ground up for Nintendo 64. Doom, Doom 2, and Final Doom were ported to the PS1, Saturn, Atari Jaguar, and just about every other console. This was a new beast entirely. Monsters got a visual overhaul, and the weapons had a different look to them. Regrettably, they removed the cool reload animations from the Shotgun and Super Shotgun, but in time you didn't even notice. There was even a new weapon added to the mix; a laser which could be upgraded by finding relics hidden in secret levels. Doom 64 also managed to pull off something that the pc games never did for me; it creeped me out. Doom is great and all, but it also felt like an 80's action movie. (I mean that in a good way.) This game is dark, brooding, and it made feel like I never knew what was waiting to devour me around the corner. Critics weren't very kind to this game, though. The lack of multiplayer was criticized, and nobody seemed to understand why a new 2D FPS was made in the the age of 3D. I disagree, I think this ranks with games like Goldeneye, Turok, and Perfect Dark as one of system's best shooters. It was a great way to say goodbye to the old era.


I did not see the original Mission Impossible film back when it first came out in theaters. In fact, I actually saw it for the first time just this past year. Even though I hadn't seen the movie, screenshots for the game reminded me of a third person Goldeneye. Since I loved that game, I figured I couldn't lose here. When I rented it, it was a weekend where we going to one my grandparents holiday parties. (Thanksgiving, I believe.)Turns out it was nothing like Goldeneye at all. I got past the first part in the snow area just fine, but I had a lot of trouble with the second part. I was trying to sneak to an area inside a building, and no matter how many cameras I sprayed over, I kept getting spotted and failing.

Since my cousin Brent had seen the movie, I asked him if his knowledge of the film would help me in any way. It didn't. As a result, a bunch of my relatives kept coming in and out of my grandparents den, watching me try and fail repeatedly. I obviously didn't spend the whole evening playing video games, so I gave up after awhile and just hung out with everybody. I remember really enjoying myself. I did manage to get past that part eventually, but I still never even came close to finishing the game. Though I didn't get all that far, I wasn't taken with Mission Impossible enough to ever rent or try it again. I read some reviews and watched some videos on it, and it doesn't look like I missed anything too much.


Ah, good ol' Duke. Somebody had the pc version of this game and since you didn't need it once the game was installed, it ended up getting passed around my friends and I so much that I honestly have no clue who's it was to begin with. Duke Nukem is a 90's gaming icon, for sure. I think though, that I may have played through the N64 version of this game before I played through the pc version in its entirety. It's really hazy, so don't quote me on that. I was able to play the pc version because it had a content filter. The N64 version removed pretty all of Duke's problematic content, aside from some mild profanities. Before renting this, I remember having to convince my parents that it was gone and that I could get rid of the language by turning down the sound in the games options.

My sister and I were spending the night at my grandparents house when I rented this, and naturally I was bringing my N64 with me. My mom told me that since we were going to be at our grandparents, I had better make sure that no bad words were heard. I obliged and had a grand old time blowing away alien scum. While this was a port, it was obvious the developers wanted to make this version of the game more than just a copy and paste job. Weapons looked different, and some of them were changed completely. The games final boss also got a completely 3d rendering, and was much taller than before. One of my friends eventually bought this and it came up frequently in our multiplayer sessions. I also borrowed it a couple times. I enjoyed this game, but an even better Duke Nukem experience was still awaiting me.


Duke Nukem 3d was a very popular PC game, but his popularity grew even bigger when that game got ported to consoles. After that, Duke was ready tackle a third person perspective. The playstation had Time to Kill, which was followed by Planet of the Babes. The N64 also recieved an exclusive time traveling Duke Nukem Adventure, by the name of Zero Hour. I haven't played the ps1 games, but I still can easily declare Zero Hour as my favorite Duke Nukem game. I even liked it more than 3d. (A lot more, actually.) While I definitely rented it, I also bought it not too long after, along with the players guide, and that's what I remember. Once more an alien force has invaded and the only way to stop them is to travel back and forth through time. Maybe it didn't make much sense, but who cares? It was a lot of fun.

Time frames were present, future apocalypse, wild west, victorian era, and even a secret level which stuck you on the titanic. Weapons changed with each time. I really liked the wild west six shooters and rifles in particular. I also liked how that era had you battling aliens in places like saloons. In addition to aliens, places like the victorian eras had you battling zombies, and even Jack the Ripper at one point. Multiplayer was good, but one instance stands out to me that drove me nuts. My three best friends and I were playing one of the wild west maps, and Danny had found a sniping position. I unwittingly stepped into his crosshairs and he killed me. But then I respawned in the exact same spot he shot me at, and he killed me again. This happened at least six times after that. He got a ton of points off me because the game kept spawning me in the same place. Obviously, Danny thought it was hysterical.


Unlike Goldeneye, I had the benefit of seeing this movie before playing the game. When it came to video, I was spending the night at Danny's house and his parents rented this movie from Hollywood Video, along with Sleepy Hollow. We were really stoked about Sleepy Hollow and watched that first. There's something about being a teenager and watching a horror movie with your best friend in the middle of the night that's...awesome. Unfortunately when the movie was over, we thought it kinda sucked. On to James Bond. Even though I still wonder who's dumb idea it was to cast Denise Richards as a Bond girl and expect us to believe she's a nuclear physicist, we both really enjoyed this movie. It's easily my favorite Pierce Brosnan Bond film. Having liked the movie so much, expectations for the game were high.

Thankfully, it turned out to be pretty good. The thing was, Goldeneye was so good that any Bond shooter that came after during this time was always compared to it. Did I think TWINE was as good as Goldeneye? No, I didn't. But I still thought this was cool. It was nice to recognize environments from the movie, and for the most part the missions were fun to play through. (I remember hating the final submarine level, though.) The game also had a blue cartridge, which being my favorite color, I thought was kinda neat. I don't think it ended up being a regular part of our gaming sessions, but multiplayer was pretty good. I don't remember anything specific about actually renting the game, because one of my friends owned it and that's the copy that got played a lot.


Anytime I spotted a new game at the video store, I usually glanced at it regardless of genre. I remember looking at World Driver Championship with a passing interest in the cool looking car on the front, but it ended there. I think what happened was that my dad saw it and mentioned he thought it might be fun. I figured that if anything we would be able to play together so I decided to rent it. It was pretty much an attempt to make a Gran-Turismo-ish game for the N64. While I came to own both a playstation and Gran Turismo (it was a gift for my dad), simulations were never my forte.

If your into this type of game, I'm sure you would have had a lot fun here. For me, every time I started this up, I was determined to find some entertainment, some fun that I was missing the previous time I played. In the end, I guess I was trying to fool myself into thinking that I enjoyed this type of gameplay. I just don't. Anyway, there's nothing I remember other than renting and playing it, so I declare this series officially over.

And that's it. Looking back on it, the Nintendo 64 was an interesting system, and it came at an interesting point in my life, too. Remember back in part 1 when I said that Nintendo was growing up with me? Well, that was true in more ways than one. As we start to leave behind the protective shelter of childhood and enter the frightening, awkward, and still somehow wonderful world of adolescence, we have a much greater sense of freedom and thirst to discover who we really are. However, greater freedom also means that more is starting to be expected us. It's a natural part of growth, and video games were no different. 3D environments meant changes to gameplay, and the simple macguffin storytelling that came before was being starting to be replaced by darker characters, bloodier violence, and heavier subject matter. Granted, the era that came before brought us things like Doom and Mortal Kombat, but this was much bigger growth spurt. While I played my fair share of games like Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid, I also remember missing the simplicity and joy that came from things like watching my cousin play Mega Man or Castlevania. There were still plenty of games back then with colorful worlds and cartoony characters, but for the most part it was the darker, M-rate titles that were getting our attention.

Being a teenager is also accompanied by having a more active social life, and console gaming was following suit with me. NES and SNES games were mostly spent played by myself. With the N64, I did this with the likes of Mario 64, Body Harvest, Ocarina of Time, and others. But when I look back on it, I see a much more social affair. Most of my memories are of my three best friends and I hovered around the tv engaged in split-screen multiplayer. I've written about those time here in an article called The Crew. If you've never read it, let me just say that I'll carry those times with me for rest of my life. I don't have the fondness for this console or time that I do for the SNES and the 16-bit era, but it was still a good time in my life overall. I think that 3D N is Nintendo's coolest looking logo thus far, and I recently bought a shirt that sports it.

As far as renting games, the Nintendo 64 had a lot of odd titles, such as Space Station Silicon Valley Iggys Reckin' Balls, and Tetrisphere that I was always curious about but never got around to renting. I rented some games for my PS1, but my friends and I had a decent collection of games between all of us and more than anything we just borrowed from each other instead of rent. When one of us got a new game, we all benefited. :) Though I rented quite bit of games for the NES, I think this will be my last series based on video game rentals. So I'll end with a bit of shameless self promotion. During the past couple weeks I've been working on this article, I've been crafting in Mario Maker and invite you all who have access to the game to experience my first contributions to the world of Mario;

My First Level - 43BA-0000-0148-4645

Pipes and Spikes - DA25-0000-0157-8AD8

Until next time, stay retro folks. Thanks for reading.
More Articles From Bro
An unhandled error has occurred. Reload Dismiss