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Wave Race 64 Review

Publisher - Nintendo
Developer - Nintendo
Platform - N64
Type - Racing
Score - 8/10

I didn't expect much when I first took a look at this game. I don't particularly go for jetskis or their video game counterparts. I was also not convinced that Nintendo could squeeze immersive 3-d games into tiny split screens. I was pleasantly surprised with Waverace.

Paramount for any racing game is the feel of speed. Waverace pulls that off and then some. Once you get the hang of maneuvering in water (I mean water. NOT blue pavement- real, choppy, wave filled, honest-to-goodness, 3-D water!!) you get the speed rush that defines the racing genre.

Graphically, Waverace is stunning. It is simply impossible to appreciate everything that is being drawn while you're playing the game. Watch someone else for a while- you'll notice the water is translucent, fish swim underneath you, birds fly overhead, and special effect with lighting and fog are abound. I have to wonder if this isn't one of the best looking games ever made.

The sound of Waverace isn't top notch, but you won't notice while you're playing- you'll spend too much time dodging buoys to care. While incidentals and character noises are well produced and at times quite comical, the background music doesn't quite match the look or feel of the game. The music isn't particularly bad, but the designers could have made better choices to enhance to racing experience. The only thing that stands out as a bad aspect of the game is the annoying announcer. Gladly, after playing the game for a while, you'll probably filter him out as background noise :)

To get the full zing of Waverace, play it head to head with a friend. The camera angle is almost perfectly level to the water's surface, so you don't lose much as far as vision goes due to the split screen. The only caveat of the split screen is that some of the effects and extraneous polygons are cut out of the screens in the interest of drawing speed. Honestly, it doesn't affect the game in the least.

The FINAL WORD: Waverace rocks the Colosseum. If you're short on cash, you might want to wait and see if Mario Kart is a better choice. In any case, DEFINITELY RENT WAVERACE. You may find you become so addicted that you'll have to buy it.