Dark Rift N64 | Full Game Review

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When it comes to Nintendo 64 games, most people assume that they run at 30 frames per second. And to be honest, we get it. It’s an old console, a successor to the SNES, that was available in the late ‘90s. Even if people do know about N64 games that run at 60 frames per second, not a lot of people know about Dark Rift 64.

Whether it was because the game didn’t receive enough appreciation, or because Kronos Digital’s previous game didn’t do too well either, we don’t know. But Dark Rift N64 is a great, forgotten gem. A diamond in the rough. 

Let’s find out a bit more about Dark Rift N64, what made the game good, and how it compares to other N64 fighting games.

What is Dark Rift N64?

With a release in mid-1997, Dark Rift was far from the first Nintendo 64 game. Kronos Digital originally intended to release the game on the Sega Saturn. With the cancellation of the release, they ported the game and released it on the Nintendo 64. This is why some refer to the Dark Rift as one of the first N64 fighting games.

When it comes to the plot, Dark Rift N64 requires you to play its predecessor, Criticom. At the center of the plot is a key that unlocks the seal to the center of the universe, where it holds many of its secrets. Sonork, the main antagonist, possesses one of the pieces of the key, but he’s missing two more. One of the two pieces is in the possession of a warrior, and the other piece is lost. 

To find and obtain these pieces, he decides to hold a tournament, which fits in well with the fighting genre of the game. However, in the grand scheme of things, this is a fighting game. While the plot is definitely interesting, it’s not necessary to follow it to have a good time playing the game. 

When it comes to gameplay, Dark Rift N64 offers ten playable characters in total. However, only eight are available from the beginning, as two are hidden characters unlocked after completing the game. Of course, you must complete the singleplayer mode to unlock them, but does it really matter? 

The controls are fairly simple, and each fight lasts for 5 rounds. Winning three of those rounds wins you the fight. This is a step further from the typical 3 round format of other fighting games.

Dark Rift: N64’s First Game with 60 Frames Per Second 

We’ve already mentioned that Dark Rift is one of the first N64 games to feature 60 frames per second. At the time, it was quite the feat, and definitely an upgrade from the standard 30 frames per second that nearly every game offered. However, to make this possible, Kronos Digital cut back on a few other aspects of the game. As a result, you’re likely to see some glitches and missing polygons. The character models don’t have too much detail, but in this case, it’s definitely quality over quantity.

Now that the Nintendo 64’s time has passed, there’s an abundance of 60 fps games to choose from on the console and its successors. From side-scrollers like Yoshi’s Story to racing games like F-Zero X, N64 fans now have more options than they did in the late ‘90s. 

However, it’s important to note and recognize Dark Rift N64’s role in introducing us to a new, smoother way to enjoy video games.

Review: Dark Rift VS Other N64 Fighting Games

When it comes to the playability of Dark Rift N64, we’d say it’s pretty good. The game is easy to pick up and the controls aren’t too difficult, so don’t be afraid if it’s your first fighting game. 

However, this doesn’t mean the AI opponents are easy to handle. You’ll likely find yourself spending time mastering the technique and practicing before you can beat the enemy. It has quite the learning curve, but that makes it all the more fun.

While other N64 fighting games, especially ones released after such as Super Smash Bros., may seem like a better choice, that doesn’t mean Dark Rift N64 should be cast aside. It may even be one of the first choices for those who have a thing for 60fps.

The cool story, decent graphics, and interesting combat make for a breath of fresh air. This is especially true if you’re looking for a well-made game you haven’t played before. We think Dark Rift didn’t really get the attention it deserved, and we’re here to advocate for some change.

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