Review: Quest 64 (N64)

By Drew Wilson

Nintendo has been known to have a number of great RPG games on their systems. We take a look at one that was released on the N64 known as Quest 64.

When it comes to RPGs, many games do come to mind. If you’ve been around for a while, a few titles released on the NES and SNES come to mind. It seems, however, that once the N64 rolled around, the RPG genre more or less took a back seat in favour of first person shooters, racing, and adventure games. Sure, there were a few interpretations of an RPG, but very few games actually fulfilled the classic elements of an RPG such as incorporating hitpoint and experience point systems as well as employing turn based combat. This game appears to be an attempt to fill that gap somewhat.

Quest 64 was released in 1998. It features an apprentice named Brian who sets off to find his father. He eventually discovers that his father set out in search of a stolen book. While Brian is in search of his father, he stumbles accross various villages with various problems that revolve around four stolen elemental amulets.

One unique feature is the combat style. you have an outer boundary line that denotes the edge of the battle zone. If you wish to flea from battle, you simply try and work your way to the outer edge. You attack opponents based on your position in the battle field as well. If you are far away, it’s much more difficult to use magic spells to attack opponents. If you are closer to your opponents, you can take more damage from their attacks. Some spells depend on where you and your opponents are to determine how effective they’ll be. Rolling Rock, for instance, depends on your opponents being situated in a line in order to hit, say, three or four of them in one turn. Additionally, you can always just walk up to your opponents and club them with your staff. You gain a small amount of mana for doing so successfully.

One thing to note is the magic system. In fact, your survival depends a lot on how you build your magic. If you gain enough experience from combat, your magic meter goes up a little. If you fill you magic meter to 100%, you can choose between one of four elements to level up. My advice for the beginning is to build up water a little because you’ll probably want access to some healing spells. The more you level up a specific element, the more spells become open to you that’s related to that element. Another notable aspect of this game with regards to the magic system is finding spirits along the way. These are little bubbles that seem to float up from the ground. If Brian has a question mark over his head, that means you’ve found one. If you find one, then you can level an element up by one.

One particularly annoying element in this game is the number of battles Brian ends up facing. This might compensate for the fact that every step builds up Brian’s mana by a little, but the frequency of each battle outside or in dungeons will very likely drive you nuts. Sometimes, you can get away with about twelve footsteps, other times, you’ll only get away with two. Either way, if you are venturing out of town, you’ll spend a vast majority of your time fighting random encounters. good for building up experience, annoying for just about everything else.

Another painful element of this game is the removal of any sort of general store. Most RPG’s have the store as a staple. Not Quest 64. IF you want an item, you either have to find it in a treasure chest or go running to the right individual in town to get one extra item. If you have the item the individual has to offer, you won’t get any more and you’ll only get that one item if you’ve used it all up already. That means it’s really hard to stockpile items which increases your reliance on magic. You’ll also never have any chance to upgrade your weapon save for upgrading it temporarily with magic. You start the game with that staff, you end the game with that staff. You can’t buy better armour and you can’t even drive a rusty nail into that staff for extra offensive damage. That’s how stripped down this game is in this department.

Graphically speaking, this game was OK. It’s not something that will amaze, but it’s not absolutely terrible either. To put this in perspective, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released in the same year. The design of monsters were decent and the settings were not bad either.

The music was good. It’s unfortunate that it’s hard to appreciate some of the music because you’ll find yourself in battle after about 5 seconds. So, you’ll probably only hear the first few seconds of the music in certain area’s over and over unless you decide to pause the game for a breather. It’s not the worlds most amazing music at the time, but it does fit pretty well with the game’s themes. Sound effects were good as far as I could tell.

Overall, this was an attempt to bring elements back to Nintendo gaming systems during the N64 era. It wasn’t entirely successful, but the effort was there. I’ve only played it twice, but I’m not sure I’m all that willing to try playing it a third time. It’s decent on the first play through, but once will probably be enough for most gamers. While it was innovative in some elements, the games flaws covered up these pluses.

Overall
Furthest point in game: Defeated Mammon on the second attempt. Game completed.

General gameplay: 18/25
Replay value: 2/10
Graphics: 6/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 60%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85



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