Wave Race 64 was one of Nintendo's earliest titles for the Nintendo 64 console. The game is centered around jet ski racing in fictional track environments in both straight races and stunt challenges. It is a pseudo-sequel to the original Wave Race that appeared on the Game Boy, and was followed by Wave Race: Blue Storm on the GameCube. Wave Race 64 garnered praise for its realistic water physics, which have a large effect on the handling of the jet skis. Players could use waves as launch platforms to reach certain short cuts, or perform tricks off of waves.
The race events of Wave Race 64 are standard races to the finish line against three opponents, with a twist. The player has to maneuver their jet ski past buoys, passing each buoy on alternating sides. Passing buoys on the the appropriate side in succession will grant power boosts, increasing speed, but missing one will result in a power-down. The player will earn points at the end of each race dependent on their finishing position, and the racer with the most points at the end of the tournament wins.
The stunt events take place on the same tracks as the races, but this time the only goal is to score as many points as possible by doing tricks off of ramps and going through rings.
The game contained only four selectable characters who each had their own jet ski. There were a few limited costumes for each character and players were able to customize the Jet Ski so that they would handle better or have improved acceleration.
The game only comes with 9 tracks most with a tropical island theme they are still quite different from each other and each evoke a different feel. For each track the wave setting allowed you to set how frequent and big the waves were. This could drastically change the difficulty of a course and also allowed for more stunts. A mirrored version of each track could also be unlocked
The games warm up level set in a very calm tropical island setting. If you follow the tutorial instructions you will follow a dolphin that swims around the area
A very basic course in shape with small waves and once again set in a similar topical island setting like Dolphin Park
A track that is similar to Sunny beach but takes place during sunset. The waves are slightly more powerful here.
This track has some very heavy mist spread throughout the track. It is the first track to not have a tropical water theme to it. Waters are very calm due to it being a lake however it can be east to bank your jet ski on barges.
Set on outside a military base during a thunderstorm this track has huge waves that can throw the player off course.
Similar to Sunny beach in shape without the tropical feel to it.
A fictional city that it is very similar to a water surrounded Vegas.
Regarded as a hard track due to its strong waves and high amount of obstacles on the course such as submerged icebergs.
This level is interesting in that the water level drops each lap which changes how the player has to deal with the different obstacles on the track.
In this mode the player races on a set of courses against three other computer controlled racers. At the end of the race points are given to each player depending on where they placed during the race and then tallied. If the player did not get enough points it would be game over.
The warm up mode was the games tutorial mode that familiarized the player with how to control their jet ski. While there were objectives in this level they were optional and players were free to explore at their own leisure.
The player has to race against the clock in order to finish with the quickest possible time.
The player races on the course driving through colored rings and attempting to preform stunts using ramps and natural waves.
The game only allowed for two players to race at the same time. This is probably due to low frame rates if the game had to account for 4 individual player screens.
Wii Virtual Console
Wave Race 64 was re-released for Nintendo Wii's (American) Virtual Console on Aug 6 2007. It received some press for this as Nintendo were forced to remove all references to Kawasaki heavy industries, including advertising banners and jet skis within the game. Instead of the Kawasaki adverts various Nintendo adverts were implemented instead. The Jet ski's themselves were barely changed other than removing the logo from them.