English Friendly Japanese Nintendo 64 Gaming!

Feb 2007
Kentucky, US
I am making this thread to give you an idea of games that are available for the N64 that does not necessarily require you to know Japanese for you to fully enjoy. If you want the total N64 gaming experience then you owe it to yourself to import some of these games. You will find that you really don't know the N64 like you thought you did. I have a whole new perspective, and concept, when someone says, Nintendo 64. And I am at a loss as I contemplate what the Nintendo 64 could have been. I think that the N64 was underrated in its glory days simply because it was cart based instead of disc like its competitors. But it had games that the competitor consoles could never think about running. It may have had a memory limited medium, but it was a powerful system in its day. I will try to give an honest assessment of each game.

Bangai O

From what I understand, there were only 10,000 copies of this game produced. That means in reality that not everyone that owns an N64 console can possess this game. That seems to make this game the Holy Grail of N64 game collections. And from looking at online auctions, there are a lot of games that no longer have the box and booklet included. This has created some very inflated prices for a copy complete and in the box. Even the stray cart carries a big price tag. Presently, as of this writing, I have seen a cart go for as high as $129 USD and a CIB go for at least $225 USD. (Somehow condition does not seem to be an issue.) Which makes me so happy I was able to grab a nice copy for $85 including box and booklet. I don't have what seems to be a couple of cards, possibly registration card, etc. So mine is not complete by “collector standards.”

All this fuss over a “2D” shooter! But this is no ordinary shooter. This game was designed and created by Treasure, the same people that brought us Sin & Punishment. I've played the Dreamcast and the DS versions, but this is my first time experiencing the original N64 game. You have two different shots, a bouncing shot and a sort-of homing shot. And then there is the mega shot when holding down the button it increases until you have 100 shots to release. Each level can be considered short by some with plenty of things to blow up until you find the boss. The gameplay is wacky, open, and free. Even though you are timed, there is still time enough to blow practically everything you desire in each level before running across the boss. Collecting fruit from the things you destroy has something to do with your weapons upgrade and at some point you are given a choice of three things, but I have yet to figure this out. Everything is in Japanese. The game is simple mindless fun and satisfying. If you love the shooter genre, like I do, then you will delight in playing this game. To me, it was worth the price of admission. This is total accessible to anyone not understanding Japanese. And it does not take long to learn the menus. Not sure but I think memory seems to be saved to cart.

In comparing the different console versions where the game is found: Music wise, each version of the game has its own composer. I get the same electricity from the music but they are different compositions. The N64 Bangai-o has its own feel. The Dreamcast, even though the same in concept, has its own feel. The gameplay has been changed, evolved, tweaked, depends on the one playing, whether this is good or bad. And I think the music is a part of the atmosphere. Using the N64 controller seems to give me a better experience, my opinion. After playing all,I tend to lean toward the N64 version as the better game. I look at it as the original intended game and the rest being just variations. I now have the N64, Dreamcast, and the DS versions.

This game is a blast fest and ranks at the top of my list on the N64.

Sin & Punishment

If you have ever played any of the old school “forward moving” rail shooters like Space Harrier, then you sort-of, kind-of, know what to expect. The voice acting is totally in English, the story is easy to follow. The subtitles and menus are in Japanese. It is not difficult to get into and play. Easily one of the top games for the system and could have easily exploded on the N64 in the US. The whole package is powerful and delivery is top notch. You will forget that you are playing a rail shooter. This is loads of fun and very enjoyable. The giant millipedes in the first level blew me away. Learn to control your character. Before you press start, let the game run. There is a tutorial that runs as a demo. It shows you completely how-to on gameplay, a feature just like some of the old arcade games I use to know. This game, is what awesome feels like.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

The game has a cinematic approach in its gameplay. Chances are, if you are not a fan of the anime, then there is a possibility it might be a hard sell. There is no English, therefore, you will not know what is going on, unless, I am told, that if you watch the anime, then you will know what is happening. Your responses in the game can, which need to be a precise timing, not really sure how yet, become the same scene as in the anime. My playing has resulted two different scenarios in my ending of the first level. The levels consist of something like a boss battle, and played out like a story. Each level is called a mission, and it would benefit the player to press downward at the mission title screen to get the screen of the button moves, or control. To me, the game is impressive and something totally different in experience. I have never watched the anime but I have enjoyed playing this game. I know that it has gotten bad reviews in the past, but I have a certain appreciation for this game.


This game was released in Europe and Japan. You do not want the PAL version, it would be slow on your NTSC N64 system. You want the Japan version. I have often read discussions on the net concerning the viability of 2D games on the N64. I have wondered if they knew that 2D meant two dimensional gaming. From games like this one I can come to the conclusion that the N64 is very capable in delivering a 2D experience. I just think everyone was too busy wanting to cash in on the 3D craze back then. Even though this game's graphics seem geared toward children, there is some heavy fighting going on here, and simple fun. I am trying to learn some of the moves, because this is not Street Fighter. I am needing to search the net to see anyone has posted character moves. I am getting so pounded, especially by the robot. The game is wacky and yet one of the best fighter for the system besides Smash Bros. This game made me want Street Fighter Alpha on the N64. RakugaKids is an incredible game. If you like fighters, then this will cause you to scratch your head, wondering why Capcom never stepped into the N64 ring. This game was a very welcome entry for Konami, a classic for the system.

Puyo Puyo Sun

If you like puzzle games especially the Puyo series, then you know what this game is like. This is a “2D” puzzle game, one of those good “Tetris era me-too” spin off games. Nothing wrong with taking a concept and putting a unique twist to it, just so you do it right. The game is built around cutesy anime chibi characters, so if that causes you some type of seizure, then look away. Working your way through start, you are given a choice of three characters, the one on the left is easy mode, the middle is normal, and the right is hard. You are matched against the computer. You also have single player and I know two players, not sure how many players can play at once. I am assuming four which would make since. It is all in Japanese. But with a little exploring It is easy to make your way through this game, very intuitive. Very fun game, shades of Mean Bean Machine feel here, of course.

Dezaemon 3D

I thought Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth was the only old school shooter for the N64 until I discovered this game. It is not marketed as a shooter, but as a workshop to create your own shooters. Your have all the tools at your finger tips to let your creativity flow. There are two, very playable, shooters included that were supposedly made with the tools. One is similar to “Layer Section” in gameplay but with graphics similar to Vanishing Earth. The other one is a cutesy shooter. Both games are average at best and would not be the reason to want this, unless you are a shooter fan. Which brings me to the point of the purpose of this cart and my dilemma. The game is for someone, like me, who loves this genre and would love to tinker in designing my own masterpiece. There are a few English words that help, but it is all mostly in Japanese, hence my dilemma. I want to spend some time with this and learn how to use the menus and interface. And that would be the only way someone would get the most out of this game. But I will still pull it out just to play the samples. The downfall of this cart is that everything is saved to the cart and not the N64 memory cards, you would never be able to share. This game is a part of a series of Dezaemon produced by this company for various consoles, SNES being one of them.

Super Robot Spirits

Are you a fan of Gundam? Then here is a fighter on the N64 for you. There have been standards set when it comes to fighters, first it was Street Fighter that paved the way. Tekken changed the rules at one point I believe. One cannot argue the influence that those two games have had on the genre. That being said, this game does not come close to anything like the games that this fell from. This is really a 2D game, in gameplay, in a pseudo 3D environment. Graphics are blocky, but serves the purpose needed in communicating the robotic feel of the units. Backgrounds in the game lack imagination. For some reason this game was bashed and had very bad reviews when it landed on the N64. It is not that bad. It may be due to the expectations by gamers because of the standards that have been set. I find it a nice little fighter in the list of things available for the console, but then again, I find Dark Rift a very enjoyable game too. You can fight on the ground as well as in the air, your choice. There are moves to be learned as is the nature of all fighters, and there seems to be certain moves that sparks a dramatic animation for the move. I have made it all the way to the end just to have my metal backside handed to me by the end boss. I find the game fun and worthy to have in my N64 library. I, personally, rate it in the top fighting games for the console and I will keep it handy for whenever I get the urge.

Transformers: Beast Wars Transmetals

After playing some of the above fighters and then going back to this game, it gives me mixed feelings. It can be fun, just not awesome. I am including this game because it is so much different in feel and gameplay than its US counterpart. I believe it to be the better game. This fighter is won by strategy against your opponents. Having a very big playing field, something that the US version does not have, to maneuver your character, adds to this concept. I have stood back at an extreme distance and shot at my opponent until he was knocked out. But this does not always work, and not with every character. There are moves to be learned and as with the Super Robot Spirits game, certain moves spark that certain dramatic animation for the move. And of course you have two different modes to transform back and forth at will. If you are a fan of the series then this would be your game on the N64. Non fans may pull this from the shelf occasionally.

Choices of Japan exclusive N64 games are limited. As I run across a new game that is English friendly, I will update this thread.