Best N64 RPG Games Of All Time (Ranked)

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The Nintendo 64 was notorious for many things.

It was the first 3D console from Nintendo, plus it had incredible first-party games like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda. And its controller was shaped like a weird alien hand which was pretty boss.

One thing it wasn’t known for, however, was role-playing games. There were barely any.

Still, that doesn’t mean there were none. This revolutionary and deeply influential console has a handful of gems that any RPG lover should look into.

So if you’re tired of N64 shooters and adventure collect-a-thons – you’ve come to the right place.

 

12. Pokémon Stadium (2000)

Pokémon Stadium N64 Gameplay

More of a battle simulator than a bona fide RPG, Pokémon Stadium was a dream come true for owners of Game Freak’s Pokémon Red & Blue games.

This allowed users to transfer their favorite Pokémon and use them in glorious 3D battles, or just pick some up from the in-game rental service if you didn’t have the GB games.

The main game consisted of 80 battles spread out throughout four “cups”, plus the eight Kanto gym leaders, the Kanto Elite Four, and the Champion. Once you’d cleared all that, you had a chance to take on the mysterious Mewtwo.

While the game itself was pretty exciting, what I remember most fondly about Pokémon Stadium were the fantastic Pokémon-themed mini-games which were a blast for multiplayer.

 

11. Pokémon Stadium 2 (2001)

Pokémon Stadium 2 N64 Rpg

If the original was good, the sequel was even better.

It featured better graphics, a much-needed improvement for the audio quality, and was compatible with Pokémon Gold, Silver & Crystal.

Much like the first game, you could challenge four cups, the Gym Leader Castle, and the Elite Four – plus the Champion Red.

This title was a great introduction to competitive Pokémon. It featured a Battle School where you could learn how to actually play the game smartly rather than just teaching your OP starter Pokémon the most devastating moves.

It also featured plenty more mini-games, which I consider even better than the ones in the original.

 

10. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (1998)

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon Gameplay

The fifth entry in the Ganbare Goemon series was also one of the first to introduce Western audiences to the surreal humor and anachronistic world the series is known for.

Action/Platformer/RPG follows Goemon’s efforts to prevent the Peach Mountain Shoguns gang from turning Japan into a fine arts theater with Western influence – all from the comfort of their peach-shaped flying ship.

It’s not a “traditional” RPG by any means.

But this games’ versatility is one of its best features. Sometimes it’s an RPG, others a Platformer – and it can even be a battleship shooter if that’s what the story calls for.

 

9. Hybrid Heaven (1999)

Hybrid Heaven N64 Gameplay Screenshot

A pretty exciting game that wasn’t afraid of thinking outside of the box is Hybrid Heaven, an ARPG that blends real-time fights and turn-based combat elements.

When not in combat, you’ll explore diverse environments in a way reminiscent of Tomb Raider and similar 3D platformers – jumping, crawling, and climbing to reach your objectives and clear tricky puzzles.

What makes the game special is its combat.

Once it starts, both the player and enemy are free to move around until they’re in range. You can then choose what kind of action to perform, including punches and kicks – but also using items and more.

There’s also a unique multiplayer vs. mode that plays like a fighter with minor RPG elements.

 

8. Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage (2001)

Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage N64 Rpg

The N64 isn’t full of traditional fantasy RPGs, but there are a few – like Aidyn Chronicles.

The story revolves around the concept of “magical true names”. Learning yours will allow you to unite your flesh-and-bone form with your spiritual existence, unlocking untold power.

Protagonist Alaron will travel through the land trying to uncover his own, and in the process, he’ll find out about his origins.

The developers focused heavily on crafting a compelling story, hiring big names in the industry to write the script and design the game. Regrettably, they didn’t put the same effort into other aspects of the title – keeping this gem from achieving its full potential.

Still, it’s a fantastic experience for any lover of fantasy RPGs.

 

7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Screenshot

While not strictly an RPG due to the lack of leveling mechanics and no experience points, it does have plenty of RPG features to qualify it on this list somewhere.

Many connoisseur of the genre will quickly recognize the equipment and weapon progression, among other RPG staples in TLoZ: Ocarina of Time.

This game is considered one of the best of its generation due to its superb quality from all standpoints.

The story is enthralling, the environments of its large 3D open-world are varied and immersive, and both its soundtrack and sound effects reverberate in my mind to this day.

The graphics are also excellent, especially for the 90s, which made the fluid and perfectly-animated combat all the better.

 

6. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000)

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask N64 Gameplay

TLoZ: Majora’s Mask feels dark and mysterious from the moment you boot up the game.

Just holding that golden cartridge in your hands is already a pretty magical experience.

Walking into Termina feels tense, like trespassing into forbidden territory. Once you’re in, the tension only rises thanks to the game’s focus on the passage of time and your three-day limit before the moon comes crashing down.

The excellent visuals and soundtrack contribute a lot to this tense and immersive ambiance.

Again, is this strictly an RPG?

Love or hate my ranking here for LoZ: MM, but it’s definitely a topic up for debate.

 

5. Quest 64 (1998)

Quest 64 N64 Game Screenshot

Another excellent classic RPG no N64 owner should disregard is Quest 64, known as Holy Magic Century in Europe.

It follows Brian, an apprentice mage adventuring through Celtland – a realm based on Irish myth – in pursuit of his father, who disappeared from the monastery of mages.

One thing that makes this RPG special is that you gain experience for specific stats by performing certain actions rather than merely “leveling up”.

If you get hit a lot, you’ll get more Defense. If you cast many spells, you’ll become more proficient in magic – and so on.

The story is a bit simplistic. But it’s a great entry point into the genre for the uninitiated.

 

4. Harvest Moon 64 (1999)

Harvest Moon 64 Gameplay

Games don’t need ancient swords, powerful magic, or evil dragons to be considered RPGs.

And the Harvest Moon franchise is the perfect example of how far RPG games can stray from that stereotypical view.

Harvest Moon 64 was the third game in the series, and the first to bring the farming simulator to third dimension graphics.

Calling it a farming simulator is a bit reductionist. It’s also a social simulator, meaning that you’ll need to become a pillar of the community on top of taking care of your crops, and maybe woo one of the local girls and eventually get married.

The game’s graphics are one of the most appealing in the entire series, and there’s an incredible variety of activities to spend your limited time in.

Time also pass pretty quickly here in-game, so you can run through HM64 much faster than other retro Harvest Moon titles.

 

3. Gauntlet Legends (1999)

Gauntlet Legends N64 Gameplay

If you’re a fan of classic Dungeon Crawlers like Diablo, you’ll love Gauntlet Legends on the N64.

This ARPG lets you & up to three friends rampage through several environments full of beasts to slaughter for loot and glory. The story is unremarkable, but that will be the last thing on your mind once the adrenaline of the hunt has taken over.

It’s a great port of the arcade original if you can get over the terrible audio quality.

That, and the FMVs – but I can’t say I miss those.

 

2. Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber (2000)

Ogre Battle 64: Person Of Lordly Caliber N64 Rpg

Ogre Battle 64 is probably the only decent Tactical RPG on the system.

And it’s much more than decent. It’s fantastic.

As Magnus Gallant, a Military Academy graduate and captain in the army of Palatinus, you’ll command a host of units and influence the outcome of a brewing civil war.

The game features a high degree of unit customization, a complex class system, and three possible endings depending on your actions throughout the campaign.

It’s a bit hard to find nowadays, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Tactics Ogre has nothing on this gem.

 

1. Paper Mario (2001)

Paper Mario N64 Gameplay Screenshot

If you’re interested in a polished but unique RPG, look no further than Paper Mario for the N64.

The story is the usual Mario fare: rescue the Seven Star Spirits to save Peach from Bowser’s hands.

That said, the game has much more personality and character than almost any other Mario game – barring its sequel on the GameCube.

Mario’s supporting cast of characters are all perfect in their own way, the dialogue is often hilarious, and the entire game is perfectly paced.

And I’d say the ratings almost speak for themselves.

There’s always something new waiting around the corner here.

There are plenty of secrets to uncover as a 2D paper cut-out in a 3D world, as you’ll undoubtedly find out once you pick up this gem.

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