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GT 64 - Championship Edition

Rated E for Everyone


Nintendo 64 (N64)






September 1998

ROM Size:

128 megabits


One to Two Simultaneous




Cartridge and Controller Pak (3 pages)


Rumble Pak



> Final Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0


One year removed from Ocean's surprisingly fun but short Multi-Racing Championship comes a different kind of racing game courtesy of the same development team. GT 64 - Championship Edition takes advantage of the current popularity of Touring Car racing. However, as such, most of this popularity stems from Europe and Japan, not the U.S. And, unfortunately, it is neither a good GT game nor a good racing game, period.

Gameplay & Control

The most glaring problem with GT 64 - Championship Edition is the lack of tracks. One of MRC's biggest problems was a lack of tracks, and somehow the developers chose to ignore our pleas for more. The game has been promoted as having six tracks, but as far as I'm concerned, that's simply not true. There are three tracks—Japan, U.S., and Europe—with a short and a long variation of each. That's how they came up with six. Three times two may be six, but when the long variations have you driving through most of the same portions of the track with only a different turn-off, then I don't see how you can consider them as separate tracks. Nowadays, any racing game without a minimum of six distinct, unique tracks shouldn't even be released. Pitiful.


As expected, GT 64 has the usual gameplay modes. There's a Championship mode (possibly a partial saving grace to the replay value) in which you must beat short and long variations of each track, and there's a point system used with it. There are only eight cars on the track at once. Stupidly, GT 64 requires you to compete in 24-lap races if you want to truly to complete the game. Setting the number of laps to 3, 6, or 12 will only let you reach the semifinals. Also, it forces you to qualify for position. Why can't qualifying be an optional thing? Along the way, when you pick higher numbers of laps, you will have to make pit stops, too. You'll also find Time Trial and Battle modes in GT 64. Time Trial is your standard fare, as you can save your best times to the cartridge. There's no saving of ghosts this time, though. Battle mode is a one-on-one race against a second player, computer or human. Yeah, that's right, no computer competition in this game's two-player mode, either. Why do developers torture us so?


The control in GT 64 has a very different feel to it, and each of the 14 officially licensed cars and their racing teams varies that feel slightly more. It almost feels as if there's non-stop power-sliding around every turn. If you're an arcade racing fan like me, you might being thinking that sounds great. Well, it's not. It can be difficult to keep the car on the road. You'll have trouble with the car sliding into walls around the bends and revving up the RPMs too high, which really slows you down. Speaking of which, the game is not so realistic in that respect. You'll often find that smacking into walls and other cars yields higher speeds than hitting the brake too much. There is supposedly car deterioration in longer-lap races, however.


There are a few other things I should probably mention. First, interestingly enough, you have your choice between the Control Pad and Control Stick. The Control Stick is probably the better choice. Second, the game has a decent replay feature that lets you change the camera distance and views. It won't wow you like a Gran Turismo (PlayStation) or F-1 World Grand Prix replay, though. Third, like MRC before it, you can tweak your car setup in GT 64. But it's not as sophisticated or as user-friendly as NASCAR 99 or F-1 World Grand Prix.

Graphics & Sound

Besides uninspired, stale gameplay and touchy-feely control, GT 64 is also lacking in the audio/visual department. The one-player mode looks barely better than a 32-bit game, only because the graphics are a little cleaner. The three tracks are nicely varied with some detailed backgrounds. The cars are modeled fairly well, too. But that's as good as it gets. There are problems with pop-up, along with some frame rate drops and clipping errors. Where the game really suffers is in the two-player mode. Although a two-player split screen isn't reduced in size like MRC, the graphics basically loose all their luster, the frame rate really drops, the amount of pop-up significantly increases, and there are only two cars on the track! It looks absolutely terrible in the two-player mode. And what about the sound? Awful. There's no music while racing in any mode (thank God), there's almost no voice, and the sound effects are pretty bad. So let me ask this: Where did all those 128 megabits go to? Development teams like Iguana can squeeze more into a 32-megabit cartridge than Genki can put into a 128-megabit cartridge.


GT 64 - Championship Edition is a serious candidate for worse game of the year on the N64. The control may appeal to Grand Touring fans, but there are still the problems of sub-par graphics, stale gameplay thanks to predictable AI and not enough speed, a horrible two-player mode, only three lousy tracks, and terrible sound. I recommend you avoid this at all costs—that is, unless you're a huge fan of this type of racing game. Even then, rent so you won't have to repent.
















Yucky, yucky, yucky. The only ones who might possibly enjoy GT 64 - Championship Edition are Europeans. Yet it isn't even close to the same type of games on the PlayStation. GT 64 is pretty bad, but not quite the worst on the system. However, you certainly shouldn't even think about buying it, even for a reduced price, unless you rent it and somehow like it. Instead, put that money aside for a better game.


Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: September 25, 1998

Appendix Added: October 13, 1998




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