Wave Race 64
Image: Time Extension / Nintendo

Nintendo's jet ski game Wave Race 64 has landed on the Nintendo Switch Online service for Expansion Pack subscribers, giving players the chance to experience this classic on the go. So we thought what better time to look back at some of the reviews from the past and explore how the game was reviewed back when it came out in 1996 (or 1997 for us Brits!).

Below we've picked out some choice quotes from a selection of reviews and included a score where given. So without further ado, let's take a closer look.

N64 Magazine
Image: N64 Magazine

In the first review that we came across, Nintendo 64 Magazine (UK) gave the game a 90 out of 100 and closed with the following:

"A thoroughly innovative and successfully ambitious racer. Until you play it consider your video gaming expertise incomplete."

The American publication Game Informer, meanwhile, gave the game a 9 out of 10 and said:

"This is definitely one of those sleeper games that didn't seem like it was going to be cool. Leave it up to the minds at Nintendo to bring a racing game that really packs some punch."

Glenn Rubenstein, a writer, at Gamespot praised the use of the N64 analog stick and ended by saying:

"With the release of the N64, gamers everywhere are salivating in anticipation of getting their hands on each succulent title as it hits the shelves. Delays are causing a number of titles to be pushed back, and gamers may be frustrated that so few titles are coming out. To combat that hunger, buy Wave Race - it will satisfy your appetite nicely."

Air Hendrix for GamePro issue 8 gave the game a mostly positive review, leveling some criticism at the music, before finishing:

“Even without an ultra-hip hook like Wipeout XL’s high-tech sheen, Wave Race’s phenomenally fun, addictive jet-ski racing will captivate gamers with in-depth, challenging gameplay. The two-player split-screen action rocks, too.”

Victor Lucas of Electronic Playground also criticized the sound and the music but felt the good greatly outweighed the bad:

“Wave Race 64 is without question the most unique and satisfying home racing video game I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing”

CVG Magazine
Image: CVG

Alex Huhtala gave the game a total score of four out of five in Computer & Video Games Issue 187 and finished:

“A unique home racing experience. The novelty wears off after time, but the long-term challenge is there through score attacks and versus races.”

And Doug Perry writing in IGN was another who was not a fan of the soundtrack, but concluded,

"Simply put, Wave Race 64 stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Wipeout XL and Sega Rally in the pantheon as one of the best racers ever."

Of course, if you want a more modern perspective on Wave Race 64, we recommend visiting our friends over at our sister site Nintendo Life. This Wave Race 64 anniversary piece from last year puts the game in context for a modern audience, and you can check out Nintendo Life's own review of the game too.

Are you going to revisit Wave Race 64 on Switch? Let us know!