N64 Expansion Pak
Review by: Namek (namek@sm128c.com)

Editorial Posted: December 18, 1999

Graphics, graphics, graphics, and more graphics. The N64 gaming community is in a craze. With the released Nintendo 64 Expansion RAM Pak games like Rogue Squadron, Turok 2, Donkey Kong 64, and QBC '99 have all gotten a huge graphical boost. With this new found treasure, N64 gamers couldn't be more happy. But in the near future, will this extra 4 MB of RAM improve the quality of N64 games? Or will developers use it has simple selling point for poorly made titles?

That's the question on mymind, and I'm sure many other gamers are concerned about this too. The fact remains that the 4 MB RAM pak does a very good job of improving the graphical quality of the latest N64 games, but I have a feeling that's all it will ever do. Now, don't get me wrong. Im sure some developers like Rare, Iguana, and Nintendo will put the RAM pak to extremly good use. But what about the other 3rd party developers? If they decide to dazzle you with spectacular screenshots months before the games release, and then destroy your hopes of the game with low framerates, choppy animations, and pitiful gameplay, what will we do then?

That's the point of this article. To get the message accross that the RAM pak may not be a perfectly good thing. But, there really isn't anything we can do about it now. If developers want to make bad titles with great graphics, it will be their own downfall as a result.

Now, with graphics aside, what else will developers do with this extra room? On the RAM pak's box it claims it will allow more complex AI (artificial intelligence), more characters, and bigger, more brilliant worlds. But I get the feeling that it can only accomplish one of those things at a time. It'd be great if you could get your graphics up to 640x480, make your characters have a higher polygon count, and make your worlds twice as big all in one game, and all at the same time. But will developers have to decide which area is most important? Do they want a bigger world, better looking models, or do they want to forget all that great stuff, and just get improved graphics? Its impossible to say, we'll just have to leave it up to the developers to decide what is important and what isn't.

Dispite all this stuff, the RAM pak is something the N64 has needed for a long time, and hopefully something very good will come of it. I got mine, I suggest you get yours too.

-- Namek (namek@sm128c.com)