While we were still years away from truly realistic character models, Perfect Dark was a step in the right direction and at the time looked fantastic in motion.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Considered one of the best games of all time, Ocarina of Time boasted incredible art direction, creature design, use of color, and visuals that still hold up even to this day.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day (2001) – N64
Conker’s Bad Fur Day will be remembered more for its crass and blunt humor, however the actual graphics of this title are nothing to be scoffed at. Boasting a colorful world, the visuals of this game work nicely to contrast that rather mature themes and jokes scattered throughout.
While the first title in this series is more famous, Banjo-Tooie had some of best graphics on the platform. Not only was there a wealth of different textures but all of character models looked gorgeous in both cutscenes and motion.
Buck Bumble (1998)
Buck Bumble is a game that many may not have heard of, however this third person shooter has a certainly unique art style and visuals. Given the game takes place from an insect’s perspective the way that the visuals represent this is fantastic.
Star Fox 64 (1997)
There’s typically a lot happening on screen during levels of Starfox 64, so it’s impressive that so many of them look great regardless. Environments are interesting and varied, with clear details put into the awesome and different spacecraft you encounter when playing.
Paper Mario (2000)
Don’t let the 2D aesthetics fool you, this is a game that does a brilliant job conveying its themes and ideas through its art. Not only does this title work masterfully with the concept of everything being paper, but it works in a way that’s both endearing and cute.
Kirby 64: The Cyrstal Shard
The pink puffball makes his way to the N64 in an adorable title that looks great and absolutely pops with its use of color. The different levels and costumes all look fantastic, with the art direction giving this title a dream like quality.
Pokemon Stadium 2 – N64
Perhaps one of the best looking titles on the entire system, Pokemon Stadium 2 focused most of its visual efforts on the moves and expressions of the various Pokemon. This came together in a fantastic title that made us almost feel bad for using thunderbolt on that Charmander – Almost.
Donkey Kong 64
One of many Nintendo properties brought to this console, Donkey Kong 64 did a fantastic job representing not only the unique cast of characters and fun level designs. Not only does this cartoonish look work, but it added much-needed life into a franchise dedicated to a previously 2D realm.
Yoshi’s Story (1997)
While graphically it’s just okay, Yoshi’s Story surpasses most titles of this era thanks to its amazing art direction. Not only does everything look vivid, but the painting like qualities really evoke that sense of whimsy that this series has tried to capture.
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1996)
When it comes to realistic graphics, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was one of the better examples. Vehicles and characters looked great and the level design was wonderfully represented through the visuals and use of color.
Diddy Kong Racing (1997)
Perhaps one of the best kart racing games released during this generation, Diddy Kong Racing was a title with fantastic level design, characters, and visuals that all brought the world to life.
Pokemon Snap (1999)
For such a simplistic game, Pokemon Snap had some of the best visuals of this console’s generation. Every world feels lovingly crafted, with their own interesting takes on this vibrant world. However, it’s the beautiful rendered Pokemon that are the standouts in this game, each one oozing with personality that is waiting to be memorialized by your photos.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000)
One of, if not the single best looking game on the N64, Majora’s Mask not only has superb textures, character models, and effects but exquisite art direction. From the fantastic use of colors to the richly detailed masks that you can collect and utilize, Majora’s Mask is a gorgeous title that still holds up today.
Perfect Dark (2000)
While we were still years away from truly realistic character models, Perfect Dark was a step in the right direction and looked fantastic in motion at the time.