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The 10 Absolute Best Nintendo 64 First Person Shooters of All Time

The Nintendo 64 was a groundbreaking console that ushered in a new era of gaming. As one of the first systems designed with 3D graphics in mind, the N64 helped pioneer a new generation of immersive gaming experiences, especially in the first person shooter genre. Equipped with 4 controller ports and an innovative analog stick, the N64 was the perfect system for buddies to gather around the TV and blast each other to smithereens in split-screen multiplayer. Although the FPS genre was still fairly new in the mid-late 90s, the N64 played host to some of the most influential and revolutionary early examples of the FPS.

In this post, we‘ll lock and load as we travel back to the 64-bit era and countdown the top 10 best N64 first person shooters of all time. Strap on your Rumble Pak and prepare for an explosion of nostalgia as we revisit the games that defined a genre and a generation.

What Defines a First Person Shooter?

First person shooters are characterized by gameplay where the player experiences the action through the eyes of the main character. You see the game from the first person perspective of your avatar, with your weapon visible in front of you as you navigate a 3D environment. The key mechanic is of course shooting, as you use a variety of guns and projectile weapons to blast enemies that get in your way. FPS games tend to be fast-paced and action-packed, with an emphasis on quick reflexes, precise aiming, strategic movement, and cool weapons and power-ups.

Prior to the N64, first person shooters were mainly limited to PCs, where keyboard and mouse controls allowed for fluid movement and aiming. Consoles struggled with the genre due to the limitations of using a D-pad for movement. But the N64 changed everything with its analog control stick, which offered 360 degrees of motion and enabled more precise maneuvering. The N64‘s unique controller was perfect for navigating 3D game worlds from a first person view. Although the FPS genre was still young, the N64 laid the groundwork for how first person shooters would work on consoles going forward.

The N64‘s FPS Legacy

The Nintendo 64 wasn‘t necessarily known for having the biggest library of games compared to some other consoles. But when it came to first person shooters, it was a case of quality over quantity. A handful of landmark FPS titles helped define the genre during this time period and influence countless games that followed. GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark in particular are considered two of the greatest and most important console FPS games ever made. Many staples of the genre, from sniper rifles to stealth gameplay to co-op campaigns, can be traced back to these N64 innovators.

In an era when PC games like Quake and Unreal were pushing the boundaries of graphic fidelity, the N64 titles held their own with a careful balance of technical achievement and outstanding art direction. For a mid-90s cartridge-based console, the N64 first person shooters looked and played remarkably well. They also set the standard for local multiplayer FPS gaming, with fast and fun split-screen deathmatches that are still a blast to revisit today. An entire generation of gamers cut their teeth on the N64‘s first person shooters. Now let‘s honor that legacy as we count down the top 10 FPS games to ever grace Nintendo‘s trailblazing 64-bit system.

#10 – Hexen

While not as well-known as some of the other games on this list, Hexen offered a creative fantasy twist on the first person shooter. Set in a dark medieval world of castles and crypts, you battled evil monsters and demonic forces with magical weapons and spells. The gothic level design, haunting soundtrack, and supernatural elements gave Hexen a distinct style and atmosphere compared to sci-fi shooters. It was ported to the N64 from the PC and ran surprisingly well, albeit with some blurry visuals. Hexen was something a little different for FPS fans and holds up as a unique offering in the N64 library.

#9 – Quake II

One of the most beloved PC shooters of the 90s, Quake II was faithfully recreated on the N64. The port pushed the system‘s capabilities with colored lighting, large levels, and gory gibs. While the graphics weren‘t quite as sharp as the PC version, Quake II on the N64 retained the fast and fluid gameplay the series was known for. The single player campaign sent you through a variety of industrial bases, military complexes, and alien hives as you gunned down the invading Strogg forces. Quake II really shined in 4-player split-screen multiplayer, which ran surprisingly smooth and offered all the frantic fun you‘d expect from a Quake title.

#8 – Doom 64

id Software‘s seminal first person shooter was reborn on the Nintendo 64 with all-new levels, demons, and a creepy atmosphere. Much more than a simple port, Doom 64 was a brand new game developed specifically for the system. The hellish levels were larger and more complex, sporting dynamic colored lighting and sinister design. A brand new laser weapon and updated versions of classic guns armed you for the demonic onslaught. The visual upgrades, killer soundtrack, and intricate level designs made Doom 64 feel right at home on Nintendo‘s powerhouse console. It remains one of the most criminally underrated chapters in the Doom series.

#7 – Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

One of the earliest adopters of the FPS on the N64, Turok dazzled gamers with its lush jungle environments and menacing dinos. Based on the comic book series, you played as a time-traveling Native American warrior tasked with defending the Lost Lands. Turok featured gory and intense battles against raptors, giant insects, and armed human foes. An arsenal of inventive weapons like the Quad Rocket Launcher and Fusion Cannon provided the firepower. The dense foliage, distant draw distance, and detailed dinosaurs models were stunning for the time. Turok was a key release in the N64‘s early days that demonstrated the possibilities of first person gaming on the system.

#6 – Perfect Dark

Rarewear‘s spiritual successor to GoldenEye 007 expanded on that game‘s framework with sci-fi weapons, stealth, and an engaging spy story. You played as Joanna Dark, a secret agent working for the Carrington Institute, in a plot involving conspiracies and alien invasions. Perfect Dark improved the FPS formula with secondary functions on every gun, voice acting, and optional objectives in each mission for added replay value. The game even included a co-op mode where a second player could control a floating camera to scout ahead. But Perfect Dark was most famous for its incredibly deep and customizable multiplayer, which supported AI-controlled simulants, tons of creative weapons and game modes, and up to 4 players in split-screen. Perfect Dark was a showcase for the N64‘s Expansion Pak and one of the deepest FPS experiences on the system.

#5 – Duke Nukem: Zero Hour

The king of crass himself made his N64 debut in this raunchy and explosive FPS. Zero Hour featured a new time-traveling story in the Duke Nukem universe as the titular hero battled cyborgs and alien pig cops across a variety of time periods, from the Old West to post-apocalyptic New York. Along with dual-wielding weapons and spouting countless one-liners, Duke could also drive vehicles for the first time, including a motorcycle, dune buggy, and attack helicopter. The game sported an impressive 60FPS frame rate and 480p resolution via the Expansion Pak. Duke‘s brand of bawdy humor and over-the-top action fit in perfectly among the N64‘s FPS roster.

#4 – Rainbow Six

The N64 port of Tom Clancy‘s landmark tactical shooter was a surprisingly faithful recreation of the groundbreaking PC game. As the leader of an elite counter-terrorism unit, you carefully planned out your team‘s objectives, equipment, and positioning before carrying out meticulously coordinated strikes. The slow-paced, deliberate gameplay and one-shot-kill combat made for a tense and realistic experience. The 16 complex missions required patience and strategic thinking to complete. With a memorable cast of operatives and near-perfect control using the N64 controller, Rainbow Six was a rare example of a more methodical and cerebral FPS on the system.

#3 – GoldenEye 007

Often considered the granddaddy of console first person shooters, GoldenEye 007 revolutionized the genre and laid the foundation for the N64‘s FPS legacy. Based on the James Bond film of the same name, GoldenEye put you in the role of the suave British superspy as you sneaked and shot your way through a globe-trotting adventure. The single player campaign featured varied objectives, stealth elements, and memorable set pieces pulled straight from the movie. But it was the 4-player local multiplayer that made GoldenEye a cultural touchstone. The split-screen deathmatches were endlessly configurable, with modifiers like paintball mode, golden gun one-hit kills, and characters with giant heads. A generation of gamers lost countless hours in GoldenEye‘s competitive arenas. Rare‘s masterpiece paved the way for FPS games on consoles and remains one of the most revered games in the genre.

#2 – Perfect Dark

Rare‘s follow-up to GoldenEye improved on that classic in nearly every way. A new sci-fi setting, expanded stealth mechanics, secondary functions for every gun, co-op options, and hugely customizable multiplayer made Perfect Dark the ultimate evolution of the console FPS formula. The single player campaign cast you as Joanna Dark, a special agent embroiled in a shadowy corporate conspiracy involving secret underground bases and sinister alien plots. Mission objectives could be completed in multiple ways, and the intricate level designs allowed for satisfying stealth and exploration. The local multiplayer was the most robust on the N64, with AI bots, tons of unique weapons and gadgets, and clever game modes. Using the N64 Expansion Pak, Perfect Dark also achieved the rare feat of 480p resolution on the system. Rare‘s spy thriller was a deep, engaging, and gorgeous FPS that showed off everything the N64 was capable of.

#1 – Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

The best N64 first person shooter pushed the system to its absolute limits with huge open levels, impressive enemy AI, and unparalleled visuals. Turok 2 expanded on the dino-hunting action of the original game with an even more ambitious sequel. The Lost Lands setting was a prehistoric playground full of sweeping vistas, cavernous temples, and overgrown jungles crawling with raptors, laser-equipped commandos, and horrifying bosses. The action was faster and more vicious, with smarter dinosaur AI and terrifying new foes like the skinless hordes. An insane arsenal of weapons included the skull-drilling Cerebral Bore, the nuclear Nuke Weapon, and the room-clearing Shockwave. Turok 2 sported the most detailed graphics of any N64 game thanks to the 4MB Expansion Pak. No other FPS on the system could match its scope, brutality, and technical splendor. Turok 2 stands as the N64‘s most extravagant and consistently jaw-dropping first person shooter.

The N64 FPS Legacy Lives On

First person shooters came into their own on the Nintendo 64. The system‘s unique strengths, from the analog joystick to 4-player support, allowed the genre to flourish on a console like never before. Games like Turok, Perfect Dark, and GoldenEye 007 showed the world what the FPS could be on a home system. They paved the way for console shooters to thrive in future generations. Perfect Dark basically predicted Halo. GoldenEye laid the roadmap for Call of Duty‘s multiplayer. The N64 shooters were massively influential and their DNA still exists in modern FPS games. These classics are still fun to return to today for their satisfying gunplay, immersive worlds, and nostalgic split-screen multiplayer showdowns. The Nintendo 64 will forever be remembered as the console that helped build the FPS into the juggernaut it would become.