Nintendo 64 Survival Guide

Title: Nintendo 64 Survival Guide
Publisher: Sandwich Islands
Publication Date: April 1997
ISBN: 1-884364-45-4
# of pages: 239
Writers:   J. Douglas Arnold
              Willy Campos
              Mark Elies
              Lee Saito
Size: 23 x 18 x 1.5 CM

Survival Guides and Code Books were Sandwich Islands fortay. Of course they had to make one for Nintendo 64. The games they chose were some of the most popular N64 games to have been out at the time. The book would always start off by telling you the Number of Players, Peripherals, ESRB Rating, Genre, Developer, Publisher, Saving Method, as well as a few things they like or don't like about the game. What the guide covers next really depends. Sometimes they'll talk about the basics, hints, tips, cheat codes, or give an entire walkthrough. There's always plenty of screenshots too. Here's the page breakdown for the games:

Pages Game
1-3 Cruis'N USA
4-22 Killer Instinct Gold
23-32 Mario Kart 64
33-68 Mortal Kombat Trilogy
69-74 NBA Hangtime
75-88 Pilotwings 64
89-117 Shadows of the Empire
118-173 Super Mario 64
174-227 Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
228-235 Wave Race
236-239  Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey

As you can see, some games are hardly talked about. You could cut off 18 pages and that would get rid of 4 games! Besides the cover, the book is entirely in black and white. Even the screenshots are grayscale. For some games this is passable, but Super Mario 64 is just begging for colour. Each screenshot always tells what's going on in the picture just in case it isn't obvious. This book is unlicensed, so there won't be any official artwork in it.

The highpoints of the guide are the sections on Super Mario 64 and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Which make up almost 50% of the book together. The Super Mario 64 section tells you where to find every star in the game, as well as unlocking the caps and winning at all the Bowser fights. The Turok section is also impressive. They have each level mapped out with locations to keys, weapons, save points and more. No part of the game is left un-mapped. They provided cheat codes at the very end of the section, but I noticed they were missing a few.

The low point of the book is probably the inclusion of Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey and Cruis'N USA. They simply didn't have much to say about those games. All they wrote about Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey was an intro, a bit on how to play, and then cheat codes. The cheat codes are the only non-obvious thing they wrote, so it wasn't even worth talking about that game. The bit on Cruis'N USA was not the best either. Just an introduction, tips, and a comparision of the cars. Cruis'N USA is a great game, they honestly didn't have more to say on it? The grayscale screenshots are tolerable. It would've been nice to at least have colour screenshots, and the rest of the book in black and white.

Is the book worth buying? Well you could always get a guide book for Super Mario 64, another book on Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, a cheat code book, and then this book would be obselete. But that would all cost more. If you find a cheap copy, then maybe go for it. Otherwise it's not worth going out of your way for.

Score (Out of 5):

Written by Kevin Ames
November 8 2012