Wave Race is a series of jet ski racing games by Nintendo, first originating on the Game Boy in 1992. Wave Race 64, released for the Nintendo 64 in 1996 (and later on the Wii Virtual Console in 2007), is the best known and most well-loved of the lot of them. Wave Race: Blue Storm, released as a launch title for the Nintendo GameCube in 2001, is the most recent release.
64 was notable in its use of very realistic wave physics, which use up approximately 80 percent of the system's power. It was also the first game to utilize the Controller Pak for exchanging vehicle settings and time tables between cartridges.note Blue Storm is known for its waves being affected by the constantly changing weather, adding more depth to its races.
Wave Race contains examples of:
- Dolphins, Dolphins Everywhere: They serve as power ups that help you steer better, make you immune to whirlpools and let you more easily move through shallow water.
- Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: The arrows, even though they don't look like it.
- No Plot? No Problem!: Want to know the details of your racer, the league, the circuit, the machines used? Too bad.
- Ramp Jump: Not always the best thing to do but there are lots of opportunities to do so. The problem is it increases your speed but since you can't turn in air and have no breaks that can be bad. Trying to adjust the length of your jump can also make you lose control.
- Scoring Points: The point of Slalom mode is to go through the most check points to win the most points.
- Top-Down View: Some things will be floating on their sides to be more easily identified
- Wacky Racing: More than the sequels, better get used to ramming other racers, especially on narrow water ways.
Wave Race 64 contains examples of:
- Announcer Chatter: Boy, he never shuts up.
- Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: Ryota is balanced, Ayumi has low speed but high acceleration (Fragile Speedster), Dave has high speed but low acceleration (Mighty Glacier), Miles has medium stats but extremely high turning (gimmick).
- But Not Too Foreign: Ayumi Stewart is Japanese-American.
- Cosmetic Award: Perform well enough in Championship Mode and you'll see whales on the final course.
- Friendly, Playful Dolphin: On the practice track Dolphin Park.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Ryota Hayami.
- Level in Reverse: The final unlocked difficulty has you racing each track in reverse.
- Mighty Glacier: Dave Mariner, who is very fast for his size yet has poor handling, grip, and acceleration to go along with it. Best recommended for advanced players.
- Ominous Fog: Drake Lake, though it does clear up eventually.
- Product Placement: Kawasaki and Fanta soft drink sponsor this game, and their ads appear nearly everywhere. Its Virtual Console release has them removed and the banners replaced with Wii and DS ads, though.
- The Kawasaki branding was put back in for the Wii U's Virtual Console release.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Glacier coast
- The Smurfette Principle: Ayumi Stewart is the only female character.
- Super Title 64 Advance: No idea what that number could be referring to
- Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: In true Kazumi Totaka fashion, nearly every track uses a variation of the theme song, or at least a Recurring Riff. This even extends to other areas like the options menu and the name entry screen.
- Time Trial: The only thing you'll be doing in the dolphin area besides free roaming is this, you can do trials on all the other courses too.
- Title Scream: Before the classic "press start"
- Unstable Equilibrium: Going through buoys correctly speeds you up. Missing too many buoys automatically disqualifies you, likely because if you've been missing there would be no way to catch up anyway.
- Videogame 3 D Leap: No longer simulating, this one's got polygons and depth
Wave Race: Blue Storm contains examples of:
- All or Nothing: You can perform stunts and tricks to build up your boost meter, but you won't get anything if you botch it. Performing tricks not involving ramps (headstands for example) can build up the boost meter slowly the longer you maintain the trick, but bumping into anything at all will knock your racer off their jet ski completely or make them slip, which will cost you time and position in a race.
- Anti-Climax: The last course in expert mode, Strong Water Keep, is pretty short, after you've seen them get progressively longer. Especially since it comes after the unforgiving La Razza Canal!
- Bat Family Crossover: Features three guest stars from 1080° Snowboarding, including Akari Hayami. Instead of averting One Steve Limit with Ryota Hayami, the two are siblings and the games take place in the same universe.
- The Capital of Brazil Is Buenos Aires: Seems to be the case with Serena Del Mar.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Miles Jeter from 64.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to 64. In addition to the much steeper learning curve, the mood is also decidedly less cheerful in Blue Storm: The color palette is dimmer, the almost overly enthusiastic 64 announcer has been replaced with racer-specific announcers that are usually far more direct and blunt, and the soundtrack replaces the cheery J-Pop of 64 with a more rock/techno influenced style.
- Deadpan Snarker: There is a code that unlocks the ability for the announcer to snark at you every chance he gets.
- Difficulty Spike: The most twitch heavy race in the game isn't even in expert mode, it is the race you need to get through to be able to race in expert mode! Some of its courses kind of come close but then expert mode ends with a sharp difficulty drop for some reason.
- Jerkass: The hidden announcer. Calls you names, has absolutely no faith in you, and even if you do win he never lets up with the contempt. He can be brutally honest if you screw up.
- Geo Effects: The waves are random in this game, but if you know the track, you can look at the forecast to predict how they will behave with some level of reliability. Riding the waves and weather to your character's advantage is essential in the circuit mode.
- Hostile Weather: It may sometimes feel like it. Don't count on the forecasts to be 100% accurate.
- Luck-Based Search Technique: Many shortcuts can be found behind breakable barriers on the waterways. Which parts are breakable and which aren't is not always an easy distinction to make however.
- Ninja Butterfly: Every racer has their own crew chief who constantly updates them on their status.
- Nitro Boost: A turbo meter, which can be filled by correctly passing buoys or by doing stunts unlike in the game boy game where it refilled on its own and could be stolen from other racers. Stunts were only for scoring in one mode in 64.
- Secret Level: The Tsumnami Zone.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: Even putting weather aside, this game is faster, more complex and requires more precise handling than the Nintendo 64 game. It also lacks the power ups of the game boy title despite bringing back some of its mechanics.