EON SUPER 64 [Hardware Review]: Certainly has that ‘Golden’Eye.

Robert “The DCD” Workman
@thedcd

The team at EON Gaming isn’t one to back down from a high-definition challenge. In the past, the company produced the GCHD adapter, allowing GameCube games to be shown in high-definition through an HDMI connection. Not quite perfect, but still, the effect is rather impressive, especially with games like Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader and F-Zero GX. But the devs figured, “Why stop there?” and now they’ve done it again, this time with an adapter for…the Nintendo 64?

When Nintendo 64 goes high tech. (Eon Gaming)

Yep, that’s just what the Super 64 does. Connect this bad boy to your classic N64 system and set up your game, and you can get rid of (most of your) fuzzies and play games like Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and even Goldeneye 64 in greater resolution. What’s more, you can do so with zero input lag, which I’m still trying to figure out. I mean…how?! Going for $149, the adapter is a plug-and-play style device. All you do is set it up with the audio and video port on your system, plug in your HDMI cable, and that’s pretty much it.

However, the setup is pretty much flawless, and the design is pretty debonair. The device itself features a unique little design, with what appears to be a red jewel around a faux GameCube logo, so that you can see how effectively it blends in with the rest of the system’s design, almost flawlessly. The LED lights up within the logo, so you know just when it’s operating the right way. Now, there is a catch. Just because the system supports HDMI does not mean you’re going to be trailblazing with these games in 4K. In fact, there are some 4K model TV’s that may not work with the device, since it really goes about 480p in general. So, again, double check before you make your purchase.

Classic Mode looks good. (Eon Gaming)

That said, even in this somewhat lower resolution, the games look fantastic. I tested out a handful of particular titles with the device and didn’t come away disappointed with any of them. First up was Ridge Racer 64, which never looked better with its zippy frame rate and beautiful car models. Then came Super Mario 64, and its levels really shine with the Super 64 adapter turned on.

And yes, Goldeneye shines. Even in multiplayer, with the explosions going full blast, there’s a lot to like here, which is pretty cool. Other games, like F-Zero X and Super Smash Bros., aren’t too shabby either. Results may vary with some of the cruddier games, like Superman 64 (I don’t think anything can fix that), but for the most part, the superior games aren’t too shabby at all.

Slick Mode adds an interesting touch, but may not be for all games. (Eon Gaming)

 

There is a Slick Mode that can be activated. All you need to do is press the button that’s placed on the dongle, and this will smooth out any of the jaggies that appear on the screen. But keep in mind that this could have an effect on the frame rate as a result. The effect is a bit weird, especially on high-speed style games like WipEout 64 and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. But it’s worth trying just to see how weird smoothed over visuals are. For the most part, though, you might want to stick to default, just to keep the nostalgic appearance in play. So the adapter works conveniently enough, mostly across the board with the games we tried, and though Slick Mode is gimmicky at best, it’s a feature that’s well worth a try, even if just for a few laughs. (“Why does Mario’s face look all weird?”) 

But there is something you’ll want to prepare for – the price. The Super 64 goes for $149, which is about what the GCHD MKII went for when it went on sale a while back. That’s not including the HDMI cable either. For those that want to stream with their N64 with ease, or just want their games to look better than ever, it’s worth it. But others may want to look before they leap.

For such a little adapter, the Super 64 does quite a bit. (Eon Gaming)

In the end, EON Gaming continues to do stellar work with its technology. Even with the non-necessity of Slick Mode (in most cases) and the somewhat bumped-up price, there is a market for the Super 64. It makes Nintendo 64 games look better than ever with HDMI support (provided your TV can handle 480p), and it’s relatively simple to use. And some games really click, thanks to the lack of any sort of input lag.

So if you’re a nostalgic player looking to get the most out of performance, or you just want to bump up those sessions of the classic Perfect Dark, this is a safe bet. Everyone else, do some checking around before you drop that precious cash. 3.5/5 Playing With Power Posters.

-Robert Workman

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