The N64 is one of the most popular systems ever, don’t ask me why. It is also one of the most notoriously difficult to emulate. Althought the Pi 4, which I use now, is far better than the Pi 3 that I started this business with, the emulation is still not as good as it is for other classic systems like the NES and Genesis.
Two of the most popular, and hardest to emulate games on this platform are Super Smash Brothers and Goldeneye 007. FOr a while I have set the default emulator for both of those games to mupen64plus-gles2n64. While this ensures fairly smooth gameplay, there was a serious framing issue with both games, where you weren’t seeing the entire playfield, more like an extreme closeup of the left side. In addition, SSB had an issue where most of the cahracters did not have eyes.
After doing some serious online research, and some extended game testing, I have come up with a couple of solutions. They involve changing the emulator the game runs under. To do this, press A to launch the game, then A several more times until the launch menu comes up. Choose option 2, emulator for rom, to change he emu for a particular game.
For SSB, change the emulator to mupen64plus-gles2rice. This gives better quality visuals and all the characters have faces again. Framerate appeared to be solid in single player mode, though I wasn’t able to do any play testing in multi-player mode.
For Goldeneye, the situation is a little more complicated. You will have to install an emulator that isn’t currently on your system, which means your Retro Box will need Internet access. If you have wired Internet, just use the ethernet jack. If you use wifi, you will need a USB keyboard.
Plug in a keyboard, then, using your controller, from the Main Screen, go to Retropie, then Wifi. If you see an IP address there, you’re good. If not, choose the first option, Connect to Wifi Network. A list of available networks will come up. Choose yours, then enter the password using the keyboard. After 15-30 seconds the screen will flash back to the first menu, and you should now see your IP address. Here is a helpful video on how do do that.
Once you are connected to the Internet, you will need to install the Parallel emulator. From the Main Screen, go to Retropie, then Retropie Setup. Choose Manage Packages, then Manage Experimental Packages, then lr-parallel-n64. Choose the first option, Install from pre-compile binary. After the package installs, go back and relaunch Goldeneye, again pressing A until the launch menu comes up. Again choose option 2, and set the emulator to parallel. Goldeneye will now function much better in single player mode.
Unfortunately, multi-player Goldeneye in this emu sucks out loud. After doing a lot of testing, I determined that the best emu for multi-player Goldeneye is mupen64plus-GlideN64. Also, set option 5, video mode, to any of the ones at the bottom running at 640 x 480. This gives you acceptable visuals and framerate. It is not quite as good as the original, but it is playable, at least for 2 players. I wasn’t able to test with more than that.
So basically, you will be running Goldeneye under 2 different emulators, depending on whether you want the single or multi player experience. Inconvenient I know, but such is the nature of N64 emulation.
These changes will be made to the Loaded and Ultra boxes going forward, so anyone buying in the future will be getting this already implemented.
I hope this helps with your enjoyment of these two games, and as always, stay Skeptical.