EA's long-running Strike series has its share of both fans and detractors. Given the mediocre performances of the last two games in the series, Soviet Strike and Nuclear Strike, the detractors seem to be winning. Nuclear Strike for the N64 is, thankfully, a much better game than it was when it was released on the PlayStation back in 1997. As such, this mission-based shooter is a reasonably fun and cohesive adventure.
The game takes you through various missions in each level. While you may start out simply clearing a battlefield of radar towers in your helicopter, before too long you might end up playing escort to some rebels or destroying large fortresses. Thankfully, there's a helpful map that lets you keep track of where all the mission objectives, enemies, and items are. This map is enhanced further by an onscreen compass that points you to items on the map, from armor pickups to enemy jeeps.
Your chopper controls well with both the analog and digital controls, but the game doesn't actually feature any analog support. It would have been nice to execute slight turns and move ahead at half speed, but the game simply doesn't allow it. Jinking controls on the shoulder buttons and Z-trigger make it very easy to circle-strafe around any enemy. One of the many complaints with the PlayStation version was that it was nearly impossible to line up with any hostages or items close enough to winch them up. The N64 version has a helpful shadow that makes lining up the winch extremely easy. This alone makes the N64 version infinitely better than the PlayStation version.
Nuclear Strike features pretty good sound, though most of it consists of simple weapons fire and explosions. There is, however, some speech in the game, which is usually played after you've completed an objective. This speech is well done. The game takes advantage of the expansion pak, letting you run in a higher resolution. The game only looks slightly more pixelated without the expansion, and it runs at a playable frame rate regardless.
The varied mission design and fast action of Nuclear Strike make it a worthwhile shooter, even if the game it was based on is more than two years old. Some players may find that the enemies don't aim well enough, making the game a little too easy, but it's a fun experience regardless. Just start out playing it on the hard difficulty to ensure you get your money's worth.