Canceled Tomb Raider-style game for the Nintendo 64 finds its way online, and you can play it

Playable ROMs for a cancelled 1999 Tomb Raider-style Nintendo 64 game called Riqa have appeared online, and they work with modern N64 emulators.

2 minutes & 8 seconds read time

A lost piece of videogame history has been discovered and preserved: a canceled game for the Nintendo 64 called Riqa, a 3D action adventure in the style of Tomb Raider. The first Lara Croft games were exclusive to the PlayStation console, so the N64 getting its own Tomb Raider clone was a big deal.

Canceled Tomb Raider-style game for the Nintendo 64 finds its way online, and you can play it 01

Nintendo first announced the game in its official magazine in 1999. Riqa was described as a "sci-fi adventure featuring action and puzzle elements" and has been developing for some time. The title, Riqa, gets its name from the female protagonist. However, the art style was more anime than the realistic look of Tomb Raider.

The now-defunct UK developer Bits Studios led the game's development, with Nintendo set to publish. Originally shown off at E3 1999, the game disappeared, only to surface 25 years later with one of the original developers sharing a few different prototype builds online.

According to Time Extension, the developers of Riqa were previously against sharing ROMs of the game, but that has seemingly changed with developer 'Ten Shu' sharing different builds showcasing different levels.

These have all been uploaded to the Internet Archive and work with the popular Nintendo 64 emulator Project64 (version 3.0.1). The release notes provide information on how to get them working, with one of the requirements being two controllers, with the second controlling menus and selecting options. These unfinished builds also work with actual Nintendo 64 hardware for those who own an EverDrive cart.

For those curious about Riqa, here's a look at the various builds in action running on the Project64 emulator. Although it might not look like the most exciting game in the world (especially when compared to modern titles), it's a fascinating piece of history.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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