Review by strawhat
"Darn it, Luigi's not in this game."
Almost anyone with a Nintendo 64 has Super Mario 64. Many claim it to be a masterpiece. A gem. The extrafantastical, superimagical, bestest game for the Nintendo 64. The game was overrated, but then again it had a good reason to be. It showed how great the Nintendo 64 can show off its graphics, contain information, and change from the wild beeps and boops of the Super Nintendo. It's moving along the right tracks for an even better game.
Change can be a good thing. The storyline of this game was tweaked a bit from the original "I'm Princess Toadstool. Bowser ate me. Beat those levels and rescue me pweeeease!" This time, Princess Toadstool is still captured by Bowser, but instead of just clearing levels like the previous Super Mario games, we have to go inside paintings. Bowser has taken over Peach's castle and took all 120 stars. He enchanted painting throughout the castle to hold the stars. Each painting has 6 different "missions". Complete them to gain a Power Star! But dude...what do these things do? Make the castle shinier? I don't recall the game explaining what exactly the stars do to make the castle so strong and good. The storyline is kind of original, so that gains a couple of points in my book. I just kind of wish the King of Koopas can find a hobby.
Many people have been absolutely captivated by the game's graphics. The pretty colors are nice to watch. There's a lot detail that I find quite surprising to be in an N64 game. On wooden floors, you can see each individual plank. On stone walls, you can see the bricks making it up. In water, you can see ripples when Mario splashes in. I was sure impressed. I find it hard for anyone not to be impressed with the fantastic graphics in the first title of the Nintendo 64! The only flaws I've seen is that Mario's face seems a little blurry. You mostly see his ass anyway, so it doesn't matter that much to me.
The sound quality is OK. They didn't put quite as much effort here as they did with graphics. It's a nice change from the beeps and boops from the other systems, but isn't fantastic either. There are hardly any remixes of songs from the past. Most of these new songs aren't really that catchy. I only like one or two songs in the game. The same songs play over and over in a level, so while you're out to collect all 6 stars in that level, the same song will keep playing drilling holes into your head. Why couldn't they play catchy songs instead of one that lasts 2 minutes, then repeats? I think that a lot more effort could have been placed here. Lately, it seems as if Nintendo thinks graphics are everything.
I have to give them credit for creating fantastic levels though. Each one of the paintings in the castle takes you to a different world where you complete the missions to get stars. The levels are all different, each with redeeming qualities. They are fun to play through and explore while searching for your valuable Power Star. They can include mud slides, large hills, lava pools, frozen ice, giant Goombas, and more! There are many obstacles in each level. Each level is unique and I like it.
Mario can do a ton of things in each of those levels. He can open up cannons and shoot to high places. He can ride owls. He can kick blocks. Mario can even swim and dive underwater without dying, unlike in Super Mario World. Mario can buttstomp, triple jump, fly, and even more! There are so many events and things you can do in a level. You can do whatever you want, you don't even have to go after the power star mentioned when you begin the level. You are free!
There are tons of unlockables in this game that makes it worth playing. There are hidden levels throughout the game which I love. Finding secret stars are always fun and getting some extra stars. You can also unlock various caps that give Mario some special powers for a limited amount of time. You can fly, become invisible, or become metal. These caps also come with a remix of a song from the original Super Mario Bros., so that's a definite plus.
There's a ton to do after beating the game once. You only need 70 stars to beat the game, but there are 120 stars in all. Of course, if you collect each and every one of them you'll get a surprise! This will take a while. It took me a long time to even collect 50 stars. After the first few levels, getting stars will become drastically harder. This increases the game's life. Along with the extra unlockables, I'll say that this game will live a long time.
So far, everything I said has been positive. Now it's time for the negatives. First is the camera system. I hate the camera angle. Seriously, it's it horrible. You use the C buttons to turn the camera left and right. They always go a certain amount of distance so it's hard to get it in the right position. You press C left, and it's stuck in the hill so you can't see yourself. Press C right, oh no! Then you're stuck all the way to the right so you can't travel across the narrow bridge! Seriously, the camera is terrible. It sometimes zooms in front of Mario's face so you can't see what's in front of you. Sometimes it zooms into a solid object for no reason at all so everything becomes choppy and blurry. If they had fixed the damn camera, the game would be much better.
Another thing I don't like is the combat system. To make a hit, the very end of the fist has to touch the enemy. That's not a lot of range. Whenever Mario makes a punch, he has to stop. If it connects, both the enemy and him will bounce back and it takes some time to stop sliding and run towards the enemy again. This makes fighting slow and unexciting. It's annoying to stop your sliding and hit again all the time. Sliding is also a major flaw. After running, whenever you turn around you have to slide a little. When running in real life, do you have to slide to turn? Hell, Mario even slides after turning while walking! It's annoying as hell to move around. Mario also has some useless moves, such as the backflip. Why would you ever use one? The double jump covers almost the same amount of distance. It barely even makes Mario look cooler. Whenever you jump on an opponent, you bounce up. Why is this so? It's really annoying especially if another enemy is right on your tail and about to attack, taking some life away from you.
Sometimes, the controls can be unresponsive. To defeat a Bob-omb, you must press B behind it. You must press it in the exact spot or it will result as a punch, not destroying the Bob-omb. Then it spots you and chases you across the stage before it finally explodes, maybe taking away some health. Sometimes doing things like a wall jump can be difficult too with these controls.
Overall, the game is good, but not great. If an action platformer is what you like, give this game a try. The game has a long life with many things to collect and things to do after beating the game. It can last more than 30 hours if you think that you like it, and that's excellent for a Nintendo 64 game. If you think you can fight off the bad camera and a few unresponsive controls, you'll like this. It gas every aspects of creating an excellent video game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 08/25/04
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