Review by Oliwam
"Mario makes a jump into 3D with this masterpiece."
The Super Mario series is just a huge series in so many ways. It has the largest universe in gaming history to date. All the games find a way to just simply be fun. Though some games just absolutely jumped over the borders and were such revolutions and so important to gaming history. I'm talking about games like Donkey Kong, which was the first "movie-like" experience in a videogame, instead of just balls flying everywhere. Then later came Super Mario Bros, which is considered to be one of the best overall side-scrolling games to date. It was a huge game, and really raised the bar for videogames. It's also one of the most played games ever. From there, the series just really expanded. It was huge for the NES. Then came the next generation, the SNES, and the series just kept on going upward. Though then came the next generation, the N64. By now, the technology at such a high level that 3D was a huge possibility. They could've made this game another side-scroller, just with awesome graphics. Though instead, they made the jump into full 3D. The result is the game known as Super Mario 64.
The game starts off with Princess Peach sending an invitation to Mario, asking him to come to her castle for some cake. Ofcourse, Mario jumps into his famous overalls, puts on his red cap, and off he goes. Then you see a warp pipe rise up from the ground, just outside of the castle. Mario jumps out, and now you may begin to explore this vast 3D world. Immediately, you'll be looking around, just itching to set out and explore this fine castle courtyard. Well, there isn't much to explore yet out here, so you just simply head towards the castle. You'll notice Lakitu is flying around you. He was once an enemy of yours, as he used to throw spineys (or spiked koopas) at you. Though for this game, he is your official cameraman. You now have full camera control, and you can just have Mario stand there as you can press the yellow C buttons to gaze upon the background. Anyways, once you enter the castle, a voice barks out for you to leave. Oh no! That sounds like the Koopa King, Bowser! As you talk to some of the Toads (the mushroom retainers) around the castle, you realize that Bowser is now in control of the castle, and stole all the 120 power stars. Now the painting that hang all over the castle can come to life. So as you enter a room with a bomb-omb painting, you realize that there is more than just the castle to explore. So as you jump into the painting, there is a new world for you to explore, and your adventure begins. You must find the power stars, and save Princess Peach from Bowser's grasps.
Back in the 2D days, it was just plain side-scrolling. It was all very straight forward. Though now in this game, it makes a terrific jump into 3D, and you have now many worlds to explore. That's all you'll want to do in this game. Venture all the different unique worlds that are so beautifully designed. Each of them are different. One is a battlefield with a mountain, another is a fortress in the sky, another is a world of snow and ice. Some even have their own little unique characteristics. One, you control water levels (no, it's not like in the LoZ: OoT's Water Temple, don't worry), in another, you change size greatly, making it seem like 2 different worlds, and in another one, you go back to Super Mario Bros 2 gameplay with a flying carpet that you use to explore.
There are 6 different power stars in each level, 15 different worlds, and 120 stars overall. There are stars that you can find outside of these 15 worlds, and there are these "Bowser worlds" which are where you can confront Bowser. You can find stars there. The tasks that you do in order to find the stars are all great. Some are easy and quick to find. Though others will have you searching for a long time, or maybe will just simply put your 3D skills to the test. Not all the stars are easy to find. You don't need all 120 stars to beat the game (you need only 70), but once you beat the game, it will still not feel complete unless if you get all 120 stars. So the search goes on. Plus, there are many other secrets to discover that will keep you playing this game for a long time.
In order for a game to have the feel that makes you want to explore every corner of the game, it needs more then just large lands. It also needs great controls. Though have no fear, cause that is another huge plus for this game. The controls are easy to learn, though are hard to master, and that's exactly what you want. When you first pick up this game, you'll easily get right into it, since the controls are simple. A to jump, B to punch/grab, C buttons for camera control, Z to lock camera straight ahead, and that's all you need to know for the while. They take little time to get used to. However, if you want to explore every corner, and get all 120 stars, it will take more than just these basic moves to do it. You'll need to be able to do triple wall back jumps, super long jumps, be able to do a triple front flip in a second with ease... I can keep on going, though I'll stop for now. These are moves that I doubt beginners will be able to accomplish in their first few hours of gameplay. It will require practice. It will require trial and error. It will require patience. All of this just makes up for a great long lasting game that will just give you an unforgettable experience.
If they kept this game simple with these nice controls, that's all this game would really need. Though this game has more than that. There are 3 different caps for Mario to wear (well, 4 if you include his regular cap). There is a flying cap, which obviously lets you fly. This alone is just sensational, especially with the way it's executed. All you need is to do is a triple front flip, and you'll be soaring. There are also lots of canons in some worlds, and that will equal for an awesome little fly through the air for several seconds. You will need to be able to do this to get some of the power stars, though you'll still want to just spend some time to just soar through the air with this cap, and see the worlds from above. Though wait, that's just one cap. Well, it's really the best cap. Though the others are great as well. The next cap on the list is the metal cap. Slip this cap on, and you're Metal Mario. In a lot of games (including this one), if you hit an enemy just square on, you take the damage. Though if put this cap on, that's switched around. So then you're given a few seconds of invincibility. It also allows you to run around underwater. Even though it's slow, it still makes quite a nice experience. Though it's just plain fun simply running around with this cap on. Anyways, the final cap is an Invisibility Cap. This one makes you transparent. Even though this one is somewhat under-utilized, it does make you invisible, so enemies can't see you and can't hurt you. You can also run through walls, though it's only through certain walls. Speaking of caps and their importance, it does make you wonder how important wearing a cap is. In this game, if you're caught not wearing a cap at all, life is just worse for you. Damage is multiplied. So if you lose your regular cap, you better be scouring the level in which you lost it. Cause it aint going to magically just appear right in front of you. It is weird how a a cap is like armor for you. Though then again, we must remember, this is Mario... Everything is weird in Mario.
So you got awesome caps and awesome controls... What more could you ask for? Well, even if you don't ask for more, this game does give you more anyways. Even though I've covered already all of the major stuff, there is still minor stuff that does add to your experience. This game is pretty big on sliding. There are several cases where it just seems that all you need to do is slide. Nothing more. As we all know, sliding is fun. There is shells which you can ride on, like as if on a snowboard. There are boxes which like to jump. This is where wrangling skills come in. Yes, you have to wrangle boxes in this game. You also have to fly carpets, boards, and ride massive monsters. It sometimes feels like there is everything for you to do in this game. Explore toxic mines, race koopas, go ghost (boo) hunting, chase down bunnies... This is not a game that you can get bored of so quickly. With some much to do, so much to discover, it just never ends with this game.
Graphics aren't the most important parts of a game, but they sure do help add to the experience, especially in a large exploration game such as this. The graphics in this game are super. When jumping into 3D, graphics can be a tough thing to work on for the developers, but with this game, they're just excellent. With the good camera transitions, you can really see how the graphics just uphold in most areas. Everything is well detailed, and just plain looks good. My only complaints are that there are a few minor rough edges, and the fact that anything outside the borders are just plain sky. That's not a huge complaint, but it just doesn't look all that great. Though other than that, this is Mario's first real 3D adventure, and the graphics sure do a good job of backing him up.
The sound of the game is great. It's all in MIDI format ofcourse, though remember, this is the past, and the MIDIs of this game still sound really good. The music is all good. It's not the most epic music we've heard. It can be a bit improved on in a few areas. Though overall, it just is great. The sound effects are good too. Though the sound the game makes when you move around the camera does get annoying. The character voices are very good. Well, the only characters that really do make voices are Mario, Peach, and Bowser. Though it's still well done. A lot of the characters also do have their own little noises, which are done to a good degree. Overall, the sound is very good.
This is a very replayable game, and it's easy to log on long hours for this game. As mentioned earlier, the feel of this game makes you want to explore this game to such a degree that you just can't say you're done the game until you've searched every corner, unlocked every possible thing, discover all the secrets. There was even once a rumor that Luigi could be in the game. That caused a frantic search, and probably every corner was explored just cause of one simple rumor. There are also many glitches that gamers would want to find and uncover in this game. Or maybe people would just want to play this game so much that they can get good enough to be able to do some unbelievable techniques. Though just making file after file just for the fun of it is a big possibility as well. Whatever the case, you'll be logging long hours on this game once you're into it. This is a very replayable game that you'll be wanting to get back to every once in a while, even though this game was released over a decade ago.
Mario helps videogaming make another huge jump. What's new? This game brought the birth of the 3D era, and in a masterful way. From the moment you first gain control of Mario, you'll just be wanting to be cover every inch of this huge game. With some many different worlds that are so well designed, you're not done this game until you've done every possible thing in this game. With so much to do, so much to uncover, so much to master, you'll be playing this game a lot. The graphics also add to this exceptional experience, and the sound is very well done too. Overall, this is another game that should be considered one of the most influential of all time, and simply, one of the best.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/04/07
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