Review by zenGOSM
I first played this game long long ago, when I was much younger. This is the game that made me want a Nintendo 64, and this is the game that defined the 3d platformer. Some also say that it was the last good Mario game before Super Mario Galaxy, though I've never played Super Mario Sunshine, so I won't make a call on that one. I remember back in the day thinking about how cool this game was, you could run around not limited by 2d screen, and you could climb trees! For one reason or another, I never managed to get this game for the Nintendo 64, but it was one of the first games that I downloaded for my virtual console.
This game redefined the platform genre. You are in the Princess's castle, and from there you can access all the other worlds in the game. The goal is to collect as many power stars as you can, which are hidden in each level. Some hidden stars are also in the castle itself. This game takes a large turn away from previous Mario games in several areas, primarily the fact that it is in 3d, and the conventional power ups aren't around anymore. You can unlock three special hats, which then appear in special blocks in all the worlds, sort of like the special block switches in Super Mario World. There's the wing hat, which lets you fly, there's the the metal hat which turns you into metal, making you invincible and makes you sink when you jump in water, and there's the invisible hat which prevents enemies from seeing you and it also lets you walk through certain walls. There are a few control issues that take getting used to, mainly with the joystick, but for the most part the gameplay is very solid. The game is rather easy to begin with, but as you progress through the game, it gets much much harder. By the end of my play through, I was trying my hardest to find the easiest stars to get so I could just finish the game. Of course, I also hear there are special rewards for anyone who manages to find all the stars in the game.
Platformers traditionally don't have much in the way of stories. It's usually just enough to get the job done. Mario 64 is no different. Princess Peach has invited Mario over to her castle for some cake, which is a lie. The Princess is trapped inside the walls of her castle along with all the other inhabitants, and Mario needs to collect the power stars in order to let them out. Who could have done such a vile deed? Who else but Bowser? Very simple, but it works.
These are pretty good for the N64. Not horrible. They haven't aged the best, but they have aged better than some games. Just don't play it immediately after playing a lot of Super Mario Galaxy and you should be alright.
Not too bad. The music isn't too memorable, but I think it was pretty good. All the sound effects make sense, and there aren't any major problems with it. It complements the game very nicely.
If you like 3D platformers, this one might be for you. If you're like me, and want it for your game collection, it's a classic that you should pick up if you don't have it already. If you're more of a fan of the older Mario games than the newer ones, you might want to stay away.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/02/08
Game Release: Super Mario 64 (US, 11/19/06)
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