Review by MightyCh04s

"Overrated, overhyped, and outclassed"

There are so many games out there gets so much love and treated as this “perfect” game so many times a year; Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye 007, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Banjo Kazooie, and most importantly, this game, Super Mario 64. The problem with these games is that if ANY sequel or follow up comes out, it is ALWAYS deemed as a one of the worst games of all time JUST because it does not live up to the impossible high expectations of the rose-tinted Nintendo 64/SSBM fanboys. The follow ups of Super Mario 64 are: Super Mario Sunshine for the Nintendo Gamecube and Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Wii, which of course are the prey for the people who preach Super Mario 64 as god.

I have played SMS and SMG, and found them to be the pinnacle of Mario games (with New Super Mario Bros for the DS, did not play the Wii version yet). The gameplay and funfactor were very phenomenal and each classic felt like I was playing a novel. Super Mario Sunshine with the surprisingly fun water pack that makes the gameplay very enjoyable and doubles as a hover pack/rocket/turbo. Super Mario Galaxy with the many powerups, amazing variety of levels, boatloads of SMB1/3/World elements, groundbreaking soundtrack, and phenomenal level design that unmatched even to this day. Despite the overwhelming amount of good aspects of those games, people still consider those games to be the worst games they ever played and find them unplayable. At the same time, they claim that Super Mario 64 is far superior and has no flaws what so ever. They always claim that SMS and SMG are horrible games compared to SM64. I must also note that many of these people have usernames that have “Mario”, “Nintendo”, or something similar to that extent.

Having been overwhelming impressed with the “bad” games, I figured that they must right, because if those 2 games are apparently inferior to Super Mario 64 then obviously that game must be one amazing title. So I bought and downloaded Super Mario 64 from the Wii Virtual Console and prepared to play a very perfect flawless game that far surpasses what SMS/SMG had to offer.

Oh boy. Were they ever wrong. The game turns out to be FAR from perfect and absolutely NOTHING like what they have actually claimed it to be. It seems these people have played Super Mario 64 on their Nintendo 64's when it was released and loved it so much and pretty much claim it's perfect purely because of the nostalgia. Rather than a perfect game that far outclasses the successors, I get extremely disappointing game that meets none of the unrealistic expectations based on the nostalgic overglorification of this game. This game is far from the greatness of Sunshine and Galaxy; those are much farther in perfection than Super Mario 64.

The graphics in this game are amazing. They may seem blocky today but in 1996 they were very well made. You rarely saw anything like this and it was done so much better than any 3D game at the time. The visuals were very stunning and really made the game look extremely well. Showed an example of how well the graphics on the Nintendo 64 was.

The music is also good here, too. It is right up the with many of the Nintendo 64's greatest soundtracks and is up to par with the Mario games. It fits Mario to a T and is very catchy to hear. The sounds are a little odd, but are not really bad at all. Charles Martinet is a phenomenal voice of Mario and really does his character well.

The controls, however are not really the best, they feel a little loose and nowhere nearly as tight as the other Mario games. In fact it is more slippery than in the original Super Mario Bros. game. The control was never really good on the Nintendo 64 with the analog stick and it does not make it any better on the Gamecube or Classic controller. But at least the controls are decent and not broken at all.

The gameplay however is very underwhelming, it is barely impressive and does not play well compared to other Super Mario games 2D and 3D alike. There only 3 Powerups in the game which is nothing compared to Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Bros. 3 and New Super Mario Bros., but the even worse the powerups are not effective at all. The wing cap is a poorly programmed mess that makes the flying not fun at all (unlike in the other Mario games like 3 and World where the flying really enhanced the game's playability). It controls poorly and in some places, it becomes a frustrating headache to even try. The other 2 caps are simple comsmetic changes to Mario's appearance to make him grey or transparent, which does nothing more than to sink underwater or go through certain walls, respectively. Barely any good compared to the offense Fire Flower, Hammer Suit, or Cape of the previous games.

The hub world is in Peach's castle which for some reason houses so many worlds. You collect stars to reach further into the castle. The Worlds have a wide range from fields, underwater, snowy areas, deserts, lava areas, clocks, rainbows, and many more places to go. Some areas are recycled and seem like a lazy way to add more stars (just like the stupid rabbit minigame and the free stars from Toad). Others have bland gimmicks like Wet-Dry World and Tiny Huge Island that are just bland to play through and have horrible level design that makes the game experience frustrating. They are also worlds like Lethal Lava Land and Shifting Sand Land that are filled with death traps that either continuously hurt you or kill you instantly and the level design in those games are much worse, getting stars in this level is not fun and only ruins the game further.

One very annoying aspect is than in some levels that have you reach the top. Since the flying is terrible in this game, there is no reliable way to save yourself from a fall, so if you get hit an enemy or miss a jump, you either fall to the oblivion or go back all over again. This does not add challenge to the game, it makes more annoying tedious.
The worst part about this game is the extremely poor camera. If you go through certain places or jump at certain angles the camera will always shift. You will have to keep changing the camera if you do not want to fall of and die, because many times you will not see where you are going and fall to your doom. This is a persistent problem that happens time and time again and hinders the game pretty bad. It also does not help to the abysmal flying mechanics that are poorly done, instead making the flying a total nightmare to do. The camera alone makes to game not fun at many times and is heavily improved in the successors, which are far superior to Super Mario 64.

The storyline is the same old paper-thin Bowser kidnaps Peach dilemma. Overdone and not developed but the same goes for the other Mario platformers so it does not really affect the game as bad as the gameplay and camera.

Almost all the bosses are vey easy to beat. One boss is defeating by throwing him 2-3 and another is defeat with a few ground pounds. In the other side of the spectrum, the final Boss is hard to beat because of the poor collision detection that hits you when you are not supposed to be hit.

This game has low replay value. I've beaten the game and never really picked this game up ever again because of how disappointing it is. Many of the levels are not as fun to play as and some of the levels are pretty bad, so I see no reason to torture or bore myself into getting every star, which rewards you with 100 pointless lives. Meanwhile I still play Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy from time to time and willingly got all shines/stars in those games with both Mario and Luigi in the latter.

Super Mario 64 is a disappointing overrated game that does not live up to all those glowing biased reviews out there. In that same token, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario are not the worst games or worst Mario titles (if you played the educational games or Hotel Mario you will understand). I find myself bored with this game and I cannot believe people love this underwhelming as if it was god. This game is not really a horrible game, but it fails to justify the massive praise that is tied to these games.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 11/23/09

Game Release: Super Mario 64 (US, 11/19/06)


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