Review by Sour DieseL
"One of the many Mario games to stand the test of time"
In traditional Nintendo fashion, a Mario game was released with the launch of the Nintendo 64. The console was the first major forray into 3D by Nintendo, wanting to compete with the successful Sony PlayStation and keep it's hold on the gaming market. Super Mario 64 was a launch title that garnered a lot of attention and love. And rightfully so. It was Mario's first major 3D game and it delivered, hands-down, one of the greatest gaming experiences ever known. Right up there with the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario World. Here we're going to take a look back into the past to see what made this game so great, and why it's so well-deserved of the love it still receives today.
Story: 10/10: Mario receives a letter from his love and quite often, damsel in distress, to meet her at the castle, because she baked him a cake. However, Princess Peach had been kidnapped once again by Bowser, who used the power of the castle's stars to do so. Mario must once again embark on a journey to save the imprisoned princess from the King Koopa. To do so he must seek out the power of the stars to break Bowser's hold on the castle. Most of the paintings in the castle lead to other worlds (levels) that Mario must jump into. Each of the worlds holds the stars that Mario seeks out, which are protected by Bowser's minions. Along the way he'll find Toad who will occasionally help out, albeit not very much. Mario must reclaim the stars and put an end to Bowser's evil scheme.
Game-play: 10/10: The first Mario game in 3D gives a great game-play experience. Mario runs as he often does, picking up a bit of speed. When running at full steam, Mario can execute a jumping combo. Each time he lands and jumps again, he'll go a bit higher than before, finishing off the with the third, which causes him to jump to tremendous heights with a flip. Mario can also jump into the air and flip, and then slam down, performing a ground pound. This is helpful for taking out certain blocks and enemies. And now Mario can even punch and kick his foes! You'll be jumping, punching, grabbing, and slamming your way through Bowser's minions as you explore each world in the castle. Mario can also swim, but only for a short amount of time. Mario has a life gauge in a pie-shape, which turns blue and begins to run out if he's underwater for too long.
To help, you'll be activating switches in a similar fashion to the way you did in Super Mario World. There are Red, Blue, and Green blocks, each of which gives Mario a different cap to wear that imbues him with a special ability for a short period of time. The red blocks will give Mario a cap that has wings on it, giving him the ability to fly. This ability will be needed to get several of the game's stars. Once the cap is on, run as fast as you can, and jump into the air! You'll be able to reach plenty of places that you couldn't before, and there is a world or special stage or two tailored to depend on this ability. Then there are the blue blocks, which gives Mario a cap that makes him invisible. Once again, this will allow you to enter new areas phasing through gates, gratings, and lattices. Plus you'll have the ability to walk right through enemies without taking damage. And then there's the green blocks, which give Mario a cap that will make him metal. It has it's pros and cons, this cap does. Your mobility is greatly reduced due to being so heavy, and you won't be able to execute those high jumps. Mario will also immediately sink to the bottom of a body of water with this cap, sometimes allowing access to new areas that you couldn't swim to, perhaps because of currents. This power also makes Mario invincible, so enjoy!
Each world has a goal to get or complete to get a star. Most worlds have six stars. Completing a certain task may earn you a star or you may have to find it. You'll find 5 objectives, one for each star. The final star to be gotten in each world is earned when you acquire one hundred coins. Goals for some of the other stars include racing against one of Bowser's minions for a star, or defeating a large, boss-like character. After getting a certain amount, a large door with a star emblem will be unlocked that will lead to a stage where Bowser awaits you at the end. Defeating him will net you a large key, which will open up a new area of the castle, thus allowing you access into more of the worlds. There are 120 stars in all, so happy hunting!
Graphics: 10/10: At the time the game was released, the graphics where simply amazing and beautiful. And they've aged very well. Environments and the characters and enemies are all in 3D, setting a great, fun atmosphere. The textures are smooth and look great to this day. They did an excellent job and put a lot of work into this game. When flying in some stages you'll be able to go right through clouds, causing you to burst out of the cloud each time leaving behind a slight, misty trail behind you. The castle is pretty detailed and colorful, as are all of the stages. I'm not too worried about graphics when it comes to game-play but again, they did a fantastic job here.
Sound: 10/10: Once again, they did an excellent job here. They remixed only slightly some of the classic Mario tracks, helping give the game a modern feel. The voice for Mario would become easily recognizable, with his high-pitched Italian voice and trademark "It's-a-me! Mario!". This game was the first to put a voice with the characters. Princess Peach sounding sweet and innocent, and Bowser with a powerful, thunderous roar. And all of the musical tracks fit well. The one I have to mention is Bowser's theme, which consists of three, heavy riffs from an electric guitar. At least it sounds like it anyway. If it isn't, they sure fooled me! Overall the music provides a great atmosphere for the game and it was a wonderful effort by the composers and voice actors.
Overall: 10/10: Hailed as one of the greatest games of all time, if you're a Mario fan and haven't gotten this game yet, go ahead and find yourself a copy if your Nintendo 64 is still alive. One of the strongest entries to the series since Super Mario Bros. 3, this game is definitely worth owning and shouldn't be missed out by anybody.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/09/10
Game Release: Super Mario 64 (US, 09/26/96)
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