Review by X-Naut
"Why haven't I sold my N64 yet? Oh, yeah. That Mario 64 game."
Mario is perhaps the most widely-known video game character there is. His classic platform action during the NES age was the inspiration for many games today. They're also some of the most cherished. From the original Donkey Kong, to the Mario Bros arcade game, to the Super Mario Bros series, to the Super Mario World series, to all those miscellaneous sports titles Mario's been in, Mario is the man. Super Mario 64 is the game that absolutely saves my Nintendo 64 from becoming a doorstop to my garage. It's truly an amazing 3-D platformer.
Mario can move freely in all directions and execute many different moves, like run, kick, swim, and of course, jump. The main goal of the game is to collect the power stars that are hidden inside each of the stages. There are about 15 main courses in the game to explore.
Same old, same old. Any of you familiar with the Mario games know how the story goes. Mario arrives at Peach's castle expecting a cake from his 'beloved'. However, he soon realizes that, once again, Peach has been kidnapped by you-know-who! Why does this always happen? Probably because Bowser still holds a grudge about Baby Mario kicking his butt in Yoshi's Island, when the two technically first met. So Mario has to go out and save her using the castle's power stars (at least that's new).
Very diverse. Super Mario 64 offers a wide variety of gameplay. Some of Mario's basic moves aside from the obvious jump attack include wall kicks, swimming, the triple jump, and sliding. Wall kicks are useful for reaching high places by bouncing off of two adjacent walls. The triple jump also helps you reach high places. Sliding is useful for diving after objects or speeding down slopes. There are a total of 15 different stages to explore. The stages are normally accessed by jumping through paintings, though there are some exceptions. Several environments include Cool, Cool Mountain, a snowy mountain, and Big Boo's Haunt, a gigantic ghost house.
You'll meet several familiar faces in this game. The Toads are scattered throughout the castle and usually offer you tips or rewards. Classic enemies also make re-appearances, like the Goombas, Bob-ombs, Thwomps, Wigglers, and Koopa Troopas. Super Mario 64 is also the first game in which a few now-well-known foes make an appearance, such as the Whomps, the Amps, and so on. Exclusive to Super Mario 64 are the Power Stars. There are 120 total stars in the game, and in order to access a new area, you must have a certain amount. Stars must be obtained specific ways, and each star has a name which gives you a hint at where to find it. Often times you'll have to defeat bosses, find a secret room, or collect a certain amount of coins.
There are 3 different kinds of caps you can receive. First off is the wing cap, which lets you fly for a shot period of time, allowing you to collect coins high in the air. Second is the metal cap, which turns Mario into solid metal. This makes you heavier and allows you to walk underwater and slip through poison gas safely. Third is the vanish cap which makes you invisible and allows you to pass through mesh gates and boo portraits.
Some of the funnest parts about this game are the numerous slide challenges you'll have to face. Sometimes, you'll have to race another character, while other times, you simply have to slide to the end without falling over the sides. Mush easier said than done, my friend.
Super Mario 64 is also when 3-D camera view was introduced to console games (well, the N64's at least). Of course, when they started out, the view wasn't the greatest. Still, it can be adjusted quite easily and only may get frozen behind thinner walls. And there's nothing too glitchy that should hinder your adventures. It gets stuck quite a few times, though.
Some fans may be disappointed by the lack of multiplayer, but really shouldn't be. How the heck are you supposed to turn a platformer game like Mario into multiplayer, anyway? Okay, the arcade Mario Bros game, but that's about it. Likewise, Super Mario 64 is best left as a one-player game, but it can still be played with friends if you don't mind switching off.
Very bright and cheerful. Okay, try to remember back to what good graphics were classified as in the days of the N64 and the PS1. Whew, this is going to be quite interesting and slightly disorienting. Anyways, Super Mario 64 contains your typical Mario graphics. Fairly solid colors and graphics make an appearance. Nothing extremely high-res, but it all works out. It's not all that blurry for the most part, either.
Rather upbeat. Though no classic themes are returning for the most part, Super Mario 64 introduces some fairly catchy themes to Mario's world, particularly the slide theme and the castle theme. One of my favorite sounds is Bowser's evil laugh. Another positive aspect is that none of the tunes are in any way nerve-racking or overly annoying (minus the baby penguins crying).
This is the final category I'm going over. With 120 different power stars to collect, Super Mario 64 should keep you occupied for quite some time. Even after you rescue Princess Peach and do all that other pathetic stuff, there's always more to get into. As for playing the whole game a second time through, once you're done playing, you're probably done for quite some time. Maybe about a year later you'll want to jump right back in for more (heck, more than 7 years later even I still play sometimes!).
If there was one quality title the Nintendo 64 had to offer, this would be it. I urge you to go out and track this game down. I suggest looking at a place that sells used games. You won't be disappointed with this one.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/18/04
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