Review by Tenshi No Shi

"Mama mia! It's a-Mario and he's revolutionized 3D platformers!"

I love the launch of a new game system, and what better software to launch with a new system than a mascot title? Apparently Nintendo thinks that a Mario game is required for every new system's launch, just take a look at the record: NES - Super Mario Bros., Gameboy - Super Mario Land, Super NES - Super Mario World, and finally the Nintendo 64 - Super Mario 64. While Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Land, and Super Mario World are all required in your game library if you own their respective systems, what of Super Mario 64 and its bold leap into the realm of 3D?

For a surprise twist, we find that this time Mario has kidnapped Bowser and its up to Peach to rescue her arch-nemesis...Just kidding. As in most Mario games, the Princess has once again allowed herself to be captured by the vile Bowser, who has turned her castle into world unto itself. Mario much collect enough magical stars to unlock the seals Bowser has placed on certain doors to progress deeper into the castle on your quest to rescue Peach. Okay, so Super Mario 64 doesn't exactly have a fresh plot, but who cares, it'sa Mario!

Even now the graphics for Super Mario 64 are pretty amazing. While maybe not as detailed as Banjo-Kazooie, considering it was the very first game available for the new system, its damn impressive none-the-less. Expansive levels and bright colors are the key to Super Mario 64's success, with a cartoony style and quick animation to support it. My only complaint is that even for a first-generation title, some of the textures seemed a bit boring, even back when it first came out, but I guess that's to be expected in a game as ambitious as this.

Ah yes...nothing like the familiar sound of the now infamous Mario theme. Music is, of course, one of the biggest trademarks to Mario's name, and Super Mario 64 continues the tradition set be previous installments. Obviously, Nintendo couldn't use the same old songs, so they jazzed them up a bit and made them more level specific to keep things fresh. The result? Well, let's just say that all these years later, I still remember most of the tunes found in this game. Also returning are the familiar sounds of Mario's power-up, the kick of a turtle shell, and the stomping of the mushroom people (damn those traitors of the Kingdom). As an added treat, we finally hear Mario talk! Woohoo! It's not much (he mainly mumbles about pastas and says his name) but it shows more of what the N64 can do to potential purchasers.

What good would a new Mario game be without good controls? I don't know and thankfully I don't have to answer that question because the controls for Super Mario 64 are perfect. Mario handles himself well in 3D, especially with the use of the analog controller, implementing a stunning array of new moves to help you make your way through his latest challenges. In fact, I can't think of a single complaint I have about the controls, even playing the game again three years later. Yup, perfection about sums it all up.

If you're not down with Super Mario 64's design, I've got two words for you: Mister Miyamoto! While this may seem like an odd choice of words, if you know of Mr. Miyamoto, then you know of his next to god-like powers for creating a fun game. Mario has to do more than just find these stars or collect coins to get them; he has to solve puzzles to earn them. This is what makes playing Super Mario 64 so fun to play because there are dozens upon dozens of different ways to get all 120 stars. Plus, you don't actually have to collect all 120 stars to beat the game, making it easier for the younger folk to play this game.

A paltry offering as far as bonuses go, Super Mario 64 offers you but a tiny reward for collecting all 120 stars; a slightly different ending (and I do mean slight) and you get to meet Yoshi (who maxes out your lives). Considering all you have to do is actually beat Bowser (and given the fact that when you do run out of lives, it doesn't take much to get back to where you were) this is a very small reward indeed. Still, you get to see Yoshi before Nintendo made him useless with Yoshi's Story.

Super Mario 64 is a must-own if you have the Nintendo 64, and there's really no excuse not to have it since it can generally be found for under ten bucks, plus it's been ported to the Nintendo DS and released on the Wii's Virtual Console service. So what are you waiting for- go get it already!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/12/09

Game Release: Super Mario 64 (US, 09/26/96)

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