Review by Volteon

"Mario's first adventure on the Nintendo 64 is quite the success."

Super Mario 64 was the first 3D video game developed and published by Nintendo. Considering this was the first 3D game Nintendo had produced, it's extraordinarily impressive how well the game turned out. You can clearly acknowledge how much endeavoring the developers put into this game's creation. Super Mario 64 is one the most renowned video games in existence. The concept behind the game was considered so remarkable that it influenced numerous game designers to create their own ideas based off this masterpiece. Very few platforming games are capable of rivaling this game in terms of its exceptionality, and I shall go into detail to explain further what makes this game so outstanding. However, this game has one major flaw, preventing me from giving it a 10/10 rating. That imperfection will be described near the conclusion of this review.

First and foremost, I will describe the game's greatest element - the gameplay. This game contains a total of 15 vivid worlds to venture through. Unlike the majority of platforming games made prior to Super Mario 64, this game isn't linear, leaving you free to explore through the breathtaking worlds and enjoy your surroundings. Contrary to preceding Mario platformers, you won't be forced to contend with any time limitations, so you can take your time exploring the vast, diverse areas. Each world consists of familiar enemies, such as Goombas, Koopas, Bob-ombs, and other recognizable creatures.

You will also encounter friendly characters who will be glad to assist you, or request your help in exchange for a star. There are seven stars scattered in each world that you'll need to retrieve. You will be primarily collecting these stars throughout the game, as they are necessary for unlocking new areas and completing the game. Additionally, they are required for accessing the areas where you engage in a boss battle. Not only are there a multitude of mini-bosses spread throughout the 15 worlds, but you will also encounter a familiar nemesis, none other than Bowser. You will get the opportunity to engage in combat with him a few times during your adventure. Some worlds hold special power-ups which enhance Mario's abilities, allowing him to do atypical things, such as soaring through the air by exploiting a wing cap. Overall, Super Mario 64's gameplay is excellent and few games can compete with it in that department.

Super Mario 64's graphics are coequal with its gameplay in terms of excellence. Upon its initial release, the graphics looked vastly superior to virtually any other video game ever created. All the character's polygons are arranged almost flawlessly. Mario has developed a handsome image upon transitioning to 3D. Bowser looks evidently terrifying, and his minions all look like typical troublesome creatures. The worlds are all beautiful, and I'd consider them to be eye candy. Likewise, the sounds and music in this game are also excellent. Each world has a unique theme associated with it, and the majority of those songs are enjoyable to listen to and accommodate their respective area rather well. The music's atmosphere will vary greatly, from a soothing melody underwater to an intense boss theme. This is the first game featuring Mario where the mustachioed plumber has a voice. Mario will make sound effects upon jumping, kicking, and performing other actions, which is a neat new feature.

Unlike the gameplay and graphics, the storyline is not impressive at all. Once again, Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach and holds her hostage, taunting Mario to heroically chase after her in pursuit. The search for the princess starts with Peach baking a cake for Mario and inviting him to her enormous castle. Once Mario arrives, he is greeted by villainous laughter, inferring that the princess is in trouble. This plot is nearly identical to preceding Mario platformers, and after being reprocessed for over ten years we can unanimously declare this tale predictable and unimaginative. On the positive side, it's undeniably a captivating plotline, but only capable of charming someone the first time they perceive it. After hearing this cliche story a multitude of times, a new, innovative plotline would be much appreciated. However, in a platformer the gameplay is the most essential element, and the storyline is hardly an important element to making the game enjoyable, so I can't really denounce the game for its unoriginal plot. Albeit I'd certainly prefer a game containing some enjoyable dialogue and a protagonist that actually converses.

Now, for the major flaw that prevents me from awarding this game with a perfect score. This game is one of the first games to feature an adjustable camera. The camera is frustrating to operate, however, due to it being uncooperative. It's a controversial matter, with some people being satisfied with it and others being displeased. While I don't deem it a widespread annoyance, I'll occasionally experience difficulties due to the camera. For instance, sometimes I will attempt to cautiously navigate across a narrow walkway, and I desire the camera to be looking directly in front of me. Instead, the camera is slightly angled, making the walkway more inconvenient to reach. I've also experienced the camera automatically adjusting without provocation, which is quite bothersome. Overall, the camera is seldom a nuisance, however, it's not nearly enough to ruin the fun.

The replayability is this game is wonderful. Personally, I've beaten this game numerous times, more frequently than I can count. The non-linearity of this game greatly contributes to its replay value. In addition to collecting over one hundred stars all over again, one can also enjoy leisurely exploring the expansive worlds. If you don't feel like gathering stars, you can establish an entertaining task of your own, such as annihilating every single enemy you can track down with no remorse.

In conclusion, I definitely recommend that you purchase Super Mario 64. This game's popularity has led it to being remade on the Nintendo DS and released on the Wii's Virtual Console. Additionally, it won a Player's Choice Award and was commercially successful, selling 11.8 million copies. That makes this highly acclaimed masterpiece the seventh best selling video game of all time, and more importantly the best selling Nintendo 64 game. It's no surprise considering the outstanding gameplay, beautiful graphics, and excellent replayability. Do not hesitate in purchasing this awesome game!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/14/09

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

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