Review by Baradur

Reviewed: 06/20/03 | Updated: 06/20/03

A Truly Revolutionary Title

In the past, around the time the Super Nintendo was really popular, there were some 3-D games out there. They really weren't all that great though. The graphics were more advanced than anything anyone had seen before, but that's it; the gameplay, the sound and just about everything else just plain sucked. Of course, that was until Super Mario 64 came out. Mario 64 revolutionized the 3-D gaming world, showing everyone that it was possible to make a fully three dimensional game that was actually good. Super Mario 64 was arguably the first title out for the Nintendo 64 console, and still remains one of the most popular games for the platform today.

Gameplay -10/10- This is one of the many factors that separated Mario 64 from many of its early 3-D competitors. Unlike many of the other 3-D games out, Mario 64 could draw upon the previous games in the Mario series for ideas on gameplay, which gave them an automatic advantage over the competition. Jumping really high was a key component in the earlier Mario games, so it was included in the N64 version. The ideas of certain items giving Mario special powers was also drawn upon from Mario Brothers 1 and 3, but instead of things like mushrooms or flowers being the symbols for power-ups, they were represented by various caps for Mario to wear. Mario 64 also introduces several new concepts to the Mario series, like the abilities to punch, kick, pound the ground, or even get shot out of a cannon!

There is one other new feature that has been the subject of controversy over Mario 64 for many years: the camera. The power to control the camera is quite simple, the left and right C-buttons would move the camera to the side, and the up and down C-buttons would zoom in or zoom out. Many people have complained that the camera is the biggest weakness of Super Mario 64, but I myself, have yet to encounter a problem with it.

What you pretty much do in the game is run around in different levels, completing various tasks. For each task you get a star. There are 120 stars total, but for an unknown reason, you need far less than that to beat the game. This particular style of gameplay was new to the Mario series. The boss fights are also slightly more difficult this time. Before, you had to jump up and down repeatedly on a boss's head, or hurl objects at it a lot until it died. There are a few bosses like that in Mario 64, but most of them involve running around to the other side of the boss, grabbing it, and hurling it somewhere. The gameplay's pretty good in this game.

Challenge -9/10- Like all the Mario games, Super Mario 64 carries on the tradition of having a lot of difficulty. The game may seem easy at first, but it soon becomes apparent that there is more than meets the eye. Many of the star in the latter stages of the game are seemingly impossible to get, and the final Bowser fight is also pleasingly challenging.

Story -4/10- Like every Mario game before it (With the exception of Super Mario Bros. 2), the story is the same, ''The Princess has been kidnapped! Mario go save her!''. That's it. This may have been an interesting concept back in the early 80's, when the whole idea was fairly new, but in '96, when Mario 64 came out, the plot had become rather stale. I wish this game's story could have been a little more in depth, and could have answered some questions, such as, ''Why's an overweight Italian plumber hanging around with a princess who's always getting kidnapped by a big mutated turtle?''.

Graphics -10/10- When it comes to graphics, Super Mario 64 can even hold its own against the most recent N64 and PSone titles. Super Mario 64 may not have vast amounts of detail in it like Zelda 64, but at least it has some, unlike the original Starfox. Mario himself, is very well animated, and he has a variety of facial expressions to suit the position he's in. You can even notice him breathing on occasion. The levels are very expansive, and fearure many, many well drawn out enemies.

Sound -10/10- The sound is absolutely astounding for a game this old. Mario finally has a voice, and although it sounds kind of weird, it seems to suit him well. There are a huge variety of sound effects in Super Mario 64, including all the yells Mario makes when he punches someone. We may rarely ever hear the main Mario Bros. theme, but there are other good tracks in this game that make up for it.

Playtime/Replayability -10/10- Mario 64 is an extremely fun game. It's quite difficult to put down the controller at times. Even though there is an obvious lack of multiplayer, chances are you'll find yourself going back to try to beat Super Mario 64 again and again.

Rent or Buy? Do I really need to say it? Ok, I will, BUY!

Super Mario 64 set the standard for all 3-D games to come. Nobody's video game collection is complete without this classic.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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