Review by Braben

"Mario reinvents a genre and........succeeds!"

Shigeru Miyamoto had a behemoth task with this game, because he had to make a Super Mario game, not just an ordinary game, making a Super Mario game means starting a revolution, like he did with Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World. And ok, Super Mario 64 is not nearly as good as the previous Mario games, but is worthy of the Super Mario saga, and an instant classic.

You are not going to believe it, but it involves a princess, a big dinosaur who likes to kidnap people, and a fat yet very skilled Italian plumber, if we mix everything we get Super Mario 64’s plot (as well as any other Super Mario game excepting for the American version of Super Mario Bros. 2).

Graphics 10/10:
Before being released this was probably the most interesting thing about the game. The graphics are great and in my opinion better than in any other 3D platformers for the N64 because they are not all that blurry (excepting for the trees found in some scenarios, which are sprites that look pretty ugly in a completely 3D world, sprites always look bad among 3D elements) and the colours, while simpler than most of the 3D platformers released after, make the overall look of the game nicer.

Music 9/10:
Sure it is very funny and catchy, but when compared with the unforgettable tunes of the previous games everything is a little bit disappointing musically, just a little bit, but more musical tracks could have been nice without doubt. The music maybe is not all that good for a Mario game, but excellent anyway.
Mario also has a voice this time, he just shouts or says things “yuju”, but his voice sounds very cool, and with a nice Italian accent.

Gameplay 10/10:
Mario’s movements are perfect, despite his big belly Mario is fast as hell, he is able to move extremely fast and with an amazing accuracy, he has some new movements like double or even triple jumps, punches, kicks, etc, and doing them with the N64 3D stick is pleasure.

If there is a word that describes Super Mario 64’s gameplay that is “explore”, the stages never end, I mean, they are not stages exactly, most of them are little worlds, they don’t have a staring point nor an ending one. We begin at the entrance of the Mushroom Castle, from there we will have to look for the entrances of each world.

The game is divided in 15 courses, and in each one your mission is to obtain 8 stars, you don’t need to find all the stars, but in order to gain access to new courses you will need a certain number of them, so you will have to go back and look for more if you don’t have enough. At the beginning of each world we will be given a little hint about the location of a star, from that hint we have to try to guess where it is, this is FUN, F-U-N, it is great, really, one of the things I liked the most.

Not all the stars are obtained that way, two of them are always found by collecting all the coins (100 yellow and 8 red) each stage has. Sometimes obtaining all the coins is very difficult, but always extremely fun.

One of the things I like the most about the world of Super Mario 64 is that most of the courses are not the typical forests or castles, marshes, and things like that, they are like in the previous games, a weird mix without too much logic, some of them just look like if they were made only by a bunch of Lego pieces, that adds a nice “odd” feel to the game.

In terms of items, from the previous games we only have those coloured switches, the 1up green mushrooms, and the stars, because the legendary Mushrooms, Flowers and such are no longer here, and the switches work in a different way, this time after activating them we will obtain three kinds of caps with different abilities, the red switches will let us fly, then we have the green one to turn us into a steel Mario, and the last one (the yellow switch) is to make us invisible. We’ll need these abilities to obtain some stars. Sometimes it is also possible to loose our cap, if that happens we will have to look for it quickly, because Mario is less resistant without it.

The camera works perfectly, you can move it freely most of the time, and when it is still, it works too. I always read complaints about how annoying are the camera movements are in most 3D platformers, I have never had this problem, maybe it is because I have only played Nintendo’s 3D platformers, and in Nintendo they are experts when it comes to make a perfect gameplay, but here you are not going to have the slightest problem with the camera, we can do basically whatever we want with it using the C-Buttons.

Perfect gameplay, just what anyone would expect from Mario and from a Nintendo game, the only thing that I miss here are Yoshi and Luigi, Yoshi has a little appearance at the end of the game, but Luigi is lost somewhere else.

Replay Value:
Finding all the 120 stars requires time, thankfully, because it is all the replay value you are going to find. I was a little bit disappointed here, because Mario games normally have tons of replay value, with hidden stages and uncountable secrets. There are a lot of bugs and some other funny things to see, but those are not secrets, and I have never liked to find bugs. The replay value, while not near as high, original and entertaining that in the previous games, it is high good enough.

As a result:
Maybe Super Mario 64 is not as good as Super Mario World, but it is close, and being close to one of the best games in existence means that this is one hell of a game, and it certainly is. And let’s not forget something, this is not an ordinary game, this is a Mario game!, you just can’t consider yourself a video game fan without having played the last Mario game, it is like an access card to continue playing the rest of games, no matter in which console, it is like a tribute we have to pay, a tribute that HAS to be paid. The only problem this game has are all the clones that were later designed because of its success and that ruined the 3D platform genre. Oh!, and it is also the best 3D platfomrer of all time (and it is probably always going to be the best one).

”My lack of vocabulary and grammatical errors (if there’s any) are because I’m not from an English speaking country, sorry about that.”

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 02/22/04

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