Review by vgerx2001
"All of these years, and I still remember..."
Zelda, Sonic, Metroid, Metal Gear, Castlevania, Megaman, Donkey Kong, Contra, and Grand Theft Auto.
All of them different franchises in their own ways. All had 2D-to-3D video gaming translations. Some were wildly successful, others flopped. Yet whatever their fate was when they jumped into the 3D realm, one thing will remain a fact until the end of days and life:
They were all inspired by this game.
Super Mario 64.
If you were to ask me about my favorite game of all time, then all sorts of pleasant memories would immediately spring to mind: the thrill of just being a young gamer, screaming in joy when he finally got his copy of the long-anticipated Super Mario 64 for the newly received Nintendo 64, playing for hours at a time, already having expectations higher than the Twin Towers due to already having played the NES and SNES Mario games... only to have them multiplied ten fold. Just imagine my joy of having played a revolutionary step in gaming, and just imagine my bizzare combination of depression and satisfaction when the ending credits rolled, knowing that I have just finished one of the best games ever made. Just imagine.
An experience that would only be matched by playing Ocarina of Time just a few years later.
But nearly a decade later, this remains the video-game of preferrence by champions and legends.
And let me tell you just why...
So, what is it that makes this game so good? Let's start with the story for this game: Heroic plumber extraordinaire Mario has been invited to the castle of Princess Peach in the Mushroom Kingdom shortly after receiving a letter from her. When he gets there, he realizes that Peach and the stars are missing, thanks to the meddling of Bowser. Mario must travel into worlds inside paintings, to recover the stars, rescue Peach and give Bowser his latest WWE-style butt-kicking
Now, if there's any excuse that spoiled anti-Nintendo fanboys love to use when picking on their popular franchises, it will be the simple stories that each and every single Super Mario game have. Well, here's my response to these unjust attacks, which like the Mario storylines, happen to be short, sweet and straight to the point: **** OFF.
If you're pathetic enough that you're going to expect award-winning storytelling in the same fashion as JRR Tolkien, Stephen King or JK Rowling, then you deserve every bit of the disappointment that is going to come crumbling down on you, brother. This game is about reliving the same fond memories from the NES and SNES days, a worthwile storyline was never in the marquee of this game. If you need to satisfy any sort of need for complicated or deep plots, then play Final Fantasy. THIS is how Mario is, and that's how it should remain.
Rating: 8/10(Will NOT be used to sway the final score of this game)
Instead of doing what every other reviewer would unfortunately do to this game, I will instead do something different: review the visuals of this game, WITHOUT even acknowledging the existence of Super Mario Sunshine's polished GameCube look, Wind Waker's unbelievable use of cel-shading effects, the flawless sci-fi execution of Metroid Prime, or even the breakthrough use of computer animation seen in cinematic masterpieces like Finding Nemo... let's go back to the release of this game, when the Nintendo 64 was still a new product in the market...
Let us forget everything that came after this game, everything...
One word: WOW. Mario has been perfectly translated to 3D, and sure enough, it SHOULD inspire hordes of young developers to create their own successful platforming franchises. In my opinion, I couldn't ask for more from the geniouses at Nintendo. Everything looks at it should be: bright, colorful, and happy-go-lucky. EXACTLY what I imagined years before I saw the first few batch of screenshots, back when we were still playing with our SNES and colorless Game Boys.
Okay, now were back to the present. Remember what I said about this game inspiring others to create their own platforming franchises? Well, after playing awesome games like Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter and Sly Cooper, I think it already inspired such developers :)
Remember what I said about this game looking exactly as it should look? Well, the same applies to the whistles of this games: everything sounds as you'd expect it to be. Mario does his goofy trademark hooting and screaming when he jumps, the water effects are dead on, the music has the exact amount of cheeriness needed for this type of game, and most importantly, the satisfying soundbite when you collect coins. I really don't have much more to say about this.
Ahhh, gameplay gameplay gameplay... surely you must've heard the old saying by the wisest of gamers: A game with breakthrough graphics and sound is nothing without the most important element of them all: fun, addicting gameplay.
As millions of gamers bought their copies of Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, all sorts of thoughts began to crawl into their minds... they remembered the days where the original for the NES kept them hooked in from beginning to end, they remembered the nights that flew by from playing Super Mario World for the SNES, they remembered taking their old Gameboys to continue the adventures of Mario while ''doing their business'' in the bathroom... they then started to worry a bit, hoping that it wasn't going to be a crushing disappointment, hoping that Mario took a successful step in 3D gaming, fully knowing that if it was a flop, then the notion of 3D gaming would forever be nixed, remaining stuck in the 2D realm forever...
Well, Super Mario 64 didn't take a revolutionary step in gaming. It took a revolutionary leap. A leap that people will never forget.
Seriously, Nintendo managed to take a simple platforming formula, and translated it into the third dimension WITHOUT changing a single thing about what made Mario so popular in the first place. Whether it be the challenging platform jumping, the nostalgia of coin collecting, or the plain satisfaction of handing Bowser's ass in a silver platter, this game covered all of those bases, and THEN some.
Even when you're finished doing everything in your first save file, you'll want to do it all over again on the other save files, and then again... then again... you get the point.
Only Ocarina of Time came close to matching the infinite joy and happiness when I originally played this game. And as much as I may enjoy the new band of platforming franchises(Especially the ultra-fun Ratchet & Clank games for Playstation 2), I remember, and I will forever remember the one that started it all for 3D gaming in general.
Super Mario 64.
Final Rating = 10/10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 02/27/04
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