Review by THayes

"3D platformer that displays all of the style and fun of previous Mario games"

Super Mario 64 came about at the perfect time, when 2D platformers were popular and 3D platformers were an extremely new and interesting genre. Fans over the years have played Mario games in many forms, from the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES and Super Mario Land on the GameBoy to Super Mario World on the SNES and Yoshi's Story on the Nintendo 64. What all of these games had in common though is that they were all 2D, side scrolling platformers. Super Mario 64 was entirely 3-dimensional, and combined with the phenomenal gameplay of all the previous Mario games on other consoles this was going to be an exceptionally good game indeed.

The graphics on Super Mario 64 are superb. Everything in the game is big and detailed, no matter how huge the level is. Special features in some of the levels, such as snow, really are drawn well, and look very realistic. Objects keep a good amount of detail, no matter how close Mario gets to them. Super Mario 64 has some of the best graphics ever seen on the Nintendo 64 system. An example of this detail is shown in some of the underwater levels like in world 3: Jolly Roger Bay, where the sandy beaches blend in smoothly with the clear blue of the water, and actually swimming underwater just feels completely realistic; obviously a lot of time was spent researching this.

From the introduction at the beginning of the game, you know this game is going to have some very good sound, and it definitely does. Some parts of the game have excellent music, that really fit in well with the levels. Some parts of the game have brilliant sound effects, such as outside the castle at the beginning of the game, you can hear the birds singing. There is just so much attention to sound in this game, and it really increases the general atmosphere of the game. The music is simple but effective, never annoying and always blending in very well with the level it goes with.

Super Mario 64 was one of the very first games out for the Nintendo 64, but it is also one of the best platform games on any system. The princess has been captured by Bowser, and he has taken her to his castle. As you play each of the 15 massive levels in this game, you have to collect stars along the way for accomplishing certain tasks in a level, such as finding 8 red coins. Once you collect a certain number of stars, the next level opens up. Finding some of the stars is very tricky indeed, and will require you to really think about what you have to do, as the only clue you are given is the star name shown at the beginning of the level. There are so many levels in this game, and every single one is unique. Super Mario 64, being the first game on the Nintendo 64, was designed to be extremely fun, but extremely playable. And it definitely succeeds in both of these categories.

This is one game that is designed to last a very long time. There are 15 huge levels within this game, and to get to these levels you have to explore a massive castle. Hidden within each of these levels is 7 stars, plus 15 extra stars that are hidden around the castle. That makes 120 stars that can be found in total. In order to properly complete the game, you have to get all the stars, and doing so will take a very long time, but finding the stars never seems boring as all 120 tasks are different.

This game is designed to be long-lasting, and it's so good you might even find yourself coming back to play it again, even after you've got all 120 stars! Definitely the best Mario game ever! After playing the game so many times, I still can't come to think of anything that the creators of this game could have done to have made it better. Everything seems so thought of and planned, that it would probably be impossible to improve it any further. Overall, a superb platform game that works very well as a new 3-Dimensional style of Mario game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/10/00, Updated 01/22/04

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