Review by Megaman1981

"My 80th review is on the best 3D platform game ever made. Now where is that cake?"

Mario games from the NES era were all in 2D, and the basic gameplay was simple. Mario had to jump on the enemies heads in order to defeat them. Mario can also use fireballs, hammers, and the tail from his raccoon suit to defeat enemies as well. In order to acquire those weapons, Mario needs to find power ups. That is the other aspect of 2D Mario games, the power ups. Mario starts out very small, but by using a mushroom, he can grow bigger. In addition finding a flower will give you fire power. Finding a raccoon suit, frog suit, and hammer suit will allow Mario to use different weapons and techniques. A star will allow Mario to become invincible. Mario 3 is a bit easier than Mario 1 or Mario 2, but there is still a decent challenge to the game. When Nintendo decided to bring Mario into the world of 3D gaming, a lot of people said it couldn't be done. Well, let me just say that they were wrong. Super Mario 64 is a brilliant game, a game that launched the N64 perfectly.

The original Super Mario Bros. saved the video game industry. That awesome Grand Theft Auto game that you are playing right now wouldn't even exist if Super Mario Bros. hadn't been created. After the video game market crashed in the mid 1980's, it was in fact Super Mario Bros. that helped revive the video game industry. It's safe to say that Mario is the most popular video game mascot in history. Since then, Mario has gone on to star in many adventures. He's even played a damsel in distress (Luigi's Mansion), a doctor (Dr. Mario), and a villain (Donkey Kong Jr.), but his classic adventures involving Bowser are the best. That is why Nintendo was smart to bring the world of Mario into 3D.

I need to be honest though, I didn't own a N64 until the year 2000. The first game I tried was South Park Rally (I stunk). Next I tried Castlevania 64. That was a great game. The next two games I bought were The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (best game ever), and Super Mario 64. I tried Zelda first and loved it. After about an hour, I popped in Super Mario 64. As soon as I booted up the game, I was amazed. On the screen was Mario's face and he quickly blurts out "It's a me, Mario". As a gamer you knew that this series just evolved for the better. On this screen, you could use the controller to play with Mario's face, stretching it in all directions. Some people will think that this was put into the game for nonsense, but really Nintendo put it in there to allow players a chance to get familiar with the N64 controller.

The basic premise to any Super Mario Bros. game is to save the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser. Bowser has once again kidnapped Princess Peach Toadstool, but this time it is a bit different. This time it starts out with Peach inviting Mario to her castle for a cake. Mario arrives at her castle, but discovers that Peach is missing. As Mario enters the castle, a menacing voices says that Peach isn't there, and to GO HOME! That was Bowser of course saying that, and of course, Mario isn't going anywhere.

So that is how the game starts. What do you do next? Well, there is only one door open, so that is where you should go. After you open the door and jump threw the painting, you will land in Bob-omb battlefield. Here you must ascend the mountain to get to the boss, King Bob-omb. If you beat him, you win a star. And that is where the object to the game occurs. You need to collect stars in order to restore the power to the castle, and save the Princess. As you collect more and more stars, you will unlock more worlds for Mario to explore. You need to explore every world several times to collect the stars. In all, you need to collect 70 out of the 120 to beat the game, so start looking. To collect these stars Mario can do anything, punch, kick, wall-jump, dive and swim, become solid metal, and even fly.

To collect these stars, you need to enter every world several times, as I said before. Sometimes to collect a star, it is as simple as beating a boss, or climbing a mountain. Other times you need to race against another character, or collect 8 red coins. That at least shows that the game does offer a nice variety. A lot of people think that the game is a bit hard, but I don't think so. Yes there is a lot of challenge, but realistically you can collect about 50 stars before you even enter any of the tough later levels. Super Mario Sunshine was way harder. In that game you must beat the first six parts of the level in order to face Shadow Mario. In Super Mario 64, you can do whatever you want, and skip certain parts of the stages if you want. To get right to the point, Super Mario 64 isn't too hard to play.

The graphics are what amazed me about this game. What's so great about the graphics? Well, when this game came out in 1996, the world had never seen a game that looked this good ever before. While most games back then had blocky characters, Mario looked brilliant. Also each environment is wonderful. From the plush and colorful Bob-omb Battlefield, to the dark and dingy bowels of Bowser's underworld, each environment you visit will leave you speechless. That's impressive considering this game was made in 1996. It's funny because there are some games today that don't look as good. The N64 fuzziness, common in all N64 games isn't present. And the game doesn't even use the expansion pack.

The music is also a big part in the Mario series. However, most of the music is totally new. I like this; new game, new music. Some of the tunes are very memorable, including the boss theme. I still think that the music from the NES Mario games were better, but Super Mario 64 still had fantastic music regardless. The best part is how the underworld theme has been remixed with the original Super Mario Bros. World 1-2 music. Nice touch!

The game is just busting with replay value. As I said before, you only need 70 stars in order to beat the game. However, collecting all 120 stars will unlock a small "secret" on the roof of the castle. The best reward might be the glory and pride from collecting all 120 stars, which isn't an easy task. The game doesn't take that long to complete if you go for just 70 stars, but collecting all 120 will take a long, long time.

In conclusion, I think that Super Mario 64 is a fantastic game, but it goes even farther than that. The game has the ability to grow onto you. I was impressed with the game for my first time threw, but you fall in love with it after multiple times threw. This is the game that helped make the N64 a success. Yes, I know the N64 wasn't as successful as the NES or SNES, but times have changed. Nintendo now goes for quality over quantity. Super Mario 64 is a prime example.

So why should you buy this game? First of all this is the game that I believe made the N64 a true hit. But that really isn't the reason. Buy it because it is one of best games ever created. Buy it because it is a game anyone in the house can enjoy. Buy it because this game is the reason the N64 was so successful. Super Mario 64 is a fantastic game, one that will stand the test of time along side The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Now if only they would do a 3D Mario game with the Koopa kids.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/07/05, Updated 05/30/07

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