Review by Shivan Reincarnated

Reviewed: 07/05/06

Touch fuzzy, get dizzy? No, not in this Mario game.

The transition from 2-D to 3-D was not smooth sailing by any means and Super Mario 64 was at the forefront of the change in Mario from 2-D to 3-D. It was a relative success. Super Mario 64 did lack the charm that Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World had but it was still a solid game and overall a success. So years pass and Nintendo announces their new handheld, the Nintendo DS. The Nintendo DS of course needed to sell and games like “Feel the Magic” would simply not do the trick. Nintendo decided to “port” the game of Super Mario 64 to the DS. I use the term “port” loosely because it really isn’t. Super Mario 64 was back but how would these new changes affect it?

Storyline: Uh oh, Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser. Mario, it’s time for you to go save her again. At least that’s how it went in the Nintendo 64 version of Super Mario 64. On the DS, you start off as none other than Yoshi. Yoshi fell behind while Mario, Luigi and Wario all went off inside the castle with Peach. The game starts off as Yoshi who needs to go rescue Mario, Luigi and Wario before they all work together in one final confrontation with Bowser to save Peach. Unfortunately, Bowser has used the power of the stars to seal himself away. The premise consists of you going around the castle collecting stars. You do this, for the most part, by jumping in various portraits around the castle. These portraits are actually worlds and you get the vast majority of your stars from these worlds. Some quests may require you to beat a boss, to save someone, to outrace someone, to collect 8 red coins etc. Technically, it isn’t traditional level to level, word to world story but at least Mario lacks a water can ;). The storyline is fine and it’s even better on the DS than on the Nintendo 64 thanks to the simple fact that you can play as Mario, Luigi, Wario and Yoshi. And contrary to a lame but confoundingly popular rumor, Waluigi is not present in this game. You may now all rejoice. Storyline is classic but could have honestly used a little spice. 8/10

Game Play: 3-D Mario. A lot of things could go wrong. Fortunately it wasn’t too bad on the N64 but it does get slightly hampered by the Nintendo DS. The DS controller simply cannot handle Super Mario 64 that well. It’s quite uncomfortable at time using the stylus and it’s quite obvious that Super Mario 64 is NOT a game that belonged on the DS. I loved SM64, I loved the fact that SM64 was now portable with a ton of new features but it was just a pain at time trying to control Mario (Or Yoshi… or Luigi…. Or Wario… whatever). You jump around the castle or the worlds trying to complete your tasks. As Mario, you can jump and grab things as well as do a super jump. Your specials include the ability to fly after doing a triple jump and getting fat and floaty like in Super Mario World when you touched that “P” thing. Luigi is similar to Mario except he has the ability to walk on water for a bit and his jump is slightly different. Luigi’s special is the ability to get transparent which allows him to go through floors and jails. Yoshi has the ability to his weird jump and hover maneuver and he can put fire in his mouth and eat enemies. Wario is slow and can’t jump far but he can break big burly blocks and his special is turning into metal which lets him walk on the ocean floor. The characters are not clones and it is certainly a good thing that there are discrepancies between the characters and that they all have their own nifty abilities. Several stars require you to use the special abilities of the new characters (Yoshi, Luigi and Wario) which means that you won’t be using Mario all of the time.

Your health is determined by this pie-like grid. You restore your life by collecting coins or by coming out of the water. Once you lose all your health though, you get booted from the portrait and once you lose all your lives…… you get booted from the castle! But you can just go back in as if it were no big deal. Contrary to what some might say, I found the camera to be quite acceptable… most of the time. A few moments in a few levels were unbearable but you can alter the camera to make it so you can actually see. Kingdom Hearts could take lessons from this game.A major aspect of Super Mario 64 DS is the mini games. While traveling the castle, you will encounter rabbits. If you catch these rabbits, they will give you a key to the mini game room. Each character can catch these rabbits for their own personal keys. There are mini games in four categories, Mario, Yoshi, Luigi and Wario. All of them use the touch pad of course. This IS the Nintendo DS, what did you expect? Some of these games are games to test your brain, some test your reflexes and some test your luck. I personally prefer gambling with good ole Luigi. The game play seems watered down from the Nintendo 64 version but I suppose that in the end, the mini games and new features make up for it causing the game play to become a solid experience overall. 8/10

Sound/Music: When Mario jumps, you will hear his annoying Italian laugh. Sure, it’s cute at first but it can get annoying after a while. Wario, Luigi and Yoshi are not nearly as annoying. Bowser’s laugh is quite cool though and the coins, blocks and enemies all manage to capture a classical feel which was needed in a game that was in transition from 2-D to 3-D. The soundtrack I didn’t think was so great. The music was sub-par the whole game except for Bowser’s levels and I was overall unsatisfied with the musical quality. The music seemed shoddier compared to the N64 but it didn’t really matter a whole lot anyway since there wasn’t a whole lot to butcher as far as the musical quality goes. 7/10

Graphics: The graphics of this game are actually an improvement over the original. This game shows the graphical capability of the DS which is actually quite impressive. The colors are all prominent, the scenery and backgrounds are ravishing (Must. Avoid. Using. The. Word. Vivid!) and you can see the faces of the characters and enemies. Sometimes it’s hard to see a coin or block in the distance but it’s no big deal. 9/10

Replay Value/Side quests: This game, like any other Mario game, has a lot of replay value to it. You don’t really need to start a new file though, you can just jump in the portrait. That’s the beauty of this game. As far as side quests go, there wasn’t a whole lot in the N64 version but boy is there a whole lot here. There are w hopping 150 stars to collect which is 30 extra stars that were put in. The game really only implemented the touch feature during the min games but that’s okay. Super Mario 64 isn’t a game that goes good with the touch screen anyways. 9/10

Scoring Breakdown:

Storyline: 8/10
Game Play: 8/10
Sound/Music: 7/10
Graphics: 9/10
Replay Value/Side quests: 9/10

Overall: 41/50 = 82% = 8 = B

Pros:

The smash hit from the N64 is back and portable
Graphics are sharper than ever
Luigi, Yoshi AND Wario are now playable
30 new stars
Kickass mini-games that can keep you entertained for hours
Not too hard of a game

Cons:

The sound and music aren’t impressive
The controls are really suited for the DS
The camera can be bad at times
Mario can get annoying

Super Mario 64 was a good launch title for the DS. While it failed to really utilize the touch screen of the Nintendo DS, it did succeed at being a good remake of a great game from the N64. Super Mario 64 is a just-have for any DS owner and the Nintendo DS now contains a lot of great games so there isn’t any reason to not have one. And no, I’m by no means a hardcore Nintendo fanboy but the Nintendo DS and super Mario 64 DS have been nothing short of awesome. This game, now with a grand total of 150 stars can definitely keep you entertained for a long time. Super Mario 64 showed that change can be good. Does this mean that Super Mario 64 is as good as the classic Mario games such as Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World? Nah, but it doesn’t mean you should miss out on this opportunity! Super Mario 64 has a lot to do and it's no secret why it's a top pick for the Nintendo DS. Nintendo isn't dying anytime soon.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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