Review by Exodist
Reviewed: 10/16/06 | Updated: 03/15/10
A good game to get into the new features of the DS and see it's potential.
Lets admit it, Super Mario 64 is a great game. And who would of guessed it, then to have the DS have a port of a Mario game, just like the Game Boy Advance did, ports. Its not as if those ports were bad Mario games, most probably some of the best (not SMA1 though). So the DS gets a port too. But its of Super Mario 64 instead. This also shows how lazy Nintendo are. But hey, they did add some extra features into it.
First off, this game is the same as Super Mario 64 in game story and level wise. If, for what ever reason, you haven't actually played SM64, the story is as follows. Peach decides she is going to do some cooking for Mario, a giant cake in fact. It seems over 10 years of hard work saving her all the time has paid off for Mario in the form of a cake. So she invites Mario over, but something happens. To be honest, I can't completely remember the intro to the DS version because its slightly different. Either way, Mario, Luigi, Wario and Peach (yeah, Luigi and Wario - more bizarrely - come along for some reason) are kidnapped. Yoshi is sleeping on the roof of Peachs castle (nice reference to SM64) and comes down to investigate. Basically, you play the intro to the game as Yoshi, but don't worry, you can play as Mario, Luigi and Wario too, which makes for the main additions.
So that's that, so what else is new? Not a lot really. Whilst the game doesn't add any new levels, and I'm talking the main levels, not the side levels, there are changes in the main levels. For example, you could only get 7 stars in a level, the 6 normal ones and the 100 coin star. Now, we get 7 normal stars and the added 100 coin star, adding up to 8 stars on each level. The total amount of stars in the game is 150, instead of the original 120. Also, you can play as Yoshi, Mario, Luigi and Wario, each with their own unique abilities, meaning you can only get some of the stars with certain characters. It's as if they have their own level too, Wario suits level 6 (that cave maze place) as he can get most stars, where as Luigi suits those tough jumping levels. Also, you can unlock mini games, by catching rabbits. For example, the rabbits appear in certain places for certain characters, when you enter the rec room (basically the mini game select) you can choose a certain characters mini games. So for Mario, there might only be 5 rabbits, but for Wario there might be 8, not necessarily saying that is true though. Each characters mini games have a certain theme too, like Luigi seems to like gambling and casinos a lot, the Poker game is most probably the best one. Oh, and they decided to add some really rubbish multiplayer which isn't really that good at all. If you have played SM64, thats it, end of review, you can go now.
So if you haven't play SM64 you might want to read this. SM64 DS follows a very simple concept, your given a giant castle to explore, with many worlds in it, reachable via paintings. The only problem is, the castle is littered with locked doors and puzzles, the doors can only be unlocked by gaining a certain amount of stars. There are about 8 stars on each level, and a load of them hidden around the castle, so you have to get searching. Get enough stars and you can go and fight Bowser, and get a key, to open up another main part of the castle, the basement, and the upstairs. Eventually you will need to clock up around 70-80 odd stars before being able to fight the last boss, but with 15 stages, and as I said, loads of hidden stars, it shouldn't be a problem. The game isn't hard to finish, but its challenging to master.
This may not be the first 3D platforming game ever, but it is for the DS. Many problems have been solved, the camera doesn't seem so bad any more and the controls suit the game. You can play the game with the stylus, or the thumb strap, but trust me, don't. Its going to make this game that much more frustrating. Luckily, you can play with the good old D-Pad, whilst it isn't as accurate as the stylus, its easier to control. Its also more or less the first full 3D DS game, with it being a launch title. OK, so the PSP has better graphics, but DS has more new features, and this game takes use of most of them. I don't remember using the microphone, but I know you use the touch screen for it. So SM64 DS uses the DS hardware very well indeed.
What about the minigames then? They are great fun, and although you won't be playing all of them all the time, you will be playing some for a long time, mainly because they're so great, and fun. Just about every single one will require you to use the touch screen to do something. Whether it be to pull your slingshot down to fire it off, or to make a giant snow ball roll, all games have great ideas. Not all of them are made well though, and some get boring fast. Some are easy, some are hard. Play Wanted, thats a killer mini game, I think I should explain it all. Basically, you have a screen full of faces, Yoshi, Mario, Luigi and Wario. There is only one face moving around the screen of one of those characters though, and you have to find it. For example, it might say that Mario is wanted, you have to find the one mario face and tap it to get onto the next level, before time runs out. Thats the basics of the mini games though, very well done.
I should just warn you now, don't play Multiplayer. You're forced to use download play, which is slow, especially when your friend has the game anyway. The idea is simple, as it follows what the game is all about. You choose from four very small, cramped crap levels, and the game will automatically choose your character for you, but that doesn't matter. You must run around the level, collecting as many stars as possible whilst hitting your opponent to get some off them. With four players it can get a bit frantic, especially when time is running out, but its still pretty boring. New Super Mario Bros has the same concept, but in 2D, and a bit better. Don't bother with multiplayer.
Graphically, it looks almost identical to the original game. Something just tells me though, that the graphics look slightly better. I know the textures do, but some things have been taken out to make the game run more better on the DS. Characters look very good, but slightly pixelated close up, but nothing too bad. Animation is fine, and the environments look as great as ever. Being the first 3D DS game, the graphics do a good job of showing this, and now that more games have came out with better graphics (Resident Evil, Metroid Prime), they still look nearly as good. And basically, the music is the same. Those good old Mario tunes, and good quality music, and nice sound effects. Nothing else to say about that really.
Yes, its another Mario port, but of a decent Mario game, and the added content will keep you distracted for a while. Its great fun, and its Mario 64 portable. If you haven't played the original, then get it, its great, but if you have, you might want to get something else or wait until its cheaper. At anyrate, it's good fun and displays the potential of the DS well.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Super Mario 64 DS (EU, 03/11/05)
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