Review by SuperSmashBro13

Reviewed: 02/19/08 | Updated: 07/25/11

The classic is back - and brings a lot new with it.

The original Super Mario 64 was made for the Nintendo 64 in the year 1996. It was a "launch title"--meaning, a game that come out the same time as the system did--for the Nintendo 64. It was the first time Mario appeared in 3D. It was loved by all. It was a classic. But then the years passed, and this classic faded away, a memory of the past. Then somebody at Nintendo got a brilliant idea and said, "Hey, yo, let's chill and make ah-selves a remake of da classic, yo." So they popped Super Mario 64 onto the Nintendo DS. Not only that, but they improved it. As is to be expected.

PLOT: 7/10. Well, what do you expect? It's a Mario game. They tweaked it a smidge since the original, but otherwise it remains mostly the same and there wasn't much they could do. Mario games generally don't have very good, well-developed plots (the best to date was Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. That's in my opinion, anyway). Mario receives a letter from Peach telling him to come to her castle for cake. Not a bad deal. Luigi and Wario, however, secretly learn of that letter's existence and decide to tag along. All three go inside, not aware of Yoshi sleeping on the roof of the castle, a snot bubble slowly rising and falling from his nostril. Mario, Luigi, and Wario don't come out again. Lakitu informs Yoshi, and he goes off inside and learns that the princess has been captured (not kidnapped, because being kidnapped means you're taken somewhere else, and Peach was taken nowhere) and the castle's Power Stars have been stolen. Bowser is using the Stars to create evil worlds inside the castle's paintings. It is presumed--and it is a correct presumption--that the hungry trio were captured as well. One by one, they are rescued and continue to collect the Power Stars. So not thoroughly developed, but what'd you expext?

GRAPHICS: 8/10. While slightly blocky, the graphics have been cranked up since the original. No more huge-eyed, flat-sided, goofy-looking Mario. Why, even his overalls look a little more realistic, not just a shade of blue on some clothes. Yoshi looks pretty decent, too. Lakitu looks like crap. Lakitu always looks like crap. This is not blaming the game, this is blaming Laktiu for looking stupid in every game he appears in. But I digress. You can look in mirrors to see yourself and Loserkitu, who is filming you (you look out of Lakitu's camera to see your character).

SOUND AND MUSIC: 8/10. Every last bit of music has been taken from the original except for the mini-game music (I think). It's not necessarily anything to jump for joy over, and some even are annoying. But "8" is my "average score," meaning the category is okay. "7," on the other hand, means just short of average and kind of stupid. But anyway, there are sounds and voices to be considered, too. I have a couple favorite voices. My overall favorite is when Yoshi gets a Star/lands from a backward somersault/lands from a triple jump/comes out from his door and goes "Huppo!" in a way that just has to make you smile. Another favorite is when Mario jumps twice in a row, he sometimes goes "Muh!" A third favorite is when Wario comes out from his door or ground pounds and he goes "Uuagh!" Like the original, Peach's voice sounds like something left in a trash can for months. In other words, very bad. Since portable games have worse sound than non-portable ones, her voice sounds even worse than it already is. (I don't know why, but Peach has never, ever, ever, in any game at all, had a good voice. Is it a curse, or what?)

GAMEPLAY: 9/10. Like the original, there are a whole bunch of Stars you need to recover (originally 120, now 150). To get them back, hop into a painting and complete a mission. In other words, do something like kill a boss, collect all 8 red coins, race a turtle (a Koopa), or something else. Generally, it's very easy, but whatever. I admit, the difficulty should be cranked up on such games, but it doesn't totally trash this one. Not in my opinion. There are 7 missions in each stage (with 15 stages in total) and 1 Star in each gotten by collecting 100 coins in that stage. That's 120 right there. Then you've got 30 Castle Secret Stars--15 more than were in the original--and you've got the full 150. You've also got mini-games to unlock, so you can take a break from Star-collecting and have fun with the touch screen of the DS. To unlock a character, find a painting with that character plastered on it, hop inside, defeat the big boss, take the key to the character's door (all of which are in the same room), and bam, you've got the character. Some missions can only be done with some characters, and each character has stats. For instance, Yoshi has a jump of 3/3, speed of 2/3 (nobody's speed reaches 3/3), and power of 0/3, meaning he can't hurt anybody unless he swallows them and eats them alive like the bloodthirsty dinosaur he is. (And to think he had the Kindness stamp in Mario Party 3--shame, shame. And the kids loved him. They still do, as a matter of fact. Do I sound crazy to you?) Also, to run, you hold the Y button down. I just felt like I had to warn you now. It's not a bad thing--actually, it's a good thing. If there was no run button, you'd be waddling at 1.8 miles per hour all day. Or, you'd be running all the time, so it'd be insanely difficult to walk across narrow ledges. So be thankful for that Y button.

One of the greatest things of the game is the ability to improvise. You don't necessarily have to do everything the way it's supposed to be done. Instead of taking the long way to get to that Star, find your own personal shortcut. It's that sense of freedom, to do anything you want to do (besides move the camera where you want it to). Video games with that factor are usually very good, very successful ones.

AFTERMATH FUN: 6/10. Um...whoops. If you haven't collected every Star or unlocked every mini-game, go back and do that. Like the original, there's a secret out by the pond after collecting every Star, but it's kind of a sappy one. It always was, now that I think of it. Basically, beat bosses again, redo missions you thought were fun, and play mini-games. But honestly, there isn't too much to do after beating the game.

TOTAL SCORE: 38/50. That's one of the lowest scores I've given a game that I support to date, but it's honestly a great game. Why else would I give it a 9 in the general rating?

FLAWS: The game is actually less challenging. Missions that were difficult, the designers have removed major obstacles to make it super-easy. I've never been one to support really hard games, but now that I think about it, taking those challenges away makes the game less interesting. For instance, in the mission Big Boo's Balcony, after defeating the boss you had to leap to the side of the roof, very carefully crawl across to the Star, and get it, which was difficult. Now, you just kinda float up there by inflating Mario and you get it in 2 seconds, and it's very hard to lose. Another problem that should have been fixed was that the camera never so much as tries to go through a wall or squeeze against it to get the view you want. No matter how many times you jam that camera button, it will not do what you want. Another thing is that after getting every Star, you don't feel much of a reward. In fact, it's less exciting than it was in the original. You are able to get onto the roof of the castle, just like the original. You get a new mini-game, and there's a red ! block on the roof allowing you to do absolutely nothing interesting at all. Unless you're a collect-it-all freak like me, you may not bother to get every Star. Finally, bosses are incredibly simple and very easy. Sure, they're the same from the original, but with one boss all you do is jump on its head three times. Another you throw three times (and it moves at a snail's pace). Another you have to ground pound on three times. Lucky number 3, I guess. Not much depth to any boss battle, though the bosses you defeat to unlock another character have more depth to them. They're still easy, though.

CONCLUSION: The classic has been ported to portable. It's on the DS. It's pretty darn fun, though the flaws mentioned above make the game a little less exciting than it could have been. Still, I think the game is awesome. Beat your records at mini-games. Improve your skills. Find a shortcut to any Star you can. But if you think the flaws mentioned above make the game too boring, you might want to stay away. (I like the game, though. Well, obviously.)

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Super Mario 64 DS (US, 11/20/04)

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