Review by KingContributor

Reviewed: 07/23/08

One of Nintendo's greatest Mario treasures remade on the DS. Ruined by horrific controls.

Super Mario 64 was released in the late 1990s for Nintendo 64. It was one of the greatest Mario games ever, and sent Mario into a whole new generation of great games. In 2004, this treasure that made gaming enter a new era was remade on the DS handheld console in late 2004. Many fans eagerly put this game in and waited for the greatness that had wowed them years ago. However, many were disappointed by one major flaw that severely ruined any good graces or ties that this game had. The controls. While it is still a good game, the controls cause the game to become unplayable at some points and really aggravating. There were some good aspects from SM64 that were improved, but they were shunned by the controls.

Story
The story is similar to SM64. Peach has baked a cake for Mario and invited him to the castle. Right away, a twist was implemented into the story. Instead of just Mario entering the castle, he came with Luigi and Wario. However, many hours pass, and they still do not return. Lakitu alerts Yoshi that his friends have disappeared. So, you begin the game as Yoshi rather than Mario. A good story overall, but it just seems a bit bland. They could have spruced it up a bit more than what they did, rather than having the same story from the original story. Plus, it's a typical rescue Peach story. Good, but bland.

7/10

Controls
Here is where the epic phail comes into play and ruins the game for you. The controls are so horrific that they make any chance of having fun impossible. To begin, you have your A Button to Jump. and the Y Button makes you move faster or something similar to that. Well, that's a bit of the problem right there. The fact that you have hold in a button the whole time while you move with the control pad is annoying. Plus, you lose control of the character when you run. You'll find your character running in circles or running off cliffs. This causes you to plunge to your death and reset the level.

Furthermore, doing certain puzzles with the controls is exceedingly tedious and boring. You have to jump to a ledge and then to some more, while trying to prevent yourself from over-jumping a ledge. Since the controls suck, this is impossible 95% of the time. Therefore, you find yourself falling a lot and dying way too much. Mario should have stayed on the N64 because the controls were seriously very bad.

Moving the camera was another hassel. You had to use the DS's touch screen to twist the camera in the direction you wanted. This becomes tedious because you don't want to worry about changing the camera as you are trying to move. It's just a pain to contend with. As much as using the touch screen is fun and innovative in some games, this game's use of the touch screen was terrible and made the game no fun.

3/10

Graphics
Finally, one good thing so far that has popped up for this game. The DS took SM64's graphics and amplified them using advanced technology. This game looked really amazing and well done on the dual screens. We could have done without the maps on the bottom screen, but they were done well enough to permit them to stay. All in all, this game gave quite a presentation of cinematic beauty and quality presentation. Words alone could not describe the beauty of this game.

9/10

Music
The music was back and better than ever. They used pretty much the same music, but I was kinda disappointed in that because new songs would have been nice. As great as the old tunes were, it was bland to hear the same things repeated over again. Also, not many of the tunes were memorable as it is so easy to forget the music. If the music is truly good, you would remember it and be able to hum it or sing it. That's how good the music has to be. While the music was fairly good, it was a bland rehash and did nothing new.

6/10

Gameplay
This is where the game has its ups and downs. Like SM64, your objective is to enter the paintings of the castle and collect the Power Stars from Bowser's evil clutches. While sticking to the traditional gameplay that SM64 had, the DS version added some new elements.

Firstly, they had new playable characters that each had strengths and weaknesses. It was a nice change to be able to swirl through a level with Luigi's floating ability or smash my way through boulders and crates with Wario. That was a new feature that I liked and was appropriate for this game.

Secondly, they added more Gameplay features and things to collect. They added in 30 more Power Stars and made the grand total 150 rather than SM64's 120. I really don't think that was necessary, as it just makes the game longer. It wasn't a bad idea, but it was highly unnecessary and added to the frustration of besting the crappy controls.

Thirdly, they added in the additon of mini-games and new secret levels. While the mini-games weren't bad to play, the method of unlocking them was horrendous. Why should I have to find a key to unlock the drawers that contain the mini-games? That's stupid. In my opinion, they should have made it so that the Power Stars also unlocked the mini-games. Running after rabbits to get keys is just tedious and boring. I don't want to chase them around, I want to play through the game and unlock some mini-games. Definitely a downer there.

That's about it. The gameplay had its ups and downs, but it could have been severely improved. While it conformed to the original, it added in some cool and some unnecessary features that made Gameplay more tedious. The new levels were a nice addition, as were the addition of three new bosses.

7/10

Replay Value
The game has rather low replay value for a Mario game. You have 150 Power Stars to collect, and you can also do some mini-games. That's about it. You can technically beat the game with 80, which takes away from the game as well. Plus, the game has low challenge, so it's easy to get the Power Stars. If you played this game straight through for about 3 hours, you would probably have 1/3 of the Power Stars. It is a rather short game.

6/10

Fun Factor
The game isn't as fun as the original. I hate to compare games based on previous ones, but this game really drops the fun factor low. The controls are just unbearable, so that really lowers the fun right there. Plus, some quests are tedious, and the game is rather short, especially if you've beaten SM64. You should be a pro at this game if you beat the original version. All in all, the fun level is pretty mediocre, and it gives more headaches than anything actually rewarding.

5/10

Rent or Buy?
You would probably be better off with a rental, as buying this game wouldn't be worth it. The game is pretty quick, and it can definitely be beaten in the time it takes for a rental. It's not a bad game, so you can buy it if you wish. It's okay, and I liked it, but I think it would be better off as a rental to some people and buying it for some other people. It really depends on how much you play videogames.

Overall
I'm giving this game a 6 because I feel that is could have been a lot better. It's a fair game, but there are many others that are better than this one. It pains me to give such a low score for a remake of such a great game, but I cannot allow nostalgia or images from the original cloud my judgment. All in all, this is an honest score. Get it if you are curious, but I have warned you of the horrific controls.

Recap
Story-7/10
Controls-3/10
Graphics-9/10
Gameplay-7/10
Replay Value-6/10
Fun Factor-5/10

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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

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