Review by videogamer1030
Reviewed: 08/04/08 | Updated: 02/04/16
64 Reasons Why This Classic Game Failed As a DS Remake
Super Mario 64 DS really does appear to be a cheap cash grab for Nintendo, and its easy to see why. There certainly was no need for Nintendo to port yet another classic Mario game, besides the obvious reason of obtaining a quick and easy buck. Instead of deciding to remake a 2D Mario game which would work better on the DS hardware, Nintendo wanted to show off the DS' graphical capabilities with a popular 3D game instead. Thus, Super Mario 64 was the obvious choice. It was bad enough that this game was a cash grab, but it makes matters worse when a remake is highly inferior to the original game.
Super Mario 64 was a very pioneering game at the time of its release- it set the very standard for what 3D platformers would ultimately become. The conversion was quite the leap- instead of running in a linear line for beginning to end, 3D platformers tend to focus on exploration and open roaming. Personally, I prefer 2-D Mario platformers, but I have to give credit to the developers for doing a respectable job of transitioning the Mario universe into 3D. Sadly, this had put an end to the 2D platforming era, thus ending many golden years of gaming. But fortunately, 2D platformers are resurging as of late.
Considering all that was noted, Super Mario 64 had a fair share of flaws. The camera was wonky, and controls were unresponsive at times. However, these already semi-perfect controls have been made infinitely worse in the DS remake. This game was not in the least bit designed to use a D-Pad, and this is evident after playing for only 2 minutes.
From a positive standpoint, the DS version added a reasonable chunk of new content to the game. The DS version features new characters, extra levels, minigames, a graphical & audio boost, and a multiplayer option. However, poor control interferes so much with literally everything that it is almost impossible to even enjoy everything else.
The DS version of Super Mario 64 features four characters in total: Yoshi, Luigi, Wario, and the returning Mario. You can switch characters either by entering a certain room in Peachs Castle (an extension onto where Peach's Secret Slide is in the original game), or by picking up a character cap found inside of levels. All these varied characters may sound like a unique addition, but most of the time it takes the form of a cheap tack on. For example, they artificially added big blocks into the game merely so that Wario can break them. The character system is so contrived and idiotic, that they won't even let the other three characters into the final boss' lair. That just shows how useless they are as a whole. The way multiple characters were integrated into Super Mario Galaxy made a lot more sense,(GALAXY SPOILERS) adding Luigi as an unlockable with higher jumps and more traction. In Mario Galaxy, it doesn't impede the flow of the game, it is only an addition for fun and replay value. It is incredibly evident what the difference is between a game with effort and loved put into it and a game that is a cheap cash grab.
The extra levels of Super Mario 64 DS are somewhat fun, and is ironically the only new feature in this game that doesn't feel entirely tacked on. If someone were to never have played the original game on the N64, perhaps they wouldn't be able to tell which levels were added on.
The minigames in the DS port are tacked on, but they are actually enjoyable. They show off the power of the touch screen. It may be gimmicky, but that doesn't subtract from the amusement factor.
The graphics of the DS port also took a decent leap, and look closer to the quality of Super Mario Sunshines than Super Mario 64's. This game still ends up looking like one of the better looking DS games, even today, possibly only passed by Metroid Prime Hunters or Zelda Phantom Hourglass.
The audio of the game also took a slight step forward. The already magical tunes from Mario 64 have become even more spectacular. They sound even better with the DS speakers. As for the sound, it's very good. Mario still has that enthusiastic voice, and Luigi, Yoshi, and Wario also carry on their charismatic voices into the game. I love the voice acting of Charles Martinet and supporting cast members, so no complaints there.
The multiplayer option is basically a competition to get stars. It is quite hollow and tacked on as a whole and I doubt most people play it on a regular basis.
Other than what was mentioned before, the remainder of the game is pretty much the same as it was on the Nintendo 64. Mario jumps around freely, explores Peachs Castle, explores a multitude of levels accessed by paintings in Peachs Castle and collects the essential stars (150 in total for this DS iteration, 30 added from the original 120).
I would unquestionably try to experience this game on the N64 or Wii Virtual Console if possible. For veterans, unless you absolutely HAVE to have Mario 64 portable, there is absolutely no reason to get this. The faults outweigh the improvements by a large amount on the DS version. It really is unfortunate too, because remaking Mario 64 would be a golden opportunity to work on the control and camera issues that plagued the original game that was otherwise amazing. The original Nintendo DS was not the platform to attempt this type of game.
Super Mario 64 DS is a prime example of portraying how much importance controls have in a video game. Even the minigames of Super Mario 64 DS can be found in the DS New Super Mario Bros. so there is literally no incentive to buy this game. The New Super Mario Bros. game on DS isn't all that spectacular either, but it is far more worthwhile than this. For the record, another example of Nintendo being cheap is how they recycled the Mario Bros game FOUR times in the Super Mario Advance series. I can almost guarantee that the DS minigames will be recycled a third time as well.
Lasting Appeal (2/10)
Overall: (4/10) I highly recommend experiencing the legendary Super Mario 64, just not in this way.
Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Product Release: Super Mario 64 DS (US, 11/20/04)
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