Review by Tomia_Muset

Reviewed: 02/23/09

Terrific game ruined by terrible controls.

Intro
Who hasn't heard of the seminal "Super Mario 64"? An introduction is not needed. Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can now play the game on your DS. I mean, just compare the size of the original N64 cartridge to the card for the DS. And it's an enhanced version too, meaning you get extra stuff not seen in the original.

Gameplay
The game lets you play with four characters from the Marioverse, each with their own unique abilities - they are Mario, Luigi, Wario and Yoshi. You will need to master all four in order to collect the 150 stars in the game, 30 more than the original. There are also extra levels and bosses as well as the 15 main courses having some new stars to collect. To unlock minigames, you are required to catch various rabbits found inside and outside the castle. This can be very difficult at times, due to the controls.

The controls. Ah. This is where the poop hits the fan. You see, in the original game, you used an analog stick to move Mario. The DS has the D-pad. Which means it's a lot harder to move Mario (or the other guys) accurately. Don't get me wrong, it is possible to complete the game 100% with it, it's just harder and a lot more frustrating. Even using the arrow keys on the computer keyboard to move Mario is easier. I found my self playing very conservatively, afraid I may screw up the long jump or triple jump due to the D-pad, and fall an unfair death. Expect a steep learning curve. OK, there is a 'virtual analog stick' using the touchscreen, but it's awfully clumsy. But it is innovative, I admit.

The Graphics
The graphics are great, even better than the N64's version. Dive down the beginning of the course "Dire, Dire Docks" and prepare to be amazed at the realistic light rays reflected off the seabed. I never thought I'd live to see the day where 3D games fit in your pocket. OK, I was kidding, but I didn't know someone like me would have been able to afford it.

Some of the models have been updated, notably Bowser who now looks less like a giant Baby Bowser and more like his adult form. And of course Mario, who's updated his look to his "Super Mario Sunshine" self.

The Audio
The music we all know and love is, for most part, left unchanged. This is a good thing; they were pretty catchy. There are some new tunes however, which are played during the new levels. These tunes don't sound too out-of-place, and I suppose they suffice. The sound effects are updated too. When you kill an enemy such as a Goomba, it makes the classic "bop" sound upon being defeated. Pretty nifty.

However, some sounds did sound a little 'tinny', such as that infamous Bowser laugh you hear upon losing a life. But it really doesn't detract from gameplay, unless you're some uber-audiophile who gets uncontrollable spasms upon hearing these kind of sounds. Oh, and I forgot to mention, some people might find Wario's sounds annoying. Personally, I found them amusing, especially when he says "mamma mia".

DS Throwability Factor
Also known as the "Broken DS Factor", here I tell how likely I am to throw the DS against a wall, due to the sheer frustration that builds up within me whilst playing the game.

The DS has yet to collide against the wall while playing SM64DS, but it has come close. Almost always due to the dreadful controls, I was unable to move precisely enough, and so ended up dead. The most recent occurence was only yesterday when I was attempting the dreaded '100 coins star' in "Rainbow Ride". I won't go into detail, but I had 96 coins and I was so close.. so close. Arghh. Had this been the N64 version, I would have got the star easily. If only the game had an analog stick you could plug into Slot-2. Now there's an idea.

Replayability
The game has 150 stars to collect, and many minigames to unlock, which do take some time to obtain, especially those annoying '100 coin stars', and the additional 30 stars - if you have only played the original version.

But once you collect all the stars and unlock the 36 minigames, there isn't much you can do within the actual "Adventure" mode of the game.The minigames do provide some quick, cheap entertainment and there is a multiplayer "VS" mode where you all try to get the most stars using one of the four characters. The latter I have not played, but it does sound a bit bland. Now, had Nintendo included a 'deathmatch' mode... *mouth waters*

Bottom Line
The bottom line? If you're a diehard Mario fan like me, get the game. Of course you'll get it. This game would be near-perfection had it not been for the controls. But, it is possible to sort of enjoy the game if you can get used to the clumsy controls, but during portions in the game which require delicate movement, you might get ticked off. At least a bit.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: Super Mario 64 DS (AU, 02/24/05)

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