Review by buruburu1

Reviewed: 04/10/09

No doubt an easy way to get a launch title out, yet it still manages to impress

Graphics (25/30, judged by era)- In every respect, this game was stunning upon its original release on the N64. A number of years later, 64 manages to do a good job only by being reduced down to the portable level where its graphics, intact from the original, look nice and sharp. While the original is a good length game, the DS version adds in a few extra levels here and there, and also manages a fair number of mini-games, though none are particularly graphically impressive on their own.

Sound- FX/Voice (7/10) Functional and fun sounds definitely add to the overall package, and once again the mini-games feature additional sound work that adds to the whole package.

Sound- Music (7/10) A couple of the themes are truly unforgettable from the original and are carried forth perfectly intact. The main theme from Super Mario Sunshine can even be heard in additional portions of the game here. The music added to the mini-game section is only passable however, and much of that section recycles in-game music.

Gameplay- Length/Replay (15/15) On its own the main adventure is more than long enough to justify the price tag. I didn’t play through a lot of the adventure as I’ve played this game twice on the N64, however the mini-games alone are nearly enough to justify a high length score here. They were the real reason I wanted this version of the game, and while a few are useless, quite a number of the games managed to captivate me and I spent hours in that part of the game.

Gameplay- Story (1/5) The minimal story necessary for most Nintendo games. Princess has been captured, go get her from Bowser.

Gameplay- Game Design (28/30)- This many years on it’s quite amazing how well this title holds up in the game play department. While I am of the rare breed that thought Sunshine was actually overall the better game in terms of game play (where 64 had more visual variety), I can still say that 64 more than holds its own among other 3d platformers that have come since. Some additions have been made, as mentioned above, including the ability to play as 3 other characters, each of which has slight differences in control that enable them to reach different parts of the levels in different ways than others, or to reach areas inaccessible to other characters. The unfortunate part of the game, and it was enough to knock a good 5 points off of what might otherwise have been a perfect score for the adventure mode alone, is the control. Gone is the tight analog control of the original. While Nintendo attempted to add a few different methods of control, including an analog-like touch screen mode, nothing beats the d-pad in this game, and even still it’s a clumsy implementation of control in a game that once had it in spades.

That said, the mini-game portion of the game is tremendous fun and possibly worth buying the game for, alone. There is a great variety of game types, most if not all utilizing the touch screen to one extent or other. Easily a third of them you’ll only play once or twice, and a couple of those are utterly pointless, yet the remaining 2/3 will have you returning to them again and again. It really helps take the sting away from the clumsy controls in the adventure mode to have these added bonuses.

**Final Thoughts: If the DS had analog control, there would’ve been no reason to add the mini-game mode at all and it still would’ve been a completely butt-kicking game. -1 for controls, +1 for mini-games and on balance, you still have a great title well worth getting, a no-brainer if you missed out on the n64 version.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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

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