Review by creepyguywithastick

Reviewed: 11/22/04

After a well deserved rest, Mario's rump's ready for more pounding

Graphics – 8.5/10
The graphics are really good. Although, it’s hard to judge them as it’s one of the first games for the Nintendo DS, but for the most part they are better than N64 version. They’re still not perfect, some of the textures look kinda jaggy at times, and somethings look a little off, but they’re still really beautiful. Mario 64 DS has much prettier particle effects than Mario 64, and it really shows off it’s great transparencies, when in Mario 64 transparencies seemed forced and unnatural, the DS will have hundreds of particles and textures change opacities independently and fluidly. There are also lots of neat interface improvements, like the menu screen shows the castle from the outside on the top, and the bottom screen show’s its reflection in the moat, and when you touch the screen the water ripples dynamically. There are a lot more polygons too, all coins are fully rendered (no sprites) and a lot of monsters have been given more form. It looks nice.

Sound – 9/10
There sound is up to Nintendo’s standards, and there’s not really more I can say. The game easily sounds better than Mario 64, the music is crystal clear and the new sound effect and voice acting is top notch. It’s a Mario game, of course it has good sound. Unless you tend to hate Mario music, in which case, well, uh sorry?

Gameplay—10/10
It’s freakin Mario 64! It plays better than the original. I’ve had no problems with control or camera in comparison to the original. My total camera problems have been much lower than with Mario 64. Basically, the D-pad makes you move in the standard 4 directions in relation to the camera (and 8 if pushed diagonally) but holding L makes the camera rotate to the left or right if you press in either direction, allowing you to both run in circles and rotate the camera freely. And if you don’t want to us it, fine, don’t. The DS comes with a thumbstrap that can be put on and combined with Mario 64’s use of the touch screen to fake a D-stick. It works pretty well. And there are truckloads of extras. There’s a lot of minigames that are unlocked in-game by catching rabbits all over the castle. The minigames are great, and are all 100% stylus only. There are a bunch of new levels that contain a single star and a fun challenge. The new, smaller levels are sort of like the cave levels in Mario Sunshine but nowhere near as generic. Each new stage either combines templates from preexisting levels or has it’s own. There’s a Goomba Forrest, a Bob-Omb Factory, a tropical island and more. Ninteno really went out of their way to make the game more Mario-ish. There are now Feathers (wing cap), Power Flowers (unique effect for each character) and even Super Mushrooms (make you bigger, duh). There seems to be a lot more classic enemies (like Bob-Ombs and Goombas) or maybe they respawn more or something, but it feels more like a 3d Mario 3 than Mario 64 did. Some levels have new star missions in place of old ones (like for example, instead of the lame mission where you stomp all 4 posts on the Battlefeild to get a star, it’s been replaced with a mission where you find 5 silver stars to create a whole star). It’s just plain fun.

Story-Doesn’t get a ranking, it’s not an RPG
The story the same as Mario 64, except this time Luigi and Wario tag along with Mario, and all 3 get trapped in the walls with Peach and the Toads. You must play through the first few stages as Yoshi, and can switch out as other characters after finding the key that unlocks the closet they’re trapped in.

Arbitrary Overall Rating-9/10

Rend or Buy?: If you have a DS, buy it. But don’t buy the DS just for it. While it is refreshing after not playing Mario 64 for several years, it isn’t worth getting the DS for it if you had already decided on not getting a DS.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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