Review by MrCardboardTube

Reviewed: 01/03/05

A 3D Wario game that doesn't suck! Wait... why is Mario's name in the title?

If it hasn't become obvious to you by the title, I'm a fan of Nintendo's big anti-hero, and proud of it! I also throughly enjoyed Super Mario 64 for the N64. So when I heard they were remaking Super Mario 64, and it'd be a launch title for the Nintendo DS, I knew what I wanted for Christmas. But where do I begin this review? Oh! How about...

The graphics don't disappoint. You can barely notice any pixels. They are very close to the N64 version, maybe even better. It's great to see that egg follow Yoshi around, the Mario Bros. perform their amazing acrobatics, and yes, Wario's fat body plodding along (with the occasional butt-scratch if you let him sit there). The map on the bottom screen is a nice addition, but a little plain... but that's wat has become of 2D these days, anyway. At least most of the game data is kept down there, making for a slightly less obstructed view of the incredible enviroments.

The controls take advantage of the DS's touch screen in a brillant manner... if you want them to. The game has 3 controller options. Standard Mode is... well, the standard for handheld platformers. One button attacks, one runs, one centers the camera, one causes you to duck, one jumps, one zooms... Pretty standard. You can use the touch screen like the old analog stick in this mode in you want. In touch mode, you're pretty much forced to use the touch screen as an analog stick. 3 buttons are used to adjust the camera, and the other 3 are your.... action buttons, for a lack of a better term. Duel-hand mode is for those who want to use Touch Mode, but are righties (but don't worry, lefties... Duel-Hand mode works for you, too). The shoulder buttons are disabled, but the arrow pad acts as a secondary set of buttons, and the camera controls are placed on your touch screen.
I guess I should put this under controls... it seems fitting. Each character has their own special moves. Wall kicks are exclusive to Mario, as is (in single-player) the Winged Cap (which take the form of a feather). Yoshi gets his trademark tounge, eggs, and flutter jump. Luigi gets big air with his back-flip-into-a-ballerina-spin, and can briefly run on water (he also gets that scuttle-jump he had in SMB2). Wario, the big heavy man, can break blocks no one else can, and gets his whirlamajig when you're playing in multiplayer mode.

If you remember how the story of SM64 went, it was all Mario gets invite for cake at the castle, Mario walks in, finds out the Princess has been kidnapped yet again. Slight change this time around. Luigi joins Mario (and Wario stalks them both... why not knock some heads together and snatch all the cake?), and they all go in and find out that Peach has been kidnapped. But then... they get kidnapped! So, who goes to rescue them? Why, that lovable green dino, Yoshi, that's who.

The sound is everything you remember about the original. Crisply redone to enduce that wonderful feeling of nostalgia. Nothing better than hearing that rockin' music when Wario goes metal.

As limited as multiplayer is in stage selection (only 4 stages), it is a blast. Up to 4 players can join in (with only 1 game card needed) on this frantic free-for-all-the-stars. Everyone starts out as a Yoshi. Hats that endow you with a certain character's special abilities, as well as stars and coins, are scattered through out the stage. Whoever gets the most stars (and coins, in case of a tie) win. How you play is up to you. You can be outright mean and clobber people to steal their stars (Wario is great with this), or you can just beat them to the stars first.

Overall, this game is enjoyable. Memories will flow back to you, and there's nothing more enjoyable than sliding down Peach's Secret Slide and beating up that friend of yours who thinks this game is in the bag for him because he grabbed every star in that stage.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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