Review by SpiralSage

Reviewed: 01/19/05

Addictive mini games, Gamera imposters, fat dudes, and a Princess that invites you over for cake.

Super Mario 64 DS was by far the most anticipated game for the DS when it launched(of course, the DS didn't have many launch games to begin with but that's another story entirely). Having never been able to play the original for the N64, I really wasn't sure what to expect. While SM64 DS is a very interesting game for a very interesting handheld console and while it is a must have for anyone who bought the DS at the launch....it is anything but above average to say the least.

The game starts off with Princess Peach inviting Mario, Luigi, Wario and Yoshi over to her gigantic Castle for some Cake or something. When Mario, Luigi and Wario make it, they're suddenly kidnapped along with Peach by Bowser(Probably because he wasn't invited), a gigantic Gamera-like monster. Luckily, Yoshi wasn't captured because he was sleeping on top of the Castle. It's up to Yoshi to rescue the gang along with Peach from Bowser.

Stages aren't set up like older Mario games, instead you're given a castle to explore and you enter certain paintings that transport you to a different world. These worlds(or "Courses") are usually big areas where you're given certain objectives. Completing objective allows you to collect Stars. Stars are used to unlock doors to more areas in the Castle. Every single course has at least 7 different objectives.Most of the objectives are usually like other objectives in other Courses, For example: Every single Course has an objective to collect 8 red coins. Later on, it becomes necessary to complete more and more objectives to get farther in the game since doors are opened with stars you collect.

The coolest thing about the Course's in SM64 DS is the fact that they are all extremely different. Tired of playing in the Snow covered Course? Then mosey over to the scorching hot Lava course. Every single level is similar enough in Star Collecting objectives, but they're motley in comparison once you start moving around and interacting with the Course. Every single course was a joy to play in and everyone of them had their own feel to them. I really liked that a lot in this game.

Of course, you aren't stuck with Yoshi through the entire game. There are certain hidden paintings that transport you to a level where Mario, Luigi or Wario is begin held prisoner by a giant boss. Once you defeat the boss of the Course, you will be given a key that unlocks the door to where the certain character was locked up in. Using different characters allows you to use certain power up abilities that can help you progress through levels with ease. For instance, Mario can inflate like a balloon which allows him to float around. Luigi is given the power of invisibility which allows him to go through windows or cages. Wario is given the power to turn into steel makes him invincible for a few seconds. Other than the power-up abilities, the characters differ in the way they move. Take Wario for instance; he's bulky and moves very slow on land and extremely slow while swimming but though he lacks speed he surpasses in strength which allows him to break Black coated bricks in one punch.

SM64 DS also is full of secret minigames that you collect when you catch rabbits around the castle. While most of the minigames are extremely addictive but there are a few disappointments. For instance, Luigi's Mini games consist of him being a Card Dealer, instead of making all of his mini games different, Nintendo made most of his card games the same game, but with more cards. Such as a card Matching game with 36 cards and another with an infinite amount. There are also a few other games that have clones. The most interesting one gives you an interesting look on your love life.

SM64 DS's biggest problem is the camera. While you can change the camera angles to your liking, you cannot do it all the time. In fact most of the places where adjustable camera angles were needed (Like most of Bowser's level) the game would not allow you to adjust them! This was pretty lame in certain points of the game. While it doesn't happened often, it is worth bringing up.

The games controls where extremely interesting. The touch screen was usually used as a map for most of them game. But when playing mini-games you're always use it for everything to a slingshot to a pachinko(a Japanese game similar to pinball) lever. Also, in courses; you could use the touch screen to move around. I'm not sure what Nintendo was thinking, but using the touch screen to navigate a level is extremely uncomfortable. The D-pad was a lot easier to use. The only real part in the game where you're basically forced to use the touch screen in Courses is when you need to swing Bowser by his tail in boss fights against him. Using the touch screen for those fights were pretty fun.

The graphics are usually pretty well made up in this game but there are a few parts where you'll see through texture and walls. I don't think it's very important since it doesn't really hinder the game at all, but this should also be brought up.

Closing
All in all, this game is pretty fun and while the game has a few problems, this game isn't a game you should ignore if you own a DS right now. If anything, this is game worth it for the extremely addictive mini games. You won't get tired of this game for a while. I can promise you that.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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