Review by InuYashaYoukai

Reviewed: 03/05/05

It's-a-me, portable!

Let me start this off by saying I rated this game according to what it was supposed to be: a portable way to have fun. I am not one of those people who expected this game to be completely different than Super Mario 64 and felt all disappointed. This game does what it's supposed to do, which is provide hours of fun in places that you couldn't normally have it... in the car, on a bus, waiting in line, inbetween classes, at the mall, etc. That being said, let's review the game.

I'll go over a few of the major points of the game and give them a rating from zero to ten. I'll look at:
Story, Graphics, Controls, Sound, Gameplay, Lasting Value, Other, and then Overall. The final score is a rounded average. Let's begin.

Story - 9/10

It's not the same story as Super Mario 64. This time Luigi, Wario, AND Mario enter Princess Peach's castle, only to disappear. Yoshi, who's been watching, decides to go in and look for them. Walking up to the door, you discover it's locked. Already the game shows it is different from Super Mario 64. You must now go find a key so you can enter the castle. Once you do, it is your job to not only collect power stars and defeat Bowser, but to rescue the mustached men in addition to Peach. I liked this new little twist. It made the game more interesting than the old "Mario save the Princess" routine.

Graphics - 8/10

It's hard to judge the graphics when you keep in mind that it is a launch game, and in a year the graphics of the DS will be much better. But I'll talk about it as launch games go. Compared to Super Mario 64, the graphics are improved. As for a DS game, they're still pretty darn good. Some little details bug me, but nothing major. Floors, walls, and unimportant objects look pretty plain and crappy, but anything that's important has more detail and looks pretty good. You'll be too busy playing and having fun to notice anyway though.

Controls - 7/10

This game was meant to be analog. That's why it was originally on the 64. Running diagonally is hard, especially since there's no little in-between sections on the D-pad for diagonals. Your best bet is to hold, say, up and right and kind of waver back and forth between them. It's annoying. They did add "analog" with the stylus, but it's awkward and I don't use it. All in all, you may fall off a few cliffs for no reason due to the lack of analog, but once you've been playing for a while you get the hang of it and you should be able to beat the game no problem.

Sound - 8/10

Yoshi's voice is so cute. Mario's is the same as the original. Luigi and Wario are kind of another story. Luigi sounds like a high-pitched Wario, and Wario just sounds like crap. But the music and the rest of the sound effects in the game are great, so it evens out. Sadly, I don't get to hear the sound too much because the DS is fairly quiet in noisy areas. But I have used headphones a few times and it makes it sound so much better. Whether you have a pair of headphones, or you're playing in a quiet area, the sound is great when you actually get to hear it.

Gameplay - 10/10

This game is fun. Plain and simple. And if you've already played Mario 64, there's much more here for you. There's 30 more stars, 4 playable characters, a multiplayer mode, and minigames. Normally you used to be able to only get quality like this on a console. But being able to play this on the go is simply amazing. You must collect stars, unlock characters, catch rabbits, and play mini games to get all this game has to offer. It's still basically the same idea as in the original. Jump into a painting to enter a level. Now you can choose which character you'd like to enter the level as. Simply touch them on the touch screen. The camera can be turned using arrows on the touch screen. Other than that, it's pretty much the same great gameplay as the original.

Lasting Value - 10/10

As I mentioned above, not only does this game contain the original Mario 64, they've also added 30 more stars and the ability to play as Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario. Not only that, but they went back and altered many of the stars so that you have to use the new characters to obtain them. So just because you've beaten Mario 64 doesn't mean you'll know how to get all these stars. Basically, the game will take a while to beat in the first place. Then, after all that, you can chase down rabbits to unlock 36 mini games. These games are fun and addicting. They pretty much all use the stylus, and range from drawing things on the screen, to playing cards, to playing memory games. Although some of them repeat ideas, they are overall very original and fun to use. It's a good way to experience the innovation of the stylus and touch screen the DS offers. If that's not enough, you can also play around with Mario's or Yoshi's faces on the title screen, or draw your own creations. This game is packed with value.

Other - 10/10

There were a few random things that I really loved. For one, when you play as Yoshi, you can eat enemies and turn them into eggs like in previous Yoshi games. This may not seem amazing considering Yoshi always does that in his games, but being able to do it in Mario 64 when you couldn't before is just plain neat. I also like the original NES sounds it makes when you hit a goomba now. The idea of the goombas wearing hats that let you swap characters is also cute. Chasing the rabbits was a nice touch. I also liked the new silver stars you must collect. For those who are worried this is just Super Mario 64 with a few new extras, Ii think they'll be pleasantly surprised. Not only are there new characters and stars, there are many, many changes to the game. There's entirely new paintings, new bosses, new stars, new abilities (Yoshi breathes fire, Wario turns metal, Mario floats, and Luigi does a spin glide) and even the landscape, castle, and locations of things have been altered. So plenty of fresh new stuff here. I could go on. This game has it all.

Overall - 9/10

The Nintendo DS doesn't have many games out at the moment. So this is definitely a game that any DS owner should have. Whether you never played Super Mario 64 before or you have but you'd like something new on the DS, this game is awesome and everyone should give it a try. It's only $29.99 and it lasts quiet a while, plus it's the best game out, so I can't think of anyone who'd own a DS and not have this game. A lot of people were looking for more new games and not ports. This is a good point, and even with all the new stuff, this game is still basically a port. But it's got enough new stuff in it to make it a good launch title. Plus if you've never even played Super Mario 64 before, playing this game would be great because you'd get all the good stuff from the original plus all the new stuff. Buy or rent? Buy.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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