Review by wolverinefan

Reviewed: 08/08/05

The mini games are what saves this title

I never liked Super Mario 64. Mainly it was because of the horrible controller for the N64. Anyway, I had no desire to play the DS version but it came with my DS for free. While at its core it's the same game, the control is mildly better and the mini games make up for a lot of stuff. Also, I would have never bought my DS if it hadn’t come with the free copy of Super Mario 64 DS. It just felt like the right time to nab one while the deal was going on. I have now played all of the released DS titles except 2 or 3, excluding sports titles. This is in the top 5. On with the review!

Mario, Luigi, and Wario all go to visit Peach once day and never come out! It's up to Yoshi to go in and find them! Yeah, if you think this plot is bad, the original was just "Mario goes to save Peach". Still, the story is lame, not compelling at all, no real reason for the disappearances of the 3 main guys. As far as Mario stories go, this is a very small step above that of the other regular Mario games but as for a platformer, it stinks. Of course I do have to save this plot is much better than the plot in Super Mario Sunshine, and I also think this is a better game then that. I just really wish the plot was better, it doesn’t need to be deep or life altering but it could have been better. I mean, the Paper Mario games some how deliver a worthy plot…

The graphics in the game are slightly better then those in the original. Things seem a big blocky, still some jaggy like effects. Water effects are nice but trees and stuff just look crappy. Worlds are sort of bland and a few, like the volcano one, take place on a grid of sorts, you can totally see eternal blackness once you reach the edge of a level, that's just lame. The new bosses in the game look decent though. The game is rich and full of color, the enemies look nice, it’s just that the levels are far from imaginative.

The sound in the game isn't too bad. The small amounts of voice acting are what I've come to expect from a Mario game. A few phrases and that's it. The sound effects are classic Mario sounds, nothing to write home about. I found the music to be lackluster all around, I didn't find myself humming any of these tunes or thinking "that sounds really good". The game does support the DS’s surround sound, how good is it? I don’t know, I could tell that it was surround sound but I tend to play this at work or while I’m in the car.

The control in the game, while better then the original still lacks what today’s games deliver. Now you can move Mario around with the D-pad and he moves smoothly, jumping is easy and all of that. The camera is a pain in the butt to control, it's actually worse here then in the original. Also, you can move Mario by touching his head on the map and running the stylist around. This would work but I just can't see how one is suppose to jump and stuff when their right hand is moving around with the stylist. Oh, you can also you’re your stylist on the arrow buttons on the bottom screen to move the camera. Fine if you’re standing still but sort of pointless unless you play with the stylist. I don’t know, it’s hard to use it with the left hand when you’re right handed.

This was the first 3d Mario. You can run, jump and punch. I found ground stomping to be weird since you have to hit R to do it but oh well. The levels are fairly large, not huge but good enough most of the time. I just found that the levels were lifeless. A few are nice but I just found that most of them were sort of.... crap... Thrown about the levels are special boxes that give you powers. Be it metal, or flying. It's cool I guess but I was never a fan of those type of things but they are needed to get the stars. There are 7 stars per world, a total of 150 in the game. You need X amount of stars to unlock X door which has more levels in it. I believe you need around 60 or so stars to beat the game. Each character has a slight difference in gameplay but come on, it's called Mario for a reason, and I preferred to play as Mario even though I think Luigi is a better character (whom deserves his own game that's actually good). Also, while playing as Yoshi in the beginning, which feels like forever, you can collect hats that change him into Mario.

There are a lot of levels but the missions are rather tame, if not lame at times. The race mission was pathetic in that you destroy the guy by well over a minute in the first world. I really don't know what irks me about this game, I think it's the fact that the levels all stick to the basic theme formulas and well, that's boring now.

The game also has some mini-games, 36 in total, that you unlock by playing the game. Some are lame, all require the stylist and sadly, they all are a lot more fun to play than the actual Mario 64 game. I actually found myself playing the mini games more then Mario... Some are card games, some require quick reflexes, and one is almost like a Where's Waldo thing. But they are fun and that's something I rarely got form Mario 64. Don’t get me wrong, the game isn’t horrible by any means, but the levels are just “eh” and the challenge is rather low considering that it’s a platformer. Levels I remember being hard, like the clock one, are now much easier.

There is a lot to do in the game. Collect the stars, play the mini games and all of that stuff. The game will last you awhile, if you enjoy that sort of thing but I prefer a game that gives me a story to go on and not repeated goals for different levels. Also, I’ve always had a dislike for water levels and I found there to be way too many in this game. The mini games are fun but you do have to play through a lot of the game to get them all. The stretch Mario face is also included in this and the stylist is used on it but now you can also draw a picture and stretch it however you like. There is also multiplayer, not sure what since I don’t know anyone with a DS but I’d guess it’s multiplayer of the mini games.

A few of the main levels are fun but there aren’t a lot of them. This game really isn't worth owning if you own the original and it's not worth the $30 price tag, nothing wrong with a free copy of it but to be honest it's just not worth buying. It's mildly fun to play it on the go but there are much better games out there, maybe not for the DS at the moment but it's still really early in its life span. The mini games are on par with Wario Ware though, I actually think they are better... But that’s coming from someone who thinks the Wario Ware games aren’t worth the carts they are put on. I'd almost dare say the game is worth it just for those mini games. Don’t know why I liked them but they felt like complete mindless entertainment which I guess to me is better then what Mario DS was offering me. But please don’t get me wrong, it’s a slightly above average game, it’s just that I didn’t like it. If you loved the original, then I’m sure you’ll love this one but I didn’t care for either version but I do think this one is slightly better due to the controllers of the DS…. It’s not the best DS game out there but it’s good enough to entertain anyone and if you have friends then it may be worth picking up to play the mini games against them but for a gamer who doesn’t know a single soul with a DS, this title is worth skipping unless you are desperate for a DS game but it’s fall of 2005 and the big titles are just now coming out. The bottom line is, and I know I’m rambling, Mario fans in general and those that loved Mario 64 will eat this title up. Those who aren’t fans, this won’t change your opinion of the fat plummer.

Story - 2/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Control - 7/10
Game Play - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10

Final Score - 6/10

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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