Super Mario 64 review
Perfection in Every Way!
+ Easy to learn controls
+ Mario's many moves
+ Lots of levels
+ Excellent graphics for it's time
+ Great Storyline
+ Decent Sound
- Sometimes glitches can mess you up in a few levelsSummary:
This game is full of action, starting from when you first turn it on before you even get to choose one of four files to play from. After the Nintendo logo, you'll see the Super Mario 64 logo, and then come to an interactive screen with Mario's head. Using your analog stick, you can move the hand around and grab and stretch parts of Mario's face such as his ears, nose, etc. After this little gimmick, you'll be at the file selection screen where you will first start off.
In this menu, you can move Mario's facial features around such as the ears, nose, etc.
The story starts off with Mario popping out of a pipe in front of Princess Peach's castle, with Mario reading a letter. The letter was an invitation for Mario to come and have some cake. Unfortunately when he gets there, he doesn't find a cake, but that the host was captured by his nemesis Bowser. Mario must go throughout the castle collecting Stars in each level to face off against Bowser in order to save the Princess.
Mario in the first Bowser Battle.
The mechanics and levels of Super Mario 64 are excellent to say the least. In each level, there are a total of seven regular stars, and an extra star that you get by collecting 100 coins in the level. To into a level, you must jump through a painting usually portraying a certain area within the level. The levels range from many different environments and gimmicks. The first level is bob-omb themed level, with bombs everywhere and even water bomb cannons shooting at you. Other levels include a fire level, a sand level, a water level, an underground level, and a snow level. A few levels with gimmicks include a level where if you jump in a pipe, you'll pop out bigger than most of the enemies, and while going back inside the pipe you'll be smaller than the enemies.
Lethal Lava Land, one of the game's many different levels.
Mario has plenty of moves to use during the game, and some are pretty cool looking too. The more basic moves of Mario are the running, walking, and tip-toeing, which will change depending on the pressure you put on the analog stick in any direction. Using the A button Mario can do a regular jump, a second jump right after that will do a higher jump, and if you perform this while running and add in a third jump you will do a somersault in the air which is the highest jump in the game. Also, if you jump towards a wall, and right before hitting it press A again, you can do a wall kick. Fighting moves include using the B button to do a regular punch, use it while running to dive into an enemy, press it twice to do a one two punch, and three times to do a punch kick combo. When in mid-air, pressing B will make Mario kick. Crouching moves all include using the button Z. By holding it down and jumping while stationary, Mario will do a double backflip, while running, a long jump. Press B while crouching will result in a break-dance type leg sweep.
This image shows one of Mario's fighting moves, the punch/kick combo.
The graphics of the game were exceptionally good, especially for the Nintendo 64. Everything was clear cut, Toad, Mario, and everything else was very well done compared to other games for the N64. The sound was very good too. When Mario is running, you can clearly hear each footstep. You can hear waterfalls, goomba's, birds, monkey's screeches, and of course, Mario's grunts and sayings such as "Mama Mia!" All of these are well timed, and fit perfectly as well.
In the level "Jolly Roger Bay", you can see a perfect example of how advanced the graphics were for its time. You can clearly see every part of Mario, the platforms, stalagmites, and even the fog above the water!
The gameplay was definitely the best aspect of the game. The missions you had to complete were very different, and usually they were specific to the level's environment. One example would be in the first snow level, you had to make a snowman, race a penguin on your belly, and help a mother penguin find her lost baby. In a few missions, you had to race Koopa the Quick, basically a track star Koopa who if you can beat, you will earn a star. Canons played a fun role in the gameplay as well. Using them, you could shoot to a secluded part of a level that you normally couldn't reach, which was what you needed to do in a few missions.
This video shows the gameplay perfectly. It shows many of the moves of Mario as well as what the first level looks like and how to get a star.
The different caps Mario had in his arsenal extended the gameplay and mission's boundaries to an almost intangible extent. There were a total of three caps, the Wing Cap, Metal Cap, and Invisible Cap. With the Wing Cap, jump three times and you can take off and fly (though it resembled gliding) almost anywhere in the level. You can even shoot out of a canon with the cap on for maximum height. The Metal Cap let you walk underwater, and let you literally be invincible except falling down a hole or something else like that. The Invisible Cap let you walk through some walls, and also let you be invincible to the extent of the Metal Cap. One of the coolest things about the caps though, is that you can have more than one on at the same time. You even have to combine the Metal and Invisible caps in a mission to get a star in Dire Dire Docks!
Mario with the Metal Cap on. Chrome isn't too bad of a look for Mario. Especially with the added invincibility.
A small, but very important part of the game was the lifespan of Mario. By falling from high places, getting hit by enemies, or by staying underwater too long, Mario's health meter would go down. Unless at full power, the health meter will be displayed at the center-top of the screen. It has a total of eight bars, and once they go down Mario is done and you have to start from where you last saved. The replay value of this game is very good. Once it is beaten, you still have three other files you can start all over on to try to beat it again. Unlike most games, replaying this game actually isn't boring. After you've beaten the four available files you'll be begging for more!
Gameplay: 5 - Long hours of fun and action packed gameplay.
Storyline: 5 - The classic "Damsel in Distress" theme of the game is definitely a plus.
Graphics: 5 - For the N64, the graphics displayed in Super Mario 64 are definitely some of the best.
Sound: 5 - Everything was easier to hear, whether it was the punches, kicks, jumps, and even the footsteps of enemies and Mario alike.
Levels: 5 - The variety of the levels was excellent.
Lifespan: 5 - The eight bar life meter was good, and it being in the form of a pie chart on Mario's head was pretty cool too.
Replay Value: 5 - After beating the game in '99, I still play it weekly and it is still fun.
Though this game is pretty old, I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Super Mario 64 if you haven't already done so. With it's fun gameplay, excellent graphics, and wide variety of levels you won't be disappointed!
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