Mario’s First 3D Adventure is Still Awesome - Super Mario 64 Review
Reacting to the Star power, the door slowly opens. For many gamers, that line was a sign of epic things to come. It meant that you were one step closer to stopping Bowser. It meant that you were going deeper into Mario’s first 3D game. Super Mario 64 will forever be known as one of the most iconic games ever created. It is considered by many to be the first true 3D video game, and it stands as a favorite for Mario fans to this day. The game is available on the Virtual Console for 1,000 Wii Points, and it’s well worth the price of admission.
Super Mario 64 Storyline (3 out of 5)
Despite Super Mario 64 being a revolutionary endeavor by Nintendo gameplay-wise, the story remained the same as its 2D predecessors. Princess Peach is once again captured by Bowser, and it is up to Mario (like always) to rescue her. Luigi doesn’t tag along for this ride, so Mario is all by his lonesome.
Super Mario 64 Gameplay (4 out of 5)
Super Mario 64 is truly a timeless classic, and this is thanks to its tight platforming. Level design is intricate, with countless traps and pitfalls at every corner. Nothing ever feels cheap, though. If Mario falls to his death, it’s probably due to a misplaced jump on your part. Everything comes together to provide a platforming experience that stands strong to this day and still manages to feel fresh.
Controlling Mario is easy, and the Italian plumber has countless moves up his sleeve. You can perform triple jumps, wall jumps, back flips, long jumps, and punch-and-kick combos. And while the controls here don’t feel as smooth as they once did due to standards changing, they still work very well.
Unfortunately, while the aforementioned control gripe can easily be overlooked, the camera issues cannot. This was a recurring problem with countless 3D platformers on the N64, and Super Mario 64 is no exception. Maneuvering the camera around Mario can be problematic more often than you’d expect, and it tends to get stuck in certain spots, resulting in awkward camera angles that can become a hindrance for gameplay.
Graphics and Sound (4 out of 5)
Even after all these years, Super Mario 64 still looks good. It’s a little blocky, and there’s an overabundance of 2D trees, but overall, the game is still nice to look at. This is due to the large color palette and artistic charm that bleeds through each of the game’s levels.
The sound design is no slouch either, and it is actually more impressive than the game’s visuals. If you’ve played the game before, hearing the many memorable themes will hark back to some good old days when gaming was a bit simpler but still amazingly engaging. Then there’s Mario’s banter, which consists of shouts and “yahoos” and is still fun to hear to this day.
Lasting Value (4 out of 5)
Gamers who download Super Mario 64 on the Virtual Console are bound to stay busy for a while. While you only need 70 Stars to see the ending, there are a total of 120 Stars for completists to seek out. And given the game’s awesome gameplay, you’d be hard pressed not to go for all 120 Stars.
Super Mario 64 Review - Overall Score (4 out of 5)
When it was originally released, Super Mario 64 was a true work of art. The levels were huge and encouraged a good deal of exploration, the music was catchy, and everything looked crisp and colorful. If you download Super Mario 64 on the Virtual Console, you’ll instantly notice that all of these things have aged very well. The world of Super Mario 64 is one full of secrets at every corner, warranting a great deal of treasure hunting and exploration. The music is just as catchy as ever, and it brings back memories of the early N64 era. And the graphics, while definitely the most aging aspect of the game, are still charming and nice to look at.
If you’ve never played this game, then do yourself a favor and download Super Mario 64 ASAP. If you loved it back on the N64 and don’t currently own a copy of it, it’s worth the 1,000 Wii Points. There’s something incredibly rewarding about sliding down Cool, Cool Mountain, scaling Tall, Tall Mountain, and seeing Bowser’s big ugly mug in old-school polygonal 3D graphics. This game is a piece of history; one that is still amazing to this day.
This post is part of the series: Super Mario 64 Guide
A collection of articles about Super Mario 64.