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Super Mario 64

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Super Mario 64
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"So long, King-a Bowser!"
Mario
Protagonist(s): Mario
Genre(s): Platform
Platform(s): Nintendo 64
iQue Player
Nintendo DS
Release: Nintendo 64
JP: June 23, 1996
NA: September 29, 1996
PAL: March 1, 1997
BR: December 10, 1997

iQue Player
CHN: November 17, 2003
Nintendo DS
NA: November 21, 2004
CAN: November 25, 2004
JP: December 2, 2004
AU: February 24, 2005
BR: February 28, 2005
EU: March 11, 2005
CHN: June 21, 2007
KO: July 26, 2007
Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Country: Japan
Series: Super Mario
Predecessor: Super Mario World
Successor: Super Mario Sunshine


Super Mario 64 is a launch title for the Nintendo 64 and released in 1996. It was developed and published by Nintendo. An enhanced remake of the game, titled Super Mario 64 DS, was released in 2004 as a launch title for the Nintendo DS. The N64 version was rereleased on the Nintendo Switch twice, the former alongside Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, titled Super Mario 3D All-Stars on September 18, 2020 and was available until March 31, 2021 digitally, and the latter alongside several other N64 games on a premium plan for Nintendo Switch Online in October 2021. A sequel, Super Mario 64 2 was also planned, but it was cancelled due to the commercial failure of the Nintendo 64DD.

Plot

Bowser has taken over the Princess Peach's castle and taken the Power Stars and hidden them in other worlds hidden in the walls. Mario (Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario in the DS version) must rescue the Princess, acquire the Power Stars and defeat his nemesis.

Why It's-a Him, Mario

Overall

  1. Since you only need 70 Power Stars (80 in the remake) to reach the final boss, you can just ignore the missions that you don't like.
  2. There is now a health bar which can be replenished by grabbing coins.
  3. When achieving 100%, the gate for the cannon outside of Peach's Castle is removed, allowing Mario to use it. In the original Super Mario 64, this allows Mario to reach the roof of the castle and meet Yoshi, who will give the player 100 extra lives and an improved Triple Jump. Due to the changes made in Super Mario 64 DS, this does not occur; the player will instead find one of Luigi's minigame Rabbits on the roof, three 1-Up Mushrooms, and a "?" Block containing a Power Flower (or a Feather in Mario's case).

Original

  1. This entry is considered one of the most important milestones in gaming as it introduced many aspects of 3D gaming that are still being used today and showed what 3D gaming is capable of.
    • Analog Controls: This was the first ever 3D game to feature full 360 movement that allowed the player to move in almost any way they can.
    • Controllable Camera: Majority of the cameras in games at the time were either locked in place or just simply followed the player, but here the player has (almost) completely control over where the camera looks.
  2. This game also pioneered the Collect-a-thon genre which consists of 3D platforming games that require a set goal of collectables be met in order to beat the game.
  3. Title Screen: When you boot up the game, you're greeted by an interactive 3D model of Mario's head to which you can mess around with and stretch.
  4. There are 15 different courses to explore that are entered via paintings. Each has 7 Power Stars to acquire.
    • Bob-omb Battlefield: A grassy battleground of a war being waged between the black-colored Bob-ombs, led by the Big Bob-omb, and the pink-colored Bob-omb Buddies.
    • Whomp's Fortress: The stronghold home of the Whomp race and its leader, the Whomp King.
    • Jolly Roger Bay: The course is a large lake with several rocks, platforms, and a pirate ship. It gets its name from "Jolly Roger," a name given to typical pirate flags.
    • Cool, Cool Mountain: As the name implies, it's centered around going up and down a mountain that comprises of a cottage and ski lift.
    • Big Boo's Haunt: This one centers around a haunted mansion that is filled with mostly Boos.
    • Hazy Maze Cave: An underground cave with many paths and bottomless pits, as well as a large cavern that is home to a giant sea creature named Dorrie.
    • Lethal Lava Land: A volcanic course that has many platforms situated over a pool of lava with a volcano in the center of the course.
    • Shifting Sand Land: A desert course with several sand dunes, quicksand, and an ancient pyramid in the center. Klepto the Condor circles the course and attempts to steal the player's cap if he gets near.
    • Dire, Dire Docks: Another underwater based course where the player can find Bowser's submarine.
    • Snowman's Land: The entire course takes place around and on a large snowman-shaped mountain.
    • Wet-Dry World: This course takes place within flooded ruins, separated into an undeveloped uptown that the player starts in and an underground downtown further into the level.
    • Tall, Tall Mountain: Another mountain course, but without the snow and ice and more emphasis on the platforming.
    • Tiny-Huge Island: There are two paintings that lead to Tiny-Huge Island. The one on the left leads to the "Tiny Island," and the one on the right leads to the "Huge Island," with the painting in the center being decoration. Both islands are laid out the same except for the fact that when you enter "Tiny Island", you are spawned on a small island, and for Huge Island you are on the island, where everything is big.
    • Tick Tock Clock: This course must be entered by hopping into the clock on the top floor. It takes place inside a giant grandfather clock with the player having to navigate around the gears and mechanisms of the clock. Based on when the player jumps into the clock (rounded to the nearest quarter hour), the speeds of the internal clockworks change: Entering when the minute hand is nearest to "12" will make everything stop, entering near "3" will make everything move slowly, entering near "6" will make everything move randomly and change speeds frequently, and entering near "9" will make everything move quickly.
    • Rainbow Ride: This course takes place entirely in the sky with the player having to get around using several magic carpets that move along rainbow rails when the player steps onto them. It's considered the hardest course in the game.
  5. Mario has a lot of new moves that take advantage of the 3D setting such as long jumping, wall jumping, back jump, and ground pound. You can also use Peach's castle to practice Mario's new move set in a safe place.
  6. Amazing soundtrack that is considered one of the most iconic in gaming.
  7. This is the first main-series Mario game to feature Charles Martinet as our hero. (The year before, he previously voiced the portly plumber in Mario's FUNdamentals. Rumors persist that he also voiced him in both editions of Mario Teaches Typing, but while Martinet did voice Mario in the second one, it was actually Ronald B. Ruben in the first one.) He first tried out a gruff Brooklyn-esque voice, similar to how Mark Graue had voiced Mario in Hotel Mario, but decided it would be too scary for young children, so he instead adapted the familiar perma-falsetto that you hear to this day.
    • Also, Peach speaks in the opening and ending and Bowser gains his distinctive laugh (though he won't actually speak until Super Mario Sunshine).
    • A lot of Mario quotes became famous thanks for this game as "It's-a me, Mario!", "Oki-Doki", "Thank you so much for playing my game", and the most known is the line when Mario throws Bowser, which is considered to be funny since it sounds like "So long, gay Bowser!".
  8. This game introduces three new power-ups.
    • Wing Cap - When wearing a Wing Cap, Mario becomes Wing Mario and gains the ability to fly and slow his falls (by holding A), like with the Super Leaf and Cape Feather from previous games. Mario can begin flying by performing a Triple Jump (which can be done in place in that form) or by getting shot from a cannon. The item can be obtained only from a red ! Block, which will become solid upon Mario hitting the red Cap Switch in the Tower of the Wing Cap course. The wings last for 60 seconds before wearing off.
    • Vanish Cap - When worn, it turns Mario into Vanish Mario for 20 seconds. In this form, Mario can walk through enemies, metal fences, and certain walls. To use a Vanish Cap, Mario must first press the blue Cap Switch in the course Vanish Cap Under the Moat, which activates the Vanish Cap-holding blue Cap Blocks.
    • Metal Cap - It is usually found in green ! Boxes, which will become solid upon the player pressing the green Cap Switch in the Cavern of the Metal Cap course. The Metal Cap turns Mario into Metal Mario, making him invulnerable and extremely heavy. Because of this, he can no longer make very high or long jumps, cannot swim, and will sink faster in quicksand. However, Metal Mario is also unaffected by toxic clouds and cannot drown. The effect lasts for 20 seconds.
  9. Due to hardware limitations, the Nintendo 64 can't produce enough environments in 3D to have as many levels as the previous Mario games. Nintendo solved this problem by instead making the worlds bigger and having multiple objectives in them. These worlds are open ended allowing you to explore and obtain the Power Stars in whatever order you want, with a few exceptions.
  10. The main collectable of the game is the Power Stars. There is a total of 120 Power Stars, 15 of them are Secret Stars are either found in secret areas or held by Toads, and at least 70 Power Stars are required to beat the game. They're all scattered throughout the various courses, most of which pertain to a mission. Power Stars appear either in plain sight or after the player completes a mission objective, such as defeating a boss. The only exception to this are the Red Coin and 100 Coin stars.
    • There are eight Red Coins in each course, and collecting all of them causes a Power Star to appear over a Star Marker.
    • Collecting 100 coins in each course will net Mario a hidden Power Star.
  11. Some of the glitches are actually fun like the infamous Backwards Long Jump, which you can perform on slopes, stairs and elevators, which allows you to skip all the barriers that you normally need stars to get through, famously even the endless staircase at the end which is the 70-Star barrier for the final level, Bowser in the Sky.

DS Remake

  1. Not only do you play as Mario, but you also get to play as Yoshi (whom you start off with), Luigi, and Wario, all of which have different abilities and powers.
    • Yoshi: He has average running speed but quite slow swimming speed. His jumping ability is generally worse than both Mario's and Luigi's, though better than Wario's, as Yoshi is able to flutter-kick by holding B to reach higher places that the others cannot reach. However, he cannot punch or kick (unless he uses a mushroom), or grab large objects and enemies. His ground-pound also is not strong enough to break any Bricks or defeat Boos. Instead of normal attacks, he has the ability to swallow most enemies by using  and either spit them back out or turn them into eggs with  that he can throw, making him the only character with a projectile attack. Yoshi can have only one egg at a time. His thrown eggs home in on enemies and defeat multiple enemies nearby in a sequence. Yoshi can also swallow fire and then spit it out as a stream of flame. Some enemies, such as the Bully, cannot be swallowed. Yoshi's Power Flower ability is Fire Power, which fills his mouth with a flame he can use as much as he wants for a limited time. This flame can melt blocks of Ice and damage enemies.
    • Mario: He has the fastest running speed of the four, and is tied with Luigi for the highest jump height, making him preferred on certain timed segments. Mario is the only character that can perform the Wall Kick. His Power Flower ability is Balloon Mario, which lets him float to normally unreachable distances. Mario is also the only character who can access the item called "Wings," turning him into Wing Mario, which also allows him to reach greater heights by flying.
    • Luigi: He is the fastest swimmer of the four heroes. Luigi is tied with Mario for the highest jumps. Luigi, however, is more maneuverable in the air than his comrades. After a normal or double jump, he can scuttle (which is similar to Yoshi's Flutter Jump) to briefly slow down his descent. After performing a backflip, he spins as if he jumped on a Fly Guy and descends slowly. Luigi can also briefly run on water, which is especially useful after a charged dash. Luigi is about as tall as Wario. His Power Flower ability is Vanish Luigi, which functions identically to Vanish Mario from the original game and allows Luigi to pass through certain walls for a short time.
    • Wario: He has the worst speed stats and jumping capabilities of the four, but he is by far the heaviest and strongest, being able to move faster when carrying objects and enemies and smash through Black Bricks and other heavy objects. He can also ground-pound objects with twice the strength of the other characters. His Power Flower ability is Metal Wario, which functions identically to Metal Mario in the original game. This form gives Wario invulnerability to enemy attacks, lava, and icy water, as well as the ability to walk underwater.
  2. Adds several new worlds and missions that only certain characters can accomplish.
    • There's even a new Super Mario Sunshine-inspired bonus level, appropriately titled "Sunshine Isles".
  3. Features tons of mini-games and multi-player gameplay (most of these mini-games are also playable in New Super Mario Bros. and also have multiplayer).
  4. The game makes some improvements on the already existing courses in order to make it easier on the players.
    • There are now gives you hints as to where certain stars are thus eliminating the cryptic nature of the original.
    • Red coins are also shown on the map when you talk to a specific pink Bob-omb.
    • There are now more than enough coins for the player to get the 100 coin Stars.
    • To reduce the repetitive level treks, Hoot the owl appears in more levels now to fly the player to their objective.
  5. Due to the awkwardness of walking with the touchscreen, many of the previously thin paths in the original release have been made wider so as to be less frustrating. Even when playing with the D-Pad, the inclusion of the dash button means that one can walk over those thin paths much more easily by simply letting go of the button.
  6. In order to keep you from constantly having to backtrack to the character selection room every time any given Star requires a certain character, you can temporarily turn into other characters by picking up their hats, which appear in levels once you unlock the character who owns the hat. For that same reason, entering a level as Yoshi allows you to start a level with one of said hats, provided you unlocked the character in question.
  7. King Boo debuted in Luigi's Mansion, where he swore to avenge himself against the Mario Bros. for what they did to him, which was unknown, since he hadn't appeared before. The remake is now King Boo's official first canon appearance, which makes his lines in Luigi's Mansion make more sense.

Bad Qualities

Overall

  1. Slopes will often make Mario slide down either to his death or to the bottom of the stage out of your control, and this is made worse by most inclined surfaces being treated as a slope.
    • This is especially problematic in Tiny-Huge Island since Mario will often get stuck in the sliding animation while trying to climb the mountain and slide to his death.
  2. The Wing Cap, despite being an interesting take on a power-up, is terribly finicky to control in the air, even with the airplane-like maneuvering.
  3. You go back to four lives when you reload your save.

Original

  1. While the game is still universally considered a milestone of video game history and very playable to this day, (especially in comparison to lots of contemporary games that transferred to 3D) the game's age is very telling nowadays thanks to many of its technical achievements becoming the norm.
    • Perhaps the biggest problem is that the camera is primitive, clunky, and often won't cooperate in closed areas. This was because 3D gaming was still new and developers still didn't quite know how to make camera controls at the time and because the Nintendo 64 controller only has one Analog Stick, so the camera has to be controlled with the C buttons.
    • When Mario gets hit by fire, he runs uncontrollably for a few seconds which can cause him to fall into a bottomless pit.
    • Unlike other Mario games, the provided power-ups are time-limited. This was remedied in the remake and later 3D Mario games which allowed players to keep the power-ups unless they got hit as per tradition.
    • Being a launch title for the N64, the game doesn't take full advantage of the console's hardware, leading to some rubbery, almost-transparent textures that give the models a stretched appearance. Coupled with the camera allowing full view in most directions, you can easily see through parts of the models.
      • All the character models look slightly creepy due to being so low-poly and often strangely textured compared to modern-day appearances. Especially Bowser, who looks almost nothing like his official artwork. Practically all instances of this were mitigated in the DS version, though.
    • While this game is pretty good about making the stars relatively intuitive to find, other times it's cryptic as to where stars are or how to acquire them.
      • The second star on the slide bonus course is only vaguely hinted at on a sign near the start ("If you slide really fast, you'll win the Star!"), and even then it could well be mistaken as just a bit of throwaway text about the first star on that course. Combined with the fact that the best way to meet the time required to spawn the star is to do a flying leap to skip half the course makes it that much worse.
      • The game gives you no hint that running around wooden poles five times will spawn five extra coins for you, which is crucial for getting the 100 coin stars. The closest thing is a sign in the large part of Tiny-Huge Island, but it's located on a very small island that isn't easy to reach, and the sign itself only gives an oblique hint; it feigns innocence in the event you get dizzy from running around the wooden pole just nearby.
      • Whomp's Fortress, an otherwise straightforward level, has a very well-hidden star that, unless you're aware of it ahead of time, can only be found by trial and error. It's hidden in a breakable piece at the tip of a thin brick wall that you have to launch Mario into via cannon — and it looks no different than any other piece of scenery in the level. While the name of the star's goal is "Blast Away the Wall", finding out which wall to blast at, and which specific part, is completely left to the player to find out. It's even worse in the German version, where the description is instead "Fly into the Blue!". That's right, its description tells you essentially the opposite of what you need to do. That said, the game's view of Whomp's Fortress in the credits does show the star in plain sight if you haven't gotten it yet.
      • The secret star inside the pyramid of Shifting Sand Land. Even when you know where to find the five Star Points to reveal it, it's still tricky due to the quicksand that stunts your jumping, and the others are on small floating platforms that are very easy to fall off or miss.
      • The Tower of the Wing Cap. The entrance is hidden in the castle hall and your only hint towards its existence is the spotlight in the middle of the room. Unlike other levels, you don't enter it by jumping in, but by zooming in with the camera and looking up.
      • Hazy Maze Cave has two notoriously vague Star titles. The first, "Metal Head Mario Can Move!," doesn't give any indication as to what you're supposed to do beyond putting on a Metal Cap, and those are found at nearly every point in the level, including right at the start. You're supposed to use it to activate an underwater switch in the lagoon, but it's possible to completely miss that switch while exploring the cave for the first time. The second, "Watch for Rolling Rocks," tells you that the Star is hidden somewhere in the corridor where you find giant boulders—but there aren't clues as to what you're meant to do or where it might be. You're meant to Wall Kick near the door to the Underground Lake and discover a hidden platform above you, but the camera seems designed to ensure that you don't notice that platform unless you're already looking for it.
      • "Wall Kicks Will Work" from Cool, Cool Mountain doesn't tell you where those Wall Kicks are going to work. It's possible to figure it out by process of elimination—as it's the last Star, the only area left to explore is at the very bottom of the mountain—but even then it's a stretch.
      • "Five Itty Bitty Secrets" in Tiny-Huge Island, which requires Mario to walk over five specific spots on the island, which aren't marked or hinted at in any way. You just have to wander around aimlessly and hope you stumble upon them.
  2. Instead of having a fluid and native 60 FPS output, the game runs only at 30 FPS for no apparent reason. Fortunately, the issue was fixed in the PC port.
  3. Due to being an early 3D game and having numerous glitches and design oversights, there are many ways to mess up the game:
    • It's actually possible to crash the game just by messing around with the file select screen.
    • In Bob-omb Battlefield, if you sandwich Mario underneath the level's first bridge and a cork block, the game will crash.
    • For some reason, Big Boo's Haunt has a glitch in the room that lets you fall down to the basement that causes the game to crash if you're up against a wall and fall in a certain way.
    • If you are unfortunate enough to fill the 100 coins on one of the two slide side-areas (Cool Cool Mountain and Tall Tall Mountain), the star will spawn above your head as usual, but you cannot grab it due to the sliding downwards movement. And once you exit the side area and return, the star will be gone, forcing you to leave the level and collect the 100 coins all over again. Better start with the slide before you do anything else.
    • In Tall, Tall Mountain, if you let the Monty Moles throw too many pebbles with Mario standing nearby, the game will run out of memory and crash. This is due to a design oversight — pebbles deactivate when they are more than 4000 units away from Mario. Hence, a deactivated pebble won't hit the ground and unload, but instead just remain invisible and unmoving in midair. So by having Monty Moles continually throw pebbles off the edge, the pebbles will keep loading into object slots but never unload. Since the game only has 240 object slots, eventually all the slots become occupied and the game crashes.
    • Due to some oddities in collision, grabbing a star in the exact wrong place can softlock the game by getting Mario stuck in an endless ledge-grab. In practice, this only occurs with 100-coin stars, which spawn just above Mario's head when he collects enough coins — this bug may have been a factor in Super Mario Sunshine changing 100-coin Shine Sprites to spawn in a predetermined position.
  4. 100 Coin Stars are rather tedious to obtain and if you die, you are kicked out of the level which means that you have to start from scratch each time you die. While this isn't a big issue in most stages since they're often small and open, it is very problematic in Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Ride since both of those stages are very long, linear, and it's very easy to die in them. And some stages have little more than 100 coins to collect, such as Jolly Roger Bay with its 103 coins and Dire, Dire Docks with its 101 coins.
  5. Luigi is not seen nor mentioned in the game (though he would appear and be playable in the DS remake alongside Yoshi and Wario) despite appearing in the previous Mario games. Although, a leak at Nintendo proved that Luigi was going to be in the game for the second player for co-op, but this was scrapped.

DS Remake

  1. 3D movement can be more difficult due to having to use a D-Pad to move around, using the touch screen controls make movement more frustrating. This can somewhat be mitigated by playing the game on a Nintendo 3DS and using the Circle Pad to move or the Wii U GamePad's Analog Stick if played on Wii U Virtual Console, however, you can still move in only eight directions using this method.
  2. All you get for collecting all 150 stars is the last minigame rabbit for Luigi, which is absolutely pointless as you can get on top of the castle with glitches and really well timed slide kicks into a Heaven's gate upwarp.
  3. The characters all suffer in terms of abilities.
    • For some reason, only Mario is able to wall jump and access the final boss.
    • Wario has both poor jumping and very slow movement in jumping and swimming, making it difficult to obtain some stars with him.
    • Yoshi can't punch/kick nor grab or destroy certain enemies/objects unless he has a Super Mushroom.
  4. Some of the minigames are repeated twice or never end at all, such as the slot machine minigame.

Reception

Being one of the very first 3D games made, Super Mario 64 is considered by many to be one of the most important video games ever made as it made 3D gaming popular and set many standards for it at the time. Over 20 years later, it is still considered a remarkably good game despite showing its age and suffering flaws many early 3D games had.

Trivia

  • When Mario throws Bowser, he says "So long King-a Bowser!" or "So long eh Bowser!" This line became a meme for sounding more like "So long GAY Bowser!"
    • Charles Martinet (Mario's voice actor) revealed in this tweet that Mario says King-a Bowser instead of King Bowser.
  • There is a famous gaming urban legend where every copy of this game is personalized by an experimental ai, with some copies featuring a mission in which Mario is chased by Wario's head.
    • This legend also started the iceberg photos.
  • In the N64 version, the game has a glitch known as the backwards long jump which lets you skip the entire game and go straight to the final Bowser battle by doing a long jump on the infinite staircase and then quickly go to the opposite direction while you long jump.

Videos

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