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Super Mario 64 DS Review

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Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 21, 2004 Available On: Nintendo DS

Almost ten years ago, a well-known red-capped plumber landed on a revolutionary system. The Nintendo 64 combined some of the newest 3D technology with the strong lineup of the Nintendo brand. Super Mario 64 was a launch title on the Nintendo 64. Today, an enhanced port of that game, Super Mario 64 DS, lands on the Nintendo DS as a launch title. What better game could launch Nintendo into 3D handhelds than the same game that launched them into 3D consoles?

To start off though, let it be said that Super Mario 64 DS was not meant to be the proof that touch-pad, dual-screened gaming was the future. Quite simply, Nintendo needed a launch title, and what better way to do that than release a Mario game. Better yet, why not use an already created engine? The game can’t be penalized for failing to implement a cohesive touch-screen use. The touch-screen can act to move camera angles, or an optional control setting allows you to move your character with the touch-screen.

Despite the name, Super Mario 64 DS is not the same game as its Nintendo 64 counterpart. The gameplay has been tweaked, levels have been added, goals have been changed, and players have been added to the roster of playable characters. The most noticeable change is the introduction of Yoshi from the start. It seems that Mario, Wario, and Luigi were locked away in the castle. You will have to find keys to open their doors. Once they are open, you can use each of the characters, with their special abilities.

As I said earlier, you start off as Yoshi. You will trek through the paintings, as you did in the last game, to collect stars. You do this buy collecting red coins, silver stars, outrunning turtles, saving penguins, and of course, defeating bosses. The game has the same basic concept as the original, with slightly altered gameplay. For instance, the first level that you play, you will notice that they adjusted Big Bob-omb, so that he throws bob-ombs at you. In the original, you would get behind him, and launch him into the air. You will do that later on, but in this case, you eat the bob-ombs with Yoshi, spit them at Big, and let them explode. This is just one example of changed gameplay.

Aside from the gameplay changes, there are also new levels. If you did not play Super Mario 64 in 1996, or since then, you will not be able to tell the new levels aren’t from the original. They are that well conceived. One of the levels is inspired by Super Mario Sunshine. It is more of an atoll than anything, very small, with connecting patches of land. The music is brought over from Super Mario Sunshine, but the enemies remain the same as the rest of the Mario 64 game. Aside from the new levels and critiqued gameplay, Super Mario 64 DS has a total of 30 new stars, 150 total. Also added are mini-games, which can be played in the recreation room.

Super Mario 64 for the N64 utilized the system’s center joystick. This allowed you to move Mario 360 degrees with ease. Super Mario 64 DS feels more like Tomb Raider, with smoother animation, than Super Mario 64 (N64). This is not to say that you will be unable manage. You can. It just takes a lot of getting used to.

The DS lacks a joystick, so you will have to make due with the control pad or touch-screen. Having to hold down a button to run gets tiresome. Nintendo should have allowed you to: hold the run button, without using the control pad, moving you in the direction you are facing (since your fingers get tired) or simply get rid of the run button altogether. The camera angles, thankfully, have been improved from the N64 version, but this is neutralized by the control issues. Once you get passed the one or two hours of adjustment, the game will work fine. In fact, I’ve grown accustomed to it, and am getting by quite fine.

If you own a Nintendo DS, you have got to own Super Mario 64. Out of the half-dozen launch titles, Super Mario 64 is the only one that feels completed. That is mainly because it was completed, for the most part, ten years ago. Super Mario 64 DS is a reminder of a classic that was likely under your Christmas tree this time in 1996. If you are going to pick up a DS, do yourself a favor, and get one of the best platformers ever made.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9.1
Written by Kyle Review Guide