Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
EU Release: March 3, 1997
NA Release: September 26, 1996
With the N64’s release, came a game that transformed how we thought of gaming as we’ve never witnessed a full fledged 3-D game do it right. Many companies have attempted such a goal (even Nintendo themselves), but failed to provide a true 3-D experience. Super Mario 64 was the first experience that lit a torch in the cave of skepticism and failure, to show everyone 3-D can be achieved, yet win the hearts of millions.
Unfortunately, after a decade and a half, and four true 3-D sequels, I find that Super Mario 64 is aging for better or for worse. The storyline has been trade marketed (as this is the first traditional Mario game to explain its back-story), as a defining tack on everything Mario. Peach invites Mario to Mushroom Kingdom for some cake and by the time Mario arrives, Bowser has not only kidnapped Peach but he has infested the castle with his minions and is potentially hidden from Mario’s grasp.
If you were totally isolated from news of Super Mario 64 back in the mid 90s you probably had no idea how the Super Mario universe would work in 3-D as it had never gone there before whatsoever. The game play isn’t as polished as its successors, though it still provides an experience that is still enjoyable for the present day audience.
Roaming over a course of fifteen worlds, you will either come off with an impressed feeling or a mixed one. Most of the levels are fairly linear and provide little to no time to explore. It felt like every mission’s objective wasn’t thoroughly planned and rushed. In multiple levels I only explored so far to reach a star, then turning right around and being forced to go a little further for a different star.
The camera angles are, at best, terrible. Eighty percent of the times I died were because of the camera angles as I couldn’t see Mario, let alone what I was doing in general. Adjusting the camera will either help you slightly or ruin it all together, resulting in an unnecessary, time consuming hassle that can potentially lead you to your inevitable doom.
Terrible camera angles comes with poor physics and decent controls. Every time I get hit by an enemy or even fall off an object I slide backwards as if I’m on ice. Actually, sliding was a big hassle to get used to on ice or not. Unresponsive controls resulted in many failed attempts and deaths as the controller is fairly bulky in my tiny hands to be performing such daredevil tricks.
Super Mario 64’s soundtrack is great if limited. Like most Mario games, the music will have to bobbing your head as every song fits the level’s mood and layout. It being limited makes room for certain songs reused for later levels. A lack of variety that even some of its predecessors possess, makes my stomach feel a tad eery.
Reading this you may think I’m downright bashing Super Mario 64 but truthfully I’m not. There’s no denying age is on its tail but you have to give credit where credit is due. From a 1996 perspective (as this is the first true 3-D platform game), the complaints listed are legitimate yet unfair. You truly can’t complain about a game when it's the first of its kind. That would be trimming down and complaining about arcade games like Pac Man and Donkey Kong, saying how the graphics and short length makes both of those games awful.
Holding up the complaints against the entirety of the game wouldn’t be fair, whereas not holding each complaint against it would be biased. Ultimately, Super Mario 64 is great game and anybody who enjoys video games should play it. Besides, it only lit inspiration that eventually made the games you play today, exist.
9- Awesome This game has little in the way of flaws, and is a highly enjoyable experience.
Last edited by Chrono_Cross on May 10th 2012, 8:07 pm; edited 3 times in total