Videogame Review #2--Super Mario 64

Videogame Review #2--"Super Mario 64"

 

Heeeello, fellow Movellians! 'Tis I, Ninja Togepi, back again with the blog idea that I had originally been so hyped to do, but then forgot about for half a year... 

Quite saddening... :-'

But here before you is numero dos of my videogame-review-blog-thingy! And I am going to review a classic game that every gamer knows about (or at least of): Super Mario 64. 

 

Super Mario 64 is a 3D platform videogame released in 1996, and was developed by Nintendo for their console at the time, the Nintendo 64. In the game, you play as none other than our favorite Italian plumber Mario, as he jumps from painting to painting in search of 70 Power Stars (or 120 if you're a completionist) in order to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. 

A remake to the game was also released for the Nintendo DS in 2004, titled Super Mario 64 DS. This version bore a somewhat similar storyline, but added thirty additional Power Stars, more playable characters, independent minigames, and even a multiplayer mode. 

However, I am not here to review the remake. Let me get back to the original. 

 

GAMEPLAY

While these days 3D platformers are quite the norm, Super Mario 64 was the very first Mario Bros. game of the genre. The game was a launch title for the Nintendo 64, a Nintendo console that could finally render 3D graphics. (I mean...I guess Star Fox on the SNES is an exception to that, but...perhaps another blog for another day??) With the joystick on the controller, players explore open three-dimensional areas in search of the Power Stars. 

In the game, the player's avatar, Mario, still bears his trademark ability to jump on enemies and ledges. But now, our mustachioed friend has a new set of moves: punching, kicking, back-flipping, ground-pounding, wall-jumping, crouching, crawling, slide-flipping, double- AND triple-jumping, and even the infamous and unintentional backwards-long-jump (which I am going to set aside and explain later ;P). 

 

STORY

...Must I? Really? 

It's the same ol' premise with a twist.

Princess Peach has invited Mario to her castle, stating in her letter that she has baked him a cake. So Mario makes his way over the castle, only to come across a frantic Lakitu holding a camera on a fishing pole. He says that Bowser has kidnapped the princess and stolen all of the castle's Power Stars, and is hiding the castle's inhabitants inside the place's various paintings. Lakitu begs you to save the princess and her Mushroom servants and offers to record your journey for you. He is basically the one screening the game, as he shows you how to adjust the camera to fit your player needs. That's a bit meta for a Mario game. ^_^" 

So Mario is sent inside the castle to hop into the numerous magic paintings (and at times a window, birdcage, clock, literal walls, and a pool of water that was programmed funny and looks like a vat of oil '-'), battle enemies and accomplish tasks in order to retrieve at least 70 Power Stars, make it to the top of the castle, save the princess, and defeat the Koopa King once and for all!

Or at least, until Super Mario Sunshine comes out... :\ 

 

GRAPHICS

Compared to the previous Nintendo titles, Super Mario 64 looked quite good at the time. Nintendo had been just began to experiment with 3D polygons, and this game was one of those "experiments." Sure, the surfaces of objects aren't perfectly smooth, and depth-perception can be your worst nightmare. But other than that, Mario looks like Mario, the enemies look as you'd expect, the colors are vivid, and to top it all off, the game doesn't lag or make you wait while it loads the level's objects.

Whether or not the graphics are "good" or "bad," I assure that the environment is expansive and creative enough that the rough edges don't impede on the overall experience of the game. 

 

REPLAYABILITY 

This game is most certainly replayable.

Sometimes it's just nice to erase your file and play through the game again. Maybe you would like to experience the environment once more and improve upon your platforming skills. Perhaps you'd like to see how quickly you can beat the game, or or how long it takes to gather all 120 Power Stars.

Or maybe you find interest in triggering glitches that either quicken the game or are just fun to perform. Remember that backwards-long-jump from earlier? 

(If you wish not to stay tuned for my banter on the famous glitchy move, than feel free to skip the bold text.) 

​The backwards-long-jump is a move that the game's programmers hadn't intended for Mario to do. It is done when the player makes Mario perform a normal long-jump, but immediately pulls back on the joystick. Mario will do the long-jump animation, but he will be hopping backwards. Because the programmers overlooked this move, there isn't much code in the game to hinder what Mario can do in this state, and players are able to do some crazy stuff with it! 

For example, if Mario performs the move repeatedly against the wall or into a corner in certain places, he will eventually phase through the wall. And depending on what is behind said wall, Mario can have access to a room that he shouldn't, or he might be trapped in the void outside the castle walls.

Another example: if Mario repeatedly backwards-long-jumps up a flight of stairs just right, he will zoom up the steps at Sonic Speed! (Or does that mean he would be slower...? Any fellow Theorists out there? ;P) This is because Mario is performing a jump on each individual step, and since there's no limitations in the coding that cap the speed he can reach in this way, Mario bolts up the stairway. The game has to skip a few frames of animation to account for the high speed, and because of that, the frames in which Mario bumps into the wall are scrapped, and you are able to phase right through the barier! This is especially helpful for bypassing the 50 Star door and the Never-Ending Staircase. 

Aha! We have escaped the realm of bold text! 

Now, onward!

 

UNLOCKABLES

I guess in a sense, Super Mario 64 does have one unlockable. 

Once you have completed the game and collected all 120 Power Stars, a canon will open in the courtyard. If you use it to land on the castle roof, you will find Yoshi! \^o^/ 

When you talk to him, he is overjoyed to see you, stating that he was just about to give up hope waiting for you. He praises you for saving the day and delivers a message from the Super Mario 64 Team. They thank you for playing their game and say they would like you to play for as long as you'd like. And with that, Yoshi fills your stash with one hundred lives! But then he hops off the castle roof and disappears. 

I mean, he's probably alright. :/ 

There's not much else to do up on the roof. Though, there is a Wing Cap box for you to use just for the fun of it, and also four 1-Up mushrooms set on the ground...which are...quite useless... 

Other than the Yoshi easter egg, there's nothing more to do in Super Mario 64. The game relies on its replayability to keep players coming back to Peach's castle, and the game developers even provide you will all the lives you'll need to do so. 

 

So that's that. Super Mario 64 is certainly a gaming gem to behold, no matter what side of the fruitless Console War you boast. Although the blocky looks of it can be discouraging, I promise you that his game is worth at least a try, whether on a Nintendo 64, though Virtual Console, or even on an emulator. The 3D platformer is creative despite its limitations, and provides hours upon hours of enjoyment no matter your age. 

There's a good reason this game is dubbed a "classic." ;-)

 

 

Blog number two is complete! Joyous day! 

If you found my rant somewhat interesting, please let me know if I should make it a series. 

Though, honesty would be preferred. Even constructive criticism is appreciated. 

Anyway, wherever you are, have a fabulous day!! \^_^/

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