Review Review - Super Mario 64 DS (NDS)

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Nov 22, 2003
New York City
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Super Mario 64 DS

This is exactly what the title suggests, a port of the original Super Mario 64. The exact same gameplay elements are there, except for a few changes to characters and hats and the such, along with a few minigames. The core game is still there, relatively unchanged, so take it as you will, because you can get the same experience on the N64 version, nearly 7 years ago. It is, however, strong suited for a launch title, and does show off the graphical power of the DS.

The gameplay is classic Mario. You have the triple jump, the wall jump, and the flying caps. Though, in this version of the game, you start off as Yoshi, and must unlock Mario, Luigi, and Wario to play. Of course, Mario is the one who defeats Bowser in the end, because Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario are ill suited for the job. The levels are untouched, and unchanged. Every single star is remade into this portable version, exactly the same. You have to race the same Koopa up the same hill, and dive down the same water pool to reach the same stars, and fight the same Bowser twice by throwing him into bombs. Some of the more interesting features of the new DS version are the minigames. The minigames involve the touchscreen, and are all new. They are kind of tacked on, but this really allows new users to see how the touchscreen can be used, in terms of small games, and pick up and play portability. It’s more of an arcade, if anything, and allows the gamer to just stop playing the main game for a while to chill out with some easy, straightforward arcade action games. The feature that is the most interesting is by far the stretching of Mario’s face. The original Mario 64 had the Mario stretching face, where you could deform him to look like Link, with the funny ears. In this version, you can do that as well, along with drawing his face using the stylus. The shapes then actually take shape, where you can mess around with the lines, dragging them back and forth to reshape your already misshapen drawing. It’s definitely a retro throwback to the original face alteration, and it is still as funny now as it was then.

One change to the gameplay is that, seeing how the DS is a handheld, the game is controlled by the D Pad or touchscreen. The D Pad is clunky because, it only has 4 directions. Sure it has the multi directions, like diagonals, but it does not encompass the same range of motion joystick has, something that takes away from the overall gameplay. Where the D Pad lacks, the touch screen compensates. The touch screen allows the gamer to move the main hero in the direction of their finger or stylus. It’s not exactly the same as the joystick, but it is a bit better than just a D Pad.

The graphics are fine and dandy. The bottom screen shows a map, and the top screen shows the action. The top screen tends to show off the graphical capabilities of the DS, which involves no jaggies and smoothing out the corners. This, in turn, creates a somewhat softer image, not so sharp due to the pixel count, though it is expected of a handheld of this caliber. The rest of the graphics, such as water and the sky, are nice looking, and don’t clash with the character models in terms of colors and aesthetics. Mario can still twist and turn, and Bowser can still spit fire, and it looks perfectly acceptable for a handheld such as the DS.

The sound cannot be experienced without headphones. The regular DS speakers just don’t cut the job for this kind of surround sound game. There are a few ambient noises in the courtyard and in certain levels, but the best part are the revived original music pieces from the N64 version. There is some voice acting, like Mario and his classic Wahoos, and Bowser’s famous laughs, along with Princess Peach’s famous cries for help, but most of the sound in this game are just sound effects, most probably ripped from the N64 version for this port. It doesn’t sound any worse than the original, nor does it sound any better.

Lasting Replay
The lasting replay of this game is quite limited. Unless you are a perfectionist who likes to go for all 150 stars, then this game is done once you finished playing. There are some secrets to collecting all 150 stars, but it’s not impossible to break this secret using a secret Luigi technique. Also noted, to unlock minigames in the game, you have to collect rabbits which are stranded throughout the castle, using different characters. 4 characters and unique minigames to each, unlockable by chasing down these pesky rabbits and catching them for keys to unlock said minigames.

Overall, this game is quite the launch title. It’s fun, it’s classic, and it’s simply a game that shows off the real fun inside a DS. It’s also to be noted that this is a straight port, so these are the same levels you will find in the N64 version. If you have the N64 version, you might be better off just playing with the original, unless you are looking to replay this classic game on a portable platform. If you are into Mario games and have never played the N64 version, look into owning Mario 64 DS because it simply rocks the house.




Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Lasting Replay - 7/10
Overall – 8/10 (Not an average)
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