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Super Mario 64 DS

Score: 92%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Single-Card)
Genre: Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:

Super Mario 64 DS takes one of the biggest gaming hits on the Nintendo 64 and puts it in the palm of your hand. The graphics of Mario 64 DS matches its console cousin perfectly. The maps and characters translate well to the smaller screen and all look just like they did back in 1996. But not all of Mario 64 DS harks back to the last generation console days. The new features, like the mini-games, have graphics that seem pretty impressive and make the older looking style seem a bit too dated.

When playing Luigi’s mini-games, you’ll see the green-clad plumber in a black-jack dealer’s costume. The 3D model is outstanding and seems to be something that you would find in a console cut-scene. Another case of this sharper than average style is when you are playing “Loves me...?” Yoshi is on the top screen and tosses petals out while you pluck them from a flower. The way he moves makes it seem like more than just a pre-rendered movie, but the quality says differently.

The music also ports well to the DS’ stereo sound system. In fact, I believe the quality of the sound is better than what I remember from the original. There were several times when the music triggered a flashback or two as I took to a slide race or went up against Bowser.


Gameplay:

Super Mario 64 DS has three modes of play: Adventure Mode, Rec Room, and Vs Mode.

Adventure Mode gives you a story similar to the game’s namesake, but with enough new characters and challenges to make it more than just a port. Just like in the original, Mario receives a letter from Princess Toadstool to come to the palace because she has baked a cake for him. This time though, he arrives with Luigi and Wario at his side. The trio dash into the castle. Hours later, Yoshi awakes from a nap to find that the three never returned from the palace. So now, instead of controlling the plumber, you take control of Yoshi as you take on tons of challenges and try to collect all 150 stars (yes that’s right, 30 more stars than before).

But you aren’t restricted to play only as Yoshi. In many challenge levels, you will find various caps. These caps are Luigi’s, Mario’s, or Wario’s. When Yoshi puts the cap on, he becomes that person. You’re then able to perform whatever special moves the new character has (like Mario’s wall jump or Luigi’s ability to run on water). Yoshi stays this way until he finishes a challenge or is hit by an enemy.

The Rec Room is where you get to play a wide range of mini-games. You start off with only eight games (two for each character), but if you find and catch bunnies in the Adventure Mode, you can unlock more games. These games come in many forms. Luigi starts off with games like Memory, or like the Internet favorite Bejeweled, while others have somewhat more... unique mini-games. Wario has a game that has you shooting parachuting ba-bombs down before they destroy your garden. These games are a ton of fun to play, and are a great distraction when you have just a little bit of time on your hands.

Mario 64 DS’s Vs Mode lets you play against three of your friends in battles to see who can get the most stars. This game uses “Single-Card Download Play,” which means that only one of the players needs to actually have game in their system. The other combatants then link up to the host DS through the built-in wireless network. This is different than the “Multi-Card” mode that other games may have. In that mode, each player needs to have a copy of the game in their system in order to participate.


Difficulty:

Super Mario 64 DS has some tedious parts that can be found in any 3D platformer. It seems to be slightly more difficult than the original Super Mario 64, but is still a fun challenge.

The mini-games start off easy in the early levels, but before too long you’ll find yourself frantically tapping, swiping, or sliding the stylus across the touch-screen in a rapid attempt to earn just one more star.


Game Mechanics:

Super Mario 64 DS has three control schemes, each one different enough to let any gamer find a system that feels good to them.

Standard Mode lets you use the face buttons (the D-Pad to walk, and the Y, B, and A to Dash, Jump, and Attack, respectively). The R button lets your character crouch. You can use the touch-screen to move the characters around, but this can get awkward unless you’re left handed (seeing as the non-walking controls are on the right side and you would need to use the stylus with your left hand).

Touch Mode is a lot like Standard Mode except you have to use the stylus and bottom screen to navigate the world. The D-Pad is not used, and instead of being able to dash with a button press, the Y button is used to rotate the camera (dashing is done by pulling your stylus further away from your character’s icon). I found this set up to be the least effective... although it might be better for those southpaw gamers out there.

The last mode was the one I found to be most effective. In this mode, both the D-Pad and the face buttons perform the same actions. Up and X jump, Right and A attack, Down and B crouch, and Left and Y are used for camera control. Just like in the other two modes, the touch-screen moves your character across the map.

This game is great for those gamers who were huge fans of the first 3D Mario game, while those people that missed this title the first time around will finally get a chance to see what they missed.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Sony PSOne Grind Session Nintendo DS Feel the Magic: XY/XX

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated