Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo DS)

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Written by  :  Spag (70)
Written on  :  Oct 01, 2006
Platform  :  Nintendo DS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Mario's looking good, DS-style!

The Good

First, I'd like to say that I got the Nintendo DS. Finally! It's nice, it's small, it's slick and portable, what more can a gamer ask for? I reckoned I was going to remember this dual-screened thing through long road-trips and lazy winter nights, but it was not until I got to the playing that my smile really crossed boarders. It's Mario!

I'm going to talk about the game for the DS to begin with, before I move on to comparing it with the Nintendo 64 version.

It's beautiful to see a game that is so basic while at the same time able to compel one by the colorful and diverse graphics and scenery it has to offer. You touch the screen a couple of times and hear the well-known selecting sound as you touch an empty file name on top of the water. Soon, you find yourself standing in front of the castle, while the camera stays put beneath you, making the castle look huge. You'll hear the sounds of birds singing and the wind blowing while the sun shines at you from above. It's the ultimate Mario-moment - still it's Yoshi standing there.
What I love about the game is the levels based on pictures that you jump into through the wall. It makes the game magic and gives you a lot more freedom. For example, you can try to retrieve another star from the painting you just came from, or perhaps you might want to try a new door you've just unlocked, or maybe you'll give another shot at Bowser? You can even access a good selection of minigames or switch between characters to try different levels or access new areas using the variety of Wario, Luigi, Mario and Yoshi. In other words, the levels, and most important - what surrounds the levels - the castle is what you will think is different and exciting about this game, the rate depending on what kind of games you've played before. The whole jumping and accessing type of playing is bound to spellbind you.
Now I'll give you the three features/points about the game that I think is the best.
  • Navigation feel
    It's an easy, fun and intuitive way to move your character around in the game. You can choose from different ways of controlling, and I got used to them and thought that all were great. This is probably going to be your first positive experience with Super Mario 64.
  • Amount of different areas
    There are lots of different levels in the game - from inside a volcano to above the clouds to inside a sunken ship and so on - plus many secret ones as well. You'll have to get to know each one good because of the amount of "missions" you'll have to complete in each one.
  • Detailed graphics, colorful objects
    Really self-explanatory.

    The DS version is a lot better in many ways. It's really an improved version as well as being full of new and cool stuff to explore. The main story and levels are mostly the same, except it's wrapped in a new and stylish way.

  • You can play as four characters
    Perhaps the coolest new feature next to the controlling. This adds much more of the actual gameplay and adds to the diverse aspect of the game, as I spoke of earlier.
  • Intuitiveness
    Either you use the stylus, the thumb pad or the normal controlling, intuitiveness of controlling is a key element compared to the Nintendo 64 which only supported the simple joystick.
  • The Two Screens! of course...
    You wouldn't guess how much the fact that there are two screens add fun and quality gameplay compared to the predecessor for the 64. The map is great at many times, and when there's supposed to be a - for example - confusing element in the game, so is the touch screen! This refers to the "controlling" I just wrote about, but it's really the touch screen that lets you move around so unique.
  • Minigames
    New to the DS is a good selection of highly addictive minigames obtainable throughout the game. They introduce the player to the touching part of the DS-revolution, and are accessible though a door in the new room in the castle or through the main menu. However, these games don't feature any use of the DS-microphone, which I will get back to.

    The Bad

    In spite of all the great things I mentioned earlier, Super Mario 64 for the DS is really like many "release"-games, they offer LITTLE OR NO CHALLENGE. I believe the game is too busy promoting the DS and it's greatness that it forgets making the game at least a little challenging. However, there are several updates since the Nintendo 64 version that are clearly efforts to make the game harder, though failing:
  • 30 more stars
    Most are just additions to existing levels, I noticed few newcomers in painting levels.
  • A set of different characters
    Pretty much there so that you can gain the different stars using different special abilities.

    Another bad thing about the game is that it doesn't make use of the DS's microphone capabilities. That was something I had really hoped for and thought it was going to be in a launch title like Super Mario 64.

    The simplicity of the game can and should be part of your own opinion, just as this review is part of mine. However, I think there should've been a little more stuff that the character could do aside from jumping, wall jumping, triple jumping and more jumping, even though I at the same know that that would mean a total change of the "Mario experience".

    Again, don't buy this game if you're looking for a challenge unless you want to sit and play minigames all your life or brag about how fast you cleared the race against the penguin. For most gamers, that is.

    The Bottom Line

    It's Mario in good shape, killer graphics and fun to play. The only problem is, it only lasts for not that many hours. Most of you probably even have it because it came with the DS.
    Buy at own risk.