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Super Mario 64

aka: Chaoji Maliao 64, SM64, Shindou Super Mario 64
Nintendo 64 Specs [ all ]
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Description official descriptions

Mario is invited to Peach's castle, but when he arrives Peach is nowhere to be seen. He soon learns from Toad that Bowser has once again kidnapped her. The Koopa King has also put a spell on her castle, imprisoning her subjects. So it is up to Mario to break the spell and rescue Peach.

Super Mario 64 is the first Mario game done entirely with 3D graphics. The core gameplay is similar to previous platform installments, focusing on jumping, avoiding obstacles, and defeating enemies. Levels can be explored without time limits. Stars must be collected in order to unlock new areas, eventually gaining access to various parts of Bowser's castle. Defeating Bowser on each floor procures keys necessary to unlock big doors and enter other floors, which contain more areas.

Mario has more moves at his disposal in this installment. Besides running and jumping, he can now walk, crouch, crawl, climb, and punch enemies. Double and triple jumps, long jumps, wall jumps, and backflips can be executed as well. Swimming underwater now depletes Mario's oxygen level. Items must be picked up and carried in some instances in order to solve puzzles.

Power-ups include the Wing Cap, which allows Mario to fly; the Metal Cap, which protects him from damage (including environmental hazards such as poisonous gas); and the Vanish Cap, which makes Mario ethereal, allowing him to walk through certain obstacles (such as wire mesh). Mario can also enter cannons and be shot from them; combining this with the flying ability grants access to high areas.

Spellings

  • スーパーマリオ64 - Japanese spelling
  • 神游马力欧 - iQue-Player Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 超级马里奥64 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • 슈퍼마리오 64 - Korean spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Nintendo 64 version)

46 People (43 developers, 3 thanks) · View all

Game Director
Assistant Directors
System Programmers
Programmers
Camera Programmer
Mario Face Programmer
Course Directors
Course Designers
Sound Composer
Sound Effects
Sound Programmer
3D Animators
Additional Graphics
Technical Support
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 94% (based on 52 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 321 ratings with 12 reviews)

Super Mario goes 3D, and he's never been better.

The Good
Running, jumping, flying, all went through buttery smooth. Fun worlds, clever puzzles, and killer bosses make up this game. amazingly clever sequences like the mirror had me in awe. And for some reason I just couldn't stop playing.

The Bad
The graphics were decidedly first-generation. Sometimes, due to unusual draw-distance routines, secrets are revealed before you should know about them. Aside from bosse enemies are mostly complete morons and more often than not inconsequential. occasionally the clipping does some wonky things that'll leave you wondering what just happened. And the camera is not always very responsive to player control.

The Bottom Line
Mario took the next logical step. It's like the other Mario games before, only better, and in 3D, and withmore to do than just get to the end. this time you also get to solve puzzles and do things like foot-races. fit all of that into 15 worlds and a handful of mini-worlds and you have super mario 64.

Nintendo 64 · by anon anon (16) · 2001

Putting The "Super" Back In Super Mario

The Good
The N64 was the last console to join the fray in the previous “Console War”. As it had a lot of ground to gain it came out and hit the market hard. And with great games like Super Mario 64, is it a wonder that they quickly caught up with the Playstation? The first 3D game in the series, it is also one of the best.

In Mario 64, the diabolical Bowser, King Of The Koopas, has once more abducted Princess Toadstool, or Peach whatever the hell her name is now. This time to free her Mario must collect 100 stars. Only then will he be able to face Bowser in final combat.

This means that you will have to play a level repeatedly, in order to collect all of the stars. Which can be tedious. Yet it is not too bad as most of the levels are well designed, and fun to play. Furthermore, the objectives of each return to the level is different. From fighting a boss, to collecting red coins.

Mario basics, remain the same. Collect coins, 100 gain a 1-up. Grab power ups. There is new stuff as well. All power ups are new, from Wing Caps, to Metal Mario. There is also the addition of red and blue coins. And of course the new 3D.

New Graphics add new challenges. From precise game controls, to camera views. Thankfully these work quite well. You occasionally get a bad view. But the controls are tight and responsive. You would think that this was not the first 3D Mario game.

The Graphics are good. A little dated now. But amazing for the time. It blew the Playstation’s graphic prowess away.

Another first for the franchise, now Mario talks! The sounds are classic Mario, and Mario’s voice is good. The music is also classic Mario, so no complaints here.

The Bad
As I mentioned above the gameplay can get tedious. More so when the level is one that you dislike.

The game does not pose a challenge until, about the tenth level or so. It could have been a more gradual change.

The occasional bad camera view. Can put a damper of the gameplay.

The Bottom Line
This is a solid game. As well as the basis for all other 3D Mario games, as well as all 3D platformers in general. If you missed it the first time you can try it now on the Nintendo DS.

Nintendo 64 · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006

Did we really need a ‘Mario Raider’ game?

The Good
Sony’s Playstation and the now-infamous “Tomb Raider” franchise made 1996 the year that 3D gaming came of age. Well, maybe or maybe not, but that’s how gaming history is usually written, at least. Nintendo jumped back into the fray with its Nintendo 64 system in the fall of that year, and it surprised no one that the marvelous Mario was to appear in the new system’s flagship title. The hype and the hope were both there. But did Nintendo actually come through with a great game?

There is no question, the 3D graphics of Super Mario 64 (SM64) are good, especially considering the technological limitations of the time. They are still very polygonal-looking, suggesting that 3D art wasn’t (isn’t?) yet ready for primetime. While not as smooth or charming as the sprites of the 8- and 16-bit Mario titles, the 3D characters are impressive. The environments, however, are a little less impressive. Sometimes you feel like you are walking on a bunch of colored, inclined planes slapped together at somewhat random angles, rather than on earth covered with grass, snow, sand, etc. Oh well, I guess 3D terrain had to start somewhere. The music/sound is good overall, although it’s curious that it doesn’t sound much different in quality from what the Super Nintendo would put out.

I give the endlessly resourceful designers at Nintendo credit for squeezing some new gimmicks in to complement the standard Mario conventions of running, jumping, coin-collecting, yadda-yadda. Shooting yourself out of a cannon takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a real blast (so to speak). I imagine some gamers will fault the designers of SM64 for not innovating enough, “settling” for the human cannonball and other tricks like that. I respectfully disagree. Mario is an established character from an established milieu. The real danger was that they would try to change too much – a danger that they did not entirely escape, as it happens.

The Bad
I’ll admit to being a child of the 80s who grew up on 2D side-scrollers. Perhaps this colors my judgment a bit. Nevertheless, I don’t think anyone can plausibly deny that the 3D camera system in SM64 is aggravating almost to the point of being broken. You are severely limited in terms of the different angles you can use, and the camera has the very annoying habit of shifting back to the angle of its choice when the action resumes. There may be some kind of underlying logic to it, but I sure haven’t figured it out yet.

Mario’s movement repertoire has been expanded considerably, but somehow it doesn’t add up to much. The design of the game doesn’t lend itself to the kind of fun that previous Mario titles did. One problem is that there just isn’t much combat (if that’s the right word to use in discussing a Mario game). It’s actually easier for Mario to punch or kick – yeah, you heard me right, Mario actually does some kung-fu fighting in this title! – his enemies than it is for him to run-jump-stomp on them. Call me a traditionalist, but that just doesn’t seem right. The classic enemy-stomping action seems to have been replaced by Tomb Raider-style platform-jumping-for-its-own-sake, making this the most puzzle-ish Mario game to date. As for the ramp-sliding sequences, they are simply not that much fun, and there are too many of them.

Overall, the game world feels surprisingly sterile and empty. Previous Mario titles crammed so much stuff into those 2D levels, you never had time to get lost or bored. It’s not too hard to get lost and bored in SM64. The game tries to help the player out, since there is a lot of in-game advice about how to play and where to go, and the countdown timer has also been eliminated to further decrease the pressure. This, of course, is a double-edged sword. By encouraging a slower, easier, more exploration-oriented game style, Nintendo has further distanced this Mario title from the beloved SMBs of the past. Which leads to my final complaint: SM64 takes advantage of the gamer goodwill built up from previous Super Mario titles. I don’t care how many of the people who made SM64 also worked on Super Mario Bros. 1-3 and Super Mario World. SM64 is in many ways inferior to its predecessors, but Nintendo knew we would buy it anyway simply because it was a Mario game. You can certainly argue that Nintendo earned that capital with its earlier titles, fair and square, and was entitled to spend it later. Still, I can’t help feeling a little bit…exploited.

The Bottom Line
SM64 was by most accounts innovative, attractive, and well-designed. But if that’s the case, then why does playing it make me want to cry? SM64 took platforming where it had never gone before. Maybe I’m just a nostalgic old man, but I’m not sure Mario really needed to make the move to 3D. It made for good marketing, but it failed to deliver the same level of classic gaming experience that the NES and SNES Mario games did.

Nintendo 64 · by PCGamer77 (3159) · 2005

[ View all 12 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The N64 version of Super Mario 64 appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled sequel

There was going to be a sequel done, for either the N64 or 64DD, that would have Luigi as a playable character too, but it was never completed. It is possible that this game later became Luigi's Mansion.

Collecting all stars

After collecting every star in the castle, Bowser will say a different message upon his defeat in the sky. Also, a cannon opens outside the castle to launch you onto the roof for a surprise.

First N64 game

Super Mario 64 was the very first game for the N64.

"L is real 2041"

One of the biggest mysteries surrounding this game is that of an inscription on the star statue in the castle courtyard (near the entrance to World 5). The inscription reads, "L is Real 2041" or "Eternal Star". However, a sign in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time also says this when you look at it (but reads something else when you read it). This sign is located in the Dodongo Dungeon, near the Gorons' home. Whether this was a gag by Nintendo or if they just decided to recycle textures is unknown.

Awards

  • EGM

    • September 1996 (Issue 86) - Game of the Month
    • March 1997 (Issue 92) - Game of the Year (All Systems) + N64 Game of the Year + Adventure Game of the Year + Best Graphics and also Game of the Year (All Systems) (Readers' Choice) + N64 Game of the Year (Readers' Choice) + Adventure Game of the Year + (Readers' Choice) + Best Graphics (Readers' Choice)

    +November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #10 (Titles That Revolutionized Console Gaming)

    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #2 (Readers' Top 10 Games of All Time)
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #4 (Best 100 Games of All Time)

      +February 2006 - #6 out of 200 of the "Greatest Games of Their Time"

  • Game Informer Magazine

    • Issue 100, August 2001 - #12 in the Top 100 Games of All Time (poll)
    • Issue 138 - October 2004 - one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Games of All Time"
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #11 Top Game of All Time
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #17 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
    • Issue 37 - #4 in the "Top 25 Platformers of All Time" (poll)

Information also contributed by Big John WV, Brolin Empey, PCGamer77 and Tiago Jacques.

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Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 3533

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Chris Martin.

Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Wii added by Guy Chapman. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Sciere, Alaka, Opipeuter, gamewarrior, the_penguin, Luchsen, Big John WV, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, Thomas Thompson, Beep, Rik Hideto, FatherJack, lightlands.

Game added March 29th, 2001. Last modified June 19th, 2023.