Super Mario 64

aka: Chaoji Maliao 64, SM64, Shindou Super Mario 64
Nintendo 64 Specs [ all ]
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(prices updated 9/28 8:58 AM )

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.


  • 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 +



Credits (Nintendo 64 version)

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

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



Average score: 94% (based on 52 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 322 ratings with 12 reviews)

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

Its got all you need

The Good
The graphics really shone out for the N64, and although choppy and uncertain at times, it was still enjoying. The color use is excellent, and new worlds look amazing. The characters are back, from your Koopas to plain old Bowser. Another great aspect of this game was the sound, the sfx and music were excellent. The camera angle also always seemed to be where you wanted.

The Bad
SM64 did something I hate. It made you go back to levels to get different stars. This bored me easily, as I hated having to go back to the same old levels, over and over.

The Bottom Line
Still, SM64 was a well designed and almost flawless game, which deserves a ( 4 / 5 )

Nintendo 64 · by ThE oNe (180) · 2002

A True N64 Classic

The Good
This game was a release title for the N64. One of the most anticipated games of all time, the game boasted graphics ahead of its time, along with superb gameplay.

Honestly, I can say that it lives up to its name. The game features Mario, in his first 3D adventure, facing Bowser, who has trapped everyone in the castle and stolen all of the castle's star power. He has hid them in worlds behind secret paintings. Its up to Mario to take back the stars Bowser stole and free the Princess and the rest of the castle.

The game leaves you off in front of Peach's castle. After you venture in, Bowser explains what he has done, and the game gets going. Mario must find 7 stars in each of the 15 levels (6 objectives, 1 for collecting 100 coins), as well as 15 other "secret" stars (for a total of 120).

The game style is platforming, but most of the game varies in challenge and type. One level you will be racing a Koopa to the top of the mountain, and another time you will be helping a snowman find his body. Its stuff like this that make the game interesting.

Mario now has health, instead of his traditional one hit kill. Mario will take damage by getting attacked by enemies, touching them, falling from tall heights, touching lava, etc. There are also a number of one hit kills in the game such as drowning or falling in an endless pit.

One problem of the game is its lack of twists in the story. Its pretty much the same throughout the game: "Collect enough stars to rescue Princess Peach". However, the game makes up for this hugely by added sub-quests and side-stories to each individual world. Other than that, the game is very straight-forward.

Bosses and enemies, are, different. They pretty much don't stray much from "Kill Mario regardless of personal safety" theory. However, bosses vary nicely, each with different weaknesses. While enemies are mindless, it would have been nice if they put some thought into their actions.

The game is very open. If you do not feel like getting one star on a certain level, you can leave the world, go to another painting in the castle, and get stars there. This leaves a very open-ended gameplay feel to the game, because you do not have to get all of the stars to face Bowser (only about half is needed), however a reward is given to those who collect all of them. Levels are no-longer straightforward. Levels are literally massive, expansive areas, where all of the stars can be acquired. Even though you usually choose the star you are aiming for before the level starts on a select screen, this rule can, and is usually, broken.

Controls are done exceptionally well. They can be mastered fairly easy. All of Mario's moves are given from the start, so there is no backtracking to get stars you missed. The exception is the caps, which are generally gained less than a quarter length through the game. Besides that, they are not used in levels before they were discovered.

Sound is one of the best features of the game. Mario does not talk much, however this is the first time in history where he yells "Ouch!" or "Woah!" when damaged. The sound effects are nice, but pretty basic. The main feature is the brilliantly composed music, ranging from fast paced to slow and sober. They become part of the game itself.

The Bad
The story line did not stray much from the typical "rescue princess peach" storyline. However, varying challenge types and sub-quests help to break the monotony.

Another annoying feature was jumping. This really got on your nerves when you had to time the jump JUST RIGHT, or else you would fall back down to restart, or worse, die.

Finally, the enemy AI is mediocre. The AI is perfect for an adventure, but you will find that the enemies are more annoying....than challenging. However, variety and numbers make up for this.

The Bottom Line
Super Mario 64 is a classic platformer, adventure game that will never die out. In my opinion, this is one of the best games ever made because it is innovative in so many ways. I think it is worth buying an N64 over, especially since they are so cheap. An updated version has recently come out for the DS, however, This will always be the game that kicked off the 3D platformer series.

Nintendo 64 · by Matt Neuteboom (975) · 2005

[ View all 12 player reviews ]


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.


  • 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.