Super Mario 64 DS

Nintendo DS

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Hardly any games have sold 1-to-1 with a newly launched game console unless they're included as a pack-in. "Mario 64" managed that feat, and even figuring in the lack of any real competition at that point, it's an impressive stat. Faced with nearly the same situation at the DS launch, "Mario 64 DS" didn't do quite as well. That doesn't mean this classic is any worse for the wear.

Gameplay is probably just like you remember it, controlling famous Nintendo trademarks through a 3-D rendition of Princess Peach's castle. Collecting stars inside the various stages unlocks new sections of the games. Countless secrets are hidden throughout, pretty much all of them in the same place they were before.

Instead of just a straight port, Nintendo has added in additional features, the best being new playable characters that really change the game. Players now start off controlling Yoshi instead of Mario. As the game progresses, Mario, Luigi, and Wario can be unlocked. Each of courses has a special ability or two that can help them through the game and make certain sections easier (or harder if you're controlling the wrong mascot).

That's hardly the only thing added. Mini-games are simply infectious, sapping time away once unlocked by grabbing rabbits in various parts of the castle. Nintendo could have easily released a separate card with just these games on it for $40. They make excellent use of the DS's unique gaming abilities, putting the touch screen to the test in a wide variety of ways.

Unfortunately, the main game does not. The bottom screen simply serves as a map, pointing players directly to the location of the needed star. You do have the option of using the stylus as a form of analog control, but it makes the console far more difficult to hold. It's not terribly difficult to work with the D-pad and it feels a bit more like a classic Mario game while using it.

It's also very easy on the eyes, just minus all the dithering and aliasing the N64 had. It actually helps the game, giving it a cleaner, sharper look. Pixelation is rare and hard to see on the small screen. The camera is still a major pain at some points, especially in those levels that require precision movements. This issue should have been fixed with this new release.

Headphones should be a requirement for this title as it uses the faux-surround sound capabilities of the console perfectly. It sounds a lot better then it did back on the 64. There's no loss of music and all sound effects are present and accounted for. The mini-games use stock effects from the game and that's not a complaint.

Even if "Mario 64" didn't grab you, there's a chance this new version will. It's a little easier with the addition of the map and it's a great game for the road. It still has those frustrating moments, but not enough of them to break this game. It's a worthy purchase alongside the console.


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Last updated: Friday, February 25, 2005 08:03 AM