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Super Mario 64 DS
Platform: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Nintendo of America, Inc.
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Style(s): 3D Platform
Synopsis: A launch title for the Nintendo DS handheld system, this remake of the breakthrough N64 3D platformer adds new multiplayer game modes that make use of the handheld's wireless technology. Players can take the roles of Mario, Luigi, Wario, or Yoshi -- each with a different special ability -- in competition against other nearby DS gamers to collect the most stars. Super Mario 64 DS also features 36 new mini-games -- nine for each of the four playable characters. As in the original, the single-player mode has gamers traversing a three-dimensional Mushroom Kingdom castle toward a final showdown with Bowser, who wants all the stars for himself. In regular play, the top screen shows the 3D action while the bottom screen is used to display a top-down map of the current area. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
Package Contents: Health and Safety Precautions Booklet
"Everything old is new again" isn't just an adage; it's a key facet of Nintendo's software strategy. When Nintendo decided to re-release every 8- and 16-bit Mario game across its handheld systems, adding an extra coat of varnish to appeal to both toadstool taskmasters and tenderfoots alike, there was one glaring omission: Super Mario 64. A new, more powerful handheld was needed to revisit the plumber's first foray into 3D. Eight years after his groundbreaking Nintendo 64 debut, Mario makes his return with a few surprises up his red sleeve. Super Mario 64 DS now includes a total of 150 stars to collect, up from the original game's 120. The other big change is beginning the game as Yoshi instead of Mario, with players also able to unlock Wario and Luigi as well. The core gameplay, look, and sound are otherwise the same. Mario still sounds like he's saying "nit pickle" instead of "let's a-go," and all the levels from Super Mario 64 are here in their proper place and order from within Peach's castle grounds. The 30 extra stars have been incorporated into the castle's existing levels and floor plan for the most part, so you won't be exploring new 3D realms on the same scale as Jolly Roger Bay or Cool, Cool Mountain. Since the new stars are woven into the threads of the main storyline, players might notice a switch plate on a course that, when activated, will cause a star to appear in a specific spot for a certain length of time. Other changes include hidden portals to areas that require you to locate and capture five silver stars in order to reveal the main yellow star. Smashing a layer of bricks in the castle's courtyard, for example, or jumping into a painting might transport you into a special bonus level for a shot at another star. These are small-scale levels that take mere seconds to traverse, but they are enjoyable diversions in a game filled with enjoyable things to see and do. Though having new characters seems like a radical departure from Super Mario 64, it's more a slight twist on the familiar action than a complete transformation. Yoshi still possesses his trademark flutter jump (complete with his adorable "harooomph" sound effect) and the ability to tongue-grab enemies, swallow them, and spit them out. Yet the main courses haven't changed to accommodate Yoshi, Wario, or Luigi's talents, they are really just cosmetic choices. Since Mario is still often needed to perform some of a level's objectives, caps will let you switch to the mustachioed mascot so you can finish the course. The action is viewed on the top screen while the touch-screen display is used primarily as an overhead map or as a means of control. Since Super Mario 64 was designed first and foremost to take advantage of the N64's analog controller, it's more than a little disappointing to have to use either the directional pad or stylus for movement. While both will work (digital control offers a separate button for dashes), neither is as precise as an analog stick. The overhead map is a useful feature, however, letting you know where the star is for a particular objective and also coming in handy during the "spin and fling" boss battles with Bowser. Compounding the control issue are the scrolling stages, which are still as problematic from a camera angle standpoint as they were on the N64. These stages typically feature an angled side-scrolling perspective that doesn't reveal as much information as you need to make precise jumps, especially when nearly every platform is suspended above a bottomless pit. Expect to hear Mario's high-pitched "whoa" often in this game, with more "missed it by this much" moments than in the entire Get Smart television series. Apart from the main adventure, Super Mario 64 DS also offers a coin-collecting multiplayer mode and surprisingly addictive mini-games, which show off the enormous potential of the dual-screen system. One of the best is a takeoff on the arcade classic Missile Command, with the stylus used to fling projectiles from a giant slingshot. Other games include variants on memory, the shell game, pachinko, sliding puzzles, and much more. Eight games are available from the start, with more opening up for each character by catching rabbits hopping around the castle. Super Mario 64 may be an oldie, but it's a golden oldie, and one that has some of the most interesting play mechanics and environments in the series to date. Though gameplay is really one big scavenger hunt through a diverse set of worlds, there are so many memorable moments -- from racing down corkscrew slides to surfing lava on a koopa shell -- that you can't help but grin with giddy delight. Those grins will turn into grimaces a few times because of the controls, but unless you have a revulsion to remakes, you won't be disappointed with Super Mario 64 DS. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.