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Super Mario 64 DS

by Chris Martino - November 14, 2004, 8:58 pm EST

Mario's back, and this time he's brought along some friends.

In 1996 Nintendo turned the video game world on its ear with Super Mario 64. While games like Doom dipped their toes into the 3-D pool, Super Mario 64 took it ten steps further with a fully polygonal world and analog control. It was a smash hit and arguably the best title for the Nintendo 64 system, matched only by the impeccable Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. Much like Mario 64 put the N64 on the map, Nintendo is hoping it can do the same for the Nintendo DS with the title’s beefed up re-release as Super Mario 64 DS.

For those who haven't played the original, Super Mario 64 DS is a 3-D platformer that places you in the familiar role of rescuer. However, this time it isn't only Mario rescuing Princess Peach; you actually start the game as Yoshi, and it's your job to find out what happened to Mario, Luigi and Wario. All three were invited to a party at Princess Peach's castle, but when Yoshi awakes on the roof of the castle, they're nowhere to be found. He soon realizes that Bowser has imprisoned them in paintings throughout the castle and they need to be rescued, pronto.

Super Mario 64 DS is slightly different from the original game, in which you started out as Mario and remained that way throughout the adventure. In addition to the skills of Yoshi, you can now use each of the other three other characters in the game. While switching between characters requires a trip to a new room in the castle, it’s possible to temporarily transform into them by finding one of their hats in a level. This adds an extra strategic element, as some puzzles require the use of a certain character’s abilities. For example, Yoshi can hover in the air, and Mario can now inflate himself like a balloon. Boss battles also differ depending on the character used.

Other differences in the game include a higher number of "Power Stars" to collect to complete the game (raised to 150 from the original's 120), and several extra levels. In addition to these extras stars are at least 36 brand new mini-games, all of which take advantage of the DS’ touch screen. Mario fans will love to hear that!

Multiplayer action has also been added. Players can battle it out against three other friends using the DS' built-in wireless capabilities, with just one game card required. For example, one mode has players dueling it out for control of stars in a level. These multiplayer options, in addition to the mini-games, will certainly add a lot of replay value that was lacking in the original design.

Graphics have been tweaked a bit to accomodate the DS' lower resolution and its lack of texture filtering, but all reports seem to indicate that Super Mario 64 DS looks great on the small screen. The controls will take some getting used to however; the DS lacks an analog stick, and opinions are mixed as to whether the touch-screen makes a good substitute. Players may also use the D-Pad to control Mario; while it only allows players to walk, using it in conjunction with one of the face buttons lets him run.

Much like the original game was an indication of the Nintendo 64's potential, Super Mario 64 DS will be an indication of the potential of the DS. Nintendo has made a smart move in using one of Mario's greatest adventures as an introduction to its new system; it remains to be seen whether gamers will warm up to this edition like they did the original. But, all things being equal, don't bet against Mario.

Last updated: 05/11/2004

The very first game shown on the Nintendo DS is one that offers a little perspective. Super Mario 64x4 uses the characters and settings from the critically acclaimed Mario 64, except that they actually look better on the DS. All that's been shown so far is Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Wario flying around the castle area, thanks to wings attached to their backs, which seems to be the crux of the game. The top screen featured full 3-D flying while the bottom screen offered an overhead perspective. As players fly around the area searching for stars, the touch functions of the bottom screen can be used to shift the camera to another players position or to zoom in on the castle. Up to four players can enjoy the game using the wireless capabilities of the DS.

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Super Mario 64 DS Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Nintendo
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Super Mario 64 DS
Release Nov 21, 2004
jpn: Super Mario 64 DS
Release Dec 02, 2004
RatingAll Ages
eu: Super Mario 64 DS
Release Mar 11, 2005
aus: Super Mario 64 DS
Release Feb 24, 2005

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