(N64 / Nintendo 64)

Super Mario 64 (N64 / Nintendo 64)

Game Review

Super Mario 64 Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Jonathan Town

Platforming perfection

There are two types of gamer – those who have played Super Mario 64 and those who should. Regularly placing towards the high end of 'best game ever' lists, Super Mario 64 has become a standard name-drop in many a classic gaming debate. Since launching in 1996, there have been a number of successors and contenders for the platforming crown, but none will ever be quite as revolutionary as Mario's first ever 3D outing.

The storyline is classic Mario, of course – Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach and her entourage of castle inhabitants and is holding them prisoner inside the castle walls; it's down to Mario to save the day by retrieving the Power Stars that Bowser is using to keep them captive. Power Stars are located in and around Princess Peach's Castle; the majority of which are inside various 'courses' accessed by jumping inside paintings hanging in different rooms of the castle. In simple terms, the castle is the main hub and the levels (courses) are the paintings.

Every course contains seven objectives including coin collecting, boss battles and Course-specific challenges - each completed objective rewards the player with a Power Star. The more Power Stars a player has, the more areas can be accessed within the castle. To reach the final battle with Bowser 70 Power Stars are required - however, there are a total of 120 to find for 100% completion, some of which are hidden within the castle grounds…

The castle itself is a wonderful place to get lost in and serves as a great place to learn and experiment with all the moves at Mario's disposal. Rather than the dull enforced tutorials of many a modern game, here the player learns as they go. The first Course (Bob-Omb Battlefield) introduces a number of key gameplay elements that are integral to each active objective. Without really realising, you soon become adept at traversing the intricate platforming 3D world; Mr Miyagi would be proud.

Super Mario 64 is a game that lives and dies by its control scheme, designed around the analogue stick of the original N64 controller. On Wii U there are three control choices: the Wii U GamePad, Wii Remote and Classic Controller combo (Pro or standard) or Wii U Pro Controller. All the options work wonderfully and soon tip-toeing, long-jumping and running becomes second nature. Regarding possible controller lag, we didn't experience anything detrimental to the gameplay during this review, even though some reports are claiming that the GamePad is the most responsive. Additionally, veteran players will probably want to re-arrange the button configuration to mirror the positioning of the N64 controller - it feels rather odd with default settings if you're used to the original layout.

Where Super Mario 64 falls down slightly is in the camera implementation. The default camera moves of its own accord and attempts to not only follow the player, but find the optimal viewpoint. Unfortunately it's not perfect. Occasionally choosing to block the player's view completely, it can be frustrating to lose a life not through lack of skill but from simply not being able to see what's going on. Learning how to manipulate the various camera options becomes a gameplay element in itself, and once mastered becomes part of the natural flow of the game. First time players should be prepared for the camera to be the most frustrating initial element, but stick with it.

Aside from the different control options, the Wii U version has a number of selling points over the original N64 game. For a start, the graphics look better than they have ever looked. This shouldn't be taken the wrong way – it's the exact same game, with the exact same (sometimes blurry) textures. Don't expect anything on the same level as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, (for example) but for whatever technical reason the presentation is clearer, crisper and smoother than ever. Remember what we're looking at is now almost 20 years old - it's still a beautiful looking game in that context.

For PAL players, Nintendo have finally unleashed the 60hz version. While the PAL Wii iteration had some optimisation, there was still a drop in speed and framerate compared to the rest of the world. This makes upgrading a worthwhile prospect if only to experience the game as the developers intended.

The Wii U version is also fully playable using only the GamePad. Portable Mario is a joy, although the abundance of the colour red causes a little fuzziness at times on the display. Of course, being a Virtual Console game there are the usual options of being able to create a restore point at any time and the ability to flick through a digitised version of the original game manual.


Sometimes revisiting old games can lead to dismay when memory clouds over reality. Thankfully, Super Mario 64's blend of memorable music, exploration (some of the courses are huge) and precise platforming remains as enticing today as it did on launch. It's also arguably one of Mario's toughest outings, so dust off your platforming skills before jumping in, with the latter half of the game being particularly testing.

If you've already played this to completion back in the day, perhaps it's time you met up with Yoshi once more. For those of you who have never delved into Miyamoto's original 3D world, you owe it to yourself to do so. Super Mario 64 was a 10/10 game in 1996. It's still a 10/10 game in 2015 because, quite frankly, gameplay this good doesn't age.

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User Comments (133)



Lebon14 said:

A game that will be remembered through the ages through its multiple revolutionary aspects. A well deserved 10/10. (And the only one I've seen on NL so far).



Krambo42 said:

Glad to see it finally hit the Wii U, I guess, but man...I never liked this game.



Peanutosan said:

Although I'd like to play it again I'm more inclined to wait and see if they release the DS version on WiiU.



bizcuthammer said:

No game has ever wowed me the way Mario 64 did when I played it the first time. It was like a new world had opened up to me. I will never forget that feeling.



LavaTwilight said:

That would've been awesome since it would've cost the same (here in UK anyway) and would've been upgraded. Saying that, I had M64 on Wii so I got the 'offer' price which I can't complain with. I'd still like to play the DS version and I'll probably still get it if it's ever released.
IMO Mario Sunshine was better. Sunshine for VC!



ajcismo said:

Always a pleasure to play this game, it was a jaw dropping experience back in 1996 and still mostly holds up well today.
Cept for that camera...



Quorthon said:

Mario 64 was essentially perfection in it's day. If someone somehow hasn't played it yet, they should. I, on the other hand, will not be getting this. I still have my cartridge, that I bought on launch day back in 1996--with my 120 Star Completion file still intact.



Pahvi said:

For the reviewer: I think it would've been prudent to mention that the default control layout is pretty close to what the controls on newer 3D Mario games is, rather than just that it is different from the N64 controls.

That said... I doubt I'll be playing this past the first five or so stars this time either.



NintyMan said:

Super Mario 64, despite its age, should still be lauded as a truly revolutionary game. While I was just a little kid at the time, I didn't experience the wonder that players surely felt at that time to jump from 16-bit to 64-bit! My experience came a bit later in the 90's when 3D gaming became standard.

It's still one of my favorite games. The exploration has only been matched by Super Mario Sunshine so far and I still long to explore sandbox worlds with Mario again. I guess I can just play this game again in the meantime.



Goginho said:

Possibly my fav game of all time. Nostalgia-wise and gameplay-wise in general. Unsurprsingly, it remains a joy to play even to this day. The controls are so tight and natural, and there are just enough moves for Mario to perform that it gets neither repetitive nor overwhelming. Just right and simply perfect. What more can one say



Azooooz said:

It's the game that revolutionized the 3D platforming. So it deserves to get 100/10 from me.



BearClaus said:

BLPs wrote:

See that near vertical pillar? Go for it.

I know exactly what you're talking about. For the longest time I thought you had to fly to the top of those.



speedyboris said:

This time through, just for fun, I kept track of how long it took me to get to 120 stars. It took me roughly 7-8 hours of total playtime. I'm pretty amazed I flew through it that quickly (though I know speed runs have done it much faster), though the save states probably had something to do with it.

The game's not perfect- some aspects to the controls haven't aged well, and the camera is very limited compared to what would come even a couple years later. And the bosses, what few of them there were, felt like afterthoughts. But this is one of those cases where if you focus on the flaws, you're not seeing the forest for the trees. Bottom line, it's still addictive as heck.



Nico07 said:

Great game and looks brilliant on the Wii U. Wish I could customize the C button layout more in mapping left and right to X and A, but it still works well. Every once in a while I accidentally bump up instead on the right joystick. Aside from that it plays beautifully.



speedyboris said:

@Nico07 I mapped it to so that the crouch button was the ZL button, jump was B, punch/kick was A, move camera left/right was Y and X, and look was ZR. Bringing up the menu was mapped to L so it was out of the way. Seemed to work pretty well for me.



Stu13 said:

Funny, I just got the new issue of Contrarian Jackass Monthly and they said that this is literally the worst game ever made.



DarthNocturnal said:

A few rough spots, but this is the template for an ideal 3D Mario in my opinion. Sunshine followed the template while adding more. The game kinda feels like a playground, with both the hub world and many of the levels letting you just run around, finding your own path to the goal.

Ever since Galaxy, 3D Mario games have felt a bit like they're just "point A to point B". 3D World gets a pass for it's multiplayer (although it was not perfect; why must we bump into/ pick up our allies/ jump on our allies heads, sending us into a bottomless pit because moving platform?), but I wish Nintendo would give us our freedom back.

While I still have access to the original cart, N64 control sticks are... well, they're crud really. Prone to wear. So this is one game I'm picking up in the future, so I can use my Wii U Pro Controller.

Now if we can just get Sunshine HD or a new 64-esqe 3D Mario...



andreoni79 said:

@BLPs Checkpoints? One can need them maybe only when looking for 8 red stars: in that case one can use the Restore point option, even if it feels like cheating. Controls? I stopped falling from platforms when I realised than Mario instantly stop as soon as I moved away my thumb from the control stick. Inconsistence with what Mario can or cannot do? Well, it's a videogame from '96.



Kirk said:

Well the graphics admittedly look pretty s**t in many ways but other than that this game holds up surprisingly well. Actually, not really surprisingly, because it's a Super Mario platformer. There are some rough edges in terms of the camera and 3D control stuff however that I think are important to note. It doesn't stand the test of time anywhere near as well as say Super Mario World, this isn't even up for debate, but it is still one of the seminal moments in gaming history and you still get a sense of it when you play this game as long as you're told that this was basically one of the very first proper 3D games out there; in terms of both graphics and controls.



SpookEevee1996 said:

I can't believe this game is as old as me... I love it, the true game of my childhood. <3 I'll probably sound silly here... but if I transfered my Super Mario 64 download from my Wii to Wii U, can I then download it from eShop too? o: + my save w/ 120 stars.



LylatRanbewb said:

I do enjoy Mario 64, but it really hasn't aged that well, at least not for me. Probably won't be picking this up.



thesilverbrick said:

Don't get me wrong: I adore this game tremendously. It is still fun to play (I'm actually going through it again right now and currently have over 90 stars) and it is so very important as a piece of gaming history. But to say this game is a perfect 10/10 by modern standards is a bit farfetched, don't you think? Aren't we looking at it through nostalgia glasses a bit much? Unlike other games which could still be released for the first time today to critical acclaim (Ocarina of Time, Super Metroid), isn't Mario 64 showing its age, with its wonky camera, odd physics, chunky graphics and occasional stars to collect that seem rather pointless? I'm a firm believer that this game should rate highly, say an 8 or 9, but it isn't perfect at all. In fact, even with a fresh graphical coat of paint, if Nintendo tried releasing this as is for the first time today, there is absolutely no way it would garner perfect scores.



rennandovale said:


Sorry to say this, but you suck in video games. Sell your Nintendo consoles and buy Xbox/Playstation, than you will find a ton of easy games with one checkpoint every 10 seconds.

Ps: Mario only make run in circles when player suck and don't know how the camera works.



dadajo said:

For me personally I feel like Mario 64 (and a lot of games in that era) has not aged the best. It was one of the first 3d games on a console though so you kinda expect that to be the case. I still think personally that it is a great game but more of a 8/10.
I feel like Sunshine was better than 64 with the imporments but opinions you know.



Detective_TeeJay said:

I'm not trying to put down this game, Mario 64 is a classic and timeless (almost) title, but I feel like if anything negative at all is brought up in a review that makes it less than perfection, which should automatically make it a 9 and not a 10.

But at the end of the day it's not that big a deal. I'm not one to knock a review for its score. It is the reviewer's personal opinion, after all.



MussakkuLaden said:

While the fact that in Europe this is the 60Hz US-version, for me personally may even be a reason to re-visit this game after having owned and played the PAL original only, I am wondering: Does this mean, this version includes only English language, not the other languages of the PAL original? 60 or not, this would be a rather unwelcome loss for some.



Fluffy_Bunny_Bob said:

I picked this up last week and have been enjoying it in short bursts over the Easter weekend.

When first released, Mario 64 was my first WOW moment from Nintendo and represents a watershed in my appreciation of the fun that Nintendo brings to gaming. Loved it then, love it now ... thanx Ninty



allav866 said:

Don't get me wrong, I love this game... but a perfect 10/10? I grew up with Mario 64, and even I can say it hasn't aged extremely well, and I wouldn't just be talking about the camera controls either. I acknowledge that it was a masterpiece for its time, but by today's standards, it doesn't hold up that well.



Kobeskillz said:

I'm still shocked that PAL gamers suffered through slow gameplay all those years.

Some argue that it's fine but you can get used to anything in life and even prefer it but doesn't mean it's the best way or right way.

I'm glad you guys finally get this game right.



Darknyht said:

I didn't really play this until I got the DS version. It is fun and it was quite revolutionary for it's time. There are better games out there now because the medium has evolved since then.

Still well worth playing, if not just to see the game that figured out 3D platforming first.



bro2dragons said:

@rennandovale I "suck in video games," but I find them fun and enjoy the hobby despite my shortcomings and growing list of uncompleted games. I guess I should sell my systems, too, though, because games are meant to be beaten, not enjoyed. I'll make a trip to Gamestop this afternoon to get some cash for my Wii U and 3DS, then put my DS, Gamecube, Playstation 2, Gameboy Advance, N64, Super Nintendo, Gameboy, and NES up on eBay because I shouldn't be playing games anymore.

It's going to be really hard giving up my favorite hobby, but you've convinced me of my mistake and opened my eyes. Because you think I'm not good at it, I'm going to stop playing games and take up knitting, instead. I just hope I'm good at that.



Knux said:

This was probably the game that made me a gamer. It's not only revolutionary, but still unique even today. It's much more non-linear than the Galaxy games and 3D World (although I think that Galaxy 2 and 3D World are still better games), and I still play this masterpiece even nearly twenty years later (can't believe it's been that long).



Socar said:

Despite all the 3D Mario games being great in their own ways, SM64 remains as one of my all time favorite platform game period!



Danrenfroe2016 said:

@BLPs interesting take.

The walking in a circle issue is annoying, Super Mario Galaxy corrected this flaw.

while I agree that it has some issues we also have to remember it was literally the first effort at something like this, & I agree with the reviewer I give it a 10 as well



MetalMario said:

Well-deserved score. Still the best Mario platformer in my opinion, followed closely by Super Mario Sunshine. The Galaxy games are great, but I feel like they lacked the freedom of 64 and Sunshine.



AlexSora89 said:

I never really gave that inconsistency much thought until now.

That said, the DS remake will always be the best version in my book. Not just because of the graphics, but everything about it feels more complete. Or maybe I'm just that much of a Luigi fan, who knows.



doomgc said:

My very first 3d game and I was flabergasted by every aspect of it. well deserved.



DerpSandwich said:

@BLPs I agree that there are tons of control problems. I don't understand how people can still think this game is so perfect but Ocarina of Time didn't age as well. I think it's the exact opposite. I play Super Mario 64 largely for nostalgia, and I still really like it, but I feel like it's showing its age.



Monsti said:

The replayability of this game is endless. And I'm saying this even though this is one of the rare cases where I actually collected ALL Stars on my first playthrough.



luigifan2000 said:

@BLPs i agree. but i also consider it a challenge. its very flawed,but its flaws make it a very challenging game. in the newer games, you have lines of goombas waiting for you to squash them, but this game requires you to figure it out.



Deanster101 said:

I waited for hours in my local HMV for the chance to play this back in 96. It is quite literally the best game ever made in my opinion, it could only be 10/10.



Oto said:

I rarely comment, but your comment sucked.
I've never played this before, so appreciate other viewpoints such as @BLPs. And he totally owned you w/ his response.



Ralizah said:

It's 10/10 in terms of its influence on subsequent 3D platformers. In terms of how well it has held up? 7/10 tops. The game has not aged gracefully, and even 3D platformers from that gen like Banjo-Kazooie and Spyro the Dragon managed to top this game in almost every way.

It's an undeniably legendary title, but let's not pretend it's a perfect little masterpiece. It's downright awkward to play today, and looks like a nightmare (early N64 graphics were some of the ugliest I've ever seen).



hylian-pudding said:

Saying this game still looks is a bit of an exaggeration. The reason I've never played this game pat the first 3 or so stars is because the graphics are terrible. The textures are ugly, the color choices are ugly. And from what I remember, the controls weren't that great either. It was a revolutionary game, yes. But it's far from being a 10/10 by today's standards, imho.



earthboundlink said:

Don't know if I can separate the true game from the blistering nostalgia, but I can say when I play it now, it still feels fun, open, and energetic. The difficulty level is near perfect: you can always make progress, and when you get stuck, you can usually just go try another level and come back to the one that's frustrating you. Then, when you finally get that star that has eluded you, the satisfaction is so palpable.

I very nearly got a Playstation before the N64 came out because I was tired of waiting for my next system, and the Playstation had Street Fighter Alpha (I was a big fighting game guy back then). I rented the PS, and decided I would continue to wait to see what Nintendo offered. I'll never forget going into a Toys R Us and playing Mario 64 on the demo unit there and knowing instantly that I had made the right choice to wait.

And man, the first time I climbed that tree in front of the castle, did a handstand on top, and flipped down to the ground, my eyes got big, and I thought to myself, "This. This is going to be fun."



Dpullam said:

There really isn't much more to say about this game that hasn't been said countless times. It's platforming perfection. Bottom line. And the game has one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard. It just gets you pumped to take on a big adventure. Super Mario 64 is as good as video games get.



MJKOP said:

Great review, I'm currently playing through Super Mario World for the first time in years, (thanks Club Nintendo!), and I'm enjoying it just as much as I did way back in the day. I never had an N64 and, to my shame, I've never played this game. I've been waiting for your review and now I'm very excited to download on Thursday evening when I get paid. I HOPE my son will enjoy it too, even though he's used to the like of SM3DW



bofis said:

What resolution are N64 games actually rendered at internally on the WiiU?



R_Champ said:

Personally, I think I like the Galaxy games more...but that doesn't mean I don't think this game is amazing. The thing that surprises me the most is how well it has aged. Most must-be-3D games of the era have aged terribly in both gameplay and graphics.



TomJ said:

SO many memories with this game. First played this when I was five. This is my number one video game of all time. If it weren't for this game, I probably wouldn't be much into games. Thank you Nintendo !



Rin-go said:

I will probably never get the appeal of this game. I understand that it was important for its time, but I don't feel like playing it again at all. Even when I played the Trowback Galaxy level in, well, Galaxy it felt like "This is why I don't like Super Mario 64".
Oh well.



WaveBoy said:

totally ground breaking back in it's day....And it still holds up. I enjoyed more than the first Galaxy that's for sure.



Mariominer said:

10/10!!! That's amazing! I'm glad that it got this score. This game is so good and definitely deserves it.



GreatPlayer said:

It is actually a good game, but I prefer remake to enhance its graphics, its camera, and its hint system. I did not play this game and thus nistalgia did not hit me. Some stars are difficult to get without walkthrough. But, it did its best back 20years ago, and the gameplay still holds up nowaday.



liveswired said:

@BLPs You're just poor at the game. Super Mario 64 is the grandfather of 3D done right. The first game ever to combine perfect physics, analogue control, camera and massive multiplexed level design, jaw dropping graphics and effects, hub world's all into one groundbreaking game.

The levels are meticulously designed in such a way to encourage exploration, challenge and wonderment - like a large theme park.

The last I checked it was an abstract 3d platformer not an ultra realistic military sim or on rails as is popular these days.

Go do on! ;p



liveswired said:

@GreatPlayer I didn't need a walk-through to complete this game in 1996.

You young ones just don't realise how much this game changed the course of 3D forever.



liveswired said:

@hylian-pudding Move along. Looks like someone had too much pudding.

One of the best designed Nintendo games ever - including colour. You just don't get it. IN 1996 texture mapped graphics with filtering, massive world's, perfect physics, analogue control, amazing effects, unbelievable cartoon graphics, he can walk and move to a run, jump, flip with ease, a 3d camera that keeps in the action -it was a revelation.

Super Mario 64 had the best graphics in its generation on release. Of course Rare outdone this with BANJO et all but this was Nintendo's first go at an in-house 3d engine and it was excellent.

It wasnt just Nintendo mags saying this either, multiplats across the world were raving about it.



JLPick said:

Ah. the first game I owned for the N64...only because it was one of the only games out at the time I bought the system. Even though the camera was a little shaky...not as bad as it was in Donkey Kong 64, I still loved this title and found it incredible with the various worlds and levels and being able to explore the castle. I sucked at the flying levels...still have trouble with it to this day on the N64 and Wii, but still try and love it. I would still give it a 10 if you're looking at it as a classic, but I'm sure some people will complain at how blocky looking it is. Great Mario Title (Super Mario Bros 3 is still my favorite though).




I might have to get the VC release soon. My original copy recently started freezing randomly. It's not regularly freezing, just every now and then.

SM64 is one heck of a game. Age has barely touched this gem.



BulbasaurusRex said:

Even if it messes up once in a while, an automatic camera like this is still a lot better than the mostly manual camera in "Super Mario Galaxy."



Dodger said:

Should this really have taken this long to come to the Wii U virtual console? This is one of the best games in their virtual console library.

I can never get all 120 stars.



astarisborn94 said:

I will never, ever forget this game, so long as I live. The Nintendo 64 will forever remain my all-time favorite video game console and this was easily my favorite game on the platform. To this very day, I consider this to be my all-time favorite video game and there will be no other game that match this experience like this one did. Truth a breathtaking experience at the time; never to be repeated again.



KillScottKill said:

@BLPs thaaaaaaank you. Like most things on N64, Mario 64 is always judged with nostalgia glasses or given a pass for being the first of its kind. It has always had a lot of problems.

10/10 means perfect. Perfect is PERFECT. Not perfect with qualifiers and conditions. Super Mario 64 is not perfect. If this game's a 10, then Banjo Kazooie, Mario Kart 64, and Ocarina of Time are 11s and 12s.



Tobias95 said:

Never owned a N64 myself, but the games It have played is top notch, this is my favorite Mario game ^^ totaly deserved perfect score
Will buy this soon



DarkEdi said:

There are gamecube controllers that can be connected to the wiimote. That is the best option to play it.



Dogorilla said:

I must confess, I only have the DS version of this game. Is it worth getting the N64 version? A lot of people say the N64 version is better but I don't really see why.



andreoni79 said:

@hylian-pudding There's a big difference even between the first Mario and New super Mario Bros released 20 years later but nobody would complain about the graphics from '85.



hylian-pudding said:

@andreoni79 The first Mario doesn't look that good either. And I'm not sure what your point is. It's undeniable that Mario 64 hasn't aged well graphically, and I don't know why people get so defensive over it.



Deanster101 said:

@hylian-pudding it's funny how mario 64 is under more scrutiny for its graphics than say most SNES VC games. Just because it's a 3D game we associate it more with modern games and therefore graphics takes centre of attention. Just like SMB, SMB3, and SMW the graphics have aged really well - colourful, bright, vibrant and clear which is textbook mario - what more do you want? The gameplay is also excellent so give it another chance.



andreoni79 said:

@hylian-pudding Many gamers don't realise that a 3d game from '96 can't look as good as a 3d game from 2006, while 2d games are not so criticised for their grapichs. Mario 64, Resident Evil and Tomb Raider were masterpieces in 1996, and they still are 10/10 games if you consider that their graphics were the top for that time.
@Deanster101 Your comment popped-up while I was writing this answer and its exactly what I meant!



Mario-Man-Child said:

Your wrong. Mario 64 does deserve 10/10. I played it again last year on Wii and I can confirm its one of the greatest games ever made. I also had it back in the day. It's a fantastic looking game. Don't be such a graphics junkie.

Gaming didn't just get good when you bought your first console. It had been brilliant for years before that. Ya know putting down an absolute epic game that you haven't even played is a bit pathetic.



moomootown said:

Hello! I wrote this review and I've been reading all your comments with interest.

Of course, Super Mario 64 will always cause huge differences of opinion as will a ‘perfect’ 10/10 score. For me, Mario 64 does everything right as a platformer – it eases you in without being dull (play begins instantly) teaches you game mechanics through playing and there’s a huge world to explore. This world can be tackled in many different ways, making this one of the most non-linear 3D platformers in terms of game structure and even to this very day, few games have come close to replicating that wonderful feeling of exploration.

Has it aged? Games don’t age like humans do – it’s not any worse looking today than it was on launch. It is, in fact, exactly the same. Of course it’s going to appear ‘worse’ due to advancements in graphical fidelity since, but with that logic in place does that mean Super Mario 3D World will be a 5/10 game in ten years’ time because graphics have advanced?

I didn't review Mario 64 based on what I thought it should score twenty years ago, I actually reviewed it in context of what I feel it’s worth today and now. And honestly, I had a more fun and rewarding experience replaying Mario 64 than I have had in a long time. If 10/10 meant ‘perfect’ nothing on earth would ever get 10/10, because nothing is perfect to everyone. Think about a movie, or a new album by your favourite band – how do you rate something that’s so personal to each individual? Mathematically 10/10 is 100% of course, so to some it’s never going to make sense, but to me 10/10 is a score given to a game that rises above its peers, is wonderfully executed, imaginative, rewarding and has a certain magic which can’t be easily explained. A game that once completed leaves you wanting more and reminds you why you fell in love with gaming in the first place. Mario 64 is one of those games in my opinion, and it always will be. But if you don’t agree, that’s cool, because we’re all different, right?

Thank you for reading the review, if you'd like to you can chat with me on Twitter @moomootown - I love to talk videogames, especially Nintendo!

Have a good day!



Deanster101 said:

@KillScottKill explain how mario kart 64 is perfect when diddy kong racing was a better game all round? You see, mario 64 IS perfect for what it is - a single player 3D platformer that revolutionised 3D gaming back in 1996. What you're talking about is a "the perfect game" which doesn't exist.



mrchills said:

Mario 64 has been my favorite game for a long time. If you remember the amazement of going over your buddies house back in the day and freely walking around this world brimming with mushrooms and koopas, the game will have a special place in your heart. Look at games before mario 64. Like b.c. and a.c. its also one of those few games i could beat time and again (R.E.4). I try to beat it quicker everytime. By the way, galaxy 2 recently became my favorite game!



electrolite77 said:

About the easiest 10 out of 10 NL will have to give out. Still plays like a dream and the graphics while aged are still full of charm. Nothing else from that generation (bar 2D stuff on the Saturn) has aged well and SM64 also has a decent framerate unlike the likes of Banjo-Kazooie or its sequel.

Also, the move to the Wii U Gamepad benefits this game greatly. Running the original hardware on a modern tv looks appalling, especially the PAL version with its slower speed, borders and lack of RGB. I gave up and sold my N64 last year after my CRT died. But playing it on the Gamepad smooths off the ugly edges and the perfectly responsive controls are better than most portable emulator options.

This is an all time classic.



electrolite77 said:


10 out of 10 does not mean perfect. If you only give 10 out of 10 to 'perfect' games then none ever get 10 and you lose a point off the review scale. I've no idea where this idea comes from. Nobody ever sees a film or an album get 5/5 or 10/10 and label it perfect yet this misconception exists where gaming is concerned.



JLPick said:

@shonenjump86 It's a shame nintendo gave RARE the rights to Killer Instinct...that would be another good fighting game that nintendo could release each console with. I wish they didn't give up the rights to Conker too...I could love to see another Conker's Bad Fur Day or a re-release of it for nintendo...they're version was the best of it.



liveswired said:

@hylian-pudding Super Mario 64 came out in 1996.

We all have different opinions, to me it has aged well and is still as fresh as it was on release, to you it hasn't - your opinion is worthless having not even so much played through the game. The fact is you, along with Ringo don't understand how significant, sumptuous, astounding nd superlative this was on release.

Super Mario 64 changed 3D gaming forever, on release it was a graphical masterpiece combined with controls and flawless animation that had never been achieved in 3D. The groundbreaking impact of Super Mario 64 cannot be understated, a technical breakthrough and marvel in polygonal gaming with a design template that has been copied so many times even to this day.

So much so that even Super Mario 3D Land and World on 3DS/Wii U are steamlined versions of the Mario 64 design. Super Mario 64 is undoubtedly too challenging for those, such as yourself playing today, but in the 90s gamers expected/demanded challenge thus we were much better gamers compared to the cannon fodder now.



liveswired said:

@moomootown Your review is excellent, ignore the moaning children who, born into an era of linearity and can't face good platforming challenge. Super Mario 64 is very much a ground breaking 10.

I struggle to see why so many on here say it hasn't aged well when Super Mario 3D World is essentially Super Mario 64 with smaller bitesized linear, easier levels.

I look at Super Mario 64 and see nothing but an outstanding design in every sense of the word, from graphics, gameplay, sound, level design, challenge, pretty much everything.



liveswired said:

@BLPs I would add a fourth type of gamer 'the bollocks' You fall into that category thus your opinion is irrelevent and void. Your complaint has never been brought up in any review. To me it sounds like you never played SM64 on a real N64 and instead experienced it through keyboard on a PC or on a touchscreen phone/tablet - touchscreen 'joystick' controls have a habbit of doing that.

If you read any of my previous comments you should soon come to realise that SM64 was a groundbreaking, superlative breakthrough in 3D gaming in 1996. It was a defining moment in gaming and changed the course of 3D forever.

On release no game compared to SM64 in all aspects of design from the graphics, animation to the flawless control, sound to the challenge and sheer size of the worlds. Prior to SM64 gamers had only experienced a narrow, into the screen linear 3D, with short draw distances, clunky control and shoddy framerate (Tomb Raider et all which are amazing). Super Mario blew the door of the hinges - for the first time gamers could explore a massive, intricately designed, cartoon 3D world full of wonderment and mystery with a control scheme, animation and visual effects that had never before been experienced in gaming.

I will finish by adding that Super Mario 3D World is very much a streamlined, simplified version of Super Mario 64. So if you hate SM64, there is no way you can like SM3DW.



liveswired said:

@Dogorilla Trust me, it's better. Starting with the controls, higher resolution and outstanding visual effects missing from the DS version.



liveswired said:

@electrolite77 I run my PAL system through my Pioneer KRP600 - looks incredible though this is due to me owning a Spook S Video cable - its as good as RGB. None of that compsite AV dreaded fuzz or washed out colour fo me!



XyVoX said:

This Thread amplifies the CLUELESSNESS of Many 'so called gamers' to say that Mario 64 doesn't hold up well is so inaccurate/stupid its almost laughable, if that whats your 'gaming palette' tells you then YOU REALLY aren't getting what video games ACTUALLY have to offer but some distorted version is what your receiving, i mean level design,controls 'the game as a whole' are STILL as good as it gets and to many STILL unrivaled, CLUELESS i tell ya, enjoy your distorted gaming fellas.



Gridatttack said:

Nostalgia Bias.

This is a game that a most is 8 out of 10.

Sure, back in the days it was great, but nowadays, meh.

The same problem with that lame Mario Kart 64. People loud it because they cant take their nostalgia Goggles off.



andrea987 said:

@Gridatttack A game that, after nearly 20yrs, can score 8/10 without nostalgia glasses? Well, that in itself is a fantastic achievement. Plus, opinions. Even reviewers have those, y'know.



hylian-pudding said:

@liveswired @Wii-1 @andreoni79
Look at how many people got angry just because I said I thought Super Mario 64 looks ugly.
I'm from early SNES era and just chose to skip Mario 64 for whatever reason. Yet just because I don't kiss that game's feet, you assume I'm much younger.
There is no right or wrong here, it's my opinion that the graphics didn't age well. You can think whatever you want. I never denied it was a revolutionary game and that it changed the industry.
Doesn't change the fact that, by today's standards, the game is not THAT good. You guys need to either take your nostalgia glasses off, or try not to get your jimmies do ruffled when someone you don't know simply says the graphics of the game aren't amazing.

To be honest, I think the earlier Marios aged better exactly because they're pixels. Mario 64 is blocky and the texture are quite ugly. But that's just MY OPINION (gotta stress that because people seem to miss that). I said I don't think the game is perfect and look at how many people jumped at my neck. This is a bit sad.
But yeah, I'll definitely give it another shot. I've downloaded it on my Wii U when it was announced. It was such an important game, I need to play it at some point in my life.



Mario-Man-Child said:

I didn't get angry. My point was don't knock it especially if you haven't even played it.

Your after saying something else that is a bit confusing "Doesn't change the fact that, by today's standards, the game is not THAT good." Eh how he heck would you know? Since you haven't even played it!. 😳



hylian-pudding said:

@Wii-1 I did play it for a little bit years ago, and what I saw didn't really hook me - I thought the controls were awkward. As for the graphics, you don't need to play a game to form an opinion on its appearance.

As I said, I am going to give it a second chance. It was too revolutionary of a game for me to just skip.



SparkOfSpirit said:

Meh, the game's alright. Never was big on it back when it came out, still am not now. Much prefer the recent 3D Mario games to it.

At least it's better than Sunshine.



Moose_4 said:

I have just completed this with 120 stars. Something i never did 19 years ago.

Now being 26 i really enjoyed going through the whole game to find everything.

I think it deserves the 10/10. Obviously it would be better with an HD version and updated controls but i doubt that would happen as they have already remade this on DS.



McoobabWATP said:

Downloaded it the moment it appeared on the vc and spent ages just running n jumping around the castle like when I was a kid.maybe graphics and cameras have improved but I've yet to find a game with as much of a sense of wonder and fun as this .
Instead of another nsmb can we get "new super mario 64" sometime soon ?????????



Ootfan98 said:

Wow, what an interesting thread, and no book length posts from the Legend Mr Q

My personal opinion, I agree with the review. I was a Sega Lover back in the day, but when my Ginger friend Mr R purchased an N64, and showed it to me, the next day, I purchased the N64.
It is legend, no one can disagree. In the same way Star Wars (ep 4) set a benchmark for movies.
To those who complain about graphics over gameplay, you are really missing out, if you dismiss this game, because of some blurred / block textures.
Yes, there maybe some issues with Camera, but (as so many people have already mentioned), this was the 1st 3D game to get it right (for the time)

(I had not had any beers when I wrote this)



andreoni79 said:

@hylian-pudding The funny thing is that I don't wear nostalgia glasses because my first Nintendo home console was a Gamecube, and only later I bought a used N64 and some games. BTW, I'll download for sure Paper Mario even if it looks worse than PM Sticker Star!



hylian-pudding said:

@andreoni79 None of us are wearing nostalgia glasses, so I guess in this case we should agree to disagree.

Also, Paper Mario is awesome. The graphics aren't that hot but man is that game great.



TromaDogg said:

It's a good game, but I wouldn't award it any more than 7 or 8 now. Before I get attacked by trolls for having a personal opinion or telling me I suck at games, I'll explain....I do still really enjoy Mario 64, but BLP made a lot of valid points about it above. Plus also, no other controller feels exactly right with it apart from the original N64 controller. Been playing it on Wii U recently and the default control scheme for the camera is HORRIBLE, You'd think that the right analogue stick would be great for controlling the camera but don't forget this isn't a port, it's just emulating the N64 version...therefore the camera controls are digital, not analogue. Trying to use the right stick to move the camera feels clumsy, clunky and very awkward (exactly the same problem with Donkey Kong 64 on Wii U too) and I've had to use the 'change controls' option to remap C Left and C Right to X and A on the Wii U gamepad. That feels quite a bit better, but then there's still issues with having to use the right stick for C Up and C Down. Crounching and long jumping doesn't feel quite so comfortable either due to the shape of the Wii U Gamepad or Pro Controller (I've tried both).

To enjoy Mario 64 at its best, you really need to be digging an old N64 out and using an original N64 controller to play it with, otherwise the control issues at least knock a couple of points off the overall score for me.




@BLPs It's funny that you're mentioning the controls, because I personally think that they are the best ones I've ever experienced in a video game, they gave you much more "freedom" compared to other platformers during this era (Banjo Kazooie, for instance). But each to their own.

I wouldn't give this game a 10 though, it's not perfect. There are better platformers, in my opinion.



Dogorilla said:

@liveswired Ok, well maybe I'll pick this up at some point then. It's not one of my top priorities though as I already have a version of it.



GenghisBob said:

Just downloaded this for my son and we're having a tough time figuring out how to do some of the moves on the gamepad.
Long jump, wall jump and ground pound are eluding us.
If anyone knows or can point me towards a tutorial or something, I'd really appreciate it.



GotchaForce4 said:

I agree with you 100% on the eye-opening experience that SM 64 was when I got my N64 as a kid. I had the previous two Nintendo consoles but just like you, I rented a PS and played Frogger and some other crappy 2.5D shovelware and was completely unimpressed. The only game to touch the immersion in Mario 64 was OoT, and only because of the lessons Ninty learned from the revolutionary scope of 3D Mario. Worthy review of the Citizen Kane of 3d gaming!



GotchaForce4 said:

Ground Pound: Jump and press crouch in the air.

long Jump: while running full speed, press and hold crouch while pressing jump. Takes practice.



readyletsgo said:

Mario 64 is 20 years old this year. What are the chances of Nintendo releasing it as a remake this year on the WiiU?

They did just say they have a few unannounced games to come for 2016. And they have been shutting down all the fan made versions for the past year or two.

Think it will happen?

Would love it!

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