Super Mario 64 DS
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: Out Now (Japan)
Players: 1, (1-4 multiplayer)
Words By:

10/10. Pah! That was easy. Itís the best videogame of all time, isnít it? Well some people would say so, probably including this reviewer if he was perfectly honest. So I imported a new Nintendo DS, and went for two launch games, and Super Mario 64 DS was one of them.

Hopefully, everyone reading this review will have played the original on Nintendo 64 all those years ago, so the game wonít need too much explaining. You all know the deal. It was Marioís first true 3D experience, with beautifully implemented full analog control and an ingenious camera system (for its day). The game world was huge, with some of the greatest levels a platform game has ever featured. Even its sequel on GAMECUBE, Super Mario Sunshine, couldnít match the awesomeness that was Mario 64.

So Nintendo have ported the game to their new handheld, DS. Itís a very good port too, in places looking better than the original game did. Itís lost its blurry nature that was so common on the Nintendo 64, and is now very sharp indeed. As a result, (and a lack of a hardware feature), the game sometimes has some slight pixelisation issues on the edges of trees etc. Itís really nothing major, but you do notice it more. It certainly looks a lot cleaner than the original did, and objects such as coins are now fully 3D and look great. The game is also very smooth too, which looks very nice on the DS backlit screen.

The beauty of the Nintendo 64 version was the analog control that you had over Mario. Now, the Nintendo DS doesnít have an analog stick, so Nintendo have given you various options on how to play the game. You can play it on the default setting, which involves using the digital d-pad to control Mario, and hold ĎBí down to run. It works ok, but you have lost all the control you had over him on the console. The main option is that you use the DSís touch screen to control Mario. You now have full-on analog control over the character, by slowing moving your thumb on the screen. You only need to move it a little bit to make him walk or run, and you donít have to constantly keep moving your thumb to make him run. It works well, but you donít have quite the same control as you did on the proper controller, and obviously you have no stick feedback either so youíve lost some feeling too. The game is perfectly playable though, just takes a bit of getting used to.

You can press the corners of the screen to move the camera around, or use the face buttons. Its up to you, and its setup via an option menu. I prefer using the face buttons for left and right movement, so you can walk around at the same time.

So you have the full version of Mario64, and its still a brilliant, brilliant game, far superior to pretty much every other platform game out there, and its lost none of the charm it had eight years ago. However, on top of the normal game, you can also play through the game has one of three other characters: Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario. In fact, you start playing the game as Yoshi, as the story has been altered slightly and Mario and his buds have all been kidnapped and taken into the castle with the Princess. After a while you get a new level (brand new to this game) where you can unlock a new character. Mario becomes available first, of course, so you can play through the game as him. Some of the powerups in the game have been changed, and powerups such as Metal Mario, can now only be obtained and used by Wario (cause heís bigger, I guess), and some stars can only be won by certain characters.

Another major addition to the game is the mini-games. You get a good selection to start off with, but you unlock more by grabbing rabbits that are dotted around the castle (remember the one in the basement type area? Well there are loads of them now). These mini-games are incredibly simple games, that all use DS's touch screen. They are very addictive indeed, and all play superbly. One of them requires you to draw a path with the stylus for Marioís head to follow, so you lead him to a star. This is the sort of game that works great on DS, and uses the hardware really well. Itís simple, easy to pick up and play, and perfect for handheld gaming.

Further to this, there is a wi-fi multiplayer mode, where up to four players can go into a level and try and collect as many stars as possible in a certain time. Its quite good, but I kind of feel it was added for the sake of it, and Iíd rather take it in turns on the mini-games to be honest. It is really neat though that you only need one cart to play the game, and the other players download the game to their DS to play. Very neat.

Overall, this is Mario 64 on a handheld. It plays brilliantly, everyone knows the game is superb, and the new mini-games really add a lot of life and enjoyment into the game Ė as if it really needed it! Brilliant stuff, and definitely an essential part of your new DS collection. Itís not quite the 10/10 game it was eight years ago, and control isnít quite as good, but itís still an exceptionally good game.

Best Bits

- Itís Mario 64.
- The mini-games are superb.
Worst Bits

- Control isnít quite as good as it was on Nintendo64.
- Multiplayer mode isnít that great.

by: DC

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