Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 11/20/04 | Genre: Platform
Nintendo has always been known for making great First Party titles. However, Nintendo learned a valuable lesson with the release of the GameCube. For the first time in the history of the company, they released a console without a Mario title. So it was only fitting that Nintendo re-release one of the greatest 3D platformers of all time on the Nintendo DS. Mario 64 is a title that not only showed the world how to make a 3D platformer but is also one of the best Mario titles in recent memories. However, not all things are perfect in this Nintendo DS flagship title.
Being the featured title for a Nintendo platformer is usually something Mario handles with grace and style. The biggest issue found in Super Mario 64 DS is actually a design flaw with the hardware. Mario 64 was the first title Nintendo designed to use with the analog control stick. This control method changed the entire face of gaming and soon all major home consoles started using analog control sticks. Even the upcoming PSP handheld from Sony utilizes an analog stick. Whatever the reason may be, Nintendo chose to not include this on the Nintendo DS. This takes the fluid and responsive controls of Super Mario 64 and makes them clunky and unreliable. However, Nintendo did try to make up for the lack of an analog stick by allowing players to utilize the thumb strap and using it on the touch screen to emulate an analog stick. This works okay but can still be very awkward due to the fact it can be hard to turn in tight spaces, correctly space jumps, and fight bosses. While you can get used to the controls, I never was able to enjoy the game as much as the original Mario 64 title due to the fact that there isn't a real analog control stick.
Super Mario 64 DS will seem very familiar to players of the original game. The title starts off exactly the same except Mario, Wario, and Luigi are all running to the castle at the beginning. You then start off playing as Yoshi. As you progress through the title, you will have the opportunity to unlock the other characters and control them. Each has as different jumping abilities and special moves. This will require you to play as all of the characters in order to complete the different levels. While you can unlock characters and choose to control them from within one of the rooms in Princess Peach's castle, inside the levels of the game, you can also locate a hat of the other characters and �transform� into the character who's hat you are wearing. This gives players a nice change of pace from those of you who have played Super Mario 64 back when it was originally released.
Super Mario 64 DS looks much better than the original Nintendo 64 title. Part of this is due to the Nintendo DS being on a much smaller screen than a normal TV screen. Besides this, the Nintendo DS is much more powerful than the Nintendo 64 and can push many more polygons. Super Mario 64 DS is a beautiful looking Mario game with improved textures and a map on the lower touch screen.
The sounds and voices for the most part have remained unchanged from the original title. A few new voices have been added along with some new sounds for Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario. The music especially sounds good with the new Stereo speakers on the Nintendo DS. After playing Super Mario 64 DS you will be humming along with these tunes.
Besides taking away our analog control stick and adding new characters into the game, the other large changes to Super Mario 64 DS are the Multiplayer options, mini games, and the addition of more stars. For the multiplayer options, up to four players can play with only one game card using the built in 802.11b wireless connectivity features built into Nintendo DS. Players run around and try to get the most stars and avoid dropping them. Overall this mode isn't a lot of fun and feels like it was added in just to show off the wireless features of the DS. The mini-games are fun but also feel like they are added in just to give players a reason to use their stylus. I would have preferred Nintendo would have spent less time on these features and spent more time on getting Wario Ware Inc. ready for a Nintendo DS release at launch.
Overall, Super Mario 64 DS is one of two games available at launch that I would recommend owning. While the controls really take something away from this title, the game is just so much fun and brings back so many fond memories that it is worth the purchase price.