Super Mario 64

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US box art.

Super Mario 64 is a Mario-themed 3-D platformer video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 on 1996-06-23. The game has been remastered a couple times on later Nintendo platforms.

In the game, the player controls Mario who arrives at the castle of Princess Peach only to discover she has once again been kidnapped by Bowser. Most of the game world exists in magic paintings which the player must jump into to explore. Once inside, they must avoid obstacles, defeat enemies, and collect stars. As their collection of stars increases, they can unlock more doors in the castle and more paintings to explore. After unlocking enough of the castle, the player finally reaches Bowser's final level and must battle him for possession of Peach.


My friend Kevin was the first person I knew to get a Nintendo 64, and, with it, this game. I played his a little and got my first feel for the Nintendo 64 Controller. I remember liking some aspects of the game, like using a koopa shell as a skateboard, pulling off a huge triple jump, and the slider race in the castle, but, for the most part, I didn't like the game. I found the over-the-shoulder camera very constrictive, and didn't care much for the 3D models, especially the goombas. My friend Eric was next to get the game, and I saw other parts of it with him, but I still didn't find the game much more enjoyable. When N64 emulation became possible, I spent several weeks playing the game and unlocked 71 stars. In doing so, I learned to appreciate the game more, but I also became even more frustrated with the terrible camera and poor movement controls. I had unlocked 14 stages, and had all the stars in most of the early ones, but I was just so frustrated with the game, I gave up on trying to beat it.

I own two copies of this game, but I have not beaten it.


Video Game Review Icon - Enjoyment.png Video Game Review Icon - Control.png Video Game Review Icon - Appearance.png Video Game Review Icon - Sound.png Video Game Review Icon - Replayability.png
4 3 5 7 10

Best Version: Nintendo 3DS

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The designers did a good job of giving each stage its own unique feel and theme.
  • Having several goals for each stage not only allows the player to appreciate them more, but it also adds a lot of replay value to the game.
  • As usual, Koji Kondo's soundtrack is amazing.


  • The extremely low polygon count and ugly 3D models look terrible, but, compared to the best pixel art of the time, they looked like hot garbage. Nintendo should have held off on making 3D games for several more years until the technology could handle decent looking art.
  • With only 15 levels, and a few of them pretty small, the game world feels tiny compared to previous titles.
  • Catching Mips is really annoying.
  • Once again Bowser kidnaps Peach and Mario must rescue her. A little more thought could have been put into this.


  • The horrible camera ruins the game for me. Much of the time is spent looking at a zoom-in of the back of Mario's head or a close up of a brick wall. The designers tried to help by allowing the player to manually move the camera, but, since it can't move through walls, you can never get a good view of the game in an enclosed space. Also, the camera always pans around you and can't be set to a fixed angle, so, even if you set it the way you want it, it will just immediately turn away. Because the player's joystick direction changes as the camera pans, doing something as simple as walking in a straight line becomes impossible. Also, without being able to line up the camera, you can never keep a good angle, so it becomes very difficult to judge distances and make jumps. And, since the camera is programmed to slowly follow behind you, if you change direction abruptly, you won't be able to see where you're going until it finally catches up with you. This makes it especially annoying when you turn around to fight a monster that is chasing you.
  • Although the developers give the player a lot of new controls over Mario, they didn't refine the actions very well. You often find yourself catching a ledge when you're trying to jump off it, flying off poles in unpredictable directions, or failing to wall jump in the direction you were expecting. Triple jumps are difficult to gauge, and flying with the red cap is hard to steer.


Box Art




Longplay - Nintendo 64.
Longplay - Nintendo DS.


Bechdel test?FailThere is only one woman.
Strong female character?FailThe sole woman is a damsel in distress.
Strong non-white character?FailAll of the characters are white.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.


Language Native Transliteration Translation
Chinese 超级马里奥64 Chaoji Maliao 64 Super Mario 64
English Super Mario 64
Japanese スーパーマリオ64 Supa Mario 64 Super Mario 64
Korean 슈퍼마리오 64 Syupeo Malio 64 Super Mario 64


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