Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64 were the launch titles for the N64… and that was it. Funny to think about that while people are complaining about the Xbox One and PS4’s launch lineup. While both were good, Super Mario 64 became an instant hit that changed the landscape of 3D gaming. It introduced a smooth way to play 3D games with an open world hub (the castle). It has now gone down in gaming history as an instant classic.
The worst kept secret of this game is at the title screen you can move the joystick around and play with Mario’s face. It sounds weird but once you try it, you will laugh or at least be amused. The story is basic Mario stuff. Princess Peach is all like “Yo Mario, I baked you a cake. Why don’t you come over and eat some?” After that Mario jumps out of a pipe in Princess Peaches castle, and the adventure begins. In 1996 these graphics simply wowed and even today they hold up. This is mostly due to the bright colored approach that Mario 64 uses over any sort of realism. Everything looks exactly how it should in a Mario game.
I know that Super Mario Bros. On the NES had that classic Mario tune right at level 1-1 however, I would have to say Super Mario 64 had the best set of music for ANY Mario game. For me the castle tune and water level tunes will forever be stuck in my head. Mario makes all the appropriate sounds for whatever he is doing. Whether it is jumping or running into a wall, Mario has no problem expressing himself via crazy Mario like noises. Since the N64 had much less space to play with than the PS1 did (biggest N64 cartridge had 64 mb versus a PS1 disc having around 650 mb) so the fact that the game had so many songs and noises was quite impressive.
The game boasts an impressive 15 worlds with a maximum of 120 stars to collect through them and the castle overworld. Only 70 is necessary to reach the final battle with… wait for it… BOWSER! Shocker, I know. Even though you only need 70, you will want to collect 120 just because the game is so much fun. The entire experience feels right and it never feels too easy (unless you have played through it 10 times like me) or too hard. It is simply a joy to take your time playing or to rush through like some do (see video below).
Side note – It has no loading times whatsoever. Take that PS1!
The Bottom Line
A must play for anyone who has touched an N64 controller.