64-bit retrospective: A look back at one of the greats
The Nintendo 64 was bundled with two games upon the console’s release.
One of the games, Pilotwings 64, sold more than 1 million copies worldwide, and was praised by audiences for its impressive graphics.
The second game, Super Mario 64, ultimately became the best-selling title on the console, pioneered an assortment of developing techniques and is frequently cited as among the most revolutionary platformers by audiences and critics.
Despite the game’s prominent legacy and universal acclaim, the story and plot of Super Mario 64 is utterly predictable.
The mustachioed plumber walks into Princess Peach’s Castle to discover that the blonde aristocrat has been kidnapped by Bowser, forcing Mario to rescue her by collecting power stars that are scattered throughout the game’s levels.
While most of the game’s power stars can be discovered with moderate exploration, some of these collectibles are almost impossible to find without assistance. The final power star of Hazy Maze Cave, for example, is acquired by performing a wall jump in a specific, yet elusive, spot after evading a series of boulders.
Audiences may dislike the rather short length of Super Mario 64. Unlike the game’s predecessor, Super Mario World, which contains almost 100 levels to explore, Super Mario 64 offers 15 primary stages.
In addition to the length, players may also not appreciate the miniscule variety of characters from the Mario universe featured in the game. The only characters that earned a role, excluding enemies, were the game’s protagonist, the damsel in distress, the antagonist, Toad and Yoshi.
While the game offers a slim diversity of characters along with a derivative, recurring plot, Super Mario 64 redeems itself with an assortment of innovative features to experience platforming brilliance.
Unlike previous Mario installments, where the concept involves following a predestined path that dictates that gamers move in only four directions, Super Mario 64 allows players to travel wherever they desire.
The game also introduces an assortment of jumps and attacks Mario can perform. The new leaps Mario can execute include the triple, long and wall jump, while the attacks comprise of drop-kicking, punching and hip dropping.
Aside from the fresh repertoire of jumps and attacks, another unique aspect of Super Mario 64 are the wing, metal and vanish power caps, which respectively provide Mario with flight, invulnerability and invisibility.
In addition to the power caps players have the option to use the Koopa Shell, which is primarily used for treading water and fire and serves as an additional method to defeat several enemies.
Audiences will also appreciate the general freedom the game offers, meaning that players are not limited to completing tasks in a specific order.
Upon entering a world, players have the option to execute their current objective, or (if one were to diligently survey the landscape) they could collect other power stars with complete freedom.
Therefore, players are not required to entirely finish one course before proceeding to another, and the game can be finished without collecting every power star prior to defeating the final boss.
If the innovative controls and the unique in-game environment are not enough to persuade audiences to play Super Mario 64, once again the game also offers remarkable graphics and designs.
Audiences will appreciate how several environmental features have been exceptionally translated into 64-bit territory throughout the game, such as snowflakes falling from the sky and the subtle undulation of water currents.
Ultimately, this game contains (and potentially validates) every aspect that creates an extraordinary electronic adventure, offering a great soundtrack, an exceptional challenge level, perfect controls, superb graphics and an unforgettable, albeit predictable, story.
While the game contains minor flaws, audiences will find Super Mario 64 as arguably among the greatest Nintendo adventures of the late-twentieth century.