Back in 1996, the main reason to buy a Nintendo 64 was, of course, Super Mario 64. Sure, there might have been only 2 games at launch, but the one everyone wanted was Mario 64. This game offered new gameplay mecanics not found in previous platform games and it truely defined what 3D platform gaming is today. We’ve seen countless Mario clones over the years, and even though some were able to make it better, most were never able to achieve what Miyamoto and friends did with this game.
The concept of this game is very simple: the princess has been kidnapped and it’s up to Mario to save her. You walk around a castle, jump into paintings which are levels and have to find stars in order to advance and beat Bowser. Storywise there’s nothing spectacular, but who cares anyway as Mario games have never been about compelling stories. What made people come back to this game was the amazing gameplay. Mario moved so smoothly and all of his movements were easily performed with the control stick, and there were so many he could perform it was incredible! The first time people saw this game they were amazed as they never thought something like that was possible in a videogame, especialy in a Mario game.
I have to say that the jump to 3D really helped, but still, it’s all those innovations they made and even though we had only been used to 2D gameplay since the first time we had played videogames, (Star Fox on SNES doesn’t count!) the fact that it all felt natural on our first try was a true achievement, one that only Nintendo could have made.
Now, 8 years later, Nintendo launches a new portable system, one that is as powerful as the Nitendo 64 in almost every aspect, sometimes being even better, and to launch it they bring back Mario and friends in a remake of the best selling N64 game of all times. Some people are impressed with it, some are not. The real question is: should you be or is it only another port we are used to see from Nintendo? Some people have bought the same games over and over again on so many platforms from Nintendo that they are wondering if they still should buy this one considering they’ve finished the orginal countless time. I’m here to help you decide if you should get it or not, but chances are you probably don’t need me for that as you are a Nintendo fanboy and will buy anything they make, right?
So let’s start with the story of the game. It has been changed a little since this time, not only has peach disapeared, but Mario too. In fact, while looking for Peach, Mario, Luigi and Wario were captured and only poor Yoshi is left. His mission will be to save those 3 that have lost themselves in the castle and then collect enough stars to advance through the castle’s floors and save Princess Peach from the evil Bowser as, again, he has kidnapped her even though it’s clear that he’s gonna lose one more time!
Adding 3 new characters really changes the gameplay of the game considerably as each of them can perform a special move. In the original, Mario could fly, turn into metal or become invisible. This time around, Mario flies, Wario turns into metal and Luigi becomes invisible, and Yoshi can breathe fire. All of these abilities need to be used in order to collect all of the stars so that means that you will have to change characters from time to time to complete certain objectives. All of this is done in the room where there was Peach’s secret slide in the original. They’ve added doors where you enter to change characters, but there are colored caps in levels that you can pick up to become that character instantly. For example, if you’re Mario and you see a yellow cap and pick it up, you’ll become Wario. The drawback to this is that if you get hit, you lose the cap and after a few seconds it disapears. The other problem is that you will lose the cap everytime you exit a level.
A new level was added to this game as well as a few new bosses. There are new paintings added to the castle which are levels where you save Mario, Luigi and Wario. The new levels aren’t really a levels as they,re pretty small and dosn’t look as good as the rest of the game, but it’s cool to see they’ve taken the time to add some new stuff. There are also new castle secret stars and, in fact there are 30 new stars to this game that were added here and there in levels and around the castle. Some of the star objectives were changed, some just a little while others are completely different. Some level designs were also a bit different than in Mario 64. And for those who liked them, the rabbits are back in full force!