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Features

Cartridge Save
1-4 Players
Wireless Multiplayer (single cartridge)
Dual Screen Compatible

Anyone who is a Nintendo fan no doubt remembers the first time Mario was presented on the N64. Not only was it was a breakthrough for Nintendo, but a breakthrough for 3D platforming games as a whole. To play a Mario themed game in the realm of 3 dimensions caused many gamers to gasp in awe. It showed that the N64 was not just a toy, but quite a powerful machine for its time. Well, fast forward to the present day and Nintendo resurrects this title to show what its most recent hardware, the Nintendo DS, can do.

Graphics

When thinking of a Nintendo handheld most people think of the Game Boy series of machines. Of course these machines excelled at 2D games, but 3D games have not been that pretty. With the newly released DS, Nintendo has upped the ante in terms of what a handheld can do. With this in mind Super Mario 64 makes the transition from N64 to the DS in not a perfect state, but an enhanced one instead.

What people have to consider is that this is a first generation game for the DS. That being said, this game is definitely a good looking launch title. I have taken a look at some screenshots of the original N64 version and when I put the DS version up beside them there is definitely an improvement. The textures are much more detailed and Nintendo has taken the original game and enhanced the levels by adding new surroundings or changing the look of the original scenery or sprucing up enemies ((e.g. take a look at the paths leading up the mountain in the first level or take a look at Bowser during boss fights). The colours are very bright and vibrant and the animation is top notch. It has been ages since I have played the original title, but once I played the DS version it was clearly evident that Nintendo took the time to make this a much better looking game the second time around.
Knowing that there are may people out there who are perfectionists I must mention that there is a bit of negative in the graphics area. This comes in the form of clipping. Certain angles cause some of scenery to

Super Mario 64 DS

 

Super Mario 64 DS

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Category: n/a
 
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Features Cartridge Save 1-4 Players Wireless Multiplayer (single cartridge) Dual Screen Compatible Anyone who is a Nintendo fan no doubt remembers the first time Mario was presented on the N64. Not only was it was a breakthrough for Nintendo, but a breakthrough for 3D platforming games as a whole. To play a Mario themed game in the realm of 3 dimensions caused many gamers to gasp in awe. It showed that the N64 was not just a toy, but quite a powerful machine for its time. Well, fast forward to the present day and Nintendo resurrects this title to show what its most recent hardware, the Nintendo DS, can do. Graphics When thinking of a Nintendo handheld most people think of the Game Boy series of machines. Of course these machines excelled at 2D games, but 3D games have not been that pretty. With the newly released DS, Nintendo has upped the ante in terms of what a handheld can do. With this in mind Super Mario 64 makes the transition from N64 to the DS in not a perfect state, but an enhanced one instead. What people have to consider is that this is a first generation game for the DS. That being said, this game is definitely a good looking launch title. I have taken a look at some screenshots of the original N64 version and when I put the DS version up beside them there is definitely an improvement. The textures are much more detailed and Nintendo has taken the original game and enhanced the levels by adding new surroundings or changing the look of the original scenery or sprucing up enemies ((e.g. take a look at the paths leading up the mountain in the first level or take a look at Bowser during boss fights). The colours are very bright and vibrant and the animation is top notch. It has been ages since I have played the original title, but once I played the DS version it was clearly evident that Nintendo took the time to make this a much better looking game the second time around. Knowing that there are may people out there who are perfectionists I must mention that there is a bit of negative in the graphics area. This comes in the form of clipping. Certain angles cause some of scenery to ‘disappear' allowing for a view of what is behind it. It doesn't seem to happen too often (and less so then the original) and definitely does not take away from the overall scope of the game. This seems to be the only chip in the armour in terms of Super Mario 64 DS' looks as the game runs at a solid framerate and I have yet to see any evidence of slow down. Overall the game is great on the new TFT LCD screens and the clarity is darn right pleasing. Sound Anyone who is anyone, and has played the original game, will instantly recognize the music and sounds coming form the DS' speakers. This was clearly evident during one of my gaming sessions in the living room while my wife was watching TV. As I was playing she looked over at me with an inquisitive look. I asked her if she recognized the sounds of the game I was playing and she immediately stated she recognized the sounds from when I played the N64 version. When I informed her that I was playing the DS version she was amazed to see, and hear, that this game made the transition to the little DS cartridge with sound in tact. There is no doubt that anyone who read my initial impressions of the DS and the addition of stereo speakers knows that I am a fan of what Nintendo did in this area. Super Mario 64 DS manages to take full advantage of the available hardware and pumps out a pleasing array of audio effects. I was quite surprised with what I was hearing. Everything from Princess Peach's opening speech to the clarity of our friendly plumbers recognizable "It's-a-me Mario" or "Lets-a-go" was amazing. And even though the sound is coming out of two very little speakers, and is somewhat compressed, it is still loud and very audible. Even such minor details as the echoes in various levels were there and this was quite impressive. Overall the sound of this game further immerses you in the realm of our plumber's quest. Gameplay The DS version of Super Mario 64 definitely has the extended playtime that one found on the original. Actually, there is more to do in the portable version and some of the enhancements Nintendo have added may not be recognizable at first while others are more obvious. The first thing gamers will notice is that you start out playing as Yoshi. This is clearly a new addition as the end of the N64 version had a successful gamer only viewing our green dinosaur at the end of the game. Using Yoshi enables players to start the process of collecting stars as well as eventually rescuing Mario, Luigi and Wario in order to fully finish the game. For those new to the Super Mario 64 world, in order to collect the aforementioned stars players have to collect them in many different areas in order to advance through all of the locked doors of Princess Peach's castle which lead to other levels and further star challenges. The N64 version had one searching for 120 stars but the DS version has one searching for 150 stars, 30 more than then the original. Part of the enhancements is the addition of the 3 other characters. Each character has certain unique abilities and each has one specific move that is activated by a power-up. This is worth mentioning as there are some stars in specific levels that can only be acquired by certain characters and the player must figure out which character is needed and how their special ability will help them get the specific star(s). With this in mind it should be noted that these specific stars means that there are new locations to find them in and this is something that a veteran player will notice as they go through the game. The lower screen plays a dual purpose in Super Mario 64 DS. First off it is used as a top down map for each of the levels you search. This allows for the player to see, in a general sense, where power stars, silver stars and even red coins (when talking to the right characters) are making this game that much more playable. The second function of the lower (touch) screen is in terms of control. Super Mario 64 DS plays like the original N64 version, minus the analog controller and this is where the game takes an interesting spin. The use of an analog stick was definitely the N64's main attraction in terms of how the game made the transition to 3D world and the level of control that was enabled. One could make Mario crawl, walk or run with depending on how far the analog stick was moved. Of course the DS lacks an analog controller and the default setting assigns the controls to the D-Pad therefore this control seems all but lost. However, the fine folks at Nintendo have added a Touch Mode option which allows the player to assign the control utilizing the touch screen and the thumb strap. Basically a virtual analog stick is created on the touch screen by recognizing a center point where the thumb pad is rested. By sliding the thumb pad in any direction players are able to move their on screen character. The only major issue with this is that there is no real stick, therefore no physicality to it so there is no way to really know when you have moved to far from the center. Players will find themselves having to lift their thumb off of the touch screen to ‘reset' and continue controlling numerous times throughout the game. I find that I use a combination of both the D-pad and the Touch Mode to play this game. Touch mode is really useful when there is some finesse needed to get through the level. With some practice both methods are playable, however I can't but help miss the analog stick that was so influential when playing this game on the N64. Makes you wonder if Nintendo may update the DS with an actual analog stick sometime in the future. The final aspect of gameplay worth mentioning is the multiplayer function that Nintendo added to this game. It utilizes the DS' wireless capabilities and only requires one cartridge. Now I will be honest and tell you that I have not had the chance to play this mode as there are not too many people I know that have a DS. However what I do know is that players enter one of four areas as a colored Yoshi fighting for stars scattered around the level of choice. During battle the player can pick up a Mario, Luigi or Wario hat that will transform them into that particular player and offer them combat abilities that knock stars out from other player's possession. It is nice to see a multiplayer mode in this game although I have yet to fully utilize this feature. Conclusion As seems to be the way with Nintendo, they have taken a classic game and updated it for the present day masses in a very successful manner. Control issues aside, the look and overall feel of this game is very solid. With the graphical and gameplay enhancements veterans of the original Super Mario 64 will find more to do while newbies to the game will find a title that they can play for hours on end but in a portable form. Nintendo is again to be congratulated for what seems to be a very good decision to bring this title to the DS and making their star franchise playable to those on the go.





 
 

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