rjay_64's Super Mario 64 (Wii Shop) review

I have a different opinion here...

Before I walk into unknown territory and criticize this legendary title, let me say that I am not a young person. All the 8-bit Mario games remain great to me and in my view, are better than the majority of video games today. So it pains me to say anything bad about a game people love this much. In fact, I once fell for the hype. Last summer, I wrote a review for a small blog owned by someone else, and I completely urged people to download Super Mario 64, giving the game all the praise everyone else gives it. But as time goes on, my positive feelings about this title disappear.
 
For one thing, the camera is a pain throughout Mario 64. Yes, I realize this was one of the first Nintendo 64 releases and

 Mario contemplating whether the camera angle will screw him over
therefore should not be judged so harshly against today's standards. However, I believe a classic title can be better on its own standards. Otherwise, why would Super Mario Bros. 3 sell so well on the Virtual Console? Anyways, back to Mario 64 though. Rest assured, you will die multiple times from poor camera angles. The yellow stick on the Gamecube controller will help in controlling the view, but sometimes the game does not listen and refuses to switch to a proper angle. Is this shortcoming enough to stop someone from enjoying this game? Success in Mario 64 depends on ultra-precise jumps, especially when it comes to collecting some of those hidden stars. The camera will frustrate lots of less experienced gamers. But I realize there are patient gamers out there.
 
 Prepare to play the same stages...over...
Repetition can also be a problem. There are not a lot of different levels to see in Mario 64. You could find yourself going through the same exact stage at least five times or more each time. Mario 64 contrasts with the earlier Mario titles because the objective is not necessarily just to get to the end of a certain level. There are many stars to collect within each area, which sounds like a nice idea at first, until you realize Mario is running through the same environments multiple times. It is true that in Super Mario Bros. 3, you do run through the same "theme" ten times or so before moving to the next stage which again has you run through another theme ten times or so. However, each level within the different "themes" is set up completely different from each other. Whereas in Mario 64 the same footing, the same paths, the same entrances are passed over multiple times with only small variation, in Mario Bros. 3 you never have to go through something already seen. There is a chance I am not explaining this properly. The variety in visuals just disappointment me in Mario 64. The visuals themselves are fine. I do not mind block-ish graphics.  But I am seeing the same objects, enemies, etc. over and over again just to get a star hidden in some remote location when I would rather be moving on to a different part of the game. I miss the linearity of the old Mario titles when I play Mario 64.
 and over...again
 
I could go on about the game's strong points. But people have heard them already. Yes, the music is spectacular. For the most part, the controls are great when not dealing with the poor camera, especially if you own a Gamecube controller. Just plug that in the Wii console and it will feel even better than controlling Mario on a Nintendo 64. Running around the playing field just for the sheer enjoyment of running around in an open environment can be fun at times, I must admit. But it is not enough to make me forget I have to get at least five stars each stage, which means I am forced to play each stage multiple times whether I take a liking to it or not. I feel the hype for Mario 64 comes from the fact that it is Mario in 3D for the first time. That in itself makes the game special, but not necessarily fun. 
4 Comments
Posted by Metroid545

I agree with some of your points here the camera always frustrated me as a kid

Posted by dbz1995

I never felt the problem with repetition, since the repetition was so short and the gameplay was so fun that I couldn't care less. On the other hand, the camera angles were some of the most annoying camera angles in a game. But 3 stars seems far too harsh for what you wrote in your review.
 Also, I completed that game with only taking one star in the sand level because I hated it. There are so many stars that you can easily miss out levels you don't like.

Posted by Viney212

I guess I can see your two major criticisms, but neither really bothered me.  I suppose the levels could be a little repetitive, although I don't think it was to the extent that you're describing.  Each star typically took you on slightly different routes through the level, and you were constantly unlocking new areas and changes to the levels that I don't think you were constantly doing the same things over again.  With the NES mario games you may not have had to repeat the same levels in one play-through, but repeatedly playing the game and the same levels over and over again, getting better at them and finding new paths was always fun, and I don't see how it's really that different with 64.  Maybe you just didn't enjoy the levels as much?

Posted by RJay_64
@Viney212 said:
" I guess I can see your two major criticisms, but neither really bothered me.  I suppose the levels could be a little repetitive, although I don't think it was to the extent that you're describing.  Each star typically took you on slightly different routes through the level, and you were constantly unlocking new areas and changes to the levels that I don't think you were constantly doing the same things over again.  With the NES mario games you may not have had to repeat the same levels in one play-through, but repeatedly playing the game and the same levels over and over again, getting better at them and finding new paths was always fun, and I don't see how it's really that different with 64.  Maybe you just didn't enjoy the levels as much? "
Perhaps it was that I didn't enjoy the level design.  I've played parts of Galaxy 2 and so far have loved it, so it's strange that after hours and hours with Mario 64 I can't find myself to appreciate it as much as others.  Then again I haven't played Galaxy 2 as extensively, so maybe I'll slowly not like it as well?  Hmm   

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