A Revolutionary Classic
When you look at platformers today, most of them may seem familiar. That's because Super Mario 64 made the blueprints for how a 3D platformer should be done.
Story: Mario receives a letter from Princess Peach, saying that she has baked a cake for him (insert sexual innuendo here). Mario arrives at Peaches Castle and finds it to be empty. He goes inside and hears a voice, telling him to get out, and that no one's home. Mario finds a toad, who says that he and the other toads and Peach are trapped inside the Castle Walls thanks to Bowser's magic. Now it's up to mario to recover all of the power stars necessary, and defeat Bowser once again, inorder to save the princess. Very straightforward as usual.
Controls: Control stick to move, and A button to jump. Very simple right? Well, here's some new tricks mario's added. Press the B button to make mario punch. Press it 3 times, and he will do a punch-punch-kick combo. Press the Z-Button to crouch, and you can press A for high back flip, B to do a breakdance-esque kick, or move the control stick to crawl on the ground. Camera controls are assigned to the C buttons and right shoulder button. These camera controls can be a bit of a hassle at times, which doesn't make the game perfect, but if you're like me, you'll ignore them the whole time, because the camera works fine on it's own a very large percentage of the time (like 99%).
Graphics: Very great graphics for a 64 bit console. I was impressed with how much detail was put into Mario, so much to the point that he looked less polygonal than what most N64 games would look like. Still very impressive, and the details in the levels are pretty good. Though at times, I just didn't feel satisfied with enough detail, but I still liked how the Mario character model looked, and overall, the graphics look nice. They still do even today.
Sound: Like any good Nintendo game, they got the right music for the right place. My personal favorite is the music used in Bob-omb Battlefield. My second favorite was the music from the snow level (the fourth stage, I forgot what it was called). Plus, the music in Jolly Roger's Bay was very peaceful and slow paced. I just love what Nintendo can do with the music in their games.
Replay Value: There really wasn't enough replay value other than make a new file whenever you're feeling bored. But I guess there is SOME. After getting 120 stars, you'll find a cannon outside that you can use to get up onto the roof of the castle, and there you'll find (SPOILER)...YOSHI! Sadly, you dont get to ride on his saddle. He gives you a message from Nintendo and maxes out you're lives, then jumps off the roof and isn't seen again. Also, when you race the penguin on the snow level, you'll find that he's gotten fatter and a bit faster, so there is a bit more challenge. Speaking of challenge, this game is sure to keep you busy (or frustrated) trying to get the next power star. There's almost no hints in sight. But I guess that's challenging enough for some.
Overall: A great game, though it does have it's flaws. The camera controls are hard to use, but you can ignore them. Textures seemed a little bland sometimes, but the game is still fun to play. Definetely buy it (on N64, not Wii Shop Channel). 4 1/2 Stars.