Super Mario 64 DS
Take a groundbreaking game which basically launched three-dimensional, free-roaming, open-space worlds in the video game genre and then up the ante.
That’s what Super Mario 64 DS is – not just a remake of Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 but a launch title for the fledgling “dual screen” Nintendo DS console, showing off its own graphic capabilities when compared with its predecessor the Game Boy Advance.
All of the usual suspects are here: the game plays 90% like it’s N64 groundwork, but the few subtle changes are where the game really shines.
Rather than begin the game as Mario (the only playable character in the N64 version) players find themselves navigating Yoshi outside of Peach’s castle. Of course, the narrative is the same: Bowser did something bad to the Mushroom Kingdom and now you’re tasked with saving the princess.
Except, this time, you can control Mario, Yoshi, Luigi and Wario: each with their own special powers. As you progress through the castle, you must acquire stars – earned by defeating each level’s task. Each of those tasks is dependent, in this version, on which character you choose at times. As I mentioned, only about 10% of base game differs from the N64, but it’s this 10% where you’re forced to use Luigi or Wario in certain situations that makes this game stand out on its own.
Add in better, but still not quite sharp 3D graphics (hey, it’s still the DS) and the usual crisp audio, and the game is a pleasure to play – except for when certain cramped DS controls spoil the fun. (I already strongly disliked some of the precise jumps or mistaken back flips to my doom in the N64 original.)
Overall if you’re going to play (or replay) Mario 64 for nostalgia purposes, this is the title I’d recommend… yes, even over the WiiWare rerelease of the N64 source material. It’s just really cool to have some of the added perks with additional stars, minigames, multiplayer, and more.
Pick this one up if you’re a Mario fan for sure!