Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 is a 3D action-adventure platformer game released for the Nintendo 64 in 1996. This game was one of two (three in Japan) launch titles for the Nintendo 64, along with Pilotwings 64, which helped drive initial sales of the console. To this day, it has sold nearly over 11 million copies, and is marked as the best selling Nintendo 64 game of all time. It is also the second most popular game on the Wii's Virtual Console, after Super Mario Bros.
Being the first 3D Mario game, Super Mario 64 introduced many moves that would be used in almost every later Super Mario title: Triple Jumping, Ground Pounding, Long Jumping, Crouching, and Somersaults. Punching and kicking were also introduced, but would not be used in any later main title (besides its DS remake).
Super Mario 64 was originally in development for the Super Famicom/SNES, but was moved to the Nintendo 64 after system limitations and the 16-bit era began closing, not to mention a lack of proper controls (as the game defined the design of the N64 controller). Though it was not the first 3D platforming game, it revolutionized the genre, with many games soon following its formula using it as a sort of benchmark. It is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest and most important games of all time.
In 2004, a remake of Super Mario 64 was released for the Nintendo DS entitled Super Mario 64 DS. The remake had various differences from the original game such as Luigi, Yoshi, and Wario becoming playable characters. There was also a sequel called Super Mario 64 2 planned for the Nintendo 64DD, but it was cancelled due to the 64DD's commercial failure. The game was rereleased digitally on the Wii U's Virtual Console service on April 1st 2015, making it and Donkey Kong 64 the first two Nintendo 64 games to be released on the service.
Princess Toadstool (or "Peach", as she is called for the second time in the western world since Yoshi's Safari introduced it) sent a letter to Mario to come and have some cake with her in the castle. When Mario arrives, he finds one of the Lakitu Bros. who follows him around holding a camera and filming him. Together, they go inside and hear a familiar voice telling them to get out of the castle, actually being Bowser. Toad informs them that Bowser has kidnapped Peach again and is holding everyone hostage inside the castle walls. He has also stolen the 120 Power Stars and given them to his minions who are hiding in the paintings that are accessible from inside the castle. Mario must jump into each painting scattered around the castle in order to retrieve the power stars.
Toad informs Mario about a Bob-omb field where King Bob-omb must be faced. The first of many power stars can be found here. By obtaining more Power Stars, Mario unlocks doors to three more paintings in the castle including the Whomp's Fortress, Jolly Roger Bay, Cool, Cool Mountain, and the ability to collect more stars.
When Mario collects eight Power Stars, he can open the Star Door at the left side of the castle. He then falls through the floor in the room and enters the first Bowser Course, Bowser in the Dark World. After traveling through the course, he enters a warp pipe, which leads him to Bowser. After evading Bowser's attacks and grabbing his tail, Mario throws him into a bomb on the edge of the stage defeating him. Unfortunately, it turns out that Bowser doesn't have Peach with him. Instead, he floats into the air and disappears, leaving a key for Mario to collect. Mario then obtains the key that allows him to enter the basement of the castle. The basement contains four levels, which are Lethal Lava Land, Shifting Sand Land, Hazy Maze Cave, and Dire, Dire Docks. After collecting 30 stars, Mario is granted with the ability to open another star door in the basement. The Star Door leads to a room with the entrance to Dire, Dire Docks and the second Bowser course, Bowser in the Fire Sea. After navigating through the course, Mario jumps into another battle with Bowser. This battle can be more challenging than the last one, since Bowser can now teleport and tilt the stage. Also, the distance between the arena platform and the bombs has increased. When Mario defeats Bowser for the second time, Mario gains a key to the second floor leading to even more paintings. After Mario collects his 50th Power Star, he can go up to the third floor, and once Mario collects 70 Power Stars, he can access the door into Bowser's final stage, Bowser in the Sky, and go through another one of his obstacle courses. After he finds the warp pipe at the end of the course, Mario finds Bowser waiting for him. The two then begin to engage in battle. This time, Bowser has to be blown up by a bomb three times. When Bowser gets blown up twice, certain parts of the arena fall away, leaving the platform in a shape of giant star. Bowser ends up defeated, and is surprised when Mario tells him there were some Power Stars he missed; the Castle's Secret Stars. Bowser gives up, and hands Mario the final Grand Power Star before he disappears. When Mario grabs the last power star, wings appear on his cap, allowing him to fly. He circles the star-shaped arena, and flies away. Eventually, he lands in front of the castle.
As his wings fade away, Mario uses the power of the Giant Power Star to save Peach and take her back at the front of the castle. The star goes into the stained glass window over the front door of the castle, the window flashes, and Peach slowly descends to the ground. Mario rushes up to her as she opens her eyes. Thanking him, Peach kisses Mario on the nose and says she will bake a cake for him. Peach and two nearby Mushroom Retainers walk into the castle. Mario starts to do so himself, but then pauses and turns around to look at the upward. Peach calls him, and he rushes after her. It should be noted that if a second controller is plugged into the system, it can be used to control the camera while Peach congratulates Mario, as well as during the credits. After the credits roll, Mario, Peach and two Toads wave goodbye to the player, followed by the cake, with Peach and Mario figures, shown at the very end. The game will then freeze, and the console will have to be turned off or restarted. (This was customary for beating the final Boss at the time, since "extra mode" was not a popular concept.)
Levels are laid out inside paintings in the castle, or sometimes the walls themselves. They can also be found in holes, portals, oil pits, and inside a clock. Each world has seven Power Stars. Within each, one of which is gained by finding one hundred coins in the level. The other six Power Stars are found by performing "missions", fighting bosses, winning races, etc. Every course has boundaries to limit the player from going too far, either as a strict wall or an invisible boundary. If Mario hits either, he falls down (quite often losing a life). Otherwise, Mario is free to roam the large expansive levels at his leisure.
Levels often feature pink Bob-ombs called Bob-omb Buddies. They open cannons littered around the levels for Mario to fly with. When the cannon is open, Mario simply falls into the pit where it is, and it raises. The player targets the cannon with a cross hair shot, and fires. This helps Mario reach high or far away areas. It is often a good idea to use the Wing Cap (see below) with cannons.
In addition to the main courses of the game and the Bowser Courses, there are also a few hidden courses that house several of the Castle's Secret Stars, as well as the three ! Switches.
In addition to Mario's signature jumping, a whole new host of abilities is given to the player. Mario can punch, kick, kick jump, hip drop (Ground Pound, something Yoshi and Wario could do in previous games), triple jump, long jump, back flip, somersault, and perform the wall kick (bouncing from wall to wall with timed jumps to reach higher areas). The usual Super Mushroom and Fire Flower are absent in this game. Instead as the game progress, Mario gains the power to wear new hats, in the form of colored Caps, with multiple abilities exclusive to each. The Power Gauge is also introduced in a circular form which became standard for future three dimensional "Mario" games, (though it made an appearance beforehand, in a vertical form, in Super Mario Bros. 2).
The Caps are found inside special '!' blocks littered around the every level. Initially empty, they can be filled by finding '!' switches (similar to the Switch Palaces of Super Mario World). There are three colors to the caps, and each cap lets Mario perform different abilities. Only one (or occasionally two) forms of colored caps are in each level. Normally, each cap is worn separately, but Mario can sometimes don two caps at once and combine the abilities of both.
There are various mini bosses in some stages, but the primary boss is Bowser. He appears three times in three different levels. This is a list of the bosses in the game.
Notable mistakes and errors
Those errors remained in the Virtual Console version. However, they were fixed in the remake, as Yoshi is a playable character, the Big Boo laugh is changed to "Ha ha ha ha!", and the message that appears when Mario doesn't have enough stars to open a door is "You need 1 more."
References to other games
References in later games
Super Mario 64 DS is the remake of the game for the Nintendo DS, bearing some new features on its storyline, gameplay and graphics. Unlike Super Mario 64, Mario is not the only playable character (nor is he even available at the start, the only character available at the start of the game is Yoshi); Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario also join the adventure in order to rescue Princess Toadstool from the hands of Bowser. Other new features within the game include a multi-player mode, in which up to four players can play simultaneously on each Nintendo DS connected together locally; minigames to play with each character, and new additions to the story mode such as new missions and levels.
A version of the original game was released in Japan on July 18, 1997, that included Rumble Pak support. This game is the same as the International release of the game, as it retains all of the glitch fixes as well as graphical and sound changes (except Mario calling Bowser by his name in the "So long-eh Bowser" voice clip, which was changed to "buh-bye"). The only differences other than one voice clip are the language being changed back to Japanese, a new title screen easter egg, fixing of the "backwards long jump" glitch and the Rumble Pak support.
An original soundtrack that is based on the game is released. It has thirty-six tracks from the game.
There is a total of four releases of this N64 game Super Mario 64: The original NTSC-J Japanese version, the European and the Australian PAL release, the American NTSC-U release, and the Shindō Pak Taiō (Shindou Edition) NTSC-J re-release in Japan. The Shindou Edition includes almost all the changes from the original Japanese version to the American version, plus the Backwards long jump glitch was fixed. It was also the version used for the Japanese Wii U Virtual Console release.
The PAL version is limited to 25 FPS as opposite to 30 FPS of the NTSC releases, therefore Mario movements are much slower in the PAL version. Also the PAL version allows the player to change the language between "English", "German" and "French" (the third doesn't work in the Australian version) in the options menu in addition to the ability to change sound options. The NTSC releases remove the language selection (instead locking it into either English or Japanese) and, since only sound options are left, changes the menu's name from "Options" to "Sound".
The Shindou Edition re-release adds Rumble Pak support which was not supported by older releases. The Intro Screen add a little box to inform the player about this feature. Also, a new Easter Egg was added in this version, at the "Press Start" screen, if the player presses , the background will be filled with images of Mario's face. This is taken from the frame buffer, so the faces move alongside the modeled Mario face.
In the original Japanese version, after defeating Bowser, the key collection cutscene shows a Star instead of a key; early footage of the first Bowser fight shows him leaving behind a Star upon defeat, suggesting that this is a very old leftover.
Several glitches which were present in the Japanese version have been fixed for the American release:
Level design changes
In Jolly Roger Bay the fifth star: Blast to the Stone Pillar, in the original Japanese version, the Power Star was in the open, however in the international releases, the star was put in an Exclamation Mark Block possibly to make the star's location not too obvious. Nonetheless, the star is out in the open again in the DS remake.
In Cool, Cool Mountain the second star: Li'l Penguin Lost, in the original Japanese version, after returning the baby penguin, the star appears right above the mother; the star was a tad hard to collect due to the large size of the penguin, so other releases moved the star a little away from the mother.
Graphical and textual changes
A few differences are found in the title screen between versions.
The intro screen says "PRESS START" in the NTSC versions, but just "START" in the PAL version. The text location was also moved slightly to the left in the PAL version.
The unused "key" HUD icon was removed from the non-Japanese versions. It appears as a garbled mess in the US version, and as a silver-blue Ü in the European version.
In the European version, the "German Umlauts" (Ä, Ö and Ü) were added. However the Ü isn't used anywhere in the game. The Japanese versions have all the English alphabetical characters (except X, there is a similar "×" that is used in the HUD), the J,Q,V,Z were dropped in the American release and replaced with messed garbage texture, the V and Z were re-added in the PAL release of Super Mario 64. The Japanese versions also has exclusive Japanese characters which were removed in other releases. Also in non-Japanese versions, the "%", "&", "!", and "!!" were removed, oddly enough those textures are not used anywhere in the game except in the debug screens.
The Jolly Roger Bay' painting in the original Japanese version is essentially water with some bubbles added in. It also was unique in that it did not have a gold frame (supported by almost every other painting in the game, excluding the Wet-Dry World painting). In all other versions, the painting has been changed and the frame was made golden.
Pre-release and unused content
The most notable unused content is the Blargg, which is still in the game's data, that would appear in the Lethal Lava Land, Bowser in the Fire Sea, And Wing Mario over the Rainbow stages. Also, Big Boo held a key instead of a Star inside of him. The purpose of the keys was to unlock a variety of the various doors in Big Boo's Haunt - there was even a "key counter". 32 levels were planned for the game, but only fifteen of them made it into the final product.
Super Mario 64 received critical acclaim, garnering a score of 9.8 from IGN, 9.4 from GameSpot, and 9.75 from Game Informer. Although it was criticized for its camera system and difficulty, it was praised for its graphics, level design, soundtrack, and the Mario series shift from 2D to 3D.
Sometime after the game's release, rumors about secret glitches, stars, and hidden characters circulated. Among the most famous is the widely publicized hoax that Luigi was hidden and fully playable, causing bogus rumors to circulate on how to unlock him.
Super Mario 64 is the best selling game for the Nintendo 64, selling 11.62 million copies worldwide, as of December 31, 2009.
The most famous glitch is probably the Backwards Long Jump which will let the player climb any stairs including the Endless Stairs. Another famous glitch is the Black Room of Death which is Mario being trapped in the castle walls. It could be achieved using several ways, including using the Backwards Long Jump glitch. Another rather known glitch is the cloning glitch, often used to collect more coins than the actual number of coins in the game.
As in many other N64 titles, the cartridge can be tilted in the console to achieve messed up results, for example Mario's body will flip horizontally, but he can still be controlled. Also, the music will be heavily corrupted.Tall, Tall Mountain just above the wooden log.
The top of the castle is normally only accessible using the cannon that can be unlocked after gathering 120 Power Stars, however version, however they were fixed in the other releases. While collecting one of Bowser's keys, the player can press , and looks somewhere, Mario will keep looking that way during the key collection cutscene.
Using a good timed Triple Jump on the slope near the castle, the player can climb the castle without the cannon. Also, when Mario reaches a corner, he can fall down slightly and grab onto a ledge. The player can then pull themselves back up onto the roof, at which point Mario will lose a life. For unknown reasons, he also loses his hat.
When the player is going to exit the endless stairs with less than seventy stars, the saying Bowser states about the required number of stars to solve the endless stairs will show and then the player exits the path to the endless stairs. In the remake, the glitch is fixed.
When Mario enters the water, the angle Mario was facing before entering is preserved in a datum, therefore, when the player jumps and lands on dry land, the next dive Mario performs will start with this angle. A few frames afterward, the angle will fix itself and the dive will be completed correctly. Several things "reset" the angle, including grabbing a ledge, shooting from a cannon, changing areas and jumping while facing a slope. This glitch does not affect the dive itself, just the animation.
Mario face programmer
Names in other languages