Dr. Mario 64
Dr. Mario 64 is a puzzle game developed by Nintendo and released for the Nintendo 64. This is the third installment in the Dr. Mario series and the final Mario game released for the Nintendo 64. In 2003, it was re-released along with Panel de Pon and Yoshi's Cookie in a Japan-only Nintendo GameCube game called Nintendo Puzzle Collection. In 2005, Dr. Mario & Puzzle League was released, with the Dr. Mario portion mostly taking visual and audio cues from the N64 version. The original game was made available on Nintendo 64 - Nintendo Switch Online in North America, Europe, and Australia as one of its launch titles, marking its first release in the last two regions.
Dr. Mario 64 plays the same as its predecessors for the most part. Vitamin capsules are thrown into a bottle full of viruses, and the goal is to line up a minimum of four of a color combination of viruses and vitamins to make them disappear. There are three types of Viruses - the Red Virus (Fever), the Blue Virus (Chill) and the Yellow Virus (Weird), with a vitamin color designed to defeat them. The score obtained is based on the Speed, which also determines the speed in which vitamin capsules drop. The base score for Low, Med, and Hi respectively are 100, 200, and 300. If more than one virus is eliminated in a single move, every subsequent virus is twice the score of the previous, where the rewarded score is maxed out at the sixth virus, meaning that any virus after the sixth is scored the same (3200, 6400, and 9600 for the respective speeds). Several modes new to this series are added, including a Multiplayer mode where four players can compete with each other.
Much like the multiplayer in the previous Dr. Mario games, if a player creates a combo that involves clearing multiple lines in a single move, the opponent will receive up to four garbage pieces depending on how many lines are cleared, and even if more than four lines are cleared, only four garbage pieces will be sent. In any of the 4P modes, the mechanics in which garbage is sent is different. For this mode, the opponent to receive the garbage depends on the first color cleared in a combo, where blue lines will affect the opponent directly to the right, yellow lines affect the opponent two places to the right, and red lines affect the opponent three places to the right. The placement loops back to the left if necessary. If two colors are cleared simultaneously for the first part of a combo, two opponents will be affected. If any of the players retired for that match, they are skipped in the ordering. For Team Battle, the system on how the opponents receive garbage is slightly different. where garbage that would otherwise be sent to the player's teammate, garbage will be stored as stock, and will be added to the garbage from the current combo.
For this game, two new music themes are introduced in addition to Fever and Chill: Cube (Cough in later games) and Que Que (Sneeze in later games). Each of them can be selected when playing in any mode other than Story mode.
There are always four participants, regardless of whether or not they are AI-controlled.
Unlike past Dr. Mario games, this game has a storyline, found in the Story mode. The story is titled Dr. Mario and the Cold Caper. In the story, a flu season occurs and Dr. Mario uses his Megavitamins to heal the infirmities of the citizens of the land. In one instance, Dr. Mario recovered Octo with his Megavitamins, where his actions are separately witnessed by both Wario and Mad Scienstein. In Wario's point of view, he wants to steal them so that he can use them to make himself rich. In Mad Scienstein's point of view, he reports his findings to a hidden figure, who orders him to steal them. When Dr. Mario leaves the Megavitamins at his house and temporarily leaves it, Mad Scienstein proceeds to steal them while Dr. Mario is out. Mad Scienstein is then caught in the act by Wario, who chases him because he wants the Megavitamins for himself. While the chase happens, Dr. Mario returns to find that his medicine is stolen, and in the ensuing chaos, he caught Wario and believes that he has them, and so fights him.
After battling Wario and finding out that Wario is not in possession of the Megavitamins, Mad Scienstein scrambled from the scene, to which both Dr. Mario and Wario chase him. Along the way, both Dr. Mario and Wario battles enemies from Wario Land 3, starting from Spearhead, followed by Webber. After both are beaten, the two enemies report to the hidden figure about Mad Scienstein being chased by both Dr. Mario and Wario, who is confident that Hammer-Bot will ensure that the heroes won't make it. On the way, both Dr. Mario and Wario faces three different enemies each. After that, they reach Hammer-Bot near the castle. In Easy, the chosen character will face Hammer-Bot alone, but in other difficulties, everybody fights for the Megavitamins. After the scuffle that leads to the destruction of Hammer-Bot, Mad Scienstein arrives at the castle to where Rudy is found. Regardless of the selected character, Wario will follow, but if Wario is the selected character, Dr. Mario is left behind. The selected character will battle Rudy, who is given the Megavitamins by Mad Scienstein.
In normal cases, if Dr. Mario is the chosen character, then it is revealed that Rudy has a cold, after which Dr. Mario will cure him while Wario beats up Mad Scienstein. Dr. Mario will then proceed to return home after that. If Wario is the chosen character, then Mad Scienstein comes and runs off with the Megavitamins, causing Wario to chase him to no end. However, if the player beats eight stages in Normal or higher difficulty without redoing any stage, including continuing due to losing, the outcome will be different. For Dr. Mario, Wario will take the Megavitamins and consume them, transforming him into Vampire Wario. After beating Wario, who reverted back to his normal form and fled, it is shown that Mad Scienstein pitied Rudy, after which Dr. Mario uses his Megavitamins to cure Rudy. Dr. Mario returns home after that. In Wario's case, after beating Rudy within the aforementioned criteria, then Dr. Mario catches up to confront Wario. Wario will attempt to run away, but he trips over Mad Scienstein, causing the bottle to fall onto Dr. Mario, leading to Dr. Mario accidentally consuming all the Megavitamins, turning him into Metal Mario. After beating Metal Mario, Dr. Mario reverted back to normal while Wario celebrates. After that, similar to the normal ending, Mad Scienstein snatches the Megavitamins, causing Wario to chase him to no end.
The Speed is determined by the difficulty selected, which affects the vitamin capsule's drop speed and the earned score. For Easy, the Speed is set Low; For Normal, the Speed is set to Med; For Hard and S-Hard, the Speed is set to Hi.
1 - In Easy mode, Hammer-Bot is the only opponent. In other difficulties, this is a four-way match.
If selecting a multiplayer or a Vs. mode that requires competing with a computer player, one of the following characters can be selected. Each character can only be selected by one player or CPU each. Each of the characters have different CPU levels where the more stars there are, the more challenging they are. They can only be displayed when selecting the CPU's character, which are indicated by the amount of stars in brackets. If is held and is pressed, the CPU level is toggled to Hard, where the amount of starts is added by one for all CPU players, for a range of 2 to 6 stars. If is held and is pressed, the CPU level is toggled to S-Hard instead, meaning that the amount of stars is added by two for all CPU players, for a range of 3 to 7 stars.
Both Metal Mario and Vampire Wario are unlockable, where they must be beaten in the ninth stage without losing in Story mode for Wario and Dr. Mario respectively, which can only be reached from the beginning without losing a stage in Normal or greater difficulty.
Overall, Dr. Mario 64 received mostly positive reviews. GameRankings gave the game a score of 70.03%, while Metacritic gave it a score of 71/100. GameSpot also gave the game a 7.0/10. Dr. Mario 64 was voted #76 in the Top 100 Games of All Time poll published by Game Informer Magazine in August 2001.
References to other games
Hitoshi Yagami, director of the original Dr. Mario, returned to director and game design duties for Dr. Mario 64. The game had a large number of graphic designers and character artists, all of which were professional anime animators with otherwise little to no involvement in the game industry.