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Super Mario 64 (JP) is a platformer game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo. The game is considered to be one of the most influential titles from the fifth generation of video games. Released in 1996 as a launch title for the Nintendo 64 alongside Pilotwings 64, it was one of the most popular and revolutionary of its time.
The game took advantage of the Nintendo 64's analog control and ability to make use of 3-D environments. Because it takes place in a 3D world, the game is naturally less linear, allowing the player greater freedom to explore each environment while still providing a clear goal.
At the beginning of the game, Princess Peach invites Mario to her castle, having baked him cake. Mario dutifully goes to the castle via Warp Pipe and speaks to the Lakitu Bros which the Lakitu Bros explain about camera angles. Mario goes through the castle doors only to find that Bowser has trapped all of the citizens in the castle walls, including Peach, and stolen the primary power source - Power Stars.
It's now Mario's obligation to go through the many worlds here and find all of the 120 power stars so that he'll be able to save all of the Toads and foremost - the Princess. He eventually does so, and at the end of the game, Mario and Peach eat the cake that she promised.
Super Mario 64 is the first three dimensional Mario game ever created. In it, Mario will traverse across multiple different terrains or levels that are all accessed through Princess Peach's castle, the main hub. Running and jumping is, as always, an essential element of the Mario series, and a number of abilities that he's capable of performing surpass that of every Mario game preceding it.
Also for the first time in a Mario platformer (excluding Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, which is usually considered more of a Yoshi platformer), there is absolutely no time limit at all. With the exception of a few minor challenges, you're able to take your time on the stages, which are essentially non-linear compared to previous titles which always have a set course.
The main goal in the entire game is to collect as many stars as you can, with the maximum being 120. However, you're able to beat the game with only 70 as you are in every Mario 3-D platformer following it. Each stage features seven stars each, though often you'll find secret stages which only feature one each.
Fighting bosses are once again included, with Bowser being the primary antagonist, appearing three times with each fight similar to the previous one, though slightly more challenging. There are many other bosses as well, with some being more notable than others. Major ones that are, to this day, well known like Big Bob-omb, Eyerok, and Whomp King.
Obstacles that occur throughout most of the stages include enemies and environmental hurdles that will attempt to halt your progress. For example, the fire-based levels will feature fire based obstacles including flaming projectiles and molten lava that will dramatically and quickly reduce your health.
- Mario - Mario has many new moves in this new game. Since this is his first ever 3-D platformer, he can wall-jump, Triple jump, and do a whole lot of other things that he now uses in current games.
- Dorrie - This sea dragon helps Mario out by getting across the water in the Hazy Maze Cave to get a Power Star.
- MIPS - Appears when Mario gets 15 stars and gives Mario an extra star if he catches him in the castle basement. He also appears and does the same thing when you have 50 stars in the castle basement.
- Princess Peach - The Princess has gotten trapped inside the castle walls, now Mario will have to save her by collecting Power Stars to defeat Bowser.
- Toad - Toads will give Mario a handful of hints along the way and will also give him a Power Star sometimes.
- Yoshi - After you collect 120 Power Stars, Yoshi will give Mario one hundred 1-Up Mushrooms atop the Castle and an upgraded Triple Jump. Yoshi makes an error Mario!!! It that really you??? instead of Mario!!! Is that really you???
- Bill Blaster
- Big Steely
- Big Boo
- Bullet Bill
- Chain Chomp
- Fire Guy
- Fire Spitter
- Grand Goomba
- Heave Ho
- Killer Chair
- Koopa Troopa
- Mad Piano
- Monty Mole
- Mr. Blizzard
- Mr. I
- Piranha Plant
- Pushy Wall
- Tox Boxe
- Venus Fly Trap
- Big Bob-omb - Also known as King Bob-omb, this huge Bob-omb is at the top of the mountain in Bob-omb Battlefield. You'll have to get behind him, pick him up, and slam him into the ground three times before he gives his Power Star up.
- Big Boo - A gigantic boo in Big Boo's Haunt that has to be hit 3 times before he'll give you the Power Star.
- Big Bully - Big Bully appears in Lethal Lava Land as a Boss that you have to hit to knock over the edge and into the lava, a certain amount of times.
- Bowser - Bowser has trapped Princess Peach inside the walls and he spreads the Power Stars throughout many of Mushroom World's lands. Now Mario will have to stop Bowser and save Princess Peach, along with the power stars. Mario will fight Bowser three times, once in "Bowser in the Dark World", again in "Bowser in the Fire Sea", and one more time in "Bowser in the Sky".
- Eyerok - A pair of giant stone hands with an eye in each of its palms.
- Whomp King - This big Whomp is the king of all Whomps. He waits at the top of the fortress in Whomp's Fortress. The way to defeat him is to wait until he slams down, then you ground pound him on the back.
- Wiggler - A giant caterpillar that appears in Tiny-Huge Island.
- Princess Peach's Castle Courtyard - A small, grassy area behind the castle filled with regular sized Boos. You must defeat the Boo larger than the others to enter Big Boo's Haunt. In the DS version if you kill 8 regular boos you can a star and a new secret area on the right called Battle Fort was added.
- Bob-omb Battlefield - A big battlefield with the only Chain-Chomp, King Bob-omb, a big mountain, and more.
- Whomp's Fortress - A huge tower with King Whomp at the top. Once he's defeated, a tower will replace him. Bill Blasters, Whomps, and Thwomps are here as well, so try not to get squished.
- Jolly Roger Bay - A bay of a sunken pirate ship at the bottom. Unagi the Eel also lives here. After completing the first mission, the sunken ship reaches upwards again.
- Cool, Cool Mountain - A big, snowy mountain where the Penguin lives. There are Spindrifts as well in which when you step on them, Mario starts spinning.
- Big Boo's Haunt - A haunted house where Big Boo and regular Boos live. There are also household items such as Mad Piano, Bookends, Moving Chairs and more.
- Hazy Maze Cave - A cave with a toxic cloud floating in its maze. Dorrie also lives here.
- Lethal Lava Land - A lava-covered world with a volcano in the middle, infested with Bullies and two Big Bullies.
- Shifting Sand Land - A desert with 4 pillars surrounding a pyramid. Eyerok is found in the pyramid. Klepto the Vulture fly around here too.
- Dire, Dire Docks - Docks where you find Bowser's Sub. The area is also full of marine life, and a whirlpool. There are also sharks, Bubbas, and treasure chests.
- Snowman's Land - A snowy land full of snowmen. It also has a giant snowman in the center. Moneybags are here as well and the Chill Bully lives here.
- Wet-Dry World - A world with varying levels of water. There are Skeeters, Heave Hos, and a Chuckya at the top of the tower and a secret downtown area.
- Tall, Tall Mountain - A very tall mountain with a long winding path to the top. Ukiki the Monkey lives here and steals your cap when you speak to him. There is a secret slide as well.
- Tiny-Huge Island - An island that can be tiny or huge, which can be changed by entering a warp pipe. It is also Koopa the Quick's home.
- Tick Tock Clock - A level that's full of shifting gears, rotating cubes, and turning platforms.
- Rainbow Ride - A level in the sky, with flying carpets leading from one platform to another.
- Bowser in the Dark World - A dark world where Bowser is first fought. There are fire traps, Amps. and Goombas.
- Bowser in the Fire Sea - A fiery sea of lava where you fight Bowser for the second time. Bullies, Goombas, fire traps, and many more traps are here.
- Bowser in the Sky - A large series of platforms in the sky where you fight Bowser for the last time. There is one pillar that has a picture, Mario, fighting Bowser in the original Super Mario Bros.
- Tower of the Wing Cap - A tower where you find the switch that activates the red boxes.
- Cavern of Metal Mario - A cavern where you find the switch that activates the green boxes.
- Vanish Cap Under the Moat - An area under the moat where you find the switch that activates the blue boxes. You must drain the moat.
- The Princess's Secret Slide - A secret slide hidden in Peach's Castle.
- The Secret Aquarium - A secret aquarium full of fish where you must collect 8 red coins.
- Wing Mario Over the Rainbow - A stage set in the sky, consisting of nothing but clouds. Hardest level in the game, if you fall, you'll love to end up in the lake outside the castle.
Note: The Castle Secret Stars missions have no official names.
Critics acknowledge Super Mario 64 as a key contributor to the anticipation, and initial success, of the Nintendo 64 console. Though the system was initially very successful, it eventually lost much of its market share to Sony's PlayStation. 1UP.com attributed this decline to Nintendo's use of cartridges and the design of the Nintendo 64 controller, which were reportedly implemented by Miyamoto for Super Mario 64.
The game also set many precedents for 3D platformers to follow. GameDaily listed the game as one of the "Most Influential Video Games" and stated it "defined the 3-D platform experience, influencing numerous designers to create their own, original offerings". GamesTM noted many game companies, including Nintendo, have tried to develop a platform game to match up to Super Mario 64. Nintendo's first-party developer, Rare, reflected in 2013 that during the development of 2001's Conker's Bad Fur Day, they had originally drawn inspiration from their deep analysis of the gameplay and camera mechanics of Super Mario 64: "We were just copying Mario, weren't we? Which, to this day, is still the best 3D camera."
Super Mario 64 is notable for its sense of freedom and non-linearity. A central hub, where controls can be learned before entering levels themselves, has been used in many 3D platformers since. In addition, the game's mission-based level design is an inspiration for other game designers. Martin Hollis, who produced and directed GoldenEye 007, says "the idea for the huge variety of missions within a level came from Super Mario 64". In 2012, Dan Houser, a prominent figure in the development of the Grand Theft Auto series, stated, "Anyone who makes 3D games who says they've not borrowed something from Mario or Zelda [on the Nintendo 64] is lying." Tetsuya Nomura, a leading designer at Square Enix, stated in 2016 that Super Mario 64 was the impetus for the creation of the Kingdom Hearts series.
Super Mario 64 is the first game to have a "free" camera that can be controlled independently of the character. Most 3D games from the time use a first-person perspective, or a camera that is fixed in position relative to the player's character, or to the level. To create freedom of exploration, and more fluid control in a 3D world, the designers created a dynamic system in which the video camera is operated by the in-game character Lakitu. The camera system would become the standard for 3D platform games in the future. Nintendo Power stated the camera-control scheme is what transitioned platform games into three dimensions, and that the game, along with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, "blazed trails" into the 3D era. Along with camera control, the game also innovated in its implementation of movement.
Edge stated the game changed "gamers' expectations of 3D movement forever". The Nintendo 64's analog stick allows for more precise and wide-ranging character movements than the digital D-pads of other consoles, and Super Mario 64 uses this in a way that was unique for its time. At the time, 3D games generally allowed for controls in which the player could either control the character in relation to a fixed camera angle or in relation to the character's perspective. Super Mario 64's controls are fully analog, and interpret a 360-degree range of motion into navigation through a 3D space relative to the camera. The analog stick also allows for precise control over subtleties such as the speed at which Mario runs. Super Mario 64 was one of the first games to implement the system.
Because of the game's popularity, rumors about glitches and secrets spread rapidly after its release. A common rumor was that Luigi was a secret character in the game, fueled by illegible symbols in the castle courtyard that were said to resemble the text "L is real 2401". This same texture would reappear in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on a plaque in Dodongo's Cavern. IGN received so many questions and supposed methods to unlock Luigi that the staff offered a US$100 reward to anyone who could prove that Luigi was in the game.
The number of false codes submitted to IGN dropped dramatically, as Luigi's inclusion was proved to be a myth. The April Fools' Day 1998 issue of Nintendo Power claims that the cryptic phrase would be discussed on the non-existent page 128, and also features a facetious article titled "Luigi 64", commenting humorously on the rumor.Several players have discovered coins that were impossible to obtain without glitching the game. Scott Buchanan, under the alias pannenkoek2012, had managed to collect one of those coins in 2014 without tool-assistance, and also creates content about the programming mechanics of Super Mario 64. On May 5, 2011, Super Mario 64 was selected as one of the 80 games to be displayed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of "The Art of Video Games" exhibit that opened on March 16, 2012.
Over half of the 11 million units sold have been sold in the United States.
Super Mario 64 not only maintained the Nintendo precedent of releasing a Mario Game at launch, but it also provided the system with one of the greatest games in video game history. It was Nintendo's first foray in 3-D and a game without precedent, and the successful translation of the quintessentially 2-D Mario gameplay mechanics into a 3D world was considered a huge triumph.
There was also a sequel Super Mario 64 2 planned, but canceled, due to the commercial failure of the Nintendo 64DD and Luigi was set to appear in it and be playable too.
Remakes / Re-releases
- Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo DS)
- Super Mario 64 on Wii and Wii U Virtual Console (re-released on Japan as Super Mario 64 Shindō Pak Taiō Version (JP) in 1987)
- Alongside Super Mario 3D Land, it is the only game in the 3D Mario series, to actually take place in the Mushroom Kingdom (Super Mario Galaxy and it's sequel take place in outer space, Super Mario 3D World takes place in the Sprixee Kingdom and Super Mario Sunshine takes place on a tropical island).
- The game was featured on the cover of two volumes of Nintendo Power: Volume 85 and Volume 88.
- Some of Mario's voice clips in this game were later reused in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee as well as Luigi's voice clips in the first two Smash games but sped up.
- Super Mario 64 at Nintendo.com
- Super Mario 64 at Virtual Console Reviews
- Super Mario 64 at Wdell.com's Beyond 120 Star section