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Super Mario 64 (JP) is arguably one of the most influential titles from the fifth generation of video games. Released in 1996 as a launch title for the Nintendo 64 along with Pilotwings 64, and while certainly not the first 3D video game ever constructed, it was definitely one of the most popular and revolutionary of its time.
It's noted not only as the first 3D Mario game, but also as one of the very best examples of the still popular 3D platforming genre even today. 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 3-D world, the game is naturally less linear, allowing the player greater freedom to explore each environment while still providing a clear goal.
The game was reworked for the Nintendo DS as Super Mario 64 DS in 2004, and later re-released in its original form for the Virtual Console in 2006. Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, on the Nintendo GameCube and Wii respectively, may be considered direct sequels, maintaining a number of stylistic and gameplay elements from Super Mario 64 while introducing fresh innovations and twists.
There was also a sequel Super Mario 64 2 planned, but cancelled, due to the commercial failure of the Nintendo 64DD and Luigi was set to appear in it and be playable too.
Over half of the 11 million units sold have been sold in the United States.
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.
- Mario - Mario has many new moves in this new game. Since this is his first ever 3-D platformer, he is know able to 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.
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 the amount of abilities that he's capable of performing surpasses 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.
- 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 with 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 flys 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 a 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'love end up in the lake outside the castle.
Note: The Castle Secret Stars missions have no official names.
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.
- 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