Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mario 64 Review

The Good

  • Very accurate emulation
  • graphics might be ugly in spots, but they still hold up pretty well most of the time
  • catchy soundtrack
  • collecting 120 stars means you'll be busy for a while, unless you've already memorized every nook and cranny of the game.

The Bad

  • A couple of minor emulation issues
  • camera can often be a pain to deal with.

One of the interesting aspects of the Wii is its Virtual Console service, which lets you pay to download emulated versions of old games from the 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit eras. At launch, only one Nintendo 64 game was available, and it's exactly the game you expect to see. Super Mario 64, which released alongside the N64 back in 1996, was the game that defined the 3D platformer as we know it today. Sure, you'll have to babysit the camera controls, and those textures look ugly by today's standards, but all in all, this game holds up well on the Wii and is a solid version of an all-time great.

The story's very simple and, really, as old as time itself. The princess, you know, Peach? She's been kidnapped by the tubby dragon called Bowser. Mario shows up at Peach's castle thinking that there's a party going on, but the only party happening here is the boot party that Mario's going to have on Bowser's face as soon as he catches up with him and rescues the princess. But before you can fight Bowser, you've got to earn a whole mess of power stars. You earn most of these stars in the game's levels, which provide you with large environments and plenty of different-yet-standard themes. So you've got the snow level, the lava level, the water level, the other water level, and so on. While a modern platformer might get chastised for sticking so closely to the script, it's only because it's Mario's script in the first place. You won't need to collect every single star to beat the game, which is nice because it gives you alternative places to go when or if you get stuck on a particular task. Even after all this time, the game's good enough that you might want to keep at it until you collect all 120 stars.

On the Wii, you'll need to plug in a controller to play Super Mario 64 because it doesn't work at all with the Wii Remote. Although the game claims to work only with the Classic Controller, a GameCube controller works just fine. The N64's C buttons are mapped to the right analog stick on the GameCube controller, and this works well for controlling the camera. The rest of the buttons are mapped accordingly, which means that you have to use the tiny Z button on the GameCube controller more often than you'd probably like. But overall, the controls work just fine and are as responsive as in the original version.

One issue with the visuals is that thng in e Wii Virtual Console will stretch this game (and others) out to a 16:9 aspect ratio if you play it on a widescreen TV, irrespective of the Wii display settings you've selected, even though the game was designed for standard 4:3 aspect ratio screens. Regardless, this version of Super Mario 64 probably looks a bit better than the original, especially when you're running 480p over a component cable. The game gets sharp in a way that it couldn't on the N64, though some edges get a bit too sharp, making seams in the world and some other edges look a little weird. Also, the higher resolution certainly doesn't do the textures any favors, but considering this game is a decade old now, it still looks quite nice. The emulation appears to be accurate, though we did notice the game pause for a split second on a few occasions, which stuck out a bit. The sound and music were among the high points of the original game, and all that catchy music and all the lively sound effects come across really well on the Wii.

It probably says something about how little platformers have progressed over the past decade if Super Mario 64 holds up this well. A few aspects of the game, such as the camera controls and the coin collection tasks, feel a little dated, but most new platformers still can't match this one's style and creativity. And at a going price of 1,000 Wii points ($10), Super Mario 64 is a heck of a deal.

Game of the Week


Game of the Week

Mario 64-N64

The Super Mario 64 logo is a trademark of Nintendo.

Wii Virtual Console List

Name Down
Video
System
Publisher
Genre
Players
EU date
US date
Rating
ActRaiser Video clip available SNES Enix Platform Game 1

*****
Adventure Island Video clip available NES Hudson Action Adventure 1

****-
Adventures of Lolo Video clip available NES HAL Puzzle Game 1

****-
Air Zonk Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Shoot 'Em Up 1

****-
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted ... Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 1

**---
Alien Crush Video clip available TG-16 Naxatsoft Simulation 1

****-
Altered Beast Video clip available MD Sega Arcade Conversion 2

**---
Balloon Fight Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 2

***--
Baseball Video clip available NES Nintendo Sports Game 2

*----
Battle Lode Runner Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Puzzle Game 5

****-
Beyond Oasis / The Story of ... Video clip available MD Sega Action Adventure 1

*****
Bio-Hazard Battle Video clip available MD Sega Shoot 'Em Up 2

***--
Blazing Lazers Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Shoot 'Em Up 1

*****
Bloody Wolf Video clip available TG-16 NEC Action Adventure 1

****-
Bomberman '93 Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Puzzle Game 5

****-
Bonanza Bros Video clip available MD Sega Arcade Conversion 2

***--
Bonk 2: Bonk's Revenge Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Platform Game 1

*****
Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Platform Game 2

*****
Bonk's Adventure Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Platform Game 1

****-
Bravoman Video clip available TG-16 Bandai Action Adventure 1

**---
Breath of Fire II Video clip available SNES Capcom Role Playing 1

****-
Castlevania Video clip available NES Konami Platform Game 1

****-
Chew Man Fu Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Puzzle Game 2

****-
China Warrior Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Beat 'Em Up 1

*----
Columns Video clip available MD Sega Puzzle Game 2

***--
Comix Zone Video clip available MD Sega Beat 'Em Up 1

****-
Contra III: The Alien Wars / ... Video clip available SNES Konami Shoot 'Em Up 2

*****
Crack Down Video clip available MD Sega Arcade Conversion 2

****-
Cratermaze Video clip available TG-16 NEC Puzzle Game 1

***--
Dead Moon Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Shoot 'Em Up 1

**---
Devil's Crush Video clip available TG-16 Naxatsoft Simulation 1

*****
Donkey Kong Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 1

**---
Donkey Kong Country Video clip available SNES Nintendo Platform Game 2

*****
Donkey Kong Country 2: ... Video clip available SNES Nintendo Platform Game 2

*****
Donkey Kong Jr. Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 1

**---
Donkey Kong Jr. Math Video clip available NES Nintendo Puzzle Game 2

*----
Double Dungeons Video clip available TG-16 NCS / Masiya Role Playing 2

*----
Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean ... Video clip available MD Sega Puzzle Game 2

***--
Dragon Spirit Video clip available TG-16 Namco Shoot 'Em Up 1

***--
Dragon's Curse Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Platform Game 1

****-
Drop Off Video clip available TG-16 Data East Puzzle Game 1

*----
Dungeon Explorer Video clip available TG-16 Atlus Role Playing 5

****-
Dynamite Headdy Video clip available MD Treasure Platform Game 1

****-
Ecco The Dolphin Video clip available MD Sega Puzzle Game 1

***--
Ecco: The Tides of Time Video clip available MD Sega Action Adventure 1

****-
Elevator Action Video clip available NES Taito Arcade Conversion 1

***--
ESWAT: City Under Siege Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 1

****-
Excitebike Video clip available NES Nintendo Driving Game 1

****-
F-Zero Video clip available SNES Nintendo Driving Game 1

*****
F-Zero X Video clip available N64 Nintendo Driving Game 4

*****
Final Fight Video clip available SNES Capcom Arcade Conversion 1

****-
Gain Ground Video clip available MD Sega Shoot 'Em Up 2

**---
Galaga Video clip available NES Namco Shoot 'Em Up 1

***--
Galaga '90 Video clip available TG-16 NEC Shoot 'Em Up 1

****-
Ghouls 'n Ghosts Video clip available MD Capcom Platform Game 2

*****
Golden Axe Video clip available MD Sega Beat 'Em Up 2

****-
Golden Axe II Video clip available MD Sega Beat 'Em Up 2

***--
Gradius Video clip available NES Konami Shoot 'Em Up 1

****-
Gradius III New release Video clip available SNES Konami Shoot 'Em Up 1

***--
Gunstar Heroes Video clip available MD Treasure Shoot 'Em Up 2

*****
Ice Climber Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 2

***--
Ice Hockey Video clip available NES Nintendo Sports Game 2

****-
J.J. & Jeff Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Platform Game 1

**---
Kid Chameleon Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 1

***--
Kid Icarus Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 1

****-
Kirby's Adventure Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 1

*****
Kirby's Avalanche / Kirby's ... New release Video clip available SNES Nintendo Puzzle Game 2

***--
Kirby's Dream Course Video clip available SNES HAL Sports Game 2

****-
Landstalker: The Treasures of ... Video clip available MD Sega Role Playing 1

*****
Legend of Hero Tonma New release Video clip available TG-16 Irem Action Adventure 1

***--
Lode Runner Video clip available NES Hudson Puzzle Game 1

***--
Lunar Pool Video clip available NES Compile Sports Game 2

**---
Mach Rider Video clip available NES Nintendo Driving Game 1

**---
Mario Bros. Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 2

**---
Mario Kart 64 Video clip available N64 Nintendo Driving Game 4

****-
Mario's Super Picross Video clip available SNES Nintendo Puzzle Game 1

*****
Mega Man Video clip available NES Capcom Platform Game 1

****-
Metroid Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 1

***--
Mighty Bomb Jack Video clip available NES Tecmo Arcade Conversion 1

**---
Military Madness Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Puzzle Game 2

****-
Milon's Secret Castle Video clip available NES Hudson Platform Game 1

**---
Moto Roader Video clip available TG-16 NCS / Masiya Driving Game 5

***--
NES Open Tournament Golf Video clip available NES Nintendo Arcade Conversion 2

***--
NES Play Action Football Video clip available NES Nintendo Sports Game 2

**---
Neutopia Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Action Adventure 1

*****
Neutopia II Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Role Playing 1

*****
New Adventure Island Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Platform Game 1

***--
Ninja Gaiden New release Video clip available NES Tecmo Platform Game 1

****-
Ninja JaJaMaru-kun New release Video clip available NES Jaleco Platform Game 1

***--
Ninja Spirit Video clip available TG-16 Irem Arcade Conversion 1

****-
Ordyne Video clip available TG-16 Namco Shoot 'Em Up 2

***--
Pac-Man Video clip available NES Namco Arcade Conversion 1

***--
Paper Mario Video clip available N64 Nintendo Role Playing 1

*****
Pinball Video clip available NES Nintendo Simulation 1

***--
Punch-Out!! Video clip available NES Nintendo Sports Game 1

*****
R-Type Video clip available TG-16 Irem Arcade Conversion 1

*****
R-Type III Video clip available SNES Irem Shoot 'Em Up 2

****-
Ristar Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 1

****-
Romance of the Three Kingdoms ... Video clip available SNES Koei Role Playing 1

***--
Shining Force Video clip available MD Sega Role Playing 1

*****
Shining in the Darkness Video clip available MD Sega Role Playing 1

***--
Shinobi III: Return of the ... Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 1

*****
Shockman Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Action Adventure 2

***--
Silent Debuggers Video clip available TG-16 Data East Shoot 'Em Up 1

**---
Sim City Video clip available SNES Imagineer Simulation 1

****-
Sin and Punishment: Successor ... New release Video clip available N64 Treasure Shoot 'Em Up 1

*****
Soccer Video clip available NES Nintendo Sports Game 2

*----
Soldier Blade Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Shoot 'Em Up 1

*****
Solomon's Key Video clip available NES Nintendo Puzzle Game 1

****-
Sonic Spinball Video clip available MD Sega Simulation 1

**---
Sonic the Hedgehog Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 1

*****
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 2

*****
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 2

****-
Space Harrier II Video clip available MD Sega Shoot 'Em Up 1

**---
Splatterhouse Video clip available TG-16 Namco Arcade Conversion 1

****-
Star Fox 64 / Lylat Wars Video clip available N64 Nintendo Shoot 'Em Up 4

*****
Star Soldier Video clip available NES Hudson Shoot 'Em Up 1

**---
Street Fighter II Turbo: ... Video clip available SNES Capcom Beat 'Em Up 2

*****
Street Fighter II: The World ... Video clip available SNES Capcom Beat 'Em Up 2

****-
Streets of Rage Video clip available MD Sega Beat 'Em Up 2

****-
Streets of Rage 2 Video clip available MD Sega Beat 'Em Up 2

*****
Streets of Rage 3 New release Video clip available MD Sega Beat 'Em Up 2

*****
Super C / Probotector II Video clip available NES Konami Action Adventure 2

****-
Super Castlevania IV Video clip available SNES Konami Platform Game 1

*****
Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts Video clip available SNES Capcom Platform Game 1

*****
Super Mario 64 Video clip available N64 Nintendo Platform Game 1

*****
Super Mario Bros. Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 1

*****
Super Mario Bros. 2 Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game 1

****-
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost ... Video clip available NES Nintendo Platform Game


****-
Super Mario World Video clip available SNES Nintendo Platform Game 1

*****
Super Metroid Video clip available SNES Nintendo Shoot 'Em Up 1

*****
Super Star Soldier Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Shoot 'Em Up 1

****-
Super Thunder Blade New release Video clip available MD Sega Shoot 'Em Up 1

*----
Sword of Vermillion Video clip available MD Sega Role Playing 1

***--
Tecmo Bowl Video clip available NES Tecmo Sports Game 2

***--
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Video clip available NES Konami Platform Game 1

**---
Tennis Video clip available NES Nintendo Sports Game 2

**---
The Legend of Kage Video clip available NES Taito Platform Game 1

*----
The Legend of the Mystical ... Video clip available SNES Konami Action Adventure 2

*****
The Legend of Zelda Video clip available NES Nintendo Action Adventure 1

****-
The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina ... Video clip available N64 Nintendo Action Adventure 1

*****
The Legend of Zelda: A Link ... Video clip available SNES Nintendo Action Adventure 1

*****
ToeJam & Earl Video clip available MD Sega Action Adventure 2

***--
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on ... Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 2

***--
Urban Champion Video clip available NES Nintendo Beat 'Em Up 2

*----
Vectorman Video clip available MD Sega Platform Game 1

****-
Vegas Stakes Video clip available SNES HAL Simulation 2

****-
Victory Run Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Driving Game 1

**---
Vigilante Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Arcade Conversion 1

***--
Virtua Fighter 2 Video clip available MD Sega Beat 'Em Up 2

**---
Volleyball Video clip available NES Nintendo Sports Game 2

*----
Wario's Woods Video clip available NES Nintendo Puzzle Game 2

***--
Wave Race 64 Video clip available N64 Nintendo Simulation 2

*****
Wonder Boy in Monster World Video clip available MD Sega Role Playing 1

****-
World Class Baseball New release Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Sports Game 2

***--
World Sports Competition Video clip available TG-16 Hudson Sports Game 5

**---
Wrecking Crew Video clip available NES Nintendo Puzzle Game 2

****-
Xevious Video clip available NES Namco Shoot 'Em Up 1

**---
Yoshi / Mario & Yoshi Video clip available NES Nintendo Puzzle Game 2

***--
Yoshi's Story New release Video clip available N64 Nintendo Platform Game 1

***--
Zelda II: The Adventure of ... Video clip available NES Nintendo Action Adventure 1

***--
Showing records 1 to 161 of 161
Records on page:

Amazon Contextual Product Ads