Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 15.10.2004

Super Mario, the famous plumber that represents Nintendo and has done a fine job over the past twenty years of rescuing his damsel in distress, the Mushroom Kingdom's Princess Peach. He has had the lead role in some of the most sublime and innovative games on the market, one of which is Super Mario 64

Once a classic, always a classic, right? That is, after all, the way people like to think and just how many developers love us to believe as well, as they churn out the same formulaic bumf over and over again to an almost infinite degree. But wait just a second, this is Nintendo that is stating this now and relying on an old outing to launch its brand new, whizz-bang Dual Screen portable platform. Surely the family-orientated Kyoto Company would never leave us feeling short-changed and ultimately cheated? Right?!

Well, you must recall the Mario Advance series, where Super Mario Bros. 2, 3, Super Mario World and SMW2: Yoshi's Island were basically ported one-by-one to the Game Boy Advance with little or no extras included, despite there being Super Mario Allstars on the SNES, which even included Super Mario World when re-released later in the system's lifespan? So, forgive me if I remain mildly sceptical about a port, sorry, 'remake' of Super Mario 64 to the Nintendo DS...Although, Nintendo has promised all-new features that take advantage of all the portable's key functions

Screenshot for Super Mario 64 DS on Nintendo DS

So we are told how the game will retain all of the magic stored within the N64 launch game, greatly adding to it thanks to the new features included. But what exactly are these features? Well, this time round there is the option to play as one of four different characters for the first time since Super Mario Bros 2 on the NES. However, whereas that had Mario, Luigi, Toad and the Princess to choose from, here the latter two are unavailable due to the evil Bowser. Therefore, it is up to that loveable green dinosaur Yoshi and the unmistakable form of Wario to flesh out the roster.

Now, you might be wondering just why on Earth Wario is helping out in the proceedings. There is method to this Nintendo madness, however, as the storyline explains. Princess Peach has sent out a special invitation to four lucky people, wanting them to visit her and share some of her wonderful cake. Therefore, the blundersome trio of Mario, Luigi and Wario all set off on their way to the Royal Castle extremely eager to placate their sweet teeth on the undoubtedly delicious royal confectionery. Yet upon arriving they find nobody home. Meanwhile, atop the castle itself, Yoshi is just beginning to stir from his deep slumber only to find eerie silence all around. Hoping not to be too late, he rushes down and into the castle only to discover that someone has stolen all the Power Stars that normally reside within, kidnapped Peach and locked all of the Toads in the plentiful supply of paintings around the halls. Therefore, he sets off on a solo mission to uncover the fiend behind all the trouble, as well as locate the other three invitees.

Screenshot for Super Mario 64 DS on Nintendo DS

It is at this point that I can safely say the anticipation level for Super Mario 64 DS is rapidly rising, and that is before all the details have even been released! Once starting as Yoshi, you can wander around and access one of the three other characters initially by finding their respective portraits. Then you morph into either of the plumbers or the obese alter-ego of Mario, Sir Wario of Grotesqueness in one-player mode for a short while and adopt their abilities, despite still making the standard Yoshi noises and grunts. This opens up a gameplay angle far advanced of the one found in Super Mario Bros. 2 since each character has his own specific manoeuvres. Whilst all have multiple jumping moves that cover great horizontal and vertical distances, Yoshi can transform enemies into projectile eggs by swallowing them Wario can devastate blocks into mere rubble and dust, Luigi can launch himself incredibly high into the air and Mario has the ability to punch, kick, hop, skip, flip and even wall-jump to high, seemingly unreachable ledges!

Not only this, but find a Power Flower along the road to Bowser and even greater powers are granted

Screenshot for Super Mario 64 DS on Nintendo DS

So what about the graphical side? The Nintendo DS seems to be coping with N64-style graphics quite easily, although as many of the filtering options have been discarded to increase the power available to extend the adventure and handle the extra players participating things can look rather jagged when blown up for screenshots. However, this problem fades fast on the smaller resolution of the DS screens, so everything looks lovely. The controls also do not seem to be a major sticking point, with movement using the D-Pad and running available by holding the 'Y' button (harking back to the SNES Mario days...) just something that will take a little getting used to. Or you could simply use the special Nintendo thumb-pad on the touch-screen (yes, you did read that right!)...

Screenshot for Super Mario 64 DS on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

There we have it, going from zero to high anticipation after going through the various features Nintendo has been so kind as to alert us to now. The classic gameplay, plus heaps of extras included for the sake of preventing boredom from quickly setting-in with those that have played the N64 version, all appear to be taking Super Mario 64 DS in the right direction and helping it to be a far better launch prospect than Super Mario Advance was for the Game Boy Advance's release!






3D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (73 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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