Saturday, July 1, 2017

After the Fact - Super Mario 64 DS (DS, 2004)

Super Mario 64 is undoubtedly my all time favorite video game, and for many good reasons. The replayability when completing the entirely, the good challenge within every level, and most of all, flawless gameplay and replay value. With the DS remake nearly three years later however, there have been few ups and downs that make it a little too flawed, but nevertheless, it's fantastic port of the original 1996 N64 classic, even if any newer features aren't entirely necessary. But as with my previous comparison between both imports of Mario Kart 8, let's now compare the remake to the original.  

I've always loved the other characters the game allows you to play as on their own; Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario. And while they aren't perfect as characters in both controls and power ups, they're so much fun to play as. There's no change in Mario other than his recycled Balloon power up from Super Mario World as his only power up he can use on his own, so I've got nothing to say about him, so what about the other three playable characters?

With Yoshi, he recycles most of his potential moves from other entries in the game where he was playable; his egg laying after swallowing certain enemies (albeit others like Bom-ombs where he can only bomb things after spitting them back out), his ability to breath fire for a short time after nabbing a power up flower, and most of all, his flutter jump that allows him to hover in the air for a short time. While he may not be able to grab things with his own arms rather than only his tongue, he's still a welcome edition to the game despite seeming a little strange that you start the game off playing as him rather than Mario.

Mario's younger twin brother Luigi also has a jump similar to Yoshi's, only instead of fluttering above the ground, all it really does is make his falls look a little spazzy and that really doesn't add anything to him. His faster speed than his brother on the other hand does at least make up for that, and that you can walk on water for a brief few seconds when you come into contact with it instead of necessarily jumping into or on it. His jump is obviously higher than his brother's, but other than all that, there's really nothing more I can say about him other than he's also fun to play throughout various levels.

And last but not least, as the strongest, if slowest, character in game, we have Mario's frienemy evil twin known as Wario. Now he's the character who can smash and break the strongest blocks that the rest of the characters can't break. As Yoshi gets fire breathing, and Mario gets balloon floating, as Luigi also does with going invisible to enemies (and able to walk through certain walls), Wario gets the Metal Cap power up when coming into contact with a flower power up. It's still a little strange that Mario doesn't get to use those previous power ups that he got to back in the original game, but at least these newer playable characters got a shot at what they might be like. But getting back to Wario, while he isn't the most useful, or my all time favorite character of the franchise, he still acts as a good character for the player to play as in the game.

So to conclude this section, while Mario may still be able to use his Wing Cap as he got to in the original N64 outing (not to mention the balloon floating as I said), it's a little sad that he doesn't get to use the rest of the power ups, but then again, that wouldn't make the other characters interesting to play as if we weren't require to use them to get specific power stars throughout the game. It is pretty cool that you get to use them in disguise though if you collect their caps though when you eventually unlock them (when your playing as one different character or the other), albeit Yoshi since he can use all three different caps unlike the rest of the characters. It may have been fun just to use Mario throughout the original game, but since we get to play as three others here, there's a good reason for one to buy this game (either on their own NintendoDS or 3DS, or on virtual console for the Wii U).

Speaking of collecting specific power stars throughout the game, there is more than enough to add up to 150 total. While some missions haven't specifically changed in terms of the required tasks to get the stars, there are some cases where you need play as a certain character (like Luigi or Wario) instead of the others in order to collect them in some of the recycled missions from the N64 game. I mean there are new ones like more secret areas, the silver stars throughout all fifteen main levels, and even those levels with the bosses the player must defeat in order to unlock the mustachios in the game, but while some feel a little gimmicky and not to fascinating, it still adds to 64 DS's good reception.

Now this is the biggest gimmick that I don't find very good or useful other than when you're playing the minigames at best. When you control the characters by touching the screen instead of simply using the D-Pad and usual four buttons, then it doesn't feel or seem useful at all. It really makes me ask just why Nintendo would come up with this and as result, I find myself playing it the usual way with the buttons instead of the touch screen equally as much as I'd rather use the C-Stick to control Super Mario Sunshine's sometimes irritating camera in certain levels than the L-Trigger. So basically all you can do is move around when touching your favorite characters on the touch screen, and you'd really rather use it when playing all the minigames rather than the actual adventure game itself. In fact, speaking of the game's minigames...

There are lots of minigames to play and unlock in the game, that they're all so much fun to play. There's just far too much to discuss about them all here, so I'm really just going to explain how it's all said and done at just how you can collect them all together for each character. It all begins at the very start when Yoshi is required to find the key to unlock Peach's locked castle at the beginning for reasons beyond us, but Yoshi is required to catch a bunny in the castle yard to get the key to get in the castle. And after only THAT bunny, then that's when there's more spread out throughout the castle. To give a clear hint on how you can tell which ones are for which characters to catch to collect more keys to the minigames, Yoshi's bunnies are yellow, Mario's are (strangely) pink (and not really red like his normal color), Luigi's are green like himself, and Wario's are orange.

Ranging from the outside and the inside of the castle in numerous rooms on the three different levels, you'll have to really spread out throughout the whole place to find all the character's bunnies with only a few for each character. It doesn't feel to tedious, and is actually a little fun, but let's face it; what's more fun? The minigames? Or the main adventure itself? (If you say the main adventure, I think you have a truly smart brain, but if you don't, you're kinda weird)

To give a final opinion here, Super Mario 64 DS isn't quite up there with the original Nintendo 64 game, but I will say it's worth playing though to experience what it'd be like to platform in a three-dimensional world as Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario also. Mario still hasn't changed in his status throughout the game, so it's highly likely that he'd ultimately come out on top as the most useful, but with more great power stars to collect (thirty to give you a specific recap), the same good power ups, and some fun- if unnecessary, side quest minigames, it's one you have to give a shot if you haven't already.

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