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Children's Video Game Review:    Super Mario 64 (for Nintendo DS)

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Video Game Review: Super Mario 64 DS

For Nintendo DS

By Nintendo

Released: 2004

Reviewed: December 2004

Our Recommended Age: 9-up

Our Rating: A-




Buy: Super Mario 64
















Review: In 1996, Super Mario was released for the Nintendo 64 and was a huge hit, showing off the new (at the time) console. This year, Super Mario 64 DS was released along with the impressive handheld, the Nintendo DS, and features a similar, but expanded game, showcasing a totally new platform. Super Mario 64 for the DS contains essentially the same story line and gameplay as the N64 version, but features improved graphics, new characters, more areas to explore, more stars to collect, and new mini-games. 


As with the N64 version, the game opens with Peach inviting Mario to the castle. However, the story jumps to Yoshi instead of continuing from Mario's perspective. Yoshi needs to go to the castle to find Mario, Wario, and Luigi, who have been inside long enough to raise eyebrows. Yoshi arrives at the castle only to be informed of Bowser's evil doings. Bowser has locked the castle's inhabitants (including Mario et al) in the building's walls and paintings, stolen their Power Stars, and is using the stars' magic to create an evil land of monsters.


Once Yoshi finds Mario, Wario, and Luigi, players can control any of the characters, using each character's unique abilities. The four playable main characters move similarly, but each character's special move truly sets them apart. It's up to kids to figure out which character to use for collecting different sets of stars. Kids change characters by collecting appropriate hats.


Those kids old enough to be able to compare the N64 version and the DS version of Super Mario will notice that there are obvious differences in gameplay controls due to the fact that an analog stick was used with the N64. Most notable is the fact that with this DS version, running involves holding down the "Y" button on the right hand side of the unit, while "steering" with the directional pad on the left. Players easily get tired of this maneuver. There is another setting, Touch Mode, that offers an alternative control model which incorporates the touch screen, but this is not entirely intuitive. Kids will need a bit of time to get comfortable with the controls whether they play the game in default or Touch mode.


As kids play the game, an overhead map of the current area appears on the lower screen, and this map comes in handy when trying to locate stars.



Super Mario 64 DS offers multiplayer gameplay using the DS system's wireless technology. Only one game cartridge is required to accommodate up to 4 players. The multiplayer mode involves players vying for stars—a fun, although rather simplistic, undertaking.


There are 36 mini-games altogether, many of which have to be unlocked, and these games all feature touch screen controls. Three "save game" slots are available.


Control issues aside, this game is an all-around pleasurable experience. The graphics and sound are impressive, and Super Mario 64 DS effectively showcases many of the DS's innovative features.


For more information, user reviews, or to buy the game, follow this link:

Super Mario 64

Our Rating:




[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Super Mario 64]




Reviewed December 2004


















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