Super Mario 64 DS
|Super Mario 64 DS|
North American box art depicting Wario, Mario, Yoshi, and Luigi.
|Developer(s)||Nintendo EAD Comprehensive Group|
Super Mario 64 DS (スーパーマリオ64DS Sūpā Mario Rokujūyon Dī Esu?) A.K.A. Super Mario 64 x 4 is produced by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld game console. The game was a launch title for the Nintendo DS, released in North America and Japan in 2004; it was later released in Europe and Australia in 2005.
Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development, who produced the original version of the game, first displayed the game as multiplayer demonstration at the 2004 E3 titled Super Mario 64 ×4. In addition to revised graphics, the remake includes new characters, a multiplayer mode, and several minigames independent of the main adventure. As with the original title, the plot of Super Mario 64 DS centers on rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser, with slight changes to accommodate the additional characters. Yoshi is the initial protagonist in this version, with Mario, Luigi, and Wario as unlockable characters.
Overall, the game was critically and commercially successful. It won video game awards, and received positive comments from the gaming press, that focused on elements of the single-player mode. The multiplayer mode and lack of analog controls used in Super Mario 64 were common complaints among reviewers. The game sold well in territories, was ranked on best-selling lists, and, as of March 31, 2014, has sold 11.03 million copies worldwide.
The game begins with a letter from Princess Peach inviting Mario to come to her castle for a cake she has baked for him. Mario travels to her castle, and is followed by his brother Luigi and greedy counterpart Wario. After entering the castle, the three disappear, and Lakitu, the game's camera operator, finds Yoshi to inform him of the disappearance. Yoshi begins to explore the castle and its courses to find his friends.
Scattered throughout the castle are paintings and secret walls, which act as portals to other worlds where Bowser's minions guard Power Stars. By recovering the stars and defeating bosses, Yoshi acquires keys to other areas of the castle and rooms holding his friends captive.
He first defeats Goomboss to free Mario who assists him as the two continue searching the castle and collecting Power Stars. Mario then defeats King Boo to free Luigi who uses his invisibility power to get to Wario's key by defeating Chief Chilly. During the course of the adventure, they tackle three obstacle courses leading to a battle with Bowser. Defeating him the first two times earns them a key that opens other levels of the castle.
After collecting enough stars, Mario accesses the top room of the castle to defeat Bowser. Once he is defeated, Peach is freed and appears in front of the castle. To thank the four protagonists, she kisses Mario and bakes them the cake that she had originally promised. The game finishes with Mario, Peach, Luigi, Yoshi and Wario standing at the front of the castle waving goodbye to the player as Lakitu films and then flies away.
Super Mario 64 DS is a 3D platformer in which the player controls four different characters through numerous levels to collect 150 Power Stars. Each level is an enclosed world in which the player is free to wander in all directions and discover the environment without time limits. The worlds are inhabited with enemies that attack the characters as well as friendly creatures that provide assistance, offer information, or ask for help. The player gathers stars in each course; some stars only appear after completing certain tasks, often hinted at by the name of the course. These challenges include defeating a boss, solving puzzles, racing an opponent, and gathering coins. As the player collects stars, more areas of the castle become accessible.
Power-ups in Super Mario 64 DS take the form of special hats resembling those worn by Mario, Luigi, and Wario (voiced by Charles Martinet), and are available in some levels. Acquiring one such hat will change the player's character into the corresponding character. The hats fall off if the character is hit, but can be reacquired. Yoshi is able to start a level wearing the hat of any of the available characters. Another power-up item, the "Power Flower", provides each character with a different ability: Mario is able to float, similar to Super Mario World's balloon item; Luigi becomes invisible and transparent, similar to the invisible hat in the Nintendo 64 version; Wario becomes coated by metal, which makes him temporarily invincible to enemy attacks and sink underwater, similar to the metal hat in the original version; and Yoshi is able to breathe fire. Each ability is necessary to complete specific areas in the game. Other items include the "Super Mushroom", which increases the character's size and strength, and the feather, that only Mario can get, and which allows the character to fly in the same fashion as in Super Mario 64.
The game uses both of the system's screens to offer new options. The top screen displays the normal gameplay, while the bottom touchscreen can function as an overhead map and touch controls. The overhead map displays the current course the player traverses and displays item locations. The touch controls include virtual buttons, which rotate the top screen's camera angle, and directional character controls, which can operate with either the DS stylus or the player's thumb using the DS wrist strap. In addition to the single-player adventure, the game includes 36 minigames and a multiplayer mode. Minigames are made accessible by catching rabbits in the main game. Each minigame use the touchscreen to play, and are based on different themes: racing, card games, puzzles, and so forth. The multiplayer mode uses the wireless Download Play option to allow two to four players compete against each other using Yoshi (voiced by Kazumi Totaka)—character hats appear in the stage allowing players to transform into either Mario, Luigi, or Wario.
Super Mario 64 DS was developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS. It is a remake of the Nintendo 64 launch title Super Mario 64, with the game's 3D engine mirroring many visual effects used in the original game. Graphical changes include a higher polygon count for character models and the lack of texture filtering. Originally titled "Super Mario 64 ×4", it was first shown as a multiplayer demonstration at the 2004 E3 before the Nintendo DS was released. A few months later, Nintendo announced an actual game—along with many others—was in development. At the Nintendo DS conference on October 7, 2004, the game was on demonstration again and new information was revealed; the name was changed to Super Mario 64 DS and four different characters (Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Wario) would be used in the main, single-player adventure. The demonstration was a more complete version of the game than the E3 version—the game's development was 90% complete at this time—and highlighted the multiple characters in the single-player mode and included minigames; the multiplayer mode, however, was not present. Prior to the conference, the appearance of the box art on GameStop's product page caused speculation the game would be a launch title. Nintendo confirmed the rumor by announcing at the conference that the game would be a launch title of the Nintendo DS in North America and Japan. As the game's release approached, the release schedule of launch titles altered; many titles were delayed, while others were announced to be released a few days before the Nintendo DS. Super Mario 64 DS was the only game scheduled to be released with the system. Koji Kondo provided the music for the game, while the voice actors from Super Mario 64 returned as well and this time, Kazumi Totaka joined the cast, playing the role of Yoshi.
Super Mario 64 DS has been commercially successful. Following its release in Japan, the game sold 241,000 copies by December 19, 2004, and was the fifth best-selling title on the weekly sales chart of that week. Sales continued to increase, and Super Mario 64 DS had sold 639,000 units by February 20, 2005. The game frequently appeared on Amazon.com's sales charts. In the first week of June 2006, it was listed as the sixth best-selling Nintendo DS title, and had risen to number three by the last week of the month. The game appeared again near the end of July 2006 as the eighth best-selling title. At the beginning of 2008, Amazon.com charts listed the game as the seventh best-selling Nintendo DS title in the United States. By November 2006, the game had sold over one million units in Europe, and, by the end 2007, over two million copies in the United States. As of March 31, 2014, Super Mario 64 DS has sold 11.03 million copies worldwide.
The game has won awards and met with overall positive reviews from video game journalists. Upon its release, IGN labeled it as an "Editor's Choice" and awarded it "Game of the Month" for the Nintendo DS, citing the game as a "great achievement" of the system's capability. In 2005, the game won a Golden Joystick Award for best handheld game of year. Prior to the game's release, Craig Harris of IGN reviewed the early demonstration. He commented on the accurate recreation of the original graphics, and stated that the small Nintendo DS screen helps hide any visual flaws. Harris criticized the game's controls calling them a little "sluggish" and "clumsy". Though he praised the graphics and new gameplay additions, Harris expressed disappointment that the Mario launch title for the new system was a remake instead of a full game. IGN's Anoop Gantayat anticipated the game would be a big hit among American video game enthusiasts. In Japan, Famitsu ranked Super Mario 64 DS the 29th most wanted title.
Reviewers praised the game's accurate recreation of the Nintendo 64 title, additional features, and upgrades. Phil Theobald of GameSpy lauded Super Mario 64 DS, calling it "fantastic" and complimenting the new features: minigames, use of a second screen, and extra stars. He also commented that the gameplay of the original game holds up ten years after its original release. Harris said the original feel of Super Mario 64 is retained, while the new challenges and features build upon it in a way that added to the game's longevity. He complimented the graphics and audio, and considered the game a good demonstration of the Nintendo DS's capabilities. Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot also complimented the graphics, specifically the higher polygon count and smooth frame rate. He called Super Mario 64 DS a "great update of a classic game", and felt the changes and additional features offered a new experience to fans of the original. In contrast, 1UP.com's Jeremy Parish felt the game did not offer enough new content to warrant a purchase. He praised the inclusion of extra characters, calling them a "nice twist", but concluded his review by calling the game a "poorly-conceived port" that should be played on the original system.
Other criticism focused on the game's controls and multiplayer mode. Theobald felt the lack of an analog stick made the controls more difficult than the original game and required a short period of adjustment. He further stated that the digital pad and touchscreen's virtual analog control were "tricky" and required practice. Harris echoed similar comments and noted the touchscreen does not provide physical feedback like an analog stick. He added the game was never intended to be played without proper analog controls. Gerstmann referred to the multiplayer mode as "uneventful" and considered it lacking longevity, but commented that it was a good extra that demonstrated the system's wireless multiplayer capabilities. Theobald agreed it was a nice addition, but considered it a "diversion" that players would tire of quickly.
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