Tag Archives: N64

Super Mario 64: Retro review

Photo from Creative Commons.

Super Mario 64 is a classic, timeless game. The time has come for this classic game to be reviewed once more. Mario 64 follows the story of the hero, Mario, as he searches for Princess Peach, attempting to save her from the grasp of Bowser. Mario is forced to jump from portal to portal, setting the various worlds right. Once the worlds are set right, more portals open for Mario as he advances forth to save the princess and receive a reward.

Game Play

Mario 64 is a combination of platformer and RPG. Players jump from place to place, solving puzzles and battling various enemies, making their way from world to world trying to obtain stars that will help them set things right. Players jump on and crush enemies, pick up and throw bombs and all the other various activities the world has associated with Mario.

Mario makes full use of its 3-D platform, setting up what was once a revolutionary camera system that would swivel and move as the user needed. This allows players to get a full in-depth feel for their world,as well as experience cut-scenes in ways that had not previously been imagined. It was a step in the right direction. The diversity of environments spread throughout the various worlds gives players a chance to enjoy the 3-D experience. It allowed for a wider range of puzzles that made players think in new ways and change their perceptions of how a game can work.

At the time, not only was the addition of 3-D graphics an amazing innovation, it also sported what would have been considered some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in any game of its time. It showed users they should expect more from a game than just a frustrating challenge that devoured hours of non-stop time. They could expect stunning, frustrating drains on time that made the game a little more worthwhile in the long run.

The Good

The game is always a challenge that works well to draw players in and the story is a timeless classic that almost anyone can get behind. The controls for the game are a rather quick study and, after a while, feel intuitive and simple to use, allowing for a much more sleek and fun game play. The diversity in environments keeps the game from getting stale, and each environment presents its own fun and unique challenges.

The Bad

The graphics are a bit dated to say the least. The once amazing 3-D graphics are now sub-par, along with the scenery, which used to demand as much attention as the game itself. The lack of voice acting is frustrating, as characters make noises you assume are supposed to be words, forcing you to read the script beneath. While the controls are intuitive, they still feel clunky and often don’t respond as quickly as users would like.

Final Thoughts

Mario 64 is one of those few games which has managed to age gracefully. Even with a released Wii version of the game, the original still shines. Though it has aged gracefully, its age is showing in the less than stunning graphics that were a true innovation for their time and the simplistic storyline meant to keep the average 8 year-old hooked long enough so they would be too wrapped up in the game to realize that if Princess Peach invested in some better guards, maybe she would be kidnapped less often.

Whim rating: 4.5/5

Retro gaming corner: Partying with Mario Party

Photo from Creative Commons

Mario Party is a game that managed to survive the decades fighting on through the changes in the market. It’s about time the original 1998 game was looked over and was held to today’s standards.

Game Play:

Game play is fairly straightforward. It is more or less like a board game. You pick your character and map, and then you move to the beginning square. Each player rolls to see who gets to go first. From there, players roll to see how many spaces they can move. Some spaces are traps that take away coins, while others trigger events or mini games. At the end of each round, a four person mini game is triggered. In this mini game, players compete to win coins. In some cases, the mini game takes coins from the players who lose and gives them to their opponent. As you move around the map, coins become important. They allow you to buy stars, a key for winning. The person with the most stars wins.

The four-player mini games can get rather intense as people battle to gain and/or keep their coins, desperate to save enough to buy a star. A lot more strategy is used in these mini game battles than one would think. You are sometimes better off not running head-first into whatever mini game, but taking your time and waiting for the other players to mess up.

Bonus stars add a complex element to the game. The game records how many coins you earn throughout the match and tallies them up. The person with the most total coins wins the coin star. There is also a mini game star for the person who gets the most coins from mini games, and a happening star for the person who triggered the most events. This bonus star component makes it harder to predict who will win.

The Good:

It is perhaps one of the funnest and most intense four-person games out there. You become so immersed within your character that it becomes hard not to scream at the top of your lungs when something bad happens to them. The mini games are fun and quick, leaving no doubt as to who the winner is in the end.

The Bad:

Since this review is based on current-day standards, the graphics are horrible and come out stretched and pixelated on most TVs. You can adjust it on most TVs, but not enough to make that much of a difference. Every time you fail to have enough money to buy a star, Toad makes the single most annoying sound in the world. By the end of the game, Toad and his family are in risk of being destroyed just because he can’t stop making that whining noise. The game’s music is horrible and cheesy, hardly comparing to today’s games. Controls with the Nintendo 64 are clunky and painful for the games that use the joystick portion.

Final Thoughts:

Even with all of its flaws, compared to current games, it is still among the most amusing and challenging games to play, though all of that depends on who you play with. It might not have the flair or the style of modern games, but there is just something about that nostalgic feel of watching 64-bit characters beating the crap out of each. Other than that it is just, well, amazing.

Whim Rating: 4.5/5