Mario is back to save Princess Peach again in Super Mario 64. Bowser has taken the power stars and hid them all throughout the Princess\' castle, and you, Mario, must collect the needed stars and defeat Bowser to rescue her. There are 15 normal levels to explore, as well as a few secret ones. There are 120 stars in all, though only around 70 are needed to defeat Bowser once and for all.
How does it play?
You have a three dimensional, third person view of the world around Mario and you run, jump, and punch, kick, and eventually fly your way around to complete your objectives. You have many moves to choose from, including: Walk/Run from very slow to fast Single, Double, and Triple Jumps Backflip Side Jump (when going in one direction, reverse and jump) Long Jump (goes very far - get good at this one to make your life easier) Dive Jump/Stomp (while in the air, slam down hard on what\'s below you) Cling to ledges Pick up, throw, and kick certain objects Punch, Kick, Jump Kick Punches and kicks can be used to bop many enemies in this game, as well as the traditional Mario \'jump on enemies\' method. You can also unlock certain caps which can allow you to fly, become metal (invincible and can walk under water), and become particles which allows you to walk through certain kinds of objects. You can also swim, and in a few special locations, \'ride the wind\' for some scary flights or be shot out of a cannon to reach really high locations. The controls are really excellent, and you couldn\'t have asked for better. The analog controls were truly revolutionary back in 1996, and still work really well. The camera can occasionally view you from a terrible angle, and sometimes you have to do quite a bit of manual camera magic to get a decent view at all. But over all, they work really well and take good and intuitive advantage of the excellent Nintendo 64 controller.
How are the graphics?
The graphics in this game fit the bill quite well and in typical Mario style. They are clean, have a somewhat plain style to them when you look closely, but somehow have just enough detail to make them look great. The graphics are simple, and yet surprisingly good and clean all around. The motion is perfectly fluid as well. Though certainly not cutting edge by current standards, and you can tell that most of the models are pretty low polygon, it somehow works really well. No fair complaints here, expecially considering the game\'s age.
What about the sound and music?
I find that the music seems to fit the tune of the game quite well, and is always appropriate for the occasion. Boss music is forboding and familiar, while each level\'s music is appropriate for the locale and does a great job setting the mood. What more could you ask for? The sound effects are quite appropriate, and silly in that Mario style. There are Mario\'s trademark voices which were really perfected first in this game. When you jump, you hear a \'ooh\', \'aah\', and the \'eeh hee!\' when you triple jump. And when you catch on fire you scream \'OohaahoohWow!\' and other silly and apropriate sound effects. Overall I enjoyed them, and they always somehow seem to fix for the occasion.
How appropriate is this game for Christians?
Well, there is really very little to complain about. The violence is really only of the silly slapstick variety, which mostly involves jumping on monster\'s heads, or punching and kicking them if you prefer. There is also a typical (for Mario games) \'ghost\' level where the mood in kind of spooky, with floating chairs, books, and other proofs of a \'haunted\' house. It is mostly in the halloween-esque silly campfire stories kind of environment. You can also \'kill\' ghosts by punching them in their back. Mostly harmless, but worth pointing out.
Overall & Conclusion
I really enjoyed this game thoroughly. I enjoyed it enough to completely conquer the game - I got all 120 starts available. It is a classic game that really sold more Nintendo 64s than almost any other no doubt. It has held up well in the test of time, and well enough for Nintendo to re-release it on the Nintendo DS (with many enhancements). If you happen to have a Nintendo 64 and never got this game, I highly recommend picking it up used and playing it. It\'s really worth it! If not, consider the Nintendo DS version, though I cannot recommend it yet as we have not yet had the chance to review the new content.