Reviews// Super Mario 64 DS

Mmmm... New things...

Posted 4 Dec 2004 07:25 by
It’s an unusual one: this Super Mario 64 DS. There we were shredding up an exciting tower of packaging (in a regrettably destructive fervour), sweeping Xboxes off desktops, rummaging for thumb-straps and chargers and getting as over-excited as one ought to be about a brand new toy. And obviously the first question once we had it in our fists, blinking cheerily back up at us was, “right, where’s a game?”. There, amidst cardboard carcasses and official warnings about taking breaks from screen-staring, not hitting your DS with a hammer and not putting your battery anywhere close to the sun (and let's face it, 93,000,000 miles is not close), lay the game. Only marginally bigger than a special edition Christmas postage stamp, there it was, the (US version) Super Mario 64 DS cart.

The established precedent for launching any games console dictates that there should be at least one key first party title that makes you want to go out and buy the machine. The Nintendo 64 launch, for example, relied heavily on Super Mario 64 (along with Wave Race and Pilotwings). So it does seem a bit strange that eight years on, Super Mario 64, in a slightly altered, bulked-out form, is once again being used to launch a brand new piece of Nintendo hardware.

There’s clearly a variety of factors that have informed this decision. Firstly, there’s the somewhat cynical explanation that Nintendo chose Super Mario 64 because it would be reasonably quick to adapt to the DS and so would facilitate a rapid launch, thereby getting a head-start on the PSP. And with that in mind, there are grounds on which to be a bit disappointed by Super Mario 64 DS.

By rights, Super Mario 64 DS, as many people’s first game for the system, should be a new experience that encourages bonding between the console and its new parent. But because many gamers will already be well acquainted with Super Mario 64, that honeymoon period has been cruelly snatched away. The impact of trying out the DS version for the first time is clearly subdued by the fact that the initial Mario 64 wow-factor subsided some time ago.
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SPInGSPOnG 4 Dec 2004 08:54
Dudes, all the way through reading this review, I was thinking that you were assuming too much that every potential player of Mario DS had played Mario 64 on a N64.

Then on the last page, you alluded to the fact that this was not the case, and I thought everything was OK.

But then you went on to summarise with the same assumption at the forefront of your minds. But the fact is that the video games market is MUCH bigger now than it was six years ago (or whenever M64 came out).

Outside of hardcore gamers, the target audience for Mario games is kids who have now grown up, and been replaced by a whole new selection of kids who were babies and infants when the first game came out.

Plus you have a whole generation of grown up gamers for whom the N64 looked like a hideous plastic lump of crap made for kids, but for whom the DS will look like... damn.. a hideous plastic lump of crap made for kids.

WHY couldn't Nintendo have made the N64 look as good as the GBA-SP?
Jayenkai 5 Dec 2004 00:11
Other than the odd 5 minute emulator session I've never played Mario 64. Sad, pathetic, but true..
So, I don't care if it's the same game. Can't wait..
Beziercurve 10 Dec 2004 15:54
Having played the game I can agree with the lack of honeymoon - It's been a few years since I completed Mario 64, and I was looking forward to trying it out on the DS, but to be honest after a few moments it all came flooding back, and I'm not sure It'll hold my attention all the way to the end again.

Having said that though, it's still an acheivement for a handheld, and the mini games are a chuckle...
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