Super Mario 64

Super Marios 4 through 63 went unreleased.


  • Review Date: July 4, 2021
  • Release Date: September 29, 1996
  • Platform: Nintendo 64
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Genre: Nonlinear Platformer

Anecdotes: Super Mario finally picks up the third dimension in its platformers. This was a game my little cousins all enjoyed, but I never had it and never played it. I did occasionally watch them play, but honestly, I had no idea what was going on. Anyway, upgrading a platformer to 3D was a novel idea at the time. The third dimension adds to the gameplay, but it was rough around the edges still and it shows in this game.

By the way, for anyone confused about the tags, the Mario tag is for games that feature the character. The Super Mario tag is for games that are part of the Super Mario franchise and have Super Mario in the title.

Description: The game starts with a note from Princess Toadstool. It was at this point where Nintendo decided that Toadstool was going to be renamed Peach to match her name in the Japanese releases. It was going to take some getting used to; she was called Toadstool for 11 years here. Toadstool lives in a castle, where she decides to reward Mario for rescuing her 33,076 times by baking for him. Mario gets inside, only to find out she’s been captured a 33,077th time.

Couldn’t Toadstool have just used the phone to invite Mario over?


  • In many major titles like this, where they advance to a new platform, the developers try to do too much. That’s not a problem here. The game is kept simple. Advancement is done by collecting stars. Stars allow access to more areas of the game.
  • Other than some controls, there is very little guesswork. Toad tells Mario where to go to start and to jump into the painting. The first boss challenges Mario in a way that tells Mario how to defeat it. Arrow signs help guide Mario. The stars on the doors, with one exception, clearly label how many stars are needed to enter.


  • What’s with the boss battles? The first two battles both involve fighting the controls and the arenas more than the actual bosses. The first was a giant bomb that I’m supposed to pick up and throw. The game, though, never mentions that Mario can’t pick it up if he’s still running. He has to stop. The second is a cement block that can only be defeated using the Ground Pound. Where does it say how to do that? It’s in a courtyard out the back, but what are the chances of Mario actually going there? Then, both battles use the “Moldorm Method,” where falling out of the boss arena is worse than just getting hit. Falling is punishment enough, but when Mario gets back to the top, the battle is reset, meaning he has to sit through the talking again AND it erases any hits scored. Ugh.
  • Those battles are made even worse because Lakitu has no idea what he’s doing. The camera angles don’t help, as they’re constantly moving around and rarely at a good angle. I can’t see where to jump when riding a platform. I couldn’t see Mario at times while battling Whomp. Using the C buttons didn’t really help, either.
  • My third and fourth stars came from doing some stupid slide races with ear piercingly bad music. It was bad enough that I had to whip out the remote control and hit the mute button. Worse yet, I couldn’t find a way to skip them because I needed the third star to open the door to two even more annoying courses full of water and ice.


Lakitu does the camerawork for…uh…someone. Whoever that is should have fired him. He’s terrible at it.
3D Chain Chomps!!
I’m being chased by a giant bomb, yet I never saw it explode.
The piranha is taking a nap.
Princess Toadstool must really like herself. Her image is on the wall 3 times.
What basura. Mario just slides down Ice Mountain.
And then Mario goes for a swim.
Here’s a random fishtank Mario is looking at.

My Progress: Beat Whomp for the second star, then found two more for slide races

Final Opinion: Playable? Yes. Fun? No.

Grade: C

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