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Super Mario 64 DS

Mark Bemenderfer | Thursday, January 13, 2005

With all of the Nintendo consoles available, it remains true that the essential games are the ones made by Nintendo itself. This is once again true with the launch of the Nintendo DS. Of all the launch titles, “Super Mario 64 DS” is by far the best.It should be immediately noted that this is not a new game. As the title suggests, this is a port of the Nintendo 64 title of similar name, updated for a new generation. Fans of the Nintendo 64 version should find enough new action to satisfy them as much as new players.For starters, there are four playable characters this time. The ensemble cast includes the essential Mario, the budding star Luigi, the ever-loveable Yoshi and the dastardly Wario. The group is well rounded, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Each has their uses, but some characters find more playing time than others. Yoshi is the character that players start the game out as. Like previous games, the Princess has once again been kidnapped and this time it is up to Yoshi to rescue her. Everything is left up to Yoshi as Mario and Luigi have disappeared as well, leaving the task squarely on Yoshi’s green shoulders. Yoshi has some of the abilities showcased in previous games, such as his flutter kick and famous tongue. He’s one of the best jumpers, but suffers in the speed and power categories. Mario is the same as he was in the previous version. Moderately fast, mediocre jump, average power; Mario is the most well rounded character. He lost some of his abilities to the other characters to make the game more balanced, but has had some new ones added as well. Overall, he’ll be one of the more frequently used characters.Luigi is the character that most people will stick with once he is unlocked. He has the best jump, medium speed, but rather weak power. However, he will be used the most due to his character specific moves. Luigi can run on water, float-like a helicopter and has a flutter kick much like Yoshi’s. For people that have played through the original, using Luigi would make the game appear significantly easier than it originally was.Wario in particular seems like he could have used a little more fine-tuning, as of the four, he is easily the weakest. He fills the role of the slow strong guy, which while useful in some video games, doesn’t really have a place in a platform like Super Mario 64. He does have certain times in the game in which using him is required, but few will use him otherwise. This is unfortunate, as he is also the most difficult character to unlock, and a fan favorite.Control-wise, the game is a little more difficult than the original. Since the DS lacks an analog joystick like the Nintendo 64 had, control is limited to either the directional pad or the touch screen. Of the two, the directional pad is the preferred method as the use of the touch screen can block the view of important screen information in some instances. Also, it feels a little awkward, and many will find it to not be the desired method of play throughout the game.The storyline and basic gameplay have not changed much from the original, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The original is still one of the best platformers ever created and now it has received a facelift and become portable – not necessarily a bad combination.