Preview: It's a Mario game on a new Nintendo system. What are the odds?
Mario is possibly the most recognized name in video games today. His name has rung throughout the heads, eyes, and fingertips of kids, teens, adults, and the elderly alike starting from what was known at the time of 1985's NES video game rebirth, to today, tomorrow, and the day after that even. Mario has survived all these years as a plumber in red overalls and cap. He's become Nintendo's, "go to," game for the best in platforming escapades. Since his introduction as Jumpman in 1981's legendary Donkey Kong title, the Mario games have filled generations with many genre varieties (racing, sports, RPGs, and even pinball). But to most it seems, his greatest exploits remain in setting the standards for platform heights. In tribute to their main man Mario, Nintendo's desire this holiday season is to allow for players to relive one of gaming's all-time best outings with the mustached, potbellied hero in red -- by complimenting the company's upcoming DualScreen system with a remake of the Nintendo 64's: "Best. Platform Game. Ever." Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on the new look of an old face, Super Mario 64 DS!
How many times must Mario rescue Princess Toadstool before the routine gets old? I don't know, but Nintendo's subtle changes in the same basic formula have remained in a constantly likable place that hasn't led gamers to turn their heads away yet. However, Mario isn't after the princess this time. Mario isn't even the lead character. Not in the traditional sense you might be aware of, anyhow. Switching the reigns of power over to Yoshi, Mario's favorite green dinosaur pal, Mario 64 DS's story starts out as Mario, Luigi, and Wario are all invited by the Princess to her castle for a royal party. Little did these three heroes know that what's in store for them are a blank castle and their own disappearance from it. Bowser has swiped the castle's 150 Power Stars and imprisoned the Toads inside its paintings. Waking from a slumber, Yoshi soon discovers the trickery that has occurred here and must search the castle to become Mario, Luigi, and Wario and save the day for all.
Maybe you're thinking that you didn't hear me correctly just before, but I'll say it again: Yoshi can transform into Mario, Luigi, and Wario. Like and unlike in the original Super Mario 64 release, the object will be to traverse the castle walls and leap into its paintings strewn throughout the inner workings. Stepping into a painting now as Yoshi, players will be able to not just play as Yoshi, but also as the other three leads once their hat item is found. Locating and putting on Mario's cap replicates Yoshi as the fat Italian hero, and will also give to Yoshi unique abilities. Each of four playable personas in the game will have their own manner of completing tasks throughout the levels. Yoshi by himself will hover in midair, suck in opponents, and will be able to toss eggs at foes. Mario will blow up like a balloon as well as karate his way up walls. Luigi possesses the ability to jump higher than the rest of the crew. Lastly, Wario gets the power to destroy certain blocks standing in his way. Each attribute will be especially important in solving the new challenges that'll await players within -- with one such objective placed in a woodsy area, where trees and their flimsy platforms will hang above a pit of poisonous gasses below.
Besides the single player adventure mode, players will awe at a vast array of features that look to add much more filling to the already enhanced handheld iteration of Super Mario 64. Wireless multiplayer will play into the game's versus mode nicely as, with one game cartridge and up to three other friends, players can take the new Super Mario 64 to a battle arena state. Here, the idea will be to be the first one to reach a star located somewhere on one of several maps available (like a giant field outside the Princess' castle). Choosing Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Wario, players will have to utilize the DS's top screen as the map, while the bottom portion will act as their gameplay ticket to beat the others and be the one to gather the most stars in an arena-style collection mode. Another portion of Super Mario 64 DS will take place in a recreation room spot, where 36 mini-games will allow for anyone to keep busy for quite some time.
Players will have access to specific sets of mini-games pertaining individually to Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Wario. Mario's mini-games will revolve around action-oriented feats, like one wherein Mario must lead different head types to land on top of their matching torso. Luigi's rounds will consist of a casino affair, where such events as a slot machine and a picture poker ilk will formulate. Yoshi's pile sits on a lighthearted puzzle path as Yoshi's parts will leave players matching up quickly rotating face pieces, surpassing memory games, and the like. Last but not least, Wario's share of mini-game collaborations will come in the form of mischievous deeds to earn money while destroying stuff, such as in one game where Wario must launch lakitus via a slingshot weapon toward moving targets in the sky. With 36 format varieties of mini-game fun in all, it appears that boredom won't be an option for any gamer intent on journeying into Super Mario 64 DS a lot more than once.
Sharper, smoother, sleeker: Nintendo is seeking to graphically upgrade the Super Mario 64 DS package over the eight-year-old Super Mario 64. In a similar style, the 64-bit classic will still look the same on some fronts in some familiar sections of the first game. However, with newer properties, and most which will have been improved by the DS's superior technology will now smother the DS version with a brighter and more colorful Mario adventure than the one before it.