www.whyville.net Nov 16, 2008 Weekly Issue

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Power Stars!

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If giant green pipes, stars with faces, and strangely colored mushrooms sound normal to you; you're probably a Mario fan. If so, you're definitely not alone because I am one too. A while ago, my brother got Super Mario 64 DS for birthday present. He let me play. I haven't been able to put it down unless he told me to. Yeah, it really is that good.

Super Mario 64 DS is actually a re-release of Super Mario 64 (originally for the Nintendo 64). I actually do have a Nintendo 64 in my basement and have the original version of the game, so this game was already familiar from all the times I watched my brother play it. The difference is, instead of only playing as Mario, you also can play as Wario, the heavyweight powerhouse who is usually Mario's rival, Yoshi, the beloved green dinosaur (I'm sure you didn't expect to hear the words "beloved" and "dinosaur" in the same sentence, but he is kind of cute), and Luigi, Mario's often forgotten brother and sidekick. There are also better graphics and some extra mini-levels you can go to.

In the beginning, you start with Yoshi because the evil King Bowser has captured Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Peach and has stolen all the power stars from Peach's castle. You need to recover keys to free them and get some stars along the way. Once you have freed a character, you can use him at any time. Each character has different abilities and you need to work with all of them to recover the power stars hidden around Peach's castle.

The controls are pretty simple. You can use the D-pad (that little thing that looks like a plus sign) or the touch screen to move, the Y button to dash, the B button to jump, the A button to attack, the X button to toggle camera views, the R button to crouch, and the L button to center the camera behind you. The touch screen comes in handy when moving across a narrow space. But if you're any bit as hasty as me, you'll probably forget about that and just use the D-pad anyway.

There are also some mini-games you can unlock and then play whenever you want. I'm still missing a bunch of them, but the ones I have are really fun. They are relatively simple and make good use of the touch screen. I was actually kind of surprised to see that most of them are actually from New Super Mario Bros. (Yet another game in my brother's collection.)

The multiplayer is mediocre. It really is just trying to get power stars from mini-levels before your opponent does. It's not nearly as fun as the mini-games. I was pretty bummed that you couldn't do the mini-games multiplayer after you could in the New Super Mario Bros. As it turns out, that's what I dislike the most about this game.

Here are some things I liked about this game:

1. It's extremely fun. There's always something to do. There are 15 levels to explore, 150 stars to collect, and 36 mini-games to play, so I doubt you'll ever be bored with this game. It's also not to easy or hard, so it's not like you'll just breeze through everything, or be frustrated because you're stuck. (But let's not forget that that is by my standards.)

2. The graphics are really good for a DS game (and even better considering this game came out in 2004). Seriously, let's compare the DS version (left) with the N64 version (right) . . .

3. There's a lot of replay value in this game. As I mentioned before, there's a lot to do, which means there's absolutely a ton to do 2 or more times.

4. It sticks to the big and colorful levels in the N64 version. These are the worlds I know and love, and I haven't noticed any changes except those made to accommodate multiple characters. And to me, classic=good.

5. Speaking of multiple characters, I like that aspect too. I mean, let's face it, it would be boring to be Mario all the time.

Here's what I didn't like:

1. Although you can manually change the camera angles, you can't see through things like walls or trees. This makes it possible that you can't see what you're doing. I've actually lost lives because of this. And trust me, that's a really disappointing way to die.

2. The different character attributes are way to lopsided. Wario is an awful swimmer. I mean an old lady could swim faster than he could. And Luigi is obviously the best (if you can get used to his spazzy controls). He's the best swimmer and jumper, and is fast as well. So I don't even play as the other characters very often because Luigi is just so much better.

3. As I mentioned a while ago, the multiplayer isn't very good. I really don't find it very fun, and there's not a whole lot you can do. It seems like it was just added to say there's another feature.

In short, I did enjoy this game. I give this game . . .

4.5 stars out of 5 because it's extremely fun, has good graphics, has good replay value, stays true to the original version, and has multiple characters, but has bad camera angles at times, uneven character attributes, and mediocre multiplayer. If you are a Mario fan, you'll definitely want to give this game a try. Even if you aren't a Mario fan, you'll still probably enjoy Super Mario 64 DS because it's really just a great game.



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