The only reason the graphics didn't get a ten was the confusing camera controls. Just look at 'em folks. Yeah, I know, they look kind of drabby compared to the latest, but three years ago, they knew no equal. When I first saw them in the store, I was blown away. Bowser was very well done. The introductory camera pan around Peach's castle was so awesome. When it ended with a pipe popping out of the ground and Mario's grand entrance, I was stunned.
Once in a while, you come upon a game that you can play without the instructions and not feel like you're missing anything. This is one of those games. Near the very beginning, a sign introduced the basic controls, and that was gradually built upon throughout the game. It's very clever how all the moves-- and there are a lot, more on that later-- are built upon the jump (A), attack (B), and crouch (Z) buttons, along with the control stick.
Sunshine and CVagts both dismissed this as ho-hum. I beg to differ. The title screen has the classic Mario Brothers theme, and the file select has a dreamy tune. The castle has a great theme that captures the essence of the game. The aquatic theme is so peaceful and graceful. Hazy Maze Cave has a nice classic Mario Brothers tune. And finally, the Bowser stage theme is probably one of the best in the game. Contrasting with the generally lighthearted, upbeat tunes in this game (not that that's bad), this one has an ominous sense of danger in it that perfectly fits the stage.
Whoa... Out of this world. Look at all the moves Mario has! We've got the basic jump, punch, crouch, crawl, backflip, wall jump, long jump, dive, triple jump, diving leap, butt bash, and reverse triple twirl. Although you probably won't need all those, they are really fun to play with. And sometimes you do need them. For example, Cool, Cool, Mountain, Star 6, Wall Kicks Will Work, you have to do a difficult cannon shot onto a tree. Then you must jump a gap, and soon after, peform an extremely difficult triple jump/wall kick combo onto an icy ledge. The bosses are well designed, King Bomb was a perfect beginner's boss, the Big Bully in Lethal Lava Land was pretty tough (and you had some trouble crossing the breakway bridge to the star, too), and Bowser was sooo original.
Look at all the fun things you can do... The turtle shell surfing was pure genius, Princess' Secret Slide was an entertaining diversion, and racing the mama penguin down the slide was really clever. The wing cap dynamics weren't quite perfected, though. Some guy on World of Nintendo wrote three pages or so on all the different dives Mario could do.
Great game for any N64 lover and definitely recommend to anyone. Great family favorite and when I got it my dad even played because he loves Mario.