Our Favorite Things from Mario 64

Mario 64 is one of the best-known gaming titles to come out in about a decade. This is because this game is still one of the most innovative titles in gaming. With its predecessor, Mario Odyssey coming out on the 27th now is the perfect time to look back at the reasons we loved this game. This article sets out to help prove just how genius this game was for its time and even by today’s gaming standards. Whether you played the original or the Ds version of Mario 64 you are sure to hold some fond memories of the game.

Creative Levels

This probably goes without me having to say, but Mario 64 got pretty creative with the level designs. I feel like the creative designers kind of just looked at objects and where like “how would this work in the world of Mario?” This is seen in levels like Tick Tock Clock which are just pure inventive fun. They went with the classic biomes in some, but they put there on twists on them making them truly stand out in the minds of gamers for years.

It’s also really interesting how the levels had different looks depending on how you entered some of them. For example Little, Big World would either be huge or small depending on what picture you used to enter the level. There are other examples of this such as controlling the water level in Wet Dry World by getting Mario to jump in the painting at different heights. With Tick Tock Clock you could determine how fast the clock parts moved by entering the clock at different times. I don’t think I’ve seen a game since then that let you influence levels in this way.

Strange Bosses

This game has some of the weirdest boss battles of its day. Just the boss fights between Mario and Bowser are pretty weird when you stop and think about it. You are literally swinging a giant turtle around by his tail and then throwing him into a bomb until he can’t move anymore. That’s honestly just plain bizarre. The first star you get in a level is from a boss battle where you literally have to slam a bomb into the ground over and over until he pretty much explodes.

This only gets weirder later on as you have to punch a ghost in the back to get rid of it and smash a living piece of concrete. I don’t even think I can think of one of the bosses in the game that wasn’t just a little bit weird. In fire level you even have to bully a Bully into the lava to kill him. This is done by literally kicking him until he falls off of a platform to burn to death. One of the weirdest battles is when you literally crush a caterpillar’s body parts until there is nothing left to crush.

The Random Animals

One of the best parts of the Mario 64 world is all the random creatures you find throughout it. This starts out with the Owl in Thwomp’s Fortress. When you scale the tree at the beginning of the level an owl will fly out. If you jump and punch the owl Mario will grab onto him and the owl will carry you to the top of the map. You can then steer him around and get him to drop you in a cage with a star there is no other way to reach.

Next, you will find golden rabbits hopping all over the palace. The first you will encounter in the basement. These animals are fast and hard to catch. When you do finally get ahold of one though you will be greeted with one of the castle’s hidden stars to add to your collection. In the level Hazy Maze Cave you can meet Dori who is an ancient dinosaur you can steer to an island holding a star. Later on, you will meet Monkeys and Vultures that will attempt to steal Mario’s hat and carry it around. The random animals made many of us smile and scream at our TVs while chasing them around.

A Sea of Horrors

This game really liked filling itself with surprises. Some of the biggest surprises came from the different underwater segments throughout the game. In Jolly Roger Bay you encounter a giant Eel who is guarding a star and a sunken ship you have to quickly drain before you drown. Before you go into the level there is a hidden star where you have to quickly gather 8 red coins before Mario drowns in a castle aquarium. This game even features a sunken city that you can find in the later levels. The water segments added an amazing sense of danger and mystery to the open world of Mario 64.

In later levels, you will encounter things such as water spiders that can hit you while you’re swimming. In Little, Big World you will be attacked by giant Cheep Cheeps looking for dinner. Super Mario 64 has some of the most irritating creature lurking around its water segments. Thankfully for all of us, the swimming controls are pretty solid in this game. At some points, the swimming controls even held up better than some of the other specialty powers throughout the game.

Big Boo’s Haunt

Boo to you too buddy!
Boo to you too buddy!

This covers the whole level of NOPE that is Big Boo’s Haunt. This is one of the levels you will most likely hear about when you ask anyone what freaked them out as a child. First of all, to get to this level you have to get enough stars to activate the haunting of the castle courtyard. Once you notice the Boo staring at you on your way up or from the basement you travel outside and have to kill the Boo housing the birdcage. Once you do the level will suck you inside and throw you outside of a mansion covered in ghosts.

The worse parts of this level are its jump scares. There are coffins that will raise themselves and then crash back down crushing Mario. There are hidden rooms all around the mansion that boos can pop out of. There is even a possessed library that will start to attack you when you enter the room. If that’s not enough you can always bring up the piano that spooked many players when it suddenly came to life and started chasing them around the room. Also, the music for this level is still one of the eeriest tracks in gaming even to this day.

The Penguins

See ya later sucker!
See ya later sucker!

The penguins you find in Mario 64 had to be some of the most annoying creatures found in any video game. This is because every iteration you find of a penguin throughout the game wants to be a pain. One of the most famously hated penguins is one you will have to race for a star. This Penguin is way too good at keeping on the stage. Many played on the Nintendo 64 version of the game had difficulties with the controls during the slide racing portions. If that wasn’t frustrating enough the penguin had the ability to bump into you at certain parts and knock you off the slide.

If it wasn’t the penguin race that drove you insane then the crying baby penguins probably did. In the level Cool Cool Mountain there are two penguin babies that have lost their mother. It doesn’t help that they make annoying sounds while walking around. The mother herself even sits at the bottom of the map squawking her head off. This lead many players to drop the baby penguins off the side of the map to achieve peace and quiet. While I don’t condone the murder of innocent baby penguins I certainly can understand how these little guys made players lose their minds.

Jessica has been working with the gaming industry for about two years now. She enjoys playing quirky Japanese games and learning about the newest trivia in the industry. When not working with games you may find her chilling with her naked cat Prince Noko... he's pretty cool we guess.