|Super Mario 64 1/2|
|Developer(s)||Nintendo EAD Tokyo|
|July 9, 2021 (all regions)|
|Single Player/Multiplayer (Online/Offline)|
|Media Included||Whatever the NX will use.|
Super Mario 64 1/2 is a 3D platforming game released in 2021 for the NX. It serves as an expansion of Super Mario 64, as well as a sequel to it. The game was released in all regions on July 9th of that year to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Mario himself. As such, every retail copy of the game includes a booklet detailing Mario's conception and history, alongside four CDs containing every music piece ever used in the mainstream Super Mario series, all remixed with real instruments. Within the game itself is also a rec-room similar to the one in Super Mario 64 DS, though instead of minigames, demos of every Mario game ever made before this game are present, which are unlocked by catching red and green rabbits found inside and outside of the castles.
The game was released to mostly positive reviews, with reviewers lauding the game's improvements to Super Mario 64's archaic problems as well as the game's presentation, soundtrack, and new additions.
Despite being a sequel to Super Mario 64, the game is not a direct sequel, as it takes place between Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2. One day in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario and Luigi are enjoying a large lunch of gnocchi alfredo and a mushroom-turnip-salad in their house, before a Mailtoad (the same one from Super Mario Galaxy) arrives and gives them a letter from Princess Peach, inviting them to her castle, though the reasons for this are unclear. Without hesitation, the bros. head for the castle. The player is responsible for getting Mario to the castle, and is taught the controls along the way. Upon arriving, Mario and Luigi notice that nobody is present to greet them. At the moment, Luigi also spots a Power Star lying just off to the side of the doorstep, which the brothers promptly grab without question. Curious about the silence and darkness throughout the castle, they head in (with Luigi trembling a little) until they come across the dining room. Entering the room, the two are shocked as the lights come on, revealing Peach and several Toads, (including Toadette, Toadsworth, and Toadbert) as well as a large Mario-themed cake. It turns out that the invitation was simply for a surprise party to celebrate the brothers' 40th birthday. Excited, everyone begins to celebrate, eat cake, and give Mario and Luigi their presents. Possessing voracious apetites as usual, Mario and Luigi end up gobbling down 90% of the cake, with everyone else only managing to grab a small sliver of it. Everyone attending the party finds the cake extremely spicy, but due to having eaten the most of it, only the brothers fall unconscious from the intense heat. In shock, the others try to investigate, before the lights go out, and a bunch of screams are heard, followed by a familiar evil laugh.
After an unspecified amount of time, Mario wakes up on the dining room floor, and finds the room completely empty. He also finds a cayenne-pepper-shaker lying beneath the table, and figures out that the cake had been spiked with it. Stepping out into the foyer, he is shocked to see that the stained-glass portrait of Peach has been replaced by one of Bowser. Mario suddenly experiences a flashblack of the events of Super Mario 64, and figures that he must once again recover the Power Stars. He then sets off to do just that. Once Mario has collected 70 Power Stars, defeated Larry, Lemmy, and Wendy O. Koopa, and frees Princess Peach, he begins to search for his brother, but is stopped by a Toad (who was among the many who ran away after Bowser attacked, only to come back once more stars were collected). The Toad tells him that he had found a letter from Princess Daisy on the castle's doorstep, which explains that Bowser's plans not only concerned the Mushroom Kingdom, but Sarasaland as well, and that she needed his help too. Being benevolent as always, Mario sets off to the other kingdom in order to set things right there too. After he collects another 70 Power Stars (whether it be from Peach Castle or Daisy's castle), defeats Roy, Iggy, and Morton Koopa Jr., and rescues Luigi, Mario finds yet another letter on the castle's doorstep, this one from Rosalina. The letter states that Bowser had also taken over the universe, and that she needs his help. Mario must repeat the same process on the Comet Observatory, and defeat Ludwig Von Koopa, Bowser Jr., and Bowser himself, before finally saving the day. At the end of the final battle however, Bowser manages to knock Mario to the ground and stands over him. Fearing the worst, Mario is surprised as Bowser does nothing more than place a thermometer in his mouth and place the back of his hand on his forehead. Bowser Jr. appears on the scene and is told that Mario is unconscious. Junior then suggests that he should give Mario CPR, and gets on top of him. Mario screams in terror and sits up, realizing that he is lying on a bed in Peach Castle's medical room, and that it was only Peach about to give him CPR. Confused, Mario states that he was out saving the three princesses and recovering Power Stars, but the others tell him that he must have been hallucinating, and that Peach was completely safe the entire time. (It is also revealed that the cayenne-pepper in the cake was merely a mistake on the royal chef's part). However, Peach does state that there are still Power Stars in need of rescue, and that Mario is welcome to go and grab them, (thus implying that the story is true in a way). Together, he and the recovered Luigi decide to set off and do just that, but not before Mario suggests having some more cake, only for everyone else to burst out laughing.
After collecting all 500 Power Stars, Peach tells Mario about a weird legend surrounding her castle, and hints that she might know its secret: The player must ground pound the sun on the floor of the main hall, in order to flip the round piece of ground over. Upon trying this, the two plumbers find themselves in a parallel version of the castle with all 120 Power Stars from the original game in need of collection.
In terms of both gameplay and structure, Super Mario 64 1/2 is virtually identical to that of Super Mario 64, with Mario possessing all of the same moves as he did in said game. However, some features from Super Mario Sunshine are also present, such as its superior camera, fine-tuned controls, spin-jump, and F.L.U.D.D. Additionally, Luigi has been added as a playable character, with his own unique stats and abilities. Due to the game also serving as an expansion of the original, however, some aspects of it have been made much larger, such as a much larger number of Power Stars in total, there being more than one castle to explore, there being more boss fights, and the increased number of power-ups. Another new addition to the game is its split-screen multiplayer mode, in which two players control both brothers, with all of their unique abilities intact. They can either cooperate or explore the levels separately, granting the ability to grab more than one Power Star at once. The plumbers can grab, carry, and throw each other, and bounce on each other's heads for extra height. Additionally, if one player has a power-up exclusive to their chosen character, and is being carried by the other, then the other player can make use of the ability not normally usable by them. This mode can also be played online with a friend or a stranger, in which the screen will not be split, and voice-chat will be available too, but not when playing with strangers. Despite needing to unlock Luigi in the main campaign, he does not need to be unlocked in order to play this mode; playing the mission that involves rescuing Luigi while in multiplayer mode will simply replace the non-playable Luigi with a Toad.
The game contains two playable characters. Both characters play the same, though with their own differences in stats (speed, and jump). Additionally, each character has access to their own selection of the game's power-ups, and thus both need to be used in some way in order to progress through the game as well as fully complete it. Unlike in Super Mario 64 DS, where the player had to either switch characters in a specific room, or put on caps that matched their desired characters, this game allows the player to switch between brothers by simply selecting "Switch Bros." on the Pause screen at any time.
|Mario||From the get-go||Mario can run faster than Luigi at the cost of a lower jump.|
|Luigi||Found during a certain mission in Sarasaland Palace.||Luigi runs slower than Mario and has slippery traction, but he has a higher jump.|
All power-ups return from Super Mario 64, though as expected, some new ones are introduced as well. Though some power-ups can be used by both brothers, most of them are only usable by a specific one. Unlike in the original game, the player does not need to find hidden switches in order to unlock power-ups; instead, they simply need to complete a mission that involves a certain power-up, and then it becomes available anywhere. Though not always required, some of these power-ups can be used in missions that don't require them in order to either find a Power Star in a different way than intended or to grab Power-Stars out of order.
These power-ups are mostly situational. They all last for a limited duration and must be grabbed constantly in order to maintain their powers.
|Wing Cap||Lets the player fly to great heights after either a triple-jump or after exiting a cannon. Its controls have been fine-tuned to match those of Super Mario Galaxy's Red Star.||Both|
|Metal Cap||The player becomes invincible to enemies and can walk through lava/poison and across hazards. They can also walk on the bottom of water-bodies and even against strong water-currents or wind.||Mario|
|Vanish Cap||The player turns invisible, granting them invulnerability and letting them pass aggressive enemies undetected. They can also walk through specific walls and fall through grates.||Luigi|
|Quake Cap (New)||Lets the player create tremors simply by jumping or ground-pounding in order to kill enemies from afar and break metal blocks.||Mario|
|Parkour Cap (New)||Significantly increases the player's running speed and lets them run up or along walls, hop between parallel walls, and even run along ceilings. It also lets them wall-jump much more quickly and allows them to defeat enemies simply by running into them. The player can even run across water while using this.||Luigi|
Unlike the caps, these power-ups stay with the player permanently upon being grabbed, (though they will not be able to carry them outside of levels) and not even contact with enemies will cause them to disappear. Despite this, the nozzles will not work if the water tank is empty. Jumping into a body of water or grabbing water bottles that are found everywhere can remedy this however. Unlike in Super Mario Sunshine, the player can only equip one nozzle at a time. However, unique to F.L.U.D.D. is its ability to be used alongside another power-up, allowing the player to take it to areas that require another power-up to reach.
|Hover Nozzle||Allows the player to hover across wide gaps and gain some slight altitude. Useful for positioning them onto small platforms. The downward spray can also attack enemies from above.||Both|
|Squirt Nozzle||Simply lets the player squirt water forwards at enemies or at mechanisms in order to solve puzzles. Can be aimed in any direction.||Both|
|Rocket Nozzle||Allows the player to rocket straight upwards with a jet of water, which can attack enemies from above and allow the player to ram into foes from below. Additionally, performing a ground pound or dive right after using this nozzle will increase its speed and power.||Mario|
|Turbo Nozzle||No offensive ability whatsoever, but this nozzle allows the player to run much faster and jump farther. They can also move so quickly that unstable platforms will not break under their weight.||Luigi|
|Grapple Nozzle (New)||Allows the player to shoot a long stream of water (which can be aimed in a first-person perspective) in order to grab distant enemies or Power Stars, or grabble onto specially marked ledges, bars and poles in order to pull the player up to those spots.||Luigi|
|Cyclone Nozzle (New)||Allows the player to shoot a twisty jet of water that encircles them, creating a water tornado which can move around, defeat enemies, and even jump and hover over gaps. The twister's duration depends on how much water is in the tank, and it will automatically end once the tank is completely empty.||Mario|
These power-ups are non-situational and can be stacked with other power-ups. All power-ups in this category can be used by both brothers.
|Yoshi||Controls exactly as he does in New Super Mario Bros. U, with his flutter-jump and his ability to eat enemies and fruits. He can also walk on spikes without taking damage and while riding him, the player's health meter will be twice as large.|
|Rainbow Star||Simply turns the player invincible for a time, allowing them to kill enemies by touching them. If used with a cap, it will extend the duration of its powers significantly. If used with a F.L.U.D.D. nozzle, it will greatly increase its effectiveness and give the player infinite water.|
Unlike Super Mario 64, where the entire game took place within the walls of Peach Castle only, Super Mario 64 1/2 takes place in three different castles: Peach Castle, Sarasaland Palace, and the Comet Observatory. Each castle contains 166 Power Stars, and the game contains 500 in total. Within the walls of each castle are 15 paintings, (3 of which are brought back from the original game but with a completely new set of missions) each containing 9 Power Stars plus an extra one that is earned by collecting 100 coins (though unlike in Super Mario Sunshine, it does not matter which mission the player chooses in order to gain it). Aside from the 15 courses, each castle also contains 3 stars that are each earned by defeating one of the castle's three bosses, and 13 secret stars that are found either by using certain power-ups or by simply exploring. To unlock the next castle, the player has to collect at least 70 Power Stars, which must include the three awarded by beating the castle's three bosses (but aside from that, it does not matter whichever Power Stars the player obtains). In addition to the 166 stars of each castle, the player also gains an extra Power Star as a reward for grabbing all stars in the three castles, as well as the Power Star that Mario finds on the castle's doorstep in the game's opening.
Returning from the original game is the non-linearity factor. Players can grab the Power Stars within a level in any order they choose (with some exceptions, due to the way power-ups are handled) and can even flat-out ignore certain stages if they aren't working for 100% completion.
- Peach's Castle: In terms of both layout and design, Peach's Castle is (aside from updated graphics and sound) identical to its original version from Super Mario 64, and as mentioned above, its secret stars and paintings are different, and only three of its paintings have been brought back. Those paintings are: Bob-Omb Battlefield, Lethal Lava Land, and Tick-Tock Clock. Its boss levels are: Lemmy in the Dark Land, Larry in the Fire Sea, and Wendy in the Sky. The doors to these boss areas are placed in the same spots as those from the original game, and require 30, 40, and 50 Power Stars respectively to unlock. Meeting all of the requirements in this castle will unlock Sarasaland Palace, and free Princess Peach.
- Sarasaland Palace: Due to having not been extensively featured in any other Mario game, this castle has a completely original layout and design. It is also the only castle to not house any old paintings. One of the paintings takes place in a haunted graveyard, and one of the missions involves finding Luigi, who got lost there while trying to prove his courage. When you find him, he reveals a Power Star that he managed to find, and the mission ends, with Luigi becoming available as a playable character. The boss levels are: Morton in the Mine, Roy in the Factory, and Iggy in the Swamp, and the boss doors require 100, 110, and 120 Power Stars respectively to unlock. Meeting all of the requirements in this castle will unlock the Comet Observatory, and free Princess Daisy.
- Comet Observatory: This interstellar establishment isn't actually a castle, but it effectively is one due to its size and beauty. Its layout is exactly the same as it was in Super Mario Galaxy, though its domes are replaced with Launch Stars that send the player hurtling towards the 15 galaxies that can be reached from here. The galaxies that are reused for this game are: Gusty Garden Galaxy, Battlerock Galaxy, and Beach Bowl Galaxy. Its boss levels are: Bowser Jr.'s Bully Brigade, Ludwig in the Black Hole, and a completely revamped Bowser's Galaxy Reactor, and they require 170, 180, and 200 Power Stars respectively. The number of phases that the final battle with Bowser has depends on how many Power Stars the player went out of their way to nab beforehand. If they nabbed all 498 available stars before facing him, then the fight will contain a total of ten phases, each of them paying homage to the various Bowser fights from 64, Sunshine, Galaxy 1+2, 3D Land, and 3D World. Unlike with the other castles, the owner of this castle (Rosalina) is not in need of rescuing and simply stands around during the entire quest, where she can be spoken to if desired.
- Parallel Peach's Castle: This castle is only available to players who collected all 500 Power Stars. After talking to Peach, the player can ground-pound the sun in the center of the main hall of her castle to flip it over, leading here. (At this point, the player can simply ground-pound on the sun again in order to travel back to the normal version). In this version of the castle, the layout is exactly the same, though the graphics and sound have both been deliberately downgraded to match those of the N64 original. The set of 120 Power Stars from the original game is also here to collect, making the total amount of Power Stars in this game a whopping 620. Collecting all of these leads to 200% completion, and unlocks Hard Mode, in which the player's health meter is only half of its original size, the boss fights have their difficulty ramped up, all Goombas are replaced with near-indestructible Spinies, spiked balls have been placed in various spots within each course, and the number of Power Stars necessary to unlock new levels and castles has been increased. 200%ing the game on both difficulties leads to 400% completion, and awards the player with a message that refers to them as a "Super Player".
Super Mario 64 1/2 was in development since at least 2016, but was kept completely hidden from the public eye until its announcement at E3 2021 under the tentative title Super Mario 65, when it was at a nearly-complete development stage. During development, Miyamoto expressed the idea of revitalizing an old Mario game. However, he also said that he wanted to completely expand upon it rather than producing a simple remake. The developers chose Super Mario 64 as a basis due to the critical acclaim it had received even in the years since its initial release. In the process of re-imagining the game, Miyamoto himself dedicated over a month of the slotted development time to fully playing through the original version of Super Mario 64, so that he could identify flaws and make sure to fix them for the final product. He stated: "When Mario turns around in the original game, he either does as expected, or walks in a wide curve. When Mario rounds a bend, the camera fails to keep up. I actively searched for flaws such as those so as to better the overall experience, and to help this version of the game age better." During development, an idea was passed along to change the way some things worked in the game's 1996 prequel (story included), in order to differentiate it further, which Miyamoto approved, though on the condition that some things don't change. Among the things that were kept untouched was the layout of Peach Castle, as Miyamoto felt that it would let veteran players of the original game easily get into the experience. He also chose this, due to how The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds reused the same Hyrule from A Link to the Past for the same purpose and sold like hotcakes.
The game contains a live recorded soundtrack by the same band behind Super Mario 3D World.
The game was released to positive reviews, earning a Metacritic score of 91/100, and a GameRankings score of 95%. José Otero of IGN gave the game a 10/10, calling it "a sequel done right", and directed much of his praise towards the game's "vastly improved camera, controls, and visuals". Derrick Bitner of GameXplain gave similar praise, but noted the "ridiculously large" number of Power Stars needed to progress, as well as some bits of recycled content and voice clips, which he described as "ear-grating". Gamespot gave the game a 9.4/10, calling it "a worthy follow-up to one of the greatest games of all time", prising its visuals, "superb" soundtrack, and "constant throwbacks". However, he did criticise the gameplay, saying: "Even if the kinks have been ironed out, the game still plays too similarly to its source material."
Super Mario 64 1/2 was a commercial success, selling 100,000,000 copies in all regions within three days after its debut on store shelves.