Super Mario 64

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Here we go!

Dear Mario:
Please come to the castle.
I've baked
a cake for you.
Yours truly —
Princess Toadstool

Princess Toadstool, er, Peach has invited Mario to come to the castle, having been told there would be cake. However, when Mario gets to the castle, he is instead greeted by Bowser, who has once again kidnapped Peach. He has also imprisoned the castle's 120 Power Stars into paintings around the castle that are portals to other worlds! This looks like a job for Super Mario!

Though not the first 3-D platformer, Super Mario 64 is heralded by gamers as one giant leap from 2-D gaming to 3-D gaming, and its influence on the platforming genre from the greatly fleshed out Hub World to its nonlinear gameplay has been felt ever since. Notably for the Mario series, this game places a heavier emphasis on exploration and puzzle-solving than most games in the series.

Super Mario 64 was later brought back to usher in Nintendo's first portable 3D system as Super Mario 64 DS. This version brought the total stars up to 150 from the original game's 120, shifted some of the original stars around (while removing others), added a few new levels and bosses, included multiplayer, and had four playable characters (Yoshi, Mario, Luigi, and Wario).

Super Mario 64 is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in Super Mario 64 include:
  • 100% Completion: Getting all 120 stars lets you fly to the top of the castle and collect 100 lives from Yoshi, adds stars to your triple jump, and super-sizes the penguin you race in the fourth level.
    • Since Yoshi is an Ascended Extra in the DS version, one of Luigi's rabbits can be found up there instead.
  • Alliteration: Bob-omb Battlefield; Dire, Dire Docks; Lethal Lava Land; Rainbow Ride.
    • This applies to all the level names in the German-language version of the game; examples include Atlantis Aquaria (in place of Wet-Dry World) and Piratenbucht Panik (Jolly Roger Bay).
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Scuttle Bugs, who infest the upper regions of Hazy Maze Cave and the outside of Big Boo's Haunt.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The igloo in "Snowman's Land", which on the outside is half Mario's height, and he has to crawl to get in.
    • The Lethal Lava Land volcano also. On the outside, it's only about as high as Mario can jump, but it's as big as a small world on the inside. In fact, it's home to 2 of the level's stars. For both of these, however, it's possible that most of it is underground.
    • The cave in Tiny-Huge Island.
  • Bonsai Forest: Either that or they've been just recently grown.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Good thing for Mario that Bowser surrounds his arena with bombs. At least he was smart enough to jump back without getting hurt whenever Mario throws him out of the ring.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After getting all the Stars, Bowser will tell Mario to keep that Control Stick/Touch Screen smoking!
    • If you didn't get that many stars, Bowser will instead go gather his troops to watch the ending together.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Rainbow Ride and the secret level Mario Over the Rainbow.
  • Camera Screw: The unreliable camera makes the game much tougher than Bowser could ever hope to be.
    • The DS version replaced the camera movement controls with a simpler one-button camera adjustment which immediately brings the camera directly behind your character, similar to Super Mario Sunshine. Of course it took years of 3D game design experience for them to learn from their old mistakes.
    • Note that by 1996 standards, the camera controls were actually regarded as very good in comparison to the other games available back then. Technology Marches On, though.
  • Chasing Your Tail: Used in several boss battles in the game.
  • Cranium Ride: In Snowman's Land, Mario can ride across the bridge on the giant penguin's head to avoid being blown off. However, it may or may not work, so the player can also walk beside the penguin as it blocks the wind.
  • Crate Expectations: The game has a lot of them.
  • Credits Montage: Notable as some of the stages showcased change depending on your progress towards getting 120 Stars.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The Ice Bully if you exploit a Good Bad Bug which makes you slide forward indefinitely, allowing you to Whomp him without being knocked back.
  • Dead Character Walking: Have this if cheat code for float is used, and Mario dies, as long as death animation is not completed before float is used again.
    • There's also a non-cheating method involving having your death blow knock you into a cannon. You can launch out of the cannon and won't die unless you touch the ground. If you're wearing the Wing Cap, you can even fly around as a zombie!
  • Deadly Gas: The haze of Hazy Maze Cave.
  • Death Mountain: Tall, Tall Mountain.
  • Development Hell: Super Mario 64 2, intended for the doomed N64 Disk Drive. It was to star co-op multiplayer, and a playable Luigi, though all what was revealed is a pyramid level screenshot. Even before that, the original Mario 64 was named at one point Super Mario FX, and was destined to the SNES before being completely scrapped and its development resources used for the N64 title.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Bowser is faced three times.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: In three different dungeons.
  • Disconnected Side Area: Here and there. May or may not involve a level within a level. Examples: Two of the slides, the igloo, downtown Wet Dry World, the green switch area.
  • Easter Egg: There's a floating letter behind the Cool Cool Mountain painting. America got a F, Europe got an U and Japan got a N. The Nintendo 64 was once known as the FUN Machine, you see.
  • Eternal Engine: Tick Tock Clock.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Or not in this case, since Ukiki will steal your hat and it's a real pain to get it back if that happens.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Or not, since that damn baby penguin was so stubborn about getting back to its mother. Hence the desire to throw it off the level. Many, many times.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Or not, as Rainbow Ride and Mario Over the Rainbow are the hardest levels in the game.
  • Floating Continent: Whomp's Fortress, Cool Cool Mountain, Tall Tall Mountain, and Tiny Huge Island all appear to be floating, and it is possible to fall off into the endless abyss.
    • The's also the random floating island in Bob-omb Battlefield.
    • The levels all have a definite end, for instance Shifting Sand Land is actually an island floating above the Egyptian desert (Hence the distant pyramids, sadly removed in the DS version) and Outside the Birdcage in Big Boo's Haunt.
  • Follow the Leader: Aside from the very broad influence of its 3D control scheme, Super Mario 64 also had a more specific influence in the creation of games like Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, which used the same "explore overworld, enter level, collect Plot Coupons, use Plot Coupons to open more levels" formula as this game.
    • Derivative Differentiation: This trend began to turn off gamers, so said clones took different approaches as early as the latter days of the 5th console generation, even when later 3D Mario games following Super Mario 64 stuck to that formula.
  • Gang Plank Galleon: Jolly Roger Bay
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Power Stars. You only need 70 of them to face the final boss, but collecting all 120 of them does give you a reward for doing so.
  • Green Hill Zone: Bob-omb Battlefield.
  • Ground Pound: This was the first game in which Mario himself had this ability (previously, Yoshi had it in Yoshi's Island and Wario had it in Wario Land).
  • Guide Dang It: While this game is pretty good about making the stars relatively intuitive to find, the second star on the slide bonus course is not hinted at in the slightest. Combined with the fact that the best way to meet the time required to spawn the star is to do a flying leap to skip half the course makes it that much worse.
  • Hat of Flight: The Wing Cap
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: Mario and the owl that carries him around at Whomp's Fortress.
  • Idle Animation: Notably, Mario goes to sleep and eventually dreams about pasta.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Mario's entire motivation for coming to the castle in the first place. Since it gets him captured in the DS remake, the whole thing may have been a trap...
    • You get the cake in the end as thanks.
  • It's Up to You: Averted quite nicely. The Mushroom Retainers who were trapped within the castle actually searched for Power Stars, and if one of them has a Power Star, they happily give it to Mario.
  • King Mook: Every boss that isn't Eyerok, Wiggler, or Bowser.
    • And Wiggler is a mook in other Mario games, and only isn't one here because you're tiny when you face him.
    • Big Boo's Haunt has four King Mooks holding stars out of the seven in that world.
      • It wasn't just one asshole bothering you three times?
    • Chill Bully might also be an exception as, unlike the Big Bully, it's technically a different sort of enemy altogether, albeit with the exact same behavior patterns.
  • Law of One Hundred: Gets you a Star!
    • Subverted in that, after collecting one of the six main stars, an extra life is awarded for every fifty coins collected.
  • Levels Take Flight: Rainbow Ride, an assortment of odd floating structures way up high. Much of the level involves riding on the set paths of magic carpets, struggling not to fall from hitting the obstacles in the way.
  • Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition: The original N64 game was re-released with Rumble Pak support... in Japan only. However, the original American version of the game actually added the Rumble Pak support in the first place. The rerelease in Japan just allowed Japanese gamers to utilize it.
  • Macro Zone: Tiny Huge Island.
  • Magic Carpet: The main means of transportation in Rainbow Ride.
  • The Maze: Hazy Maze Cave, naturally.
  • Mercury's Wings: Mario's wing cap, which allows him to fly.
  • Missile Lock On: In some levels with butterflies, letting certain ones touch or land on Mario will transform it into a 1-UP Mushroom while a few others may actually turn into black orbs and follow Mario slowly, exploding on contact.
  • Mythology Gag: Mario's love of pasta is referenced twice in the game. This character trait first appeared in the Super Mario Bros Super Show.
  • Never Say "Die": Probably one of the first Nintendo games to avert this. "Ghosts...don't...DIE! Can you get out of here alive?"
    • Also, from Super Mario 64 DS: "Eee hee hee! You can never really kill a ghost! We always come back! See you again. Eee hee hee!"
  • No Fair Cheating: In the races with Koopa the Quick, as well as Cool, Cool Mountain's Big Penguin Race, using shortcuts disqualifies you from getting the star for that mission, as well as a stern talking-to from the other race participant.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Played with. This was the first Mario game outside the Donkey Kong games in which falling from too great a height could cause damage even if you landed on solid ground. However, you can avoid taking damage if you Ground Pound right before you hit the ground.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The Final Bowser music.
  • Oxygen Meter: The first game in the Mario franchise to avert Super Not-Drowning Skills without inverting it. Mario gradually loses health underwater, and to keep from dying, you either need to surface periodically or replenish your life meter with coins or air bubbles. Future 3D Mario games would handle this in a similar fashion, though they have a separate air meter -- there are no separate air and health meters in this game, with air and health using the same meter. Thus, you can heal yourself by diving into water and surfacing.
  • Pass Through the Rings: Required for a handful of Stars.
  • Portal Picture: Most worlds' entrances.
  • Quicksand Sucks: It does so at different rates in Shifting Sand Land, ranging from very slowly to instant death.
  • Racing Mini Game: Koopa the Quick wants to race you! As does Big Penguin.
  • Rearrange the Song: All of the classic Mario themes are given an update, and were pretty damn good.
  • Regional Bonus: A very subtle example, but when the game was released outside of Japan, new voice clips and sound effects were added in, including a voice-over by Peach in the opening sequence and a more menacing sound for Chain Chomp. All of these small additions (except for when Mario says "So long-a Bowser!" when he throws him far) would eventually be re-added into a Japan-exclusive re-release with rumble support.
  • Ring Out Boss: All of the Bully type bosses, but not Big Bob-Omb: "It is against the royal rules to throw the King out of the Ring!".
  • Save the Princess: Of course.
  • Secret Level: Several of them.
  • Shout-Out: Several star names:
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Cool Cool Mountain and Snowman's Land.
  • Stairway to Heaven: A particular staircase, if you try to climb it before you have the key, goes up forever, you can't reach the top.
  • Speed Run: In an example that would make a Metroid game jealous. You can finish the game with 0 Stars.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Super Mario 64 is the first "real" Mario game to feature Charles Martinet as our hero. (The year before, he previously voiced the portly plumber in Mario's FUNdamentals. Rumors persist that he also voiced him in Mario Teaches Typing, but while Martinet did voice Mario in the second one, it was actually Ronald B. Ruben in the first one.)
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Along with the other launch game for the Nintendo64, Pilotwings 64, this was one of the first two games to use the "64" ending.
  • Temple of Doom: The inside of the Pyramid in Shifting Sand Land.
  • The Many Deaths of You: This is the first {=Mario=} game to have multiple death animations.
  • Trope Codifier: This game set the standard for both the Video Game 3D Leap as well as the 3D Platform Game.
  • Underground Level: Hazy Maze Cave.
  • Under the Sea: Dire, Dire Docks and much of Jolly Roger Bay.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: "L is real 2041" / "L is real 2401"
    • Which is the mysterious message found on the statue in the pond where you can also find the Boos. This was commonly interpreted as some way to unlock Luigi, who ended up being playable in the remake.
    • This message is also thought to say "Eternal Star." Incidentally, Eternal Star would be the final board in Mario Party.
    • Coincidentally, you can find the same texture in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, too.
    • People also thought that Luigi was a hidden unlockable character because of his absence, then when the DS version came out everyone thought that since Wario and Luigi were in it Waluigi had to be a hidden unlockable character.
    • Someone once said that the 2401 refers to the date Paper Mario, which Luigi was in, was released in North America. According to The Other Wiki, however, it was actually released a day later, on February 5th, 2001, but it's close enough, right?
  • Variable Mix: The water and cave levels change the background instrumentation depending on what's going on or where in the level you're at.
  • Video Game 3D Leap
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can throw a harmless baby penguin off the level. Like everyone else, it gets better. But you're still an asshole for doing it.
  • Video Game Flight: The Wing Cap power, although Mario is technically gliding, not flying. This game even provides the image for that page.
  • Voiceover Letter: In the beginning.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: With the metal suit power-up.
  • Wall Jump: Possibly the Trope Codifier. It likely was implemented after players began utilizing a glitch in the earlier 2D games, where Mario's foot accidentally goes partially into the wall, making it register as a floor. Made a whole lot easier in the DS remake and later 3D games (and two 2.5D games ), as Mario slides down the wall.
  • We Will Meet Again: Played with very interestingly here. In the game's earlier fights with Bowser, you see Bowser saying Mario will pay for this... later. In these cases, it seems so distant; however, by the time of each next fight with Bowser, it tends to feel like it happened a lot quicker than it seemed like it would at the end of each previous fight.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: A variant. The world is still divided into levels, but the levels themselves are very open, and the hub world as well, connecting to the levels, which can largely be played in any order, with some exceptions.
  • Wrote the Book: One of the Toads in the castle says that "Bowser and his cronies wrote the book on bad."
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In many levels. For example, in Shifting Sand Land, after standing on all four pillars players wondering about the star is soon changed to wondering what the hell is happening to the pyramid.

Tropes unique to Super Mario 64 DS:

  • Acrofatic: Sure, Wario is the worst at jumping, but his moves still would put most people to shame.
    • That's not to say Mario's weight would fit his prowess.
  • Art Evolution: Dorrie, the sea monster in Hazy Maze Cave, gains a new pair of goggles that resemble those of the dolphins from Super Mario World.
  • Artifact Title: The DS is not 64-bit (it and its successor use 32-bit ARM processors).
  • Ascended Extra: Yoshi role in the original was a brief cameo. In this version, he's a playable character.
  • Asteroids Monster: Goomboss explodes into countless normal Goombas when you defeat him, but it's just for show as those Goombas disappear as soon as they hit the ground.
  • Badass in Distress: Mario, Luigi, and Wario start off locked behind doors.
  • Badass Mustache: Chief Chilly, one of the new bosses in this version, takes great pride in his mustache, and locks up anyone who dares to show him up.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Goomboss from Paper Mario guards the key to Mario's room in the DS version.
    • Yoshi asleep on the roof of the castle in the opening is a reference to where you find him in the 64 version.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Played straight with Chief Chilly -- if you glitch through the mirror as Yoshi and go fight said boss, he actually has dialogue specific to Yoshi. Averted with King Boo, however, as if you somehow reach him with Yoshi, he'll only utter blank text boxes.
  • Dude in Distress: Mario, Luigi and Wario all get locked up by Bowser when they go to the castle, leaving Yoshi (who was asleep) as their rescuer.
  • Dummied Out: A model that mimics the player's actions can be accessed with codes.
  • Fragile Speedster: Luigi
  • Gasshole: Wario's Idle Animation has him fart before going to sleep.
  • Hey, You: Done due to the fact that you can now play as characters other than Mario. However, Hoot the Owl still says you should lay off the pasta and Wiggler still calls you "linguine breath", even if you're playing as Yoshi!
  • Jack of All Stats: Mario, the former Trope Namer, does it again.
  • King Mook: In addition to the ones from the original version, there are three more that you need to defeat to unlock the other characters.
  • Mighty Glacier: Wario.
  • Nostalgia Level: The Sunshine Isles level deliberately invokes Super Mario Sunshine, right down to the music.
  • One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other: Big Boo Battle is a maze, where taking the wrong door sends you back to the beginning. You can identify the correct path by following Big Boo's laugh.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Bowser allows only Mario to the final stage. Trying to access the final stage with any of the other characters will cause them to get stuck on the Endless Stairs, irrespective of how many stars you have.
    • Koopa the Quick will only race Mario. If you approach him as another character, he'll ask you to find Mario and bring him there.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: The game can be beaten using only Mario and Yoshi (and the latter is only required because he's the only one you have access to at the beginning of the game), but to achieve 100% Completion requires using all four characters.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Wario's punches are sometimes accompanied by him saying "Punch!"
  • Shout-Out: One of the new levels plays the music from Delfino Plaza. The new casino minigames with Luigi play the music from Casino Delfino.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Since Yoshi can't pick up enemies, going into a Bowser battle with Yoshi makes Bowser's fire breath spawn hats which allow Yoshi to become someone who can actually fight back.
  • This Looks Like a Job For Aquaman: Wario is pretty much useless except for the levels which are specifically designed to make use of his abilities. Yoshi isn't particularly useful on his own, though his ability to enter a stage with any character's cap makes him convenient to have around.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Wario
  • Updated Rerelease
  • Walking on Water: Luigi can run on water very briefly before he sinks into it.