Mario gets one in the iconic Bowser fight. In order to beat him, you have to grab him by the tail, swing him around, and throw him into a bomb. The result? A HUGE explosion, and a defeated Bowser.
Even better with the final battle, as Mario has climbed far into the sky to fight him, and the battle is set to some epic background music. You have to blow Bowser up three times! Grabbing the star afterwards and flying into the sky with heroic music playing... perfect way to end the game.
On that note, Bowser's encounters in general. Taking cues from his having taking a level in badass a mere generation ago, Bowser ups his game this time; he outright takes over Peach's Castle for the firstof many timesin this series, steals the source of its power, and puts his hold on pretty much every area of the castle by creating 15 different worlds that you have to explore. And then come the levels where you trek up to Bowser; you go through a gauntlet more similar tothegamesofold, complete with "Koopa's Road" playing as it builds up to your confrontation, complete with each having a Power Star to boot (2 in the DS remake). At the end of the level you fight the scaly king of the Koopas himself, who across the different battles uses several abilities such as a huge stomp attack, a charge attack, his signature fire breath, and even teleportation. As stated above, you have to throw him into a bomb to do any damage at all. Then comes "Bowser in the Sky". Pretty much everything is thrown at you this time, and the end has you fighting Bowser with an even more awesome tune in the background, forcing you to hit him three times to win, and after the second hit he makes the entire ground crumble, revealing a star shape and requiring your aim to be true to even hit the bomb. There's a reason why Mario is the ultimate hero of gaming, especially after this fight.
And how about Bowser's plan? He doesn't crack jokes or mess around this time. He just drops in, storms Peach's Castle, and seals every single door with the castle's stars. If he hadn't left the door to Bob-omb Battlefield open for whatever reason, he would have won.
There's an oasis in a corner of Shifting Sand Land. What's awesome is the fact that the developers were nice enough to put it there to refill your health at any time, since diving in water and then coming back out refills your health.
A meta-example, but managing to successfully translate a 2D platforming series into 3D, which had never been done before at the time. Super Mario 64 would go on to leave major marks on the video game industry.
Each and every time Mario dons the Wing Cap is an awesome moment, soaring through the sky with soaring music playing. There's a reason why it's the game's signature power-up.
On Bob-omb Battlefield, using the cannon on the floating island to launch Mario directly into the red-coin star with careful aiming. A flawless victory.
Any time you get the Koopa Shell. Mario is surfing with it.
Meta example: In late July of 2020, a massive Content Leak revealed data from several beta builds of multiple SNES and N64 games, Super Mario 64 included. What was one of the things leaked from this game? Pieces of a model for Luigi. That's right; almost 25 years after the game was released, L is actually real.
Even better: Since Super Mario 64 released in June of 1996, that means the leaks were made 24 years and 1 month after. 24, 01. 2401. It's like it was destined to be.
Several coders were able to assemble the model and have it functional in a Super Mario 64 rom in no less than two days. THAT'S how important the discovery was to everyone.
Just about everything in the remake, aside from the wonky controls, boasts some level of awesome. With unique characters, much more content than the original, a harder learning curve, excellent graphics and visuals, and Yoshi pulling off a hugeBig Damn Heroes moment just in time to rescue our heroes and salvage the day for the Mushroom Kingdom, you know you're in for a thrill. Not bad for a Nintendo DS launch title.
Yoshi hijacking Mario's role as the main protagonist is one of the selling points of the remake. He doesn't just fight alongside Mario to beat Bowser. He straight-up steals the show. Even if his inability to punch or kick makes him a considerable downgrade to the plumbersnote he's completely incapable of breaking the large brick blocks, which the other characters can do easily. He also has no way of defeating boos, even with his ground pound which makes him incapable of entering Big Boo's Haunt., his jumping capabilities and egg-laying and throwing, along with his overall balanced mobility, more than make up for not being able to throw his fists around.
And how about Yoshi in general? We all know Princess Peach is going to be captured, but when we see not just Mario, but Luigi and Wario, we think they're gonna be just fine. But after a while, they don't return. So Yoshi (who somehow manages to get down from the castle roof to the ground without waking up a sweat) decides to take a look himself, and when he breaks into the castle, he finds out that our seemingly insurmountable heroes have been captured, as Bowser took a level in badass and made sure they couldn't get in his way. What does the character who appeared as just a cameo in the original do? Well, no need to fear, as our unlikely hero takes a serious level in badass, and fights his way to the Power Stars one by one, and rescues Mario and our heroes just in time and saves the day, and all this, with just his appetite and incredible jumping! Talk about a hero.
It's certainly no Mario vs Bowser, but Yoshi throwing down with Goomboss still manages to pack a punch, as it reminds us just why he needs to win—if he fails, then Mario and the crew will be trapped, and so will Princess Peach, and all will be lost.
And even better? Most of the stars in the game can be gotten with any character, so he's still pretty useful, even after you rescue Mario.
The other bosses required to unlock Luigi and Wario are pretty awesome as well:
Mario vs. King Boo. This might even be Mario's first encounter with the spectral king before Luigi's Mansion took place, and even though he doesn't fight much differently from your average Boo, it takes Mario some thinking with the mirror in their arena to defeat him.
Luigi vs. Chief Chilly. This is a boss more catered to Wario's skillset, and yet the physically weakest of the lot is the one that deals with him. Even after you unlock Wario and wear his hat to the fight, Luigi is still the only one who can naturally access this fight. Not bad for the King of Second Bananas.
Somehow, Bowser of all characters manages to takeanotherlevel in badass in the remake. When he takes another go at what he did in the original, he not only replicates his original takeover of Peach's Castle perfectly, he manages to improvise a little and, with the help of his co-dragons Goomboss, King Boo, and Chief Chilly, he captures Mario, Luigi, and Wario, three of the most powerful characters in the entire franchise, when they try to stop him, and even better, that doesn't even throw a wrench in his plans. That's what really sets the stakes even higher in the remake, which could have been a let-down otherwise. Now Bowser's grown even more powerful this time around, and now, with his three most powerful enemies taken out of the picture, Yoshi is the only one who can stop him.
In late April of 2019, Nintendo-focused YouTuber Nathaniel Bandy discovered a way to beat Super Mario 64 DS without using Mario. That's right- he managed to beat the game with just Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario. Even better, his total Star count by the end is a whopping 134/150 Stars. This feat spawned an entire new subgenre of Super Mario 64 speedruns, and is an impressive feat of ingenuity regardless.