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It's-a me, Mario!
Dear Mario:
Please come to the
castle. I've baked
a cake for you.
Yours truly—
Princess Toadstool
Peach
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Princess Toadstool, er, Peach has invited Mario to come to the castle, having told him that 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, released in June 1996 for the Nintendo 64 (September 1996 in North America; March 1997 in the PAL region), 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 (leading to the creation of the Collect-A-Thon Platformer sub-genre). Notably for the Super Mario Bros. series, this game places a heavier emphasis on exploration and puzzle-solving than most games in the series.

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Super Mario 64 was later brought back to usher in Nintendo's first portable 3D system as Super Mario 64 DS in November 2004 (December 2004 in Japan; February/March 2005 in the PAL region). This version brought the total stars up to 150 from the original game's 120, shifted some of the original stars around (while removing othersnote ), added a few new levels and bosses, included multiplayer, and had three additional playable characters (Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario).


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Super Mario 64 provides examples of:

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    Super Mario 64 (1996) 

  • 100% Completion:
    • Getting all 120 stars opens the cannon in the courtyard, which lets you get on top of the castle and talk to Yoshi, who gives you 100 lives, alters your triple jump (which make you immune to fall damage) and super-sizes the penguin you race on Cool Cool Mountain.
    • Since Yoshi is an Ascended Extra in the DS version, 3 1-Ups and one of Luigi's rabbits can be found up there instead.
  • Abandoned Mine: Hazy Maze Cave appears to be set in one. A small section of the course is even called that.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: While you can certainly beat the game without finding them, you need to find all three of the Cap Switches for 100% completion, as several stars are impossible to get without themnote  For example, getting the Collect the Caps... star in Dire, Dire Docks requires you to have both the Metal Cap and the Vanish Cap so you can combine the two and get through the underwater cage in time, though in practice it's possible to beat it with only the Vanish Cap.
  • Absurdly Long Stairway: There's a looping staircase leading to the final stage, with accompanying music that keeps going up as you did. You can climb it forever if you don't have enough stars, but the staircase itself is not actually very big. (The game accomplishes this by seamlessly warping Mario back down a few steps when passing a certain point - meaning the bottom of the stairs is always right behind you; however, since the game only checks your forward motion, a series of backward long jumps can scale the "infinite" staircase without any problems.)
  • Absurdly Short Level:
    • All three of the Cap courses are very short levels, the Tower of the Wing Cap one in particular as it only consists of a large platform and coins floating in the air, which can be collected for a star in mere seconds by a reasonably skilled player.
    • The Secret Slide level is very short, basically being a straight line to a Power Star. In fact, the game subtly encourages a player to finish it as quickly as possible, as doing so will earn the player a secret second star.
    • The aquarium sub-level in the lobby to Jolly Roger Bay is likewise very brief, only consisting of a very small course where you just swim for 8 red coins.
  • Action Bomb: Upon running near the Bob-ombs or picking them up, their fuse goes off and you have a limited time before they blow up.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • Bob-omb Battlefield; Dire, Dire Docks; Lethal Lava Land; Rainbow Ride; Shifting Sand Land.
    • This applies to all the level names in the German-language version of the game; examples include Atlantis Aquaria (Wet-Dry World) and Piratenbucht Panik (Jolly Roger Bay).
  • Ancient Tomb: The pyramid in Shifting Sand Land has a tomb that is home to the level's boss, Eyerok.
  • Antepiece: The game uses several of these. For instance:
    • The castle's "Secret Slide" level (easily accessible from the lobby) is a very short and easy challenge, as the slide has barriers around most of it that keep you from accidentally falling off — the only "challenge" imposed on the player is a sharp turn and a brief part of the slide with no barriers midway through. Even then, the slide doesn't penalize you for losing by taking away a life — it just sets you back in the lobby. Later on, you encounter two more slide levels in Cool, Cool Mountain and Tall Tall Mountain, respectively, where the training wheels come off and you're forced to do slides over bottomless pits, with no safety barriers and plenty of sharp turns — one of them even has you race a penguin! The first slide is also an indicator that there are many more secret stars hidden in the castle, including one hidden in itself — a second star appears if you beat it in less than 21 seconds, which is tricky for beginners, but far from unfeasible, and it allows you to practice before the aforementioned penguin race in Cool, Cool Mountain. On top of all that, the slide has 80 total coins, and getting 50 nets you a 1-up upon getting its stars, on top of a 1-up riding along the middle part of the course, encouraging the player to practice getting used to the slide's physics.
    • The Tower of the Wing Cap and The Secret Aquarium likewise prep you for the task of practicing flying and swimming, respectively, two aspects of the game with fairly high learning curves, by placing you in obstacle- and enemy-free environments where your only goal is to acquire Red Coins, which you can replay at any time, and the former doesn't penalize you for failing. Likewise, Cavern of the Metal Cap and Vanish Cap Under The Moat are environments where you can freely test the abilities of the Metal Cap and Vanish Cap, since going out of the cavern or falling out of the level in both won't penalize you either.
    • Before King Bob-omb gives the idea that you have to pick up and throw him, players can discover that the same trick works on his Bob-omb minions earlier, giving a hint on how to best him ahead of time. Even King Bob-omb himself is a warm-up for later in the game when you have to grab Bowser by the tail and swing him around.
    • Whomp's Fortress has three of these; first, a series of moving walls (Bomps) that just push you off the first ledge of the level's main route and onto the nearby ground, which is a warmup for the moving platforms above a bottomless pit straight ahead. Just after that, you'll find a small bridge that collapses as soon as you run across it, positioned at a height that isn't particularly dangerous for Mario (and getting back up there to retry takes merely seconds). It's a low-risk challenge on its own that you can skip via a thin ledge nearby, but it preps you for a similar collapsing bridge in Big Boo's Haunt, which is even smaller, locked in a tricky camera angle, and on top of that, sends you straight into the basement if you fall off it, forcing you to backtrack all the way back upstairs. Finally, you encounter Whomps shortly before you fight the Whomp King, which show his attack pattern, although they are much smaller and easier to dodge than him, and only take one hit to kill.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Given it was one of the earliest 3D games, and thus had to accommodate newcomers not familiar with its then-revolutionary mechanics, the game has a very relaxed learning curve, and quite a few generous features to make the game fairly easy and accessible for players;
    • The players are allowed to progress through the game at their own pace and go after most of a level's stars in any desired order, if one particular star is proving too difficult to get in a level. Because a few of the game's stars are tricky or just plain cryptic to find, the game allows you beat it with just 70 minimum, with the other 50 being completely optional. The game occasionally gives you hints about stars or the existence of the magic caps.
    • The castle hub world (and some of the levels) are generously filled with tutorial signs, which cover every general aspect of the gameplay— and aside from a handful of text boxes at the start and at other sporadic points, the game never forces the player to do a tutorial, instead allowing them to play around and get accustomed to the game's controls and flow on their own time.
    • As long as you're not moving, airborne, or swimming in a level, the game will allow you to pause and quit back to the hub. Some parts of the game (namely, the secret areas of the castle) won't cost you a life if you lose at them.
    • If you collect a 100-coin star in any level, grabbing it will not send you out of the level, and it will allow you to save your progress on the spot, retaining the star if you die.
    • The game teleports you out of a level as soon as you grab any other star and refills your health, allowing players a chance to quickly access another star or reset the level without dying for a shot at a specific challenge that they messed up on, such as the aforementioned 100 coin challenge.
    • 1-Ups in the game are plentiful and easy to acquire, such as the hidden 1-Ups on the castle grounds (one which you find in a tree, another beneath the castle moat by grabbing its two coins) which reset each time you go inside the castle, or the fact that getting 50, 100, or 150 coins in both a normal or secret level (e.g., the slide) will always get you an extra life upon beating it.
    • Lethal Lava Land and Shifting Sand Land, two of the trickier levels in the game, will start you right back in their sublevels if you died in them and you reselect the mission you were playing right after. The Bowser levels will also land you right back outside the entrance to his arena if you lose to him rather than kicking you out of the level.
    • Any reasonably deep body of water in the game, be it the lake of Jolly Roger Bay or the small pool at the top of the big Tiny-Huge Island, will quickly refill your health if Mario jumps in and stays at the surface- this is a consequence of the underwater air and health meters being the same. Coins, which are extremely plentiful, will also refill your health, as do the occasional floating heart, which refills your health if you run through it quickly enough.
    • The game has several generous ways to keep you from getting hurt from a high fall; If you fall from too great a height, diving forward or ground pounding just before you hit the ground will keep Mario from getting hurt. Cool, Cool Mountain, Shifting Sand Land, and Snowman's Land have ground mostly made of soft snow and sand, so you usually won't take damage from a high fall in them (you'll just get stuck in the ground for a few seconds and pop out). Shooting yourself out of a cannon will make Mario immune to fall damage as well (unless you bump into a wall and start falling normally— then you're in trouble). And the Wing Cap will protect you from fall damage if you're in flight, and even if you aren't, you can tap the A button to flap its wings, which will slow down your fall enough to protect Mario.
    • The Bully enemies need to be knocked into lava to be killed, spitting out a coin. To keep you from having to lava dive each time this happens, the coin is programmed to spit out and arc toward you. So long as you're not too high up (which can be a problem in the volcano in Lethal Lava Land), the coin will always land safely on a platform for you to collect.
    • If you happen to collect a Star that isn't above solid ground (i.e. a 100-coin star spawned after collecting some midair coins) to land on, it'll seem like you fall to your death and can't complete the collection animation by landing. However, the Star will be counted and you won't have to go through the trouble again.
    • The draw distance for Red Coins is much farther than normal coins, making the player able to spot them from a distance.
  • Armless Biped: MIPS The Rabbit has no arms or paws, only two big feet. The DS remake redesigns the rabbit(s) so they now have paws.
  • Artificial Stupidity: It's possible to trick Yoshi's AI into making him walk off the castle roof, as proven here by pannenkoek2012. On occasion, Goombas and Bob-ombs will walk or run off a cliff to their deaths, be it from chasing Mario or their own volition. Koopa Troopas will also chase after you if you ride on their stolen shells, even though they'll die on contact with you.
  • Artistic License – Geology: The ocean cave in Jolly Roger Bay would be impossible in real life due to the way sunken caves work.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • Mario must have incredible upper body strength, because even in mid fall, he can spit in the face of inertia by triggering a ground pound, which completely halts his momentum, and negates any damage he would have received from the fall.
    • When sliding, Mario can lean forward to speed up and lie back to slow down. It would work the opposite way in real life.
  • A Winner Is You: Your reward for getting all 120 stars? A thank you from the Mario 64 team and a few booby prize power ups. The ending is also completely unchanged aside from Bowser's last words being different.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Mario becomes this to his enemies when he enters the tiny version of Tiny-Huge Island.
  • Backtracking: The game is designed so you rarely have to do this, as the majority of the worlds can be completed in one go if you know what you're doing. The only bits that force you to backtrack to a previous level are stars that need the Cap Blocks activated to get them (you can acquire all three of them very early into the game, and even some of those challenges can be beaten without them), or any Castles Secret Stars that a novice player could miss like the three Toad stars or the two stars you get from MIPS.
  • Badass Normal: Aside from the Caps, Mario is armed only with his acrobatic skills (and a couple improbable ones like the Ground Pound) in worlds filled with many hostile, magical creatures.
  • Berserk Button: Wiggler has two: getting him and his place all wet, and stomping on him.
    Wiggler: [after stomping him the first time] I can't take this anymore! First you get me all wet, then you stomp on me! Now I'm really, really, REALLY mad! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!
    [you stomp on him again]
    Wiggler: Hey! Knock it off! That's the second time you've nailed me. Now you're asking for it, linguine breath!
  • Big Boo's Haunt: A world in the game is the Trope Namer.
    Big Boo: Come on in here... heh, heh, heh...
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Scuttle Bugs, who infest the upper regions of Hazy Maze Cave and the outside of Big Boo's Haunt. The Skeeters in Wet-Dry World also count.
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • A more discreet example, but the inside of the castle is clearly much bigger and taller than it is on the outside. A showcase on how much bigger the inside areas are in comparison to the actual castle.
    • The igloo in "Snowman's Land", which on the outside is half Mario's height, and he has to crawl to get in.
    • The entirety of Big Boo's Haunt is contained within a birdcage.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Toad believes Bowser forgot to seal the door leading to Bob-omb Battlefield, but as the remake proves, the Koopa King in fact left it unsealed deliberately, hoping Mario would get himself blown up, or worse. Of course, he never counted on Mario gaining new abilities since that time he and his brother Luigi blew his Koopa-Copter out of the air...
  • Bonsai Forest: Either that or they've been just recently grown, because all of the trees in the game are the same height (about three times Mario's height) and spread very far apart.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: As a reward for completing the game 100%, the cannon outside the castle will unlock, giving you access to the castle's roof. Up there, you meet Yoshi, who will give you 100 lives if you talk to him. 100 lives that you have no use for, since you have completed the game. Made especially obvious by the lives being delivered by Yoshi, who you can't ride and who disappears right after. You also get a special triple jump, which replaces the standard third jump with a sparkly somersault that makes you invincible while flipping and protects you from fall damage. This is also pretty useless, as there are very few instances in the game where being invincible during a high jump would come in handy, you already have several ways of stopping fall damage, and the new triple jump can't be chained into a Wall Jump, making it a downgrade from the default in some cases.
  • Book-Ends: This game begins with Peach sending a letter to Mario, saying she baked a cake for him. At the end, after being rescued by the plumber, she decides to bake for him another cake.
  • Books That Bite: There are some called Bookends in Big Boo's Haunt that fly out of the shelves and open up, revealing their giant teeth before flying at you.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Bowser's arena comes with bombs for you to toss him into. Missing and just tossing him out of the ring, however, only results in him leaping right back. In fact, he usually punishes you for doing it with a special move like tipping the arena, or sending shockwaves throughout the arena. He learns his lesson in the third battle, strategically collapsing the platforms so all the bombs are suspended in mid-air. You really have to know how to time your spin to land those hits. He is also noticeably buffed up, and it takes three hits instead of one to take him out.
  • Boss Arena Urgency: In the final battle with Bowser, after you score two hits on him, he smashes the platform, turning it into a smaller star-shaped one that makes aiming more difficult due to the greater distance from the mines. Before this point, flinging him off the platform but missing the bombs around the edge will result in Bowser simply leaping back up, which can knock off one of the pieces that would otherwise fall after the two hits.
  • Boss Battle: The game has a few boss fights scattered throught it. Many of these encounters double as a Puzzle Boss.
    • King Bob-omb in Bob-omb Battlefield. You defeat him by simply picking him up and chucking him on his butt three times.
    • King Whomp in Whomp's Fortress. You defeat him by tricking him into falling on his face, letting you ground pound his back. Repeat three times.
    • Big Boo in Big Boo's Haunt. You have to trick him into becoming visible behind you, and then kick or slam him three times. You also fight him three times in the course.
    • Lethal Lava Land has two Big Bullies to fight. Both of them are invincible to Mario's attacks, so you have to force them into the lava to defeat them.
    • Eyerok in Shifting Sand Land. You have to attack the eyes in the palm of his hands three times each to beat him.
    • The Chill Bully in Snowman's Land, which is just an ice themed palette swap of the Big Bully in Lethal Lava Land.
    • Tiny-Huge Island has the Wiggler living inside the huge islands mountain. He's the most straightforward boss fight, since you just jump on his head three times to beat him.
    • And then there's the three Bowser boss fights outside of the main levels to top it off.
  • Boss Corridor:
    • Each of the three Bowser courses are in rooms that are shaped like a hallway (the hall with the second Bowser course also has the entrance to Dire, Dire Docks, and you need to collect the first Star from that course to enter the Bowser course; the final hallway is the "Endless Stairs" mentioned above; you need 70 Stars to reach the end of the hall and the entrance to the final area of the game without the glitch).
    • Once inside the top of the Shifting Sand Land pyramid after an elevator takes you down to a small passage that leads to the Eyerok, the temple guardian, and the Star they have.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Two, when you collect all 120 Power Stars:
    • On the roof of Peach's Castle, Yoshi gives you 100 lives and an upgraded Triple Jump.
    • In Cool, Cool Mountain, the Big Penguin that challenges you to a race has become a lot fatter (due to being out of shape), making him harder to defeat. There's no extra reward for beating him again, however.
  • 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.
    • Yoshi, who you can find at the top of the castle if you get 120 stars and use the castle grounds cannon to get up there, will give you a message directly from the Super Mario 64 development team.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Rainbow Ride, which takes place up in the sky, and the secret level Mario Over the Rainbow, with emphasis on the "clouds" part.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Defied. Peach sent a letter to Mario stating that she baked a cake for him. At the end, it's suggested that Peach didn't even make one (to be fair, it would've taken some time, and she was apparently captured right after sending the letter, though the letter apparently reached Mario. It was possible she did make a cake, but Bowser got rid of it when he invaded). It is also possible that Bowser simply forged the letter as bait for Mario. But she bakes the cake after the game.
  • Camera Screw: In 1996, the C-button camera controls were actually regarded as very good in comparison to the other games available back then. But Technology Marches On, and new players may find that the unreliable camera makes the game much tougher than Bowser could ever hope to be.
    • A good way to avoid a lot of the camera issues is to use the R-button, which switches the camera angle to one that is right behind Mario and shows you what is directly ahead. In normal cases, this viewpoint is ignored because the field of view is reduced to a small cone directly in front of Mario. But in stars that require negotiating tiny ledges and precarious pathways to get to a star, this actually helps, because you can see exactly where you need to go and if you're about to walk off a ledge.
  • Chasing Your Tail: Used in the first boss battle in the game against King Bob-omb as a Final Boss Preview, where you have to get behind the boss and pick him up for throwing. You have to perform this same technique on Chuckyas that you meet when you reach the final third of the game. Played literally in the Bowser levels, where you have to grab Bowser's tail and swing him into a bomb.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: The one in Lethal Lava Land erupts routinely. Until you go inside.
  • Clam Trap: Clams can be found in Jolly Roger Bay, often with coins in their mouths. If Mario is in the clam when its shell shuts, he'll be knocked aside and take damage.
  • Clockworks Area: The Tick Tock Clock is one.
  • Collect-A-Thon Platformer: The prototypical example — and as such contains a Unbuilt Trope or two — the idea of exploring an area to collect Plot Coupons as your main goal, as opposed to just reaching the end of an obstacle course of a level, can more or less be traced back to this game.
  • Colossus Climb: That giant snowman in Snowman's Land? He's alive! Although the only thing he actually does is blow you off of the platform in front of his face, and you don't find out he's sentient until you reach the platform.
    Big Snowman: Hey! Who's there? What's climbing on me? Is it an ice ant? A snow flea? Whatever it is, it's bugging me! I think I'll blow it away!
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: ! Blocks come in four different colours. Yellow blocks will contain either Coins, a Power Star, a 1-Up Mushroom, or a Koopa Shell. Red blocks contain a Wing Cap, blue blocks contain a Vanish Cap, and green blocks contain a Metal Cap. The latter three will only appear after they've been activated by pressing the corresponding ! Switch, similar to the Switch Palaces from Super Mario World.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • No matter what shortcuts you take on the slide in Cool, Cool Mountain (which can include skipping three-quarters of it), the Penguin will catch you up within a few seconds. He also tries to shove you off the edge. Then he has the audacity to call you a cheater.
    • Koopa the Quick is unaffected by winds during his second race with you. This means that if you reach the windy sections of the course and you're behind him, you've already lost. If you've only got a small lead, then the winds will quickly eliminate it, but it's possible to get in front of him and have him push you all the way to the finish line.
  • Continuing is Painful: Fail to get the 8-red-coin stars in either the 'Wing Mario Over the Rainbow' or 'Cavern of the Metal Cap' stages, and you're booted out of not just the hub-world, but straight outside Peach's Castle right into the moat.
  • Continuity Nod: There are several nods to previous Mario games;
    • A few of the staple Mario tunes make a comeback; the title theme is the original theme song for Super Mario Bros.. The underground theme from that game makes a return as the theme for Hazy Maze Cave, the Pyramid in Shifting Sand Land, the Igloo in Snowman's Land, Wet Dry World, and the inside of Tiny-Huge Island. And the Cap music is an arrangement of the classic Starman theme, or more specifically the Yoshi's Island variant of the theme. A rearrangement of the ending theme for the first game is used during the game‘a ending.
    • The Power Stars are visually inspired by the Starman power-ups from the older games.
    • The Item Blocks, though much less common, will occasionally give you a few coins and 1-ups like the old games.
    • The mural of the Castle Lobby is an ode to Grass Land from Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • Likewise, Tiny-Huge Island is basically a 3D Giant Land from Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • Big Boo's Haunt is based off of the Ghost Houses from Super Mario World.
    • The Cap Switches are identical in look and purpose to the Block Switches from Super Mario World as well.
    • The 8 Red Coins are carried over from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
    • Some of the "2D" art seen in various places, such as the Boo portraits in the ghost house and the sliding Bowser portrait in Lethal Lava Land are promotional artwork illustrations from previous Mario games.
    • The pillars that precede the final Bowser fight depict a battle between Mario and Bowser, using their sprites from Super Mario Bros.
  • Cowardly Mooks:
    • The Koopa Troopas don't particularly seem excited to deal with Mario and his friends, running away when he comes near.
    • The Moneybags also try to hop away once discovered.
    • Cap-wearing Goombas in the DS remake alternate between chasing your character and running away from them.
  • 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.
  • Credits Montage: Notable as some of the stages showcased change depending on your progress towards getting 120 Stars. You can also look around in it if you plug in a second controller.
  • Creepy Changing Portrait: The entrance to the first Bowser stage has a portrait of Princess Peach at the end of a long hallway. However, as you approach it, the picture slowly changes into Bowser's image right before you fall through a trap door into the stage proper.
  • Creepy Circus Music: Big Boo's merry-go-round.
  • Cumulonemesis: High up Tall Tall Moutain hides the Fwoosh, a sentient cloud that waits for Mario to get past him only to blow strong gusts of wind at the unfortunate plumber to send him over the cliffside. In the remake, Yoshi can swallow it, but it grants no coins and can't be turned into an egg.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Chill Bully if you exploit a Good Bad Bug which makes you slide forward indefinitely, allowing you to whomp him without being knocked back.
  • Cutting the Knot: The game's flexible nature allows you to beat many of the challenges without having to use the most obvious path or method, though these aren't necessarily efficient exploits all the time. For example, many of the stars that you are supposed to use cannon firing for can be worked around if you have the skill or just a lot of time and patience.
  • Dead Character Walking:
    • You can have this if a cheat code for floating is used, and Mario dies, as long as the death animation is not completed before the 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 (grabbing onto a tree also counts as touching 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 decreases your health if you go under it.
  • Death Mountain: Tall, Tall Mountain, which is full of enemies and a wind cloud that is exclusive to this level.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: When Mario loses all of his health, it just throws him outside of a painting and he has to play the level again, with no other consequences aside from losing a 1-up. Lethal Lava Land and Shifting Sand Land are even generous enough to put you right back inside their sub-level if you lost a life inside them and you select those levels again right away. The Bowser levels also put you back just outside the entrance to his arenas if you lose a fight against him. Getting a Game Over subverts this by kicking you back to the title screen, but even then, it doesn't take long to get back to where you were (unless you got a Game Over on a Bowser fight, in which case, have fun going through the entire Bowser level again.)
  • Derivative Differentiation: The fact that the game's collect-a-thon mechanics were often cloned by later games tended to turn down players, so clones eventually started to take 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.
  • The Determinator: If you steal a Koopa's shell and ride on it and avoid killing the Koopa, it will go out of its way to try and chase you, even if you slide all the way up the mountain in Tiny-Huge Island (the Koopa isn't programmed to follow the slope physics Mario is bound to, so it can chase right after you unfettered) — unfortunately for it, it can't jump and if it does dive into Mario, it'll be killed instantly.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • In order to exit the level, you have to be standing still on solid ground (or treading water), preventing you from getting out of losing a life from falling into a pit or running into an enemy or hazard at low health. This would be carried over in future games as well.
    • If Mario grabs a crazy block, but it gets obstructed by an enemy that keeps it from bouncing (i.e. a Bob-omb), the block will vanish in a puff and leave you no coins.
    • Glitching your way out of level boundaries will result in instant death for Mario.
    • Attempting to jump and dive within the presence of the baby penguins in Cool, Cool Mountain will cause said baby penguin to imitate Mario.
    • After delivering the baby penguin to its mother in Cool, Cool Mountain, if you were to pick up the baby penguin again, the mother will chase you with a displeased look on her face.
    • If you grab the basement key and try to use it on the upstairs door, you get a special message acknowledging it:
      This key doesn't fit! Maybe it's for the basement...
    • Although it's impossible without glitches (and in some levels impossible even with them), if the player obtains 1000 or more coins in a single level, the number of coins will be capped at 999, except in the Japanese version of the game (where a typo in the code results in your lives being set to 999 instead).
  • Difficulty Spike: The game has a relaxed learning curve, so most of the levels on the first two floors aren't overwhelmingly hard. But once you get to the upper floors, the game starts picking up the pace in challenge with levels like Tall, Tall Mountain. Once you get to the top floor with Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Ride, the gloves come off and the game really starts challenging your skills.
  • Disconnected Side Area: Here and there. May or may not involve a level within a level. Examples include two of the slide areas, the igloo in Snowman's Land, downtown Wet Dry World, and the Cavern of the Metal Cap, which unlike the Wing and Invisibility Cap, has to be accessed through a side area in Hazy-Maze Cave.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: If you set one foot out of bounds, Mario freezes up, loses his hat, and dies. The most infamous example of this happening is the Killer Corner in the Castle Grounds hub.
  • Down the Drain: Wet-Dry World, which supposedly takes place in a flooded city.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • While not the first English game to call the princess by her Japanese name Peach instead of Toadstool (Yoshi's Safari being the first), it is certainly the most iconic, notably easing players into the transition by using both names in the intro.
    • Most of the course names were changed in the English version, even though some were in English already (such as Dire, Dire Docks, which was originally "Water Land"). The only ones that remained the same were Snowman's Land and Tick Tock Clock. Interestingly, while "Rainbow Cruise" was renamed Rainbow Ride, the Super Smash Bros. Melee stage based upon it uses the original name.
  • Dummied Out:
    • Hidden in the games files is an untextured model of a Blargg enemy.
    • Hackers have also found a Yoshi egg, Boo's key, a beta trampoline, and an animated, two-dimensional flower.
    • The 2020 source code leak also has files for an unused enemy called a "Motos", which functions similarly to a Degraded Boss version of King Bob-Omb.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Since it's the first Mario 3D platformer, this was a given.
    • The game is, to date, the only 3D game where both the oxygen meter (for swimming) and the health meter were one and same (they get separate meters in Sunshine, the two Galaxy games, and Odyssey). This created a loophole which allowed Mario to regain health simply by jumping into water and coming up for air.
    • The game was more non-linear. While a certain amount of stars are needed to access the game’s later levels, and while you could select a particular star to pursue within the levels, the game would generally not actively prevent you from going after other stars. Selecting certain stars would sometimes make changes to the world that makes a star accessible or inaccessible, but you could otherwise get most of the stars in a level in any order. Starting with Super Mario Sunshine, whatever mission was picked had to be done, and could not be bypassed (save for the occasional levels with secret stars in them). It would take until Super Mario Odyssey, 21 years after Super Mario 64, for a 3D Mario game to do this again. Also, the star missions in Mario 64 lack introductory cutscenes, which renders their locations less obvious (bar, at times, the missions' titles).
    • The 100-coin star could be collected without having to leave the level, meaning you could get the 100-coin star and another star in the same run. In Super Mario Sunshine, you had to leave after collecting the 100-coin shine, as it would end the level the same way a regular star/shine mission would. The Galaxy games make the 100-coin star an actual mission and used purple coins instead of the yellow ones used in 64 and Sunshine.
    • Some of Mario's moves from this game are missing in later ones, most notably the ability to punch and other physical attacks on command.
    • In some respects, the game was an instance of Early Installment Weirdness for much of 3D gaming. For a lack of other games to compare with, entire levels quite visibly hanging in the middle of nothing were perfectly fine back then, but would have been considered signs of an Obvious Beta mere years later. It was also very cubic, even by later N64 standards, and thus unusual in a series that tends to prefer round shapes whenever possible. Again, Super Mario Odyssey would revisit this, including the Mushroom Kingdom itself being inexplicably on a floating island.
    • The game has a much lonelier and somewhat more oppressive atmosphere than later 3D platformers in the series, much of it owing to 64's status as a Tech Demo Game released early in the N64's life. Friendly NPCs are few and far between, and many stages have none at all—most other characters you'll run into are enemies. The level designs are smaller and less open (Peach's castle is rather cramped, and a stage claimed to be a "lagoon" is fully enclosed by rock walls), and they tend to be more serious and down-to-earth in design compared to the wacky cartoon lands of later games; Big Boo's Haunt is notable for playing its horror elements dead straight, as opposed to later games which usually rely on Defanged Horrors.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In Bowser in the Sky, the pillars near the pipe depict Mario fighting Bowser if you look closely.
    • Jumping at the edge of any body of water (including the basement) will sometimes cause a fish to jump out of the water.
    • When going to the mission "Big Penguin Race" after getting 120 power stars, the racing penguin will appear very fat, and is harder as a result. Winning this race is just a Self-Imposed Challenge, as the racing penguin does not give Mario anything after winning.
      Big Penguin: Mario! What's up, pal? I haven't been on the slide lately, so I'm out of shape. Still, I'm always up for a good race, especially against an old sleddin' buddy.
    • In the Japanese Shindou Pak Taiou Version (an update that includes the changes to the international version and a few other bug fixes), pressing Z on the "Press Start" screen fills the background with images of Mario's face.
    • Your first trip through Bob-omb Battlefield has you encounter two Big Steelies in a dirt hole. Later stars have a third Big Steely in the hole, implied by a piece of in-game dialogue from a Bob-omb Buddy to be the remains of the Big Bob-omb. (This was removed in the DS version, which only has two Big Steelies regardless of which star you're playing.)
      Bob-omb Buddy: Thank you, Mario! The Big Bob-omb is nothing but a big dud now!
  • Emergent Gameplay: The open-ended nature of the game's structure has made it very interesting to speedrunners, since it allows them to devise and test alternative routes and methods of getting through them, intended or not, through the game. This is undoubtably a reason why the game is still widely popular, with bugs still being discovered that allow for new challenges or Sequence Breaking tricks.
  • Eternal Engine: Tick Tock Clock takes place inside of a clock, with a lot of machinery such as gears and pendulums. You can change and even stop the speed of the gears depending on what time the clock is at when you jump in.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Or maybe not in this case, since Ukkiki will steal your hat and it's a real pain in the ass to get it back if that happens.
    Ukkiki: Ukkiki...Wakkiki...kee kee! Ha! I snagged it! It's mine! Heeheeheeee!
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Or maybe not, since it's hard to get Tuxie to hold still long enough to pick her up. Hence the desire to throw her off the level or drop her off the cliff. A great many times.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Or maybe not, as Rainbow Ride and Mario Over the Rainbow are the hardest levels in the game. Final Bowser also gets something of a bizarre rainbow colored filter on his character model.
  • Excuse Plot: Peach has been kidnapped again and Bowser has stolen the castle's magic stars. Go after him!
  • Faceless Eye: The Mr. I enemies that Mario meets starting with Big Boo's Haunt have no faces and are just giant, floating eyeballs.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • We have the then-impressive, now-horribly-outdated camera controls to thank for that.
    • Also, we have fake easiness, since the air meter and life meter are combined in one, resulting in the ability to fully recover your health by surfacing in any water deep enough to swim in.
  • Fake Longevity: Every time you find a power star (with the exception of the 100-coin stars), you are booted out of the level back to the hub world. This can be either a blessing or a curse depending on the level design.
  • Falling Damage: Unusual for a Mario game. Whenever Mario falls from too great a height, he loses health, four hit points at the most. However, ground pounding or diving shortly before impact (and only before that, never from any higher) negates this completely. (See Violation of Common Sense below.)
  • Feet-First Introduction: Bowser gets one in all three of his fights.
  • Fictional Painting: Most of the paintings in the Princess Toadstool's castle are entrances to worlds in Mushroom Kingdom, where Mario has to recover the stars and save the princess from Bowser.
  • Flipping Helpless: Whenever Mario or his friends defeat him by throwing him into a bomb, Bowser lands on his shell and groans in exhaustion in the original version, and helplessly flaps his arms and legs in the DS version. Bowser realizes there's nothing else he can do and promptly escapes while leaving behind a special key or the Giant Star.
  • 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. There'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), and Outside the Birdcage in Big Boo's Haunt.
  • Flying Books: A few violent ones show up in Big Boo's Haunt, called Bookends.
  • Forced Perspective: The room where Tiny-Huge Island can be accessed has three hallways with the Goomba painting at the end of each. Looking down into the hallways, one would think they're identical; however, only the front hallway is normal-sized (and its painting cannot be entered), with the left only being a few steps long and its small painting taking you to the tiny version of the level, and the right hallway being several long-jumps in length, with a gigantic painting taking you to the huge version.
  • Freelook Button: Zooming in enough on the C^ button does this.
  • Free Rotating Camera: Using the C buttons does the rotation & zoom. This game has been certified as the Trope Maker.
  • Futile Hand Reach: Mario does one if he is laying on his back as he dies.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Due to being an early 3D game and having numerous glitches and design oversights, there are many ways to mess up the game:
    • It's actually possible to crash the game just by messing around with the file select screen.
    • In Vanish Cap Under the Moat, if you try to perform the backwards long jump glitch on one of the rotating platforms, the game will crash. It's been said that locking the camera in place will work around this and let Mario just fly out of the level's bounds instead.
    • In Bob-omb Battlefield, if you ground pound on the floating islands item box while exploiting the Dead Flying Mario glitch, both Mario's death animation and the cutscene of the Star appearing will trigger at the same time, softlocking the game and forcing the player to reset.
    • Also in Bob-omb Battlefield, if you sandwich Mario underneath the level's first bridge and a cork block, the game will crash.
    • For some reason, Big Boo's Haunt has a glitch in the room that lets you fall down to the basement that causes the game to crash if you're up against a wall and fall in a certain way.
    • Using the Hat Factory glitch in Shifting Sand Land can crash the game if you grab one too many hats.
    • In Tall, Tall Mountain, if you let the Monty Moles throw too many pebbles with Mario standing nearby, the game will run out of memory and crash. This is due to a design oversight — pebbles deactivate when they are more than 4000 units away from Mario. Hence, a deactivated pebble won't hit the ground and unload, but instead just remain invisible and unmoving in midair. So by having Monty Moles continually throw pebbles off the edge, the pebbles will keep loading into object slots but never unload. Since the game only has 240 object slots, eventually all the slots become occupied and the game crashes.
    • Due to some oddities in collision, grabbing a star in the exact wrong place can softlock the game by getting Mario stuck in an endless ledge-grab. In practice, this only occurs with 100-coin stars, which spawn just above Mario's head when he collects enough coins — this bug may have been a factor in Super Mario Sunshine changing 100-coin Shine Sprites to spawn in a predetermined position.
  • Game Mod: The game is very easy to hack and make custom levels in thanks to programs like Toads Tool 64. Some notable mods include Super Mario Star Road, Super Mario 64 Chaos Edition, Super Mario 64: Last Impact, Super Mario: Green Stars, Kaizo Mario 64, and Super Mario 74.
  • Gangplank Galleon: Jolly Roger Bay is a water level that takes place on a sea shore and has a ship, though it's far calmer than most examples of this trope, as the pirates have long since left.
  • Goomba Stomp: Per Mario tradition, you can beat most enemies by jumping on them, but you have the option of punching or kicking them instead (and throwing them on occasion, too). The Goomba Springboard does not work in this game (unless you Long Jump onto an enemy, but it's not very useful), but the triple jump move would have made it superfluous anyway.
  • 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.
    • It's also the Trope Codifier for the "collect-a-thon" game. The British game developer Rare would later embrace this to massive levels, as seen in Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. Unlike those games, there are only four things total to collect (Power Stars for health, Coins, Red Coins, and the three Caps), and only the Stars are mandatory. All of the Red and 100 Coin Stars, as well as the caps and their stars, can be skipped if you desire. It's even possible, if difficult, to beat the game without grabbing any coins.
  • Gratuitous Italian: In the French version, "Ciao bello!" is spoken twice, once at the very start of the game, and once by Big Boo in a line of deleted dialogue.
  • Green Hill Zone: Bob-omb Battlefield is a grassy plain which has no bottomless pits, nor any water in which Mario can drown.
  • 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 only vaguely hinted at once, and even then it could well be mistaken as just a bit of throwaway text about the first star on that course. 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.
    • The game gives you no hint that running around wooden poles five times will spawn five extra coins for you, which is crucial for getting the 100 coin stars. The closest thing is a sign in the large part of Tiny-Huge Island, but it's located on a very small island that isn't easy to reach, and the sign itself only gives an oblique hint; it feigns innocence in the event you get dizzy from running around the wooden pole just nearby.
      Signpost: I take no responsibility whatsoever for those who get dizzy and pass out from running around this post.
    • Whomp's Fortress, an otherwise straightforward level, has a very well-hidden star that, unless you're aware of it ahead of time, can only be found by trial and error. It's hidden in a breakable piece at the tip of a thin brick wall that you have to launch Mario into via cannon — and it looks no different than any other piece of scenery in the level. While the name of the star's goal is "Blast Away the Wall", finding out which wall to blast at, and which specific part, is completely left to the player to find out. That said, the game's view of Whomp's Fortress in the credits does show the star in plain sight if you haven't gotten it yet.
    • The secret star inside the pyramid of Shifting Sand Land. Even when you know where to find the five Star Points to reveal it, it's still tricky due to the quicksand that stunts your jumping, and the others are on small floating platforms that are very easy to fall off or miss.
    • The Tower of the Wing Cap. The entrance is hidden in the castle hall and your only hint towards its existence is the spotlight in the middle of the room. Unlike other levels, you don't enter it by jumping in, but by zooming in with the camera and looking up.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: With the exception of the final Bowser fight, almost all of the boss fights are very simplistic and easy in contrast to the rest of the game's challenges.
  • Hat of Flight: The Wing Cap grants you flight.
  • Heal It with Water: Mario's health meter is also his Oxygen Meter. If Mario is low on health, he can jump into a body of water and rise to the surface to refill his health meter to its full extent.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Princess Peach's hiding place is visible as soon as you start the game, though you can't access it. She's trapped in the castle's stained-glass window.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The game has very strange usage of hitboxes regarding objects, NPCs and enemies.
    • Mario's hitbox is actually a cylinder which is slightly smaller than his body and extends slightly above and below him.
    • Wiggler's hitbox is a squat cylinder that only covers half of his body and head.
    • Klepto's hitbox is far larger than his body would give you the impression of — like with Wiggler, it's a large cylinder, only it extends way out from his body and doesn't even cover his head at all.
    • Pokey's hitbox reaches up to the bottom of his head rather than the top as one would expect.
    • The hitbox for coins are very wide compared to their actual size, making it much easier to grab them on the ground, though this can become an issue when flying because it doesn't extend anywhere above or below the coins.
    • The big penguin's hitboxes is a very thin cylinder, much smaller than their character models.
    • Amps oddly have their hitbox located below their model, meaning they can fry Mario even when he's crouching below them, but Mario can jump right above or through them just fine.
    • The bombs in the Bowser fights have shockingly tiny hitboxes, being located in the dead center of each one.
    • The Bowser Keys hitbox is located right at the bottom of the key model.
    • Chain Chomp's character model is likewise much smaller than its imposingly large body.
    • The hitboxes for Eyerok's hands are interesting because they change between large or thin cubes depending on the state of their action.
    • Unagi the Eels hitboxes only stick to the center of where its body would be if it wasn't moving, and doesn't extend to the parts that are in motion.
    • Rainbow Ride's magic carpets have completely flat hitboxes — the animation of it rippling is just for show and doesn't affect Mario at all.
    • Big Boo's hitbox is much wider than its size (and shrinks and grows depending on its current state), jutting far out from its body. This allows Mario to hurt it without even directly touching it. Oddly, the top part of it isn't covered by the hitbox.
    • Bullet Bill's hitbox is very tiny, allowing Mario to jump right through it if the timing is right.
    • The underwater rings in the game (such as the ones left behind by a Manta Ray in Dire, Dire Docks) have their hitboxes located in the center of the rings and are quite small — it's possible to go through it and still not count as passing through if you don't touch the hitbox.
    • Cap Switches have a large cube shaped hitbox that extends far out from their model.
    • The pillars near the "Shoot to the Wild Blue" star have misaligned hitboxes, allowing allowing to clip through one side of them while being unable to get near the other side of them.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: Mario and Hoot the owl who carries him around at Whomp's Fortress.
  • Human Cannonball: Various levels contain cannons that Mario can be shot out of. This is actually the game that introduced travelling by cannon to the Mario series, which would quickly become a series staple.
  • Human Hammer-Throw: Mario's way of fighting Bowser.
  • Hypocrite: If one uses a cannon or the Wing Cap against Koopa the Quick, he'lll refuse to give them his star, saying that they cheated...yet he himself isn't opposed to cheating. However, he won't complain about the player using the warps.
  • Idle Animation:
  • Interactive Start Up: On the start menu, the player can stretch Mario's face around.
  • Instructive Level Design: The Castle Grounds are designed to show you almost all of the basics of the game and let you practice them in a safe environment. In fact, the opening cutscene specifically draws attention to the underwater door and grate in the Castle moat, immediately tipping you off that there's going to be branching paths and secrets in this game.
  • In-Universe Camera: The Lakitu Bros., controlled with the C buttons. This Cameras Crew created a Camera Screw.
  • Invincibility Power-Up:
    • Both the Metal and Vanish Cap make Mario immune to damage (except for high falls). The Metal Cap has an added bonus of keeping Mario from drowning underwater.
    • Riding a Koopa Shell will also make you invincible, even protecting you from high falls. Its only weakness is walls — bopping face-first into any, no matter what speed you're going, will destroy it (but riding alongside a wall, such as the narrow wooden ledge in Tiny-Huge Island, will be OK if you move slowly and carefully).
  • Invincible Minor Mook:
    • The snowmen in Cool, Cool Mountain and Snowman's Land. While the jumping variety are truly unbeatable, the kind that pop up to throw snowballs at you can be defeated by running circles around them and making them dizzy.
    • The Kuromame enemies, the tiny black balls that spit fire at you.
    • The Heave Ho enemies, a rare enemy that only appears in Wet-Dry World and Tick Tock Clock. They can't directly harm Mario unless you let them hurl him high into the air, but they're completely invincible to Mario's attacks.
    • Bubbanote , a giant Cheep-Cheep that only shows up in the large section of Tiny-Huge Island. While he moves slowly, he can kill you instantly if he swallows you, and it's absolutely impossible to kill him.
    • The infamous "Mystery Goomba" in Bowser in the Sky, a Goomba that accidentally spawns out of bounds on the level's death barrier (Goombas are programmed to appear in groups of three, and the platform they're on is just too narrow, making one of them spawn off of it). The Goomba is absolutely impossible to reach or kill, even with hacking or every glitch exploitation and TAS trick in the book. Even the legendary Mario 64 player Web Video/pannenkoek2012 hasn't been able to find a way to reach it.
  • Invisible Wall:
    • Trying to leave the boundaries of the levels will cause Mario to seemingly hit invisible walls that halt his step. Although, from a very technical point of view, these aren't "walls" in the same way Peach's Castle has walls: rather, the game will simply do all it can to prevent you from going to an area where there's no floor or death barrier beneath you, since those areas are supposed to be out of bounds, and thus trying to walk into one will have one's momentum constantly cancelled, amongst other tricks. The game's manual gives the in-universe explanation that the "walls" are the borders of the magical paintings containing the worlds.
    • At the entrance to Bowser in the Dark World, even if you expect the Trap Door coming, there's an invisible wall to make you fall in it anyway, restricting you from getting to the other side.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: The way Mario pauses and looks up at the sky in the end before going back into the castle with Peach and two Toads seems to imply this.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Mario's entire motivation for coming to the castle in the first place. You get the cake in the end as thanks.
  • Jump Physics: The game takes the original Mario jump physics and logically transitions them into the third dimension — Mario can still do his standard jump and hold his momentum as he moves in air or lands on the ground (allowing him to wall jump and do flips, in addition to his triple jump) and you still have some control of his movement as he's in mid-air. Curiously, Mario has a startling amount of control over his Long Jump, allowing him to keep going backwards without losing momentum if he uses it over and over (which in turn allows the famous "Backwards Long Jump" glitch to work). Mario takes fall damage when he falls from a certain height now, but you can negate the damaging momentum by doing a ground pound in mid-air (although this sacrifices whatever air control you had at the moment).
  • Justified Tutorial: Other than a few boxes of text at the start, the player is never forced to do a tutorial. Fortunately, the castle grounds and hub allow you to play around and get accustomed to the games controls. There are also many (completely optional) signs scattered around them to give advice on the games mechanics.
  • 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 (three Big Boos in increasingly difficult terrain, and a giant Mr. I that requires the invisibility cap to reach).
  • Lava Surfing: Mario can use a Koopa Shell to surf on lava.
  • Law of 100: Grabbing 100 coins nets you a Star! Also, after collecting one of the six main stars, an extra life is awarded for every 50, 100, and 150 coins collected.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Trope Namer. Also applies to the second Bowser course, Bowser In The Fire Sea, which is at the end of the section of the castle where you can enter Lethal Lava Land.
  • 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.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: The Wiggler in Tiny-Huge Island. He doesn't seem to be affiliated with Bowser, only being driven mad by the Power Star he acquired by chance. Once Mario beats some sense into him, he calms down, gives Mario the star, and heads off.
  • Macro Zone: The Huge version of Tiny-Huge Island.
  • Magic Carpet: The main means of transportation in Rainbow Ride.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Losing all of your health, getting sucked into quicksand in Shifting Sand Land, getting caught in the whirlpool in the first room of Dire, Dire Docks, or getting devoured by Big Bubba in Tiny-Huge Island will lead to Bowser laughing at you, while falling into a Bottomless Pit will simply have Mario screaming before being forced out of the level with one less life.
  • Marathon Level: "Tick Tock Clock" and "Rainbow Ride" are the longest levels in the entire game — the former for just how tall and elaborate it is, the latter because it has three long branching routes that command precision platforming, and your main means of getting around are using very sluggish flying carpets.
  • The Maze: Hazy Maze Cave, naturally (although the maze is only a small portion of the overall level).
  • Meaningless Lives: When you die normally, you're sent back into the castle right outside of the level's entry point (and are sent back outside the Castle if you die in the Castle itself). Running out of lives will instead send you back to the intro Mario screen, where then starting your file back up just starts you outside the Castle as usual with no progress lost unless for some reason you haven't been saving the game when you get a new star, so overall running out of lives is just a slight inconvenience, as you can just get right back to the level you were at within a minute without anything being lost. The exception to this are the Bowser fights: Dying against Bowser sends you right outside the pipe to him instead of back into the Castle, allowing you to jump right back to fighting him without redoing the level, so getting a Game Over against Bowser is a real detriment, as you would have to do the whole Bowser level again. But in the final Bowser fight, there's a 1-Up just sitting there right before the pipe and it will spawn back there each time you're sent back there from dying, so in the one actual possibly challenging boss fight, you effectively have infinite lives anyway to never get a Game Over.
  • Mercury's Wings: Mario's wing cap, which allows him to fly. It also allows him to slow his descent during a fall if you hold A.
  • Meta Game: The "Green Demon Challenge" that started in Japan, requires players to collect the 8 red coin star while actively trying to avoid the green 1-Up mushroom that homes in and follows Mario whenever it spawns.
  • Minimalist Run: Speedrunners of the game have attempted several of these;
    • First, there's just beating the game with the minimum 70 stars required to access Bowser in the Sky, which is done in casual speedruns.
    • The 16 Star Run, which needs 15 stars to open a certain door, and then one more star to bypass Dire, Dire Docks, and then use a glitch to reach Bowser in the Sky.
    • The 1 Star Run, which requires a method to bypass the aforementioned 15 star door, but still requires you to beat Dire, Dire Docks and then glitch to Bowser in the Sky.
    • The 0 Star Run, which is only possible by exploiting glitches like the Backwards Long Jump. It's also technically possible to beat the game with only one of the two keys (meaning you can skip Bowser in the Dark World), but it requires using a Parallel Universe glitch on the castle grounds to get into the basement early, which is extremely difficult to pull off without tool assisting. The foyer key is impossible to bypass, even with glitching, because the upstairs area will only load if Mario opens the door, not if he glitches into the area behind the door.
    • There's also the "No Coin Run", where you play through the game without grabbing a single coin. The challenge cuts you off from over 1/3 of the games stars, meaning you only need to collect 70 stars as well.
    • Some particularly creative runners who have mastered the games mechanics inside and out, such as pannenkoek2012, have created three more types of challenges that take the Minimalist Run to the absolute extreme — the Minimal/No A-Press Run and the Minimal/No B-Press Run (it's impossible to beat the levels without using either of them, and some levels are impossible to beat them without some button presses, even with glitch exploitation, so both types of challenge can overlap in the same game), and in some levels, the No Joystick Run!
  • 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.
  • Mr. Exposition: The Toads scattered throughout the castle serve as this. The first one you meet in the lobby gives you the rundown of Bowser taking over the castle and kidnapping Peach, scattering the Power Stars throughout the painting worlds and sealing off all but one door.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Sure, it's to some degree awesome, but are all those camera angles and the exciting fanfare really needed when Mario gets a key?
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups:
    • You can't combine the Wing Cap and the Metal Cap, although the combination is just Dummied Out.
    • You can also combine the Wing Cap and Koopa Shell (which allows you to glide to the Bob-omb Battlefield island), but not the other way around — the Item Blocks won't pop open if you're riding a shell.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Lampshaded during the battle against King Bob-omb. If you try throwing him off the mountain, he'll jump right back up and complain that throwing the king out of the ring is against the rules. However, you're not the king, so he's allowed to throw you out.
    Big Bob-omb: You must fight with honor! It is against the rules to throw the king out of the ring!
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: This game introduces the Bob-omb Buddies, a red sub-species of Bob-omb at war with the villainous black Bob-ombs and their leader (which war is the premise of the first world, Bob-omb Battlefield); they're quite willing to help Mario on his way with hints and permission to use their cannons to get around. The Buddies would go on to reappear throughout the N64 era in Mario Tennis and the Mario Party series, but since then they've only been seen in a certain Nostalgia Level in Super Mario Galaxy 2.
  • 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!.
    • The name of MIPS the Rabbit is an in-joke named after the Nintendo 64 CPU.
    • One for Unix aficionados: the main menu is based heavily on an SGI demo program called Buttonfly, which came with the Onyx supercomputers used to develop this game.
  • Never Say "Die": Probably one of the first Nintendo games to avert this. "Ghosts...don't...DIE! Can you get out of here alive?"
  • 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. However, this only happens if you do it in front of them. If you're behind them (the Penguin) or very far in front (Koopa the Quick), you can cheat. Strangely, Koopa the Quick will only call you a cheater if you use cannons or the Wing Cap during the race. As far as he's concerned, using warp zones is considered fair (presumably, he believes the warping you do involves speeds considered faster than humanly possible, which would give his "human blur" bit when you beat him a deeper meaning).
  • No Fourth Wall: It certainly seems like it what with all of the references to the game itself and the bosses telling you how to kill them.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: The three Bowser levels have very linear pathways compared to the rest of the open-world game, with only small side areas occasionally popping up in them.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits:
    • The pits in Tower of the Wing Cap, Vanish Cap Under the Moat, and Wing Mario Over the Rainbow simply send you to another area: the first floor lobby, the pool next to the castle waterfall, and the pond by the castle cannon, respectively.
    • In the DS version, the pits in Big Boo Battle don't hurt you and only warp you back to the start of the level.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: 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. If you get all 120 stars and meet Yoshi, he'll upgrade your triple jump so that Mario can avoid taking damage from a fall when he's flipping through the air.
  • Not the Intended Use: The Long Jump is supposed to be used to simply allow players to clear long gaps or travel a bit faster, but inquisitive players eventually discovered a major design oversight in the move—that Mario has no speed cap when moving backwards, meaning a skilled player repeatedly using the Long Jump while moving it backwards in the right environment allows one to build up ludicrous amounts of speed, letting them pass through levels much quicker and clip through barriers like doors or the Endless Stairs. Thus, discovering and then exploiting this technique allowed speedrunners to break the game wide open as it allows for a variety of Sequence Breaking tricks, right down to being able to complete the game without so much as collecting a single star.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The endless staircase prior to the final level; the darkness of the staircase beyond combined with the music gives an unsettling feeling. The music disappears when you enter the staircase with the required 70 stars, however, keeping the normal castle music instead at that point.
  • Notice This:
    • When you first enter Bob-omb Battlefield, the camera angle is set up in such a way that instantly makes the nearby mountain where King Bob-omb stands the shot's focal point, catching the players eye and giving them an immediate idea as to where to go.
    • The game calls to attention the locations of the Vanishing Cap and the Wing Cap courses — the former in the opening cutscene, and the latter via an impossible to miss pillar of light that appears in the lobby after you collect 10 Stars.
    • The Red Coins are specifically coded to always be visible from a far distance, making it much far easier to notice them than the regular coins.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The Final Bowser music is composed of one playing ominous music. Quite fitting for final boss music.
  • One-Hit Kill: Several; the center of the swirling quicksand pools, the borders of the level (if you somehow get past the invisible walls), the bottom of the outside of the pyramid, and the sand under the Tox Box maze in Shifting Sand Land pull you under with no effort. There's also a whirlpool in the entry area of Dire, Dire Docks, and Big Bubba can swallow you whole in the huge side of Tiny-Huge Island. And of course, falling into a bottomless pit.
  • Opening the Sandbox: The more Power Stars you obtain, the more levels you can access. When you start the game, you can only enter Bob-Omb Battlefield, but getting 1 star lets you enter Whomps Fortress and the Secret Slide. Two more stars lets you play in two more courses. Getting 8 stars and beating Bowser gives you the key to the basement, and this is where the game really starts opening up, since you get four new courses to explore (with four more stars unlocking another course, Big Boos Haunt) and can begin searching for the three cap switches. Getting 30 stars and beating Bowser again lets you go upstairs and play four more courses, and getting 50 grants you access to the last two stages before the Endless Stairs.
  • Ordinary Drowning Skills: The first game in the Mario franchise where water isn't breathable or instantly fatal. 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. Don't try this in Snowman's Land, though; the water you can swim in by the ice jet will in fact hurt you even if your head is above the water (and will sap your health twice as fast at that), and the water below the bully's platform is in fact so cold falling into it is the same as falling into lava.
  • "Pachelbel's Canon" Progression: The third section of the credits song is built on this progression.
  • Pain-Powered Leap: Falling into lava will launch Mario into the air; this does damage, and can lead to a Cycle of Hurting in the worst case scenario, but the leap can be controlled and used as a means to reach platforms.
  • Painting the Medium: The Mad Piano's room in Big Boo's Haunt is shaped like a piano lid, made much clearer by the map in DS.
  • Pass Through the Rings: Required for a handful of Stars.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Bowser's Sub permanently vanishes once you obtain the key from Bowser In The Fire Sea for the first time, and you need to use the floating poles from then on if you want to get its star again. This is a mild example of the trope because you need to collect the original star from the sub to even enter Bowser In The Fire Sea.
  • Player Nudge: Because the Caps are needed to get all of the Power Stars and a novice player is probably unaware they even exist at first, the game will occasionally drop hints to seek them out after completing a level and/or getting enough Stars, whether by the odd signpost near the cap blocks or by messages you get after collecting a certain amount of stars. If that isn't enough, the game specifically calls attention where you can find at least two of them; the opening specifically highlights the inexplicable door in the Castle's moat and the pit that leads to the Vanishing Cap course, and after collecting 12 stars, a mysterious light will appear from the ceiling in the castle lobby, prompting a curious player to look up into it and instantly get transported to the Wing Cap course.
  • Portal Picture: Most worlds' entrances.
  • Power Up Letdown:
    • Whereas the Wing Cap is very handy (if tricky to use), and the Metal Cap is quite practical in several circumstances, the Vanish Cap is really only useful in very specialized circumstances, namely to get through the occasional thin wall. It does leave you briefly invincible, but that's about the extent of its usefulness, and even then it usually appears in worlds with few enemies around, so even that use of it is moot.
    • The Koopa shells you can ride on land are fun and even useful to use, but the underwater Koopa shells you can occasionally find in the water levels (i.e. Jolly Roger Bay, Dire Dire Docks) not so much. It's hard to grab due to some buggy collision detection, and all it does is let you move a little faster underwater for a few seconds before it vanishes.
    • At the end of the game, when you get all 120 stars and launch yourself up to the castle, you'll find Yoshi, who congratulates you, give you 100 free lives, and then adds a slight bounce and twinkle to the triple jump. The extra lives are superflous since you've already beaten the entire game, but the upgraded triple jump does protect you from high falls.
  • Pressure Plate: There are switches Mario can step or slam on that will open doors or activate something nearby. Most of them stay locked, but some of them, like the stair switches in the Bowser levels, are timed.
  • Puzzle Boss: In the Bowser fights, Bowser is completely immune to your attacks, so you have to grab him by his tail and throw him into bombs lining the arena. The bombs serve no purpose other than to hurt him, since he can't (or won't) throw you into the bombs himself, and you frankly have to be suicidal to run into them.
  • Quicksand Sucks: It does so at different rates in Shifting Sand Land, ranging from very slowly to instant death. Which one you get depends on where it is (the swirling sand pits pull you down at a medium speed unless you venture into the center, which kills you immediately; there's also some different colored sand in certain parts of the level and the sand in the pyramid is slow; the quicksand around the border of the course, surrounding the pyramid, and under the metal block maze is instantly fatal and has to be treated as a bottomless pit).
  • Racing Minigame: Koopa the Quick wants to race you! As does Big Penguin.
  • Railroading:
    • Downplayed. You need 12 stars to open all the courses on the first floor and get the caps — but after you beat Bowser in the Dark World, the game pretty much gives you free reign on where to go. The only other obstacles are the key to the second floor and the Star Doors. But you don't even have to complete every level to get to Bowser — it's possible to even skip a lot of the stars from both the castle basement and top floors if you're just settling for a 70 star run. Heck, you can reach Bowser in the Fire Sea while hardly setting foot downstairs if you're persistent enough with the early levels, with one star in Dire, Dire Docks blocking your path to it. You can complete the game without ever going to the second and third floor levels by getting every star in the foyer and basement (there are 74 in total there).
    • Some of the levels have mild railroading in them. For example, in Bob-omb Battlefield, you absolutely have to get the first star in order to race Koopa the Quick and unlock the cannons, which you need to get the star on the Island in the Sky (though in practice, it's possible to reach it with a very skilled long jump), plus the red coin on it and the rings of floating coins nearby that are needed for the 100 coin star (the highest amount of coins you can get without reaching the island is 94 to 99, depending on whether a regular Koopa shows up or if you long jump to the island). You technically need to backtrack there again once you have the Wing Cap to beat Mario Wings To The Sky, but that can be bypassed by using the cannon. It is possible to get the Chain Chomp star first, though.
  • Reality Warper: Bowser uses the stolen Stars "to create his own world in the paintings and walls" (according to Toad), each Star Door room to him contains a different physic-bending defense, and he can Teleport in his second fight.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • All of the classic Mario themes are given an update, and were pretty damn good.
    • The new stage music for Bob-omb Battlefield, Cool, Cool Mountain, and the Secret Slide areas (among others) are all rearrangements of the same tune. These three variations make up the majority of the game's music, though a few have their own completely unique tracks.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Bowser delivers one to Mario just before their final confrontation.
  • 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, King-a Bowser!" when he throws him far) would eventually be re-added into a Japan-exclusive re-release with rumble support.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: From the official French translation, as seen on the European cartridge:
    Mon très cher Mario:
    Viens vite au château,
    je t'ai préparé un
    délicieux gâteau...
    À bientôt,
    Princesse Toadstool
  • Ring-Out Boss: Bully enemies can't actually harm you, but can only knock you around... into the lava. The Big Bully runs on this same principle (as does the Chill Bully, but he trades the lava-ringed arena for an ice platform above a pool of what may be liquid nitrogen). Not with the Big Bob-omb, however: "It is against the royal rules to throw the King out of the Ring!" He tries to ring you out, though, and his ring is the peak of a mountain. Have a nice fall!
  • Rule of Seven: Each of the painting worlds has seven Power Stars, including the 100-Coin Star.
  • Rule of Three: Three times you can score an extra life after beating any world with 50 coins, with the bonus stacking up until 150 coins.
  • Rump Roast: Happens to Mario when he falls in lava and touches blowing fire.
  • Save the Princess: Of course.
  • Secret Level: Several of them.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Has its own page for it.
  • Sequence Breaking: Also has its own page for it.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Mario 64 is much easier than the preceding games in the Mario series, including Super Mario World.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The Trope Namer. Shifting Sand Land is full of sand, quicksand pits, and sandstorm-tornadoes. There's also a small oasis and a big pyramid in the course.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Signpost Tutorial: The game contains a number of literal signposts scattered throughout the Castle, and a few more in the levels themselves. They cover all of the basic moves and gameplay elements, but you can skip them if you want.
  • Slide Attack: There's two. Pressing the attack button while running will cause Mario to dive and slide on the ground for a bit, being able the grab things and hit enemies this way. There's also a sliding kick, done by running, then crouching and pressing B quickly.
  • Slide Level: There are three secret slides that can be accessed within certain areas where completing it gives you a power star. The one at Cool, Cool Mountain in particular requires you to race the big penguin for it, without using the shortcut, otherwise he won't give it to you if you win the race.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: The game is a level 4 throughout, and comes near level 5 once all the levels are opened up.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic: Mario 64 falls square on the Fantastic end of the scale. The game doesn't even try to be realistic in either design, tone, or physics, although the game does have a few internal rules in order to be playable. Friend and foe alike are bizarre and abstract in design. The entire castle has entire worlds resting inside of magic paintings or in hidden passages, and they too have odd, impossible elements of fantasy, such as floating islands or pipes that can make a world grow or shrink in a second. Killing an enemy just leaves behind a coin in their place. Mario can survive insanely high falls, and the most it does is take away half his health, and he can find hats that briefly make him fly, turn to metal or invisible (and in one part of the game, you can combine the latter two to do both). A Thwomp or other giant block will just squash Mario like a pancake and take away a snip of his health. Surfacing in water refills your health. Lava just burns Mario's butt and launches him high into the air. Mario losing all of his health just sends him flying out of a painting and instantly heals him upon throwing him out (at the cost of a 1-up). This, of course, is all what makes the game so much fun.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: The doors that lead upstairs are right in the castle lobby, but can't be opened until you beat Bowser in the Fire Sea.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Bob-omb Battlefield is the happiest warzone ever.
  • Speed Run: In an example that would make a Metroid game jealous. You can finish the game with 0 stars if you pull off the right glitches.
  • Stairway to Heaven: The final staircase, if you try to climb it before you have the necessary amount of stars, goes up forever; you can't reach the top unless you take advantage of a Good Bad Bug.
    Bowser: To open the door that leads to the "endless" stairs, you need 70 Stars. Bwa ha ha!
  • Starter Villain: King Bob-Bomb is this in a way, being the first boss the player faces at the end of the first level accessible in the game and having the level dedicated to a war between his own Bob-Bombs and the friendly, pink ones. He's fairly non-threatening, and the way he's defeated could even be considered a simplified way of the way main villain Bowser is defeated (that is, being grabbed from behind and tossed).
  • Stock Ness Monster: In the bottom lake of Hazy Maze Cave, there is a Loch Ness Monster-like creature called Dorrie. Fortunately, Dorrie is quite friendly and is more than willing to help Mario get onto the nearby ledges.
  • Suddenly Voiced:
    • Super Mario 64 is the first main-series 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 both editions of Mario Teaches Typing, but while Martinet did voice Mario in the second one, it was actually Ronald B. Ruben in the first one.) He first tried out a gruff Brooklyn-esque voice, similar to how Mark Graue had voiced Mario in Hotel Mario, but decided it would be too scary for young children, so he instead adapted the familiar perma-falsetto that you hear to this day.
    • Also, Peach speaks in the opening and ending and Bowser gains his distinctive laugh (though he won't actually speak until Super Mario Sunshine).
  • Super Drowning Skills: To defeat the Chilly Bully in Snowman's Land, you have to knock him into the water where he promptly explodes and disappears within seconds. This also applies to Mario, as that water is sharp ice that is the same as lava, and air is sapped twice as fast in the water by the ice machine.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Along with the other launch game for the Nintendo 64, Pilotwings 64, this was one of the first two games to use the "64" ending.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The haze in the Hazy Maze Cave is bright yellow.
  • Temple of Doom: The inside of the Pyramid in Shifting Sand Land.
  • Threatening Shark: They're called Sushis and they're found in Dire, Dire Docks.
  • Three Strike Combo: The basic right-left-kick combo might be the Trope Codifier for 3D games. Yah-Wah-Hoo!
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Micro-Goombas on Tiny-Huge Island. They recklessly charge headfirst into Mario, only to explode on contact — and they can't even harm Mario, just knock him off his feet for a moment. They can, however, potentially knock you to your death if you're near the edge of a cliff.
  • Trope Codifier: This game set the standard for both the Video Game 3 D Leap as well as the 3D Platform Game.
  • Underground Level:
    • Hazy Maze Cave is entirely underground, set in an abandoned mine.
    • Cavern of the Metal Cap, which is accessed through an area in Hazy Maze Cave. It's a small side area thats located behind a waterfall near Peach's Castle.
    • Vanish Cap Under the Moat is set in an area directly below Peach's Castle.
    • The second half of Lethal Lava Land is set inside of the levels volcano, which goes deep below the levels sea of lava.
    • The second half of Shifting Sand Land is set underground as well.
  • Under the Sea:
    • Jolly Roger Bay is a pirate's cove with a huge lake of water to swim in. There's a giant sunken ship with an eel living in it.
    • Dire, Dire Docks has no land, aside from the sides of the Bowser sub area. Mario must swim and dodge sharks, manta rays, and whirlpools.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • In Cool Cool Mountain, on the longest bridge, there are two Mr. Blizzard enemies who behave differently from the ones elsewhere in the game, as they hop back and forth across a bridge rather than pivoting in place and throwing snowballs at you. Also, since they cannot be run around, they cannot be defeated. In the remake, there are other ways to defeat Mr. Blizzards that will work on them.
    • This platforming adventure includes a killer piano in Big Boo's Haunt that attacks when you get near it and can't be killed.
    • Hazy Maze Cave is the only level to contain Swoopers.
    • And a solitary Chain Chomp in Bomb-Omb Battlefield which you must set free to get a star.
    • Within Lethal Lava Land, you can find the only two Big Bullies, both of which contain a power star.
    • Bubbas (large fish that will eat you) are only found in Tiny Huge Island, on the Huge Side.
    • The Tox Boxes, Pokeys, Grindels/Spindels, and Klepto the Condor only appear in Shifting Sand Land.
    • On an icy arena within Snowman's Land, there lies the only Chill Bully. He is identical in every way to Big Bullies, other than visually.
    • The only Manta Ray, Sushi, and two Cheep Cheeps in the entire game appear in Dire Dire Docks at the very beginning, near the whirlpool.
    • Unagi the Eel is found exclusively on Jolly Roger's Bay, and there's only one.
    • There's a single Bullet Bill Shooter in the entire game, in Whomp's Fortress. And it only shows up from the second mission onwards.
    • Bomps, wall enemies that push Mario, are found exclusively in Whomp's Fortress. You can even skip them altogether.
    • Despite being the namesake of Whomp's Fortress, Whomps themselves are fairly rare, with the level itself having only two of them (not counting their leader, Whomp King). The one other Whomp in the game is found in a lonely platform in the last level.
    • Tall, Tall Mountain has the only Fwoosh in the game.
  • Unnaturally Looping Location: If Mario has less than 70 Power Stars, the staircase leading up to the final Bowser battle will endlessly loop (and also plays a strange melody that seems to endlessly increase in pitch). It is possible to exploit a glitch to get Mario to move so quickly that he bypasses the loop altogether.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake:
    • You have to be unlucky to accidentally softlock Mario via quirky collision-detection, but the easiest way to jam up the game through no fault of the gamer is to collect the 100-coin star on 'Tall, Tall Mountain' over any cliff or chasm with updrafts. If Mario touches a star while in the air, he'll fall to the ground and victory pose as you're booted out of the level. But since the winds prevent the plumber from landing, he's now helplessly suspended in midair with no way to progress.
    • In 'Cool, Cool Mountain', if you're unlucky enough to spawn the 100 coin star while on the slide, backtracking to the top won't help; the star vanishes once the area reloads, meaning you have to replay the level all over again to get it.
  • Variable Mix: The water and cave levels change the background instrumentation depending on what's going on or what area of the level you're in. For example, the underground music sounds spookier when you're in the area with Dorrie.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You can throw both of the harmless baby penguins off the level. Like everyone else, they both get better (Tuxie respawns at the top of the mountain and the other baby penguin respawns on top of the cottage). But you're still a dick for doing it. When you take back the lost penguin that the mom is looking for after returning it, she walks towards you crossly.
    • Koopa Troopas run from you in this game, and don't even hurt you when they bump into you, but you can still kill them for a blue coin.
  • Video Game Flight: The Wing Cap power, although Mario is technically gliding, not flying. This game even provides the image for that page.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • You can save yourself from fall damage by doing a ground pound or a dive right before you land, even though both actions should technically accelerate your interaction with Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress. The in-game logic is presumably that it stops the fall and restarts it, thereby shortening the distance you actually do fall.
    • Despite what you'd initially think, it is possible to get the underwater Jet Stream Power Stars without the aid of the Metal Cap by exploiting a difficult to execute glitch by swimming directly on the side of the jet foam.
  • Voiceover Letter: In the beginning, Peach reads aloud her letter to Mario.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: With the Metal Cap, as Metal Mario is too heavy to swim. The tradeoff is that it allows you to grab stars from underwater vents that would otherwise blow Mario away.
  • 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. The action is made easier in the DS remake and later Mario games, as Mario will slide down the wall upon hitting it, giving the player more time to jump.
  • 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.
  • Wingding Eyes: Mario's eyes get X's in them whenever he dies or gets burnt by fire.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Wiggler you fight inside Tiny-Huge Island, due to the influence of a Power Star it acquired. Mario gives him a whoopin' and brings him back to his senses, surrendering the star to him in return.
    Wiggler: What to do, what to do? Huff... huff... it makes me so... MAD!!! Everything has been going wrong since I got this Star... It's so shiny, but it makes me feel... strange...
  • Wrote the Book: One of the Toads in the castle says that "Bowser and his cronies wrote the book on bad."
  • Years Too Early: If Koopa the Quick wins a race in the German version, he taunts Mario that even his great grandma is much faster than him, but he could probably catch up given a couple of years of training.
    Koopa the Quick: Hohoho, das war ja wohl nichts! Sogar meine Uroma Koopa ist wesentlich schneller als Du! Naja, mit zwei Jahren Training konntest Du's vielleicht schaffen. Bis dann...und tscuhß!Literal English translation 
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: A variation in Unagi the Eel, "unagi" being Japanese for "freshwater eel."
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: In many levels. For example, in Shifting Sand Land, after standing on all four pillars, the player's wondering about the star is soon changed to wondering what the hell is happening to the pyramid.

    Super Mario 64 DS (2004) 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ab0c2d0a_8d5a_4a06_9d69_a200471e0085.jpeg
Here we go!

  • 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.
  • Adaptational Badass: Not only does Bowser replicate his original takeover of Peach's Castle successfully, he also captures Mario, Luigi, and Wario, three of the most powerful characters in the series, in the process without throwing a wrench in his plans.
  • Adapted Out: MIPS the Rabbit is absent from the port, having been replaced by a group of rabbits who give you minigame keys instead.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Due to the awkwardness of walking with the touchscreen, many of the previously thin paths in the original release have been made wider so as to be less frustrating. Even when playing with the D-Pad, the inclusion of the dash button means that one can walk over those thin paths much more easily by simply letting go of the button.
    • In order to keep you from constantly having to backtrack to the character selection room every time any given Star requires a certain character, you can temporarily turn into other characters by picking up their hats, which appear in levels once you unlock the character who owns the hat. For that same reason, entering a level as Yoshi allows you to start a level with one of said hats, provided you unlocked the character in question.
    • Every character can jump higher than Mario could in the original (even Mario himself), aside from Wario, who jumps at about the same height.
  • 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. Dorrie's updated design would be carried over into New Super Mario Bros..
    • Some of the 3D models were also improved — most noticeable in Mario's head on the title screen, the Goombas that look more like their 2D counterparts, and Bowser, who looks much more refined and akin to his modern design.
  • Artifact Title: The game kept the "64" part of its name so that one can tell that it's based on the Nintendo 64 game, not because it can be found on it. The DS itself isn't even 64 bit (it has a 32-bit CPU).
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Yoshi's role in the original was a brief cameo. In this version, he's a playable character — in fact, he's even more of The Protagonist than Mario this time (Yoshi's the main playable character during Mario, Luigi, and Wario's time as Badasses in Distress, and he gets the most spotlight during the ending).
    • In the original, there was only one rabbit (named MIPS). There's plenty more here.
  • Ascended Glitch: In the original, by using the reverse long jump method, Mario can pass through the mirror in the mirror room and explore the area behind it. However, only emptiness waits beyond the mirrored door. In this version, Luigi can use a Power Flower to turn into Vanish Luigi and walk through the mirror to enter the mirrored room. If he passes through the mirrored door, Luigi ends up in complete emptiness, with the exception of himself, the door, and one of the castle's secret Power Stars.
  • 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.
    • King Bob-omb also takes pride in his mustache, apparently believing that it gives him power.
  • Betting Mini Game: Most of Luigi's mini-games, which are mainly based around casino games, are this, ranging from poker to slots to memory matching.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Yoshi pulls off one of the greatest examples in the Mario franchise. Just when Mario, Luigi, and Wario are all captured and sealed behind doors as Peach's Castle gets taken over, the green dinosaur comes in and starts doing some serious asskicking, armed with just his appetite and his incredible jumping, and rescues our heroes in time.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: Except it's even worse than the original in this regard: Since Yoshi is playable in this version, no one appears on the roof, there's no upgraded Triple Jump to be unlocked, and worst of all, the only thing of interest on the roof is Luigi's final rabbit... which gives you a virtually unchanged version of another mini-game you're most likely to have unlocked by that point.
  • Call-Back: Yoshi can't kill the Boos in the castle courtyard or enter Big Boo's Haunt, alluding to his fear of ghosts from Super Mario World.
  • Call-Forward: There's a new Super Mario Sunshine-inspired bonus level, appropriately titled "Sunshine Isles". It even uses the Delfino Plaza music.
  • The Chosen One: Mario gets upgraded to this role in the remake, as he's the only one who can open the star doors and complete the last level of the game, Bowser in the Sky.
  • Co-Dragons: Goomboss, King Boo, and Chief Chilly seem to play these roles to Bowser, since they have their own levels and guard the other protagonists. In contrast to the N64 version, in which Bowser doesn't really have a Dragon.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Somewhat the case with Chief Chilly — if you glitch through the mirror as Yoshi and go fight said boss, he actually has dialogue specific to Yoshi. However, it's more likely that Yoshi was at some point in the beta planned to be able to reach him, and the text was just never removed. King Boo also had dialogue for fighting Yoshi in Japanese, but if you somehow reach him with Yoshi in other languages, he'll only utter blank text boxes.
    • It's very difficult to fight Eyerok with Yoshi, requiring entering the pyramid with a hat on Yoshi, punching the block guarding Eyerok, going back and making difficult jumps to get back to an enemy, getting hit to lose the cap, and making even more difficult jumps to get back to Eyerok. However, the developers realized that this could happen and added a fire to the arena for Yoshi to eat so he can damage Eyerok.
    • If you defeat Bowser without unlocking Luigi or Wario, they will be completely absent from the ending. However, if you somehow manage to complete the game without unlocking Mario (which isn't possible without tool-assistance), he'll be absent from the ending too, though he remains on the cake.
  • Distressed Dude: Mario, Luigi and Wario all get locked up by Bowser when they go to the castle, leaving Yoshi (who was still asleep on the roof) as their rescuer.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • The Toads on the first floor are pretty rude to Luigi, no matter how many stars you get as him. However, the Toads on the second floor and the third floor do respect him. In fact, one Toad on the second floor says he's Luigi's biggest fan and calls him the best "supporting actor" the world's ever seen, while another says that the duo will need to be called the "Luigi Bros." soon.
    • Same goes for Wario. Multiple Toads disrespect him for his previous villainous roles and general evil-looking appearance, although a few Toads respect him too; one in the basement says that since coins heal injuries, it would help people out if they were greedy like Wario, and a few of the upstairs Toads apologize for assuming he's just around to cause mischief, seeing as he's collecting Power Stars with the rest of the team.
  • Dummied Out: A model that mimics the player's actions can be accessed with codes. This could be for the reflection of the character in the mirror.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: There are four playable characters: Mario, Luigi, Yoshi... and Wario, being playable in a mainstream Mario game for the first time. And to date, the last time: this game came out just a year after WarioWare completely changed the character's paradigm and resulted in the "classic" Wario relegated to spinoffs only. Seeing Wario playable in a headliner game like Super Mario 64 is very odd to a player nowadays; if the game were made now, a character like Toad or Toadette would be the likely choice for a fourth character.
  • Easy Level Trick: The game has a lot of these, both the intentional and unintentional kind. For the intentional kind, the first Chain Chomp mission in Bob-omb Battlefield can be beaten by ground pounding the post three times and avoiding its attacks... or you could just run straight through the fence behind it with Luigi's vanish cap ability. Or just smash the post in one hit as an invincible Mega Mario/whoever equivalent. For every other mission in the game, the 'easy trick' was simply to use Luigi and backflip, since it basically let you glide gently down to just about anywhere from a high enough pointer.
  • Enemy Mine: Mario and Wario were usually rivals and/or enemies. However, as a result of Wario as a playable character, this trope is enacted, forcing Mario and Wario to bury the hatchet for this game.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The game recreates this for Bowser, though his face is already visible in the frame since he's smaller and more hunched over in this version.
  • Funny Background Event: In Luigi's card minigames, a Toad can be seen walking around the casino with drinks in his hand. He sometimes stops to watch you play.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • It's possible to crash the game before you even reach the file select. However, you have to be doing it on purpose to pull it off, as it's virtually impossible to do it normally.
    • In Shifting Sand Land, if you play as Yoshi and put on a cap, carry a box and let Klepto grab your hat, the game will not only crash, but it actually fail to reboot unless you remove and reinsert the DS cartridge. This only applies to the first version of the game; the revised cartridge of the game fixes the glitch.
    • In Snowman's Land, theres a glitch you can trigger that causes multiple Mario hats to spawn. At first its harmless, but if you keep repeating it, more and more hats will keep spawning, with the game crashing once 64 of them appear on screen.
  • 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!
  • Idle Animation: Aww, don't the other characters look so cute when they're asleep? Strangely though, Yoshi is the only character who won't remain asleep forever, as he wakes up on his own if you let him sleep long enough.
  • Inflating Body Gag: The Power Flower transforms Mario into Balloon Mario.
  • It's Personal: Implied to be why Bowser only allows Mario to face him in the final battle.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Mario, the former Trope Namer, does it again. The instruction manual gives him a 2/3 rating in speed, power, and jump. This isn't entirely accurate, though - Mario is the fastest runner of the four, and most of his jumps are as high as Luigi's, although he lacks the ability to glide.
  • Kaizo Trap: Due to the "Cruiser Crossing the Rainbow" star's new placement and the need to grab it with Balloon Mario, it's very likely you'll fall to your death after grabbing it — but you still get to keep the star, the game just won't prompt you to save until you grab another star.
  • 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.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Wario hovers between this and mere Joke. In a platform game where jumping is emphasized, Wario's jumping ability and mobility is downright pathetic. However, he has amazing strength and is the only one who can break black bricks.
  • Loves Me Not: Implied through Yoshi's flower pedal mini game he has a crush on Princess Peach.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Finding all 8 of the glowing rabbits. Their locations are completely randomised between the existing rabbits, so theres no real strategy for finding them, and you need to find them all to get one of the castles secret stars.
  • Mighty Glacier: Wario. He's the slowest character of the 4 (the manual gives him a speed 1/3 rating) and has the worst jumping ability of the gang (jump 1/3), but his physical strength (power 3/3) puts all the others to shame.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Feels a bit like this, with 30 extra stars, and extra rabbits to catch.
  • Mythology Gag: Yoshi asleep on the roof of the castle in the opening is a reference to where you find him in the 64 version.
  • Nerf:
    • Several stages were slightly (or greatly) altered. Generally, this involves enemies in tough spots getting removed, and the addition or expansion of some floors or platforms to aid against falling. Tick Tock Clock is by far the biggest example, as now there's floor all around the bottom except the pit in the middle, while the original only had land for about 1/4 of the area.
    • Hoot appears in more levels.
    • Some enemies aren't as smart, fast, or don't attack as often, such as the water bombs, Fire Chomps, Chain Chomp, King Bob-omb, and yes, Bowser.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: The rabbits in Peach's Castle will accuse Yoshi of this, if the dino keeps putting them in his mouth, but not actually swallowing them.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Judging by how the Toads react to each character, Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi are, and Wario definitely isn't.
  • 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 King 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 (the jumping glitch to bypass the stairs has also been fixed to prevent the other characters from reaching the top; however, there is a different glitch that you can do).
    • Koopa the Quick will only race Mario. If you approach him as another character, he'll ask you to find Mario and tell him that Koopa the Quick wants to race.
  • Optional Party Member: While rescuing Mario is mandatory (he's the only character able to open the doors to the first two Bowser courses, and the only character allowed in "Bowser in the Sky"), rescuing Luigi and Wario isn't necessary to reach the end of the game.
  • Palmtree Panic: The Sunshine Isles are a group of tropical islands.
  • 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.
  • Punched Across the Room: If you punch an enemy with Wario, be prepared to run a bit of distance after them to get the coin that they have.
  • Railroading: Still downplayed, but there's a little more in this port than in the original game due to the need to use four different characters to complete it. A 0 Star Run is also explicitly impossible in it, even with tool-assisting and glitches, since you absolutely need to unlock Mario in order to complete the game.
  • Random Encounters: Occasionally, any rabbit you've already caught will be replaced by a glowing rabbit. Getting all 8 earns you a key to the mysterious room on the right of the character select.
  • Recruitment by Rescue: Mario, Luigi, and Wario become playable once you rescue them.
  • Red Ones Go Faster: Mario has the best speed out of the four.
  • Retcon: King Boo debuted in Luigi's Mansion, where he swore to avenge himself against the Mario Bros. for what they did to him, which was unknown, since he hadn't appeared before. Super Mario 64 DS is now King Boo's official first canon appearance, which makes his lines in Luigi's Mansion make more sense.
  • The Rival: Bowser's rivalry with Mario is emphasized by the fact that only Mario can open the big Star Doors, as well as what Bowser says to the other playable characters if they try to do so.
    [at the Dire, Dire Docks door] Mario ran away like his overalls were on fire! Gwahahahaha! I have no business with you small fries! Bring me Mario at all costs! Gwahahaha!
    [at the third floor door] What're you doing, messing up MY castle! I worked hard for it! But hey, I'm a sweet guy...I'll let it slide this time...But bring me that Mario! My little beasties have a big surprise planned for him! Gwahahaha!
    [at the endless stairs door] Grr. Even though I've lost this many Power Stars, Mario is the only one I can call my rival. No one else matters. Now scram! Gwa ha ha!!
  • Rump Roast: Like in the original, this happens to any player who touches lava or fire.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Wario's punches are sometimes accompanied by him saying "Punch!"
  • Super Strength: Wario has this to make up for his limited jump and speed. With this strength, he can pull signposts out of the ground and throw them at enemies or pound the signs into the ground, he has a much stronger punch (useful for Bullies), and he can destroy the giant cannonball obstacles and punch Tox Boxes off their maze (when they roll safely over him). He also isn't slowed down by carrying boxes, Chuckyas, or Big Bob-omb.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: This trope happened again, as this version adds "DS" to the name, while still keeping "64" in its title. So the former part tells us the system, while the latter part tells us which game it is.
  • Stylistic Suck: The game keeps the same sound design as the original, and as such, the new voice clips for Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario are made to sound in line with their lower quality, and Peach's old voice actress came back to record extra lines rather than the game using the vocal direction they established in Super Mario Sunshine.
  • 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.
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: Referenced by Tuxie in a dummied-out line that was apparently supposed to be an alternate version of her line when you have Yoshi eat her.
    Tuxie: So it IS true that there's a monster that eats naughty kids...
  • 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. Even then, it's usually a job for Wario's hat, since it's much quicker and easier to just have the character you're playing as put that on than switch to him. The only reason to actually use Wario after getting him is the levels that can only be accessed by him.
    • Downplayed with Yoshi; although he isn't particularly useful on his own (though he excels in getting 100-coin stars), his flutter-jump ability makes him the best jumper, possibly better than Luigi, and his ability to enter a stage with any character's cap makes him convenient to have around.
  • Throw the Mook at Them: The game has only Yoshi as a playable character at the start. As such, he cannot punch enemies, but he can swallow them to stock up on eggs to throw. Both King Bob-omb and Goomboss could not be beaten if they did not have their respective mooks to fuel Yoshi for eggs. If anyone other than Yoshi fights Goomboss, the fight will be slightly different in that you have to punch Goombas into Goomboss in order to hurt him.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Wario is supposedly this. Granted, unless he really likes cake or wants revenge on Bowser for capturing him, he has no informed ulterior reason to rescue Peach, making his actions for once seem unambiguously heroic.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: One of the new courses added to this version is Sunshine Isles, a set of small tropical islands that you need to find five Silver Stars on to get a Power Star.
  • Updated Re-release: Now with more characters, Stars, levels, and minigames.
  • Video Game Remake: Instead of being a mere port, the DS version has actually been rebuilt from the ground up, as evidenced by the crisper textures and more detailed character models, as well as some stages being slightly altered. This was probably necessary in order to properly implement the new characters.
  • Walk on Water: Luigi can run on water for about two seconds before he sinks into it.

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Alternative Title(s): Super Mario 64 DS

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Super Mario 64

Course 14 is Tick Tock Clock, a giant clock in which Mario platforms on gears, pendulums, and clock hands.

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