Super Mario 64 Land

Super Mario 64 Land is a N64 hack by Kaze Emanuar, Dan Drigues & more from 2019 which is based off of Super Mario 64 and emulates the gameplay of Super Mario 3D Land and 3D World.

You can download the patch from the download page for this hack, using the password onthe3ds. You can also find it on mega. You will need to apply the patch to a ROM called Super Mario 64 (U) [!].z64.

Note: The game will only run in Project 64 if you have these settings (other emulators might vary), and will crash on level 3 if not configured:

Super Mario 64 Land story, style and gameplay

Story & style

The game starts out in Peach’s castle with a Toad guarding the Ztar (from the Mario Party series) during Peach’s Birthday. This likely took place after the events of Super Mario 64.

Toad: I guard the Grand Ztar! I am alone today, the other toads are eating cake at Peach’s Birthday. but someone has to do this important job! I’m sure Peach will praise me a lot! The Ztar holds negative energy. It’s very dangerous! If it fell into the wrong hands…

Bowser: SCRAM! This Ztar will come in handy! BWAHAHAHAHA!! I’m taking it! Who’s going to stop me now? Mario? That plumber couldn’t fix a pipe let alone hunt me with the Ztar! BWAHAHAHA!!

After this, there is a brief tutorial level where you have to traverse an ascending obstacle corridor using new skills explained to you by the Toads there.

The rest of the game takes place in a similar setting to Super Mario 3D World, with an explorable overworld like The Sprixie Kingdom.

There’s not much to the ending. You fight Bowser and recover the Ztar.

Gameplay

While the overworld and levels are reminiscent of Super Mario 3d World with a few changes. Each level has a 2-4 different stars to get, but unlike Mario 64, only the last one exits the stage. The rest let you keep playing through. These side-stars are usually found off the beaten path, hidden behind 8 red coins. Some stages even have a 100-coin star.

Each stage gives you a grade upon completion based on the score you got while playing it. You can get points by completing the stage quickly, getting optional stars, finding hidden green mushrooms, getting coins, defeating enemies and a few level-specific events. To get the Toad star in each world, you need an A rank on all four stages.

Unlike Super Mario 64, the stages in Super Mario 64 Land are very linear. Most levels have a branch or two to get a hidden star but this is a game of platforming challenges rather than exploration.

Each world has four stages that have to be beat to reach the world boss. You also need to get a certain number of stars to unlock the boss stage, so just getting one star per stage won’t get you to the boss level. Stars from previous worlds count for half as much.

New moves and upgrades

There are four new moves explained in the tutorial that don’t exist in Super Mario 64:

  • Wall slide – you can slide down walls, making it easier to wall jump
  • Ground pound jump – a high jump after ground pounding
  • Air dive – dive forward in mid-air, like in Mario Odyssey
  • Spin jump – get a bit more air time by rotating the joystick or pressing L

Ground pound jump is good for getting a high jump when you don’t have the space to perform any of the other high jumps. Air dive is kind of useless since you can get a long distance jump easier just by doing a long jump. The spin jump is the most useful one since it allows you to brake/extend your jumps just a teeny bit for a more accurate landing.

Super Mario 64 Land brings back some costume upgrades. Oddly enough, the upgrades from the original SM64 (flying cap, metal Mario and invisible cap) are nowhere to be seen.

The Tanuki suit allows Mario to break his fall in the air while you tap the jump button like in Mario Bros 3. I haven’t figured out how to do the statue drop if it’s at all possible.

Cat Mario on the other hand does his air dive and wall climb. The latter of which isn’t 100% reliable in my experience, so only use it from a safe position.

Bee Mario lets you fly a bit more in the air. It can break some long jumps, and it is lost when touching water.

Yoshi flutter-jumps a bit in the air which doesn’t give much height, but allows you to traverse long distances diagonally downwards.

The Smoke Ring allows Mario to make a very powerful mid-air jump. If this existed on all stages, it would basically break any semblance of balance.

Electric Mario lets you curl into a ball and shoot forward. It doesn’t have much use except to traverse two grates (kind of like the invisibility cap in SM64) and for the Wario boss battle.

Cloud Mario works just like in Super Mario Galaxy 2, it lets you create up to three platforms mid-air. It’s not required to beat the game, but it does provide a nice little panic button.

Rocket Mario gives you a special move where you can charge and aim a huge rocket boost to fly long distances. It’s pretty hard to use since a small miscalculation will send you to your doom.

The levels of Super Mario 64 Land

Super Mario 64 Land is divided into eight worlds; each with four levels, a toad house, a boss stage and a hidden overworld star. They don’t have any official name, but they each have a consistent theme.

Grass Land

Grass Land is the first world in the game. These are fairly easy levels, but be sure to watch out for the falling mushrooms in stage 2.

The Goomba King can be defeated by waiting for him to bump a wall and the jumping on him.

Desert Land

The second stage is Desert Land, all of which have a desert/sand theme.

Angry Sun’s Trial is (in my opinion) one of the hardest bosses in the game. You need to grab the bucket, fill it with water and toss it at the sun when it attacks. The problem is that the bucket weighs you down significantly, making it hard to avoid getting hit.

House Land

World number three is House land, with each stage representing a different room in the house.

The fridge level has constant cold damage over time, making it a race against time. The bathroom level is all flooded, and this game doesn’t give heath back when you reemerge, making it quite difficult if you can’t come across any coins (or already collected them).

The toy room stage has a lot of interesting mechanics like a N64 console switch, paper airplane and race cars on tracks.

Master Hand is defeated by climbing the Jenga towers and having him stab himself on the three skewers.

Mario Land

World 4 is based on a variety of Mario games – Super Mario Bros 3, Mario Kart 64, Paper Mario and Super Mario World. Stage 1 and 4 are fun 3D re-imaginings of the classic games and the other two bring a few nice game mechanics to the table.

Bowser Jr is the boss for this world and works similarly to the Angry Sun in world 2: pick things up and toss them over. This time you’ll have more things flying at you though.

Synthwave Land

The fifth world is based on the synthwave music genre, which has a very 80’s retro style with a lot of neon and cyan/magenta from CGA graphics at the time.

The first stage is a lot of fun jumping around distant platforms with Smokering Mario. Synthwave concert is a bit annoying with a lot of parts that have unfair instant falls. Synthcity cleverly hides the map behind buildings and along towering buildings. The last stage reminds me of Clustertruck which is always a great time.

Shadow Mario can be beat by just long jumping. A lot of long jumping.

Cloud Land

World number six is Cloud world. As with most cloud worlds in platform games, these levels are filled with small moving platforms floating above very steep falls.

Pendulums and Beetles is fun but exhaustingly long with many places to fail and having to redo the stage all over. Sandbird feels very glitchy and laggy with a lot of small cramped platforms; it doesn’t help that bullet bills always come at the worst time possible.

Tyrant Tormentoso is fairly easy to beat. Just walk around the stage until you reach the cannon. The attacks he makes are fairly easy to dodge and don’t do much damage.

Factory Land

The penultimate world is Factory Land, with all the stages having an industrial or mechanical feel to them.

The first two stages are a lot of fun, having to traverse many rooms with varied obstacles – even Megaman-like disappearing blocks. Nuclear plant has a great theme, but some parts of the stage feel very unfair like the slide with the red coins or the Goombas in the radioactive waste. Haunted Clock feels like a mix between Big Boo’s Haunt and Tick Tock Clock, honestly it’s the stage that most feels like it belongs in Super Mario 64.

Wario’s battle is fairly easy. Use Electric Mario to stun him for a brief period, but do it while on a conveyor belt so he can fall off the edge and take damage.

Cosmic Land

The levels in World 8 are probably the most thematically diverse, but they are held together by the common thread of having low gravity and deep, empty backdrops. They also use a lot of music from Super Mario Galaxy, so that helps.

The Sun-Moon Casino stage is a bit annoying because of the 100-coin star. From what I’ve seen there are barely over 100 coins in the stage, and some of them are generated randomly from throwing a die so you’d have to get five (?) or so rolls correct with a 1/3 chance each to be able to get the 100-coin star.

The final stage also has some very precise rocket launches that are hard to estimate and will send you back to the start with very little margin for error. That said, it’s still a fun stage.

Similar to his Super Mario 64 counterpart, bowser is defeated by the bombs that are laid around the stage. Dodge his attacks, wait for him to spin-attack towards you and lure him towards a bomb. Three times’ the charm!

There is also a fifth stage in World 8 called Champion’s Road, but you need 120 stars to get to it.

Credits

There were quite a lot of people involved with the creation of Super Mario 64 Land. The main two are of course Kaze Emanuar and Dan Drigues, but there are a lot more people involved in the creation of the hack. The credits came with a nice diorama sequence.

Music

  • ZerovOlt
  • Pabloscorner
  • Dobiemeltfire
  • Dotstarmoney
  • Bacon
  • Sheeshfr
  • Jane Schinkel
  • Slofreq
  • Pieordie

Special Thanks

  • Nutta
  • Scuttlebug Raiser
  • CDIfails
  • Devwizzard
  • Ultra553
  • MMarionova
  • Twitch Chat
  • Prufstudent
  • SNDBB

Bugtesting

  • Lincrash
  • Marshivolt
  • GTM
  • Ricar
  • Marionova
  • SporyTike
  • Xein64
  • LO Eupph
  • Metameister
  • FrostyZako
  • Mushie64
  • AndrewSM64
  • themrplayer1234
  • Rovert
  • Bacon
  • sonicgenfan
  • Kaiserlucas

Conclusion and review

When playing through Super Mario 64 Land, I was originally going to just play the first three stages (as in the video) and leave it at that. Then I thought that I should at least see what the second stage was like (for a visual comparison) so I got to World 2 and carried on writing this page. Then I thought that it’s kind of pointless to talk about the different worlds without having seen all of them, so I ended up playing the game all the way through to the end, making this post come a few weeks behind schedule. That’s the power that this game has.

Most of the levels are a blast to play through. Each one has its own little gimmick that makes it unique, which I presume took an immense amount of effort to adapt into the SM64 engine. Some of the levels are quite annoying to play though like Sandbird, Bathroom or Nuclear Plant but generally they’re a lot of fun.

The stages follow a very linear path towards the end goal star. There are a few detours for secondary stars and red coin stars, but it’s generally a fairly simple progression. There’s pretty much no where to get lost. If you miss an optional star, you can still reach the star requirements fairly easily.

For more advanced players, there is the final level that is only is available after collecting 120 stars, increasing the replay value of the stages that have already been beaten. Not only that, but the levels are designed so that you can skip sections for a speedrun, rather than take the slow but safe and predictable route.

Overall, it’s a great game to play through, I’m just wondering why this is named after Super Mario 3D Land and not Super Mario 3D World since they are a lot more similar in both presentation and gameplay.

Articles across the web

Super Mario 64 Land is an ambitious N64 hack of SM64 that brings over 32 new levels with brand new game mechanics that make it lots of fun.
Article published on N64 Squid

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