Super Mario 64 was a stepping stone in gaming history. That single title launched a plethora of games that sought to take that style of exploring a 3D world freely and expand upon it. This lead to a large surge of 3D platformers hitting the market and selling remarkably well during the era of the N64 and the PSOne. Some of the greatest games of all time are arguably from this remarkable point in gaming, things like Banjo Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, and Crash Bandicoot all created this genre and set the stage for years to come.
Those wanting to enjoy those glorious days will likely either play games on the digital marketplaces, find the old hardware, or wait patiently for spiritual successors like A Hat in Time or Yooka Laylee. Luckily, the vast and seemingly endless waves of amazing fan-made games continues to grow, bearing a plump tuna for all of gaming to enjoy! Enter Super Mario 64: Last Impact, a rom hack of Mario 64 that pushes the N64 to the absolute limits.
Expert rom hack creator Kaze Emanuar has sunk over 4000 hours into this masterpiece that Nintendo should rightfully be jealous of. This level of dedication is, of course poured, into official Nintendo games as well, but its interesting that Kaze chose Mario 64 to be re-imagined. Kaze’s dedication is comparable to that of Masahiro Sakurai, who directed the Super Smash Bros series.
Last Impact features 130 new stars to collect, with 12 power-ups to use to tackle brand new locations and custom enemies. Basically, Kaze pulls inspiration across all Mario games, pooling them into one place, and making them work. The result is nothing short of amazing.
Super Mario 64: Last Impact can be downloaded here, while instructions on how to configure Project 64 are available in a Youtube video made by Kaze himself. Note that the video is a little hard to understand, but it gets the job done. The hack is available in Normal and Widescreen formats and setting up the emulation is relatively easy for those who have worked with emulation before.
I did have a bit of trouble setting up the wide screen format and I feel I could still do some tweaking to the settings to really make the game pop, but so far with the short time I’ve spent with the game it breathes a whole new life into a game that I admit hasn’t aged well. This reminds me of when I first played Mario 64 on the DS, enjoying the new character models and smoother graphical style overall.
Needless to say, I’ll be spending some time hopping around Kaze’s world in the future, not just reminiscing about the past, but taking in the unlocked potential of the N64.
Now, here’s hoping a version of the rom becomes playable on Flash Carts so I can load this up on my old N64 via Everdrive. Now that would amazing!