Super Mario 64 is truly an iconic game that, for the most part, still holds up today.
It’s been over 26 years since this game graced our Nintendo 64s, helping usher in 3D platformers as we know them. While the graphics have aged like milk, the level design is mostly superb and is still a joy to play.
As a kid, one of my favorite parts about booting up the game is visiting each of the 15 areas because they felt like living worlds rather than standalone levels. Yes, that requires some stretching by today’s standards, but as a kid, this absolutely blew my mind.
So what’s your favorite Super Mario 64 level?
Levels? More Like Worlds
I should clarify that this was my first foray into Mario. I was born in 1991 so my experience with gaming came about in the Nintendo 64 days.
Super Mario 64 also was one of my earliest memories with gaming so I hold this game in high regard. I still remember entering the castle for the first time and just soaking in that jaunty theme that played as I wandered. It didn’t feel like a hub, but rather another world alongside the lands within the paintings.
I think my favorite is Wet Dry World.
The upstairs levels were mostly forgettable on account of I didn’t reach them as often thanks to the difficulty of other levels. Wet Dry World was just cool because you could control the water levels in and out of the world, adding a fun layer of puzzle solving.
The apex of this level was finding the hidden city. My young mind would come up with stories why no one was running about and I just loved returning to it on every playthrough.
Two others that round out my top three levels are Hazy Maze Cave and Big Boo’s Haunt. Both are in the middle stretch of the game and as a kid, I spent a lot of time in this section.
Hazy Maze Cave was massive for the time. I loved the many facets of it as it felt like each room would smack you with something unique. And let’s not forget Lapras in the basement.
Big Boo’s Haunt was another great level that provided an immersive atmosphere. It’s genuinely creepy as it features unique music that’s only found here and some jump scare (I’m looking at you haunted piano).
What Do You Think?
Truth be told, I do enjoy many of these levels. These three are just the ones I get genuinely disappointed whenever I get all the stars.
What’s crazy to me is a game that is almost 27 years old still can grip you based on its level design, despite its blocky graphics and janky camera.
But what about you? What Super Mario 64 level is your favorite? What memories do you have surrounding the levels in this game? Let us know in the comments below or join our Discord channel.
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