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Dr. Mario 64

Nintendo 64

review by Zach B.


Retail Price: $29.99

Players: 1-4

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo


Personally, I think "Dr. Mario" was a puzzle game that was a head of its time. No, really. I think it's a pretty underrated game, and is one of the few puzzle games that still holds up incredibly well today. It's the first puzzle game that I recall in a multiplayer mode you could get hurt upon your opponent's chain commands known as "Garbage" (something you see in a lot of puzzle games today). I sort of look at "Dr. Mario" was a midway point between "Tetris" and "Tetris Attack".

If you're old enough to remember (I certainly do), "Dr. Mario" was released back in July 1990 for NES and Game Boy. I remember the commercials (it had such a catchy jingle - "Dr. Mario! He's got the cure! Whoa whoa!") quite well, and despite playing and liking the game, I never bought it. Even a few years later when it was bundled with the original "Tetris" for SNES, I missed the boat again. Now as the Nintendo 64 reaches its last legs, Nintendo re-releases it once again (and perhaps the final time) for a low price and a ton of new goodies. If you liked the game or like puzzle games in general, don't miss it.

The object of "Dr. Mario" is pretty easy. Viruses in red, yellow and blue plague your screen, and vitamins fall down. Match the vitamin color with the virus to get rid of the virus. To get rid of a color, you need to have four (three vitamis and a virus, two vitamins and two viruses, you get the idea). This does get annoying when you have no viruses, so to get rid of unwanted vitamins, you need to have four. Still, the game is a lot of fun and gets addicting very easily. It's definently one of the most challanging puzzle games out there. And like a good puzzle game, you can get right into it easily.

If you're playing alone, you got six different modes to play from. In "Classic", you can play the original game as seen in versions before, and with re-mixed versions of the excellent music. "Story" is a Vs. mode complete with a story where Dr. Mario has to rescue his medicine which was stolen. You can also play as Wario and take his perspective as the bad guy. Even on easy, this mode can be tough, but either way, it's still fun. "Vs. Computer" is a one on one Vs. mode where you can play an assortment of characters and have a load of options for a Vs. battle. "Flash" is another Vs. mode, but you have to wipe out all the flashing viruses before the computer does. Like the other modes, this is a lot of fun and can get intense. "Marathon" is similar to what has been seen in the "Tetris Attack" games, where the game ends when you reach the top (this gets VERY intense). Finally, "Score Attack" is a time trial game where you have to clear levels in three minutes or less. The faster you beat the level, the higher your scole will be.

There's also some good multiplayer modes. For two players, there is your standard Vs. mode as well as competitions in "Flash" and "Score Attack". However, a first in "Dr. Mario", you can have four players get in on the action. You can do a four players Vs., a "Flash" round, or a "Team Battle". "Team Battle" is pretty unique, where it's a two on two game. The screen is divided into four, and the first team to clear all their viruses wins, or the team who gets garbaged and can't do anything more loses. Pretty fun.

I mentioned how the music is remixed earlier, and it doesn't sound nice. There's also some new tunes and some great sound effects. The graphics are really bright and colorful, and the cinemas in the "Story" mode have a really unique but classic kind of look.

There's no denying "Dr. Mario 64" is simply a cheap re-release to cash in on Nintendo 64 before it dies. Believe it or not, Nintendo 64 is about dead. "Mario Party 3" seems to be Nintendo's last release, unless rumors hold true and "Sin and Punishment" is released this summer. If you missed it the first few times like me, definently pick this classic puzzle game up. For a low price of 30 bucks, you can't go wrong. This is one game with really strong replay value.

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