So, as the story goes…A little guy in red overalls decided to take a chance on himself and enter the 3D world in 1996. That little guy was none other than Mario. One of the greatest games to come out of the ’90s, Super Mario 64, was brought to people’s homes by way of the Nintendo 64 console. This video game had the “it” factor written all over it upon its release. The game had perfect elements of beautiful worlds, pesky enemies, and wonderful music. Here is my list of the top ten worlds in Super Mario 64. Note: Some might not view my number one as a separate official world, but after thinking it over carefully, I had to put it in as number one.
Princess Peach’s Castle
This is one of the franchise’s most iconic areas of any Mario locations. Acting as the central hub world of Super Mario 64, this is the first location that introduces Mario to the audience in a 3D video game environment. This location is so legendary that the people over at Lego came out with a Peach’s Castle Expansion set. The outside area of the castle is the definition of soothing. Inside the castle, you are welcomed to a pleasantness of music and architectural wonder. Princess Peach’s courtyard is also here. This is home to one of the most questioned statues in gaming history. I appreciate the waterfall that leads to a moat around the castle itself. It adds a nice touch to the land. Princess Peach’s stained glass window on the top of the castle is also a very familiar symbol. Princess Peach’s Castle easily takes my top spot for the best world in Super Mario 64.
Making my list at number two is Bomb-Omb Battlefield. Like Princess Peach’s castle, this world is automatically enjoyable at the beginning of the level. Before you take your first step. It doesn’t hurt that the world also includes Goombas and Bomb-Ombs. The big lone Chain Chomp is a handful, so stay away from him. This level is straightforward, making it a laid-back quality. And the boss fight at the top of the hill against the Bomb-Omb King is extremely cute. The world includes a pretty sweet track to listen to as well.
This world offered great moments, like, the sleeping Piranha Plant that you have to tip-toe over not to disturb its slumber; the adorable Whomps with Band-Aids on their backs and the small spinning wood platform in the center of the world. The level has this game show obstacle course vibe to it. A lovely and fantastic world with the right amount of enemies. This world definitely deserves to be on my list at number three.
Jolly Roger Bay
I think we all know why this world is on the list. Well, two reasons. It has one of the most iconic music soundtrack in any video game and one of the scariest enemies in any video game…the eel. This world has a part in which Mario tries to open up treasure chests in a sunken ship. Trying to figure out the combination so that the water would lower and you could use the platforms to reach the star was a great addition to the area. Jolly Roger Bay world grabs fourth on my list.
Hazy Maze Cave
The ambiance of this world just screams chill. Its background track is soothing, to say the least. Mario has a great adventure in the Hazy Maze Cave. Dorrie, makes his debut in this world. The loveable blue sea dinosaur with a heart of gold. For some reason, I always remember the rolling boulders down the hill in this world. This is also the world in which Mario unlocks the metallic cap that gives him the ability of invincibility. And if that wasn’t enough…the level has creepy eyeballs (Mr. I) that stare at you as you pass them. This world absolutely belongs on my list of the top ten worlds in Super Mario 64.
Tall, Tall Mountain
This world had everything you would want in a mountain. Moles hucking rocks, a little monkey, some very large mushrooms, and the debut of Fwoosh…a pesky cloud that wants to blow Mario off of ledges. I enjoyed the waterfall and small pond at the starting point of the world. There is a nice spot, also at the starting point of the world, where you can do a perfect wall jump at.
Snowman’s Land was a winter wonderland. I get a kick from the Giant Snowman, asking what creature is on him. “What’s climbing on me? Is it an ice ant? A snow flea?” Then he proceeds to try and blow you off his ice bridge, but you get some help to cross the bridge from a sizeable blue penguin. And who can forget the itty-bitty igloo in the world that you must crawl to get inside? Which leads to a large maze-like room. The world is mostly solid land of snow, which makes it easier not to have to deal with moving platforms. Snowman’s Land has a decent track throughout the world. It also has an enemy with a flower on top of their heads, and once Mario jumps on them, he shoots up into the air and makes a “boing” sound.
The other snow world in Super Mario 64, Cool, Cool, Mountain…was one that I went back and forth on placing on the list. For it has two cute moments in the game: the slide and returning the baby penguin to the momma penguin. But, in the end, that level came in at number eleven and just off the list.
For some reason, this level cracks me up. Switching between small Mario to large Mario was a thrill. You get to race a Koopa in this world. A Wiggler and a Cheep Cheep are also in this world. The Cheep Cheep is fairly intimating, too, as in the same case as the eel is in the Jolly Roger Bay world because it tries to eat you while Mario swims in the water.
Shifting Sand Land
In my opinion, it is a very underrated world because there are many things to do. Explore the inside of the pyramid in the center of the level. Try not to get hit by the moving blocks with only one opened side to avoid being crushed. And making the debuting Klepto drop a star while you scale one of the four tall pillars in the process. Keeping with the underrated theme, the boss here, Eyerok, is a fun little boss fight. Eyerok even has his own boss theme when you are battling him. Also, I think this level is the best to surf on the green Koopa shell because you can go anywhere in the world on it. Whether it’s over the quicksand, climbing to the top of the pillars, or riding up the sides of the pyramid…you can do it all!
Rounding the list at number ten is the Wet-Dry World. A very bright and colorful level. The fact that the player can control the water levels during the world by hitting gem-like switches was a real treat. This world also has a cute (sometimes annoying) windup toy robot holding a dustpan. Stand on the dustpan, and Mario is flung into the air. The world also includes an underwater town. This town is charming in its landscape.
This has been my personal list of the top ten worlds in Super Mario 64. Remember, Super Mario 64 is not just a game…it’s a way of life.