Super Mario 64 is a game released for the Nintendo 64. It is the first 3D platformer, which involves Mario collecting Stars in various levels.
Mario receives a letter from Princess Peach, telling him to come to her castle because she baked a cake for him. When he gets there, he finds that no one is there. The Toad and Peach have all been trapped inside the walls by Bowser. He has also stolen the castle's Stars and is invading the worlds inside the castle's portraits.
Mario enters Bob-omb Battlefield through its portrait. He defeats the Big Bob-omb at the top of the mountain and gets a Star. He gets more Stars, one of them by beating Koopa the Quick in a race, and also gets Stars at Whomp's Fortress, Jolly Roger Bay, and Cool Cool Mountain. At Whomp's Fortress he defeats the Whomp King and at Jolly Roger Bay he races a penguin and wins. Once he has at least 8 Stars he enters a door and falls through a trapdoor into the Dark World, where he finds Bowser and fights him. He spins him by the tail and throws him into a spike. Bowser teleports away, leaving behind a key that leads into the lower levels of the castle.
Mario enters Big Boo's Haunt through a miniature version obtained by defeating a Boo. There, he defeats three Big Boos and a Big Mr. I, separately, for more Stars. He also goes through areas like Lethal Lava Land, Shifting Sand Land, and Hazy Maze Cave. At Lethal Lava Land he gets some Stars by knocking some vicious Bullies into the lava, and one from inside the volcano. In Shifting Sand Land he gets a Star from a vulture, Klepto, and another by defeating two hands, Eyerok. At Hazy Maze Cave, he enters the Cavern of the Metal Cap and unlocks the Metal Cap. He also drains the water from the moat and gets the Vanish Cap from under the moat. The Wing Cap he gets from looking up into a light in the castle and being teleported to the Tower of the Wing Cap.
Once Mario has 30 Stars, he enters a hall where he jumps through a blue area into Dire Dire Docks, where he boards Bowser's sub. He is then able to access the Fire Sea, where he fights Bowser again and defeats him. Bowser leaves, saying he will be in perfect condition next time. He gives Mario a key, and Mario uses it to get into the higher area of the castle. He goes through lands like Wet-Dry World, Tall Tall Mountain, Tiny-Huge Island, and Snowman's Land. At Snowman's Land he defeats a Chill Bully for a star, and defeats a Wiggler in Tiny-Huge Island. Once Mario has 50 Stars, he enters a room with a clock, and gets some Stars in Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Ride. Once he has 70 Stars, the mystery of the Endless Staircase is solved, and Mario is able to reach the top and go into the Sky, where he fights Bowser a final time. Mario defeats him, and he vanishes to "watch the ending with his troops". Mario gets the main Star of the castle, and the power of the stars is restored to the castle. Peach and the Toads are released from the walls. Peach kisses Mario and decides that she and the Toads should bake a cake for him.
The central level is Peach's Castle, from which Mario can access the various other areas, most through paintings but some through walls, or holes in the ground. There are a few secret levels too. In each major level there are 6 Stars to get, one of which is always obtained by getting eight Red Coins. This is also how Mario gets a star in each of the Cap levels and each of the Bowser levels. The Bowser levels are like obstacle courses, at the end of which Mario must fight Bowser.
Mario attacks by punching his enemies and jumping on them. He can get three different types of caps. The Wing Cap allows him to fly by doing a Triple Jump. The Vanish Cap makes him transparent, unaffected by enemy attacks and able to go through some walls. The Metal Cap turns him into Metal Mario, who can walk underwater and is unaffected by fire or enemy attacks (though falls will still damage Mario). Unlike in previous games, Mario cannot breathe underwater, and slowly loses health, but is restored to full health once he reaches the surface (even if some of the damage was inflicted by enemies or any other cause).
Mario has a life meter, that goes down by 1, 2, or even 3 if he receives damage. Major damage can be inflicted by falling from a great height. Collecting coins will restore Mario's health.
Mario can also get extra lives by grabbing 1-Up Mushrooms. If he runs out of lives, the game ends. After Mario collects all 120 Stars, Yoshi will be on the roof of the castle and will give Mario 100 extra lives.
- Princess's Secret Slide (secret)
- Secret Aquarium (secret)
- Tower of the Wing Cap (cap)
- The Dark World (Bowser) (Event listed as "Bowser in the Dark World")
- Cavern of the Metal Cap (cap)
- The Fire Sea (Bowser) (Event listed as "Bowser in the Fire Sea")
- Wing Mario Over the Rainbow (secret)
- The Sky (Bowser) (Event listed as "Bowser in the Sky")
- Koopa Troopa
- Chain Chomp
- Piranha Plant
- Bullet Bill
- Mr. Blizzard
- Mr. I
- Scuttle Bug
- Mad Piano
- Killer Chair
- Fly Guy
- Tox Box
- Monty Mole
- Heave Ho
- Big Bob-omb
- Whomp King
- Big Boo (three of these are encountered)
- Big Mr. I
- Big Bully
- The Bullies (three Bullies, then another Big Bully)
- Chill Bully
- Bowser (three times, third time is final boss)
There have been many rumors about Luigi being in this game, and unlockable as a playable character. However, he does not appear in this game. He does appear in its remake for the DS, however.
There is a statue of a star in the courtyard of the castle, and on it is letters that appear to say "L is real 2401". It is believed that the L refers to Luigi, and has even been noticed by some that 2401 is close to the actual number of coins in the game. This may lead to the belief that if the player collects all the coins, Luigi will appear. However, recently a connection has been made to Paper Mario, where Luigi first appears as a character (aside from Mario seeing a wish made by him in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars). Paper Mario was released in February 4th, 2001, so it is likely that this is what the 2401 stands for.
There are also some who take the view that it really says "Eternal Star".