A Valient Effort From The Fans
For the uninitiated, Kaizo Mario 64 (KM64) is an extensive ROM hack of the classic Super Mario 64 (SM64). It gets inspiration and its name from Kaizo Mario World (KMW), a similar ROM hack of Super Mario World. What I mean to say is that, just like KMW, it's very hard. Not Castlevania hard, or Contra hard; more like slab-of-concrete-at-the-end-of-a-10-story-drop hard. If that sounds appealing to you, keep on reading. If that does not sound appealing to you, you may as well move on. It was designed with the intention of being played on an emulator and expects you to abuse save-states, so don't feel like you're cheating by using them.
Graphics - I would give the original SM64 an 7 in this department, but since this hack has a tendency towards placing existing assets from the original game somewhat . . . sloppily, I feel inclined to dock it one point. SM64 is an okay looking game, especially when you consider that it was a launch title for the N64, but this game wasn't a professional endeavor, and it shows, slightly. Keep in mind, "graphics" only refers to the technical side of things; thoughtful art design helps the game rise above its low polygon count and somewhat blurry textures. It still looks pretty, all things considered, if that's what you're curious about.
Sound - The actual sounds themselves are completely unchanged from the original SM64, but it is worth mentioning that the placement of certain tracks has been altered. All in all though, I would give the original game a 9 in this department, and that holds true here. Even if you don't play this game or the original, check out some of these tracks on YouTube or something. I'm sure you've heard most of them before, though, even if you don't recognize them.
Addictiveness - This is a game that's all about being presented with a task that looks impossible and, eventually, through enough trial and error (and save-stating), pulling it off by the skin of your teeth. That's how I view it, anyway. There's a certain sadistic breed of folks out there that may feel the need to go back and improve on their past attempts, and you may find yourself among them; there are games that do that for me, but this is not one of them. If you want to do all that, though, this game gives you plenty of opportunities to do so, so I give it a 6 in this department. I dare you to play through the game without save-stating. Heck, I dare you to get one star (outside of Bob-omb Battlefield) without save-stating.
Story - SM64 already had a paper-thin story: Princess Peach baked you a cake and invited you to the castle, then Bowser kidnapped her, so you go save her. Now, the fact that you've done all that and you're knowingly playing a hacked version that explicitly refers to the development process in the opening text (as opposed to Lakitu's normal dialogue) . . . There is no story here. The story is that you're playing a ROM hack of SM64, and I give that a 2. Really, though, were you expecting anything more?
Depth/Difficulty - It's hard, folks. Like, really hard. Even with save-states, you'll feel like pulling your hair out over just about every new challenge, and I love it. I lumped these categories together because this game derives its depth from its difficulty, so it only seemed right. This is an experience that asks you to take every mechanic from the original SM64 to its logical extreme. That's what I call depth!
Overall - Well, it's certainly not a perfect ROM hack, but it is a wild ride and one that I would certainly recommend to anyone who enjoyed the original game and likes a good challenge.
Graphics 6 Sound 9 Addictive 6 Depth 10 Story 2 Difficulty 10
Kaizo Mario 64 Description:
Super Mario 64