Ranking Super Mario 64 Levels (Top Five Friday) Part 1
Super Mario 64 was one my favorite games as a kid. Now, I still love the game even if it’s super dated (evidenced by the fact two of my last LPs were versions of Super Mario 64 [Green Comet 64 and Odyssey 64]). The graphics are ancient and the movement is either buttery smooth or miserably debilitating. However, the courses in the game are so iconic almost every square inch of that game is ingrained in my memories, burned into my eyelids, and replicated in my dreams. In other words, I like the levels. Some are annoying, some the design doesn’t really make sense. However, most are charming and memorable in their own way.
Now there’s 15 courses so we’re going to break it down into 3 top five posts. Today’s post will cover entries 15-11 and will move on from there. So, lets get on with the list.
15. Dire, Dire Docks
This course scores last place not due to difficulty or being cheap as much as being boring. The stars are either super quick or super tedious. The 8 red coins may be one of the worst missions in the game. The sting ray mission is cool but makes no sense. The level does make use of two hats in at least a neat way. The atmosphere here is still solid. This means that even if this is the worst level in the game, it is still far from terrible.
14. Jolly Roger Bay
To be fair, I think the drop off from Dire, Dire Docks to the next worst level is so extreme I am not sure officially what the 2nd worst level even is. Jolly Roger Bay simply scores this low because the exploration just isn’t that great. The level is mostly underwater. This level is cool yet still relatively boring. I definitely do not hate it. It is a very chill level, but aside from being peaceful I cannot think of too many reasons to go exploring it. I eels are some of the worst things in this game.
13 Wet-Dry World
Let’s just finish off the water levels. This level certainly steps up the exploration but is still pretty annoying to traverse. The missions in this level are all pretty solid (though I know some will mention the secret stars. I don’t hate those.). However, it seems they fall into the “fun in theory, not so great in execution”. The level feels huge while also being pretty empty. The gimmick revolves around adjusting the water (everyone’s favorite mechanic from everyone’s favorite Legend of Zelda dungeon.). In other words, they compromise a lot of this level just to force the water mechanic. It can be seen as a nice change of pace, but means it scores pretty low. Also, the hidden town just leaves so much to be desired I just wish it didn’t exist. There’s no notable NPCs, no interior houses, nothing. Just more water adjusting and red coin collecting. It could have been something cool, but instead its just useless potential.
12 Snowman’s Land
Anyone who knows me knows this might be a top 3 level for me personally, but I have to admit that could be personal bias. The level is relatively squared off and the exploration is very limited. You are mostly climbing a snowman. There’s some cool elements to mention like an awesome cannon that cannot kill you and a koopa shell to cruise around the level. I love this level but I have to score it lower. Sorry, Snowman’s Land.
For the record, this is where the list has gotten really hard to narrow down.
11 Rainbow Ride
There’s no way this would normally score 11 if I wasn’t overthinking every little thing but here we are. It is by far one of the best levels to explore. However, the theme, outside of the carpet ride, is just random. I cannot tell if I love that aspect or hate it. No mission even makes sense. From the shifting triangles to the floating house. Seriously, do any of these have a rhyme or reason? As a kid I hated falling levels, so naturally I was scared of this level. In my teenage years I didn’t like the randomness of this level. As a Lets Player I hate the unforgivable nature of this course. For one reason or another, I’ve always had something to complain about. Regardless, this course is awesome for being so unique. I definitely do not hate it. It is probably just the most frustrating level left to talk about.
Well, that’ll do it for this list so far. It is very hard to rank levels past the worst two. Each level has something charming or redeeming. Despite not being the biggest fan of Rainbow Road, I can definitely appreciate its brilliant randomness and insanity. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend the next week torturing myself about the next wave.
Thank you guys so much for reading this. Feel free to rank the levels down below or leave suggestions for future top 5s!
Have a great day.