Ranking Super Mario 64 Levels (Top Five Friday) Part 4 Finale The Top Five Levels of Super Mario 64!
Today, we finally wrap up our series of ranking every Super Mario 64 level.
Check out the previous parts here:
Ranking Super Mario 64 Levels (Top Five Friday) Part 1
Ranking Super Mario 64 Levels (Top Five Friday[Saturday]) Part 2
Ranking Super Mario 64 Levels (Top Five Friday) Part 3
Separately the top 5 was pretty difficult. Some of my favorite levels such as Snowman Land and Whomp’s Fortress have already appeared on the list. Meanwhile, a few levels that are not exactly my favorite, still remain at large.
#5 Big Boo’s Haunt- This personally might be my favorite level. I’m not sure where the general consensus is for this stage but I tried to be relatively unbiased here. I like that the mansion has three floors but I wish there some more variety in the rooms. It would have been cool to see a kitchen or master bedroom area. Still this level is fun to explore, has the boos and the coins and stars are pretty easy to run around and claim.
#4 Tall, Tall Mountain- This is a level I didn’t really care for before making this list. The mountain can be a hassle to climb, the falls can be demoralizing and the Monkey is a pain in the butt. However, this level is truly epic. While it lacks some of the complexity of other levels. The ascent up the mountain, while not perfect, is one of the highlights of the game. Theres some variety in the missions and of course, this level has a slide! So bonus points.
#3 Shifting Sand Land- Again, another level I had absolute disdain for growing up. The sand has insta kill sections, climbing the pyramid can be more of a chore than the mountain of Tall Tall Mountain, and the bird can steal your hat. While those can be big detractors, this level was certainly out of their comfort zone. It is one of the first levels to truly challenge you. On top of that, exploration is another huge plus here. The pyramid feels like it’s own level. It is filled with plenty of puzzle-esque sections, challenging platforming parts and some secrets thrown in to keep you on your toes. This certainly wouldn’t be in my top 5 favorites, but I appreciate all the things it did.
#2 Bomb-Omb Battlefield- Another level that is absolutely up in my top favorites. It is just a massive sandbox for platforming. And platforming and exploration are the two biggest strengths of the game. Sure, the level lacks complexity found in later levels which hinders some of the exploration. However, this level is absolutely iconic. It has a surprisingly amount of diversity for the first level. The Wing Cap combined with the cannon is a crazy combo. The floating island in the sky immediately encourages wonder and curiosity. Who will ever forget being greeted by the bombs, having to slip past the Chain Chomp and finally scaling King Bomb-Omb’s mountain? There’s a handful of secrets, enemies, and interesting areas to keep this level feeling fresh and exciting.
#1 Tick Tock Clock- I absolutely hated this level as a kid. The 100 coins in this course was one of the last stars I ever got, putting it off until my adulthood… However, climbing Tick Tock Clock feels like a real achievement. There’s several branching paths, difficult enemies, secret coins and stars and plenty more. It harbors some of the most annoying stars that you can feel proud of yourself for conquering. It’s a level you can complete several times over and have a different experience each time you run through it. That’s because depending on which quarter of the clock you jump in at (12, 3, 6 and 9) will determine the speed of the moving parts. You can double the speed, slow it down, randomize it or even bring it to a dead stop. This provides plenty of different strategies and playthroughs. In this example, you try to get the 8 red coins with the platforms stopped (Generally considered the easiest way to beat it.) Or you could have the platforms speed randomized. I will say Rainbow Ride is equally, if not harder, than Tick Tock Clock. However, Tick Tock Clock seems like a more professional and cohesively designed level whereas Rainbow Ride feels more thrown together. This level combines many of the aspects that make Mario 64 so great, There’s a massive tower to explore, plenty of sections allow and encourage precise platforming, and the difficulty is balanced so that the trek is not easy but not overly ridiculous either. For the fact that this level fuses what makes all other levels great in their own way into one level makes it stand out to me.
So, what did you think of this list? Feel free to leave your own opinions in the comments down below. There will be plenty more list and reviews in the future so make sure you are following the blog!
Hey guys, since this is part 2 of this series, I decided Ill skip the opening. If you missed part one, check it out here: Ranking Super Mario 64 Levels (Top Five Friday) Part 1
Alright. Let’s jump into it.
#10 Tiny Huge Island
Tiny Huge Island will get all its points for sheer creativity. The double entrance changes Mario size. If Mario runs towards the towering picture, he will be tiny entering the level (is the island huge?). Conversely, if he enters the picture where he is large, the island is tiny. Mario (or the island’s) size changes some dynamics. Some stars can only be obtained depending on if Mario is huge or tiny. However, I just do not enjoy this level. This is kind of surprising considering I love beach levels. Still, this is fun-ish level to run around and is far from terrible.
#9 Lethal Lava Land
Since making a Youtube channel, I have replayed SM64 about 5 or more times. Lethal Lava Land is one of the levels that has benefitted the most in all those replays. I can speed run this level pretty quickly. However, this level shows some of the strengths and weaknesses of the game. For starters, two of the stars are just rehasings. You fight the bullies twice for 2 separate stars. The 8 red coins, while cool, is very simple. The 100 coins are not too hard but they can be unforgiven. Overall, I like it but it falls short of greatness.
#8 Cool, Cool Mountain
Cool, Cool Mountain was probably the first level that blow me away. Perhaps as a six year old every level blew my mind. However, the structure of this level was ginormous. This level helped birth my fascination for slide levels in video games. As a kid, escorting the baby penguin was such a tall task. Now, I love grabbing the baby penguin and saying “Hold on, bucko. Here we go!” and jump off the side of the mountain. The 8 red coins felt like a legitimate scavenger hunt. It hurts to rank this level so low, but seriously, the levels above it are soo good.
#7 Hazy Maze Cave
Or as I call it Hazy Mazy Cavey. Ugh, I do not enjoy this level, honestly. But the scope of this level is great. It is not over enjoyable but it is diverse. You have the switch pad sections, which are not fun but they are a cool concept. You have the actual maze, which also is not fun but is a cool concept. You have the underground lake part which actually is not very fun either but is a cool concept. You have the metal cap switch level which I guess isn’t that much fun either but it is a cool concept. Oh, yeah than there’s the rolling rock part which, now that I think about it, isn’t that much fun either but it is a cool concept. What can I say? I’m mostly joking, but I am serious at the same time. This level is made up of very cool and different sections that are not great on their own, but make for a very interesting level. I mean, Cool, Cool Mountain is certainly more fun than Hazy Maze Cave but there’s two snow levels, like 10 water levels, at least 2 fire levels. I say all that to say Hazy Maze Cave stands out as a unique level with unique ideas. That is why it scores higher despite probably being the least fun level up this high on the list.
#6 Whomp’s Fortress
Seriously, from this point on every level is “Man, it kills me to rank this level so low.” Whomp’s Fortress is an absolute joy to explore but it is really simple compared to the rest of the levels left on the list. The first level involves an epic ascent up Whomp’s Fortress to battle with Whomp himself. What is really cool about this level is everything past the first star. Whomp’s battle ring has been replaced by an even taller tower which changes the dynamic of how to climb the fortress. It even gives access to a new section made of floating platforms that allow you to complete the red coin mission. You also can now more reliably get inside the cage for it’s star. All in all, it is a small level, which hurts it sadly, but is still a bright and fun explorable level.
Okay, that is levels 10-6 and makes up the second part of my list. What will emerge as the top level? I’d love to say find out in the next installment. However, we will be ranking the side levels next. So be sure to follow for more Mario 64 content!
Thanks for reading. Have a great day!