This fantastic rom-hack of Mario 64 by author Kaze Emanuar completely overhauls the classic Nintendo 64 title, introducing entirely new levels, enemies, bosses and power-ups in one of the most ambitious mods for the game to date.
Last Impact is a labour of love, with over 4,000 hours of work put into the hack, according to the author, and it certainly shows - skilfully executed in all aspects, from textures to level layout, there is no questioning that it takes a high level of skill or attention to detail to pull off a rom-hack of this scale, especially for a Nintendo 64 game.
The game adds over 130 new stars to the game for you to collect, so there's definitely scope for sinking an awful lot of time into this one; it's the same old Mario 64 experience that we all know and crave, but with a fresh set of environments and gimmicks which makes you feel like it's 1996 all over again.
The new levels are very carefully thought out, with plenty of attention to detail given to environment design and playability. There were one or two areas that could perhaps use some polish, high and hard to reach ledges, for example, but these are forgivable and existed at times in the original game, too. The level gimmicks are very much inspired by both classic and recent Mario games - examples include a casino themed level, which felt very much like a Sonic Heroes level to me, as well as a rather bizarre level where the player has to climb into a giant monster.
Oh, and Rainbow Road. Automatic win.
It's not just the levels themselves that are new, though. New enemies and bosses are present throughout the game, with similar mechanics to the old enemies but with fresh designs and a few unexpected twists and turns here and there.
The inspiration for these new enemies again come from Mario games both past and present - as is the game soundtrack. New music appears throughout, mostly being remixes from other games, for example Mario Kart or Galaxy. There's some very impressive technical achievements at play here, my favourite of which is the fact that there's two versions of the rom, one being modified to give true 16:9 widescreen support with the correct emulator settings!
There's very little not to love here, this is clearly a Mario game aimed at bringing together the best of the past and future - fittingly compiled into what I feel is the perfect midpoint, the legendary Super Mario 64.
It remains to be seen how long this will survive out on the internet before Nintendo decide to put a stop to this hack - but until then, you can grab the download by clicking here.
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