Take-a two mushrooms and call-a me inna morning.
I don’t know what quack Medical School this so-called "Doctor" Mario went to. First he’s a plumber, now he’s a doctor. Just like that. No internship. No residency. Must be some wacky mail-order Phd. program.
Over the years, Mario has managed to add a bajillion jobs to his resume – Monkey Tamer, Golfer, Kart Racer…he’s either a Renaissance Man in the truest sense or a professional scam artist. At this point, I’m swaying towards believing the latter.
This time, Mario has found the ultimate wonder drug – Dr. Mario’s patent pending Megavitamins! I don’t know where Mario got this miraculous antibiotic. I doubt he scoured the rainforests or even did a lick of research. But you can help him stop evil disease from infecting your N64 by playing Dr. Mario 64.
Mario’s diabolical medical technique is simple. You start by isolating the strains of viruses onto the playing field. Apparently, viruses come in red, blue, and yellow flavors. The rare violet strain has yet to be proven or documented.
All it takes to cure a virus is pelting it with these Megavitamins. Got cancer? Here…let me throw some of these at you. Aids? Dumb-dumb fever? No problem. Just connect four of the same colors, either horizontally or vertically, and like that, the virus is dead. I guess our scientists have been getting it wrong all these years.
Theoretically, it’s a basic procedure. Essentially a port of the classic Dr. Mario from the NES, Dr. Mario 64 has the vertical play mechanics of Columns, the combo styling of Puyo Puyo, and the unforgiving nature of Clint Eastwood. One mistake begets another and so on in a hailstorm of primary colored capsules. You have to be fast, careful and flawless. When a mistake is made, you have to figure out the quickest way to work through it. Thankfully, even a first year student can get over the learning curve and make it to the fun world of full-time residency.
The good doctor offers up several varieties of medical services. Classic mode is the original NES Dr. Mario game. Got hours and hours to kill? Try the Marathon mode, where the viruses just keep on coming. No human friends? Then test your mettle Versus the computer.
The Flash mode doesn’t require you to kill all the viruses – just the flashing ones. I didn’t know Mario was part of an HMO. The Score Attack mode gives you 3 minutes to come up with the highest score possible.
Story mode offers Mario’s trumped up life story. Mario runs about curing bugs, squids, and other creepy-crawlies, all the while trying to recover the drugs he’s been pushing. Mario’s A-list friends were too embarrassed to make an appearance, except for poor misunderstood Wario. If you ask me, I want the real story: Mario versus the Food and Drug Administration.
Multiplayer offers the most innovation in this game with both Four Player Versus and 2 on 2 Teams. Team play allows you to save up your garbage attacks to dump all at once on your opponents. There’s still 1 on 1 Versus in Traditional, Flash, or Score modes. The multiplayer is the best Dr. Mario has to offer.
But now that he’s out of retirement, the very least Dr. Mario could have done was spruce up his office. The graphics are boring and aged, like a waiting room filled with tacky wallpaper and nothing to read but Highlights. It doesn’t have to be cutting edge, but geez…at least show a little more effort above 16 bits.
The music that drones on and on is the same awful music of the original game re-mixed to sound worse. The few new tracks offered are equally bad. Somebody needs a lesson in bedside manner.
I must admit that while Dr. Mario‘s medical background is shady and unoriginal, his procedural methods can be fun. It’s a love or hate affair. Those who’ve never had an appointment with the doctor may take to it, but others who in the past made regular visits might feel that he hasn’t kept up with the times.
Mario – I’m onto you. Think you can run around playing doctor while hocking your sugar pills? You might be offering your services for a seemingly affordable $29.95, but didn’t we already try this medicine? Better get Lawyer Luigi on the phone.