I have always been impressed with the dedication of those who create mods and hacks for their favourite games. It’s created by fans for fans and it’s beautiful.
Nintendo is well-known for its hard work with ROM hacking communities. But they survive thanks to the love and support of all their creators.
Super Mario 64 is a platformer that’s undoubtedly one of the most popular in Nintendo’s library. It’s got lots to offer.
Recently, I started hacking for Nintendo’s Classic Super Mario 64. I am awestruck by the effort they put into it.
Super Mario 64 is the most influential and amazing N64 game. For crying out loud, it is truly legendary and the first 3D Mario game that we got our hands-on.
We thought that this title was unimprovable but the modding community proved us wrong yet again.
They have created some amazing hacks to the original title, including famous Nintendo characters as well as a few of their own. Mario 64 offers more stars and more challenges than one could ever imagine.
I will do my part and spread the love for ROM hacking by sharing what I consider to be the greatest Super Mario 64 ROM hacks.
Let’s get started!
- Super Mario 64: Kirby Edition
- Super Mario 64: The Green Stars
- Super Mario 64: Ztar Attack Rebooted
- Super Mario 64 Land
- Super Mario 64: Star Revenge Redone
- Super Mario and The Cursed Castles
- Super Falcon 64
- Super Mario Bros. 64
- Super Mario 74
- Yoshi's Adventure 64
- Super Mario 64: The Missing Stars
- Super Mario 64 Sapphire
- Super Mario: Star Road
- Super Mario 64: Sonic Edition
- Super Mario 64: Last Impact
Super Mario 64: Kirby Edition
It seems only fair that this list of the top Super Mario ROM hacks starts with the first modded version.
Super Mario 64 Kirby Edition, the first SM64 character hack, is now available. It features everyone’s favourite Pink Peril.
The gameplay is very similar to the original. While there are some new features, such as sounds and characters that can steal your abilities, the levels remain the same.
Mario’s trusted caps also help Kirby make new appearances. Wear the Vanish Cap to transform into Boo or the Metal Cap for Thwomp!
This Super Mario 64 ROM hack will have you falling in love all over again with the original levels.
Super Mario 64: The Green Stars
Kampel64’s SM64 is a good way to test out ROM hacks and then decide if it’s right for you.
This adds several levels to the experience and shows off a lot of what is possible with these modifications.
It has 130 stars that you can collect through many custom levels. You’ll need to search the overworld using a detective’s scope to locate some of these stars since the creator wanted to keep every secret well-kept.
It is not higher in the ranking because the level of design quality is lower than it should be.
Some areas are so simple that they’re boring. Others require super-specific tricks, jumps and feats that only an expert could accomplish without having to try 200 times.
Super Mario 64: Ztar Attack Rebooted
The next mod to our list of the top Super Mario 64 ROM hacks for hackers is one that’s meant for a real challenge.
Ztar Attack Rebooted, an updated version of the original Ztar Attack mod. This mod is faster, more efficient and allows players to explore the Ztar realm.
Ztar Attack rebooted offers a host of original and new levels, which is quite different from the Kirby Edition hack.
You could mistakenly think that this game is more like Spiral Mountain/Hyrule.
There are also 50 additional stars that you can pick up in the game, bringing the total to 170!
It’s better to get started right away, eh?
Super Mario 64 Land
Anyone who has been following the SM64 ROM hacking scene knows Kaze Emanuar. He is the visionary and hard-worker behind many of the most amazing hacks for the classic title.
Super Mario 64 Land was one of their earlier creations. Although it is smaller than the other games, it has the same quality.
It is very similar to Super Mario 3D Land and has 33 levels that are more linear than vanilla.
Mario has some new moves that make it easier to navigate them. You’ll be able to use a Butt Bounce or an Aerial Dive.
Super Mario 64: Star Revenge Redone
BroDute, a ROM hacking personality, and many collaborators developed the Star Revenge series.
It is one of the most prolific hack series. There are six main releases, plus many remakes.
SM64: Star Revenge Redone, the latest version of the original hack, includes more than 125 stars that can be collected on 13 levels.
This hack is unique because of its surreal humour, self-referencing jokes and clever humour. It also has complex lore that you would have to read every release to fully grasp.
This is the right place to begin if you are ready to take on this quest.
Super Mario and The Cursed Castles
This list includes Super Mario 64 and the Curse Castles, which take 8th place in our top ROM hacks!
This isn’t the only difference. Mario will be faced with 15 exciting new levels and 3 fierce bosses.
Bowser isn’t the main antagonist anymore. King Boo has been throwing some bad juju over the Mushroom Kingdom and Mario is the only one who can save it.
Similar to Super Mario Sunshine’s Super Mario Sunshine, the curse can be lifted by collecting power stars.
There are no ability hats or cannons to aid players. This is old school gaming at its best, but with a new twist. It requires patience and skill.
Are you up for the challenge?
Super Falcon 64
What is that noise? It’s Captain Falcon falcon-kicking his way to the 7th place on our list.
Take a look at the amazing cover art. Captain Falcon has been my favourite character in Super Smash Bros games. Now he is the star of Mario’s first 3D adventure.
He’s the plumber-face of the family, and he’s all about the stars!
Falcon slap foes to the ground, grab stars and cruise the Mushroom Kingdom like a king.
Peach seems more than a little excited about having a space racer roam around her castle too.
Like the Kirby Edition, all text has been modified to accommodate Captain Falcon’s inclusion in the adventure.
Everything about this mod is amazing, from Cap’s face appearing in the save files to that life icon at top of the screen.
You haven’t downloaded it yet?!
Super Mario Bros. 64
Kaze Emanuar’s Super Mario Bros. 64 is a simpler option. It brings back the side-scrolling platformer charm from older Mario games such as Super Mario World.
However, it was rendered using SM64’s 3D engine. Cool, right?
The camera angle tilted in the right diagonal angle allows you to appreciate depth without losing the side-scrolling perspective.
You can play as many characters as you like from Mario’s universe, such as Wario, Luigi and fan favourite Waluigi.
Super Mario 74
Sometimes we just want a challenging experience with our favourite games.
If this is you, Super Mario 74 by the Lugmilors might be for you.
You can get 120 stars in the custom levels. They all have a significantly higher difficulty than the average vanilla SM64 scenario.
This includes boss fights that have additional challenges such as having Bowser swing higher to hit the bombs.
After you have completed it, you can go on to play Super Mario 64 Extreme Edition. This is an absurd Kaizo-level challenge.
Yoshi’s Adventure 64
Yoshi is one of my favourites. He is a hero and every dinosaur who can walk in clogs that look similar to plant pots should be admired.
Yoshi has 56 stars to collect so it’s not as difficult as Mario. However, this doesn’t mean he’s not a brave adventurer.
There is no sign of the Super Happy Tree or cutesy Shy Men wandering about.
This adventure, Yoshi’s Adventure (to be precise), takes players to the Luna Valley to visit a land full of candy and then to the moon.
There are many ghosts around, with most of them borrowing sunglasses from residents of Isle Delfino.
It’s dangerous and dark but it’s a great adventure. You won’t regret it!
Super Mario 64: The Missing Stars
Although the case may not be real, the Super Mario 64: The Missing Stars cover art wins the award for best artwork on our list.
This is one of my favourite Super Mario 64 ROM hacks. However, it’s also a great game that I wish I could have a physical copy of.
First, let’s talk about the mod’s day/night cycle. Except for Boo’s Big Haunt, it’s always daylight here in the Mushroom kingdom. However, players can now search for stars in darkness!
Luigi can also be played as a character… What more do you need? This mod is a must-see!
Super Mario 64 Sapphire
Because of the artisanal nature of ROM hacking generally, I would say that most of these games are… of varying quality.
One of the best hacks is NebulaSM64’s Super Mario 64 Sapphire. It’s a quick and sweet experience that consists of 30 stars distributed over six amazing levels.
These levels are filled with some of the most stunning landscapes one has ever seen on a 64-bit engine.
This is the perfect Mario game with a twist of SM64.
Super Mario: Star Road
I believe it is important to show respect and appreciation for those who have pioneered in any field. It’s an absolute pleasure to be able to play Super Mario: Star Road by Skelux.
This huge ROM hack was the first to have mainstream appeal outside the hardcore ROM hacking community.
It has 130 stars to collect, introduces new enemies and a revamped soundtrack that gives it a feeling of a sequel.
It’s important to remember all the effort that went into making the camera more user-friendly than the original.
Super Mario 64: Sonic Edition
You thought there was no way Captain Falcon could take Mario’s crown, but I am not sure.
Super Mario 64: Sonic Edition wins the silver medal in our list of the greatest Super Mario ROM hacks! Sonic is not only able to replace Mario, but he also has a host of classic moves that can be used.
Sonic isn’t slow, it’s not his nature. Sonic can move much faster than Mario even when walking.
To roll into a ball, press Z. For quick travel down hills and back up again, button mash B for Sonic’s spin dash at enemies. Sonic is the real deal. Use homing attacks, even run on water!
Voices, animations and references to Mario were also altered, just like Captain Falcon and Kirby. This could be my SM64 guilty gaming pleasure and I’m glad Thodds offered it!
Super Mario 64: Last Impact
Finally, Super Mario 64’s Last Impact is our top pick for the best Super Mario 64 Rom hacks!
If SM64 had a sequel for the Nintendo, it would have (or should have) been Last Impact.
This mod is more than just another mod. It pays tribute to one of the greatest Mario games and boasts amazing features for which Kaze Emanuar deserves a medal.
These are brand new bosses that were coded from scratch. Yoshi and FLUDD are also included. Mario has all-new abilities to give him an advantage over his adversaries.
There are also 130 new stars that you can find and collect among the amazing levels.
This mod elevates SM64 to a major game. It’s fun, creative and challenging. There are even a few Mario Party games included.
It’s hard not to fall in love with something you adore.