|Review by sytaylor
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Mario 64 - PJ64, 1964, NEMU, TRwin, UltraHLE, Corn and TR64 (and any other you can think of).
If you listen to anyone with in the emulation community you will probably find out that Mario 64 is always a good game or "ROM" to start emulating with. Mario is often chosen because it is the game that launched and defined the n64 as a home console. Released way back in 1996 it was hailed at the time as the first truly 3d game, it was revolutionary but then, what do you expect with a designer like Shigeru Myomoto?
As a result of this it is often a good place to start when emulating the n64. Although it was so revolutionary at one time, now it seems that it is quite simple for the n64 to cope with the game when compared with newer games like WWF no mercy. Another advantage of this ROM is that because if Mario 64's status as a defining game, when creating an emulator authors will often use it as a staring point to test their emulator.
When UltraHLE was first released the n64 the world stood up and took notice as Mario introduced himself on the pc for the first time ("its'a me Mario"). Where was and still is controversy about the legality of this but that's not why I am here. UltraHLE was my first experience of playing Mario on a pc in glorious high resolution (and advantage of emulation in that the pc can produce more "picture elements", or "pixels", giving a more detailed image). The sound was a little slow and jumpy on that pc, but it was poor by todays standards, anyone with a Pentium/other 400mhz (or celeron 500mhz but I wont go into that) and 64mb of ram plus a voodoo2 or 3 card will get results that will better the n64 (if you don't have a voodoo check out "glide wrappers"), and that for me is the oint of emulation. with a keyboard, a true 3d game like this does play a little "off" I will admit, however there is a way round this via an adaptoid.
Overall Mario on UltraHLE can be a true experience of a wonderful game
Next up NEMU, now unlike UltraHLE the authors of nemu decided to use "lle" or low level emulation, this is more demanding on the CPU, but it is also much more compatible. Mario64 was one of the first games to work with this emulator and in the latest build will run very well providing you have a reasonable machine (~750mhz,256mb ram and a ~tnt2 card). There are a few minor graphics bugs that don't really affect how the game plays, like the text menu's at the start of the game, you can't quite see the text but if you have played the game you won't need them anyway. The disadvantage of nemu using lle is that for some the framerate (rate at which the screen refreshes) will be slower than on the n64... but if you have anything over an 800mhz cpu you won't notice it
Overall Mario on NEMU will be worth it if you have a half good machine, if not look elsewhere (note turning off TV aspect does give a slight speed increase) TRwin is an emulator very few rave about but it is more than capable. it too uses lle and on a mid range pc (~500mhz,128mb ram) will give reasonable results with Mario 64. The problem of the menus in NEMU is not present here and it does run quite quickly on a low level machine, not quite as fast as NEMU without TV aspect but faster than nemu with TV aspect. For some reason it is quite hard to configure the controls, which to some who may find a personalised way of mapping the n64 pad to a keyboard could be irritating and I personally sometimes get errors while playing Mario.
Overall Mario on TRwin looks good and is quite fast but is not without bugs.
Corn is an emulator which apppeared, shocked the world with its efficiency and left, in its early stages started out by only emulating Mario 64 in order for the coder to understand the n64 a bit better. Corn uses hle or high level emulation which means
it is fast on a slower machine, requirements for Mario are (~300mhz cpu, 64mb ram). This should give full speed with perfect sound. The emulator has no graphics bugs within this game (of which I have found, however of note is that there is no fog, like on the n64) and for those with Low-end systems you should get good results with this emulator.
Overall Mario 64 on Corn plays pretty much perfectly and it works with adaptoid!
Then we have TR64, this is a mystery emulator which had ridiculously high requirements for full speed, progress was made and I believe those with mid range ~1ghz PCs may get full speed on Mario, however it is a little buggy and I do think there are better options.
Overall Mario 64 on TR64 looks pretty plays nasty
PJ64 and 1964 and 1964 i have grouped because of their compliance to the zilmar plugin specification (which basically means video plugin programmers need not worry about the core of an emulator and vice versa). Also the autors of these two emulators worked very close together, and can share video plugins (for example Jabo's plugin which plays mario like a dream). Put simply if you have no problems using a keyboard or you are lucky enough to have an adaptoid the only thing missing is the low resution of your television set. With these two emulators provided you have a reasonable spec machine it is very hard not to enjoy the Mario expereince.
Over Mario 64 on PJ64 and 1964 is better than on the n64!
To sum up, Mario 64 is emulated well in this crazy world, find you emu and play this wonderful game to death =)
(note will add pics later)