It’s a me, Mario, and welcome to the best Super Mario 64 ROM hacks of all time!
Ok, so it’s Seb, not Mario. Still, I am Italian and know a bit about plumbing… that still counts, right?
When it comes to N64 games, few are as influential or as downright amazing as Super Mario 64. The game’s a bona fide legend, for crying out loud, and the first ever 3D Mario game we ever got our grubby little paws on.
Still, even though we thought this classic title could never be improved on, the modding community ended up proving us wrong.
They’ve made some fantastic hacks of the original title, adding famous Nintendo characters and a few of their own into the mix. With more stars and new challenges to face, there’s more to Mario 64 than you ever thought possible.
So, let’s stop waffling on and check out 12 of the best Super Mario 64 ROM hacks of all time!
12. Super Mario: Star Road
Let’s kickstart this list of the best Super Mario 64 ROM hacks with a blinder, shall we?
Visually, this game is a tour de force. The level design is superb, as is the original plotline that runs throughout.
This won’t be the first time I say this, but it really could have been a bona fide Nintendo release!
If we’re being honest, this 2011 release set a benchmark for many of the ROM hacks in this list. It’s a fan-made fan favourite and remains a go-to title for many gamers thanks to the included multiplayer mode.
Oh yeah, Mazza and Luigi playing together finally!
11. Super Mario 64 Sapphire
If you’re looking for a relatively simple hack in terms of difficulty, then Sapphire will more than suffice (that was a tongue twister!).
There aren’t that many courses and only a small number of stars to collect, but this bitesize Mazza outing is imaginative and fun to play through.
I’d recommend trying this one out if you’re new to the world of ROM hacks. It feels familiar enough while providing a different adventure that will still pique your interest… if only for a couple of hours.
10. Super Mario 64: Kirby Edition
I guess it’s only right that we include the very first modded version of the game in this list of the best Super Mario ROM hacks.
That’s right, Super Mario 64: Kirby Edition is the first SM64 character hack in gaming history, and it sees everyone’s favourite pink peril taking the limelight.
The game itself plays incredibly similar to the original for the most part. There are some cool extra features such as new sounds and characters to steal abilities from, but the levels are still the ones we know and love.
Kirby takes on new appearances thanks to Mario’s trusty caps too. Stick on the Metal Cap to play as a Thwomp, and wear the vanish cap to turn into Boo!
With a new Kirby-friendly narrative and the ability to ride stars as well as collecting them, this is one Super Mario 64 ROM hack that will make you fall in love with the original levels all over again.
9. Super Mario 64: Ztar Attack Rebooted
This next mod on our list of the best Super Mario 64 ROM hacks is one for those that like a real challenge.
Ztar Attack Rebooted is an updated version of the original Ztar Attack mod. It’s slicker, faster, and tighter, and sees players exploring the moody Ztar realm.
Unlike the Kirby Edition hack above, Ztar Attack rebooted has a whole host of new and original levels to play through. If it wasn’t for the occasional Mushroom, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is more like Spiral Mountain/Hyrule mash up!
Plus, there are 50 more stars to pick up in this game, taking the total to a whopping 170!
Better get started now then, eh?
8. Super Mario And The Cursed Castles
Super Mario and the Curse Castles takes the 8th spot in this list of the best Super Mario 64 ROM hacks of all time!
Adding one extra star to the mix certainly isn’t the only thing different here. Mario is faced with 15 new and exciting levels as well as 3 ferocious bosses!
Bowser isn’t the main antagonist anymore. King Boo has thrown some bad ju-ju over the Mushroom Kingdom, and Mario, as always, is the only one who can save the day.
In a similar vain to Super Mario Sunshine, collecting power stars lifts the curse.
Plus, there are none of the little helping features such as cannons or ability hats for players to utilise either. This is old-school gaming (albeit with a new twist) at it’s best and requires skill and patience to complete.
Have you got what it takes?
7. Super Falcon 64
What’s that noise? Oh, it’s only Captain Falcon falcon-kicking his way into the 7th spot on our list.
Just look at that epic cover art for a second. Captain Falcon has always been my go to figure in Super Smash Bros games, and now he’s the star of Mario’s very first 3D adventure.
And yeah, he kicks ol’ plumber-face’s backside at grabbing stars every day of the week!
Falcon punch enemies into submission, grab stars, and cruise around the Mushroom Kingdom like you own the joint.
I reckon Peach looks more than a little excited to have a space-racer wandering around her castle too.
As with the Kirby Edition above, all the text has been adapted to fit in with Captain Falcon’s inclusion in the adventure. I love everything about this mod, from the use of Cap’s face on the save files to the life icon at the top of the screen.
Why haven’t you downloaded it already!
6. Super Mario 64: Star Revenge
Star Revenge is one of the biggest Super Mario ROM hacks available. It spans over multiple releases and has had tonnes of updates and remakes over the years.
The thing that separates this hack from other SM64 mods is the Tolkien-style back lore and in-depth storyline that players must uncover.
It’s not enough to play one Star Revenge release, just as one can’t fully understand The Lord Of The Rings without reading the Silmarillion.
But I digress, back to Mario.
There are 125 new stars for Signor Moustach to collect as he ventures to the far reaches of the Mushroom Kingdom. Stars are attacking the land, and Mazza has to put it right.
Maybe he should subcontract this one to Luigi instead?
5. Yoshi’s Adventure 64
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Yoshi fan. The guy is a hero, and any dinosaur that can walk around in clogs that look like plant pots deserves our respect.
With only 56 stars to collect, Yoshi doesn’t have as much of a hard task ahead as Mario. Still, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a brave adventurer.
And, there’s certainly no sign of the Super Happy Tree or any cutesy Shy Guys wandering around.
In this adventure (Yoshi’s Adventure, to be more precise), players enter the Luna Valley, visit a land of candy, and even head to the moon.
There’s ghosts a plenty and lots of Yoshi’s to interact with, most of whom seem to have borrowed sunglasses from the residents of Isle Delfino.
It’s dark, it’s dangerous, and it’s one heck of an adventure. Try it; you won’t be disappointed!
4. Super Mario 64: The Missing Stars
I know the case isn’t real, but the cover art for Super Mario 64: The Missing Stars wins the prize for having the best artwork in our list.
This might be one of the best Super Mario 64 ROM hacks, but it’s also a game that I really wish I had a physical copy of.
The first thing to mention is the day/night cycle in this mod. It’s always daylight in the Mushroom Kingdom (except for inside Boo’s Big Haunt), but now players can search for stars in the dark too!
Luigi is also a playable character… what more do I need to tell you? I can’t stress enough how much you should check out this mod!
3. Mario And The Rod Of Seasons
We’re all fans of the best Zelda ROM hacks, right? Well, it seems Mazza is too in this next Link-inspired title.
Mario and the Rod of Seasons takes some heavy inspiration from The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. With Rod in hand, Mario is one brave warrior.
And, while he isn’t garbed in green, I reckon Link has probably given him a few pointers whenever they’ve shared the Smash Bros stage.
Each level has a seasonal theme and utilises the elements. Seeing snow and rain falling in SM64 is pretty exciting… or it is to me, at any rate.
So the trees might look a little suspect, but don’t let that put you off. This is a great hack to play through and a real fun take on the original game.
2. Super Mario 64: Sonic Edition
And I bet you thought nothing could beat Captain Falcon taking Mario’s reigns, right?
Super Mario 64: Sonic Edition takes the silver medal in this list of the best Super Mario ROM hacks of all time! Not only does Sonic appear in Mario’s place, but he’s got a whole host of classic moves available for use too.
Sonic doesn’t move slow; it’s just not in his nature. That’s why Sonic gets around a lot faster than Mario, even when walking.
Press Z to roll into a ball for quick travel down hills, and button mash B to do Sonic’s famous spin dash into enemies. Use homing attacks and even run on water; Sonic is the real deal!
As with Kirby and Captain Falcon, voices, animations, and references to Mario have been altered too. This could well be my SM64 guilty gaming pleasure, and I’m incredibly glad modder Thodds brought it to the table!
1. Super Mario 64: Last Impact
And finally, Super Mario 64: Last Impact tops our list of the best Super Mario 64 ROM hacks of all time!
If SM64 had a sequel on the Nintendo, it would (or should) have been Last Impact.
This is more than just a mod; it pays homage to one of the best Mario games ever and boasts some amazing features that modder Kaze Emanuar should win a medal for.
We’re talking brand new bosses designed and coded from scratch, the inclusion of FLUDD and Yoshi into the mix, and all-new abilities that give Mario an edge over his enemies.
Plus, there are 130 brand new stars to find and collect, all hidden amongst fantastically designed levels.
SM64 was already a huge game, but this mod takes it to the next level. It’s creative, it’s challenging, and it even has a few Mario Party games thrown in for good measure.
What’s not to love!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.