Super Mario 64: Render96 70-star Wario%

Hey y'all, it's Virg again, and I wanted to bring up a point of discussion that I haven't seen yet regarding the other characters (specifically Wario) in the mod for Super Mario 64, the Render96 project.

For those unaware, Render96 is a mod that primarily focuses on giving Mario 64 a new coat of paint with updated models resembling those from promotional artwork of the Nintendo 64 era. However, alongside implementation of some unused enemies and some other fun easter eggs, it also gives us two new playable unlockable characters with different play styles: Luigi and Wario. As expected, Luigi isn't much more than a slight change in physics and animation from Mario, aside from his twirling backflip from Super Mario 64 DS, which is a fun novelty but not as interesting. Wario, on the other hand, gets plenty of new tech, but also faces some drawbacks that leave him a bit more vertically challenged than the other two. As a long-time fan of Super Mario 64, as well as the Wario Land series (and Wario World, which R96 Wario draws much inspiration from), this change in game feel got me interested in seeing how different a full game run would be as Wario, especially in a speed setting.

That being said, there was one issue in doing this: it's not possible by regular means to start a new save file as one of the unlockable characters. To circumvent this, I had to get creative: by playing all the way up to unlocking Wario (or Luigi, though Wario is both easier to unlock and our point of interest) without saving, and quitting back to the title screen, the game still remembers which character you were playing as on that file so long as the file is not erased. This allows you to start a new-fresh save file, intro cutscene and all, with Wario not only unlocked, but as your starting character.

Now it's time to get into the real interesting parts about this whole thread: What makes Wario so much different from Mario, and why would it be more fun?
Thankfully, I have enough video evidence to prove why this is the case already recorded.

First and foremost, let's talk about what challenges Wario faces in comparison to his red-clad rival; one thing that sets Wario apart from Mario is his triple jump. Rather than doing a single forward somersault, Wario uses the flip that Yoshi gives you after talking to him in regular Mario 64. This means that Wario cannot actually wall jump out of his triple jump, and to my knowledge cannot grab ledges either. What's more, Wario's triple jump is actually a bit lower than Mario's, which of course can be problematic for obvious reasons. Wario also does not have a forward dive, but we'll get to that in a moment. Aaand to my knowledge, Wario's standard walking speed is slower than Mario's, but it may just be my brain playing tricks on me.

Now, for what Wario does to make up for his vertically challenged ways. And if we're going in depth for what makes Wario so fun, we need to talk about Wario's most prominent mechanic: the shoulder bash. The shoulder bash replaces Wario's grounded forward dive, which in most Mario 64 speed runs is Mario's primary means of quick movement. However, Wario's shoulder bash moves insanely fast at top speed, gives him an immediate triple jump, and can even climb slopes with enough speed. Because of its high top speed, this becomes the primary movement method throughout the run, especially since we can't do a normal forward dive. The triple jump, which is made much easier to perform via the shoulder bash as stated previously, also ignores surfaces during the first bounce. This includes (but is not limited to) lava, the frozen water under the chill bully, slopes, and even some cutscene triggers. This makes movement around Lethal Lava Land very open for creativity, and gives Wario probably the easiest Lakitu skip the world has ever seen. Oh, and less importantly, Wario can also stomp enemies to stun them rather than kill them, which allows him to pick them up and perform the wild swing-ding and piledriver from Wario World. The piledriver's only real use is some interesting stuff involving the baby penguin in Cool Cool Mountain, whereas the wild swing-ding can be used to climb slopes, which I mostly only use in Tiny-Huge Island.

Here's a few stars (with attached videos) that I found particularly fun/interesting to do as Wario:
BOB - Island in the Sky
CCM - Li'l Penguin Lost
LLL - 8-coin Puzzle with 15 Pieces
SL - Whirl from the Freezing Pond

I've currently started compiling my own personal route for a 70-star speed run as Wario (which I have dubbed Wario%), and I will likely record/stream one of my full runs once I have gotten more consistent and routed out some of the slower stars. Let me know what you guys think of this!
Just noticed the sick WL reference
Oh, and I also forgot to mention: even though it’s kinda slow in 70-star due to how long 100-coin stars usually take, Wario might actually be able to save a bit of running around due to the Wild Swing-Ding. When you grab an enemy that normally yields one coin, say, a goomba, they’ll actually spill out four more coins when spinning, and one last one upon being thrown, effectively making every Goomba worth 5 coins instead of 1