Review by Psycho Penguin
"How does one of the first Game Boy games stand against the rest?"
Ahh, the Gameboy. Somehow the portable system is still selling after all these years, even though far more advanced portable systems have stepped up to challenge it. And with over 1000 games, the Gameboy is the most supported video game system of all time. But out of all those games, there was only one first. Super Mario Land was a good way to show how good the Game Boy could be, and got the job done. It, along with Tetris, helped put Gameboy on the map and made it the collective force it is today. It remained on the best sellers chart for a while, and can still be purchased at stores like Target and Wal Mart.
And the game was pretty good, to boot. Sure, the graphics look like crap, and the music and sound effects are pretty disappointing, but overall I cannot help but like this game. It is one of my favorite Super Mario games, and for some strange reason, it is my favorite Super Mario Land game. Yep, I like this game more than I liked Super Mario Land 2. I hated Super Mario Land 3, so it is no surprise I liked this game more than that one. Heck, I liked Killer Instinct on Game Boy more than I liked Super Mario Land 3!
The story line to the game was the same old Mario theme: save the princess. But this time you are not saving Princess Toadstool from the evil clutches of Bowser. Nope, this time you are saving Princess Daisy from the evil clutches of Tatanga. You are not in the Magical Kingdom of Mushrooms this time, nope now you are in the Egyptian lands, trying to save the princess. It is the same basic story line as the other Mario games, but the fact that there is a new setting and new enemy/princess makes it seem like a totally new and original story line.
These graphics are drop dead UGLY. Compared to other Game Boy games the graphics are not good. Mario himself doesn't look so good, and the enemies look very funny and strange. The game doesn't look anything like the NES Super Mario Bros., like Super Mario Land 2 does, which is a real shame. The backgrounds are just white, and the enemy designs are familar but do not look very nice, at all. The koopas and goombas look way too small, and not very detailed. They definitely look funny, but overall the enemy designs are not very good. Overall, this is not a good first graphical effort for the Game Boy.
The Game Boy has never produced really good audio effects, but some games did feature above quality music. This is one of them, although they're not good enough to receive a score higher than six. The music featured in the game is pretty good, but I wanted to hear some classic Mario tunes, which were not in the game, I am sad to say. I wish there would had been more classic Mario tunes featured, although the music that was featured was pretty decent. I just wish there had been more classic stuff and less annoying Egyptian tunes, that's all.
The sound effects are average. There was not too much to listen to, after all it is a Game Boy game, and the Game Boy has never exactly been known to produce amazing sound effects, but the sound effects in this game are pretty decent. I liked the sounds of the flowers and star power and stuff, all the basic sound effects that you have come to expect from the Mario series are featured in this game. Overall, the sound effects are good, and the music's decent, but the Game Boy doesn't feature great audio effects, and this game is a prime example.
The Game Boy does not exactly feature a huge amount of buttons to choose from, as all you basically have on the Game Boy system itself is two buttons, A and B, select and start, and the directional pad. So, there is no complex control in this game. You use the start button to pause, the select button is not used, and the A and B buttons are used to jump, shoot fireballs, etc. There is no complex control, but the control overall is solid and very responsive.
I am not going to go very much into the basic game play of the game because its the same as Super Mario Bros. But, I will tell you that there are 16 stages, and at the end of every stage you could play a bonus game if you get to the top of the building as opposed to the bottom. If you get to this bonus game, you can choose a path, and each path leads you to a certain area, which determines how much free lives you get. Sometimes you will get a flower or other item as a reward, but usually you will gain extra lives in this mini game. It is definitely a pretty fun mini game to play through, although there is not room for huge variety.
Also, there are several unique stages including one where you're in a submarine, shooting down enemies. There is definitely a wide variety of stages, and all of them were pretty fun and well done. The dungeons were pretty well done, as they were Egyptian temples, so you could do everything from roll on a boulder across spikes, jumping across the boulders without landing on the spikes, to avoiding spikes falling out of nowhere, to jumping from platform to platform. It gets pretty fun. Another cool aspect of the game is that you can use the fireballs to collect hard to reach coins.
The replay value in this game is not incredible but chances are you will want to play it for a while after you first play it. The game is fairly fun to play and mildly addictive. It is not a hugely addictive game, after all after a while you will probably want to move on to bigger and better things, but while the spark lasts you will definitely have a fun time with this game. Hell, I still play this game from time to time even to this day, I just played it last night in fact, because it is always good to play as a time filler, especially on those long family vacations.
The challenge level of this game is pretty high, but the game is not impossible or anything. The biggest challenge of this game is the fact that some of the stages can prove to be quite difficult, especially later on in the game. Stage 3-3 has you jumping from boulder to boulder, then suddenly jumping across these small platforms when they fall suddenly, it gets quite challenging after a while. The limited amount of continues and lives certainly do not help.
Overall, it is a good game, but I'd reccomend Mario Land 2 if you want a Mario game to take on the road. I liked this game more than Mario Land 2, but I am probably the only one, everyone else loves Mario Land 2, so I advise getting that game. However, you should get this game, as well. Because despite the fact it has its fair share of flaws, it is still a highly entertaining game that I enjoyed playing immensely. I liked this game, and I am sure you will too.
-The music in the game is highly entertaining.
-The sound effects are pretty good.
-I liked the control and basic game play of the game.
-The story line seems original because of the new characters.
Not So Good Points
-The graphics are extremely crummy.
-The music and sound effects could have been better.
-The game is a little too short, with only 16 stages.
-The replay value is not as high as other Mario games.
I Run Down the Ratings... DaLadiesMan Style!
Story Line - 8.1/10
Graphics - 2.3/10
Music - 8.1/10
Sound Effects - 8.2/10
Control - 8.3/10
Game Play - 8.1/10
Replay Value - Above Average
Challenge - Above Average
Is this game worth a purchase? - Yeah, it is.
Overall - 8.1/10
The Last Line
This is a great game, and you will more than likely enjoy playing this game. I liked this game more than Mario Land 2, but I am probably the only one, everyone else loves Mario Land 2, so I advise getting that game. However, you should get this game, as well. And it is the perfect game to take for those long family vacations.
And that's a Ladies Man guarantee!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/12/00, Updated 07/16/01
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