Review by Iyamtebist
"Definate improvent Over the first, although still not necessarily golden."
Super Mario Land 2 Six Golden Coins is a game that shares many similarities with the first Super Mario Land, but at the same time is exceptionally different. It is similar in that it is a game that tried to bring the traditional Mario platformers to the Gameboy despite the difficulty in doing so due to the Gameboy weaker technology. However, Super Mario Land 2 differs from its predecessor in that it is influenced by the more up to date games in the Mario series instead of the original Super Mario Bros. It is easy to tell that Super Mario Land 2 made more of an effort to be its own game instead of simply emulating previous games. Unfortunately, Super Mario Land 2 also suffers from some of the same errors as the original in that the limitations of its console prevent it from being a game of the same caliber as its console counterparts. Super Mario Land 2 certainly tried though, and while it does not reach the same level of greatness as Super Mario Bros 3 or Super Mario World, it is still pretty good in its own right.
Obey Wario Destroy Mario
Like with the first game, the story is not really all that impressive or relevant to the overall experience. However, the story is still worth mentioning if only because it is somewhat symbolic of the game itself in that it certainly is not impressive, but it is a step above its counterparts in originality. The main story of Super Mario land 2 is that Wario, a new character introduced in Super Mario Land 2 who went on to earn two spinoff series and be featured in several other Mario spinoffs himself, has orchestrated the events of the first Super Mario Land in an attempt to steal Mario's castle while he was gone, and Mario needs to find the six golden plot coupons in order to get back into his own house. While the story itself is ridiculous in concept, it does show some progression in the Mario series that most mainline entries still do not.
The first subtle change to this is quite simple; Mario now has continuity. The plot of this game actually has something to do with the first game and is not just titled Super Mario Land 2 just because it is the second portable Mario title. There are some other interesting nods to this however. The mysterious alien Tatanga, the main villain of the first game, is now a normal boss in Super Mario Land 2, which is almost a subtle way of telling you that Super Mario Land 2 is a much bigger game than its predecessor. What is even more interesting about this game is that it can actually get one to think about the timeline of the Mario series in a similar fashion to that of the Zelda series. Okay that is obviously just me and this still does not contribute to how entertaining the game itself is, but subtle details that one may not always notice deserve credit when they are noticed. The absence of Bowser from this and the previous games, the introduction of two characters who never show up in non spinoff titles, and the fact that Mario now has his own castle make me theorize something; The Super Mario Land games take place after the events of Luigi's Mansion.
Luigi's Mansion is yet another Mario game that is different from the norm, very different in fact, and it has a few specific details that hint at this. First of all it tells you that Mario has destroyed Bowser by the time the game takes place. Secondly Luigi gain a Mansion after the events of that game, which could possibly be Mario's Castle. Also it could count as a hint in that the treasure collecting aspect is similar to the Wario Land series, a spinoff series based on this game, which could hint that there is a connection in continuity between them. Now one might potentially say that I am looking way too deep into a series with little emphasis on plot; and one would be correct. However, it is the simple fact that the game has enough little details that separate it for me to create this crackpot theory that puts the game above the other entries in the series.
In the graphical department, Super Mario Land 2 is definitely an improvement over its predecessor. The sprites are a lot bigger and more detailed and there is much better animation. They have also added a feather to Mario's head whenever he picks up a fire flower so you can actually tell when he has one, unlike in the previous game where you could not tell because of the Gameboy's lack of color. The sound effects are certainly well placed and help enhance the feel. Sadly the same cannot be said about the Music. Every level theme in Super Mario land 2 is a remix of the same bland, unmemorable tune that, despite having heard it several times throughout the game, I still cannot remember more than the first sixteen notes. Just about every other song the game has is an eight second loop aside. Aside from the ending theme which is pretty catchy, there is nothing memorable about Super Mario Land 2's soundtrack and it is as bland as can be.
Huge Tracts of Land
The gameplay in Super Mario Land 2 is one that can be more so compared to Super Mario World than any other games in the series, although it does also use a few elements from Super Mario Bros 3. Super Mario Land 2 basically plays like the traditional Mario platformer in that the levels are more open and often have multiple ways you can reach the exit, which is an improvement over the first game's linearity. Super Mario Land 2 also has much tighter controls than its predecessor. In addition to the usual super mushroom and fire flower, there is also a rabbit ear power-up which allows Mario to hover in the air and make longer distances with his jumps.
There are six worlds in this game, each one having anywhere from two to five levels, the last of which contains a boss and a golden plot coupon. These levels each have a different theme to them, which include a giant tree, outer space, underwater, the obligatory giant world, a haunted world, and a giant statue of Mario. What is interesting about the way that Super Mario Land 2 handles this is that you can choose these worlds in any order you like. Unfortunately there is no difficulty curve and they all remain at the same difficulty level until the huge spike in difficulty when you reach Wario's castle. There are also secret exits in some levels which will take you to secret levels that are really only there for the sake of finding them. A rather annoying aspect about these levels is that you cannot unlock a secret level for good, and you will have to clear the previous level again if you want to re-access it.
Some other ways that Super Mario Land 2 functions compared to other mainline Mario titles is that there are greater punishments for getting a game over, and that the coins serve a different purpose. Every time you defeat a boss in Super Mario Land 2, you get one of the golden coins from them (there I didn't say plot coupon, happy now?). However, if you get a game over, you lose all of the golden coins you have acquired so far. This means you will have to fight the boss and go through the preceding level again to re-acquire the lost coins. Thankfully you just need to re-play the final level of each world and not every level, which means that there is a consequence for getting a game over, but it is not overly frustrating to suffer. The regular, non plot related, coins function differently in that they are used as actual currency for a mini-game that serves the purpose of helping you gain more lives. Seeing as how gaining a lot of lives helps you avoid getting game-overs, coins are actually important in this game, which is different from most Mario platformers where they become meaningless due to the massive amount of lives you already get anyway.
In terms of content, the game has somewhere between 30 and 40 levels, which means that it has as much as Super Mario Bros if I am going by the same scale as used in my review of the first game. However, the levels in Super Mario Land 2 are much more unique and well designed than in Super Mario Bros and are longer in general. That means I can safely say that Super Mario Land 2 has succeeded where the first game has not; in being a better game than the original Super Mario Bros. However, this does not so much speak for the quality of Super Mario Land 2 but more so towards the original Super Mario Land's failure. On its own, Super Mario Land 2 is nowhere close to being as good as Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, or even the New Super Mario Bros sub-series. It short length, its bland music and easy difficulty keep it from being as good as its console counterparts.Unlike the first Super Mario Land, however, I can recommend Super Mario Land 2 because it succeeds at having a decent amount depth and being a an overall fun and memorable experience.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/17/13
Game Release: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (US, 09/29/11)
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