Review by matt91486

"Somehow Mario works so much better on the twenty inch screen rather than the two inch screen"

OPENING STATEMENT
Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, was Mario’s second foray onto the old school, black and white Game Boy. In this adventure of his, Wario has taken over his castle, and basically turned poor Mario’s kingdom into a fun house with six regions. You need to collect the six golden coins, one in each region, and get your castle back from that mean relative of yours, and to save your poor Mushroom Kingdom!

GAMEPLAY--9
Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins has the typical Mario gameplay. You control Mario through action stage after action stage, to reach the end of it, basically. The real addition to this gameplay, though, is the variation between the different zones of play. In the Space Zone, Mario is ‘hindered’ with anti-gravity. In the Macro Zone, ants are far bigger than Mario is; even when you get a mushroom to make you magically grow from small Mario to big Mario. But, all of the while, Mario has to keep leaping up and bopping his enemies on the head. The variations between the stages is really what makes Super Mario Land 2 so much better than the original Super Mario Land, which was basically just any old Mario game with really, really tiny graphics.

Now these six stages are hardly uniform. The Macro Zone has four or five levels in it, while the Space Zone only has two. More importantly, though, and new to the Mario Series in a sense, are the unique region bosses. Never before in a Mario series has a boss system been set up in this way. Also, you are not forced to go from region to region in an pre-programmed order. You can travel between the six regions as often as you want, and you can pick and choose what stages you want to do, when you want to do them. But, beware. When you run out of lives, you lose all of the golden coins that you have unlocked. You still have all of the levels up to those golden coin stages that you have already beaten, defeated, but you have to actually do the boss stage once more.

The most interesting feature in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins is the gambling feature, something that I never thought I would see from a family oriented company like Nintendo. Of course, nothing Nintendo does surprises me anymore, as all surprises were taken away with the release of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, in all of its controversial greatness. You can gamble away your hard earned coins in the quest for bigger prizes down the road. That area of the Mushroom Kingdom can be thought up as Las Vegas, Monaco, or Atlantic City in your mind, because all it really has to offer is the casino. (Yes, I know Monaco has one of the most prestigious races on the face of the earth, but that is beside the point.) I really did not go to the casino often, but most of the people that I know who played Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins went to the casino quite frequently in hopes to strike it rich. And, as far as I know, not a single one did. Hmm…kind of suspiciously like real life I suppose.

GRAPHICS--7
When a system lasted as long as the Game Boy did, it is really difficult to compare games to only games of their own era, but I will do my best to think back to the Game Boy days of 1992. The first thing you will notice about the graphics in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, that is if you have played Super Mario Land, is simply how much bigger everything is. I could almost fit the Mario from that first Game Boy adventure on a pin head. Now, he is only slightly smaller than his counterparts on the original Nintendo, which makes everything much easier to see, and the gameplay easier to carry out.

This bigger and better size that everything is also allows for more attention to detail. You can see little nuances in the graphics that you were unable to see in the previous portable Mario incarnation. The enemies all look far better, and they all really fit in with their specific zones quite well, which really adds to the game. You will not see the same enemy in more than one zone, that is for sure. Those mosquito like enemies in the Tree Zone are the ones that annoy me most, so beware when you head there. The different enemies in each zone, also make Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins far more different than most Mario games, where Goombas, Boos, and Koopas abound, and you really do not see a whole lot of other types of enemies, only variations of these three types. In this Mario game, there are more enemies than ever before (it’s release, that is), and you can tell that Nintendo got to do some things with this Mario game that they had previously wanted to do, and would probably never get to do again. Like the ant enemies amongst the giant blades of grass in the Macro Zone, which is my personal favorite zone if you could not already tell. How often do you think that the developers can include innovative things like that in Mario games, and not get yelled at by the upper management for befuddling their prize character. Chances like that are once in a character’s lifetime, and Mario certainly made the most of his chances.

MUSIC--9
SOUND--7

Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins has some of the best tunes on the Game Boy. In fact, there really were not any other games in its musical league, excluding Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land, and Wario Land II, until the release of the Pokemon titles, six years later. That is a remarkable achievement in and of itself, and Nintendo should be commended for making those tiny little speakers give off so many great tunes when the console was still a toddler in it’s lifespan. By the time Pokemon rolled around, the console was nine years old, let us hope that they can get some decent sounds out of those speakers by then, but after three years. . . that is kind of hard to get past. Anyway, the music is akin to that of all other Mario games. It is happy, bubbly, music, that reminds you of your childhood, if you are an adult, and just fits in well with your age group, if you are under ten or so, as I was when I first received this game, way back in the day. The music just reminds you of your life, then, and Nintendo prides itself on its family games, so I am very sure that the intent of the developers was just that, and that they passed the test with flying colors.

The sound effects are hardly bad, just after having the spectacular music, I expected quite a bit more of them. Basically, although the gameplay is new, the sound effects are basically recycled from other Mario games. With so much more new, you would think that Nintendo would add some, but I guess they had blown all of their new production costs on the rest of the game, so they just conjured up the sound effects from Mario games past. Luckily, those were hardly bad sound effects. The smashing of brick blocks, the coin noise that we have all come to know and love, these are all present, and they are just as good as ever. They are just not new, so I punished their rating for that. Innovation is a healthy addition, and Nintendo opted out of including any. Shame on them.

CONTROL--8
Mario games are just easier to control on a home console, with an actual controller. Nintendo tried their hardest, and for a Game Boy action game it controls rather well. Sadly, quite well for a Game Boy action game really does not amount to anything more than slightly above average. These problems are probably more evident in the Turtle Zone than anywhere else in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. While the action stages on land are workable, and you eventually get used to them, making Mario swim on the Game Boy just does not work well at all. Constantly pressing the ‘A’ button to force poor little Mario to progress is enough to make you go insane, because you have to actually hold the screen so you can see where you are making everyone’s favorite plumber swim, and repeatedly pressing a button does not work well. I will say that controlling became slightly easier on the more svelte Game Boy Color.

FUN--8
When is Mario not fun? Even in a portable adventure with worse than usual control, his quests throughout his kingdom are still enjoyable, for gamers young and old. The story is by far the most interesting of any Mario game, with the obvious exceptions of Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG, which are role-playing games that need a great story to succeed. I would have liked to have seen some versus play involved, like the old school arcade game Mario Brothers, but it is hardly required for a good time. You will each pick out your own favorite region, and you will probably find yourself, consciously or unconsciously gravitating towards it each time you have some levels to beat, or when you first begin a new game. The fact that it is very non-linear makes the Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins a little bit different each time you play it, and that makes it great fun, and worth the money through and through.

CHALLENGE--MEDIUM TO HIGH
In my opinion, Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins is one of the most difficult Mario games of all. The boss battles are truly strenuous, and they are among the most difficult feats on the Game Boy. There are a few of the zones, mainly the Space Zone and the Hippo Zone that always seem to give me a lot of trouble, as well. And, if you can manage to find a way to succeed in the casino, more power to you. The most difficult feat, in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, is the one you are required by the game to carry out. You have to hold all six golden coins at once, to be able to access the final confrontation with Wario. The difficult thing is that when you get a game over, all of your coins are returned to the level bosses, and you need to challenge them again to get them back. Luckily all of the non-boss levels in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins stay beaten, even with a game over, so the only levels you need to redo are the boss levels.

REPLAY VALUE--MEDIUM TO HIGH
Well, even without any multiplayer capabilities, I played through Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins with all three files, and then restarted and saved over my first file, because I had gotten better at the game. Each time, through, though, I took a different path through the zones, which really added to the replay value. Of course, playing through an action game four times is a testament to its replay value already.

PROS
*Greatest story of any Mario games, excluding the two role-playing games.
*Musically, the best the Game Boy has to offer.
*Great replay value for an action game.

CONS
*Mario is much harder to control on the Game Boy.
*Sound effects are basically recycled from other games.
*Some may get confused by not being directed where to go all of the time.

CLOSING STATEMENT
If you play the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, or Game Boy Advance at all, you really have no excuse not to buy Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. The game is probably the best action game on the aging portable giant, and you can play it again and again. Besides, Nintendo re-released it once, and they probably will again, so you should not have any trouble finding new copies. So look around and buy away.

OVERALL--8


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/06/01, Updated 07/18/01


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