Review by StarmanJunior
"This Game Is an Abomination"
I can actually pinpoint the time where Nintendo stopped putting any effort into their Mario franchise and simply turned it into something that could make money for them. Yes! Back in the new millenium where Nintendo was hoping that their new GameCube and Game Boy Advance would continue carrying them on a successful path! Dark times for Nintendo, I'm afraid. The GameCube's sales were less than desireable, with a lacking library and poor marketing, while the more successful Game Boy Advance helped keep their heads above the water. An interesting time to be a Nintendo fan sure, watching them go from being the world's most beloved video game company to the bottom rung. But anytime I think I should feel sorry for them during this time, I think about Super Mario Advance, and I quickly remember how absolutely attrocious, selfish, and wasteful they were with that decision.
So, this was a time when Mario platformers had slowed down. Despite the fact that some of the best games that were ever made were Mario platformers, Nintendo started to get realllllllly lazy here. Mario Party, and Mario sports games quickly took over the market, as they seemed to realize that they could plaster Mario's mug on just about anything to make it sell. Not to say these games were bad, but what is Mario really about? His original platformers in the Mushroom Kingdom, of course. So after Super Mario Bros. Deluxe brought back the original Super Mario Bros., with some added twists, Nintendo quickly decided that ports could make a quick cash-in.
Although I don't understand how Nintendo could take Super Mario Bros. 2 from 1987, and Mario Bros. from 1983, package them together and have the odacity to call it "Super Mario Advance". I'm not quite sure what's so advanced about it. I'll tell you: nothing. Yes, just starting Nintendo's trend of poorly naming their games. The bulk of this game, however focusses on Super Mario Bros. 2. But this isn't the original game, this is Super Mario Bros. 2 with a knife stuck in its chest and an axe sticking out of its head.
When I started playing, the first thing I noticed was that they took any sort of challenge out of it. Hearts were littered around levels, platforming was easier, powerups were more common, and you could pick hearts out of the ground in all sorts of places. Hitting two enemies consecutively would trigger a heart. Throwing a large enemy would trigger a heart. Hitting things with turtle shells trigger hearts. In short, they're everywhere. Everytime you reach a boss, there are hearts littered around the room.The original Super Mario Bros. 2 was certainly a challenging game, but they took out all of the challenge here. You can find hearts pretty much everywhere, and don't even get me started on the 1-Ups. The original was particularly hard to achieve 1-Ups, but this game is so easy that you can attain 99 1-Ups by the end of Level 1. Not that it matters, because extra lives don't really have much of a point these days. In short, they turned a game with a fairly difficult challenge into a game that was mind numbingly easy. But I don't get it! Half of the reason the original game was so hard was because of the continue system. They could've just botched that, but no! They had to make it so that no drooling monsters could not finish this in one sitting.
There are some "large" items and enemies that they added into the game, mostly just to showcase the capabilities of the Game Boy Advance. They don't really add much to the experience, existing only to, you guessed it, give you more hearts! The large Pow-Block bounces, which is pretty cool but not very innovative. Large vegetables exist for...nothing, other than hurling them at your enemies. Turtle shells are larger and ricochet off boundaries instead of disappearing like in the original game, and can also cause you damage. Large enemies come in the form of Shy Guys and the occasional Ninji. Nothing else though. Basically, the turtle shell was the only one I thought was interesting, but anything that hits a turtle shell gives out a heart. What a surprise!
By far, the worst thing this game has to offer is the voices. Did somebody step into a meeting at Nintendo and say, "You know what this 2-D platformer is missing? Voices!" Whoever came up with that, well I'd like to bury them alive, because thanks to their over-the-top voiceover ideas, chances are that you'll be playing this game with the volume down. Mario, Luigi, and Peach have tolerable voices, while Toad has a low scratchy annoying sound that will give you shivers. Either way, your characters simply don't shut up. For a game that has you picking stuff up all the time, they'll talk about it! Pick up, throw, cherry, door, beat the level, etc. etc. etc. your characters talk with some of the worst sayings that you could possibly imagine. They...just...don't...stop. What's worse is that even the bosses speak. They each say something before you fight them, and let me tell you...they say some of the dumbest things in video game history. Like Fry Guy's "I'm too hot to touch!" Claw Grip sounds like a pirate! It is...brutal.
I think it would've made a little sense to have a "classic" mode where you could play the original game and not this tortured version. Even when you finish the game, there's another challenge to find Yoshi eggs, but it is one of the worst replay additions to any game I've ever seen. Yoshi Eggs are littered in random locations in Sub Cun and you can only find them using the potion doors. A challenge that required no effort to make, and that is frustrating to complete for absolutely no payoffs.
The version of Mario Bros. is pretty adequate. They included elements from Super Mario Bros. 2 like running, super jump, and being able to pick up the POW block. It's actually pretty memorable but still...it's just Mario Bros. Chances are you won't be playing it very often.
But it's not just this game that is an abomination. It's the entire series. After this one came out they released Super Mario Advance 2, 3 and 4, which were Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, and Super Mario Bros. 3. Each game was packaged with the exact same Mario Bros. game. First of all, if you're going to release old content, at least do it in a compliation game. This is just lazy and selfish. Selling these games that took minimal effort individually, releasing over the lifespan of an entire handheld system with absolutely NO new Mario platformers? For shame, Nintendo. This was low. Not only are you riding on content from over a decade before, but releasing it ALL again over a period with nothing new, that's just unforgiveable.
Especially since the GBA was the first system I was actually able to buy with my own money, and being a Mario fan all my life, I had to go with the Mario. But I was let down again and again and again and again. I think Shigeru Miyamoto needs a vacation.
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 03/09/12
Game Release: Super Mario Advance (US, 06/10/01)
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