Review by YINever

"How Nintendo managed to screw this one up is beyond me...."

Despite the fact that this game contains revised editions of two classic video games, it manages to simultaneously change and add enough bad elements to render the games' magical effects impotent.

In Nintendo's recent tradition of re-releasing games for system launches comes Super Mario Advance, ostensibly a port of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES, as well as Mario Bros. from the arcades (which serves as the game's multiplayer mode).

Super Mario Bros. 2, originally Doki Doki Panic in Japan, is a departure from the traditional hop and bop gameplay of most Mario games. In it, you pick up vegetables and other items and hurl them at enemies in your quest to overthrow the evil King Wart in order to save the Subcon realm, or some other such nonsense. The gameplay concept is quite good, but is severely hampered by control problems and quirks new to this rendition of SMB2.

The screen's inability to properly scroll is what will frustrate you the most, and will likely land you several unavoidable hits from Flurrys and Beezos, who attack you swiftly head-on while the screen is still deciding which way to turn completely toward. It also dampens your ability to see the ground on occasions where you jump so high as to scroll the screen upward, and increases the occasions where the game pauses for a brief moment while scrolling, throwing your movements off-balance. Though you have a nominal level of scrolling control with the L button, it is very unintuitive and too late to be effective.

Several changes were made to the standard gameplay, such as the addition of giant-sized enemies and items. Large enemies give you hearts whenever you throw them, large POW blocks bounce a couple more times than normal ones, and large vegetables are, well, just large. This addition is more gimmicky than anything; it's as if Nintendo was simply looking for an excuse to show off what it could do with its new hardware.

Other changes to the game's physics will throw veterans of the game off-balance, such as the removal of the temporary invincibility you receive while lifting items, as well as the ability to be hit at the top of your head while small (for example, by Shy Guys one frame above you in the sand-digging portions). These are small things that many players would never notice, though, and that many won't care much about.

Some positive additions include a betting system in the end-stage slot machine, where you can wager more hearts for a bigger gain in lives won, as well as a point system in the main game, something sorely needed.

The main change, however, is with the hearts system. Instead of starting out with two full hearts, you begin the game small, and are forced to earn hearts. There is also one more mushroom per stage, allowing you to build your meter to five hearts instead of four. Hearts are to be found everywhere though, whether in large enemies, by killing combos of enemies, or by pulling up hearts from the ground (a new item). This makes the game simultaneously less challenging, while more tedious in having to rebuild your meter after dying.

Bosses have been changed around, the second battle with Mouser being bumped up to the end of the sixth world to make room for a new boss, Robirdo, who is somewhat challenging, if only for the fact that it takes several hits to kill. The second battle with Triclyde, therefore, simply ceases to be.

The graphics are nearly identical to the SNES Super Mario All-Stars remake of the game, and are relatively clear and crisp. The music, however, pales in comparison to the SNES version, and while the newly added voices are fun at first, you will quickly grow tired of the constant grunts, ''Thank you''s and ''Just what I needed''s. Beyond that, the dialogue of bosses is laughably bad. Lines such as ''This is as far as you go!'' and ''I'm too hot to touch!'' almost make you lose your concentration on the battle at hand for their sheer ridiculousness.

Also worth a mention is that the newly-renamed Peach's floating time seems to have been shortened (either that or game environments changed), as some old shortcuts of hers no longer work. Why should anyone then choose the weakest and slowest player in the game? ''You can count on me!'' Yeah right; you're worthless, tramp.

Mario Bros. fares little better. While there are some impressive backgrounds, the game basically takes place in the same environment: four sets of platforms with a pipe in each corner. Out of those pipes come several different enemies, whose touch can kill Mario, but whom can be quickly rendered vulnerable by a knock from below.

The main problem with this game, like Super Mario Bros. 2, is that there is needlessly a horizontal scrolling ability which simply was not necessary. This game was remade for Super Mario All-Stars as well, and back then it controlled much more intuitively.

All in all, this package is only for the die-hard Mario completist or a newcomer to these games, in which case it is recommended fully, as these games do retain an enjoyable experience. Veterans, however, should be cautioned. Super Mario Bros. 2 was the first game I ever received, and every time I play it, it brings back old memories, but this rendition simply doesn't cut it.

Good:

Classic Mario Gameplay
Bright, Colorful Graphics
New Boss
Added Score System

Bad:

Infuriating Scrolling Scheme
Annoying Heart System
Inexcusable Changes
Watered-Down Music
Ingratiating Voices


Half-Integer Scale: 6.0
GameFAQs Scale: 6.0


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/03, Updated 07/07/03


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