Review by YusakuG
"Help the Mario Bros. save Princess Toadstool! No, wait, it's Princess Peach...No, it's Toadstool...No, it's...Damn it, Nintendo! Make up your mind!!"
When the Super Famicom and Super Nintendo were released (in 1990 and 1991, respectively), Nintendo knew that they needed a killer title to launch with their new 16 Bit system. Sega already had a head start on them in the race and, thanks to a little blue hedgehog, was gaining momentum in the US. So, what better game for Nintendo to launch with the new system than Mario? After all, the previous game had been the most successful Nintendo game in the US ever at the time. Mario would be a sure fire way to get kids to whine, beg, and scream for their parents to get them the new system. And so, Super Mario World was packaged with every system.
A little over ten years later, Mario's first foray into the world of 16 Bit has arrived on a very well done cart for the Game Boy Advance. With its combo of new additions and classic gameplay, Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 is sure to send everyone on a nice trip down nostalgia lane.
Super Mario World's story is a gripping tale of adventure, betrayal, friendship, and overcoming the odds!...Okay, that's total BS. Like most games made during its time, the story was just something to hang the gameplay on. The Princess has once again been kidnapped by King Koopa and his evil kids. (Whatever happened to the Koopa Kids, anyway? They disappeared after this game. Maybe King Koopa's a deadbeat dad, and forgot to pay his child support...) But, Koopa and his army have a little bit more planned than the usual Princess stealing. This time, the evil turtle clan is set on conquering Dinosaur Island, as well. Mario and Luigi must team up with a young dinosaur named Yoshi to rescue the Princess, and save Yoshi's fellow dinos who have been trapped inside eggs.
There's a bit of glaring story continuity that I noticed in Nintendo's latest port. Throughout the game manual, they refer to the Princess by her new name, Peach. Yet, in the game itself, she is constantly referred to as Toadstool - her original US name. Oops. I guess Nintendo forgot to update the text featured in the game, and mainly kept it the same as it was ten years ago. Either that, or the Princess is schizophrenic.
Gameplay should be familiar to just about anyone who's played a 2D Mario game. You make your way across 8 areas of Dinosaur Island (and one secret area) and over 90 levels total. Mario's main attack is the classic ''bounce on the enemy's head'', but he can find various power-ups to help him in his mission. As always, mushrooms make him grow bigger, so that he can take a hit from an enemy without dying. The fire flowers allow our hero to shoot fireballs. The one new addition to Mario's arsenal is the feather that allows him to sprout a cape and take off flying, after he has achieved decent running speed. One feature that this game introduced is to hold reserve power-ups in storage. That way, if you lose the one you're currently using, the one you have on reserve will drop down for you to catch. You can also make your reserve drop down at any time with a press of the ''select'' button.
You explore Dinosaur Island on an overhead map, somewhat similar to the one used in Mario 3. Each level in each area is represented by a flashing dot on the map. The yellow dots mean that there is only one exit for the level. However, if you come across a red dot, that means the level you are about to enter has a second hidden exit that can lead to a new hidden level. There are also hidden bonus games that are based around Tic-Tac-Toe. When Mario reaches the end of the stage, he comes across a giant finish line strip that moves up and down on a goal post. When Mario crosses the finish and is able to cut the line, he gets ''star points''. The higher the strip is when Mario breaks it, the more points he gets. When Mario achieves 100 star points, he is taken to a special bonus round where he must match up three in a row of a similar power up item in order to get extra lives. With it's wealth of secrets and hidden levels, Mario World certainly delivers in the gameplay department.
However, the big addition to the series was Yoshi the dinosaur, who made his debut in this game. Mario can ride on Yoshi's back, except for the final fortress levels in each part of the island. Yoshi can eat enemies by grabbing them with his long tongue. He can then either spit them back out at other enemies, or he can swallow them. Certain things Yoshi eats give him special abilities. For example, red turtle shells allow Yoshi to breathe fire, while blue shells will make Yoshi sprout wings and fly. Mario cannot be hurt by enemies as long as he is riding Yoshi. But, when Yoshi is hit by an enemy, he gets scared and runs off. You'll have to jump back on him before he gets away if you want Yoshi back.
Okay, so the gameplay seems to be identical to the original SNES version, except for a few new additions (more on that later). But, what about the graphics? Well, fortunately, they are practically a pixel-perfect recreation of the original. Everything looks exactly the way I remembered it, down to the last detail. The graphics capture the bright and colorful look of the original game, and the character sprites are big enough to show up easily on the GBA screen. My only complaint is due to the small screen of the system, you sometimes can't see as much of the level as you could in the original. This can be tricky when you want to jump to an area above or below you, since you kind of have to fly blind at times.
The music did not make out as well, unfortunately. All of the game's original music is here, but it just does not sound as good through the GBA's single speaker. The music sounds kind of scratchy, and sometimes has a faraway sound to it. I know the system is capable of better quality sound than this. One addition to the sound is that Mario and Luigi now talk, just like in the last Advance game. Sounds like they re-used most of the voice samples from that game, as well. The stereotypical Italian voices get annoying pretty quickly, and you'll probably find yourself lowering the volume when you play.
So, now for the big question - Are there any new additions that make this game worth re-playing? Well, sort of. The main new features included here is the option to play as Mario or Luigi on just about any level. Luigi now plays differently than Mario, too. He can jump higher, and the fireballs he shoots move in a different pattern. Another major change is that when Mario or Luigi is in their ''Fire'' or ''Cape'' form and are hit by an enemy, they now turn into their ''Super'' form, instead of turning into their weak normal form like in the original. Another new useful addition is that there has been a menu screen added that keeps track of all the Yoshi Coins (5 on each level) and levels that you have uncovered. Another useful addition is the ability to save at any time. However, this also makes the game a bit easier than before, since if you die on a level, you can just reset the game, and start over from your save. You'll have all your power-ups and everything that you had before.
Some more minor additions have been added, as well. There's a new intro at the beginning of the game. Plus, you can no longer re-enter the Koopa fortresses after you beat them, like you could in the original. Apparently, in the remake, you have to beat the game first.
Are these additions earth shattering? Hardly. If you weren't a fan of Mario World the first time, this port won't change your mind. But, if you love the original, or just have a strong desire to play it again, you'll have fun. Super Mario World is still a great game, and you can now play it whenever you want. Now when is Nintendo going to give us an original 2D Mario game for the GBA?
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/13/02, Updated 06/09/03
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