Review by Phange

"It's by-the-numbers, but still very good"

There's been plenty of discussion regarding Super Mario Brothers for the GBA. One one hand it is a very faithful port of an extremely well-made game, but on the other hand it isn't nearly as good as the very well produced Super Mario Brothers DX for GBC. Super Mario Brothers is simply the most inspirational game ever created, it sparked the modern trend in videogames and revitalized the market. Every facet of its design is practically perfect. To this end, Super Mario Brothers for GBA provides a great experience for those who either missed the original NES game or who want a more literal translation of the game than Super Mario Brothers DX provided. Whichever the case, Super Mario Brothers is a worthy purchase, and is really the only NES Classic worth $20.

Graphics
Very basic by today's standards, but extremely advanced for 1985. For some reason, the Gameboy Advance tends to have problems with Big Mario's mustache, which will occasionally blink out of existence. Not a HUGE problem, but definitely noticeable. The sprites tend to look a bit stumpy, but not to the extent that the game feels significantly different than it was 19 years ago.

On the whole, Super Mario Brothers loses a bit of its style, something that even the Gameboy Color Super Mario Brothers DX was able to avoid. However, there is a key improvement in the GBA version: the entire screen is now visible without having to press a button. In DX, the screen was cropped in order to faithfully emulate EVERY pixel in the game, which ultimately led to "blind leaps"
due to the inability to see ledges or elevators. The GBA version, faithful to the NES version, does not crop the screen. While this is the primary reason for the aforementioned graphical problems, it does retain the original "feel" of Super Mario Brothers.

Sound
Absolutely classic. The game's tunes have been heard all throughout gaming history (and remixed millions of times). The sound emulation is flawless. I have no complaints.

Gameplay
Classic to the very core, Mario includes secret warps, long levels, and even some primitive puzzle solving. The most important thing, though, is that it is both diverse and long. With both water and land levels, with levels in the sky, on mushrooms, or on normal ground, this game was REMARKABLY diverse. And with such a multitude of levels, one could spend forever learning the potential routes to victory.

The gameplay of the ORIGINAL ADVENTURE is slightly improved compared to Super Mario Brothers DX, due mainly to the screen scrolling. DX, however, offered so many more incentives to play the game, like finding hidden items, searching for eggs, racing through levels, and even had The Lost Levels. To its own merit, though, Super Mario Brothers is faithful as a strict NES Classic.

Value
Like all of the NES Classics, it isn't really worth $20. And, like Pac Man, there is a better version of the same game at practically half the cost. As it stands, this is a good purchase for anyone who wants to own at least one of the NES Classics, and would probably be cool as a show-off piece when played with the NES Classic SP.

FINAL RATING: 7/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/17/04


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