Review by Squawkero
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island for the Super NES was a masterpiece. The stages were beautifully designed, the game provided plenty of challenges, and contained some of the catchiest music ever. Minus Baby Mario's consistent whining, I loved that game to death. So when I heard they were making a sequel to Yoshi's Island, I was over-rejoiced. At first, the game was entitled ''Yoshi's Island 64'' and contained some pretty impressive screen grabs. In fact, it looked extremely promising until the whole foundation of the game was changed. Instead of a fluid, epic adventure, they decided to turn the game into a story book. Everything simply fell apart from there. Still, I hadn't lost all hope, and reserved and purchased a copy immediately. Low and behold, it turned out to be the most disappointing game I've ever played.
*turns sarcasm meter on*
The story in this game makes absolutely no sense. Basically, Baby Bowser steals the Super Happy tree that belongs to the Yoshis. Wow. A tree. Big whoop. Then, he flies back to his castle and magically changes the whole world into a story book! First of all, how? Second of all, why? I mean, what the heck were Baby Bowser/the developers thinking? And how in the world does everyone breathe if everything is flat? Oxygenated cardboard? Whatever. Anyways, 6 unguarded Yoshi eggs (seriously, parents these days) suddenly hatch and wonder what's going on. They decide to go get the Super Happy Tree back from Baby Bowser. Now, how are newborns supposed to walk, talk, or even think? Or maybe the eggs were really alien capsules that crash landed on Yoshi's Island, and the ''aliens'' emerged from them.
*turns sarcasm meter off*
The gameplay in this game is extremely simple. Basically all you do is run, jump, eat, and throw eggs. At the beginning, you get to choose from one of 6 different colored Yoshis. Don't worry, they're all the same, except for the kind of fruit they eat. Yoshi can eat enemies and make them into eggs or spit them back out. Once you make an egg, you can toss it at an enemy or object. To complete each stage, you must eat 30 fruits, which are scattered all about. There are plenty of fruits in each stage, so it shouldn't be too hard to find 30 of them.
Once you beat a stage, you'll move on to the next world. That's right, not stage, but world. In turn, this gives for some very short-lived gameplay. To play all the stages, you'll have to play through story mode several times. 4 stages are in each world, and you can enter any one of them, depending on how many hearts you collected in the previous stage. Oh, and lives? Well, you have a flower meter at the top-left corner of the screen. If you get hit, it will lose a petal. if you lose all your petals, you die.
Of course, then come the enemies. Most of them you'll recognize from previous Mario adventures. The most common enemies are Shy Guys. They can be found dawdling around, carrying fruit, walking on stilts, jumping on pogo-sticks, piloting submarines, doing the limbo dance, firing cannonballs from a pirate ship, or carrying giant torch burners. In fact, most of the returning enemies are from Super Mario World: Yoshi's Island, like Bumpty birds, Blindfold Boos, and Shy-Guys-on-Stilts. New unfriendly faces include Pak E. Derm, Bone Dragon, Gabon, the Attacky Sack (clever play on words there), and the Snorkel Snake.
Collecting 30 fruits in a stage is a piece of cake. Collecting 30 melons, however, is quite a bit more difficult. Melons are much more hidden. While some are in plain view like the other fruits, most melon pop up in all kinds of bizarre places. Sometimes, you'll see an enemy carrying a melon through the air. In some places, if you pound the ground, a melon will pop out! Good spots include between two sign posts, underneath a tree, or in front of Poochie. While this may sound like it adds to the game value and longevity, it's more frustration than anything, especially since if you lose one melon, you'll have to start the whole stage over.
One more thing I'd like to touch on is the return of Poochie. Remember the dog that you used to ride over lava and spikes in Yoshi's Island? Well, you can't actually ride him in this game, but he's back to give you some help. Usually, Poochie simplifies the right way to go. For example, if there's two vases near each other and Poochie is standing next to one of them, it's probably safest to take the one Poochie's next to. He'll also help you sniff out melons and other hidden items.
Probably the only good thing about the game. For an N64 game, the graphics are very vibrant and colorful, and overall very, very well done for a system that is meant to be alot more polygonal. You can tell it's a story book, too. Not because of flat backgrounds, but because of dotted lines along all the textures. Most of the ground, backgrounds, and enemies look like they are sewn together with a needle and thread, which is pretty innovative, and is very well done. Characters look fairly solid as well, only being blocky in a few places. Definitely brings more life to the game.
The music in this game would be very likable if only there wasn't so much repetition! What do I mean by that? You see, every single tune in the game is a remix of the exact same medley! Yeah, there's some good mixes, but it's starved for some originality. Not to mention some of it is unbearably nerve-racking. Now I'd shoot myself in the balls before I'd call an aspect of a game "kiddy", but Yoshi's Story's audio department really pushes it. But that was just the music, which was, believe it or not, the higher point of the game's audio department. Yoshi talks. Cool, right? Yes, it would be very cool, if only he didn't sound like a toddler! Okay...they're toddler Yoshis, and I have to admit, it's rather cute. But once again, it's pushing it. Yoshi's grunts and moans vary when you perform certain actions, like pushing crates, eating fruit, and tossing eggs. But by far the most "rewarding" aspect is that whenever you eat 30 fruits and complete a stage, the Yoshis sing for you! My advice - Mute it.
Yoshi's Story took me exactly one hour to complete. Since there's only 6 worlds and the stages are fairly easy to complete, it's fairly easy for even a Kindergartner to beat. Definitely the major, I mean MAJOR downfall of this game. The only thing that prevents this category from getting lower is that searching for all the melons can occupy more time. And even that is pretty tedious, and there's not much incentive for completing it.
Overall, words cannot describe how much of a letdown Yoshi's Story was for me. Maybe it wasn't supposed to be a sequel to Yoshi's Island after all. Maybe it was supposed to be the type of experience that would keep 2-D gaming alive during the dark age of gaming (1997-onward). I would've loved that. However, this wasn't that. This wasn't even Yoshi. Also, don't say a good 2-D-style gaming doesn't work in 3-D. Mischief Makers did it beautifully. It looks like Nintendo hasn't attempted this since, though, which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. Bottom line? The Yoshi fans and platform fans alike will have a fun romp through this until they realize the game is already over.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 07/24/06
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