Review by Tarrun
Ever since Super Mario Bros was released in the late eighties, it's been a tradition for every new Nintendo system to have a Mario game in its opening lineup. This was first put into effect with Super Mario Land for the Game Boy, and later on with the release of the Super Nintendo's Super Mario World. After the original Mario Bros trilogy, fans were more than willing to shell out the two hundred dollars for the system, and they were in no way disappointed. I know that Super Mario Bros 3 is hailed as one of the best games ever made, and for good reason, but I've always been more partial to Super Mario World.
Super Mario World takes place a little while after Super Mario Bros 3, although you wouldn't know it; you never really hear about a story throughout the game. Basically, after restoring peace in Mushroom Kingdom during the third game, Mario, Luigi, and the Princess decide to take a vacation on an island known as Dinosaur Land. Unfortunately, the Princess is kidnapped, forcing Mario and Luigi to once again search for her. Along the way, the two brothers found an enormous egg that hatched soon afterwards, and the dinosaur, named Yoshi, told Mario and Luigi about how his friends were kidnapped by monstrous turtles, and he himself was trapped inside the egg. Realizing who is behind the chaos in Dinosaur Land, Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi set off across the island to rescue the Princess and Yoshi's friends.
Because Super Mario World was one of the first Super Nintendo games that most fans would play, it really had to show off what the system could do. And Mario World did exactly that, the graphics were a great improvement upon Super Mario Bros 3; everything is a lot more detailed and colorful. Sometimes colorful graphics look awkward in a game, but Nintendo found a perfect combination with Super Mario World. Maybe it's because the Mario series has always had the cartoon-style graphics, but everything in the game is a joy to look at. The character sprites are detailed and interesting to look at, particularly Mario and Bowser's sprite. Also, the backgrounds are amazing as well; I especially liked the forest world and the dungeons. Another thing I liked was how each world had a set of levels that were similar to each other, instead of having random levels in the worlds like in Super Mario Bros 3.
The soundtrack in Super Mario World is fantastic, it has a perfect combination of classic Mario tunes and new, original songs. And while the new songs do honor the original Super Mario trilogy, there's a large enough difference to keep them interesting. And one of the best additions to the soundtrack is while you're riding Yoshi; a drumbeat is added to the music.
The gameplay hasn't changed very much since Super Mario Bros. 3, everything looks pretty much the same. You begin on a map where you can travel to different levels; except this time there are a few more choices than before. The levels themselves are usually pretty unique, and often there are multiple exits that lead to other locations, usually the less obvious one to a secret level. The secret levels are pretty interesting; some of them branch off completely and eventually merge right at one of the Koopa Kids' castles, while others lead to rewards like adding the colored blocks in levels or opening a path on Star Road, which can transport Mario to myriads of different locations on the map.
Unfortunately, most of the extra stuff that made Super Mario Bros 3 such a memorable game is gone, including most of the mini-game levels; the treasure chest house, the matching house, and the Hammer Bros. levels, as well as the fortresses and the flying ships. Although it's true that winning those mini-games wouldn't do you any good since you can only carry one item at a time. You can use it at any time by pressing Select, but the item is also used automatically if you get hurt. Fortunately, items are gained a lot faster than in Super Mario Bros. 3; instead of collecting them in mini-games, any item you collect while Mario is at his most powerful is banked.
However, you won't be finding as many items as there were in Super Mario Bros 3, all that's left is the mushroom, the fireflower, and the magic cape, which replaces the raccoon tail. All of the really fun and unique items have been eliminated from Super Mario World, including the Boot, the Hammer Bros, Tanooki, and Frog suits, and even the Magic Whistle. The lack of these extras was probably the biggest disappointment, and that's saying something about the rest of the game.
That aside, Super Mario World is loaded with secrets and options; there are just so many different ways to go through the game. It's true that there are fewer levels than there were in Super Mario Bros 3, only seventy-four, but the massive amount of variety and choices will make you forget about that pretty quickly. It's fairly difficult to see everything in the game in one run and there's more to do even after you've defeated Bowser. Although you can still bypass most of the game like you could with the Magic Whistles, only this time by using Star World; you only need to beat a dozen levels to reach Bowser's Castle, which is also a plethora of possibilities. There are eight mini-stages inside the castle, although you only need to choose two of them to reach the final battle with Bowser, who has become a lot more difficult than he was in the first and third Super Mario games.
Nintendo released Super Mario Bros back in 1987, and it completely revolutionized the video game world, bringing Nintendo into the limelight almost instantly. After the third sequel, everyone was wondering if Nintendo could still deliver the same quality after they had supposedly reached the peak of the Mario series. Super Mario World put the fans' fear to rest, it has absolutely everything you could ever want in a Mario game; near perfect controls, awesome graphics and music, tons of secrets and alternate routes, and Yoshi, all rolled into one fifteen dollar package. Super Mario World stays on par with Super Mario Bros 3 in almost aspect, and in a lot of ways, it's better. If you own a Super Nintendo, this game is a necessity. Hell, even if you don't own a Super Nintendo, buy one, the system's pretty cheap now, or find a decent emulation of it.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 11/29/03, Updated 07/19/06
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