Review by Ofisil

"Super Mario Bros 3.5"

Super Mario World is a Platform game developed by Nintendo. SMW feels like an slightly updated version of Super Mario Bros 3 for the NES. Is that a bad thing? Of course not, since SMB3 is quite possibly one of the best platform games of all time, easily among the 3 greatest Mario games and with out a doubt the best one of its era. But SMW is not perfect…

Gameplay: 7.5/10
Replay Value: 6/10

For those puzzled from that last sentence, let me rephrase that. Super Mario World is not perfect, but had the potential to be if the overall design was a bit better. Of course that doesn't mean we are talking about a bad game. SMW is the same good ol' Mario we all know of! A nice platform game, where you run and jump around stomping on enemies, gathering coins and power-ups and avoiding traps and other dangerous stuff. The controls are quite good with the only problem that they feel a bit loose at times, a bit too slippery, something that can lead to a lot of lost lives when trying to jump from a tiny platform to another one and Mario keeps making a few more steps than you want him to.

New stuff:
All the basic stuff are the same here, like the mushrooms that make you bigger, flowers that enable you throw fire and all that stuff. Now lets see the new additions to the game. A lot of new kinds of blocks and items have been added, like a block that creates an array of coins that you can control in order to make bridges or an item that makes Mario float like a balloon. You can now kill Lakitu, an enemy that floats on a cloud and use his cloud to fly, collect certain coins in order to gain a life and many more. A nice feature is the fact that when finding an extra item you store it in your inventory so, when for example an enemy hits you, you can use this item and regain a power-up. Like SMB3 you move Mario in a map and select the level you want to play but now you can also save your progress.

It's-a-me, Yoshi!:
The greatest additions are of course the Super Cape and Yoshi in his first, (I think), appearance! You can find him in various levels and ride him like a horse. He is quite helpful because he acts as an extra health point and when hit he starts running around and you can use him again if you catch him. He is very powerful enabling you to kill tougher enemies and he can also extent his tongue and reach distant items or… enemies. The second addition, the Cape, is the SNES's equivalent to the Raccoon suit of SMB3 that enabled you to fly. Now flying feels more “natural” in a way since instead of simply flying you run, fly for only a while and then glide with your cape going up and down while loosing altitude. This makes flying very hard and if you don't know what's up ahead there is a high chance that you will fall into an enemy or trap. Too bad because the Cape is one of the most important items in the game if you know what you must do.

The good and the bad:
Without a doubt SMW is a great game, despite the flaws I've mentioned and one thing I truly loved is the fact that the game is packed with secrets. Most levels have secondary exits that are quite fun to search for, not to mention all the minor secrets that each level has or the various shortcuts in the Map that enable you to reach the end the game faster than possible. There is a problem though… it is so easy to gain a loooooot of lives in SMW, so by the time you finish 10 or so levels you will probably have 20-30 lives. While the game isn't extremely easy, it IS easy and the fact that you can gain so many lives destroys the challenge, however these lives give you the ability to experiment a lot in order to find secrets, something that can lead to a lot of lost lives. Apart from finding secrets though, the level design of SMW isn't so good as it could be. Unnecessarily large and “empty” levels with only a few places where something new and innovative can be found, while SMB3 had more compact levels that where much better. Finally while a great game it doesn't last for long. I've reached 100% completion in my first playthrough in 5-6 days and I doubt that I will replay it for a long time.

Graphics: 8.5/10
Design: 8.5/10

While not the epitome when it comes to SNES graphic quality, Super Mario World looks great and for the time it came out it was absolutely fantastic, like a Cartoon series brought to life and with nice colorful levels with beautiful backgrounds that add a great feeling of distance. All sprites are wonderful, especially our plump Italian, whose animation is very good, almost flawless. What I love in SMW though is how smooth and shiny everything looks, like for example the various kinds of blocks, that giant rocket, the pipes, etc. There is a nice variety in level design, from the typical grasslands and underground mines to dark ghost houses and castles.

Sound: 8.5/10
Music: 7.5/10

The sound effects of the Super Mario series just got better. All sound effects are very good, distinctive and very… Mario-ish! Along with Super Mario Bros 3 this game set the standards for all the following Mario games. The music is also very good, with longer compositions from the talented Koji Kondo. All themes are very typical of Nintendo, happy and quite catchy and fit with each level's atmosphere. The only bad thing is the fact that almost all music themes are actually variations of the same melody, unlike SMB3 and the N64 Mario's music themes that had better variety.

Positives:
-A lot of new additions like Yoshi!
-Secrets. Lots of ‘em
-Great graphics, music and SFX

Negatives:
-Level design could be better
-Easy to gain lives
-A bit slippery controls
-Most Music themes are variations of the same melody

Also Play:
Donkey Kong Country 1-3 (SNES)
Sonic The Hedgehog 1-3 (Mega Drive)
Super Mario Bros 1-3 (NES)
Super Mario World 2 (SNES) Highly recommended!

Overall: 7.7/10

Many people give more credit to SMW than it actually deserves and the reason is the fact that the game has the name “Super Mario” in the title. It is a great game, I enjoyed it a lot and despite the slight negativity of the review I've given it an 8/10… although it could be much better in my humble opinion…


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/11/10

Game Release: Super Mario World (US, 08/13/91)


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