Review by TTheResearcher
"Undeniably, this is one of the greatest Mario titles of all time."
I have played this game for virtually my entire life, one way or another, on three different gaming consoles: The Super Nintendo, The Game Boy Advanced, and the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console. For my entire life, this has been on my list as one of my most favorite Mario games, and one of my most favorite games of all time. And no, I am not exaggerating.
I've been playing this game for nearly 19 years, and all 19 years, I've loved this game. It's amazing controls, it's catchy music, the beautifully-designed graphics, the memorably fun gameplay, and the overall experience is just mind-blowing. There is just so much to talk about this game, I don't even know where to begin. It's just simply that great of a game. It's so good, in fact, I'd call it a work of art.
But first off, I'll start by giving a little history and trivia about this game.
Super Mario World was the game that was originally packaged with the SNES. This helped boost it's popularity (like it needed to be, anyway), and created a massive experience for gamers everywhere. This was also the debut of the ever-popular dinosaur known as "Yoshi", Mario's hungry and loyal companion. Supposedly, Shigeru Miyamoto, the mastermind behind the entire Mario series, wanted to create a dinosaur partner for Mario ever since Super Mario Bros. But the NES's limited software capabilities did not allow for this to happen. But with the SNES and it's then state-of-the-art technological enhancements, Yoshi was finally able to get into a developed game. Thus, an amazing feature in Super Mario World was designed; the ability to ride on Yoshi's back and being able to devour almost any enemy.
This game is indeed a masterpiece, and there is hardly any complaints of criticism I have for it, despite very few minor flaws. Now, we'll get into the meat and potatoes of this review, and you'll see why this is not only on MY top list of games, but on many other gamers' lists as well.
The storyline written for Super Mario World is the basic outline of most Mario games. Princess Toadstool (or now more commonly known as Princess Peach), is kidnapped by the evil king Bowser while vacationing in Dinosaur Land. Instead of the common feature of Mario saving mushroom people after each castle like in the original Super Mario Bros., Mario must save Yoshi's "friends" (little spotted eggs), who are being held hostage by Bowser's seven koopa children (It is still unknown if Bowser has a wife or who the mother of these koopalings are).
After several stages in the bizarre world that is Dinosaur Land, Mario finally reaches the "Valley of Bowser", Bowser's evil domain hidden deep within the depths of the ocean that can only be opened when finding a key within the Sunken Ghost Ship. Mario fights his way through Bowser's castle, and finally meets face-to-face with the evil king. Mario defeats Bowser (while riding on his Koopa Clown Car, an aerodynamic vehicle then new to the Mario series), and rescues the Princess. He then takes Peach and Yoshi's friends back to Yoshi's house, where the eggs hatch and peace is restored to Dinosaur Land.
The feature that defines this game the most, the gameplay is simply put in two words: addicting and fun. This game allows Mario to do things one only wished he could during the 8-bit era. Not only can Mario swim and jump as he was limited to do so in earlier Mario titles, but he can also fly, twirl-jump, and inflate like a balloon. The most prominent new feature in this Mario game (and became a staple in every single Mario game afterwards), was the ability to fly in the air.
In this Mario game, there was a power-up known as the "feather cape". It could be found in the common yellow blocks, or green switch-blocks that had been activated. When Mario would hit the block, the cape would float down slowly and swinging from left to right, like a real-life feather. Once you grabbed it, you could allow Mario to fly. It was very similar to Mario's "raccoon leaf", but the cape was much more enjoyable and fun. I'll compare the two of them to be more understandable.
With the raccoon leaf, you could only swing it once at a time, and you had to repeatedly tap on the jump button to allow Mario to constantly thump his tail to make him float to descend slowly onto the floor. Also, when Mario flew, he had to run first, and once your p-meter's arrows were filled up completely, you could jump and Mario could glide for a few seconds. Again, you needed to repeatedly tap on the jump button to keep him afloat, and with a single tap from an enemy, you could lose it.
However, the feather-cape is far superior to the raccoon leaf, and was virtually the item that defined this entire game's legacy.
With the feather-cape, you could swing it continuously, and although you needed to tap the B-button to keep it spinning, it could be tapped a lot slower than the raccoon leaf, and yet the cape would still be much more effective (you'd think Mario's cape would be razor-sharp with him spinning at the velocity that he does).
Another fun feature to the cape was, obviously, the ability to fly. Although yes, you do need to run, the ability to fly was greatly improved, mainly because you could relax your fingers a little bit more and the fact that you could stay flying for as long as you pleased. The way to remain in the air now was not by tapping the B-button repeatedly, but instead, pressing up and backwards on the game controller's cursor. Mario could hover throughout the entire stage if you wanted him to (if you avoided any tall obstacles, that is).
You may also do a very specific attack that the raccoon leaf lacked. It's called the "dive-bomb". If you were flying and decided to finish the course the classic way, you could perform a dive-bomb by holding down. With this move, Mario would pound the ground and knock all the enemies surrounding you off of the screen.
Unlike the raccoon leaf, the cape also had yet ANOTHER great feature; the ability to resist one hit from an enemy. If you were flying in the air, and suppose that you bumped into a winged red koopa, you would not lose the cape immediately. Instead, a certain sound would occur, Mario would flash/blink for a few seconds and spin slowly to the ground.
Basically, all the features Mario had with the leaf, like floating, flying, and attacking, the cape had enhanced and added even more features and capabilities...or should I say, "CAPE-abilities" (you laughed, I know you did. Shut up). It's no wonder why this item became such a staple in the Mario series.
This brings me to talk about the OTHER most prominent feature of this game: the ability to ride Yoshi.
Having Yoshi with you is probably one of the most fun and exciting things in this entire game, and here's why.
Yoshi can actually devour your enemies by pressing Y. Yoshi will stick out his tongue, and he will pull his enemy into his mouth, sort like a frog does when eating flies. Yoshi can almost eat anything, at least any type of enemy or power-up. A benefit of this feature is not only that it's fun and useful for getting rid of enemies, but if you eat a certain number of them, Yoshi will lay an egg containing a mushroom.
The most prominent Yoshi in this game is the green Yoshi. There are many shells in the game, and they come in four different colors, Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue. The Red allows the green Yoshi to spit fire, the Yellow allows him to pound the ground when he jumps, the Green simply allows him to spit it back out and can defeat enemies on impact, and the Blue allows Yoshi to grow wings and fly for a certain amount of time.
However, when you enter the secret worlds or enter into a secret part of the game, you may get a different colored Yoshi. The Yoshis have the same color scheme as the shells, and whatever color they are, they have the ability of the shell, as well as their own, which includes the same abilities as the shells the green Yoshi would eat.
Yoshi's appearance in this game has lead him to become a main character and a fan-favorite in the Mario franchise, and has starred in a few games of his own, some of them being Yoshi's Cookie, Yoshi's Safari, Yoshi's Story, and my personal favorite (and another one of my most favorite games of all time) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
Yoshi is also a selectable character in many other Mario titles, some being the Mario Kart series, the Mario Party series, Mario-based sports games, the Super Smash Bros. series, and many more I'm forgetting to mention.
I may go on and on about what else this game has to offer, but I won't get into the other key elements, so let me continue.
The graphics in this game are, to say the least, amazing. The graphics are so colorful and vibrant, and there is not one stage that looks similar to another. The backgrounds do tend to repeat a bit, but this is on rare occasions, such as in caverns, haunted houses, or in castles. But the game makes up for it for having unique puzzle elements and new enemies not seen in the ordinary stages.
One thing that got me a bit surprised when I played this game was the fact that in Castle # 1 AKA Iggy's Castle, there is a fence that you must cling onto to get through the pit of spikes that covers nearly half of the entire stage. You move from left to right, punching enemy Koopas also holding onto the fence. However, you'll notice that some of the koopas are on the other side of the fence, and some are on your side.
There is indeed a way to switch sides, and although it looks impossible at first to do so, you must "tap", a certain little square that looks different from the rest of the fence, and once that occurs, Mario will switch over to the other side of the fence with a decent little animation. It's not spectacular, but it's still pretty cool.
The final boss also has a cool little display of how the graphics and enhancements improved. For one thing, when you hit Bowser a few times, he will get inside of his Clown Copter, and he will begin to seemingly be flying away. And yet, as he gets to a distance, he will instantly come flying back at you, but instead, he will come flying at the screen full speed, leaving you wondering what just happened.
And now, for the sounds and music of this game.
Mario has always been notorious for it's upbeat tunes and classic and unique sound effects, and this one's no different. As usual, there is a happy and catchy tune that starts right from the beginning, and yes, it does get stuck in your head as you progress with the game. It's not the original Super Mario Bros. theme. However, that particular theme DOES appear in a world called, "Special" after THAT world's stage theme plays for about two minutes.
So many stages in this game have catchy tunes, but for some strange reason, my favorite stage theme happens to be the castle stages. For some bizarre reason, I've always liked it's tone and grim nature. The arrangement of the music is so awkward, but it gets it's message across: You're gonna face a boss.
It gives off a chilling and haunting tune. It's catchy, but not a "gets stuck in your type of tune", since you immediately forget about it once you've defeated the stage boss, but rather a tune you WANT to play at a certain time. In this case, it's when you're dodging enemies and leaping on platforms during the course of the stage. The cold, stony, and gloomy atmosphere of the castle allows this bizarre tune to fit right in along with it.
Over all, the sounds and music of this game is splendid, and I have no complains in this department.
Replay Value/Buying or Renting:
Does this game have replay value? Oh, it certainly does. As I stated time and time again, I've played this game dozens of times throughout my lifetime, and there is not one point where I get bored of this game. I don't only like it for nostalgic reasons, but also because this game is so wonderfully designed and engineered. It's a perfect example of what a side-scrolling Mario game should be like, and I'm willing to bet that every Mario game that is designed on hand-helds or for any linear style Mario game, this game is looked upon for influence and inspiration. It's no wonder I've replayed this game so many times. It's indeed a masterpiece, and many other gamers who have played this game would agree with me that this game has surely withstood the test of time, and can still be enjoyed on many levels to this day thanks to the Wii Virtual Console.
As for whether this game should be rented or bought, then I highly recommend a buy. This game is worth every penny, and that's not much nowadays (renting SNES games at your local video store is pretty hard to do now, anyway). I guarantee you that you will be playing this game over and over again, and you will not get bored of it. It's that good of a game, and it is not given this much critical acclaim from me or other critics simply because it has the name "Mario" slapped on it. It's an amazing game that any Mario fan, video game historian, or retro gamer should play or look at.
Not only do I love this thing as a game, but I also love it as a memory, since this was probably the first video game I ever played when I was only about four. And what an awesome way to start my career as a gamer, and I cannot believe it's still one of my most favorite games even after all these years of seeing games withh improved graphics, orchestral soundtracks, more realistic gameplay, etc.
So, overall, I give Super Mario World a 9/10.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/10/11
Game Release: Super Mario World (US, 02/05/07)
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