Review by RageBot

"It's a-me, Yoshi!"

At the end of the eighties, as well as the third generation of video game consoles, a classic trilogy of platformer games were formed. Every boy and girl who owned an NES, love Mario. There is no reason not to, with the simple gameplay, perfect difficulty setting, and the load of secrets that are waiting to be revealed, yet in no way necessary for completing the game. Just when people thought things couldn't get better, the SNES came along, bearing with it the fourth Mario title. Featuring a loyal friend, a useful mount, and one of the cutest video game characters to date, things just got better.

The name itself should prepare you to the fourth installment. We're talking about a whole world now. A brand new world, in fact, taking place in Dinosaur Land. Princess Toadstool has been kidnapped yet again. By now, it should really come as no surprise. All seven sons of Bowser make a return, but this time, each of them rule a castle in one area of the world, imprisoning one of Yoshi's friends within its walls. Every time you defeat one, you get to see how Mario destroys the castle in many amusing ways. Unfortunately, that means there's a lack of airships, that contained some of the most challenging stages of Super Mario 3.

Another new stage is the Ghost House. First featured on the second part of the world, you must prepare yourself to tackle not only an array of spooky ghosts that creep Mario all along his journey through the haunted house, but some of the most confusing stages in the game. Be prepare to explore the convoluted walls until you grow insane. Several fortresses also occupy the world, in each is strange boss called Reznor: Four fire-spitting rhinos attached to a Ferris wheel.

The most prominent feature of this game, however, is Yoshi. Some blocks may spawn a dinosaur egg, which will quickly hatch into Mario's new partner. Mario can jump unto Yoshi's back, and ride along. Yoshi is armed with a long tongue, with a touch of the brand-new X button, Yoshi can extend his tongue and have a meal. If he eats a Koopa shell, he can also spit it out. There are four colors of Koopa shells this time: Green will be spat out, red will make Yoshi spit fire, yellow makes him spit out sand, and blue will make him fly.

Yoshi can also be used as a method of collecting power-ups and 1-ups. Across the Dinosaur Land lie bushes with berries growing on them. Yoshi can eat those berries, and spawn power-up mushrooms, clouds that rain coins, and even 1-up mushrooms. That is good, because Toad Houses, and Toads in general, do not live on Dinosaur Island. Hence, it's your only way to gain extra power-ups. 1-ups can also be gained by collecting all five Dragon Coins in a stage.

Unfortunately, there is no use in extra power-ups, as the storage system from Super Mario 3 is gone. So are most of the power-ups. There is no hammer suit here, no frog suit, no Tanooki suit. Instead, you're back to the Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Invincibility Star. There is, however, one remaining power-up: The Magic Cape makes Mario fly, similarly to the Racoon Suit in the previous title. There are no P-Wings or P-Bar, however, a new thing called the P-Balloon can make Mario float through a stage.

There a few more new things for you to experience with: A silver P-Switch can turn all nearby enemies to coins for a short while. You can carry it with you, then press it at the moment you think is right. Switch palaces contain switched that can be pressed to make colored blocks appear in stages. Those stages can then, for the first time in the franchise, be revisited for more secrets. Also, some stages have secret exits, that leads to bonus stages. There's even a star-shaped bonus world, that connects all of the Dinosaur Land! That is, provided you beat five extremely tough stages.

While this game moves many steps forward, it also moves a few steps back. I've already mentioned the lack of airships, the lack of the Super Mario 3 power-ups and power-ups storage system. The biggest step back, however, lies in the difficulty setting. It seems there are more power-up and 1-up blocks this time, and fewer enemies to fight. If that's not enough, stages now have checkpoints, so that you won't have to do them all over again.

All in all, this game is a little different experience than the NES titles. It's more creative, but way easier. I know that the lack of difficulty holds true for many other SNES titles, such as Super Castlevania 4, but it never fails to disappoint me. It's not as perfect as Super Mario 3, but it's still amazing and immediately follows its predecessor.

Final grade: 9.7/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/30/12

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


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