Review by RageBot
"The origin of strife between plumbers and turtles."
Most gamers consider the 1990's a phenomenal decade for video games, with the Super Nintendo being the number one reason, with the best releases of franchises like Mario, Zelda and Metroid, as well as incredible third party support. Super Mario World, released as early as 1991, is easily one of the most acclaimed video games ever with the first appearance of Yoshi, as well as the first game to feature the huge improvement of the new generation of Nintendo over the old. How can anyone, even a genious such as Miyamoto, top such a game?
Well, instead of trying to top Super Mario World, the guys at Nintendo decided to throw a bag of new twists. First off, this game is set way before any other, as Mario and Luigi are just babies in this game. However, Luigi is kidnapped by Kamek, Bowser's ummm... babysitter, and the very first Koopa sorcerer, also known as Magikoopa, in the series. Mario, however, is miraculously saved, and rescued by the Yoshi, apparently now a name for all the dinosaurs of this game, which come with a full set of colours. Why would anyone want to kidnap two babies? Oh, whatever, it's the Mario series, it doesn't even need a story at all to be fun.
Because Mario is still a Baby, you'll control Yoshi in this game. As with the previous title, Yoshi can swallow enemies with the Y button. However, he can now make eggs by pressing down while an enemy is swallowed. The eggs are shot with the A button, which means, for the first time in the series, the B button is used to jump. This has absolutely no excuse. Why can't the B button be used to shoot the eggs? I, as somebody who grew up with Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy, rather than Mario and Zelda, don't too much, but at that time, it probably confused many avid Nintendo fans.
After you get used to the controls. you'll find out that you cannot die if an enemy touches you. Instead, Mario will step off of Yoshi's back and float in a bubble. A timer will show, and only if it reaches zero, will you lose a life. All that time, Mario will cry. That noise is nothing short of infuriating, but the one good thing about it that it further motivates you to rescue Mario as soon as possible. You can collect stars to extend the timer, and it also charges on its own, but only up to the initial ten seconds. Beware, though, as if Yoshi falls into lava, spikes or a bottomless pit, he still dies in one hit.
Every stage has a score. To get a full score, you must collect all five flowers, twenty red coins, and finish the stage with a full timer of thirty seconds. That feat can be painfully hard to perform sometimes, as many collectibles are elusive, and to get thirty second, you must sometimes do a whole level without getting hit once. To make things worse, some red coins are held by flying enemies that may fly away if you don't hit them fast enough. Completionists will find themselves committing suicide over and over, especially in the earlier stages, and that's never good, now, is it?
One of the most useful things to help you on your journey to perfection is the Middle Ring. When Yoshi steps into one, not only does it function as a check point, but it also gives ten stars and turn all enemies in the vicinity into more stars. Unlike most Mario games, there can be up to three Middle Rings in each stage, and there's always a Middle Ring before a boss battle. Appreciate, accept and abuse those Middle Rings, especially if you're a completionist.
In addition to the Middle Ring, there are many power ups to help you on your task. At the end of each stage is a spinning wheel. Step into it and it will stop. If the light lands on a flower, you'll move on to a bonus stage, in which you can win power ups such as fire breath, ice breath, POW block, extra eggs, and the most useful of all, extra stars. You can activate a power up from the pause screen anywhere in the stage, making it way easier to get thirty stars in the end. However, you cannot activate power ups during a boss battle, so those must still be perfect. The pause screen also shows the number of stars, red coins, flowers and lives Yoshi has.
There are a few more neat features in this game. Some stages features the Super Star, which makes Mario invincible. You'll now finally control Mario as he plows through enemies, run on spikes and lava and be absolutely awesome. There are also transformation bubbles that can turn Yoshi into a helicopter, a submarine, a car, or a mole vehicle that can plow through dirt. All of those powers are timed, so for long courses, you must seek out the next bubble and touch it before time runs out, or you'll return to the start of the course.
Some fans might be dismayed by the kiddy graphics and soundtrack. Some objects, especially those designed specifically for this game, look as if they were drawn by a seven-year-old kid using crayons. Some tracks also sound a little kiddy, but the fortress theme makes up for any of them. It's epic, a little eerie, and three years later, any fan would immediately complete it into the Song of Storms from Ocarina of Time.
I recommend this game, but not everybody will like it, and it's not free of flaws.
Final grade: 8.4/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 07/30/13
Game Release: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (US, 10/04/95)
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