Review by THayes
"Difficult and lengthy 2D platformer featuring Yoshi as the main character"
My decision to give more platform games a chance started here, with Yoshi's Island. At first, I found it to be quite annoying. The levels seemed sparse and uninteresting, and I found myself wondering about the first level with nothing to do other than collect a few coins and get to the exit. In all, there are six worlds in the game, each which contain eight normal levels and one secret level. Add to that one tutorial level, and you have fifty-five levels! This is quite an incredible feat for a game, considering the size and detail in each and every level, most of which contain new enemies and all of which contain new and original backgrounds, items, and tasks to do. But even so, if all you have to do in the levels is run from one point to another, wouldn't it get boring? Fortunately, there is more to playing the game than just running to the exit and avoiding a few enemies along the way.
There's plenty to do in all of the levels, and it's it not just a simple case of running from one end of the level to the other. At the end of the first level, you're given a score depending on how many of the required items you picked up on your journey through the level. They are flowers, stars and red coins. More often than not, these items are hidden high up in difficult to reach places. Finding them all in a single level can be extremely difficult, especially when you have an abundance of enemies trying to attack. But getting 100% in each level is necessary to fully complete the game, as when you get 100% in the eight normal levels on a world, the secret, extra-difficult level will be unlocked. And of course, this also contains flowers, stars and red coins, which must be collected for a 100% completion on the game.
Excellent graphics here, from the start of the game all the way to the end. The screen scrolls left and right very smoothly, and gives quite a zoomed out view to allow you to see quite far into the distance before you even get there. There is great detail on the foreground as well as the background, and though all of the levels are different from one another, they all retain the same amount of detail. The game graphics are all done in a very cute-looking cartoon style - something that put me off on my first impression of the game, but I've now come to realise that it suits this kind of game very well.
Nice, happy-sounding music and cute noisy effects. Mario's crying does happen to be an extremely annoying noise however, as more often than not, it caused me to run as far away from him as far as I could before the timer ran out rather than go back and pick up him up. All in all though, it's not that bad, as you learn a valuable lesson never to get hit by an enemy in this game. In the first level of the game, there's very cute music to suit the cartoony outside look of the game. In some of the later cave levels, the music takes on a more serious tone. It's all done very well, as the music and sound effects suit the levels atmospheres perfectly.
I can only compliment the gameplay of this game, as it was the one that got me hooked on the platform game genre. Taking a different approach from other Mario games, you control Yoshi in this game. There are over one hundred enemies each of which are different in some way or another to the others. They start off being quite easy. The odd Koopa, a Shy Guy here and there. But as the game progresses, the enemies become more and more difficult. Some require two or more hits to defeat, whereas some can't be beaten and need only to be avoided. The diversity and originality of the enemies is what surprised me on my initial play through the game. In no other game have I seen this many types of enemies, and this is just one of the aspects that Yoshi's Island excels in. Overall, a superb game. Try not to be put off by first appearances, as what may first seem to be a cartoony, simple game will soon turn into one of the most complex and difficult platform games on the SNES.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/25/02, Updated 01/11/04
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