Review by Squawkero
"Single out Baby Mario's whining and you have a masterpiece."
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island was one of my favorite games on the SNES. The cheery graphics and sounds really sparked up the game. It took us back to the time when Mario first began his adventures - when he was just a wee little baby! It also emphasized the spotlight on Yoshi, one of my favorite video game characters of all time, and introduced the many colored varieties of Yoshis. It explained how the two first met and took a trip back in time to Mario's very first adventure, even when Mario first met Bowser! Here's taking a glance at a treasure of the past.
The stork is delivering two Italian babies to their parents when suddenly, something zooms across the sky. After it zooms across a second time, the stork is stricken and one of the babies falls from the sky. The strange figure captures the stork and the remaining baby and takes them back to his castle. The figure turns out to be Kamek, the evilest of the evil Magikoopas. When he discovers he's only nabbed one of the babies, he is filled with rage and orders his Toadies (minions) to go capture the other baby. Meanwhile, Green Yoshi is walking peacefully around, when suddenly, the missing baby lands on his back! It turns out to be Baby Mario, and Yoshi takes him to the other Yoshis. Together they discuss in Yoshi language what to do with the baby. They decide to help him look for his parents and missing brother.
The instant you begin this game you'll be treated to an immensly wonderful atmosphere. It's colorful, it's vibrant, and it captures the game's style of gameplay beautifully. This game has you controlling Yoshi mainly instead of Mario. Mario simply rests on Yoshi's back. There are 6 worlds total, with 8 stages in each (not including secrets). Aside from the standard stomp-on-the-head technique, Yoshi uses eggs and his tongue to attack enemies. Each stage in a world has you playing as a different-colored Yoshi. Many of the enemies you encounter are familiar for the most part.
Yoshi has a wide range of techniques. First off is Yoshi's long tongue. Yoshi can swallow up enemies and make them into eggs! These eggs can then be tossed at hard-to-reach objects or to defeat large enemies. Enemies can also be spit back out to counter other enemies. If Yoshi is hit by an enemy, Baby Mario is sent flying off in a bubble and starts crying like crazy. Unless you want to suffer the torment of listening to his constant whining, you must tag the bubble before the timer runs out. If it runs out, you're a goner.
Yoshi's Island introduces and re-introduces a wide array of characters. Shy Guys are the most basic enemies you'll encounter. They're everywhere! Hopping out of pipes, walking on stilts, dancing with spears, it's absolute madness! I just love Shy Guys. Other faces Mario veterans will recognize include Piranha Plants, Goombas, and Lava Bubbles (formerly Podoboos). New faces include Amazee Dayzees, Bandits, and Tap-Taps. Each world features two bosses - One every four stages. The bosses are pretty dang clever. Generally, Kamek will take an ordinary enemy and sprinkle it with evil pixie dust, enlarging it about 50 times its regular size! One of my all-time favorites is Sluggy the Unshaven, a giant blob with a vulnerable heart that tries to push you over the back edge.
Coins are typical Mario trinkets. Coins are collected to earn extra lives, and red coins are collected to receive 100% in each stage. Getting 100% in each stage helps you unlock new things. There are also 5 flowers hidden in each level, which are also required for 100%. At the end of each stage, you'll jump into a roulette wheel. The number of flowers on the roulette depends on how many flowers you collected during the stage. The more you have, the higher the odds of winning. If you land on a flower, you'll be taken to a bonus challenge. Bonus challenges are little minigames where you can win items or extra lives. Then again, you can also walk out with nothing. For the most part, these are luck-dependant.
If you find a Starman, touch it, and you will gain control of Baby Mario. He'll be off Yoshi's back and have a cape on. You'll be invincible, fast, and able to run up walls. Yoshi will travel behind in a giant egg. You're only invincible for a limited time, though, so move quickly to the next star or you'll lose your invincibility and revert back to controlling Yoshi! At the end of each stage, you'll receive a score. The number depends on the number of stars, red coins, and flowers you collected in the stage. Get 30 stars, all 20 red coins, and all 5 flowers, and you'll get 100 percent! Get 100 percent in each stage in a world, and you'll unlock a bonus stage!
Yoshi's Island lasts a fairly good amount of time. Don't expect to breeze through the game your first time through. There are plenty of challenges and extras to keep you entertained for quite a while. Besides, you'll spend a fairly good amount of time navigating through Marching Milde's Fort. There's also quite a number of unlockable features. Getting 100% on every stage is no easy task, mind you. It's going to take a platform game pro to master every itty bitty secret this game has to offer. Difficulty rating - Moderate.
Graphics in this game are really, really nice, some of the best the SNES had to offer. Bright, animated, and stylish. There are several thousand different Yoshi sprites in this game alone, giving the characters a wide range of emotions. All the sprites are very solid, and the background shimmers on occasions, too (mainly clouds, which have sort of a ''crayon'' effect). Overall, pretty dang impressive.
Sound is absolutely fantastic with the exception of one minor setback - Whenever you're hit by an enemy, you're forced to listen to ''Hey! Hey! Hey!'' in a really whiny voice until you rescue him. Even worth putting the sound down for. However, this should be an extra incentive for you not to get hit. Other sound effects include Yoshi's grunts, Piranha Plants chomping, and Kamek's warcry. As for the actual tunes, they're cheerful and bouncy for the most part, except for the castles in which the sound gets darker and creepy.
As for replay value, it's one of the more addictive side-scrollers out there, so chances are you'll want to play through this game at least twice. Yoshi's Island is one of those games that keeps having you come back for more and more. It's something about the game's atmosphere that makes it such a joy to behold.
Yoshi's Island is still a masterpiece to this day. Fortunately, my nostalgia was relived with the port to GBA, but the Super NES one will always remain supreme because...well, it's the classic. If only I could put that obnoxious baby on mute for a second. Lesson learned: avoid enemies at all costs, even if it means taking drastic measures. The only platform game that has a number on this is Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Konq Quest. As for the rest of the competition, Yoshi's Island gulps it up and spits it out at another enemy with no effort. Oh, and pick up this game if you can find it.
Rent or buy?
If I have to answer this question for you, I'd recommend you hit yourself on the head with your mouse until a wheezy feeling starts kicking in. That's called sanity, which will enable to realize that my powers are telling you to go out and hunt this game down immediately! You are in my control now. You WILL play Yoshi's Island! Bwahaha! In other words, buy.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/14/06
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