Review by rxfang6

"One of Nintendo's most creative games ever"

Introduction
When it comes to Nintendo and platformer/adventures, there is a lot to be told about. On the NES Nintendo crafted classics such as Mario Bros. 2, Kid Icarus, and Mario Bros. 3. On the SNES we got Super Mario World (and if you count Rare, the DKC series too). On the Game Boy/Color/Advance we were treated to the highly underrated Mario Land series and the Wario Land series. In the n64 age, we got the genre defining Super Mario 64 (and if you count Rare, Banjo-Kazooie and Conker's Bad Fur Day).

So, what's the best one out of all of them? Well, that's your opinion - but if you're a hardcore SNES fan, your answer may be Yoshi's Island. Dripping in variety and substance, this masterpiece is a one of a kind game. Mixing pastel and gameplay (along with memorable locales and bosses), Yoshi's Island is one of my all-time favorite Nintendo developed games.

The Look
The motive for the pastel look was closely related to Rare. According to Nintendo, the graphics of DKC were too stunning for them to release a platformer without a fully inspired look. Even though Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island had been completed, Nintendo scrapped the game and redid it to add in it's quirky, but effective, pastel look.

Nintendo also threw in a whole lot of special effects, with some interesting-looking polygonal enemies and even 3D platforms. Yoshi, the game's hero, also sported some revolutionary morphing effects whenever he transformed into a different form.

Yoshi's animation was also superb. Yoshi was really alive in Yoshi's Island; whenever he ate something, he would appropriately clean his face; whenever he would shoot an egg, he would lean back or forward to aim; whenever he would want to stomp, he'd do a mid-air flip followed by the appropriate stomp.

The best thing about Yoshi's Island's look is that it all works. The levels are stunning, our hero Yoshi never looked or animated better, and all those nifty special effects work really great. Best of all are the mini-boss and boss encounters. Besides being huge and detailed, the bosses have a lot charm - they are squishy, frightening, and lovable. You will remember these guys - I sure did.

Music and Effects
When I first played the game, the music and special effects really caught my attention. The music isn't just the expected cheerful and upbeat music - it's really well done cheerful and upbeat music. But it's not all happy - just like in most Mario games, there are creepy and even introspective songs. The castle and cave themes of Yoshi's Island are very immersing, and pull you into the game the way only Nintendo can.

The sound effects are probably the best for the system. Besides being technically great, they just sound cool. I found myself morphing Yoshi just so I could hear the sound effects that go with it. All of the effects are winners, and there's a huge variety of them too. Also, the characters do have a sort of voice-over. Most of the bad guys have some kind of voice personality to them, but unluckily, so does Baby Mario. Whenever Yoshi gets hit, Baby Mario begins crying and won't stop until you rescue him. It's a killer on the ears (those of you who have heard it know what I'm talking about) but hey - it's not a big deal. I know some people that hate this game because of this - they don't know what they're missing.

Gameplay
Of all the platformers ever created, Yoshi's Island has some of the very best gameplay.
There is so much variety, so much to do. It comes off a lot as an action game, complete with shooting eggs like missiles, eating and spitting out enemies, transforming into various transportation devices, and all sorts of other things.

Levels are presented as fast and engaging. There isn't a speed limit or anything, but the levels are big enough to be able to go through them at break-neck speeds to get to the next interesting level.

Even though you can rush Yoshi's Island, you really don't want to. There is a lot of stuff to find in Yoshi's Island, tucked away into its levels. I'll go into more detail later. Is finding the secrets fun? Hell yeah. Besides being very challenging to do, they can be very rewarding, unlocking yet more levels and more mini-games.

Where variety is the key to happiness, Yoshi's Island just might be the pinnacle. Each world has different themes, each level has you doing different things, and if you vear off the path a little you can compete in enticing mini-games to win free eggs, watermelons (that let you turn Yoshi into an ice, fire, or seed gun), and yet more hidden goodies.

Enemies and bosses, as I mentioned before, were the highlights of the already spectacular game. The enemies throughout the game are generally different, and can be divided into different classes. Most are just there so Yoshi can eat them and make eggs, which are then used against a different class of enemy that requires more work than just Yoshi's tongue.
The bosses - big, challenging, and dangerous, require a bit of thinking before you just pummel them. Sometimes you have to ricochet eggs off the wall to hit their out-of-reach weak point. Other times you have to destroy the ground so they fall into a boiling pit of lava. Sometimes you have to ground pound stakes into them to get the job done. You won't beat these guys the first time - you might just have to work at it till the 5th or even 10th time.

Prepare for an adrenaline-rush worthy adventure. If there is a fault, it's that it's way to easy to fall to an instant death situation (such as lava, empty voids, large spikes). Nevertheless, you just might not ever find a better playing game than Yoshi's Island.

Design
Yoshi's Island has more twists than you'd expect. Levels are unique to any other platformer in that they are presented as a totally different kind of game. Here's some examples: You work your heart out to get to the end of a castle, where a boss lies. You reach the exit, but instead of putting you right at the boss, the game sets you in a long, watery corridor complete with creepy music to freak you out about the upcoming battle. A minute later after traversing the corridor, you are faced with quite possibly the toughest boss battle in the game.
Another example: You are on your way to the ''final'' battle. You enter a room where you are ambushed by Kamek, the game's ''main'' bad guy. Kamek, if you remember from other Mario lore, shoots magic with his wand. While you dodge his magic, this slowly-advancing room pummels you with creep-out music, dangerous traps, and lots of pitfalls.

Besides this smart level design flair, everything seems to be designed with a smart edge in mind. Enemies explode or internally combust, bad guys have sly humor and even talk in rhymes, and Yoshi has some genuinely funny animation.

The game comes packed with more replay value than you'll know what to do with. Each level has 25 hidden things - 20 elusive ''red coins'' which aren't red until you collect them and often hidden amongst similar looking regular coins; and 5 trickier to find flowers. If you collect all 5 flowers your chances of getting a mini-game at the end of the level increase accordingly, but the main purpose is that if you collect all 20 red coins and 5 flowers -and- manage to have full health at the end of the level, you score a 100% on the level. Score 100% on all 8 levels in a world, and prepare for the spoils!

Actual levels and castles have action-oriented events for you to accomplish (such as snow lifts and tough vertical climbs). But besides these platformer trademarks, there are a surprising amount of puzzles for you to do. Be it shooting eggs at certain things in a certain order to going through a series of doors in the correct order, the puzzles are much more than you'd expect from a platformer. Add in the style, gameplay, challenge, and music and you've got some of the most inspired platforming levels ever put together. Some of these you have to see to believe - they're that awesome.

Yoshi's Island - One of the best ever
I hold Nintendo and their brainchild Shigeru Miaymoto in extremely high regard when it comes to making games, and Yoshi's Island remains in my mind as one of Miaymoto's most creatively executed masterpieces. You get a lot of game and a lot of stuff to uncover, but most strikingly is that Nintendo was able to incorporate so much style into this game. From the surprisingly clever story about the origins of Mario, Luigi, and Bowser to the sly bosses and characters, this game will bring a deserved smile to anyone's face. Heck, the intro made me want to play and beat the game all over again when I replayed this game a while back after not playing it for 2 years.

Please, get a hold of the Super Nintendo version if you can, and if you can't, get the Game Boy Advance version! Yoshi's Island is one-of-a-kind, and shouldn't be missed by any serious gaming fan.

Positive :
+Amazing bosses
+Stylish story and characters
+Great graphics and excellent music
+So much variety and depth!
+Lots of replay value

Negative :
-some music is reused too much, and a some levels look too much alike
-frustrating sudden deaths

Graphics: 9.25/10 Music and Sound: 9.25/10 Gameplay: 9.25/10 Design: 9.75/10
rxfang6's game grade: A


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/02/02, Updated 08/02/02


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