Review by nastynate3118
"6 Golden Reasons to avoid this game"
Scroll down to Final Recommendation to see my 6 Golden Reasons why you should avoid this game.
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is a game that gets a ton of praise that I feel is unwarranted. I first played it as a kid many years ago (I even remember the commercial for it) but forgot about it until I came across it recently. My friends cherish this game probably for the nostalgia factor and told me it is a blast to play. I played it and was overwhelmingly unimpressed.
I am going to review it as I would any other game then, for one time only, add a bonus section where I give you 6 Golden Reasons to avoid this mediocre heap of trash.
This is your standard Mario platformer. You run around jumping on enemies and exploring worlds. There are secrets to be found and bosses to be defeated. The goal is to find 6 Golden Coins and ultimately challenge Wario at the end of the game. The game is non-linear and allows you to play the different themed-worlds in any order you want, which is pretty cool. It also helps that it is a very easy game to pick up and play.
Of course, I mentioned early this game has a bunch of problems and the most immediate one is the jumping physics. Simply put, they are horrible. Mario seems to have a tendency to either jump too far or not jump far enough and you are constantly adjusting his jump in mid-air to make sure he lands properly. I will concede that the classic Mario games on the NES also suffered from this problem, but definitely not to the extent found in this game. To make matters worse, there is an outer space world where the jumping becomes even more out-of- control and simple platforms are extremely hard to properly land on. Another physics problem this game suffers from is that Mario is horrifically slow. I don't know if he was obese at the time or something, but he can't run fast at all. I am guessing that is because the Game Boy can't load graphics as quickly as the NES or SNES can, but it is still absolutely painful to see him struggle to run across a screen.
One common criticism that is given to this game is that it is simply too easy. I agree with this concerning about 90% of the game, but the other 10% is unbearably frustrating. The areas that are tough are not even that difficult to get through; the problem is there are areas that require precise jumping and that is simply impossible with how ghastly the jumping physics are. There are some levels that are pretty frustrating and then the next level is unbelievably easy. The difficulty level is very erratic and bounces around in some places. If there is some comfort, it is helpful to know that the final stage is unbelievably frustrating due to there being no checkpoints and how many difficult jumps that have to be made. It is overall a bad experience.
One minor complaint I have has to do with the theming in some of these worlds. Some of them make no sense or are not implemented consistently. There is a Micro Zone that is supposed to be a take-off of the giant world from Super Mario Bros. 3. On the world map Mario is tiny but the levels are sized normally, so the theme does not even apply to the gameplay.
Also, notice how the worlds are called zones what game do they think this is, Sonic the Hedgehog?
The interface in this game is a bit odd, especially when it comes to saving. I assumed there was an autosave feature, but the game never tells you either way or gives you any hint as to when it is saving, which is really annoying. There are just a bunch of little annoying things about the interface that grind my gears. For one, the title screen menu is just rubbish and half the time the controls are not even responsive on it.
I felt like there was a lot of extra information at the bottom of the screen during gameplay that was superfluous. I honestly couldn't tell you what half of it is used for or what purpose it serves. Finally, for whatever reason the game does not give you an extra life for getting 100 coins; instead, you use them to buy things at a shop or randomly try and win a prize. I feel that this was an unwelcome addition to a system that had no problem before.
Being a Mario game, you probably have little-to-no expectations for any sort of story. I always loved the sense of humor that was present in the NES Mario games with their presentation, but that is simply nonexistent here. There is no introduction or ending and you are kind of just thrown into the game assuming that you have to go after Wario. This obviously leads to the question of why is Wario a villain, but that is never addressed. This game is notable for being Wario's debut and he would go on to be a key antihero in the franchise, but the game takes no effort to make him evil, unlike Bowser. The lack of humor and presentation makes this game a disappointment compared to the NES games.
First, a positive: the enemy sprites look great. The animation and colors applied to are very well-done.
Sadly, the rest of the game's graphics fail to live up to that. Each zone has a theme that they really could have made look unique, but everything looks bland and lacks a variety of color. This game suffers from the age-old problem of certain hazards not standing out and you are never sure of what a hazard is and what is not. For a Game Boy game (played on a Game Boy Advance SP) I really did not have high expectations for the backgrounds but when everything looks this bland and there is no variety, it will get marked down.
Sound/Music - 7/10
I love the sound effects of the Mario games. They evoke all kinds of childhood memories and are simply the gold standard of video games. The sound effects in this game are no different and harken back to the NES Mario games. They sound wonderful on a Game Boy.
The music, on the other hand, is simply mediocre and forgettable. There are no catchy melodies and I cannot recall any music from the game off the top of my head. There is also a painful lack of variety in the music and it is pretty dull.
Play Time/Replayability - 7/10
This game is extremely short. From the time I first started playing ever to the time I finished the game, only 2 hours and 55 minutes had passed. I bet I could easily beat it in 90 minutes now if I tried. Most of this time was spent grinding to gain extra lives and mastering the jump physics. The game's length is due to each zone being extremely short (usually three levels). There is replay value to be found in finding secret exits and discovering new levels which is pretty neat. It ultimately depends on if you are willing to deal with the jumping physics to find every secret in the game.
+Gameplay is simple and accessible
+Sprites look pretty nice
+Classic Mario sound effects
+Secret exits wait to be discovered
-Jumping physics are unspeakably bad
-Difficulty is erratic and can be frustrating
-100 coins no longer equates to an extra life
-No sense of humor/presentation
-Backgrounds are bland
-Music is forgettable
-Extremely short game
In the end, there are far superior Mario games that you could be playing instead of this one. While it is notable for being the first game to feature Wario, I will list 6 Golden Reasons you should avoid this game and spend your time doing something else:
*The jumping in this game is unspeakably bad
*The game is either too easy or too frustrating in various parts
*The graphics lack any sort of life
*The music is dreadfully forgettable
*There is no charm to this game
*The interface is very oblique
If you can get past these six problems, you may enjoy the game. But why would you do that when you could be playing far better games? Expect only mediocrity with this title.
Final Score: 6.17/10 rounded to 6/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 04/27/12
Game Release: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (US, 11/30/92)
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