Review by XCommander
"Highly Recommended and Much Improved From the First"
Mario has always had a great track record on consoles, from his early days co-starring with Luigi in Mario Bros. to his FLUDD carrying days with Super Mario Sunshine. However, on Nintendo’s little system that could, the Game Boy, the magic of Mario has been fairly non-existent. The original Super Mario Land, a Game Boy launch title, had potential but ultimately failed. Fortunately, Mario’s second adventure on the Game Boy has the magic and overall fun factor that the series has always had on the consoles.
Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins takes place directly after the events in the original Super Mario Land. Upon returning to his castle in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario finds it quite different. It has been taken over by his evil childhood nemesis, Wario. To get back into his castle, Mario has to make his way through all of the “zones” throughout the Mushroom Kingdom and retrieve every one of the six coins to unlock the door. It will be a tough battle, but this is Mario and he’s up to the challenge.
Super Mario Land 2 is quite similar to its Game Boy Prequel, which in turn was quite similar to just about every other Mario game out there. However, there are a few perks here and there in the gameplay that really make the game fun to play. You control the fat plumber as he frolics through hordes of levels that include Space, a giant Tree, and even a “Clockwork” Mario. The vast diversity of the levels is quite unique, especially for a Game Boy game. Another thing that’s great about the zone is the fact that you can choose in which order you tackle them. The fact that the world map allows that is spectacular and more Game Boy games of the time should have added this “non-linear” feature.
The zones themselves, which are already unique, have some gameplay elements in them that each one distinctive. For example, in one stage in the tree zone, the level is infested by great gobs of tree wax which Mario must wade through. In the space zone, there is a level on the moon where Mario jumps slowly, but high, just like you would on the moon. There is also a “space chase” level where you race through disastrous boundaries of mini-stars to get to the boss, an alien in a strange spacecraft. Yes, the bosses return and they’re definitely not all Bowser variations. These bosses are quite humorous; my favorites being the ones in the Clockwork Mario, the Three Little Pigs.
Through each level Mario jumps and runs. You know that, however to add some variation to that, Nintendo added some nice features into the game as hats that Mario could gain. The famous fire flower from previous Mario games heats its way back into this game, its major ass kicking qualities still intact. Another item Mario receives is the Bunny Ears, allowing him to hover and fly. So, all in all, this game had some solid gameplay.
Control-wise, not much can be done with the two buttons of the Game Boy, but Nintendo did fine. It controls just as well as it did on the NES, which also featured two buttons. “B” dashes while “A” hops simple enough. Sure, the power ups add some diversions to the uh… running and jumping, but they are also pretty straightforward. You will have no problems controlling the game.
The graphics are pretty good, if not overly extravagant. For the time, they were some of the best on the Game Boy, but other titles have definitely overtaken them (namely the Wario games). Mario has been greatly magnified from the eye-squintingly small Super Mario Land, which is greatly appreciated from Nintendo (and my eye doctor). The enemies such as the beetles and others are nicely animated and I have no problem with them, besides the fact that all the enemies sans bosses are pretty plain looking. The backgrounds range from the drab, Space, to the mediocre, Clockwork Mario, to the excellent, Mario’s Castle. So, the graphics get the job done and aren’t too bad too look at.
Musically, the game features some tunes that are hardly memorable and sound tinny. I didn’t really enjoy them that much. This, unfortunately, can be attributed to the basic sound capabilities of the Game Boy. Fortunately, for the sound effects, the game is quite good. I enjoy all the beeps and bloops because they felt… right. And you can’t really argue with something that’s “right.”
The lasting appeal is quite good, because if you die you’ll have to start over with the loss of every coin you collect. However, once you beat everything you’ll find that there’s not too much to come back to. But, you may come back for nostalgia reasons as I have.
In conclusion, Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins is a solid Game Boy outing for Mario, much improved from the original. Nowadays it’s hard to find, but if you could purchase it I recommend you do. Not many things are quite as fun as playing this game on a long road or on a rainy day. Say, whatever happened to Wario after he got out of Mario’s Castle? Say, that’s how they started the Wario Land Series!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/18/03
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