Review by Dark33

"One great update to a great game"

Super Mario Brothers 2 originally came out in 1988, and it was an outstanding platform game. It improved on the first game so much, and was so unique, that it was one of the best platform games of all time. Its standout qualities were its variety, level design, and overall feel. Now, Nintendo has given us a treat by releasing Super Mario Brothers 2 on the Game Boy Advance as Super Mario Advance. The differences are noticeable right away. The graphics and sound are vastly improved over the original SMB2 game. Playing it on the handheld screen is very fun, as you can take it on the go, (like I do), and is even better than Super Mario Brothers Deluxe for Game Boy Color.

Graphics: 7.7/10
The graphics of SMB2 were so improved over SMB, that it should get an award. Now, on GBA, the jump in graphics is even better, with new graphic features everywhere. Try not to drool when playing this game. Some improvements are extraordinary backgrounds, larger sprites, especially for some enemies and vegetables, and all of the sprites look much better. Anyway, all four playable characters, Mario, Luigi, Toad, and the Princess, all look excellent, looking better than they did even in Super Mario World for the SNES. The levels are what give the graphics such a high score. Each one is beautifully drawn, they have their own unique look, and they are varied and wonderful. They make the game more fun to play through, and are gorgeous to look at. The creativity that went into designing the graphics of this game is apparent and the designers threw in levels with different styles, and didn’t keep everything looking the same, which was one of the few weaknesses in the original Super Mario Brothers, and even SMB2. The only flaw is that the graphics don’t look as good as several other first-generation GBA titles.

Play Control: 7.8/10
Classic Mario controls resurface in this game. The B button is for running, the A button is for jumping, but there are a couple new things, which aren’t in any of the other Mario games. Instead of stomping on enemies, you can land on them, ride on them, or pick them up with the B button. You can also pick up vegetables from the ground and use them as weapons against enemies! Several other questionable things come from the ground that you can pick up, such as potions, bombs, and even spaceships! This is not exactly realistic, but definitely fun, awesome, and cool. Jumping and moving around can be a little touchy, but not much to complain about.

Sound/Music: 7.7/10
It’s nice that the sounds of this game are improved over SMB2, and worth listening too. Luckily, they are more varied than in the original SMB2, helping to end some repetition. Also, the music is good, especially for an handheld game, and it’s definitely Mario type sounds. It’s a good background to listen to while you’re jumping, running and digging in this game.

Gameplay: 9.0/10
An extremely high score is given to gameplay/enjoyment, for one reason: this is a great game. The level design is spectacular, from obstacles to enemies. There’s grass, sand (which in some places you can dig), and ice, among other things like clouds. The boss of each level is Birdo, and there are several variations of her. Having to fight her at the end of each level is a nice addition, and at the end of each world, there is a bigger, badder boss. Unfortunately, a couple bosses are present in more than one world, but that’s bearable. Again, the levels themselves are extremely well designed, the enemy placement is perfect, and there are plenty of enemies to give you fits.

But possibly the best new feature of all is that there are four playable characters with different characteristics. Mario is average all around, not that fast, not that great of a jumper. Luigi is pretty slow, but he jumps the highest of them all. Toad is the fastest, but he really cannot jump well at all. Princess Toadstool is unique because she isn’t fast, can’t jump that high, but has a special, unique trait, the ability to float in the air for a few seconds. Best of all, you choose your character at the beginning of EVERY level, so you can change as many times as you want! They make for four different experiences for each level.

And also, there are 7 worlds, with 20 levels overall, plus several bosses. If there’s one word to describe Super Mario Brothers 2 in comparing it to other Mario games, it’s different. But that’s not a bad thing. Although stomping on goombas might be missed, it’s fun to pick up an enemy and toss it at another. Another cool thing is that there is no timer, giving you all the time you want to play through a level. Unfortunately, there is no point counter to tell you how many points you have…wait, you can’t earn points here! That’s an unfortunate loss, because I always liked going for a high score in SMB and SMB3. But yet another cool thing is that unlike Super Mario Brothers, you can go backwards in levels if you wish to. Sometimes you aren’t always moving to the right. The levels can take you left, right, up, and down. And thanks to excellent play control, you’ll have no problems jumping through the levels. The execution of this game is close to perfect and it delivers incredible gameplay.

Another cool feature is that you can link up four GBA and play a multiplayer game, using just one GamePak. This is very cool, but you’re limited to only one level to play in. If each player has the game though, they can all play in multiple areas. This is icing on the cake for a great platform game. You’ve got to play this game to see its magic.

Replay Value: Very High
With four characters to choose from, and such great levels, you’ll be playing this game over and over until your hands fall off. This game is never boring, always fun and varied, and a great game to replay. With four characters, each with different characteristics, playing through a level can be a different experience with each one. Some levels may be more challenging with Mario, for instance, than with Toadstool, or the other way around. And with the new four player mode, you can have fun with your friends, and fight with them. That’s a great thing about multiplayer, you can yell and scream at your friends or add strategy with allying up, or other stuff like that.

Challenge: High
This game is not easy, even if you take warps. Several levels are extremely difficult, but that will just make you desire to succeed. None of the enemies will challenge you all that much, but a couple bosses will, and there are several places where the level design makes it mighty tricky to get through the level, a good thing unless you’re prone to getting extremely frustrated.

Good Points:
Incredible level design.
4 characters with different traits to choose from.
Excellent graphics.
Very, very good replay value.
Extremely challenging at times.
Four player mode is awesome

Bad Points:
Not quite enough levels.
Only one area available with one GamePak in multiplayer

Overall: 8.6/100
If you play this game, you will remember it forever. It’s an even better play than the original SMB2 because of the new features. And playing it on a handheld doesn’t diminish anything at all. If you import or buy a GBA, GET THIS GAME! It’s by far the best one out so far.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/01/01, Updated 04/01/01

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