Review by snowcrash

"Anything better would be perfection"

My Final Thought
If you are just reading this review to see if this is an excellent game, and need just a small amount of motivation to buy it, I decided to put the end of my review first. Super Mario Advance 2 is a fantastic game and will provide hours and hours of enjoyment. With this title, the GBA not only shows it can perform at the level of the SNES, but in many ways it surpases it. It is a joy to be able to play one of the all time classic video games of all time on the GBA. This is not a rental, this is clearly a purchase.

Still need convincing?

Read on.....

The Beginning
I can still remember the exact day when I bought a SNES. I was on a vacation in Colorado and decided to pick one up. I went back to my friend's house, and stayed up all night playing Super Mario World. When I saw that Super Mario Advance 2 was coming out for the GBA, I picked it up on import as soon as I could.

Before I get on with the rest of the review, I think it needs to be said that Super Mario Advance 2 is clearly a classic, a truly superb game. As such, it has been placed on an extremely high pedestal, so ANY flaw in the game, translation, or extras is bound to draw most of the attention. That being said, on with the review.

The graphics are simply wonderful in that they are an almost perfect translation of the SNES graphics. The colors are extremely rich and vibrant, and there is also a great deal of graphic diversity in all of the worlds that you travel through (there are 96 in total). The game simply looks great. The animation is superb and there were times that I simply could not believe that the game looked this good on the small screen. If Nintendo can do this good of a translation with Super Mario Advance 2, I cannot wait to see what else is coming down the line. I'd love to nitpick on something graphics wise, but there is simply nothing to find fault in.

The game sounds great as well. Anyone who has ever played a Mario game before will instantly recognize the sound effects and the music. Everything in the original game is included here - everything from the ''squeak'' when you move around the overheard map to the slight echo that goes into effect when you are underground. It is all here. The GBA can produce some wonderful sounds, but this game is limited by the hardware, more specifically, the GBA speaker. When I first started playing, I was a bit disappointed in the sound, but then I broke out the headphones. The game sounds simply wonderful with stereo headphones (this is true of many GBA games though).

Bliss, pure bliss. The game plays beautifully. My one complaint is that Mario (and Luigi - but we'll get to that in a minute) feels a bit more ''floaty'' than I remember, but bear in mind that the last time I played this game was almost 7 years ago. Playing it again was like reading an old book from your childhood that you vaguely remember, but have not seen in a long time. As you play, you will understand why this is a true classic. The gameplay is challenging (although overall this game is not too tough), 1 ups are plentiful and creatively hidden, and the game has that ''I'll just play for 10 more minutes'' quality to it. Going on about the gameplay any more than this seems like overkill - this is truly a game by which all other platformers will be judged.

Do I have anything bad to say about the game? Well, yes and no.

But first the good:
- SMA2 includes the old arcade game Mario Brothers. I find this game just as fun now as I did over 15 years ago.

- You now also have the choice of playing through each stage as either Mario or Luigi. As usual, Luigi has a much higher and more ''floaty'' jump than Mario. Not a huge thing, but it is nice. You can switch between characters on the overhead map.

- By pushing select you can bring up a summary sheet of your quest so far. Granted, mine is in Japanese, but I can determine that it tells you how many Yoshi coins you have found in each level, what character you used to complete the level, and something about time.

- Speaking of Japanese, the game is fairly language friendly. If you just cannot wait until the NA version is released, you can easily pick this up on import. Curiously, while all the text (except for the title and some other incidental text) is in Japanese, all of the speech in the game is in English.

- Yep, there's some speech. It sounds pretty good.

And now, the bad:
- Mario Brothers? This was a bit of a shock seeing as SMA also included Mario Brothers. As far as I can tell, this is the exact same game. This just seems like a poor choice and one that I'm sure will be the subject of much discussion.

- What extras? The game is pretty much an exact translation of Super Mario World, and it does not appear that anything else has been added. Nintendo did such an excellent job with the GBC version of Super Mario Deluxe that it is hard for me to understand why their other Mario games have not received the same treatment. There are no pictures, sound tests, or hidden anything. This may seem like a silly complaint, but if Nintendo is going to continue to re-release its old catalogue of games on the GBA, I expect a bit more than a straight port - I want extras.

Even without a great many extras, Super Mario Advance 2 is a wonderful game that has a tremendous amount of replay value. There is a battery backup, and you can save the game at anytime (if you save in a level, you'll start back at the overhead map), but that makes this game ideal for quick gaming sessions. If you are like me though, you will pick up the game and have a very difficult time putting it down.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/25/02, Updated 01/25/02

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