Review by Andy787

"The Cookie Monster Demands you buy this game. You do NOT mess with the Cookie Monster."

Nintendo can really take solace in knowing that they are literally one of the only companies in gaming, that can release a game that is a decade old, and still top the charts with it. Sure, Namco can announce a greatest hits game featuring titles like Pacman, Dig Dug, and Pole Position, all on the same cart mind you, and nobody gives a second look. But when Nintendo announces a Mario World port, you instantly see 'system seller' light up the eyes of millions of avid consumers and Nintendo-philes. Not to say this frenzy is without warrant of course, oh no, because when Mario World was released with the Super Nintendo back in 1990, it instantly became a classic, and is still widely considered one of, if not the very best, platforming game of all time.

When you first start up Mario Advance 2 (the title of the port), you'll instantly remember just why you loved this game so much way back when. This game controls like a dream. Mario and Luigi now control completely differently (contrary to the original, where each controlled exactly the same), with Mario controlling just like he used to, and Luigi playing like he did in Mario Bros. 2, with higher, more 'floaty' jumps. Both characters still play with the great 'running on ice'-like physics, but despite how it sounds, it works superbly and makes for some excellent platforming game play.

The level designs are also just fantastic. Through the course of the game's dozens of levels, the level designs will constantly challenge you with new obstacles and different ideas of getting around. You will really flesh out your abilities and become very comfortable with everything in the game, all thanks to the wonderful levels.

It's really amazing as well, how a game like this, being a decade old, can still easily hold it's own graphically with the best in the industry (and even Nintendo themselves, now ten years older) on the new hardware of the Gameboy Advance. Mario Advance 2 is just so vibrant with color and charm and atmosphere, it paints a beautiful picture and has paved the way for some of the most well known characters in the genre (and all of gaming for that matter).

The attention to detail also shines in MA2. You're not going to find a single area in this game that isn't well thought out and practical, just about everything is here for a reason. This is one platformer that is a joy exploring each level, turning over every stone, and finding everything there is to find (and there's a plenty of it!). Everywhere you look you're likely to find something new, whether it's a new enemy, a new game play element, or just an area you hadn't explored before.

MA2 is also a marvel in the sound department. The Gameboy Advance has really proven to be a big improvement in portable sound, and MA2 capitalizes on it. The melodies you'll find in MA2 are just so memorable, the bright, joyful, optimistic atmosphere really shines through in this game. You will undoubtedly recognize almost every song in this game, whether you're a Nintendo veteran, or Next-Gen newbie, and unless you've got a heart of stone, you'll definitely crack at least a few smiles through out the game. The sound effects are also filled with the classic magical feeling that embodies the Mario series. From Mario's trademark jump, to the good ol' fire power spit.

Also worth mentioning, MA2 is filled with some very high-quality voice work, which isn't often found in portable games. Always worth a laugh, Mario and Luigi will yell out a few cute phrases when certain things happen, like the famous 'Oh, mama miiaaa' upon dieing. A few changes seem to have been made for the worse though. They probably aren't changes actually, some of the music just wasn't carried over to GBA well, like the invincibility theme when you pick up a star.

All in all, Mario Advance 2 is an excellent port of one of the best games of all time, combining brilliant audio and visuals, with classic game play, all for one very nostalgic little cart. I'd recommend anyone who doesn't have the original to definitely consider it the next time you're in the market for some portable platforming.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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

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