Review by darkTW

"The Greatest in the Super Mario Advance Series."

Super Mario Advance 2 is the second in the series of 'Super Mario Advance' ports to the Game Boy Advance. This time around we see the return of the Super Nintendo Launch game, Super Mario World updated in 32-bit glory on the GBA. Also dragging along behind is Miyamoto's 1983 brainchild, Mario Bros., here again for the umpteenth time. It would appear this time that Mario Bros. is more of an extra, as while Super Mario Advance's box heralded “Super Mario Bros.2 and Mario Bros.”, this one is mentioned on the box in small print at the bottom, as later repeated in Yoshi's Island and Super Mario Bros. 3

In a similar move to the original Super Mario Advance title, what we have here is a resolution-scaled down version of Super Mario World with many minor changes to make it more playable on a portable format. I never played the original on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System properly, so I cannot really compare; but many of the features changed for the better include the ability to play as Luigi (and people say he's left out?) with some new abilities such as the ‘floaty jump' from Super Mario Advance 1 making a comeback, and changes when he's riding on Yoshi. This will give a new experience to players who had the Super Nintendo edition (and thus only played as Mario). It is also made slightly easier in the fact that when you are cape or fire Mario, if you get hit, you simply return to ‘Super Mario' and not revert to the normal small Mario.

The graphics are the same, there's no changes here. Super Mario Advance and Super Mario Advance 4 are updated from the original versions on the NES, but two and three retain all the original graphics from 1991 and 1995 respectively. I won't go into a huge list of gameplay element changes here, but it seems most of them are for the better, such as saving anywhere and the ability to keep your Yoshi after you save - also there is apparently more mid-level save stops than in the Super Nintendo Edition. We also have the return of everyone's favourite voice actor, Mr. Charles Martinet providing his happy Mario and Luigi with phrases such as “LUCKY!”, "JUST WHAT I NEEDED!" and “HERE WE GO!” to keep you entertained on those lonely dark nights in with your Game Boy Advance SP. Luckily the voices have been toned down since Super Mario Advance and the return of Yoshi's voice is quite a nice move, taken from Yoshi's Story – and as well as this a nice new intro movie using the sprites and level backgrounds has been created (as also seen in Super Mario Bros 3: Super Mario Advance 4).

When we move onto Mario Bros. we get the same "tarted up NES graphics" situation as we had on Super Mario Advance, except they changed the “1” in 2001 to a “2” – must have taken hundreds of hours of coding time, that one. A nice move is that you can link this cartridge for the Mario Bros. Battle/Classic Multiplayer mode to any of the other Super Mario Advance series (and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and maybe the Mario Pinball and Party titles released in late 2004) to prevent loading times when you wish to play this. But other than that it's the same boring formula as when you played it in the back of your local coin-op arcade in 1983:

1) Hit POW block or jump baddie from below
2) Kick baddie to kill.
3) Repeat Twice to win Level
4) Repeat 'n' times.

Super Mario Advance had a few extras such as the Yoshi Challenge and the “A” tokens; but this time there are no extras at all bar the multiplayer modes featured in Mario Bros. However Super Mario Advance 2 includes even less special features than Super Mario Bros. DX, or Super Mario Advance. The SNES' own Super Mario World multiplayer mode has been stripped out, as was done with Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2 in the previous ports, which is a large disappointment. It eventually re-appeared with the port of Super Mario Bros. 3 however. One of the main problems with the original Super Mario Advance that the game of Super Mario Bros. 2 itself was not up to scratch and the improvements didn't help it. However Super Mario World is a great game in itself and it can provide many hours of play, and even more for someone like myself who was new to it all.

In all, a large improvement on the previous Super Mario Advance, mainly due to the fact this time they decided to port a decent game. But still no new Mario platform game on Game Boy Advance? It seems now we may have to wait for the Nintendo DS for that. However, with one of the greatest Mario games ever created and 96 exits to clear, this is one solid package nicely converted from the original. Extras are very thin on the ground, but they are not essential in this case. If Super Mario Sunshine is getting boring, pick this up!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/15/04

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