Review by Omega Gilgamesh

"An amusing, richly flavored adventure of platforming and RPG elements."

Mario Bros., along with Donkey Kong, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Final Fantasy have become the concrete foundations from whence modern day video gaming companies have built upon. Like the rest of the for-mentioned titles, Mario Bros. remains strong, never letting their age show. And while they have changed, they've never strayed from the roots that have made them one of greatest legacies in video gaming history. This game continues the legacy in all it's pride, and only strengthens it's heretige.

Gameplay: 9.8/10
Let's be honest, what's a video game without gameplay? Let's get this outta the way first.

This is an RPG Platformer. I have never played these two genre's together before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect with this. I'm glad to say, at nearly every turn, I was shocked and impressed.

Before you RPG veterans panic, no, there are NO random encounters in this game (and the world rejoices). Seriously, no random encounters! All regular enemies can be avoided, unlike Crono Trigger, but some are harder to avoid than others. You initiate combat but touching field enemies. You can also incorperate platforming elements to start the battle with certain advantages, but I won't spoil those.

Now, for the field, there are some very intuitive puzzels out there, hindering your progress. You'll have to learn every trick you pick up along the way to advance. There are quite a number of on-field jumping and non-jumping techniques that you can pull off to pass these puzzels, but I won't spoil what they are.

The puzzels themselves aren't too difficult, but will require some thinking in order to complete.

The battles themselves incorperate almost everything that can be done right in a game, and nearly NOTHING that's commonly done wrong in video games! Yes, there's the usual HP, strength, defense, so on and so forth, but they've added a twist to all those traditions.

For one thing, like all good action or platformer games, every attack, and I mean EVERY SINGLE ATTACK IN THIS GAME, can be avoided! These evasive actions you can take in battle really add spice to the mix (that is if you like spice), so you're always on your toes, yet battles are turn based, so you can take your sweet time and relax for a moment. Both attacks and evasions take elements of platforming to execute. Specifically, timing. You must know the right time to push a button. With a well timed button press, you can double the damage you give, or avoid an attack entirely, or even counter attack!

Like any RPG, there's Magic/Special Points, in the form of Bros. Points. Unlike most RPGs, though, is that these, too, take a good amount of timing to execute to their full potential. To execute a good Bros attack takes a series of timed button presses, and these attacks have different levels of difficulty to pull of, such as a shorter window to push the button to make the attack connect.

One last thing to mention, gameplay is always, ALWAYS adding new elements. Every few hours, you'll learn a new field ability that will help you get past a certain point, and usually these field abilities add to battle abilities. I was always surprised at the new and inovative ideas added into the mix. The best thing, though, is that you continue learning new abilities until very late in the game! I finished it with 23 hours on my first time through, and I learned my last field ability maybe around the 19 hour mark!

The only reason this department didn't get a 10 was because on the field, you relied on the High Jump way too often, even more than the normal jump.

Story: 8/10
Ah yes, the story. Every RPG needs one! While this game's story is neither complex nor thought provoking, it is, nonetheless, original and involving. It's main point is humor.

Now I'm going to be honest, I don't like Japanese humor. Whenever I watch a comedic anime, I rarely crack a smile. But this game, on the other hand, has some pretty good humor! I actually laughed out loud a few times!

The story itself is fun, involving, always changing and adding new stuff, like the gameplay. The characters, Mario and Luigi not having any actual written dialog, all have distinct personalities. From Luigi's cowardness, to Fawful's terrible simile's, to pun-esque names, (example: Professor E. Gadd) it's all good.

Sound: 10/10
All the tunes match their area's perfectly. In the desert, I got music that almost made me feel the heat. In the forest, I could almost feel the dirt below me. There were plenty of sound effects too.

One thing I really liked about this game was that there were voice snipits. That's right, actual voices! Not spoken conversations, but certain oneliners, such as Luigi calling ''Mario! Mario?'', or Mario ''here we go!'' and Bowser's growl. Mario and Luigi's cheesy italian accents were perfectly done, and the voices sounded perfect to their character models.

Some of the tunes, especially when you're in the same area for, like, ever get a little repetitive, but fortunately, the battle tune never got that way for me.

Graphics: 10/10
Now this is department is not a high qualification for me, but I must say, for 16 bit characters, I'm impressed. FFIII impressed me with what they were able to accomplish, such as near 3D graphics, but this game impressed me with visual clearity.

The character sprites are well detailed, well colored, and quite large. Same goes for backgrounds and all NPCs. Every story character has an impressive number of actions and images, especially the main two protagonists.

Replayability: 7/10
Now, I can't say everyone will feel this way, but I'm looking forward to a replay. I doubt I would want a third playthrough, but who knows?

Difficulty: 5/10
This is where the game kinda faulters. For those of you who enjoy challenges, this game will disappoint you. Yes, the game is easy, but that doesn't mean it's a cakewalk. Despite it's relative easy, it's still involving. The minigames are not just diverse in gameplay, but difficulty as well. Some will need a second or third try, some will need a fifth or sixth try. But besides the minigames, the game isn't too tough. Like all RPGs, it gets a LOT easier if you complete the right minigames and sidequests.

Rent or Buy?
Well, I didn't have a choice, since you can't rent GBA games out here. But if you do have the choice where ever you are, then this is a must buy.

Average score: 8
Overall score: 10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/12/04

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