Review by Exodist
Mario's adventure into Dinosaur Land is a great one.
When the Super Famicom was released in Japan it had just two games: Super Mario World, and F-Zero. Whilst F-Zero is a great game in its own right, everyone knows the reason the console sold out so quick is because of Super Mario World. On launch, undeniably the main attraction for the majority of Snes buyers across the world, Super Mario World is a game that has been experienced by many players. Fortunately, it is also an incredible game and completely worthy of its success, as Mario takes the jump from Nes, to Snes.
The game shares a lot of similarities to Super Mario Bros 3, the late entry of the series to the Nes. The game once again starts in an overworld map, with Mario shown on the screen with a linear path leading through level. There are 7 different worlds (and 2 extra) spread across the land, each with plenty of levels, and also, secrets. The main features added to the series are these: hidden levels and multiple level goals, switch palaces, the dragon coins and of course, Yoshi. With more capability in the Snes machine, Nintendo were able to add these features to the game. Lets go through them in detail.
Firstly, yes the game plays as normal. You run from left to right, you can jump, you can run, you can go down pipes. You can collect mushrooms, a fire flower and a feather in this game, essentially the cape to let you fly. The core gameplay remains pretty much the same with a few tweaks. You can gain an item to carry in a box at the top of the screen, pressing select will drop this item for you. There are also checkpoints in the middle of most levels. Some can prove longer, some shorter. Each world features usually a ghost house as a sort of checkpoint for you to save at, and then a castle at the end of the world where you must beat one of Bowser's children. The main change to the gameplay is the addition of Mario's now well known dinosaur companion, Yoshi. Throughout the main adventure he only appears in colour green. Yoshi can be found in item boxes on select levels just like any other powerup. Whilst mounted, if you're hit, Mario is knocked off Yoshi who, in panic, runs around aimlessly, meaning he can fall of ledges etc. Apart from an extra hit however, Yoshi can also eat things, including many enemies, and also Koopa shells which he can then spit out. Later in the game, if you manage to make it to the secret Star World, you can find other colour baby Yoshi's. Once fed,these all have unique abilities whenever they are holding a shell in their mouth (which is limited, before they swallow them), including the blue Yoshi being able to fly. Its a nice and fun addition, he is incredibly helpful to your adventure, the coloured Yoshi's especially, and he also proves vital in some cases where secret exits are involved. Yoshi also lends his face to new dragon coins, scattered across many levels. These aren't too important, they will gain you an extra life if you collect them all in a level, however some players will want to complete the game fully and collect them all.
The main game will probably take about 6 or 7 hours to complete, going through each world normally, reaching Bowser and defeating him. However the game is full to the brim with secrets which really extend the game. This is one of the features I mentioned: secret goals and extra levels. Quite a few levels in the game will actually have a secret goal, usually accessed by finding a hidden area, and placing a key into the keyhole. Completing a level this way will open up an alternative path, leading to a bonus level. These aren't vital to finishing the game at all bar one in the forest, where the player is forced to find the secret exit for one of the levels to reach the castle. These extra levels usually offer an extra challenge and also areas the player would not otherwise access. For example on the world map players will see a few fortresses, which are only accessible by hidden paths, and also extra ghost houses. Of course the main feature is the hidden starworld featuring six levels, and then the final special world where the player is tested with the toughest levels in the game. For me personally, I liked the idea of finishing all 96 goals as a sort of 100%, without the need for getting the dragon coins which can be a bit boring. As said, the game counts these as 'goals'. Completing every level normally gets you a goal, and the hidden exit also counts as a goal. Total, there are 96 goals in the game and getting them all can take a long time. This depends though, if you use a guide the hidden goals are easy to find, but without, they are actually quite hard, taking some serious time investment to find them all, especially since you won't know which levels do and do not have a hidden goal. Also hidden are a few switch palaces. Across the game world you will see the outline for coloured blocks. Finding the same colour switch, activating it will fill all these blocks in, usually making navigating these levels much easier. Its a nice extra feature as a sort of end-game, a task to be done once the main game is beaten.
The game is getting on now but even today it proves a great joy to play. The game is pure Mario platforming at some of its finest, the game is fun and challenging (to an extent, mainly the extra stuff). Indeed, Super Mario World is essentially for any modern Mario fan to play, especially with its availability on GBA and also on Virtual Console. The game is a true classic, and the only 2D Mario game that could out do Mario World, was the sequel.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Super Mario World (EU, 04/11/92)
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