Review by Psycho Penguin

"The gem of the Mario series deserves no less than a perfect score"

When asked about the greatest video game series ever made, Super Mario Bros. is bound to pop up. Featuring unique gameplay side scrolling action and a fun factor unlike any other, the Mario series is definetly one of, if not the, best video game series ever. And when asked about the greatest Mario game ever, more than likely you will hear either Super Mario 64, an overrated platformer for the Nintendo 64, or Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the most popular and best video games ever.

Well my opinion is different. I think that Super Mario World is fun enough and improves on many of the unique gameplay ideas featured in Super Mario Bros. 3, so my choice for the greatest Mario game ever would be none other than Super Mario World. Of course, that doesn't mean I hate Super Mario Brothers 3. It remains one of my all time favorite games released for the NES, and I enjoy playing it very much, even to this day. So it goes without saying that I enjoyed playing Super Mario Brothers 3, but I enjoy playing Super Mario World even more.

The thing that I enjoy most about Super Mario World is the fact that the game is so much fun to play. I remember staying up late at night trying to figure out how to find a certain key, or how to get into a certain area (like that ghastly Star Road). The sense of fun and exploration that this game provides has rarely been duplicated, which is why I enjoy playing this game so much. It may not be totally innovative and different than its predecessors, but the fact remains that this game is so much fun to play, and isn't that all that really matters to begin with?

Story has never really been a deciding factor in most Mario games, but even I have been impressed by some of the storylines in the Mario series. Super Mario World has the same old ''save the princess from Bowser'' storyline but adds new twists to it. You start off the game searching for Yoshi, not the Princess. You head to Yoshi's house to discover he is not home. When you go off to search for him, you soon discover that you need to save Star Road. And then the whole ''save the princess from Bowser'' storyline starts, but it definitely has a lot of twists and turns that makes it so very special.

The graphics are very nice and were a very good indicator of the powerful graphics that the Super Nintendo could handle. It didn't have much, if any, Mode 7 effects, but the graphics were outstanding anyways. The enemy designs looked very good and retained that classic Mario look. The backgrounds were like a Super Mario Bros. 3 type, but were more varied and colorful. The backgrounds in the dungeons in the game were especially well done. Overall, great graphics and a good first effort from the powerful Super NES processor.

One of the things I liked most about the graphics in the game was how colorful everything was. Sometimes, a lot of colors can get in the way and make the game appear to be kiddy, but not so in this case. The colorful aspect of the graphics, especially the backgrounds, make the game much more appealing and easy to look at, because the game looks so great compared to some of the dark and drab efforts that I have seen out of similar types of games released for the Super Nintendo. Thankfully, the graphics are not as colorful as the backgrounds and graphics featured in the sequel, then it would be a problem.

Speaking of the backgrounds, I was really impressed by how well the backgrounds in the game turned out. For a first generation SNES game, the backgrounds in the game are very impressive. They are well designed and well varied and overall look just plain great. I especially like how some of the backgrounds have a different design to them then similarly looking stages, which is a total contrast to some of the earlier games in the series.

The music had classic Mario tunes as well as new tunes, and were a pleasure to hear. The music from stage to stage was varied, and very well done. Even the special stage music was very well done as well. The music had that classic Mario feel while adding a new element to it, and I felt it was superb. After all, I have always been a fan of the classic mario music, and always will be, so I was glad to hear that the music in this game retained that same classic Mario feel, and was also glad to hear a lot of the classic Mario music actually featured in this game!

The sound effects were great as well, and everything sounded perfect. I really liked how some of the jumps sounded, like when you used the springs to jump across from platform to platform. That sound effect sounded really cool. I wish there would have been more of these types of sound effects, for instance the sound of you falling off the ledge and dying (just imagine how well that could have turned out). Regardless, the sound effects are still top notch. Overall, outstanding quality in both music and sound effects.

The control is dead on, as it is very easy to do pretty much everything, from doing special jumps to flying. Certain parts of the control pattern were frustrating, as it was quite difficult to pull off certain moves and jumps, but I was surprised about how easy and efficent the control in this game really was. The game definitely features near-perfect control, and if it was easier to pull off certain things, then it would probably be considered as perfect, in my opinion.

Now onto gameplay. The gameplay is classic Mario all the way but adds a few new elements into the mix. You get the same layout of the land as in Super Mario Brothers 3, with the same map system. This time the map system is a little different in the fact that there are no longer mushroom houses and fortresses. The fortresses have been replaced with ghost houses, while the mushroom houses (places in Super Mario Brothers 3 where you can get a free item) have been completely done away with.

One of the most disappointing aspects about Super Mario World, in my opinion, is the fact that Nintendo took away the ''carrying items over'' aspect. Well, they sort of did, but it is a lot different than in Super Mario Brothers 3. In that game, you could carry a lot of items in between stages, and use one or two in between stages, like flowers, etc. This helped because you could prepare for an upcoming stage. Well, in this game, you can only carry one item over, and you can use it at any time. When you lose your special power, your saved special item automatically comes down, so you have to make sure to get it.

A pretty big addition is that the number of secrets have been increased. There are several secrets to find, ranging from the Star Road to The Swich Blocks. These Switch Blocks open up new places to visit. This helps increase the replay value greatly, which I will talk more about in the replay value section. The number of secrets found on the world map was unexpected, because it toally opens up non-linear style of gameplay, while retaining the same linear Mario feeling. It is definitely a nice clash of styles.

There are also a lot more variety to the stages, ranging from Ghost Houses to Underground Caves to Star Road. I really liked some of the stages in the game, especially the Ghost Houses. The Ghost Houses are like the fortresses in Super Mario Brothers 3, and serve the same basic purpose, but the Ghost Houses are just so much fun to play through. Overall, the gameplay retains all the elements that made SMB3 great while adding more outstanding features

You'll be busy for a while. This game has a lot of replay value for a few reasons. You will want to play this game a lot until you beat it because of the amount of secrets it provides, and the simple fact of how much fun the game is. The number of secrets found in the game is remarkable, and you will want to find all of them, ranging from the secret stages and Star Road to all of the switch palaces. The game is so much fun to play, as well, which just adds fuel to an already strong replay value fire. You will probably want to play this game after you beat it, too!

Mario games haven't always been too difficult, neither is this one. The game does have certain challenging aspects about it, like some of the stages can be described as challenging, but the whole game is kind of easy for the most part. I especially liked the smooth flow of challenge in the game, it is challenging in the parts where it should be challenging, and not so challenging in the parts where it should be not so challenging. So, there is definitely a nice mix and flow when it comes to challenge.

This is definitely the best Mario game I have ever played, as well as being one of the best video games I have ever played. I may say this a lot, but I really mean it this time, this game is well worth a purchase! I really do mean it, everything about this game is so much fun to play. If you have a Super Nintendo, and don't own this game, then you're not really a true video game player. This is one of the top five games on the Super Nintendo, bar none, and that's a Ladies Man guarantee!

Good Points
-It's a Mario game, and a very fun one at that.
-The graphics in the game are colorful and awesome.
-The music and sound effects are great.
-The game features the same addctive gameplay that made the series so fun to begin with.
-The game has great replay value, whether you have beaten it or not.

Not So Good Points
-The game could have been more challenging.
-The cover of the game is kind of boring.
-The item carrying system is worse than the one in Super Mario Brothers 3.
-The storyline could have been a little bit better.

I Run Down the Ratings... DaLadiesMan style!
Storyline - 7.2/10
Graphics - 8.9/10
Music - 9.1/10
Sound Effects - 9.0/10
Control - 9.6/10
Gameplay - 9.7/10
Replay Value - Above Average
Challenge - Below Average
Overall - 9.7/10

The Last Line: This is the gem of the Mario series, and one of the best Super Nintendo games I have ever played. If you own a Super Nintendo, you owe it to yourself to get this incredible game!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/06/00, Updated 07/16/01

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