Review by NT220

"Nice, but not the best addition to the Mario series."

I remember back in 1992, when I was a 5-year-old playing this game at my friend's house. I sucked at it, but quietly, slowly, became hooked. Eventually, I was hanging at my friend's house all the time, so finally my parents, concerned that I was spending more time there than in my own home, decided to buy me an SNES, too. And voila, instant gaming addict.

For a while, Super Mario World was the center of my universe. I got hooked on it, fanatically trying to beat the game. I thought that no game will come as close as this, that no game will ever be as fun. Considering what games I had to compare it with, I wasn't too wrong. However, as I started to play more games I find more and more faults with it. I rarely play this game anymore now, and am almost never entertained by it when I do. Why? Read on.

STORY (5/10)
Surprise, surprise, Bowser has kidnapped the Princess yet again. But this time, he's also kidnapped the seven brethren of a dinosaur called Yoshi, who has agreed to help Mario on his quest! What originality! What ingeniousness! What... oh, forget it. The story is completely irrelevant in a platformer, anyway.

Like in most Mario platformers, you play as Mario (or Luigi, if you decide to try multiplayer) and go through a number (in this case, 74) of levels en route to defeating Bowser, sometimes fighting a boss or mini-boss. There are also a variety of power-ups which you can get by hitting item boxes; the main three in this game are the Mushroom, the Cape Feather, and the Fire Flower. Mushrooms will make you grow to twice your normal size and allow you to take one more hit by an enemy before you die. Fire Flowers have the same effect as Mushrooms, but they also enable you to throw little fireballs that turn enemies into coins. The Cape Feather, in addition to the effects of the Mushroom, allows you to fly and glide through the air. There are also several minor power-ups as well, which I won't go into detail here.

This game also introduced several things to the Mario games which we now take for granted. The first two are rather minor: saving and the ability to revisit completed levels. Then there are alternative exits and keyholes, which are hidden and will take you to a secret stage--you must get all of them in order to fully finish the game. The most important introduction, however, is that of Yoshi the dinosaur. Yoshi will pop out of several item boxes, all ready for you to ride him. Besides allowing you to take an extra hit before dying, Yoshi can do some pretty cool things. First, he can eat most enemies. Second, if he eats a turtle shell he can do some pretty wild things. Eating a red shell, for instance, will allow him to breath three fireballs, while eating a blue shell will make him sprout wings and fly.

From my description of the gameplay, you may be wondering why I gave it a 7. The problem lies in the level designs. There may be 74 levels, compared to just 54 in Yoshi's Island and a pitiful 33 in Donkey Kong Country, but DKC and YI take me past a wide variety of well thought out stages, while this game... well, it doesn't. The levels don't seem well thought out, and the lack of variety in them is amazing. The levels are longer and bigger than SMB3, but they seem needlessly large and empty compared to the compact but tight levels from SMB3. The levels seem unvaried, uninspired, and bland--not a good sign.

Not all levels are bad, however. Some levels are very well done and require immense skill to get through, such as Tubular (where you must float through the levels as a balloon, while one hit will kill you) and Vanilla Secret 3 (where platforming is actually made enjoyable). There are tons of secrets, and best of all you can decide how long the game is if you're good--you can see the ending having beaten only 15 stages!

Overall, I think the slight monotony and somewhat spotty levels lower this game from great to merely good, which is honestly too bad.

CONTROLS (10/10)
Wow! They really fixed the controls in this game. Skidding is virtually non-existant, and Mario responds well to every command. You'll be easily running, jumping, and flying in this game, all without a single cry of frustration because your stupid character spontaneously ran off a cliff.

This is the first SNES game ever released, and it sure makes use of the superior graphical abilities compared to the NES. Everything is easy to see, and the fantastical, colorful backgrounds are a dream. The levels seem a lot bigger and more vast, thanks to the wonderful backgrounds. The sprites are very good-looking, too, with enemies like gigantic Bullet Bills and the confrontation with Bowser. There are, however, some glitches and slowdown which bring down the score a bit.

The music is nice to listen to, but nothing to call home about. The castle theme is very catchy and good, though. There is a decent variety in the tracks, but most seem to be happy and carefree. (I'm willing to forgive that, though--it is a Mario game, after all.) Sound effects are certainly nothing realistic, but overall there is a sound effect wherever you'd expect one. Pretty good.

The repetitiveness really gets to you. I got slightly tired of this game even before I completed it. After years and years of play, I don't ever feel an urge to play it again. I'd say that this game certainly does not age well.

The main fault in this game lies in its lack of variety and lackluster levels. It's fun to play the first time through, but the thought of playing those same old, same old levels again isn't very appealing. Overall, I'd say that it had little to add to the Mario universe (except Yoshi, of course). Try Yoshi's Island if you want an SNES Mario game up to par with the NES efforts.


Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/16/01, Updated 09/16/01

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