Review by LastStand

Reviewed: 02/19/04

I’m a jumping, fire-shooting, flying plumber on a quest to save the princess, riding on a green dinosaur whose name roughly translates as “OK”

Super Mario World was the first game to come out for the SNES, and it was a very fitting game to launch what would soon become quite possibly the greatest system ever made. In fact, as long as you bought your system early, you were guaranteed to own this classic (back in the good old days when consoles came with games). This game did not quite live up to the legendary status that Super Mario Bros. 3 achieved, but still it became a classic in many people’s eyes with its interesting twist on traditional Mario gameplay and the introduction of Mario’s dinosaur pal, Yoshi.

Graphics: 10/10
Super Mario World pushed the graphical capabilities of the SNES to its limits. The graphics were colorful, and although they weren’t very textured, the lighting effects were very well done. The graphics even had a 3D feel to it, and I don’t think there is a single person out there who popped this cart into the console after years of NES games and was not awestruck by the graphical presentation. In fact, the graphics were nearly unrivaled by any SNES game until Donkey Kong Country, which did not come out for another 3 years or so. This game perfectly presented the system’s capabilities graphically.

Story: 7/10
Well…it’s probably what you’d expect from any Mario game. Something has gone wrong, and Mario is out to save someone from the clutches of his archrival, Bowser. This time, the Koopa Kids have come returned from Super Mario Bros. 3 and have stolen the Yoshi eggs. On top of that…yup, you guessed it: the princess has been kidnapped by Bowser once again. Mario has to go around Dinosaur Land and retrieve the eggs, then commence the final showdown with Bowser for the princess. Nothing new, ho-hum.

Sound/Music: 7/10
The sound in the game is really not that impressive. Certainly it is a step up from the NES sound capabilities, but still it is nothing more than a bunch of beeps, bloops and random percussion noises. You step on an enemy, it is practically the same noise from other Mario games. You get a mushroom, that growing noise from other Mario games comes up. The only new sounds really come from Yoshi. The tongue-sticking-out noise Yoshi makes is rather annoying, as is the noise he makes when an enemy touches you while you’re riding him. However, you can’t help but crack a smile the first time you hear Mario jump on Yoshi.
The classic Mario theme is not there (except in one place), nor is any theme from Mario Bros. 3. The music is not anything special, other than maybe the basic level music and the dungeon music, which is much darker than many previous Mario dungeon themes. The music for levels gets some bongos playing in the background added to it when you’re on Yoshi, which makes the music much more enjoyable. The world map music is very repetitive and annoying, as is the underground and ghost house music, but I thought the Vanilla Dome world map music and Special World map music were both nice. Wait for a while on the Special World map, and you will hear a remix of the original Super Mario Bros. music, which is very cool. Overall, the music in some places is cool, but very repetitive in many places.

Gameplay: 9/10
The gameplay is much like traditional Mario gameplay, which there is nothing wrong with. You control Mario from the left to the right of the screen, while occasionally having to backtrack a bit. Some of the traditional baddies are there (THERE IS NO BASIC GOOMBA! WHY?), as well as some new ones (the football player is sooooooo annoying, as is the magikoopa *shudder*). Mario has the basic arsenal to help him along: mushrooms, fire flowers, coins, etc., but now, instead of the leaf from Mario Bros. 3, Mario has the feather, which allows him to don a cape and fly. Flying is a very cool experience. You get a running start, then jump, and Mario flies into the air. No more tapping of the button like in Super Mario Bros. 3. Once Mario begins his rapid descent, you may tap back on the pad, which causes his cape to open and allows you to basically float in the air. You can also just let him fall, and he will divebomb the ground, causing it to shake, damaging any nearby enemies. However, what is probably the coolest new addition is Yoshi, a green dinosaur with a saddle on his back. Yoshi pops out of “?” blocks, his egg hatches, and you get on him. While riding Yoshi, stepping on enemies will almost always kill them immediately, and some enemies that are hazardous to jump on, such as Spinies, are now safe to jump on while on Yoshi. Yoshi can also swallow enemies, which becomes very interesting when he swallows a koopa shell. Swallowing a red shell allows him to spit fireballs, swallowing a yellow shell allows him to stomp the ground, and swallowing a blue shell allows him to fly. The secret Star World even has colored Yoshis that you can find, which have abilities corresponding to their color no matter what color shell you find. Sweet.
You progress to the end of the level, which is marked by a giant “gate” with “tape” sliding up and down it. If you hit the tape, you get “bonus points” corresponding to how high the tape is when you hit it, ranging from 1-50. If you get 50 (which is extremely hard to do, I may add), you get a 3-up bonus, which is cool. If you get in total up to 100, you get to play a bonus game to earn extra lives. Very cool.
The game is not linear at all. It uses a world map based similarly on that of Super Mario Bros. 3, only now Dinosaur Land is one huge world rather than eight different worlds. You can replay levels you’ve already cleared, which is a nice addition. Levels on the world map are colored yellow or red. Yellow levels have one end gate with no secret exits. Red dots, however, have special “keyhole” exits. You must find the key and bring it to the keyhole, which usually opens up a secret path to secret levels. This makes the game much, much less linear than SMB3. However, the game still leads to Bowser’s castle, though there are many different paths you can take. Overall, the game design is classic Mario, with a whole bunch of twists that make it innovative.

Challenge: Average
The game is not too hard, but there are some levels that will give you fits (Butter Bridge, ARGH!). The difficulty is enough to put up a bit of a challenge without becoming too frustrating. The secret Special World is made especially for the experts (I swear the “Outrageous” level took me a ton of lives to beat).

Replay Value: 8/10
There is a lot of replay value in this game, basically because there are so many secret paths to find. In fact, it took me several years before I even found the path to Soda Lake. Playing with a friend is cool, especially since you can donate lives to the other player. Nice addition.

Overall, this game is obviously a classic. The gameplay is innovative while simultaneously staying true to the Mario tradition. This set the stage for Nintendo’s great success with the SNES, and was a great game for that position.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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