Review by Writer

"A wonderful 2D platformer"

When you think of the platform genre, one can't help but think of Mario. Not only has this plumber helped revive the video game industry, but his games have set the standard as a fine example of what a platformer should be; fun, addictive, and brilliant in simplicity. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island is another fine addition to the Mario library of games as it is one of the greatest games on the SNES.

Yoshi's Island is more of a prequel than it is a sequel. The game goes back to the younger days when Mario was nothing more than a whining infant. Mario literally takes a back seat to Yoshi, as you'll be controlling the long tongued dino for most of the game. While baby Mario and Luigi is being carried by a stork to be delivered to their parents, Luigi is kidnapped by baby Bowser's evil forces. Once they find that they failed in grabbing both babies, they set out in search to find baby Mario at any cost. The Yoshi's decide to take baby Mario back to Luigi, but this won't exactly be a walk in the park as the island is crawling with enemies. The gameplay in Yoshi's Island is quite a treat. You control Yoshi while baby Mario rides on his back. If Yoshi is hit just once, baby Mario will be knocked off and float in a bubble. When this happens a timer will count down and you'll have so much time to get Mario back before he is carried off by Bowser's forces and Yoshi loses a life. You can extend the amount of time you have to get Mario back by collect stars, a maximum of 30. If you collect all of the red coins, stars and flowers that are hidden through-out the game's many levels, you'll achieve a perfect score at the end of a stage and if you manage to maintain perfection in one world you'll unlock two bonus areas. There are six worlds and eight levels in each, which makes for 12 bonus areas to unlock.
If you finish one level and have collected any flowers, you'll have a chance at playing a bonus game if the roulette lands on one of the flowers. These bonus games give you a chance to earn extra lives.

Yoshi can eat almost any enemy and turn them into eggs to use as ammunition to fire at enemies using a very handy targeting system. Yoshi can also use these eggs to grab coins and other out of reach items. Yoshi can also transform into a variety of different vehicles like a helicopter, submarine, and a few others. While you control Yoshi for most of the game, baby Mario also steps into the spot light and is playable. If you grab a super star, Mario becomes invincible for a short period of time and is able to dash and float. There are even some cool mini games you can play like throwing bubbles before they burst by inputting certain button combinations on the SNES controller or a mad grab for the most coins within a limited amount of time.

From a graphical standpoint, Yoshi's Island does the SNES proud with bright colorful visuals that are unique to the system. This is probably one of the most visually impressive games on the system, although some may dismiss it for its kiddy appearance. Those that are able to overlook its childish coat of paint, however, will find a very deep platform game. Mario vets will recognize Shy Guys Koopa Troopas and even a few new faces. The bosses are huge and take up a pretty good portion of the screen. In a nutshell, the characters, enemies and levels are well drawn.

On the audio side of things Yoshi's Island has the same type of humble tunes you've come to expect from a Mario game. There's even a remixed version of the musical tune that is played when Mario grabs a super star. The music is a tad on the kiddy side, but I found myself humming some of the tunes as they are enjoyable, albeit there is a limited selection.

All told, Yoshi's Island is a great game that belongs in any SNES owners library. Some have gone as far as to say this is the best 2D platformer ever made. If you can find it, this is certainly one game to get.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/29/01, Updated 05/29/01

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