Review by IMAP

"This game looks like a teddy bear, yet it fights like a grizzly."

Super Mario World had one tragic flaw that ruined the game's fun factor, a total lack of difficulty. Heck, if I wanted to, I could rack up 80 lives in a matter of 3 minutes! Clearly, Nintendo learns from their mistakes, since they decided to release a sequel with a childish interface. When I first popped this gem into my machine, I expected SMW all over again; the game sure did not look intimidating. However, when I found myself having trouble beating the game the first time and struggled getting a 100% completion, I realized thta this was one whopper of a challenge! Bravo, Nintendo!

Graphics - 8 - ''Cute, but the quality is there.''

The graphics in this game were purposely created to look ''kiddy'' to the gaming fanatic. However, the colors are rich and varied, and the 3-d effects in some of the castles are appealing to the eye. The borders of some of the objects are choppy, and the quirky, sugar-coated sense of happiness is impossible to escape, but this game is meant to be a generally pressureless journey through the world of the Yoshis. And I find the fact that this game has bite without the bark quite amusing.

Sound - 9 - ''Energetic, well-composed themes that do not dilute the kinkiness!''

Personally, I adore the musical scores in this game, since they all fit well with their surroundings. The regular stage themes are all light-hearted and carefree, like many of the features that SMW2 offers; the castle theme is forbidding when compared to the other themes, since these stages always conclude with a boss battle. And the boss battle themes themselves are great! My personal favorite in this game is the mid-boss theme, since the theme reflects a sense of competition, making the battle seem more like a friendly duel than a struggle between life and death. However, the final boss battle theme is dramatic (or it at least tries to be), and though it is not perfect, it is surely good enough. And the score that plays whenever a stage is cleared is one of the best victory themes I have ever heard. The sound effects are strange, but are of a good quality and do not force the player to dim them. Overall, this game won't force the gamer to mute the speakers; in fact, the music may encourage him/her to turn the volume up.

Story - 9 - ''Ooooooooooooooh, something different!''

OK, I will come clean. I hate Yoshi, and I think that he is just some boring filler character that Nintendo decided to add because of marketing reasons. However, though I find that he dilutes the game as a whole as the main character, the story itself is very original, indeed. As Yoshi, you must safeguard young baby Mario and bring him to his kidnapped brother, Baby Luigi. All kinds of cool new characters are introduced, including Baby Bowser, Kamek the magickoopa, Raphael the raven, and most importantly, Tap-Tap the Red Nose! Mario games always have good storylines considering that they are platformers, and Nintendo finally decided to add in some originality.

Gameplay - 9.5 - ''I have yer eggs right here...''

This gameplay in the game is astoundingly great...where should I begin? First of all, you attack your enemies by shooting eggs, which is a fun system in itself. You make these eggs by eating enemies and laying them, enabling you to hold up to 6 at a time. With these eggs, you must learn to become a real sniper to beat many of the tougher bosses as well as complete the game 100%; this game becomes REALLY difficult. Unlike its predecessor, SMW2 does not give you many opportunities to gain extra men, which significantly ups the difficulty of this seemingly cartoonish game. Some of the bosses can give you real problems, even considering that the only way you lose a life is if you fail to recapture Baby Mario on Yoshi's back within a certain period of time. Even though this system seems lenient enough, one will still have a difficult time beating the game normally.

Now, in order to beat the game 100%, you must find the 5 secret flowers in each stage, the 20 hidden red coins in each stage (which are indistinguishable from normal gold coins), and you must survive the stage with a perfect 30 on your time each stage! And some of the secret stages are NOT easy...even for expert gamers. Though I hardly consider myself an expert, it took me many times to beat the hidden stage in level 1 normally...never mind getting a perfect 100% in it. In other words, this game is managable to those who just want to beat the game, yet extremely difficult for the experienced gamer who wants to completely clear SMW2.

To put it short, the difficulty of this game and the uniqueness of its system are both truly brilliant.

Control - 10 - ''No problems here''

You can shoot eggs (in 2 settings) and move freely without a hitch. Of course, one should expect this type of control from a Nintendo game, anyway.

Final Score - 9- ''It looks cute and cuddly, but then again...'' do lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). All types of gamers (except for beginners) will find a world of enjoyment in this game. If you can, buy Super Mario World 2 if you can find it used at a thrift store; you will not regret it. In fact, you may actually grow to like Yoshi...if you have never played another game with him in it, that is ;).

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/20/04

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