Review by eolsen

"A gem, but not the best Mario game"

Just like Super Mario Bros. 2 was the oddball of the Nintendo Mario series, so was Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, or just Yoshi's Island for short. This game is nothing like the other Mario adventures but is still nothing short of miraculous.

The first thing that is different about this game is that the storyline is much different. Can you believe it??? Princess Toadstool isn't the one to get kidnapped in this game. This game kind of takes you back to the roots of Mario and Luigi's life, so here it goes. Mario and Luigi are babies in this game who were just about to be delivered by a stork to their proud new parents when suddenly something goes seriously wrong. Luigi is kidnapped! What a surprise, eh? In shock the stork drops poor baby Mario and Luigi is taken away. Mario is found by a small group of colored Yoshis who take care of him. They find that Mario has a certain connection with Luigi and can tell where he is. They find out that he had been kidnapped by the evil Bowser and you need to save him. That is quite a change since the previous Mario games.

Since Mario is young, for most of the game you will be controlling Yoshi. Luckily, you won't have to go through the game with the primitive Yoshi. In this game, Yoshi has quite a few new skills that can come in handy. For example he can stomp the ground, turn enemies into eggs and throw them, and he can still lick up his opponents like he was a frog. He can also hover in the air by flapping his arms.

There are a few kinds of eggs. The basic eggs are regular sized and they're green with a few white spots on them. Yoshi can use these to throw at his enemies or at an item that is out of reach that he wants to collect. There are other kinds of eggs such as huge versions of the basic eggs that create an earthquake when you throw them and others such as yellow or red eggs that will give you coins or stars when you use them against an enemy.

Another new feature in this game that will add a tremendous amount of replay value is that at the end of each level, you are given a score. This score is determined by how many of a selected item that you collect. Besides just venturing to the end of a level, you need to collect as many stars, flowers, and red coins as you can. You don't have to do this and can beat the game just by going through and beating everything, but if you get one hundred percent on every level, you get a little something special.

The first item is stars. You can collect up to thirty stars and they play a tremendous role in this game. The whole time throughout the game, Mario is on your back. When you get hit by an enemy or land on something harmful, Mario will fall off you back, enclosed in a bubble and starts to cry. There will be a number in the top left of the screen. This is how much time you have to get Mario back on you or you loose a life. The higher it is the better, and the more stars you collect, the higher it goes.

The next item is red coins. Just like in most other Mario games, once you collect 100 coins, you get a one-up. That is the same in this game. Hidden beneath the regular gold coins are twenty red coins in each level, which count as two regular coins in your coin count. Finally, there is five flowers hidden in each level. They have white petals and a smiley face in the middle. They are worth ten points each.

In the middle of each level there is always a half way marker. They are basically just rings of white stars. If you go through them you will start there if you die. When you pass through a half way marker, you will get ten extra seconds added on to your Mario counter (the thing that tells you how long you have to get Mario back). At the end of each level, there is a ring you must jump through. This will end the level. Upon jumping through, a selecting spot will start spinning. If it lands on a blank spot, you will go to the next level, however, if it lands on a flower, you will play a mini-game to try and get some extra lives. How many flowers are in the ring depends on how many flowers you obtained in that level. If you collected one, there will be one flower in the ring.

The bonus levels are usually fun. In each one, you can earn items such as extra lives, +20 stars, watermelons for spitting seeds, fire, or ice, magnifying glasses that will show you which coins are red for a level, and many others. But to get these items, you got to win them. There are straightforward bonus levels such as slot machines, ones where you just flip over cards and get what's on that card, and more. There are other bonus levels in which you will be competing against a computer-controlled player and have to do things such as have a watermelon seed-spitting fight, collect more coins than your opponent, and many others that I'll let you discover for yourself.

The last major thing in this game is the transformations. In some levels you will find an icon or something that will turn you into a special form. You can turn into many different things and each of them has their own special abilities. Even baby Mario can turn into Super baby Mario, which allows him to climb on walls.

For a 16-bit game the graphics are great. The only flaw in the graphics is that I thought the colors in some levels were a little plain. I thought they weren't colored well and weren't radiant like other games. It was animated very well and probably the best part was the backgrounds.

The sound effects can get very annoying after a while, particularly baby Mario crying. The music on the other hand is very good. There are lost of good tunes in there and in my opinion it is probably the best music for a Mario game.

Replay Value
With the added feature of a score at the end of every level, this games replay value went through the roof. Trying to get 100% on every level will not only drive you mad but also keep you busy for a long time. And even after that, I still play this game a lot.

This game is definitely a gem, but I seem to like the earlier Mario adventures better.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/26/06

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