torstai 12. elokuuta 2010

REVIEW - Super Mario World (1990)

Genre(s): Platform
Released: 1990
Available on: SNES, Virtual Console
Developer(s): Nintendo
Publisher(s): Nintendo, Mattel
Players: 1-2

When the arrival of the SNES was originally announced, there was no question in anyone's mind as to who would star in its launch title. Once again, North America and Europe had hardly gotten their hands on Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES, when Japan was already enjoying the new console and a new Mario game. All of the elements that made the NES games great were carried over to the new generation, and with all the additional ones, Nintendo had solid proof of the power behind the new console. Super Mario World is still considered to be one of the most die-hard video game classics of all time, and for good reason.


Princess Toadstool has gone missing. Mario and Luigi immediately catch on to Bowser's new plan and track him to Dinosaur Land, ready to take on whole new challenges. They won't have to travel alone, since a friendly dinosaur named Yoshi is in search of his family, also held captive by Bowser and his Koopalings.

Dinosaur Land holds many secrets...
In all of its simplicity, Super Mario World remained one of the most brilliant looking and graphically inventive games on the SNES to the sad end of the console's lifespan, in my humble opinion. It's very smooth and colourful all around, and the design is all-out excellent - exaggerated enemies (some are enhanced versions of classic Mario fiends), winged question blocks, the sequences with the inflated Mario, etc.. Some of the best Mario music is found right here, and just very few annoying jingles to oppose it. The game is always a treat to look at and listen to, after two decades. It's amazing.

The controls are incredibly smooth, like a hot knife on butter. Some of the new or enhanced features are hard to learn and take in, but once it's done, they come naturally. Controlling Mario is pretty much the same as in Super Mario Bros. 3 (apart from the new 16-bit control scheme), but he has a few new tricks. The Super Leaf is replaced with a feather that blesses Mario with a makeshift cape, which enables him to fly for a short while. Pressing the correct buttons at the right time while Mario's airborne sends Mario into a manouverable glide, which lasts as long as the player is able to keep up balance. This is a feat that takes a while to master. When he's Super Mario or something better, Mario is able to do a special jump which smashes through certain types of blocks, and is also the trigger to dismount Yoshi.

Introducing Yoshi, one of Nintendo's
most praised characters who would
soon become a bonafide video game
hero himself.
Oh yes, Yoshi - perhaps the most major addition to gameplay. Riding Yoshi prevents you from doing certain things and he can't be taken inside castles or haunted houses, but usually he's great to have along for the ride. Yoshi eats just about any little or medium-sized enemy just like that. He has a bottomless stomach. Eating Koopa Troopas of different colours enables Yoshi to use alternative attack methods, for example eating a red one (the most common one) enables him to breathe fire. Also, you can reach places you normally wouldn't by dismounting Yoshi in mid-air.

The inventory system from Super Mario Bros. 3 is, for some odd reason, removed, and replaced by a singular reserve slot which you can activate on your own or just clash along until you lose the power-up you have at the moment. The reserve will then activate immediately and offer you the power-up you had in stock there.

The world map looks awesome, and its design is awesome. The types and themes of the stages are clearly marked on the map. Yellow dots represent normal, straightforward stages, while the red dots mark spots with at least two different exits. A crater and a blue ring stand for underground and underwater stages, respectively. There are some special stages as well, including the obvious castles taken over by the Koopalings, and haunted houses, clarified and enhanced versions of the enemy forts in Super Mario Bros. 3.

The biggest thrill, or gimmick, of the game lies in the stages marked by the red dots and finding the different exits in each one. The secondary exits are often extremely well hidden, and/or in order for them to be found, you have to do something extra first, such as find a coloured stack called a Switch Palace and activate the main switch there to turn invisible blocks of its colour "on". Usually, these palaces are also well hidden. The secondary exits lead to hidden areas, most of which are notably harder than any of the main stages in the game, and add to the 100% completion, of course. One should most definitely put his/her heart into finding them all to get the most out of the game.

The castles have a great atmosphere, and
some great music to boot.
There aren't any stand-alone bonus rounds or minigames. Occasionally descending down a pipe (or going up one) brings you to a multi-storied room in which you have to guess the correct order of hitting question mark blocks to gain extra lives. In addition to coins, you also collect stars in the game. Stars are accumulated by cutting the rope in the end of each stage. The height of the rope at the cutting moment determines the amount of stars you get. When you've collected a hundred of them, you're taken to a bonus game in which you're given one of the following icons: a mushroom, the Fire Flower, or Starman. The idea is to line up as many identical icons as you can, vertically, horizontally and across. Each full row gains you an extra life. Also, if you hunger for extra lives, you should keep a lookout for five Yoshi coins in each stage. Finding them all in a stage grants a 1-Up.

Finally - the boss battles. You will be going one on one with the same Koopalings that pestered you in Super Mario Bros. 3 as well as a couple of different minibosses, including Big Boo and a quartet of triceratopses known as Raznor. The boss battles differ a lot from those in all the previous games; there are many unique ones. The later ones are more difficult versions of the early ones, with some tougher stipulations. These are fun battles which set standards for the franchise and the whole genre. Everything concerning gameplay in Super Mario World is pretty damn rad.

These rotating blocks will become a very
familiar sight as you progress.
By now, you must know the story of warp zones, and know it well. They're a tradition that Super Mario World certainly doesn't break, but the game does bring in completion percentage. The main game itself is not very difficult, not by the series' standards as the ability to save finally rears its head and not a moment too soon. But, if you're going for the hard stages, especially those beyond the already ridiculously difficult Star World, you're in for lots of tears. Those stages were made to be BAD! Going for 100% in the game isn't a completely hopeless endeavor, but it needs dedication.

It's amazing how this game still works in all of its simplicity. I - confession - still haven't done everything in the game. I probably won't rest in peace before fixing that error. This little platformer is incredibly captivating and I'd like to believe that being the game that I have played most on the SNES counting out all RPG's, it's one of the reasons I still play video games on a daily basis. The game made growing up that much easier.

Graphics : 9.2
Sound : 9.0
Playability : 9.3
Challenge : 9.0
Overall : 9.3


GameRankings: 96.70% (SNES)

Nintendo Power ranks Super Mario World #8 on their list of the Top 200 Nintendo Games of All Time.

Super Mario World is the best-selling SNES game of all time. It surpasses the runner-up Donkey Kong Country by approximately 12 million copies.

Super Mario World was re-released as part of the second version of Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES in 1994. It was also remade as the second Super Mario Advance title for the Game Boy Advance in 2002.

Like Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World also spawned its own animated TV series, as well as a series of comics drawn in anime style, originally published by Nintendo Power.

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