Mario vs. the Koopas is a fanmade game I've had downloaded for quiet some time now. It was just a matter of loosening my addiction to Super Mario War 1.8 beta to finally put more play time into the game.
You really don't play a Mario game for the story, you play it for the gameplay. Bowser and his minions have once again invaded the Mushroom Kingdom and kidnapped the princess. Same old song, but its always been a good enough reason to send Mario off on a fun-filled romp, and rest assured, Mario vs. the Koopas IS fun-filled.
Keeping with the tradition of Mario platformers, you run, jump, bust bricks, kick shells, the usual Mario stuff. The game does borrow elements from nearly every Mario platform game. Like Super Mario 64, Mario has a health meter, which you can replenish by collecting 100 stars or mushrooms. Powers ups like the fire flower are limited, so when you get them, make sure you off those koopas with the quickness. You can also carry certain enemies, aim them and fire them off in different directions.
The first thing you'll notice about Mario vs. the Koopas is that it looks beautiful. I love the graphics engine of Super Mario All-Stars but its been used to death in so many fan-made Mario games. Outside of a few slight alterations, the sprites in this game are custom made and they look spectacular. The backgrounds are equally impressive. This ranks up there with the upcoming Mushroom Kingdom Fusion as one of the best-looking Mario fangames.
Mario vs. the Koopas plays just as good as it looks. The levels are an absolute blast to go through. There are doom ship, pyramid, underground and grassy plains for you to run around in. Matching the visual and gameplay is an awesome musical score, consisting of MIDIs and MP3 music from games like Super Mario RPG, Super Mario Galaxy and some remixed tunes from Super Mario Kart. Kudos to Castor, the game's creator for including in a separate folder in the download for us to listen to whenever we want.
There are a few bugs like Goombas being able to walk through certain blocks and a odd glitch that will pause/unpause the game when you switch from full-screen to window view if you're not careful, but even that isn't really enough to ruin this game. The only real knock against Mario vs. the Koopas is that its too short. After 10 levels, the game is done and over. That said, this is one ride that is a lot of fun while it lasts. This game is definitely worth your time. Even with the short length, Mario vs. the Koopas is one of the best fangames I've ever played.