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Monday, January 23, 2012

Virtual Console Review: Super Mario World

System: SNES
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Virtual Console Release: USA Feb 5, 2007 / EUR Feb 9, 2007 / AUS Feb 9, 2007 / JPN Dec 2, 2006
Original Release: USA Aug 13, 1991 / EUR Apr 11, 1992 / AUS Jul 1, 1992
Cost: 800 points
Players: 1-2
Rated: E for Everyone
Controllers Supported: Classic, GameCube

It's not easy to top yourself. The original Super Mario Bros. was a smash hit. Super Mario Bros. 2, while different from the first game, still managed to sell millions of copies. The third entry in the Super Mario series, Super Mario Bros. 3 is easily seen as Mario at his platforming peak on the NES. So how does one surpass that? Simple. Take everything that gamers know and love from Mario's past exploits, make it bigger, give the visuals a 16-bit face-lift, add in a dinosaur pal, tons of secrets, name it Super Mario World and call it a day. Sure, it's debatable whether Super Mario World trumps Super Mario Bros. 3 as the finest 2D Mario, but one cannot deny that Super Mario World is an outstanding game.

After saving the Mushroom Kingdom (again), Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach decide to take a vacation to Dinosaur Land. Shortly after arriving, the princess goes missing and since it's a ridiculously short list of names of people that would want to kidnap her, the game doesn't even hide the fact that Bowser's doing the same old same old. (Interestingly, Super Mario World would also foreshadow that taking vacations in the Marioverse is always a bad idea as more crap hit the fan when they tried to take time off again in Super Mario Sunshine.) But, Bowser wasn't just satisfied with abducting the princess. He's also imprisoned Yoshi's friends. Mario and Luigi, being the nice guys that they are, agree to help Yoshi rescued his friends since it coincides with saving Peach.

Super Mario World is a grand experience. Run, jump, grab coins, power-ups, stomp enemies, and make it to the exit. You know, pretty much the stuff that makes up a lot of 2D platformers. However, like the two dimensional Marios before it, Super Mario World outclasses so many games in the genre that came out at the time (and even many today) in one key area: execution. Super Mario World is bursting at the seems with fantastic level designs. Twenty years after it's release, the worlds in this game are an absolute blast to romp through. Controls are tighter than they've ever been and the challenge is just right, starting out easy early on and getting tougher as you progress. It's not hard to see why Super Mario World is the perfect 2D Mario experience for many gamers.

Secrets abound in Super Mario World.
Introduced in Super Mario World is the spin jump. Where as using a regular jump on a Koopa Troopa will cause them to come out of their shell, a spin jump will dispose of them all together. This changes things up significantly as you may need your regular jump to get a boost off an enemies head if you don't have Yoshi or the Cape Feather (more on them in a bit). The spin jump can also be used to jump off Spiny's (and number of other foes) without being harmed, so you need not fear death if you happen to be small. All breakable blocks in Super Mario World are yellow and unlike the past entries in the series, they can only be broken with a spin jump and only Super Mario/Luigi can break blocks. You can, however, still pass through them if bumped from underneath while they flip.

Joining you on your quest is the aforementioned Yoshi, your dino companion. Found in question mark blocks, Yoshi can be brought along to just about any stage (except Fortress and Ghost Houses, more on those later) and will eat almost anything, no matter how big or small and Yoshi is not picky about his meals. Goombas? Tasty. Koopa Troopas? That's good eatin'. Mega Moles, the bigger brothers to Monty Moles? Delicious! Having Yoshi along can make things easier but he's not really game breaking like the Cape Feather (more on that in a bit). Depending on the Koopa shells Yoshi eats, he'll take on different abilities. Red shells enable Yoshi to spit fire, blue shells the ability to fly, and yellow shells emit a powerful stomp when Yoshi lands from a jump, taking out any nearby enemies. There are also different colored Yoshi's in addition to the standard green. You've got blue Yoshi, yellow Yoshi and red Yoshi, all the same colors of the Koopa Troopa shells. These different colored Yoshis have an advantage over the common green Yoshi in that whatever shell they eat, they'll always get a power. For instance, blue Yoshi can fly even if the shell he eats is green. Any shell red Yoshi eats let's him shoot fire and so on.

From World 2 and on, expect to see these jerks.
Compared to Super Mario Bros. 3, the list of power-ups in Super Mario World is rather slim. In fact, there's only one new power-up to speak of and three returning power-ups. Returning power-ups include the Super Mushroom, Starman and Fire Flower, which all work the same way they did before, but thankfully the Starman lasts much longer than Super Mario Bros. 3's painfully short limit. The only new power to speak of is the Cape Feather. The Cape Feather grants Mario and Luigi the ability to fly and do so much more. Similar to being able to tail whip foes with the Super Leaf in Super Mario Bros. 3, you can attack enemies on the ground and spin continuously. While flying you can also glide in the air if you use the up and down motions on the control pad correctly. Not only that, you can slam down onto the ground, killing any enemies on the screen. If that wasn't enough, if you're really good with the Cape Feather you can skip lots of levels entirely due to flight/gliding. Is it any wonder this item hasn't shown up again in a Mario game or that flight-based powers were toned down ever since? The thing's just so freaking broken! The big inventory space for items in Super Mario Bros. 3 sure was nice. Kiss it goodbye because you can only hold one item in Super Mario World. At least you can access it while you're in a level. Just hit minus on the control pad and you can switch between a Fire Flower or Cape Feather. Taking a hit from an enemy makes the item come down automatically.

As if stomping and kicking them weren't enough, Mario
can now punch Koopa Troopas when he's on a fence.

With seven worlds to pass through, one world less than that of Super Mario Bros. 3, you might think Super Mario World isn't as big as it's predecessor, but you'd be wrong. The last word in the game's title is "World" and Super Mario World make you feel like you're traveling one huge globe. The bulk of the levels in Super Mario World are much longer than the last game and many have multiple exits. Each world takes places on an over world map. The starting area, Yoshi's Island is rather simple, with levels all containing a single exit. Once you reach World 2, Donut Plains, multiple level exits are introduced along with a plethora of other stuff. If Boos were a headache to you in Super Mario Bros. 3, you may not be too fond of Ghost Houses, basically acting as mazes with a ton of Boos and other super natural foes that can't be killed. Like all the previous Mario games, if you know the secret paths, you can breeze through Super Mario World in a matter of minutes, but as the old saying goes, getting there is half the fun. So unless you're going for a speed run or want to deny yourself one of the best Mario games to the fullest, you really shouldn't skip worlds.

You're pretty much screwed if these giant spikes
crush you, even with a power-up.

Secret exits aren't the only things to uncover in Super Mario World. There's actually an entire hidden world known as the Special World that's designed for super players. Consisting of eight stages, the Special World is home to the most brutally challenging levels with no check points. These stages are completely optional but if you want to hit all 96 level exits and get 100% completion, then you better get ready for some frustration. The levels here aren't quite as maddening as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, but if you're the type that breaks controllers, you may want to steer clear.

Being a first generation SNES game as well as a launch title, Super Mario World represented a considerable step up from the previous Mario titles, but even so, this game was quickly outclassed in the audio and visual department by later releases. That being said, Super Mario World isn't a bad looking game and the soundtrack, while mostly just a variation of a single theme is quite good. Themes that really stand out are the Fortress, Vanilla Dome (World 3), Forest of Illusion (World 4), Bowser, and End Credits. A really nice touch is the addition to bongo drums to the music when you're riding Yoshi.

Gnarly, Tubular, Way Cool, Awesome, Groovy,  Mondo,
Outrageous, and Funky. Old school slang and a mountain of
agony for anyone that's attempted these special stages.

As previously stated, Super Mario World is the greatest Mario game for a lot of players. It's lengthy, packed with secrets, stellar level designs and is so much fun to play. In short, it represents Mario's platforming at it's finest. It's emulated extremely well on the Virtual Console and plays great with a Classic Controller. There really isn't any reason why you shouldn't download this game if you have a Wii. Your Virtual Console library is empty without Super Mario World.


Alisha chuhan said...

I like this game.I have played thisgame so many time sportsgame

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