Developer: Nintendo EAD
Virtual Console Release: Nov 5, 2007 USA / Nov 9, 2007 EUR / Nov 9, 2007 AUS / Dec, 11 2007 JPN / May 26, 2008 S. Korea
Original Release: Feb 9, 1990 USA / Aug 29, 1991 EUR / Oct 23, 1988 JPN
Cost: 500 points
Controllers Supported: GameCube, Wii Remote, Classic
Rated: E for Everyone
In October of 1988, Super Mario Bros. 3 was released for the Famicom in Japan. One of the most highly anticipated sequels and arguably the plumber's best 2D outing, gamers outside of Japan had some time to wait before the game graced their shores. The game didn't arrive in North America until 1990 and the United Kingdom wouldn't receive it until 1991. As the saying goes, good things are worth waiting for. Super Mario Bros. 3 was everything we'd wanted from a Mario game and so much more.
No one really plays a Mario game for the plot elements but if you're interested, Mario and Luigi are out to save the seven lands of the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser's seven Koopalings. Each world has been invaded by one of Bowser's brats and they've got mooks strutting all over like they own the place. To further complicate things, the Koopalings have taken the Magic Wand of each king's world and transformed him into a member of the animal kingdom. Once again, Mario and Luigi are called into action because the kingdom has no known knights and the Toads are more or less worthless at their job descriptions. Surprised that the Princess Peach hasn't been kidnapped in this game? Spoiler: Bowser does his usual abducting while you're running around in World 7.
|Real men fly with raccoon tails.|
Super Mario Bros. 3 plays a lot like the original Super Mario Bros. Gone are the vegetables from Super Mario Bros. 2 along with the option of playing as Peach and Toad. You can only play as Mario and Luigi, with Luigi being regulated to player 2 status. Luigi is also back to being a palette swap of Mario and for better or worse, this is the only difference between the two as they play exactly the same. It is nice that the alternating aspects of Super Mario Bros. 3 aren't the same as Super Mario Bros. Once Mario finishes a level, it's Luigi's turn. No more waiting until the other player dies to have a go. Matching the play style of the first Super Mario Bros., you can stomp on your enemies, collect coins for extra lives and there are a smorgasbord of power-ups for you to play with, the most out of any game in the Super Mario series.
|We wouldn't be having this conversation if|
you didn't suck as a guard, Toad.
There are far more themed worlds in this game than there were in Super Mario Bros. 2. The first world, Grass Land is your basic green covered world, allowing you to take it easy since there's no major obstacles to overcome here. World 2, Desert Land is home to quicksand, pyramids and one mean looking sun. Hope you enjoy water levels because World 3, Water Land is filled with obligatory water stages. Giant Land, World 4, a fan favorite has giant sized mooks that drop just as easily as the regular sized flunkies. Once you enter World 6, be prepared for less traction because ice stages abound. Dark Land, the eight and final world has more cannon balls, lava and flying ships than anything you've seen in any of the previous worlds. Each world is represented on a map screen and as you progress they get more and more expansive. By comparison, Grass Land is a single screen where as Pipe Land's world map spans several screens.
|It isn't a Super Mario Bros. game without|
a fortress and this game is loaded with them.
The levels are actually quite short, the shortest of any Super Mario game and can be zipped through rather quickly. But the kicker to these brief stages is that there are no check points. None. So if you mess up, be it on a castle, an airship, or the final showdown with Bowser, you have to do the whole level over again. Seems kinda harsh even by NES standards so you'll want to collect as many lives as you can and stay at the top of your game. The short length of the stages does not detract from the game in the slightest, however. Make no mistake, Super Mario Bros. 3 has some of the most engaging, superbly designed and overall enjoyable levels in a Mario game. And with eight worlds to conquer, you're in for one long Mario adventure.
|Most of the world maps have branching|
paths, allowing you to skip some levels.
Along with other new features, Super Mario Bros. 3 introduces auto scrolling levels. In these stages the screen is constantly moving so you'll have to watch your position to avoid getting caught on a solid object and being squished. This also means you've got a limited amount of time to grab coins, power-ups and 1-ups. Auto scrolling stages can be found in each of the game's worlds and are most prominent aboard airships. The final level in each world (save for world 8, which is one huge castle) is an flying auto scrolling airship. Remember the Bullet Bills from Super Mario Bros.? Airships are armed with these foes and then some. There's wall-to-wall Bullet Bill and canon fire on just about every airship you encounter. If you thought World 8 from Super Mario Bros. had a lot of Bullet Bills, you haven't seen anything. In fact, a single airship stage shoots more Bullet Bill and cannon opposition than all the levels that housed Bullet Bills from Super Mario Bros. combined. If the Koopalings don't kill you, the onslaught of ammunition that their airships are packing will. But for as much as these stages make you sweat, they are among the most satisfying levels to complete in the game.
|Swimming. Like a boss.|
|Be it Toad Houses, Peach or stomping Hammer|
Bros., there are plenty of chances to get power-ups.
Bear in mind that Super Mario Bros. 3 was originally released in 1988. Even today, it still looks good, with easily recognizable character and enemy sprites. The music as also aged just as well. There are some drums used from Super Mario Bros. 2 that give the music more depth. The Airship theme in particular, even on the NES' archaic hardware sounds menacing with many players preferring this to the updated Super Mario All-Stars version. Bowser's battle theme has some of the best use of bongo drums in any video game. That tune was so good that it was arranged in Super Mario RPG. Athletic (you first hear this song on 1-2) has got to be one of the happiest songs ever, in video games and in general. And who would have thought that speeding up the Underground theme from Super Mario Bros. and adding a drum beat to it would enhance it so much?
|With the Hammer Suit, you're more of|
a god than a plumber.