The first differences that players of the original will like to note is that the dinosaur coins (they are long oblong coins) now appear in multiples of five on every level, so you must find them ALL to complete the game properly, and then you get to hunt for a new type of coin (the princess coin) on each level, extending the game massively (effectively you will need to play through each level at least five times to find all its secrets and subtleties). The second change is that you can no longer cheat by repeatedly playing completed levels or by constantly jumping on wrigglers (large worm type organisms that yielded a life when they were destroyed) in order to obtain unlimited lives. This is a great feature as it now solves the ONLY problem that ever lay within the game. Another small addition that increases the accessibility of the game is the inclusion of a progress report that tells you if you have uncovered all of the secrets on a given level, as well as your points and playing time. This really helps rest your mind, knowing that you have uncovered all of the secrets on a given level (but it also will contribute to insanity when you are informed of a secret level that you cannot find) and the entire dinosaur coins. The last real addition to the game is the ability to play each level as either Mario or Luigi. The only difference is that Luigi has a higher and slower jump (allowing him to reach higher areas more easily), but this does alter the gameplay quite a bit as you have to alter your entire jumping/killing technique. This also means that you must complete every level with both characters to prove that you have truly completed the game (the character that you have used to complete a given level is recorded in the progress report, so there is no way of ‘cheating’ to your friends by telling them that you have completed a level with both brothers).
Apart from these additions, the game’s mechanics remain the same (the graphics do look a little crisper) allowing all of the classic moves and moments to be relived. The level design is still to be matched to this day, each level has so many little intricacies and hidden features (some levels are actually hidden, so to complete all 96 levels will take some time just to find, never mind complete in total) that it makes you wonder exactly how this game was cast aside between the day you last played the SNES version and the time when you played this. Each of the levels is varied and each of the worlds has its own distinct feel and atmosphere (it makes you gnash your teeth each time you have a boss castle as you know that they are so darn tricky!), allowing a great diversity in gameplay. As it has been mentioned previously, to complete the game will require many plays through each level, as each one will need to be completed in four ways: with Mario, with Luigi, with all five dinosaur coins collected and finally with the princess coin collected. As well as this, you will also have to travel back to levels once you have reached certain switch palaces, so that you can access areas the are now accessible (the switch palaces will cause blocks to appear that can be jumped on to reach higher areas). Once you have done this, I do not know what happens, as I have not spoken to anyone who has done so! This game is just too good to put into words, and will certainly resolve all of those conflicting thoughts in your mind as to which game can be crowned the ‘best of all time’. Some may criticise the multiplayer mode as it is the same as the original Mario Advance’s, but the game is not really meant to be a multiplayer game (who on Earth would buy it for the multiplayer when the single player is so good?). The best multiplayer mode on this game can be made yourself, with two GBAs and two copies of the game. Simply select a level that you both have access to and start it at the same time, and then it’s a race, that’s it! This is very simple, but this is the only way that Super Mario World was meant to be played.
Quite simply, if you give this game your time, it will take it, multiply it by three or four times, take this extra time and then will demand to be played again so that you can beat your score. This is not a game, it is a legend, and will probably never be beaten as the greatest game (with these new additions, those of you that were on edge between this and Mario 64 should now have an easier decision), unless Nintendo decide to release a new Super Mario Land that is in two dimensions (on any console, as the power does not really matter, it is all about the gelling of the mechanics, level design, character traits and of genuine Nintendo genius). If you are ever asked about who Shiguru Miyamoto is, simply close your mouth and give them the gameboy with this game playing, tell them to complete the level and then tell them that they have just visited his home.
Graphics (9.5): Difficult to see how you could improve on the graphics. It looks pretty much like a cartoon and the detail on the characters is superb (each has a unique appetence). Some say that Sonic is prettier, but they are different styles, neither can be faulted.
Sound (9.5): All of the classic tunes are there in their original form. If you use earphones you will hear impressive stereo on certain levels (mainly the castle soundtracks). New voices are also notable and give Mario a greater personality. You can be assured that you will be humming all the tunes when you are not playing the game.
Gameplay (10.0): Superb, if I could put it into words I would, but it is not possible. A great learning curve (the earlier levels even have ‘speaker blocks’ that tell you what certain things do) also allows the game to grow on even the most casual gamer. I cannot think of anyone who would not enjoy this game.
Value (10.0): An infinite lifespan is a term that is not really associated with games, but it must be used here. There is so much to keep you coming back and then there is the appeal of simply playing the levels again to beat your point’s score. If you exchange or sell this game, please seek help from a qualified medical professional, as there must be something seriously wrong with you.
Overall (9.9): Please note that this would have been a ten, but a ten out of ten is impossible in the opinion of this reviewer (as it suggests a PERFECT game) as you may find a small fault that you do not like (making my 10.0 seem unrealistic). This is as close to perfection as a game will ever get.
Just a closing thought: If it took God seven days to create the world, how long did it take the gaming god (Miyamoto) to create Mario world? (I know you may be able to put a figure on the time taken to develop the game, but how long must all of the concepts and ideas took to surface?)
- Chris "Talkshow Host" Barnett