the first Super Mario Land game Mario returns to his castle to chill out. I don't know when or how Mario ever got his own castle, but I would assume Peach gave it to him, it pays to be laying the old pipe with a Princess I guess. Anyways he gets back to his crib to find an old rival Warrio has taken it over. Warrio is a bigger, fatter, evil version of Mario, although I get the feeling from the games instruction manual and old tie in comics from Nintendo Power that maybe Mario was a bully to him growing up and Warrio is really just trying to take his rightful pound of flesh. Anyways Mario must battle through 6 different themed zones to get six different gold coins to open the door to his castle to he can go in and take it back from Warrio.
Like the first Super Mario Land Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto wasn't involved in this game and just like the first one it's actually kinda better for it. Like the previous game this one has very unique and interesting enemies and some slightly different game play dynamics than NES and SNES Mario games. With your power ups you get the standard flower that lets you shoot fireballs (not the "superballs" from the last game) and a carrot that gives you bunny ears you can flap like wings to glide like the raccoon tail in Super Mario Bros. 3. Also different is the game keeps a counter of how many enemies you killed and every time you get 100 you get an invincibility star. Graphically the game does its best to emulate the style of Super Mario World with similar sprites and overworld design, and even brings in the spinning jump from that game. As for enemies you get your standard goombas and kooper troopers, but also all sorts of oddball baddies, sharks wearing boxing gloves, giant ants, cow/fish hybrids, witches, vampires, aliens, even ghost goombas in the Halloween themed Pumpkin Zone. The game is pretty easy until you get to the castle at which point there is a pretty drastic difficulty spike. Still not super hard but definitely a sudden change. Once you work your way through the castle you fight Warrio in three forms, regular Warrio, bunny ears Warrio, and fireballs Warrio. Defeat him and the castle is once again yours.
I absolutely love this game, I listed it before on my top ten Mario games list. The clever and unique enemy design is memorable as hell and it's a shame most of these enemies never popped up in future Mario games. And the level design was great too, I especially loved the space levels, even if the low gravity jumping on the moon can be frustrating before you get used to it. And of course this game introduced Mario's lovable evil doppelganger Warrio, so what's not to love there. This is probably one of the best games the Game Boy ever had, so if you never played it, do yourself a favor and get yours hands on a copy, even if it's just on virtual console or something.