Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Separating the Game Boys from the Men: Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario 3

I was going to do up a review of Kirby's Dream Land 2 for my next Game Boy review but on the plane ride too and from Vegas I played the hell out of this this past weekend, so I thought I would take a look at it while it's fresh in my mind.

So for those of you who don't know the Super Mario Advance series were just remakes of old Super Mario games. They got remade in a really weird order, first Super Mario 2, then Mario World, then Yoshi's Island, then Mario 3. For the most part this version of Mario 3 is just the 16 bit version from Super Mario All Stars from the SNES.

What is there to say about Super Mario 3? I listed in on here before both as one of my favorite Mario games and one of my favorite games period, but having played the hell out of it here again recently I find myself amazed at just how many flaws this game has, and how good the game design is at making you overlook them. For one thing, the levels are insanely short. You should probably speed run though many of them in well under 10 seconds. Also so many of the awesome things you remember from this game were really barely in it. This game introduces so many cool things but never really gives you much time to enjoy them. Everyone talks about how awesome the frog suit is in the water world. But most the levels or water world you're still much better off with a fire flower. Everyone loves the boot in world 5, but that's strictly a one and done item. And the difficulty curve of this game is all over the place. I find world 6 to be the hardest and world 7 the second hardest. And the final fight with Bowser is painfully easy. And yet despite these flaws this game is still beloved, even by those like me who are well aware of the flaws? Is it just the nostalgia goggles? I don't think so. I think the game just does a great job of not letting you be mad at it. Sure the levels were short, but they were well designed and some were quite challenging. Sure the game doesn't make the best use of some of the power ups it was introducing, but you did barely notice because it was throwing so many at you.

As for this version of Mario 3, well the graphics are fantastic, sticking to the more 16 bit style than 8 bit. You can play a version of the original Mario Bros. game, and it has a save feature so it's a solid port. There are a few minor changes here and there, mostly to make the game easier, which I found a little annoying, but it's still a damn fine way to play this classic if you haven't before or just haven't in a while. So check it out.

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