Sunday, November 7, 2010

"The Quest for the Elusive 96*"

Today's review is on a classic, a game I'm sure most of you have at least seen, if not played for hours and hours on end: Super Mario World.

Super Mario World is a game developed and published by Nintendo, originally released in Japan in 1990 and North America in 1991 as a bundled-in game with the then-new Super Nintendo. This game was a huge reason the SNES sold as well as it did. It was both a critical and commercial success. I've yet to meet someone who hasn't enjoyed this game. Let's jump in and see why it's such a great game.

Story: 8/10

The story is pretty standard Mario fare, although it does diverge ever-so-slightly from the games that came before it. After saving the Mushroom Kingdom yet again, Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach take a vacation to a place called Dinosaur Land. Sure enough, though, while resting on the beach, Peach goes missing.

Mario and Luigi search for hours to find her. Eventually, in the forest, they come upon a huge egg. It hatches, and out pops a dinosaur named Yoshi. Yoshi tells them that him and his dinosaur friends have been imprisoned in eggs by a group of evil turtles.

Evil turtles? It must be Bowser and his Koopalings! If they're in Dinosaur Land, you can bet it was them who kidnapped Peach, too. Mario and Luigi set out to rescue all of Yoshi's friends as well as Peach, trekking across the entirety of Dinosaur Land in the process.

Granted, the story still relies on a missing princess, but I give them a lot of credit for making the game take place in a different land and also introducing the character Yoshi for the first time in the Mario series.

Graphics: 9/10

This was one of the earliest SNES games, but it really does look great. It's bright and colorful, and a HUGE step forward from the NES. Animations are fluid and smooth and the characters' sprites really stand out. There's only one or two spots in the whole game where you'll really notice any slowdown in the animations, and it's usually when there's a TON of enemies on screen at once (the level with the football players underwater instantly jumps to mind).

Gameplay: 10/10

Super Mario World, on the surface, plays very similarly to Super Mario Bros. 3. You control Mario (or Luigi, if you're second player in a multiplayer game). You run through levels, platforming and collecting coins and power-ups, trying to reach the end before the time runs out. As you finish areas, instead of switching worlds like you would in Super Mario 3, you move on to the next area of Dinosaur Land. All of the areas are connected to each other, making for more logical area transitions.

The overworld map.

For ends of levels, instead of the card collecting system from Super Mario Bros. 3, there's now two posts with a bar in between that rises and lowers. If you hit the bar, you get a set number of points - the higher the bar is, the more points you get. Each time you get 100, you play a bonus game to get extra lives.

At the end of each area, there are castles where Bowser's underlings reside. Castle levels are usually a little bit harder than normal levels (but not by a ton). The first 6 are on the overworld map, while the 7th is in Bowser's area underground, and the 8th is Bowser's humongous castle.

The Koopa family. These guys are none too happy to see you.
There are also 'keys' in this game. Level icons show up either as red or yellow circles on the world map.

No yellow ones in this image,  but you get the idea.
The yellow ones are just normal levels, but red levels have a hidden key somewhere in them. Finding the key and taking it to the keyhole will, instead of taking you out the normal exit, will create a path on the overworld map to a new level.

Mario's mechanics have also been tweaked a bit. His physics are more or less the same, but now he has an added jump, the spin jump. This can break certain blocks below him, as well as deal more damage to enemies than a normal jump. The Super Mushroom and Fire Flower power-ups return in this title, but instead of the suits of Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario now has the Cape Feather. This lets him spin it to attack enemies, and, if he's running fast enough, it will let him fly.

The Cape Feather was a bit broken, though, if you knew how to use it right. See, when you were flying, you could tap the D-pad backwards to get a little bit of a lift. If you knew how to time it right, you could do this repeatedly and literally fly over an entire level. It's a great way to speed through the game, but also SUPER cheap.

The last big thing is the addition of Yoshi. As you play through the game, you'll find big Yoshi eggs. Yoshi will hatch as a baby, and you can pick him up and run him into enemies, making him eat them. After 5 or 6, he'll grow up into full-size Yoshi, letting you ride him. There are several different colors of Yoshi, each with a different effect. When Red Yoshi pulls a koopa into his mouth, he'll spit it out as fireballs. When Yellow Yoshi pulls a koopa in, he'll stomp the ground hard, upturning most small enemies. Blue Yoshi will grow wings when he sucks up a koopa shell, allowing him to fly until he swallows it.

Baby Yoshi's so damned CUUUUTE!
Sound: 10/10

For me, this game unquestionably gets a 10/10. There are games with better music for the SNES, but this one holds a special place in my heart just because of how many times I've beaten it and how long I've been playing it. All of the songs are forever burned into my mind as well as my heart. As per usual, rather than blabbering on about how awesome the music is, I'll just post a few songs.

Here's the main overworld theme. I LOVE that steel pan melody.

This one's the castle theme...spooooooky...

The underwater theme. It's so very relaxing.

Replay Value: 10/10

Super Mario World has a tremendous amount of replay value for the completionists out there. When you go to pick your save file in the beginning, it displays a little number next to it. That's how many levels you've completed. Does yours say "96*"? No? Then you haven't fully beaten Super Mario World!

Along with getting all of the levels, you get the awesomeness (and sometimes, extreme frustration!) of playing through the Star Road as well as the special levels.

Pictured: Star Road.

Pictured: The most fun as well as hardest levels in Super Mario World.
These levels can be either a total blast or an occasion to have an aneurysm (I'm looking at you, Tubular).


To anyone who has ever played this game (which I'd hope is most of you), reading this review is unnecessary. You already know what a great, classic game it is. To those of you who haven't played this game, go play it IMMEDIATELY. Get a SNES and that copy, buy the Wii Virtual Console version, get the GBA remake, do whatever you have to to get your hot little hands on this game.


  1. oi oi again a huge amount of text.
    but i never played the game, dont hit me now :D

  2. did you ever play Mario RPG that was a fun game.

  3. What the hell? That picture you posted of baby Yoshi looks like a fat, high Yoshi. Just look at his eyes.

    Also, I suck horribly at Mario games. At least the side-scrollers. I wish I had a SNES as a kid.

  4. *sniff* it's so beautiful..........

  5. I played that game for 100's of hours in elementary and 100's of hours more after. I just can't get sick of it. I love blue yoshi, although he kinda looks like a dead baby when he is in small form.

    The music is great. Another SNES game with a great soundtrack is Donkey Kong Country.

  6. interesting..I want a new post..:)

  7. Even though I didn't have an SNES growing up, many of my friends did. I'd often be the one to beat the games for them too! I was the one who unlocked the final star level for them without knowing what I was doing.

    Definitely one of the best music soundtracks of mario games. If you ever go to OC, check out "Monstrous Turtles." An epic piece of work right there! I even play a stepfile of it on In The groove machines (a more customizable DDR game for the arcade).

  8. I think I just nostalgia'd all over the place.

    And now I have to clean up

    This review brought back so many memories from my childhood. Like sitting on a bean bag chair, playing super nintendo and drinking Tang and listening to any Cassette tapes my mother and father had (50s music to 80s)...and playing more and more video games. That is really all I did from age 3 - 7. lol

  9. I have the original game for the SNES. It's an amazing game! Mario RPG is my favorite Mario game though for SNES :D

  10. Wonderful post man. I was worried you might not be posting anymore, but you came back with a fury!

    I loved this game, though I no longer play it. I give it a 10/10 as well, and those music tracks almost brought tears to my eyes.

  11. Good post! Looking forward to reading you next one

  12. Classic game I wish I had it.

  13. this is one epic game, ranks right there with link into the past. great review!

  14. tried that out, awesome game!
    how is your studying?

  15. Of every virtue gives renown to men! Following!

  16. As I am son and servant to your will. Supporting!