Platform: GameBoy Advance
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Released: Q4 2003
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Super Mario Advance 4:
Super Mario Brothers 3
Score: 9.5 / 10
- Platforming madness from the past
- Still kicks ass
- Updated everything
- Tons of extras
"...it falls to Mario to set things right – ostensibly by jumping.
Super Mario Brothers 3 (SMB3) was a game I anticipated like no other game before or since. Featured in The Wizard (with a young Fred Savage), SMB3 got my gaming lust pumping. Upon booting up – take a deep breath! – Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Brothers 3 some of that old gaming lust started pumping again. If you played the original SMB3 not much has changed aside from updates to the presentation – it’s still one of the best games of all time.
You play as Mario (or Luigi in two-player mode) attempting to set things right after Bowser and his offspring wreak some havoc across seven kingdoms. They’ve changed the king of each kingdom into an animal and it falls to Mario to set things right – ostensibly by jumping. A lot. Then, in a plot-twist that you would never expect, things get personal when Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach! In short, it’s classic Mario.
But if you never played SMB3 when it was first released this will all be new. What you’ll find is a particularly engrossing game, packed with power-ups, a few mini-games, and some truly devious levels. The variety is huge! Levels move left, right, up, and down – and on occasion you’ll go behind the scenery to discover hidden secrets. Some levels are straightforward affairs – avoid the koopas, collect some coins, etc. – but others are so complex you can’t fully explore them unless you have the right power-up for the level.
Mario can be equipped with a variety of power-ups. The standard growth mushroom and fire flower are present but you also have access to a raccoon suit, a teddy bear suit, a frog suit – an actual frog suit – and, maybe the coolest one, a hammer brothers suit, which allows you to fling hammers and cover yourself in a hard shell. You can also commandeer a big wind-up boot to leap around in. Each of the power-ups has a its own use, but the raccoon and teddy bear suits have a neat feature that can only be exploited if you can build up some speed. Acquire take-off speed and you can take to the air in a burst of flight to reach previously unreachable areas.
For the most part, levels are approached in a linear fashion although you do have some leeway in choosing which stages of every level you want to tackle thanks to the overhead map. Not every stage has to be completed to progress, but sometimes it’s the only way to get the coolest stuff.
Scattered around each overhead map are mushroom houses, which contain power-ups that can be stored until you need them. There are also hammer brothers to take out, extra men bonus games, and a memory game that pops up on occasion.
The usual Mario environments are present and accounted for: ice, fire, water, desert and dungeon. SMB3 throws a few curve balls in the form of floating battleships, which can have you tearing out your hair if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. And some of the castles are can be mind-boggling, with lots trial and error and you try to sort out what to do. (Even those that completely mastered SMB3 when it was originally released will find some challenge.)
As solid as the single-player experience is, Nintendo packed SMB3 with all sorts of extras, including e-reader bonuses and multiplayer gaming with the original Mario Brothers.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Brothers 3 is a complete package and worthy of a purchase.
(November 30, 2003)
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