Platform: Gameboy Advance
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Released: Q2 2001
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Super Mario Advance
Score: 8.9 / 10
- Blast from the past
- Multiplayer is a good addition
- No slow-down
- A few new challenges
- Original Mario Brothers game included
- Better gambling!
- Save game option
- If you mastered Super Mario 2 for the NES, youíll quickly blast through this
- The ending still feels like a rip-off!
- Youíll have to buy a peripheral for the multiplayer aspects
- The cartridge is so damn small it may go missing
"Seasoned gamers might look at it and pass it over since theyíve already lived through the experience but newcomers and Mario fans canít do wrong by getting Mario Advance."
Thereís a crowd of players out there unfamiliar with the Mario legacy so Mario Advance will be a fresh experience. But anyone familiar with Super Mario 2 (SM2) for the NES (or the bundle pack that was released for the SNES) will instantly feel at home with Mario Advance, since itís a slightly modified version of SM2. I managed to blast through the game in about an hour and a half. The warps are where they always were. The levels are laid out the same. Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad can all perform power jumps. The gambling game is still there. At face value my statements might create the impression that Mario Advance isnít worth buying if you beat SM2 to death.
The graphics are superior to anything the NES could offer (at less than 1/8th the size). Everything is slick, sharp, colorful, and easy to see. (Provided youíre playing in fairly brightly lit room.) The enemies and their placement are almost identical to the original SM2. Youíll encounter Pokey and Birdo, two freaks of nature by anyoneís standards, and all the rest of the gang. The end bosses are the same as SM2 as are strategies to beat them. The challenge isnít too great for the experienced player Ė but even I had problems remembering which characters are most effective at what levels. But then it all came back to me.
There are several changes and improvements over SM2. For one, the gambling game at the end of each stage is made more of a gamble by being able to wager the coins youíve collected through a level. (Found in the shadow realm or Subspace.) This can have huge pay-offs if you line up the right icons. Thereís voice included throughout. Birdo shouts things like, "Iíll get you next time!" And each of the end bosses has a few lines of dialogue. A problem arises with the voices of the playable characters. Toad especially is annoying after about five minutes. However, the rest of the audio is very good. Another improvement is the bounty of ways to gain hits points back. You still have to grab a mushroom in the shadow realm to increase youíre health bar, but restoring the hit points is as easy as pulling up a few weeds to find a health radish or whacking a few of the bigger enemies with vegetables. Although the ending is the same, which I hate, completing the game opens up all the levels with Yoshiís Challenge. Basically, youíve got to find six eggs in each level (four on for the 7th Level) hidden in Subspace. This adds some to the replay value, but I didnít think it was overly fun having to go through the levels Iíd already done. Plus, you must successfully finish the stage youíre working on with the eggs for it to count. (There are two eggs per stage.) So if youíve got both the eggs but then die during the end battle youíve got to start from square one so you can try again. The moment you get through a stage with both eggs, save your game! (There are three save slots available just like in Super Mario World for the SNES.) There are a few other minor differences from SM2, but nothing drastic.
Also included with Mario Advance is the original Mario Brothers (last seen in Super Mario 3ís two-player mode). Mario Brothers is a great two-player game. This is where the multi-tap comes into play. Using the tap, itís possible play Mario Brothers with four players. I canít speak for the four-player mode but two-player went off without a hitch and was actually quite fun. Even as a single player game itís fun to just pick up and start playing.
My overall experience with Mario Advance was a good one even though it lacks originality. Itís a blast from the past Ė the control even feels the same Ė and it brought back some fond gaming memories. The inclusion of Mario Brothers is a good complement, especially with the multiplayer. Seasoned gamers might look at it and pass it over since theyíve already lived through the experience but newcomers and Mario fans canít do wrong by getting Mario Advance.
(June 16, 2001)
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