Nintendo’s flagship GBA game, Super Mario Advance,
has stirred up a significant level of argument since
the handheld’s launch. The game has created two very
separate groups of people, those who feel that Nintendo
has just rehashed an old game for a quick buck, and
those who are genuinely excited about the Nintendo classic
appearing on the Gameboy Advance.
Super Mario Advance is essentially the same Super
Mario Bros. 2 which featured in Mario All-Stars
on SNES, albeit with some minor tweaks and changes here
and there, in an effort to add to the game’s appeal.
For those very few of you who have not played Super
Mario Bros. 2, let me fill you in on some of the fundamentals
of the game…
The original Super Mario Bros. 2 was a big departure
for the Mario series. The game was actually based on
a Konami title, called Doki Doki Panic. Nintendo decided
to base Super Mario Bros. 2 on Doki Doki Panic because
they felt that the Japanese version of the game (“The
Lost Levels”), would be too difficult for western audiences.
The end result was a very unique kind of game. Rather
than simply stomping on an enemy’s head to kill them,
Mario had to jump on the enemy and lift them up above
his head. Enemies could be used as platforms (to cross
a pit of spikes, for example), or as weapons (to throw
at other enemies). In addition, Mario was able to pluck
vegetables of varying sizes from the ground to use as
projectiles. The same principal applies in Super
Mario Advance. None of the fundamental gameplay
details have changed whatsoever.
Another important aspect to Super Mario Advance’s
gameplay is the ability to select from multiple characters,
including Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Toadstool.
Each character has their own attributes, but there are
two attributes that play a pivotal role in this game.
One is jumping and the other is, for lack of a better
word, “plucking”, or the speed at which your character
can pick up objects.
In these two areas, each character is very different.
For example, Mario tends to be average in all areas,
so he is probably best used by a novice player. Toad
tends to have a lower rating in the jumping department,
yet he pulls items from the ground faster than any other
character. Luigi jumps extremely high, but tends to
have a fairly average “plucking factor”. And finally
there is Princess Toadstool; she has the unique ability
to float for short periods of time (very useful in this
game), but she has the lowest pluck factor and thus,
is not always the best choice.
If you have played Super Mario Bros. 2 before,
then you will find your way around Super Mario Advance
very quickly. However, as mentioned above, Nintendo
has made a few additions to the original game in order
to add to its lasting appeal.
Firstly, you’ll notice a few new items in Super Mario
Advance. One item is basically a bubble which holds
various power-ups (star, mushroom etc…). You pick up
the bubble and throw it when the desired item is displayed.
This item adds a little variety to Super Mario Advance,
but if anything, it probably makes the game slightly
easier, due to the increased prominence of power-up
Nintendo has also added a new type of enemy to Super
Mario Advance. The new enemy is essentially a huge version
of “Sniffit”. When you pick up this enemy, you’ll notice
that it may take a little longer than usual. These large
enemies are useful for two reasons; firstly, if you
throw them, they will spit out an extra heart and secondly,
they can be used to hit multiple enemies at one time.
In addition to this new enemy, Nintendo has also added
extra large versions of the various vegetables that
can be plucked from the ground. These large vegetables
don’t serve any groundbreaking purpose, although, like
the large sniffits, they can be used to hit multiple
enemies in a single shot.
The general gameplay additions to Super Mario Advance
are relatively thin and are probably best considered
a novelty. However, Nintendo has gone one step further
by including the original Super Mario Bros. in
the same cartridge. Super Mario Bros. adds quite
a lot of replay value to Super Mario Advance,
and proves itself to be a highly welcome addition to
the overall package.
One of the best features of Super Mario Advance
is the multiplayer mode. Essentially, you and three
friends can battle it out in the original Super Mario
Bros. game using a GBA link cable. The beauty of this
mode is that you will only need a single cartridge -
that’s right, Super Mario Advance takes advantage
of the much-touted “download link play” whereby the
game is downloaded temporarily into other player’s machines.
The only real downside to this is that the game has
some minimal loading times, but considering the value
of this mode (as well as the sheer fun factor), the
loading times are only a very small complaint.
Cosmetically, Nintendo has given the original Super
Mario Bros. 2 a slight facelift. As mentioned earlier,
Super Mario Advance is essentially a port of
the SNES Super Mario All-Stars version. However, Nintendo
has added several visual effects to the game, such as
scaling and rotating objects. When you enter a vase
in the game, you’ll notice a rotating cog in the background.
The effect is very cool and ads some visual flair to
the game. Overall, Super Mario Advance is a good
demonstration of the GBA’s graphics capabilities. The
colors are vibrant, the backgrounds are rich with detail
and the animation is superb.
In addition to visual improvements, Nintendo have added
some aural changes in order to reflect the enhanced
sound capabilities of the Gameboy Advance. For example,
each character now speaks as you play. Infact, characters
speak very frequently. You’ll hear Mario saying “lucky!”
or “I’m moving now!” every ten seconds or so. Some may
find this extremely annoying, but I felt that it added
some personality to the game. All the original tunes
are in place and the voice samples sound incredibly
crisp and clear. The sound effects are also very sharp
and accurate, but headphones are really a must if you
want to fully enjoy the game.
Overall, if you’re a Mario fan, a fan of platformers,
or have never played Super Mario Bros. 2, then you should
definitely pick up this title. Super Mario Advance
might be nothing more than a beefed-up port of an old
game, but hell, it’s a Nintendo classic. Even if you
have played Super Mario Bros. 2 before, there might
just be enough new features in Super Mario Advance
to warrant a purchase.
I wouldnt call porting a game an original
concept, but Super Mario Advance on its own is still
a very unique experience.
Excellent control scheme, smoothe movement and
plenty of extras to keep you interested.
A great demonstration of what your GBA is capable
of. Perfectly ported from SNES with some added effects
Excellent sound quality with digitized voices
to add some extra flair. Shame about the GBA speaker,
Its a SNES game in your pocket, what more
can be said.
perfect port of the original Super Mario Bros. 2,
but with the added Mario Bros. game, youll
be enjoying this title for quite some time.