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» NINTENDO 64 » HARDWARE » PS2 » PSOne » XBOX » GAMECUBE » HANDHELDS » SEGA
James (ST) Burns July 23 , 2001 Review Feedback

Super Mario Advanced

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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.

 Software Specials
 
 Screenshots

 
Stats

Genre:
Platform

Release Date:
Available

Publisher:
Nintendo

Developer:
Nintendo

ESRB:
Everyone

System:
Gameboy Advanced

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 items.

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.

Game Title Rating
Concept
I wouldn’t call porting a game an original concept, but Super Mario Advance on its own is still a very unique experience.
80

Gameplay
Excellent control scheme, smoothe movement and plenty of extras to keep you interested.
85

Graphics
A great demonstration of what your GBA is capable of. Perfectly ported from SNES with some added effects to boot.
90

Sound
Excellent sound quality with digitized voices to add some extra flair. Shame about the GBA speaker, though.
96
Technical
It’s a SNES game in your pocket, what more can be said.
90
Overall
A perfect port of the original Super Mario Bros. 2, but with the added Mario Bros. game, you’ll be enjoying this title for quite some time.
88








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