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I was lucky enough to be around when Super Mario World first came out. The game made a huge impact upon its release, and it changed the way platformers were made. Super Mario Bros. 3 was already a big change from the original, but this…this was an even bigger change. Better graphics, bigger levels, alternate exits, secret worlds, Yoshi, and a pretty extravagant ending (at the time). Up until I had to sell my SNES just a few years ago, the game would get regular play because it’s that good. But this review is for the GBA version. I got this for my daughter, who even at her early age, is doing really good with games. ‘thought it’d be a good stepping stone to introduce her to the traditional Mario formula because of how accessible it is to people of all ages, and since it can be played on the DS too. Well, it looks like going from the SNES to the GBA was a big change in its own right.
Basic story that you should all know by now- Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool. Mario goes to save her. ‘jumps around and runs through tons of different levels. The end. But along the way, you’ll have to take out Bowser’s kids, clear out some ghost houses, and if you want, find the secret Star Road levels, and then the secret levels within those too! The game takes a while to beat, though hardcore players can probably clear the whole thing in one sitting. The game has a good save feature, and for this GBA version, you can now save and continue/quit whenever you want. Gameplay is very easy since you’re really only using 3 buttons and the d-pad, and really, anyone can play this game. When you find an egg, Yoshi will emerge, and you can ride him and take an extra hit, eat enemies, fly if you eat a blue Koopa shell, and use him as a boost if you can’t reach a high area on your own. And he finally has green arms instead of orange ones now too! Mario’s got some tricks of his own as well, including the fire flower and magic feather. With the fire flower, he can shoot fireballs, and shoot them in both directions during a spin jump. With the feather, Mario dons a cape and can fly after running a short distance, and even glide around if you hold down and then hit up real quick. If you thought flying as a raccoon or tanuki was cool, wait until you see the cape.
They changed a few things for the GBA port, most of which are little things. Like now, you can switch between Mario and Luigi on the map. It’s kind of annoying since you can choose this whenever you stop at an area on the map, as if the game’s reminding you of the feature, instead of selecting who you want to play as at the beginning of the game, but it’s still a nice addition. Luigi’s sprite changed to his sprite from Super Mario Bros. 2 on the Mario All-Stars collection, and he has the same extended jump from that game too. Truth be told, it’s a bit more difficult to play as him now because of this. The other changes aren’t that big of a deal, but the main one is the one a lot of people are either overlooking, or somehow not bothered by it. Since this was made for the GBA, before the DS came out, it plays with just the A, B, L and R buttons. A is the default run/action button, and B is your regular jump, but the spin jump- something required for a lot of things in the game, is now the freakin’ R button, a shoulder button! Even after playing this version for a few days, I can’t get used to it. It feels weird, but it’s not like they had a lot of options for controls at the time. Oh, they also put in the obligatory Mario Bros. arcade game (you know, the old Mario vs Luigi game where you just collect coins and take out Koopas by hitting the floor from under them). It’s been included on every single Super Mario Advance title, and is fun for a few minutes, but at this rate, it’s overkill.
The graphics and music suffered a bit in the conversion to GBA. Everything looks a bit watered down and less vibrant, and some animations don’t seem as smooth as they once were. Most of the sound effects are the same as the original, as is the music, but because of the hardware, it doesn’t sound as good as it once did. ‘no big deal for people who never got to play it in the early 90s, but for people who grew up with the game, you’ll notice.
Super Mario World for GBA is worth your money if you like platformers or want to see how good Mario was back in the day before everything got dumbed down since now most games hold your hand for the first 2 hours and show you how to do the most basic of things. But the uncomfortable controls hurt the score for me, as does hearing the stupid Mario and Luigi voices that were added in. ‘just little complaints of mine that have nothing to do with the overall game, but for people expecting a perfect port, this ain’t it. Maybe we’ll get lucky and an updated Mario All-Stars will come out for DS at some point.