Super Mario Advance Review

Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: June 11, 2001 Also On: NES

Mario is one of the most heavily used icons in video game history. Present at the release of every Nintendo console except GCN, as well as other platforms, Mario has evolved into much more than just a platformer star. He has been present in games involving boxing, tennis, golf, kart racing, partying, fighting, and role-playing. In fact, I dare say that any genre that Nintendo has ever made a game in, they have made a game within that genre involving Mario, with the exception of real-time strategy, represented by Pikmin, and we can only wonder how long it’ll be. The point is Mario is a very all-around guy. But one of the “black sheep” of the mainline Mario franchise is Super Mario Bros. 2, so I am sure I was not the only one who was shocked when Nintendo used a remake of that game as one of the launch titles for the GBA.

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To the best of my knowledge, the GBA is the first Nintendo handheld to launch with a Mario game. The original Game Boy launched with Tetris, and I must admit I have no idea what GBC launched with, but it wasn’t Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. Why would Nintendo choose to use Super Mario Bros. 2 as the first Mario launch title for a handheld? I honestly don’t know, but a remake of either the more popular Super Mario World or Super Mario Bros. 3 would have made more sense. However, Nintendo pulled out all the stops to make Super Mario Advance as good of a remake as they possibly could.

The graphics borrow heavily from the graphics of the Super Mario All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. 2. They look excellent for a GBA launch game. They do what they need to do and more, leaving the feel that indeed work was put into the graphics. They truly showed what the system was and is capable of.

The sound is basically an exact port of the sound set from All-Stars with the addition of a few voice-acting phrases. The voice-acting seems as unnecessary in this game as it did in Mario Advances 2 and 4, but it does add a little something to the game nonetheless. The music is just as addicting as it was in the previous versions of Super Mario Bros. 2.

The gameplay is also like the previous versions in many ways, except that heart pieces have been scattered around the levels and boss arenas to make the game easier. I can’t blame them for doing that, as I always found Super Mario Bros. 2 to be the most challenging of the 2D platforming games Mario starred in, possibly though just because it was different. They have also made some enemies and vegetables bigger for whatever purpose they chose to do that for. They even changed a boss or two to prevent duplication of boss battles. The changes they made were mainly for good reason, and the rest of the gameplay stands the test of time well.

So far as replay goes, there are red coins hidden in the levels to be found, like the coins to be found in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. Nintendo obviously didn’t have exact port in mind when they made this game, and that is commendable, plus the searching will add some to the replay value. However, not everybody is interested in looking for coins, and even those that are won’t have much reason to continue playing after finding them. Add to that the fact that Super Mario Bros. isn’t particularly long, and you’ve got a fun game that doesn’t last long.

If you are a Mario fan and you have a GBA, you should get this game if you don’t have it already somewhere, but if you have the NES or SNES version, it’s not necessarily worth paying for this version also. That’s a decision you have to make for yourself.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.2
Written by Martin Review Guide

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