Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island Review

Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 1995 Also On: None

I tend to enjoy all of the games I have, even the awful ones, though I never
review them as though they were good. Of the games I own that are actually
good, it’s tough to say which titles are better than others. One game has
always stood out to me, throughout the past eighteen years, as simply the
greatest video game ever made for any system. I’ve played it so many times I
have it nearly memorized, and never have a problem sitting down to give it a
go. It’s by far the most creative, most involved, most challenging and most
perfect game I’ve ever seen. It’s a true example of artistry in video game
programming and provides everything necessary to be perfect. This game has
no flaws. If you haven’t heard of it before, let me tell you, it’s Super
Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island.

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Yoshi’s Island is a graphical masterpiece. Created using Nintendo’s Super
FX2 chip, this game features some of the most incredible effects for any
Super Nintendo game ever made. It’s simply amazing how much they managed to
milk out of the system to create this title. Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto
decided on an impressionistic approach to create an atmosphere suggesting
childhood, most specifically something resembling a nursery, for the most
part. It has this overall “crayon” and “marker” look to its design and there
are even references to works such as Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” if you pay
attention. The backgrounds and environments are vivid, alive and wonderfully
arranged. Perfect. Character animations are smooth without any faults
whatsoever, and there isn’t even any graphical slowdown at any point in the
game, in spite of the giant bosses and some larger characters you’ll come
across as you play.

The sound was also aimed at creating this “childish” feel, fitting perfectly
with the graphical elements. Atmospheres are generated through perfect
arrangements that suggest the castles, caves, mountains and so forth that
you wander about; couldn’t have been better. The sound effects fit nicely as
well, no problems whatsoever. The major themes even repeat to some extent,
but not haphazardly and it creates a wonderful sense of consistency
throughout. The final boss theme is excellent, changing the direction of the
game and making it more driving, fitting perfectly with this particular

Yoshi’s Island has the greatest organization I’ve ever seen. Not only does
it look good and sound good, but, thank the gods, it plays well too. You can
never say too much about this category because without it, you have nothing.
You could have a great game with no music whatsoever, but you absolutely
have to have quality in the actual game itself. This title is set up
differently than its predecessor, marking a major turning point in the
history of the Mario series. Later games, such as Paper Mario, certainly
drew off of the experimentation found here. Basically, Kamek, an evil koopa
who tends to Baby Bowser, has stolen Luigi thinking he captured both Mario
babies from the stork before they were delivered to their parents. Mario is
left behind and falls down to an island of Yoshis, who are determined to
find where he wants to go, since baby Mario seems to be signaling them to
travel somewhere. From this, you go through six main levels with eight
stages each in addition to six secret stages if you can perfect your game
(one per level). If you unlock them, you also unlock bonus rounds to use for
extra items during gameplay.

So that’s the basic rundown on how it’s organized. Yoshi’s Island is much
different than its predecessors. In this game, you play as a different Yoshi
on each level and can be hit an infinite number of times. The difference is
that, when you are hit, Baby Mario gets knocked off and you have a time
limit that appears on the screen that runs down unless you jump into him or
use your tongue to bring him back. That’s really the only way you can die
other than falling into holes, getting crushed by a moving screen, falling
into lava, spikes and so forth. In addition, your Yoshis can carry up to six
eggs with them. You use these to access different items, areas, capture
certain objects, and otherwise play the entire game. There’s an interesting
aiming button to use to make your aim more accurate, as well as several
different power-ups you can access during gameplay by entering the item
screen when you press Pause.

Technically, you can just run through the game
and not really worry about any of the goals, but without getting them
completed perfectly, you can never access the secret levels. To get a
perfect, you have to have 30 Stars (these are used for the Baby Mario timer
if he’s knocked off), 20 Red Coins (special coins hidden among the regular
yellow ones) and 5 Flowers. By collecting all of these, you get a perfect
score in whatever level you’re in. Get all perfects, and the two special
spaces on each level map are accessed.

Don’t think it’s easy though, as the
game progresses these items are hidden quite well and in strange locations
where you have to perform a variety of different tasks, such as morphing
into a cute little helicopter to fly about or into a toy train to run along
a set of chalk-line tracks. The Stars can be grabbed by rebounding eggs and
hitting enemies, but they’re also sometimes located in these flower things
you have to toss eggs in, as well as other locations. Essentially, you don’t
want to get hit through the entire level, otherwise you won’t have 30 Stars.
To make this a bit easier, there are Star Icons you can gather in bonus
rounds that, when used, will increase your Star level 10 or 20 depending on
the icon you have. These cannot be used during boss segments, so you tend to
need to be really good at this game in order to get a perfect score.

Other than this you have different enemies, with tons of variety, huge,
well-animated bosses that require you to figure out their secret weak point
in order to defeat them and so many different obstacles and areas to
discover it’s just incredible. This game is really packed with different
things to do, it’s simply amazing. The final boss is excellent, setting apart the rest of the game.

In addition, the difficulty curve is set just right, starting out around a
medium and progressing to incredibly hard, though you’re mainly going to
find the more difficult levels being the secret stages. Some of these
require precise timing in order to get a perfect score, such as a skiing
level where you have to jump at the right moments with the right speed to
collect everything. This is certainly a game you’ll be playing for awhile,
and with an automatic save feature already in place, you need not worry
about starting all over again the following day. Up to three games can be
saved, and for each one that you complete perfectly, including the secret
levels once you unlock them, you get a set of stars. I’m not sure what
happens when you get three perfect games, but I’m thinking something’s
hidden in there.

Yoshi’s Island is one of the most creative games I’ve ever seen. It was
really unique for its day and even today is an interesting title to sit down
with. It was certainly one of the earliest titles to begin experimenting
with video game design and is much unlike anything ever released for the
SNES. In addition, you can see definite influences on many games that came
after. It’s simply perfect, you can’t get more creative than this, there’s
so much going on here and so much innovation there’s simply no way to say
it’s not creative.

Out of all the systems and games I own, I have to say this is my favorite
game of all time. I come back to play it now and then and even go through
phases where I’ll sit down with it for hours and days at a time. Plus, if
you run through it without doing so hot, you can easily access each level
individually to get a perfect score, so the replay value is through the roof
in this title. It’s a wonderful and required addition to any game library.
Even if you don’t own an SNES, get one just to play this game. It’s the only
game you’ll need for it. As far as game length Yoshi’s Island is just right.
If you tried to beat this in a single go you’d be playing it at least
twenty-four hours, if not seventy-two, so don’t even bother. You’re looking
at at least a week or two of steady play here, just right. Not too long and
not too short for this kind of title, making it great for occasional gaming
here and there instead of all at once. Regardless, if you’re sick, it’s not
like it isn’t a blast to play through it as much as you can.

In conclusion, I’d have to say Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island is one of
the most innovative and entertaining video games ever created. It broke
barriers and set up new ground standing as a title every serious gamer
should experience some time in their lifetime. The programmers were willing to
take a chance with design and conception and ended up with pure perfection.
It’s one of the few games I can safely say made history, though this history
is sadly ignored at times and often ridiculed by less intelligent gamers
among us. The only unfortunate aspect of this title is that it
tends to be rare in the wild and when it does appear on auction sites it
tends to fetch fairly high amounts of money. Regardless, it’s worth it, and
trust me there’s a reason it can cost a few extra dollars.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 10
Written by Stan Review Guide

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