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Super Mario World Review

Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: August 6, 1991 Also On: None

The best Mario platformer on the SNES (granted, it was also the only one), Super Mario World showed fans of Nintendo that the SNES was going to take the pattern previously seen on the NES and improve upon it. Indeed, many people consider the SNES, not the NES, to be Nintendo’s true golden age. Super Mario World, while not up to the exceedingly high quality of Super Mario Bros. 3, was an excellent Mario game in its own right, justifiably leading a large fanbase to adopt the SNES as their 16-bit system of choice.

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Graphically, I’m not quite sure what to say about this game. While its graphics are great for a first-generation SNES title, both in the foreground and in the background, I can’t help but say that I have traditionally been more impressed by the graphics in Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES. There are a few new nuances in the graphics, such as Mario or Luigi’s ability to look up, or the fact that the pipes aren’t all green anymore, and everything is done very well in the graphics department, but they are not significantly more impressive than Super Mario Bros. 3’s graphics, especially when the generational difference is taken into account. Still, the game was a launch title, so I can’t complain too much.

One area where Nintendo never faltered in the early days though was with their music, and the music in this game was certainly up to the traditionally high standards of Nintendo titles in general and Mario titles in particular. The music was upbeat and peppy when it should have been, but also was appropriately spooky in those areas where spookiness was called for. The ghost house theme in particular showcased their compositional skill, in my opinion, for how many other melodies so short and repetitive are so downright scary? The sound effects, while being typical Mario fare, still got the job done very well also.

For the most part, Super Mario World was a typical 2D Mario platformer. Additions such as Yoshi, diagonal pipes, triangles that allowed Mario to run up and down walls and or upside down, the ability to steal Lakitu’s cloud, a host of new enemies, and many other things serve to make this game in some ways more complex and exciting than Super Mario Bros. 3.

However, at the same time, Super Mario World also dropped some of what made Super Mario Bros. 3 so great. The frog suit is gone, as are the Tanooki and Sledgehammer suits. The ability to carry an inventory of items is gone, replaced by one item in reserve that can be called manually or is automatically called when Mario gets hit. Even the tail is gone, replaced by a yellow cape. It’s debatable which is better, since, if done right, the cape can allow Mario to fly through entire levels, but I always preferred the tail anyway. Also, a slew of enemies from Super Mario Bros. 3 fail to make an appearance in this game. The worst travesty in the area of enemies is that goombas can no longer be killed by jumping on them normally. They just flip over.

Still, the game added as much as it removes, and it certainly provides a reasonably lengthy experience. For the first time in a Mario game, a person could save their progress, and they would need to. True, there are less levels in Super Mario World than in Super Mario Bros. 3 (I’ve counted 90-some levels in Super Mario Bros. 3 and there are only 96 goals in Super Mario World), but Super Mario World has many secret exits to find, as well as many other secret areas to find and explore. To cap it all off is the first multi-phase end boss in a traditional Mario platformer (it could be argued that Super Mario Bros. 2 has a multi-phase end boss).

Overall, Super Mario World added something for each thing it removed, and it provided a fun experience in the process. If it weren’t for Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World would easily reign supreme as the best 2D Mario platformer in existence (and I count New Super Mario Bros. in that statement).

Graphics: 8
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9
Written by Martin Review Guide