Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo sits at or near the top of most “best video games” lists for a reason. At the time of its release, it was a dramatic evolution of the side-scrolling Mario series of action-adventure games, incorporating every gameplay element that worked in the older titles while adding a seemingly endless supply of new tricks. This new feature-complete version of Super Mario World for the Game Boy Advance proves just how timeless designer Shigeru Miyamoto’s 1991 classic really is.
In true Miyamoto fashion, the game starts with simple running and jumping and gradually gets more complex. Soon, you’re swimming, flying, tossing fireballs, and riding one of several Yoshis–cute little dinosaurs–that appear throughout the game. The overall level design has yet to be exceeded in a 2-D platformer, with each colorful level packed with enough secrets to keep players busy for weeks. A lot of precision jumping is required, but the controls are so tight that directing Mario (or even Luigi, who wasn’t playable in the original) becomes as natural as breathing within a few minutes of playing.
As if packing the entire original game onto the tiny cartridge wasn’t enough, Nintendo also put two multiplayer versions of the original Mario Brothers in there, which are playable solo or with up to three other people using Game Link cables to connect all your Game Boy Advance systems. Both variants are a blast, but the single-player adventure is what kept us coming back for more. If you missed it 10 years ago when Super Mario World appeared on the Super Nintendo, don’t make the same mistake twice. –T. Byrl Baker.
Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 boasts all 96 levels from the original Super NES game, from cheery Yoshi’s Island through the sprawling Vanilla Dome to the grueling Star Road. While some levels emphasize pure action, others require you to puzzle your way out of the mazes and illusions. If you find the hidden key in Star World, you’ll gain access to the extremely challenging Special World, which has its own hidden secrets.
Mario and Luigi can jump up and down pipes, climb vines, swim, and toss Koopa shells. Yoshi the dinosaur can spit eggs, munch, and climb with his ever-helpful tongue. Cool touches include spinning platforms, forced-scrolling levels, and great attacks such as the spin jump. Mario and Yoshi fly with the aid of a unique feather, shoot fireballs when equipped with a special flower, and can even raise cute baby Yoshis. Each boss poses a unique challenge. Cross-eyed Lemmy Koopa likes to play hide-and-seek in pipes, while Iggy Koopa prefers to battle on a giant Koopa shell floating on a lava lake.
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