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Lets take a look at each world.
The first game was already popular, and this game brought it to new levels. World 1 gave us the first glimpse of how awesome this new installment was. Many new power ups, mini games, fully thought out level design with a map, many new and well created enemies and bosses, and the play control fully cemented how truly epic this new game was.
The very first level shows us that we need to learn how to fly, with the final one giving us an item for unlimited flight. Each level gave us a feature of some of the new themes. Normal Mario level, but well enhanced, hills and learning how to slide, with a first taste of how to get lots of free guys, an interesting twist for finding out how to warp, scrolling, snow, an improvement upon 1-3 design with moving platforms, a fortress with some familiar aspects, but greatly expanded upon, with a hidden area, and a whole new way to pursue the boss, in the air. Nothing bad can be said about how well produced this game is. Many, if not all who have played it love it, with a good portion of us ranking World 1 among our favorites.
I tried quite a few times at first in 1-5, thinking that pipe half way through was a path to a warp zone. I didnt successfully bounce up into the coin area at first, and tried and tried, running back and forth trying to get up there. Once I saw that you exit down from there, I had given up hope for it leading to a warp zone. This is, and always will be my favorite level in the game.
Now that we are are familiar with some of the cool new features, this game picks up where the already familiar theme from the last game, which 2 worlds shared. A new enemy that becomes an icon in many mario themed games, with SMW giving us the ghost house. Being shown that there is something hidden on the map, if we look hard enough. Themed levels on the map, with more later on in the game, especially near the end. Could have been expanded upon more in some of the worlds, but thats only a small complaint. A sun that chases you with weather effects, which was a surprise. Then theres a pyramid where you learn that, oh darn, I cant do the same 1up trick anymore. The airship was a balanced step up from the first one, making the world complete.
Though not in the favorites category, this world prepped us to some of the difficulty to come. And who will ever forget the memorable sun, which made a few of us jump when we first saw it move. Those who found the secret were introduced to a new theme specific power up for the next world.
This was the world that I found on my own, how to warp before the secrets were revealed in The Wizard. I had to complete the first two worlds, to explore the rest of them, minus World 8, from July through the end of that year. I spent more quarters on this game, then just about all other arcade machines prior.
After only having 2 levels where you swam in the first game, of which were the same, it was like wow, this is quite the variety here. Starting off with what we were already familiar with, we were given room to explore, then a new challenge with dealing with cheep cheeps. Moving landscape and getting eaten alive, then our first maze. Cool, I can just stand here and get free guys until the time runs out. An even more difficult version of a submerging level, and having the ability to sail the World map. Then to top it all off, a creative boss battle, named after a singer who was in the tabloids. I dont remember the details, but Im surprised the name was used because of the heavy censorship Nintendo was known for.
This is where the first real challenge in the game began, and I dumped many quarters playing this world. The first time me and my friend beat this world, we were literally down to our last 3 or 4 quarters. Thats a memory I will never forget, because it was common to not complete the later worlds with less than $20 on hand.
The surprises keep coming, and holy **** thats a really huge Koopa. Our first taste of gravity being used against us was a surprise. Other than everything being really big, it was kind of world 1 themed, with a little bit of 3, but well an par with how difficult it should be. Theres the one level that gave us the choice between small or large environments, was a nice throw in near the end. This world introduced just how difficult a fortress can be, and a speeded up version of an airship challenge, which gives us a glimpse of something we'll see later.
This is a world that I visited more on Play Choice 10, then at home, and I remember being kind of relieved to only have to spend 7 or 8 bucks to get through a world, after the last one. Not in my favorites, but just as good as the rest, and a well played theme to fit into the middle of the game.
Lets expand upon World one and four, introduce all kinds of new things, yet again, with ones original to this very world. Our second experience to a specially themed level, after what we saw in World 2. Then theres the one time, really awesome power up, which all of us adore. This is where our imaginations were wondering, whats up with that fortress. Some of us concluded what it might be, but it was definitely a nice original surprise again. Nothing short of amazement, and we arent even half way through.
You thought some of the last two worlds were tough, think again, and buckle in. Things like riding on enemies to get through part of the level, and then to find a way to temporarily become invincible. Our new power up was already awesome, and now it has an upgrade, this is cool. Some of the first levels in the game to really test our mettle, with a very hard fortress, and a diagonally scrolling level, with an enemy that just needs to go away, so I can make these jumps. To end this tremendous challenge we already faced, now we get a boss who messes with gravity, and more bullet bills then I hope to see for a while.
There is a really special memory with this world. Some time around October, before any secrets were revealed in The Wizard, and before any warp whistles were found, me and my friend made it to 5-2, in the room with the 3 1 ups. I think we had around $25, and World 3 was the only world that slowed us down, and chewed up the most quarters. I waited nearly two months to find out where that spiral fortress went, and just missed seeing a very special one time power up.
Not among my favorite worlds to play, but this world holds probably the best video game memory I have ever had. I couldnt get enough of playing this game, and I had an older sister who worked there at Price Chopper, which means I was there all the time. Most of my local yard work money went into that machine, and to make it to World 5 straight through like that, was quite the experience. I didnt see after 5-2 until I found the World 2 whistle, which was elusive for a while. This world was the toughest completion at the time, which was after after being able to warp there, and I wasted lots of money before I learned to conserve certain power ups for the last couple levels. While the first four worlds saw completion a few times, this one was only accomplished like two times before the release, because of my fixation on the next world.
Just after learning about the warp whistle in World 2, this was a must visit world. Does it ever end, it goes on really far, and I gotta see the end of it. This world took a good balanced approach at first, to introduce the already familiar theme, and started off with a fortress that was somewhat scaled back in difficulty from the last world. Then there is that darn mushroom house that I cant get to, and there goes another weekends worth of quarters. It was nice to finally get there, and I didnt think the power up from the last world could be topped. After many times of waiting in the first game, to be able to jump over him to beat the game, I could now use his power, this rules.
Now, almost halfway through, we start to see a couple really difficult levels. The first few times in fortress 2 was quite the challenge, and made 4-2 from the last game look easy. Some of the later levels arent too tough, and then bam, try to get through this fortress. This was another level that required saving a certain power up, so I didnt run out of money before completing it.
After a truly frustrating level, the airship wasnt too bad, and this boss is really cool. I thought I had seen it all, and then a boss with a unique style like in World 3. Although very long, this was only a $15 world to get through, which I did about five times before release. There was that nice surprise to see 10 numbered levels at the end.This marks the last world that I fully completed before release, and I barely beat World 5 because I loved it so much.
There is a particular moment that gives me a special memory with this world, like the last. I remember having sampled this world a few times, and then I saw an issue of Game Pro that showed off screen shots of 6-4, along with other screenshots. This made me want the game even more, and I was down there again to spend another $20. I will never forget that ride in the car with my brother, and viewing those few screen shots, while hearing Bonham's Wait for You on the radio. I loved that song, and I was soaking up screens of this phenomenal game at the same time. Early Sophomore year was the best times all the way around, with the upcoming great games, and awesome music of the time.
Here is a world that brings the idea of a maze, other then the one in World 3. These levels required patience, even the first few. Yet again we have completely new concepts. Lets try a really hard scrolling water level, and now we have, out of nowhere, the only level in the game with no enemies. Go coin collecting for a while to build up some guys, while trying to figure out, how the hell do I get out of here. This level made me think of a reversed version of Hauksness in Dragon Warrior, which was abandoned but deadly. After that we have another unique level theme, really tough mini levels, where you had to earn your special items.
Once you get past the mid point, you have a level where you need a succession of stars to get through, and a very challenging maze, which I ran out of time more than any other level in the game, except trying to figure out 6-5. The last fortress is hard, but fair considering some of what you saw in this world already. Then you get to see, what I consider to be one of the toughest challenges in the game. Getting through the level is hard, but facing the boss without flight, requires button precision that Tyson compliments you for after you succeed in that game. This world might very well have more challenging levels then the one to come. Thankfully that was the last time that gravity effects truly kick your butt.
I almost didnt beat world 5 before release, but this was by far, the least completed world before release. I only made it to the gold fortress, and that water level was so frustrating. This might be my least favorite world, but its still a good solid world, that manages to bring again new surprises. By this time, I was focusing on trying to beat the last world before release.
Now we are to the final destination. This fiery underworld brought us tanks, with more bullet bills than we have ever seen, and World 5 airship was just a sample. We learned how to swim under a moving vessel, and then we descend into the depths, to see another original concept, mini levels that drag you in. After that really cool feature, we see the mother of all airships, and you better have the ability to fly. On the next floor, we see the normal numbered levels, and a unique maze. This part would be the only real complaint I have about this game. It would have been nice to have like three or four more numbered levels on that floor.
Now to the last section, and this last tank was the furthest I made it before the release. After some really challenging levels, this final destination was well balanced.
Nothing too hard about finding your way through, and to finalize everything, the completely original boss battle, unlike the rest. Gravity played a part, but it wasnt overly difficult, and we were now primed enough to face the onslaught. A little bit of good timing, and there we have it, mission complete. This was a well rounded way to finish off a masterpiece, and what is next, makes it complete.
Really, this isnt the princess. You tried to trick me, and I almost fell for it. Then we get to sit back and watch one of the best endings ever designed. This is one of the most enjoyable 15 minutes, just to sit and watch, and appreciate what we just accomplished. We also get to take in the many features of the game that we earned our way to see all of.
A tremendously well thought out game, above and way beyond the original, with an epic ending. This same ending style was used in Dragon Warrior 3, and both games were from 1988. Lots of well thought out game creativity was going on for sure back then.
Need I say more. Not too many games come close to this masterpiece, and it will go down in history as a game that is loved by nearly all. Lots of great things can be said about titles like Final Fantasy 7, and Ocarina of Time, as those are revered by many as well. Those other master pieces, as loved as they are, didnt reach as much of an audience as Super Mario Bros 3.
We saw the ultimate capacity in video game design fully peak from 1987-1990. Almost everything we saw from the 16 bit wars and forward, were improvements upon what was finalized in perfection during those years. I wont go into too much detail, because I covered it on another topic, but heres something to think about.
Look at how well SMB3 was designed. Take into consideration how powerful a 4 megabit game landed in the sands of time. The capacity of this 6502 hardware had a maximum potential of 16 megabit, 2 mega bytes. I just cant imagine how much more could have been done, if the drive to keep the system alive had been in place. I think the highest memory used, was for Final Fantasy 3, which is a 6 mega bit game.
Like I said before. Atari started it, Nintendo learned from their blunders, and perfected it, and everything afterwards was just improvements. Most great games have some roots, in that 2-3 year era, where game design was reaching the stars, and everyone wanted the NES. Not only is this the system that reached the most homes, but the company created the most recognized brand that video games have ever seen.
This was very well worth the 7 hours I just spent writing all of this. There was almost no looking things up to remember things, and I just went through the game piece by piece in my mind. Its kind of funny how well it turned out, considering how long its been since I went through all the worlds in their entirety. This game has the best video game memories by far, and it was great to be 15 when it came out on Play Choice 10. Most of us hold dear the things we loved in our childhood and teenage years, and I was lucky enough to fully experience the zenith of the video game revolution.
Hope you enjoyed this in depth overview of, the one, the only...
Super Mario Bros 3
That was really good! Thank you for putting the time in and posting, everyone should benefit from the information, especially those wanting to play it.
Ice Land leads, followed by Water Land and Pipe Land in 3rd for most aggravating world.
Contact Our Missing Grey Fox
SMB3 Airship Theme on Piano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXZiYAd8fIg
Awesome breakdown of just what makes this game so amazing. I totally agree, there was a real peak in terms of creativity and game design in the 8-bit era. I really believe, the more I think about it, that the NES is my favorite system. Can't really top the SNES for classic RPGs and fighters, but the NES was just so quirky and insane in terms of pretty much everything else.
My latest piano cover, the Pipe Land overworld theme from Super Mario Bros. 3.
Never did like Sky Land, too many Lakitus/Fire Chomps.
Oddly enough, Pipe Land is my favorite world but everyone else hates it.
Joe73ffdq- awesome job! You did a great job explaining the levels and worlds in fine detail with memories enhancing the fun of reading your posts. I'm curious who the singer in the tabloids is you're referring to. Can you say her name or will gamefaqs not allow it? Anyway, I'm still a bit disappointed the water, ice and pipe worlds are receiving the most votes. Come on guys, come on! I may be friendly but this... this just won't cut the mustard :)
Least favorite??? That's kinda hard for me.. I am not fond of water either, so I will go with World 3. Honestly, all the worlds are not far behind each other if I were to do a tier list of them. The only level i just do not like at all is that water level in world 7. I guess with your Frog Suit, it's not nearly as bad, but I think that's the one I use the cloud on to skip most of the time...
Excellent use for the Mario Paint Composer program in performing one of Chicago's songs: