Review by BigCj34

Reviewed: 08/14/06

Better than the original in each and every way. A must for any Game Boy owner.

After being a huge hit on the NES and became a huge icon for Nintendo, Super Mario was naturally made for the Game Boy, as Super Mario land, released in 1989. Many of its features were similar to the classic NES Mario bros., most notably the graphics, but also you couldn’t backtrack progress and you couldn’t save. It was a huge hit, having sold a total of 18 million copies, although seen as too short.

The Game Boy back in 1993 was storming past the competition as it had great games, and was mobile, importantly. With the success of Super Mario Land 1,although wasn’t the greatest Mario game ever, this new Mario sequel has been packed full of new features, most notably the graphics, the layout, the enemies… This time in the world of Mario, it seems that the Princess has taken some self-defence lessons because she hasn’t been kidnapped! Unfortunately Mario hasn’t learnt how to look the right way and Wario has ‘sneakily’ taken over Mario's castle, locked him out and brainwashed the inhabitants that Mario is evil and Wario is the master. It’s up to you to rescue all the 6 golden coins to unlock the castle door, get up to Wario’s chambers and kick his butt clean and tidy.

Super Mario’s overhaul is substantial, out with the 10 pixel Mario and enemy models and in with the larger, more cartoon like enemy models that are actually distinguishable. The level layout is totally different, instead of playing linear levels you now have the choice of whichever order you take on the levels, with 6 zones each consisting of 4 levels in them. Also, you can now backtrack should you miss that power-up, rather than being blocked by an invisible wall.

The usual Mario action is present, step on enemies to kill them, jump under boxes for powerups, get the Super-ball Mario to fire at enemies and now if Mario gets a carrot power-up, he can glide for a bit. The differences are that the game levels are more expansive vertically, so there’ none of the panoramic side-scrolling levels, but more places to go up or fall down, more free-flowing then being barred by an only-way-is-to-go-forward concept.

The kingdom of SML2 includes six zones; there’s Mario-zone, where you’re inside the workings of a giant clockwork Mario; the underwater realms of turtle zone; Macro zone where you’re shrunk down to the size of a housefly and have to run through a house; the bug infested and stinging bees of the Tree zone and the more hidden space zone where you’re, um, in space; plus the ‘hauntedness’ of the pumpkin zone. Each zone itself comes with a different set of enemies, but certain types of enemies will probably appear in most zones, but while the gameplay in each zone is very much the same on a large scale, there are minor differences.

Aside from hitting boxes, power-ups can be gained from trading coins for a crack on a bandit machine though. Trading more coins results with a bandit with better prizes, but be careful, as there’s a chance you can end up with nothing. If you manage to kill 99 enemies you receive your well-earned invincibility. Unfortunately it’s not always going to be much use when it appears from out of the blue, which would’ve been more inconvenient if you could collect them.

Enemies themselves are killed by stamping on them or using a Super ball, while boss characters have to be hit or jumped on three times. You need to watch out for not losing all your lives, as you lose whatever coins you’ve got and have to fight each and every boss again.

The real criticism about Super Mario 2 is that it’s way to easy compared to the original To be fair, there are points in the game where you're likely to stumble, but for any half-decent gamer it would only take a couple of hours. The last level proves to the hardest, but it seems that all the levels have evened in difficulty, as they would be completed in any order. Maybe have another world?

The graphics are once again top-notch for the game boy, with lots of detail on the levels and detailed cartoony characters. The higher graphics power does cause some slowdown in a few parts of the game, but it doesn’t often happen. The soundtrack has its main theme and has the leitmotif used in various levels but in a different tempo or rhythm, while the sound effects so the job nicely. however the same music is used in too many levels, lacking much variation in soundtrack, especially when a lot of the tunes are variations of the main theme tune.

The length is the greatest flaw in the game, due to it’s ease in difficulty, it’s a weeks worth of occasional gaming to complete for anyone, while it’s a couple of hours for any half-decent gamer to complete. When compared to the original SML you’ll notice that there’s probably an equal amount of levels, but the more detail put into the levels overall means they’re shorter in cases, and the fact that you couldn’t’ save on SML1 means it would’ve taken various attempts before you actually completed it.

Graphics Great detailed graphics, and more realistic looking characters ad enemies. 10/10
Sound Good music but a slight lack in variety. 8/10
Gameplay Fun and entertaining but easier than the original SML 9/10
Length Six zones, 27 levels total, but quite easy to get through. 7/10

Overall, for any Game Boy owner, you have to own Super Mario Land 2. The game is better in each and every way; you can’t miss an important piece of Game Boy history. Get down to Gamestration pre-owned, log onto eBay, nick it from your mate (don’t forget to ask permission first) or haggle it from an outdoor market games stall, if you want to know what a fat plumber can do.9/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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