Review by Zylo the wolf
Wario's debut is a little strange, but every Mario fan should try this.
The Gameboy system is one of the most selling video game system of all time. It's hard to tell exactly how much, but lets just say a couple of 100 million units. The reason why the system became so popular was because it was the first handheld system where it was possible to change games, unlike most of the other handheld systems where there was only one game in it and you couldn't change it. Then many years later after the system had been released this game called Pokemon came and suddenly every kid had a Gameboy. But before Pokemon there had to be some great games since the system already was so popular, right?
The non handheld systems that was avalable during the Gameboy's early days were Nintendo 8-bit, Sega Megadrive and Super Nintendo. To be able to compete with these machines Gameboy got a lot of ported games from these system even if the Gameboy was a very limited system compared to the others, after all it was a handheld system. The screen is extremely small and the only two colours on the system is black and white. Also besides from the games that got ported to the Gameboy, a lot of the exclusive games from popular franchises felt like boring B-versions of the same series that could be found on other systems. However Nintendo themselves didn't do that with their own series..
Super Mario Land 2 takes place directly after the previous game in the series Super Mario Land. As you might remember Mario went to save Sarasaland from the evil Tatanga and pulled his moves on Princess Daisy. While Mario was away, his cousin Wario (Who should by now be no stranger to any Nintendofan, this is the game where he had his debut) took advantage of the situation and took over Marioland (I don't think this is the same land as the Mushroom Kingdom, the game says nothing about it) and even changed the name to Warioland. He even managed to make all the citizens that Mario is now their enemy instead. To stop Wario from this evil deed Mario must search through all Marioland for the 6 Golden Coins to gain access to the castle and stop Wario.
Super Mario Land 2 looks a lot more like Super Mario World than Super Mario Land. Just like in Super Mario World, the game now takes place on a big world map and Mario can walk to different worlds. There are a total six different worlds, and I think you can beat them in any order you want to thanks to the overworld map of Marioland / Warioland. There is also one house where you can get different power up items in a giant slot machine if you have collected enough of coins.
It feels so silly to explain how you play a Mario game since everyone who even bothers to read this review should have already played at least one Mario game, but I'll do it anyway. All stages have a few things in common, they all got coins that you can collect, enemies which most of them gets killed if Mario lands on them after he have jumped, and finally there is one goal. As you might have already guessed, Mario has to reach the goal in order to complete a stage and advance further in the game. Mario can crush blocks that are everywhere on the stages and find a power up item if you're lucky.
The first power up item is something that can be found in just about every 2D Mario game, the classic mushroom. If Mario touches one of these mushrooms, then he will grow a few sizes and also be able to take one hit more hit from the enemies before he losses one life. The mushroom is a standard power up item and if Mario already have touched a mushroom when he crushes another block which has that power up item then a fire flower will appear instead. If Mario touches this item then he will be able to fire small fireballs at the enemies. If Mario gets hit when he's using this power up item, then he will transform back to his mushroom-only self again.
The new power up item in this game is the carrot. If Mario touches one of these then he will transform into Bunny-Mario, and now he can use his bunny ears to glide down from heights similar to the Raccoon tail in Super Mario Bros 3 and the cape in Super Mario World. However this item can't unlike the two others be used as a weapon and the carrot also don't give Mario the ability to fly.The last power up item is the heart, which is the same as the classic green mushroom in many of the other Mario games. It just gives Mario an extra life if he touches it.
Something that's really creative in this game are the six different worlds, as they aren't the classic fire world, winter world e.t.c. Instead each world can be really different from another. One world is a tree world which is just like it sounds like, a couple of stages that takes place outside and inside different giant trees. Another world is a Halloween based world called Pumpkin world, where Mario has to face different undead creatures. My favourite world only had two stages, but it was a Space themed world, where Mario even wears a space suit. There was no gravity in these stages which made it even more unique. Each world ends with a boss fight in the end of the last stage, and after he's dead Mario receives one of the six golden coins as a reward.
The game has a save feature which can be used any time. All you have to do to save is to press all the buttons on the same time and the game will save and restart. The only thing Nintendo forgot to fix about this function is that it's now very easy to cheat. If you save directly after you have died, then the game will restart and you can start all over on the stage you died on, except that you didn't lose your life. Also there's never a clue how to save in the game so I think it would have been better if there was some kind of save point in the game where you could save instead.
Aside from that the save feature could confuse a few there are some other small flaws that prevents Super Mario Land 2 from being the ultimate Mario game. First of all it's really to hard sometimes to control Mario's landings. This is especially a problem on the final stage. Another thing is that while I understand why it's a short game since it's on a handheld but that's no excuse for having no kind of challenge at all. For example each boss only needs to have 3 hits to drop dead. Finally it just feels evil that if you lose all your lives on the last stage, then you lose all your golden coins and you have to fight all the bosses again. Finally even if Wario has a certain charm, he sure is no Bowser if you guys know what I mean....
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins could use some more attention than what it gets today. While the original Super Mario Land has more classic feeling, Super Mario Land 2 was a huge step in evolution and is almost like a portable Super Mario World. If you like any other of the Mario games but haven't played this one, then maybe you should give it a try. All in all, Nintendo has once again managed to make a great game for their No 1 mascot.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (EU, 01/28/93)
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