Review by MTLH
A Super Mario Land game that actually deserves the name.
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins was released in 1992. Like its predecessor, the game was not produced by Shigeru Miyamoto but rather by Gunpei Yokoi, a man better known for his contributions to the Metroid series. The first Super Mario Land, while being a decent game in its own right, suffered somewhat from being a tad unimaginative and mediocre. It may have been a platformer that featured Mario but it simply wasnt a Mario platformer. How does the sequel fare?
Super Mario Land 2 looks very pretty. The visuals are a huge improvement over those of its predecessor and seem to be based somewhat on Super Mario Bros. 2.
Mario and his enemies are animated and detailed very well. Rotating spiked pile drivers and swirling umbrellas form good examples. The environments also look good, sporting a fair share of detail and variation. The only real complaint is the occasional slowdown that appears when a lot happens on screen. This is rare enough however, for it not to become too bothersome.
As with the visuals, the audio has also been greatly improved. The score is varied and catchy and while it may not be the traditional Mario fare, it certainly sounds like it is. The sound effects are very familiar however and simply sound good.
After having defeated Tatanga, Mario returns home only to discover it has been taken over by a new enemy named Wario. In order to get his property back, our hero must gather six coins to gain entry to the castle and subsequently evict the intruder. This plot may not amount to much but at least it doesnt feature a kidnapped princess.
Super Mario Land 2 is a platformer akin to Super Mario Bros. 3 and World. There is a map which gives access to six worlds which in turn consist of a few stages each. The amount can vary. The Space Zone has two stages for example while Tree Zone has five. Not every stage has to be completed in order to finish the game and there are also secret areas to uncover.
The stages sport a good deal of variation, offering a lot of different gameplay mechanics. Besides having different themes for the six worlds, no two stages play exactly alike. Super Mario Land 2 is full of little ideas and concepts, most of which are realized very well. This is the kind of attention that was missing from the first Mario iteration for the Game Boy.
The platforming itself is done well. Mario is a very responsive and sharp character to control. He defeats his enemies in the time honoured tradition of jumping on their heads. Mario can furthermore use a few powerups. A flower lets him shoot fireballs and a carrot gives Mario a pair of bunny ears which enables him to fly.
Super Mario Land 2 is the kind of game that can be challenging yet also quite easy to finish. The overall difficulty isnt that high with only the last stage and the encounter with Wario being reasonably tricky. With a little perseverance and concentration, the game can probably be completed in a couple of hours. This is possibly due to the ease with which extra lives can be accumulated, especially when taking into account the casino where dozens of lives can be won. Another point would be the bunny ears which lets Mario fly past his obstacles, essentially granting him a carefree ride to the finish in a lot of the stages. Of course, the use of these features isnt compulsory.
Compared with its predecessor, the game has a much improved presentation. The visuals and sound are vibrant and varied and rank amongst the best the machine can offer.
This time the gameplay seems to be based more on Super Mario World, featuring an overhead map and several secret stages to find. It works well, with varied stages and a good assortment of different gameplay mechanics. It may not be as polished or elaborate as the games it takes its inspiration from but Super Mario Land 2 certainly is entertaining. It will not last all that long though, with a focused player flying through it in just a couple of hours. Even so, the game certainly improves upon its predecessor and this time actually feels like a Mario game.
OVERALL: a 8,5.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (EU, 01/28/93)
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