The World is Yoshi - Mario Mania #4
Mario’s 16-bit debut serves as an introduction to Nintendo’s most legendary console and fleeting farewell to 2-D Mario platforming. And Yoshi.
New Worldly Enemies
Mario World is a mish-mash of enemies from all three Mario titles that graced the NES. Blooper is completely gone from Mario World, and the Hammer Bros. only appear in the form of a new enemy that is never seen outside of this game again; the rest of the enemy lineup returns from that game minus the spinning Fire Bars. From SMB2 USA, the Bom-Ombs, Pokey, Ninji and a Pidgit costume for Bullet Bills return. From SMB3, we got the Koopalings minus their magic wands, Dry Bones, a whole array of new Boo Buddies, and Thwomp. The rest are new, and like SMB3 before it, Mario World does not have a lot of returning enemies.
Occupation: Adorable dinosaur side-kick with the voice of Kozumi Totaka.
Career High-Point: First Mario side-kick to get his own console game.
Career Low-Point: Yoshi's Island turned him into a baby-sitter for an insufferable baby Mario.
The green dinosaur with a bottomless stomach and Mario’s most famous green sidekick not named Luigi. According to a Super Mario World player guide interview with Miyamoto, Yoshi was a concept he wanted in the original NES Mario titles, but the system’s lack of power and graphical capabilities hindered this from happening. Yoshi, in a sense, is a showcase for the SNES itself.
In Mario World, aside from a few alternate goal exits that require certain skills of his, many of the levels don’t take advantage of Yoshi’s abilities until later in the game. Levels designed around Yoshi’s unique skills arguably weren't put to great use until Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Disappointed that Giant Land in SMB3 didn’t have a giant Bullet Bill? Good news! Mario World introduces us to the Banzai Bill in the game’s first level. The bad news is he’s hardly a threat compared to his smaller cousins, which were notorious for making some levels annoyingly perilous.
Big Boos are just like Boos (but bigger).
A buzz-saw. It spins around. You mostly see it in castles.
Around and around and around.
Anyone who experienced the New Super Mario Bros games will recognize these mostly harmless turtles; the wire-gate climbing mechanic was first introduced in Mario World, as were the Climbing Koopas. Green and red shelled Koopas, like their walking brethen, do different things: greens move up and down at a slow pace, while reds move horizontally at a faster pace. Hitting them from above counts as jumping on them, so castles that have wire gates with Koopas can sometimes lead to an easy 1up and points. You can also smack them when they are behind the wire gate by hitting the “Y” button.
Hot Head and Li’ Sparky
Remember how in SMB3 the mini-fortresses had those Roto-Discs which were annoying sometimes?Whereas the Roto-Disc spun around a red circle, these electric(?) balls move around platforms in castles above bottomless pits. Hot Heads move at a slower pace but are bigger obstacles, while Li’ Sparky is vice-versa. Hot Head reappears as a usable item in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Monty and Mega Mole
These sunglasses-wearing moles are introduced in the second level of the game, where they pop out of the ground or platforms. The Mega Moles don’t appear until much later in the game; they can be jumped on and "ridden" as platforms over spiked pits.
Koopas that traded in their shells for blue wizard robes and a hat. Many will know this enemy as Kamek from Yoshi’s Island onward and Kammy Koopa from the Paper Mario series, but in their Mario World debut their main gimmick was transforming yellow blocks into different things with the power of their magic wand.
They are only seen in castles.
Big Bertha’s replacement nightmare of a fish is this spiny fish that can't even be killed by fireballs. He doesn’t appear often in the game, only during portions of levels that are mixed land/water levels. Think of these levels as World 3-3 from SMB3, only the platforms don’t raise up and down and Porcu-puffer doesn’t attempt to swallow you.
He will just continue to chase you à la Jaws. And combined with the worse swimming controls, pray you never accidently take a swim with him.
Like Banzai Bill, Rex appears in the game’s first level. You can technically call him a “goomba that transformed into a purple miniature T-rex”, but jumping on him doesn’t kill him, it comically squishes him into a smaller and faster dino. With Mario’s new spin jump attack, Rex can be killed with one hit.
Has not returned to the Mario series proper, but did make a cameo in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
Koopas without their shell look like bugs. They look around and climb back into their shell. The blue-footed kind can grab shells and kick them.
The shell-less Koopa got a much-needed redesign in Yoshi’s Island, where they looked normal… and wore boxers. In Mario 64, a shell-less Koopa wears a white tank top without shorts. Fashion changed pretty quickly in the '90s.
Buzzy Beetle’s red-shelled cousin copied their ceiling-walking ability from SMB3 and applied the Hot-Head’s logic of moving around solid surfaces. Spike Tops are commonly encountered in underground areas, and like Buzzy Beetles they can’t be killed by fire balls.
Spiked Ball and Chain
Spiked ball on a chain. It spins around and are mostly found in castles.
Spiked metal poles that pop from either the ceiling or floor in castles. While they have predictable patterns, this thing made navigating castles a hellish experience for me whenever I was Small Mario. In their return in the New Super Mario Bros. series and Mario 3D Land, they are worse and more terrifying.
The Mario series' most famous insect enemy made its debut in Mario World. He (she?) will turn angry if it is jumped on, moving faster and becoming invincible. Kill it with a cape spin, or while invincible.
Mario World has worse swimming controls, and Tezuka and pals thought adding Urchin into the mix would make things more fun. In fairness, Urchins move slowly and in predictable patterns, but they should still be approached carefully.
And the rest.
There are plenty of enemies in this game that should’ve been in newer Mario games, but somehow didn’t.
Enemies like Blurbs and Flyin’ Hammer Bros. had their unique charm, but were not terribly interesting.
Rip-Van-Fish, Sumo Bros., Chargin’ Chucks and the Fishin’ Lakitu were on the other hand very well-thought out and became quite famous after their debut, yet sadly never returned to the series proper.
Reznor: A boss fight against four rhinos on rotating platforms that spit fireballs. Don't tell me Miyamoto never did 'shrooms.