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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.

A Whole New Mario World

To many people, Mario World was considered a direct sequel to Super Mario Bros. 3. In reality, it’s a wholly different beast in terms of design and control. Its presentation was a big change and undoubtedly a step up: multi-layered scrolling backgrounds, no graphical flicker, only rare framerate slowdown, and sprite work much closer to the official artwork made it a very appealing and unique Mario game. Aside from a new take on flying and a brand new map system, Mario World is in no way a direct sequel to Mario 3.

Gone are the separate world maps from Mario 3; in Mario World you have one giant world map you traverse with different areas. There are levels with hidden stage exits, and depending on which exit you take, the map path will branch to a different level. Previous Mario games didn’t allow you to return to levels to find secrets you missed; in Mario World you can. Mario World wants you to explore and discover hidden secrets, because no longer are hidden areas just exclusive to coins or 1up Mushrooms, you may just find an exit to a harder level off the beaten path.

Despite having a smaller level count than Mario 3, Mario World is quite massive. Ghost Houses and Numbered Castles (and to an extent, the un-numbered ones) replace the Mini-Fortresses and Airships of Mario 3. The four Switch Palaces serve a dual purpose: their first room will allow for an easy 1up (most of the time) and activating the giant “!” colored switch fills in colored blocks that serve as either helpful platforms to hidden exits or to an item. Completing this new level type allows you to save your game up to that point, which was a very welcome feature to me. Another welcome feature: mid-way level markers; following a death, you'll start a level over from these points (instead of the very beginning).

All those unique power-ups from Mario 3 were stripped away for a more streamlined approach. Replacing the Raccoon Leaf is the Cape Feather, which grants Mario a yellow cape and allows him to fly. The only other three new item is the P-Balloon, which makes Mario bloat up and float slowly upwards for some time; this item in general is seen mostly in hidden rooms and in only one level later in the game is it actually required. Dragon Coins are five collectable coins in each level that give you a 1up when all five are found. The last new one is the 3up Moon, which is a rarity in the entire game but gives a healthy dose of extra lives when needed.

The series mainstay items return, though with a few differences: fire balls turn most enemies into coins, and going on a starman-induced killing spree this time around will earn extra lives. Replacing the end-of-goal mini-game from Mario 3 is the Tape Goal gate. Hitting the tape will grant you Star Points; collecting one hundred will allow you to partake in a Mario-ized Tic-Tac-Toe game for 1ups.

Also notably added to the Mario series is the Quick Item Box. Collecting a power up while in any Super Mario form will cause the item to be stored in a hollow blue box sitting in the HUD. If you receive damage or press the Select button, the item will fall slowly from the box to the playing field.

While Mario World is considered a favorite for many people, it has not aged as well as Mario 3 did to me. While the emphasis on exploration is fun and flying is a blast, sometimes the stages drag out longer than they should last and the cape can let you easily bypass many of the levels in the game.The Koopaling battles seemed to be a downgrade, some borderline on annoying (Larry and Iggy’s), and some were just pathetically easy (Roy, Ludwig and Morton). Then there is Yoshi; while his swallowing gimmick is used to unlocked a few hidden paths, he feels very underutilized.

Super Mario World as a whole controls pretty well. The running and jumping portion of the game still play normally, but stomping on enemies has a new quirk: several enemies in the game can knock you back after you jump on them. It may show off a more advanced physics engine and make for livelier platforming, it can sometimes be very cheap. There have been moments I jumped onto a Chargin’ Chuck and ended up being bounced back into an enemy. The swimming controls are even worse than they were in Mario 3; Mario feels like he’s swimming through goo and he sinks faster then before. Be prepared to mash the ‘B’ button a lot in these levels.

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Nick DiMola Director

08/21/2012 at 01:44 PM

Time to stir up a sh*tstorm!

Super Mario World > Super Mario Bros. 3

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

08/21/2012 at 02:03 PM


Angelo Grant Staff Writer

08/21/2012 at 02:52 PM

I think both titles are equally unique and special in their own way.

(vote for me!)

Nick DiMola Director

08/21/2012 at 03:45 PM

True, but Super Mario World is both more unique and more special. SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

08/21/2012 at 05:08 PM

The music is what tips me off. SMW's soundtrack is just as dull as the soundtrack for the NSMB games. In essence, it's not fun to play if you don't have a good beat to go along with.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

08/21/2012 at 03:09 PM

*kicks Angelo down the green pipe* THIS IS MADNESS!!!

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