Game: Super Mario Advance
System: Gameboy Advance
Release Date: 2001
Price: $29.99 or less


Super Mario Advance was the launch game for the spectacular Gameboy Advance, a system that continues to wow me. I admit that before marioadvance1.jpg (14936 bytes)GBA, I was not a huge fan of Gameboy games, mainly due to the fact shared by a lot of other people in that we couldnít see the games. I know every time I tried to enjoy a Gameboy game, it turned into a blurry mess whenever the screen scrolled. Gameboy Advance has solved that problem, and I can now enjoy games like Super Mario Advance. The game is actually a redux of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES, with new levels, new graphics and new enemies. Also, some of the game mechanics have been changed around a little. However, the surprising fact is all of the changes have only made an excellent game, truly spectacular. 

One of the biggest changes you notice immediately is the total revamp of the gameís graphics. Every character was remade almost from scratch, and totals frames of animation were changed. When Mario does a charge jump now, he doesnít just jump up higher, he does his trademark back flip from Super Mario 64. The princess looks more beautiful than ever, and Luigi is even more distinguished from his brother than usual. Itís clear a lot of work and effort went into making each of these characters much more three-dimensional than a standard platformer requires. 

marioadvance3.jpg (22425 bytes)The second biggest change is the addition of voices. Thatís right, Mario and company now talk more than any other Mario game to date. They will make comments about their performance, about items that appear and about characters like bosses. It completely pulls you into the game world, on a much deeper level than before. All of the voices are very nicely done, with the single exception of Toad. Iím sorry, but it sounds like Nintendo hired a talking cat and proceeded to squeeze it violently each time it spoke. Toadís vocalization is beyond horrible, and actually makes me avoid using him. The use of voices in Mario games appears to be a new standard, as Smash Bros. Melee makes heavy use of voices for all of the characters as well, especially the Mario universe ones. This is a very interesting fact, as it makes me wonder if Mario Sunshine will be similar to Final Fantasy X in that nearly all of the story unfolds in spoken dialogue rather than text. 

Along with the graphics and voices, there have also been changes in map layouts, enemies and other small tweaks. Since the original Mario Bros. 2 was actually a game called Dream Factory, that the Mario characters were added to, Nintendo has taken Mario Advance and went back and made the world seem more Mario-like, as in the original, there were very little elements that made it possible to tell you were playing a Mario game on first glance. The new additions I feel make it worth playing through again, even if youíve beaten the original Mario Bros 2 several times over. Itís fun to listen to the new comments between enemies (and bosses might I add), and see if any tweaks have been made to infamous enemies like Birdo. 

Mario Bros. Advance also features a new version of the original Mario Bros. arcade game. Released before Super Mario Bros. on the NES, Mario Bros. introduced Marioís brother, Luigi, as well as made Mario a plumber. Previously, in Donkey Kong, he seemed to be more of a construction worker (this is also evident in the ages old NES game, Wrecking Crew, in which Mario was a demolitions expert). The Mario Bros. game has been redone with better graphics, sounds and yes, voices as well. I find myself playing this one more than Mario Advance, simply for a quick Mario fix. 

Any true Mario fan needs to have this game. Actually, you need to have a GBA as well, as the system is the best portable offering in several years now. With the current price drop of both the GameBoy Advance to $69.99 and Super Mario Advance to only $29.99, thereís no reason not to buy both. I give this game very high ratings, and I have any gripes with it at all, itís that once youíre in Mario Bros., you have to turn the GBA off and on again to play Super Mario Advance. 

- NulShock

some screenshots courtesy of