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 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.
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
screenshots courtesy of www.nintendo.com