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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
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Game Profile
Game Boy
GENRE: Platformer
PLAYERS:   1-4
June 11, 2001
Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Bros. 3DS

Super Mario All-Stars

Super Mario Galaxy 2

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

More in this Series
 Written by Alan Rumpf  on July 26, 2001

Review: Well I guess it's okay to take a little time off before my social demise upon the release of Super Mario Bros. 3

Doki Doki Panic was originally a game that involved pulling up plants, eggs, and even enemies themselves to use as weapons. When Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in Japan, it was decided that it was too hard, and American children would not be able to appreciate it. (SMB 2 in Japan is known as the Lost Levels here in the US). So, the big ?N? decided to release a modified version of Doki Doki Panic to the here in the states, putting Mario, Luigi, Princess, and Toad as playable characters. With the addition of these four characters the title could now be called a Mario game, and SMB2 was released in the United States, as we all know it today. Now beam forward a decade, and releasing side-by-side with the Game Boy Advance is an update of this classic game. Titled Super Mario Advance, Nintendo has made some minor changes to the US version of Super Mario Bros. 2 and threw in Mario Bros. for good measure.

This game features the exact same gameplay that you are use to if you have played the original before. The only significant change is the use of the R-button. While A still jumps, and B still pulls, throws and dashes, the R-button has a new and clever roll. In the old version of Super Mario Bros. 2 you could not dash and hold an object at the same time, because if you pressed B to dash, you would have to throw the object. In this advanced version, if your character is clutching something, you can press down the R-button and sprint while holding an item. This comes in very handy at certain times, and going back and playing the old game will make you feel like you have lost a bit of control. The L-button adjusts screen view, because of the proportions on the GBA's screen compare to a 4:3 aspect ratio of a TV.

The gameplay is simple; it involves picking up items and throwing them at enemies or other objects. Wherever there is a weed you can pull it up and you may get a vegetable to throw, a secret enemy, a heart, a potion, or the nasty surprise of a bomb with a short fuse. Everyone basically is down in one hit except for bosses. Also bombs will help solve some puzzles by blowing away walls. You can use potions to warp to inverse world for a brief period to see if you can find a mushroom to increase your heart meter. You start out each level with two heart containers, and can get up to four. When less than two of your hearts are filled, you will become small and the next hit you will die. Don't fear though, you start out with five lives and can earn more through one ups or the bonus slot machines at the end of levels. Also because of the portable nature of the game, there is a save and continue feature to trek through the seven worlds.

Speaking of the seven worlds, the first six are broken down into three stages each with the exception of the seventh world, which only has two stages. At the end of each stage there is a mini-boss. This boss is the now, well known, Birdo. While she gets tougher as the game progresses, you can beat her each time my hitting her with three objects (whether they be stools or the eggs she shoots out is your choice). Also at the end of each world is a main boss. Each world has its own boss, however they are all defeated in a similar manner. These bosses also get tougher as the game progresses, and the final boss is downright nasty.

The visuals of this game are exactly as you remember them from the original game. With a few minor level changes, and few different looking enemies (huge shy guys scared me the first time I saw them), the game doesn't really impress in terms of graphics. When looking at a game like THPS 2 or Rayman Advance, you start to wonder if they could have spent a little more time making the graphics sharper. Still, it has been minimally updated from the original, and looks very nice in some locations. Because of the powerful GBA, luckily there is no slow down to be found anywhere in the game. The FPS stays at a constant rate, and gameplay is as fluid as you could ask for.

While the visuals may have improved, the audio seems to have has declined. No new musical tracks were added, and while the old tunes do bring back nostalgic memories, they get stale very fast. Also, perhaps one of the most annoying things is that the four characters have sounds for just about every single action they perform. While Mario, Luigi, and Peach are bearable (Mario perhaps even likable), the voice of Toad is just awful. I suspect whoever did the voice of Toad was on mushrooms himself. It's the most annoying irritating thing I could ever imagine, although don't worry, you shouldn't need to play as him anyway.

Also included in this Game Pak is Mario Bros. Classic. This game is actually three games in itself. Based on the original Mario Bros. arcade game, (if you've never played, think of the battle mode in Super Mario Bros. 3) there are actually three modes of gameplay. Mario Bros. Classic is basically you alone, bumping and kicking enemies away until you reach the end of a level, then moving on to the next and see how far you can get. Multiplayer Classic Mode is a mode that can be played when each player has a Game Pak, Game Link Cable, and a GBA. In this mode you cooperate to defeat all the baddies you can and try to advance to the highest levels. In Battle Mode, which only requires that one player has a Game Pak, you fight each other and the first one to collect five coins wins. This is the game in which POW blocks were innovated and is much fun to play. It gives you the classic arcade feel of Mario gaming, and is very satisfying as well as dishing out an enjoyable multiplayer experience.

Once you've beaten the SMB 2 there isn't that much to do in the game anymore. The one exception is that in each level there are five hard to attain coins. While I'm unsure what this unlocks, (it's extremely challenging) it is something you can go back and do. (Similar to the challenge mode in Super Mario Bros. DX) Mario Bros. Classic is basically what gives this game staying power. You can always play the one player mode to see if you can attain the highest score, and if that's not your bag, battling with friends will prove satisfactory for quite some time.

Bottom Line
I received this game in the GBA bundle I ordered at launch. To be honest I was looking forward to THPS 2 a lot more, but once I started playing SMA I really got into it. I wasn't expecting much, and I was never really a huge fan of SMB2. After playing Super Mario Bros. DX for GBC for the past year or so straight, I was really skeptical as to whether I would like this port of SMB2. While it is no way near as great as Super Mario Bros. DX, it is still a decent title and has proved to be a lot more fun that I had originally expected. I wish there had been many more features, as there were in DX, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. I still have to work my groove into playing more Mario Bros. Classic, but I'm sure this game will not be collecting dust just because I have beaten the original game. It's fun to pick up and play, and even though it's a port of an old game, it will leave a refreshing feel in the palm of your hand.

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