8.0

Super Mario Land review
Super Mario Land: Great GB game or just a useless dud?

The good:

- Tons of replay value
- Fun little bosses
- Great for speedruns
- Fun for pretty much anyone

Read full review for more

The bad:

- Sprites are too small
- Can get frustrating

Summary:

Super Mario Land. A great launch title for the GameBoy.
This game has some excellent features and awesome gameplay, but it does have a few bad points as well. We'll get into these with great detail.

The game has tons of replay value. You can complete this game and still play it again anytime, and not get bored of it. It's obviously going to get boring if you play it non stop, time after time, but I mean, you can play it three times in the same day and still enjoy the game so much.
The replay value really is a great bonus to the little cartridge, and makes this game worth any money you pay for it. You can buy this game from around 50p to £5 on eBay (about the same in dollars), the most expensive ones are boxed (collector's must-haves). You really should get one with a box if you have a little bit of change lying around, but you don't need it if you just want to play the game.

The levels differ in theme, though due to the GameBoy's 8 Bit handheld nature, they aren't going to be as detailed as Goldeneye 007 for N64 for example.
But they are very fun to play, with the first levels being as you'd expect for any Mario game, with other themes in later zones, like Egyptian, is just one example.
The maps aren't that long, but you can spend quite a bit of time on one map just trying to get as many points as possible. Though there is a time limit, and the seconds you have left go towards your score.
You'll get points for getting power ups (like the mushroom to transform Mario into Super Mario, then the flower to get to flame Mario etc.), you can also score points for bashing blocks, killing enemies and killing a boss.
The maps also have puzzly obstacles, that you sometimes need to play more than once to get right. They also get harder as you progress.
The obstacles include blocks, little thin platforms that you have to time your jumps to get just right, and the Mario-trademark green pipes.

The enemies in the game are typical Mario enemies at first, although when you progress to the around the second half of the game, the enemies are quite unknown, with enemies like tiki masks and fish. They can all be defeated with a quick tap on the head, or you can shoot a flame into them. Goombas are the easiest to kill. Also, you get ranging points when you defeat an enemy, and you'll get higher points if you jump and one, and the next, and so on, without touching the ground.

The power ups are normal Mario specialties. The mushroom for Super Mario, the flower for Flame Mario, and invincibility.
When you collect them, they also give you points, ranging depending on which power up you get.

At the end of the map, there are two holes/doors in a wall. The bottom one simply progresses you onto the next level, whilst the one at the top (which you usually have to conquer some obstacles before you get up to it) will get you onto a little bonus, where you have four rows, Mario moves quickly up and down them, along with a ladder, and at the end of each row, you have either a 1-Up, 2-Up, 3-Up or flower power up. You can watch carefully and time which reward you get. Once you have your reward, you progress to the next level.

At the end of every zone there is a boss that needs to be either killed or passed to get to the end of the zone, where Daisy either transforms into some weird monster and bounces away, or at the end, reunites with Mario.

Now it's time for a couple of downsides to the game.

The sprites are essentially too small. You really can't see much on the game, and it can be a little eye-straining if you're used to Super Nintendo Mario games, or Super Mario Land 2 for example. But if you're not really that bothered by this little pet-peeve, it doesn't affect gameplay majorly.

The game can get extremely frustrating and anger-inducing if you keep dying. This is a bad thing, as you tend not to concentrate as hard when you're angry, and you'll just get things wrong.

But those are probably the only couple of bad things about the game. The gameplay is good, the music isn't bad, but can get distracting or annoying after a while, and the game is extremely fun to play.
Pick up a copy if you like classic games, or if you like the sound of it. It really is a great game.

Thank you for reading.

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InsanityS Nov 7, 09
Nice review you have here. The small sprites can be an issue, as timing jumps in these older Mario titles can be tricky enough without the smaller visuals. However, good to see that you still consider it a good game.
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