Super Mario World review
A super world indeed, albeit a little easy

The good:

Excellent jump from 8-bit to 16-bit, Yoshi's first impression is one hell of an impression, simple yet effectively excellent gameplay, 2-player mode so people can take it in turns to see who finishes the game first, controls are very responsive and are easy to remember, graphics look excellent for the time (actually they still look excellent today), soundtrack was memorable and always fun to listen to mainly because it suited the levels, sound effects are simple but they work with what they're given, makes well-down attempts to be challenging at times and finally incorporates a save system!

The bad:

Difficulty level makes this game feel a bit too generous at times, as well as making boss battles shorter and easier than they should be.


Released by Nintendo in 1990 in Japan as Super Mario Brothers 4 and everywhere else in 91-92 as Super Mario World, this game was, much like Super Mario Brothers, a launch game which was often included with the purchase of a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, as well as one of the more tremendously critically acclaimed games for the system. I remember having played this game often when I was younger and had a blast with it, and even at 15 years old (at the time this review was written, 5th September 2008), I still have a lot of fun with the game. Unless you consider difficulty being a little easy at times and boss battles being anti-climatically short unless you don't know what you're doing flaws, this game is practically flawless.

This game plays a lot like Super Mario Brothers; the running, jumping, mushrooms, fire flowers and fireball shooting are all here, and so are Luigi, Peach and Bowser. Basically, platforming 101 carries on from there and Bowser's kids from Super Mario Brothers 3 also make a return as, once again, this game's bosses, although there are some notable differences in this game.

Not sure on what platforming 101 is? It's basically this: Platforms, jumping, enemies which are easily defeated, long difficult levels featuring the three elements, multiple worlds with each world having a few levels each and a boss at the end of each world, among power-ups. That seems fair enough, right? You'll need to learn and master these as this game will always swing these towards your direction. Most of this is self-explanatory, although there is one thing I should go a bit in-depth about: Power-ups!

There are four different power-ups, three of which you can use or keep for later, and one which is temporary: Mushroom, which makes you bigger; Fire Flower, which allows you to fire flowers if you press Y; Cape, which allows Mario to fly if he jumps after running at a fast enough speed or just let him spin and attack enemies by mashing Y; and finally, the Star, which gives you temporary invincibility. The latter is just temporary and used straight away, while the former 3 are a bit different. How? See the square on the top of the screen? Well, it won't fill with anything for a while. What does that have to do with anything? Get a power-up (Mushroom for example), then find another power-up (say, a Fire Flower). The Fire Flower will overpower the Mushroom, but there will be a Mushroom on that square

As per usual, the controls are easy to learn and remember. B allows you to jump and Y lets you dash. A allows you to do this spinning jump where you either kill 99% of enemies (not bosses) in 1 hit or break more fragile blocks you land on. Start, of course, pauses your game, and, as I've already mentioned, Select switches your power-up from what you had to what is in the box at the top of the screen.

But what of the structure of this game? To begin with, there’s a world map! It gives the game somewhat of a non-linear path, though the path is mostly linear. There are some other trails and they do end up helping you in the long run, which is pretty cool. However, it mostly served as something to host every big level on, and also to give you a visual hint of what to expect. Coolness.

In the actual levels themselves, each of them basically has you going from left to right, running and jumping your way up until the big bar at the end indicating the finish. It sounds quite simple... Because it IS simple! But it’s a good kind of simple! It’s of the pick up and play variety! However, there are many obstacles out to stop you in your mission to complete levels.

Such as the enemies - some of them are simple like Koopas who just walk side to side and just require some plumber to jump on them to defeat them. Then you have some more complex enemies like these football players that require you to press A and then land on them. They are the tougher enemies of the game. What they do is that they either rush into you or throw footballs and baseballs at you. There are other enemies with their own little quirks and weaknesses, so figuring them all out is essential to survival.

Then there’s the second primary obstacle – PITS! As per usual in any platforming game, if the enemies aren’t enough, you can be sure as hell that the pits will heighten the challenge of any level. Fall in any of these, and you’re dead, instantaneously!

The game also likes to chuck a few other obstacles your way, like platforms that fall after you’ve stood on them for a while, or swinging platforms. Doesn’t matter what it is; the point is, you have to overcome them to beat the level. Think of how to tackle a certain obstacle. Do you just rush in and get it done straight away, or do you think first? Tough questions, but the obstacles aren’t that tough to get past; they just seem so at first.

When you’re jumping to the moving horizontal bar at the end of a level and hit it, you finish the level and get a lot of points! Star points to be precise. These points don’t mean a lot...until you get 100 of them, then you get a free life. Same goes for the coins you find on the way; they don’t mean much (well, they give you a few points) until you get 100 of them, then comes a free life! Pretty cool, don’t you think?

And introduced to the Mario series...are these oval shaped coins scattered throughout levels. There are 5 per level. They tend to be in places that either seem hard to reach or are seemingly wherever you wouldn’t look, and if you get all 5 of those coins in a level, you get a free life! Just love the reward system for exploring parts of levels within the game...

Now, what is a Mario game without fights with Bowser and his stronger underlings? In Super Mario World, after completing a few levels, we get to a ghost house, which is filled with ghosts (as the name implies). These are usually the harder levels of a huge level in the game. They are usually puzzles that you have to solve using whatever was in the room while trying not to become a resident via getting killed by ghosts. No Bowser underling here, but there is in the other big landmark of all huge levels; the castles!

The castles were always the final level of every big level. These contained some tricky jumps and a lot of enemies, among a lot of lava...anyway, at the end, you fight a boss – one of Bowser’s kids! This would be so damn awesome...if they weren’t so antagonizingly EASY! They carry a simplistic pattern that you have to memorize and try to find a weakness in it. Admittingly it was hard at first, until you figure out what you’re meant to do. After defeating the boss, you moved on to the next big level.

One thing I really need to make mention of...is our lovable dinosaur buddy, Yoshi! It’s his debut in the Mario universe, and oh boy, does he make a good first impression or what!? Basically what he does, is that he eats enemies. If he eats a Koopa, then he can do different things with their undigested remains; green shells will have a green shell shot out and red shells allow Yoshi to spit fire, just for a couple of examples. They even come in varieties of colors – green, red, blue and yellow (just like the shells in the game), and each of them have their own abilities. Love to give you examples, but I’d have to kill you later...I mean you have to play the game for yourself if you want to figure it all out.

Visually, I think the SNES hit somewhere close to its limits before it even started. Despite a lack of texture, the amount of colors and lighting effects more than made up for it, plus it just looks good, OK?! In fact, until Donkey Kong Country, I’d go as far as saying these graphics are unmatched by most other SNES games.

In the audio department...As far as sound effects go, it’s your typical Mario-fare, but much better quality. There’s still ‘plops’ every time you jump on an enemy, and a whistling sort of ‘boing’ sound when you jump, but their overall quality has increased since their last outing on the NES. The soundtrack is also very well done. My favorites have to be the castle and the first levels’ songs, though I like the entire soundtrack in this game.

So what do you think? I think the game is very well done. It deserves all the love it gets from people because there aren’t many flaws to point out. It doesn’t have a huge challenge level, but sure as hell fun and addicting nonetheless! Proves that difficulty isn’t everything, though I guess if it was more difficult, the game would be perfect in my eyes...anyway, let’s sum everything up!

Gameplay – 9/10 – Too easy at times, but otherwise, it’s all executed flawlessly! Both fun and fair (maybe a little too fair), but has its share of challenging parts too
Graphics – 5/5 – Aesthetically pleasing. One of the first 16-bit outings for Nintendo and it proves to be very well done.
Sound – 5/5 – Catchy soundtrack and good for a first try with 16-bit soundtrack mixing.
Control – 5/5 – Controls are solid and slick. Very easy to pick up and play.

Overall – 4.8/5.0 – Despite small flaws, this game is a must-have for all Nintendo fans. If you don’t have this on SNES, Virtual Console or emulated, then there is something wrong with you (unless it just wasn’t your thing).

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0 thumbs!
InsanityS Dec 1, 08
I played the GBA version and it was pure awesome - probably best 2D Mario game. Great review Stalagmite.
0 thumbs!
vicrabb Dec 1, 08
I've played the SNES and the GBA version, it was a great game, unfortunately for me, I've never managed to finish it, probably that I'm too perfectionist when it comes to games. Unlocking all the secrets were too much for me, my flying technic isn't great
Anyway good review.
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