Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review #304: Super Mario Land 2 - 6 Golden Coins(Virtual Console)

 Ain't that a descriptive title!
 Now this, THIS is a sequel. I had a bunch o' problems with the first Super Mario Land, and it seems as I was not the only one, since this game was made from the ground up, doing away with most of the things Super Mario Land introduced. This game is bigger, better and longer than the previous game, and while I'd be hard pressed to call it a Gameboy Classic, it's a decent entry into the Mario Franchise.

 But do you know what's the biggest draw to this game is? Wario made his first appearance here! Oh boy, he took over a Castle, protected by a gate that can only be opened by collecting six golden coins(Title drop!), and it's up to Mario to stop him. Super Mario Land didn't really feel like a Mario game, and it seems they took notice, as now you'll come across Goombas, Winged Goombas, Koopa Troopas that behave like Koopa Troopas, and Mario even gets his block-breaking spin jump from Super Mario World. Even then, the game does its own thing, which makes it stand out against other Mario games. There's six 'Zones', each one with its own theme, made up of 3 to 4 levels each, and you'll do stuff that Mario's never done before, like trekking inside a whale, wearing an astronaut suit on his adventure through the moon and even do battle against the three little piglets and coming across giant ants. This is not your average Mario adventure.
 Being so different was something I held against Super Mario Land, but why am I so unconcerned with it this time? Because the previous game had wonky physics that made it rather annoying to play. If you don't get the jumping right on a platform game, you are doing something wrong. Physics-wise, this game doesn't feel like traditional Mario either, but at least it's fun. Some things might throw you off, like the game not freezing for a second when you get a power up, but it's something you get used to. Jumps feel looser than on traditional Mario games, but it's nothing you can get used to. Graphically the game was made from the ground-up, featuring large sprites that make jumping not feel like a chore, and it's not a walk in the park either, the final level can get quite nasty! And you know what, the game even brings its own ideas to the table. For instance, you can travel to any of the six zones at any point in time, so you can clear them in any order you wish, and it has its own original obstacles, like floating pools of water to aid you, or hinder you, through gaps. Or a stage in which you can use a bubble to float... but must avoid birds that want to pop it! It's a very different Mario game, and this time around, it's a good thing.

 There's three different power ups in this game: The mushroom, that makes you grow large and lets you take an extra hit, the fire flower, represented by a feather on Mario's hat, that lets you shoot projectiles and the radish, represented by bunny ears on Mario's hat that lets him hover. Interestingly, I felt as if each power up was akin to different difficulties. Small Mario can have a tough time, since he can only take one hit, and even Large Mario will have some trouble clearing stages. The Fire Flower lets you do away with most enemies, so you need only concern yourself with jumping, while the Radish turns most stages into a joke. Luckily(Or unluckily) Radishes aren't all that common. That said, the game isn't particularly hard, the only time I somewhat struggled was during the last level, previous stages don't really prepare you for the new obstacles you must deal with. Still, it was a fun stage!
 The game lasts little over an hour, probably even less if you are good at it. I wasn't expecting much of this game, but taking into account that it's a handheld game, and one that improved on its sequel in so many ways... It's a really decent Mario game that's worth giving a try, even if just to check out Wario's first videogame appearance!
6.0 out of 10

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