Join us as we review all the SNES Classic Mini Edition games in chronological order!
Whenever a new console allows Nintendo to tap into the extra processing power, it traditionally funnels those extra resources into its game mechanics. First, he does what he can to make the dreams of his series come true, for example, “We’ve always wanted Mario to ride a dinosaur, so now that we have the means to do so, Mario is going to ride a bloody dinosaur.” Once this is done, Nintendo uses what is left to improve the graphics and sound of a game.
That’s probably why Super Mario World for the SNES isn’t a very fancy game, but its depth is unmatched by other action titles. That’s something I noticed already in the early 90’s, when my friends were raving about the soaring “Great!” From Sonic the Hedgehog. Factor and Mario World were dragged through the mud in the Sega Genesis commercials.
“That is not right!” Said. Yes, Mario World is slower than Sonic, but that’s because Mario World is all about careful movement and exploration. It is a game that rewards players who go off track. Sonic is more about platforming and speed. “
Unfortunately, my classmates were too irritated by the 16-bit Console Wars to heed my wisdom. I wasn’t executed or exiled, but a Sega fan once threw a block of wood at me in the Wood Shop, and I guess that sucks.
Ah, but the magic of hindsight allows me to smile in those days. I was right. I was totally right. Better yet, Super Mario World is a gem of a game, and I did the right thing by defending it. Now if only he had channeled that quasi-religious fervor to end world hunger or something useful.
Given the critical and commercial success of Super Mario Bros 3 for the NES, few people would have envied Nintendo for revisiting the Mushroom Kingdom with a brighter color palette. But Super Mario World takes us away from familiar fields and into Dinosaur Land, a prehistoric kingdom inhabited by “dinosaurs” whose strange biology is more suggestive of dragons and other fantastic creatures.
Nintendo’s decision to make Mario World so different from its predecessor is ultimately the correct one. Mario World feels less rigid than Mario 3. Its map offers more exploration opportunities, its levels are longer, and there are a host of new challenges to tackle. Although I must admit that initially it was a bit unpleasant to observe how different Mario World looked and played alongside Mario 3. “Capes?” Said. “What, Nintendo, are you too cool for raccoon tails now?”
But when I first played Mario World, I quickly learned that Nintendo wasn’t trying to alter its past image; I just had a bunch of new ideas that I wanted to try. In addition to levels that ask you to stick to Mario’s classic set of rules (move left to right and avoid enemies and pits until you reach the final goal), you must tackle new and tricky terrain like Ghost Houses. These haunted mansions are full of illusions and secrets, not to mention the restless souls capable of killing Mario with one touch. Unlike Mario 3, no all the ghosts of Mario World are hampered by a glance. Survival requires elegant footwork.
Fortunately, Mario has a new set of moves and power-ups to help him survive his “vacation” in Dinosaur Land. The SNES controller has six action buttons compared to the simple NES “A” and “B” buttons, and Nintendo puts the additional inputs to work by giving Mario two different flavors of jumping. The “B” jump is Mario’s trusty vanilla jump that allows him to clear tall buildings and stomp weak foes like Goombas and Koopas, but it’s the new spinning jump “A” that will get you out of a tight spot again and again. The “A” jump can take out enemies that would otherwise survive a normal stomp, it can break bricks under Mario’s feet, and skilled players can even use it to bounce off spiked enemies that would otherwise pierce the soles of the feet. Mario boots.
While your initial reaction to Mario having two types of jump could understandably be “Who needs it? Why can’t Nintendo keep things simple? ”Mario World does an excellent job teaching players about Mario’s new skills. One of the first levels of the game features a pipeline that can only be accessed if a fired-up Mario uses his new spinning jump to clear a path. When you enter the pipeline, you find a Dragon Coin as a reward (each level has five Dragon Coins, and collecting them all gives you a 1UP). Alternatively, you can skip the pipe entirely and keep crossing the surface of the level. You rarely find a moment in the game when using the spinning jump is mandatory.
In fact, much of the appeal of Mario World lies in the fact that it can be as simple or as complex as you like. Like most Mario games, it is possible to finish the games in a few minutes by using warps or, in this case, traveling along the “Star Road” that acts as a tesseract between the game worlds. But even to access Star Road, you must try the myriad secrets Mario World has on hand. Levels marked with a yellow dot contain one exit, but Ghost Houses and levels marked with a red dot have two or more exits. Alternative exits open up new paths, new levels, and the aforementioned Star Road. Will you go straight to Bowser in ten moves or less? Or will you unearth all 96 exits and discover the secrets they offer? It’s up to you.
If you intend to discover every corner of Dinosaur Land (which is the right thing to do), you’ll want to enlist the help of Mario’s dinosaur friend Yoshi. Yoshi can grab and swallow enemies with his tongue, and enemies he cannot digest are spat out like fire or projectiles. One hit makes him run, but Yoshi’s eggs are plentiful, and explorers can even find different colored baby Yoshis with innate powers.
Yoshi is a big part of what makes Mario World a special game. Sure, Mario can do the job on his own, but cavalry is forever cooler than foot soldiers. Additionally, Yoshi can tread dangerous terrain, and riding him allows Mario to take a hit from an enemy without losing his power-up (or life). You can also jump off your back to gain a bit more height during a jump. This is especially useful when you are, ahem, in danger of falling into a well.
That said, Mario’s scaly companion is also the source of one of Mario World’s few shortcomings: finding regular power-ups doesn’t feel as rewarding as it did in older Mario games without Yoshi. The fire flower, once the pinnacle of power-ups, is a joke in Mario World. While the Fire Flower turns Mario into an ironic underwater fire king in Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros 3, Yoshi’s versatility makes him flabby.
Once again, however, Mario Word is reluctant to make do anything. You don’t have to activate the Switch Palaces that close some gaps and make the game easier. You don’t have to use Yoshi; you can leave it bouncing off the question block you found it in for all eternity, if that’s your preference. You don’t have to search for Star Road, or find all the secret exits, or conquer every mini-fortress, or take all the Koopa Kid out of their shelter.
No, you do not I have to do some of that, but it probably will. Super Mario World is a game that knows you’ll start with a bite, and it’s ready to serve you up when you inevitably decide to jump in for the full meal.
Plus, it’s still better than any of the Sonic the Hedgehog games for the Sega Genesis.
“But Nadia, before you said that the Sonic and Mario games are totally different”
Is Super Mario World the best Mario game of all time? Civilizations will go to war before we have a definitive answer, but for now, we can safely classify it as one of the best platformers ever made.