Game Over Online ~ Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2

GameOver Game Reviews - Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (c) Nintendo, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (c) Nintendo
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 90%
Date Published Wednesday, February 20th, 2002 at 06:33 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Nintendo has managed to release at least one Mario game with the launch of each hardware platform, with the exception of the GameCube. But to many, Luigi and Mario are almost(!) synonymous since a mere mention of their names will drum up a chain of fond memories. The two have been featured in some of the most innovative platform titles in the industry. Nowadays, the two terms innovation and platform are almost oxymoronic when put side by side. We have seen great refinements of late but the platform game continues to rest on old tricks like jumping puzzles or boss fights.

One of the first platform titles that I truly got into was the second edition of Super Mario on the NES, but my experience with it was on the Japanese version of the NES system. The third edition, which rolled out with the launch of the SNES system, was similar to what The Godfather Part II was to The Godfather; a better, longer and more refined version of its predecessor. Garnering all the acclaim that it did (including a feature movie starring the new title in North America), it comes to no surprise that Super Mario Advance 2 (SMA2) is a near verbatim translation. Critics will cite the amount of rehashing the GBA has seen but I'll talk about how useful this is later on. Suffice to say, with SMA2 is a formula so delicately constructed, you don't want to be meddling with the nuts and bolts. All of the original graphical splendor, audio effects and music are put inside the GBA platform. It is marvelous to most people how far miniaturization has come along since the heady days of the SNES system. Furthermore, it is hard to imagine that the system's launch and its correlated launch titles happened a decade ago when it feels almost like yesterday.

SMA2 is not a director's cut or special edition or even a remake of the title it was inspired from. The same charm that was present on the SNES version continues to be exuded on the GBA platform. The controls translate nicely and it is an easy title to get into. Some things have been added to the game to undoubtedly make it even more accessible. Before, you could only save your game on the world map; the place where you would go to choose which level you would tackle next. Now, you are given more lateral leeway in where you want to save and this lets anemic platform jumpers like me, tackle some of the more difficult levels. On the whole though, SMA2 and indeed, its predecessor on the SNES platform, was not an overly difficult title but it included a lot of secrets to persuade you to replay the title. SMA2 now lets you keep track of the number of secrets you discover, so as to facilitate those who are determined in finishing the entire corpus completely.

There is one gameplay addition the GBA edition manages to make. I regard the enhanced save as a technical graft on to the game. The addition of Luigi, on the other hand, allows you tackle levels in a different manner. The difference is not great. It is similar to what you get in Super Mario 2 where Luigi is able to float slightly longer on his jumps. Outwardly speaking, this doesn't mean Luigi gets to glide through the entire game. However, it adds a small and subtle distinction that can be capitalized by players who prefer the Luigi style of play.

Some will view the GBA rendition of SMA2 in disdain but the strength of the title's basic concepts and rudiments help make it an entertaining title on new hardware as well as in our new 3D-crazed era. In this respect, SMA2 represents a landmark title for the GBA. On the one hand, it is an elegiac tribute to the original developers of the title. On the other, it illustrates the GBA's increasing viability as a preserver of these canonical classics and addresses one of the quintessential problems of the gaming industry: old titles simply are not accessible to everyone, as old movies are. Those who enjoyed an inkling of SMA or this title's antecedent on the SNES platform, should not walk, but run to their nearest entertainment outlet to grab this gem. It's also a great exercise to introduce a younger generation to the title's charisma and instruct them of a time when gameplay was the only factor that really mattered.


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