Super Mario World
Welcome to the very first edition of 2 Decades Late, my newest series for 1 More Castle. Those of you tuning in to hopefully see some sweet, savory N64 action may be a bit surprised. Fear not, though, the N64 Connoisseur series will alternate with this new series so you will see it back here in two weeks. The premise of 2 Decades Late is that as a child, I skipped the SNES generation. Not out of disinterest or anything, we just couldn’t afford it. That has left me in an interesting position. I have missed out on some of the greatest classics of our time. Super Metroid, Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger, all classic games that I have never played by way of not having the hardware when they came out, not to mention the great hidden gems of the system. Well, now that I am all grown up, I am able to go back in time and right these wrongs. I am going to bring you along on the journey as I play these games for the very first time and review them, even if I am two decades late.
I am a man who likes to start at the beginning. Every good Nintendo console starts with Mario. I was curious as to how they possibly followed up the glorious splendor that was Super Mario 3. Apparently, the princess can not even be allowed to use the restroom by herself without being captured. Seriously, at what point would you just have hired her round-the-clock armed security? That not withstanding, you are off on another adventure to find her. Gee, I wonder who could possibly be responsible for this atrocity? Yeah, it’s that Bowser guy. What a load of trouble he is. Off you go once more to defeat his minions and ultimately him to rescue the princess and restore Dinosaur Land back to its pre-Bowser state.
Like all Mario games of this era, this was the quintessential 2D platformer. It controlled flawlessly, even if it did suffer from Mario Foot, which is a mechanic I happen to enjoy. Any fan of the Mario series to that point would have felt right at home controlling Mario but at the same time would have had enough new elements to feel like they didn’t have a regurgitated rehash of the series. I, for one, really liked Mario wearing a cape to gain flight instead of the raccoon tail and ears from Super Mario 3. I mean, is he or is he not SUPER Mario? Time to give that man a cape. The thing that really got me about this game was how large they made this 2D world seem. It really broke free of the feeling that you were kind of framed into a game screen and did a very good job of conveying the idea there was stuff happening in other areas of the map that you couldn’t see and did not affect you as opposed to the baddies seeming to only come to life when you got into range.
Let’s not leave out the biggest thing for the series that is introduced in Super Mario World. Yoshi! Yes, Mario’s lovable little dino mount hatches here. What struck me as weird was how Mario hits the ? brick, a green polka dotted egg pops out, hatches a talking dinosaur and Mario’s reaction when every other reptile in the entire universe is trying to kill him is, “Yeah, seems legit. Let’s ride it!” I’m sure at the time, people were just excited for their first glimpse of Yoshi, but now that I am accustomed to him, this is an odd plot hole to me. Nonetheless, what Yoshi added to this game was phenomenal. Eating enemies Kirby style was a great addition to the game and it really piled on the gameplay value.
Has there ever been a Mario game with subpar sound? Exactly. An absolutely perfect soundtrack accompanies this game with great sound effects to match. From the moment you turned the game on, your ears made sure you were aware that this was a Mario game. Visually, the game was equally impressive. Mario’s first go at a 16-bit game was all kinds of pretty. The worlds were bright and colorful, the enemies were distinctive, the animations were fantastic, all of the art for this game was dripping with heart and soul from people who loved Mario and loved the franchise and it came out big time on screen.
When you launch a new console, your launch titles should show what your new hardware is capable of. Super Mario World knocked it out of the park and did exactly what Nintendo needed it to do. It set the tone for what many consider to be Nintendo’s best console with what many consider to be one of if not the best Mario game. A loose copy of this game goes for around $10 online right now which is the same price you will pay for it on the Virtual Console. As long as that is true, buy the cartridge. If you need me, I’ll be trying to make up for 2 decades of lost time.