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Super Mario Advance

Before There Were Goombas

By Chad Serrant

Staff Writer

‘Super Mario Advance’

Made for Gameboy Advance

Published by Nintendo


When Nintendo releases a new console system, a Mario game is always released. Its mission is simple: show what the system is capable of, and provide some fun, too. Usually, the fun part appears in the form of an all-new, exciting adventure that will open your eyes to the future of video gaming. Super Mario World on the SNES showed how large a world could fit on a tiny cartridge. And Super Mario 64 taught players to explore and backtrack to previous worlds. Super Mario Advance, however, uses some of the older Mario games to demonstrate its power.

Basically, Super Mario Advance contains Super Mario Bros. 2 and Mario Brothers (not to be confused with Super Mario Brothers, by the way). These two games are ... well, they aren’t anything like the other Mario games.

Super Mario Bros. 2 is the most irregular Mario game of the bunch. Mario and his friends stumble upon the dream world of subcon, where the evil Wart has taken control.

Two things that make this game different from the other Mario games is that you can choose between four characters (Mario, Luigi, Toad, and the Princess, Peach), each with different strengths and skills. Mario is average, Luigi jumps high, Toad can grab things faster, and Peach can float. There are some stages that are easier for some characters to handle than others.

The other big difference is that you attack enemies by throwing things at them. Stomping does nothing. This game takes the most fundamental attack in platform games, and throws it out the window. It is a great game, but was it really the best title to use for a launch title?

Also included on this is Mario Brothers, the first Mario Brothers game, before there was a Bowser, before there were goombas. It was the day when Mario and his brother Luigi were Italian-Americans living in Brooklyn working as plumbers. There aren’t any alligators in the sewers, but there are a lot of weird lookin’ creatures in it. You have to knock them from below to turn them over, then kick them. With a large variation of enemies and a frenzied pace, this game is great for people who want to run around for a small amount of time.

The frenzied pace is also great for multiplayer. With one cartridge, you can play with up to four people, either cooperatively or competitively. Either mode will keep you on your toes as you try to beat your friends to the points.

As I said before, Super Mario Advance is supposed to demonstrate the power of the Game Boy Advance, and it does. In Super Mario Bros. 2, when you throw things, they rotate. You can also notice rotational effects when you enter the magical pots. The background features a lot of rotating gears and a strange ferris wheel. Many enemies are huge and will scrunch under your weight if you jump on them. This game shows a lot of rotation and scaling.

There is also a musical improvement. The background music sounds as good as it did in the Super NES version. And the characters have voices. People have various opinions on the voices. You see, they seem to have a phrase for every possible maneuver: jumping, getting energy, taking damage, losing a life, completing a stage, walking, eating, sleeping, writing essays ... sorry, I trailed off. The point is, they won’t shut up. That, and Toad has a very shrill voice. Very. The voice he had in Mario Kart 64 was a lot more enjoyable than this. In the end, you will find the voices charming yet annoying or obnoxious. Take your pick.

I’m a little concerned about the game selection for this launch title. I don’t know why, but I was hoping for more than Super Mario Bros. 2 and Mario Bros. Maybe I expected a new adventure. Or maybe I hoped that they would put all of the old Mario games on one cartridge, like they did in Mario All-Stars. Or maybe it’s because I like Super Mario Bros. 3 more. For newbies, this will be a great game that shows how varied platform games can be. But for those who have played these games already, this is not worth the purchase.