Super Mario Bros. 3, a classic among classics and my personal favorite game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Its so good that it has become a legend unto itself. It is commonly seen on, “Best Games of All Time,” lists and even spawned its own television series. It took the concept of Mario and perfected it.
Ok, enough gushing, its time for a little history lesson. To begin with, there was Super Mario Bros. a game that needs no introduction. It was packaged with the NES and is a large part of the system’s success. Then came Super Mario Bros. 2 which was actually a different game that was redone to include the Mario characters. While it was a good game, it just didn’t reach the heights of the original because it didn’t really play like the original. However, when Mario 3 was announced and shown in the movie, “The Wizard,” all the game nerds of the late 80’s went crazy. From what i can imagine, the hype for it must have been enormous. Of course, the game was released and it actually exceeded all the hype. Something that very very few games have ever done.
Now to move onto the game itself, let us start with the way the game looks. Actually, look at the cartridge itself, it says a LOT about the game itself. Yea, its Mario with a raccoons tail and ears, yeah, not really a good representation of the game itself so lets move on into the game. As you can see, the game itself looks pretty good, especially when compared to the older games in the NES library. The character models look fantastic and are fairly detailed. A lot of the worlds are rich with detail as well. However, i can’t help but point out that some of the levels are rather bland as a whole, there isn’t a whole lot of color depth overall. Especially when you compare it to other games like Duck Tales. But it is also worth noting that the game is enormous and is so much fun that you really don’t thing too much about the graphics. And, in my personal opinion, if you are a serious gamer, graphics should not matter. It all comes down to game play.
Before i go any further, i have to explain how large this game is. There are 8 worlds and within each of these worlds are several levels. Each world has different gimmicks that need to be conquered, such as the 4th world known as Giant Land. Here all the enemies are giant and are thus a bit more difficult to eliminate. Other tricks can include ice that causes Mario to slide around or having to solve mazes in order to get through the level. In the middle of each world are castle levels that you must go through. At the end of these, you unlock a door that leads to the later half of the level. And at the end you come to a castle where a toad will tell you that the king has been transformed into some form of creature. From here you go onto an airship and face the hazards there. At the end you fight one of Bowser’s children. Each of them has its own unique gimick as well and can lead to some very fun battles! These add tons of variety to the game and guarantee that it never gets boring. By the time any of it gets dull you will have completed the world and moved onto another trap. The basic principle of the this game is the same as with the other Super Mario Games, try to get to the end of the level before the time runs out. You collect coins or power ups by hitting blocks with your head…yeah that makes a lot of sense, Mario bashes his head into a block to get a coin, and not just a couple, but hundreds if not thousands of them. On the subject of power ups, there are a lot more this time around. Lets look at them in detail shall we?
First you have the mushroom, yes a mushroom, that Mario eats and grows into Super Mario, which is basically a taller version. You now have two hit points before you die. The next upgrade that you are likely to find is the leaf, this allows you to use raccoon Mario. Which is neat because if you fill your power meter by running you can eventually fly. This allows you to easily traverse a level or even find secrets up in the sky! Other power ups include the Fire Flower, which allows our hero to throw his trademark fireballs. There is the frog suit which allows for faster swimming, the tanooki suit which allows Mario to turn into a statue and ground pound and the hammer bros suit which can be used to throw hammers.
Another major change between this and the first game is in the enemies. There are many many more this time around and some of them require different strategies to defeat. Example, the Spiny’s they have spikes on their back making it impossible to kill them by jumping on them. So thus, you have to try different strategies or just simply avoid them.
Finally, the last thing to talk about in the game play department are secrets. This game has hundreds, there are hidden areas in almost every level, special upgrades to find and even the secret whistles. There are several levels that have warp whistles that allow you to pass through to a different world. A couple of these whistles were actually shown prior to the game’s release one was actually in the movie mentioned earlier. Others were located in magazines and even advertisements.
Overall this game has some amazing game play, but In my opinion, there are some flaws. First off, this game is very difficult in the later levels. It is very unforgiving and presents situations where you have to have perfect timing to get past. It can lead to some frustration. Another thing that i hate is the whole momentum of Mario’s jump. When you jump and land, Mario will take a few steps. So you constantly have to push the back button in order to stop Mario from running straight off the edge and to his death. Its annoying and can make some situations in the game very difficult, especially when the platforms are small. Really though, these are minor issues and don’t take away from the game too much. Its just sad that it can take away from a game that is so close to perfection.
Yeah, i still gave it a 10. Just because it is the game play is so perfect! The only issues that I have are of personal taste.