Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Review)

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Everyone knows about Star Wars, the series is considered by moviegoers the world over to be the perfect blend of action, science fiction and epic storytelling. Naturally, games came out to cash in on the license, some were amazing such as Battlefront, others not so much (Masters of Teras Kasi) Thankfully, I can say that there is a trilogy of games on the Super Nintendo that not only does the series justice but may be the best Star Wars games out there.

Sadly, I have only been able to play through one of them and that is Return of the Jedi. The game starts with the daring rescue of Han Solo from Jabba’s palace and ends with the destruction of the Death Star. All the scenes from the movie are  lovingly recreated and even expanded upon. For example, you get to play a couple of stages as Wicket the Ewok who helped the rebels on Endor. In each stage, you are given a selection of characters, usually Luke, Chewie and Han but can also play as Leia. The controls are very simple to learn, each character can jump, attack with either a lightsaber or gun and use special abilities. For example Luke can throw his lightsaber, heal himself and even turn invisible. Unfortunately, these abilities drain his force meter very quickly, and when it is depleted, you will have to find items to replenish it. However, it isn’t just Luke that gets some neat attacks. Chewbacca, gets quite possibly the best ability in a video game. He spins around for a limited time, making himself invincible and dealing damage to anything foolish enough to get close. Not only that, but it regenerates extremely quickly and without the aid of special items. This, naturally, makes him a boss slaying machine.

Speaking of enemies, Super Star Wars has a wealth of adversaries to fight, each with their own tactics and strengths. For example, a stormtroopers usually shoots on sight where a snake waits patiently for you to get close. Usually in games, if the enemies are varied then the bosses aren’t quite as fortunate, thankfully, there is an abundance of unique bosses to battle, each with their own patterns and weaknesses to exploit. They tend to be on the hard side but once you figure out their rhythm,or use Chewie’s spin of justice, they will fall fairly quickly, except the Emperor, he is a pain. Actually, this method of game play is a good representation of the game as a whole. It is difficult at first but once you learn the individual nuances of the characters and levels, it becomes much easier. But don’t let that fool you, your first few rounds will be hard as nails.

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While there may be some challenge, you will find plenty of items and powerups to aid your quest. These can be minor such as a simple healing item, or spectacular like a screen clearing thermal detonator. But that’s not all, you will find equipment that make weapons stronger, increase your total health or even increase your total force power. Sadly, when you die, you lose those upgrades and will have to acquire them all over, so be careful.

From what I have written so far, it would seem that this game is all just hack and slash and guns. Fortunately, the game never devolves into tedium, there is the occasional puzzle to solve and plenty of platforming sections to keep you entertained. But there is more, we have several mode 7 sections to play through, such as the speeder bike chase on Endor, or a battle against a horde of Tie Fighters with the Millennium  Falcon. While it does keep the game interesting, I find these sections a bit awkward, especially the speeder bike chase. I found it very tricky to avoid obstacles as they seem to come out of nowhere without any warning. This makes that particular section extremely frustrating. But once you get past it, the rest of these sections aren’t too bad.

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Finally, lets move onto the sound design. It is amazing, the lightsaber, lasers, ships, explosions, character voices and other minor details all sound like they were taken directly from the movies. This creates a high level of immersion and you feel as though you are actually playing the movie. But what good is a bunch of blips and boops without some fantastic music? Well, I can firmly say that the music throughout is fantastic and, again, fits the themes of the movies.

Overall, Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is a very solid game that does justice to the Star Wars name. Is it a perfect game? No, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t one of the best games in the Super Nintendo Library. If you have a SNES, give it a go.

8.5/10

Super Mario World

Super Mario World, a classic game that truly doesn’t need any introduction. You just have to show the image of Mario riding Yoshi and everyone knows what game you are referring to. It is a true classic, just like all of the side scrolling Mario games and introduced the world to the wonders of the Super Nintendo!!

Yes, just like Super Mario Bros. before it, Super Mario World came packaged with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES for short. For many, it was the first 16 bit game that they played and it holds a very special place in peoples hearts. But is it just nostalgia fueling these gamers or is there something truly special with Mario World. I dove in and here is what I have found.

Ok, for starters, let look at the cartridge as per the usual. Its very simple really with Mario wearing a cape and riding on top of a green dinosaur named Yoshi. Its simple but to the point, Its Mario, what more does the cover need to tell you right? It’s now time to play this thing. The first thing that the players are treated to is a save slot selection screen. This is the first Mario Game to have a save slot, which is funny because its the easiest of the old side scrollers. In fact, its nowhere near as difficult as Mario 3. Anyway, you select a save slot and begin the game.

You begin on a level select map, similar to the one in Mario 3. This world looks much better however and there are several details that aren’t in the NES Mario games such as having the ability to travel to all the levels you have previously completed. Now that you have selected a level, it is time to dive into the gameplay.

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This is typical Mario, you travel along a level in the hopes of reaching the end. You fight enemies by jumping on them, throwing shells or fireballs. However, there are now two new methods of attack, the spin move and Yoshi. By pressing the A button Mario will spin in the air and literally cause the struck enemy to explode. This technique can be used to break certain blocks in a level as well. The other new feature to this game is Yoshi, occasionally you will find an egg inside a block…yes an egg inside of a block, if you think finding a coin or a mushroom is weird, try an egg that hatches a dinosaur. While riding Yoshi, you can make him eat fruit or even enemies. If you eat a certain number of enemies, Yoshi will breathe 3 fireballs. Its an interesting mechanic but one that seems rather unnecessary. This is the one thing about Mario World that I find to be pointless, why do you need to have a dinosaur that adds nothing what so ever to the gameplay? Yoshi has the same moves as Mario, except he eats things. Not to say that i hate Yoshi, he has been in some very good games, such as Yoshi’s Story on the Nintendo 64, but he is pointless in Mario World.

Mario Riding Yoshi

Another change to the gameplay is that it has slowed down some. I find that even at a full sprint, Mario is much slower than he is in Mario 3. This translates to the enemies as well and makes this game considerably easier than the third game in the series, which is refreshing. While on the topic of ease, this game features a save feature and allows you to save every third level or so. This is nice because you don’t have to leave the system on and you don’t lose your progress  if the game glitches. Another nice mechanic is the item window. Say for example you have collected a fire flower and now have the ability to throw fireballs. If you collect another fire flower you just get some points. Now, with the item window, the Fire Flower you collect can be put to use. When you take damage, the flower will drop onto the game screen and you can collect it and power up. Also, you can press the select button to drop it whenever you want.

You will need the item window to combat some of the new enemies in the game. These can range from Football players that charge you at every turn to cute caterpillars that become angry when jumped on. Each of these new enemies can require different techniques or powerups to defeat. For example, the football players aka Chargin’ Chucks take several hits to defeat but can be destroyed instantly by using the cape spin, more on that later. The addition of these new baddies makes the game a lot of fun.

The final difference between Mario 3 and World is in the power ups themselves. There are a lot less this time around. These include the mushroom, Fire Flower, Cape Feather, P-Balloon, Star, Yoshi and the Yoshi Wing, which requires that you ride Yoshi. The mushroom, Fire Flower and Yoshi need no introduction but I need to tell you about the Cape Feather and P-Balloon. The Cape Feather gives Mario a cape. This allows him to glide through the air or to use a spin attack on the ground. These can make you a veritable wrecking crew. Enemies will fear the power of the cape!!!  The P-Balloon on the other hand is more for comedic value than anything. Mario will swell up like a balloon and float through the air. This ability always makes me smile.

On the subject of smile, the graphics and art style in this game is very cute and pleasing to the eye. It has a lot of detail, I really enjoy the cave levels as the background has gems that shimmer and glow. It is a neat foil to the brown walls and red lava that runs through the level, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You will, travel to haunted houses, forests, mountains, plains and some underwater levels as well. These assure that you will never get bored by the visuals. Its also worth noting that character models all look quite spectacular and have good detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sound, as with all Mario games, is amazing. The game has many different songs, which is fantastic because listening to the same two or three songs the whole time can get annoying. This never happens in Mario World. The typical sounds are there, the jump sound and the blips and bloops when you hit an enemy. I swear, they never get old.

Finally, I have to speak of the games secrets. Within certain levels you will find hidden paths that take you to secret areas. Many times these levels are more difficult than the normal ones but can help you unlock other secrets in the game. Finally, I have to talk about Star Roads. First, you need to find a key. There are a couple of opportunities where you can find a key. If you can manage to hang onto this key and make it to a keyhole, you will be able to access  a Star Road. These allow you to warp around the world and even find a completely new area all together. These add some replay value to a game that already has plenty of it.

All in all, this is a very very good game. I personally find it to be a lot easier than previous Mario games and there are some things that were in Mario 3 that didn’t find there way into World. Don’t worry though, you wont miss them. No doubt, Mario World is a gaming masterpiece that has earned its place in history. A real treat to anyone who gets the opportunity to play it!

9.7/10

On another note, there has been a fan war raging for many years. Which side scrolling Mario is better. Mario 3 or World. I won’t say which I prefer but  I am curious which you prefer?