Pros:A really fun game with a great sound track and a lot of polish.
Cons:None, except for maybe using the same cliche Mario plot.
The Bottom Line: A must-have; Super Mario World is a wonderful game, and one of the true gems of the Super Nintendo era.
Super Mario World was developed by Nintendo and bundled with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Being a pack-in game, Nintendo made sure it was both fun and polished so that it would help convince current NES and Genesis users to buy a SNES. They succeeded in that, making Super Mario World one of the best games on the SNES and my personal favorite Mario game of all time.
This game, like most Mario titles, is a typical side-scrolling platform game. You go through each level running, jumping, swimming and flying your way to the end; all the while jumping on enemies, shooting them with fireballs or just skipping them as you progress to the end of the level. Most levels have a flag that you can activate part of the way through that acts as a respawn point, allowing you to continue from there instead of starting the level all over if you die.
Like Super Mario Brothers 3, this game features a large overworld that consists of many dots, one representing each level in the game. These levels are connected together by lines or roads, and you can only travel between levels that are connected by one of these roads. Most of these levels are hidden to start out with, and as you beat earlier levels it opens up the road to the next one. A lot of levels also have a secondary exit or finishing point, and completing the level a second time and using the other exit unlocks an additional level or pathway.
Movement and character control in Super Mario World is really smooth and responsive, and in addition to Mario's regular jump he also has a spin jump ability. This allows him to jump in the air and do a spin as he descends, destroying blocks underneath him. Like in previous games, Mario can pick up some things (like Koopa Troopa shells) and throw them along the ground, but now he can also look skyward and throw the items straight up in the air.
Another big change is the addition of Yoshi, Mario's dinosaur pal. This little critter can be ridden around the level and can also eat most enemies with his long tongue. He don't have to eat the enemy though, some enemies (notably Koopa Troopas) can be held in his mouth for a while first. Most Yoshis are green, but there are a few special blue, red and yellow colored Yoshis in Super Mario World. One nifty thing about Yoshis is that they gain different abilities depending on what color Koopa Troopa shell they have in their mouth at the time. Any Yoshi who holds a red shell will spit out fireballs, while a yellow shell will make him stomp down hard when he lands on the ground, killing enemies on either side of him.
Holding a blue shell in his mouth makes Yoshi able to fly, which is really fun but rather rare. Holding a shell in Yoshi's mouth for too long will cause him to swallow it though, so these bonuses don't last for the entire level. Notable is that if you have a special colored Yoshi, it will gain the bonus for its color regardless of what color shell it has in its mouth at the time, in addition to the bonus it would get for the shell. A blue Yoshi holding a red Koopa Troopa shell will be able to fly, and when you spit the shell out it will shoot fireballs.
There are a wide variety of enemies in Super Mario World, ranging from the staple Koopa Troopas and Goombas to the new dinosaur-like Rex enemies and Chargin' Chuck, who appears to be a big Koopa Troopa dressed up in football gear. The environments are pretty versatile as well. You'll be inside caves, under water, flying through the air, climbing levels of vines, and even inside ghost houses during your quest to rescue the Princess and baby Yoshis from the villainous Bowser. There are nearly 100 levels in total, and you never really feel like you're playing the same old level repeatedly.
Nintendo really outdid themselves with Super Mario World, as everything is really colorful and extremely polished. The characters (Mario & Luigi), enemies and environments all mesh really well together. The sound effects are great, and the musical score is even better. It has the same familiar style you would expect in a Mario game, but raised to a whole new level thanks to the improved audio ability of the SNES. I can put my SNES away and not play Super Mario World for 2 years, but as soon as I think about the game the familiar playful background music pops into my head immediately.
Between having such a large number of levels with multiple exits to most of them, hidden exits and whole hidden areas (like Star Road), Super Mario World offers a lot of replayability. Since there's a good amount of variety to the enemies and locations, you never feel like you're just rehashing the same levels over and over so it doesn't get old and tired as fast as you would think. Boss battles (of which there are 10) are varied and fun, with just the right amount of challenge to keep you interested without frustrating you.
My favorite Mario game of all time and in my top 10 favorite SNES games all together, Super Mario World is a must-have for anyone who owns a SNES. Buying a used SNES console these days doesn't usually include games, but since Super Mario World was originally included with the SNES when it was purchased there are a lot of copies floating around so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding one for a reasonable price.
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