Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (Japanese Import)

Review

posted 8/21/2003 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: GBA
While a lot of these levels brought back fond memories of my youth, it wasn’t until I started tinkering with the various costumes that I had a full-blown case of nostalgia. You have to hand it to Nintendo, when it came to power-ups; there are few games that offer more than Super Mario Bros. 3. Besides you basic fireball flower, Mario can pick up a raccoon suit (that helps him fly), a frog suit (that helps him swim), a Hammer Brothers suit (that allows you to throw hammers), and the very weird Tanooki suit (which allows you to turn into a statue, for some strange reason). He is also able to jump on heads, throw blocks of ice, and even fit himself into a nice big shoe.

In the 13 years since Super Mario Bros. 3, our favorite plumber has donned many suits, but none of them have been as inventive as those in this game. I would have enjoyed using a raccoon suit in one of the two 3D Mario adventures, or going around throwing hammers with your Hammer Brothers suit. That’s not to take anything away from those games, but there’s no question in my mind that the third Mario outing was the most ingenious.

The fact that Super Mario Bros. 3 still feels fresh is a testament to its rock solid design. Not every 2D game can pull of a feet like this, as has been demonstrated by a number of iffy GameBoy Advance remakes over the years. But Super Mario Bros. 3 seems to fit in with modern day platformers, even though it’s well over a decade old. It’s no wonder it’s the best selling video game of all time.

Of course, this is not the first time Super Mario Bros. 3 has been remade. Years ago Nintendo seized on an opportunity to package all of their 2D Mario games in one Super NES game called Super Mario All-Stars. Each of these games was giving a graphics overhaul, not to mention upgraded sound, and slightly tweaked controls.

For the most part the Game Boy Advance version looks exactly like this Super NES redux. Outside of a few cropping issues, and a brand new heads up display, you’d never know this wasn’t the game that came packaged with Super Mario All-Stars. While this might not sound like a compliment at first, after spending some time traveling through the Mushroom Worlds and you will find that Nintendo really is giving you the best version of the game.

But that’s not to say they couldn’t have made some improvements to the title. For example, it would have been nice to revisit beaten levels to collect power-ups and extra guys, like you are able to do in Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2. You are able to play through any level once you’ve unseated Bowser and the game is over, but it would have been handy while planning the siege of his castle.
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