October 11, 2007

Super Mario Lands On Gameboy

Sarasaland has been taken over by a slimy extraterrestrial named Tatanga. He has kidnapped Princess Daisy with the intention of marrying her and brainwashed the inhabitants to do his bidding. The plumber with a passion for princesses known as Mario decides to further his heroic resume by purging this land of evil.

Mario must venture through four kingdoms, each comprised of three stages, that make up Sarasaland.
-Birabuto is a desert land populated by insects that hop around, as well as fly and drop spears. You'll head into the treetops as you make your way to an Egyptian styled temple, decorated with hieroglyphics and guarded by a fire spewing lion named King Totomesu.
-Muda is a water land with spaceships and robots that launch their heads at you. Fish bones and sea horses that spit fireballs will leap out of the water to try and take you out. The last stage lets you navigate a submarine known as the Marine Pop, utilizing torpedoes to take out aquatic adversaries and the boss, a sea dragon named Dragonzamasu, who spits (apparently water-proof) fireballs at you.
-Easton features enemies that take after the legendary moai statues of Easter Island. There are stone heads that hop with wings, and others with arms that chase after you with great speed. After navigating two spider-infested temples, you'll encounter a boulder-chucking moai called Hiyoihoi.
-Chai may as well stand for "chinese", because it has a very Asian atmosphere to it, from the music to the background design. There are demons that hop around and pop back up after being stomped on, as well as walking plants that spit deadly seeds into the air. You'll take to the skies in the final leg of your journey in a plane called the Sky Pop, which controls like the Marine Pop you rode in previously. The boss in the sky is a bird-dispensing cloud called Biokinton. Upon evaporating it, Tatanga immediately appears to try and stop Mario himself.

The only familiar series character in this game is Mario. There's also foes that resemble Goombas, Koopa Troopas, Piranha Plants, and Bullet Bills but they are known as Chibibo, Nokobon, Pakkun Flower, and Gira. The turtle-oids in this outing have bombs on their backs rather than shells, so you best clear out after stomping them. The only lasting feature to come out of this game is the introduction of Princess Daisy, the damsel in distress this time around. She also does the old "your princess is in another castle" routine, except instead of rescuing her servants, you find a mock Daisy that morphs into an enemy and flees.

Power-ups in this adventure include Super Mushrooms, a flower that gives you a ricocheting Superball rather than fireballs, and an invincibility star that plays The Can Can when it's caught. 1ups are represented by hearts instead of mushrooms.

This entry in the Mario series occurs between Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3. For the first and probably last time, a Mario title launched simultaneously with a new game console was overshadowed. Although you'll understand why because the other title was none other than Tetris, making its handheld debut and usually included in the package of the Gameboy unit itself.

The graphics aren't recycled sprites from the first Mario game, save for the Super Mario sprites. This makes it feel like you're in a whole different land instead of a rearranged Mushroom Kingdom. Nice game to blow through in about half an hour if you're good at it. The music is memorable and upbeat. Besides its short length, the major gripe about this game is how it controls. Hit detection seems to be a bit off, especially if you try bopping multiple foes at once. Mario also falls a lot faster than he did in the original Super Mario Bros., making it slightly harder to land on smaller surfaces after a jump.

And that's just the way it is.

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