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by Nintendo

cap00021-01.jpg (6211 bytes)Let us imagine that it’s the late eighties and we have just hired on a team of developers, artists, and designers to come up with a really kick-ass console game, something we need to come to market along side our newest piece of hardware. Let’s call it a sequel and then, why don’t we market the hell out of it. Welcome to the machine, in particular the new Game Boy Advance and the Nintendo launch title Super Mario Advance.

cap00011-01.jpg (8266 bytes)Now, Nintendo has always, and I mean always, graced us with a new Mario game at the launch of any of their systems, which makes it questionable as to why Nintendo decided to give us a pre-existing title. Granted, they packaged the cart with two games: Super Mario Bros. 2 and Mario Bros. (comes in nice when you go into multiplayer mode). The plus side here is at least they took the shiner of the bunch. I would have cried if they adapted Super Mario Bros. 3 to the GBA platform. But, really, it would have been decent of Nintendo if they would have given us a new Mario. Let’s hope they were spending all of their resources on the GameCube, which will be able to uplink to the GBA, giving you the ability to play some of your GBA titles on the television.

marioadvance4.jpg (7373 bytes)If you’re unable to remember the original line-up, the game consists of a quartet of characters, each with their own voices added in: Mario, Luigi, Princess, and, my personal favorite, Toad. Each character has their strengths, and weaknesses, but it comes down to simple reasoning that some will by nature suck most of the time. Sure, Princess has can float an X amount of seconds, but her strength is sub par compared to the others. Luigi, that foot-spinning brother, can jump a helluva long distance, but the nature of this ability brings to pass many plunges into the depths of waterfalls or chasms. So, it comes down to two: Mario and Toad. Mario has well-rounded attributes of speed, strength, and jumping. Toad posesses, well, kick-ass strength. Face it. You need to have as many coins at the end of the scenes to build up your character’s lives, and with Toad this makes it a possibility: he can usually pull up plant after plant, ringing in those coins without a pause in his stride.

marioadvance5.jpg (8235 bytes)Balls of flying flame, bubbles, eggs, etc. are objects you will be expected to dodge, grab, or jump over through the seven levels. The game follows the same plotline as before. Dreamland has been taken hostage and enslaved by an evil Frog, who also has the addition of voice-acting. No King Koopa here.

marioadvance6.jpg (8339 bytes)Sure, there are things I miss in this Mario adventure that you have in others, namely the ability to shoot fireballs, but SMA is decent title to launch with. Nintendo really didn’t change much from the original NES version of the game, maybe just some sprite additions to take advantage of some of the GBA’s hardware, making the game a bit more flashier than it was before. There’s enough here to keep the old-timers like myself still entertained with this refreshed title, but there’s a part of me that still aches for a new edition to the family.

marioadvance7.jpg (9247 bytes)There are no additional levels. Each is the same as it appeared on the NES, just a bit more graphically pleasing. The levels remain challenging, but not so much as to keep you locked down to one particular level. Oh, and of course there are the warps we all love to speed through to the end. Only the problem here is that you’ll skip right through some of the loveliest visuals I’ve seen on the GBA.

marioadvance3.jpg (10588 bytes)If you loved the original, this game will certainly ring true with you on the GBA. And hell, it’s prettier and offers a multiplayer mode off of a single cartridge with the original Mario Bros. This is certainly one of the better launch titles for the GBA I have played. Just one thing bothers me: when will I see a new Mario adventure for this system? If anything the game is entertaining and well worth the, cough, 30 – 40 dollars.

Mathew Baldwin   (06/19/2001)


Ups: Excellent graphics; added voices; great multiplayer from one cart; classic game.

Downs: It's not a new SMB game.

System Reqs:
Game Boy Advance


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