Super Mario All-Stars
Year released: 1993
If you've really taken the time to explore my page, you probably know that I consider MK as the reason why video games are in such a sad state. From that point on, quality diminished in favor of graphical quality. Well, once in a while during this era, somebody actually gets it right and actually makes a good game. This is one of those instances. Nintendo finally went back to what made them so popular in the first place by making Super Mario All-Stars, an anthology of the best-selling video game series ever.
The only places where any real changes were made to the games were in the presentation. The graphics became much more coloful, backgrounds more detailed, and animation more refined. Yet, many of the things that appeared in more than one game still retained their different qualities for each game. This helps give each game its own charm, and keeps them from all looking the same. The sound and music are also improved, but not as much. The new arrangements of each theme work very well, especially the original Mario tune. However, the sound effects themselves actually took a sep down in some cases. On the NES, most of the sounds were larger than life, and that's how we remember them. When brought back, a number of them were patterend off of Super Mario World, and as a result they sounded unimpressive.
One of the reasons why the Super Mario series was so great was that these were games anyone could pick up and play. There was no confusing controls, no extra special moves; the game was simple enough to b controlled very well. Of course, these controls were brought back faithfully in All-Stars, with one exception: The controls to SMB3 seem a bit more slippery. Many times I've tried to climb up a vine, only to touch it and jump right back off. Also, on the map screens, it disregards your control setting - A and B enter a level, X and Y open your item screen, no matter what. Not terribly damaging, but still enough of a concern to drop the Play Control rating a couple points.
Another thing that virtually every gamer knows about is the staple plot behind all of these games. With the exception of SMB2 (which never really was supposed to be an SMB game to begin with), Princess Toadstool is the damsel-in-distress that our heroes have to rescue again and again. It does seem a little trite, but consider the fact that this hadn't been done until the Mario games. How can you criticize a plot for being unoriginal if these were the games that created the storyline? Granted, later games did little to develop this plot, but if it ain't broke....
The great thing about having four games in one is that it totally represents the learning curve. SMB 2 and 3 are rather easy games for the novices out there, SMB 1 is good for the intermediate players, and Nintendo even threw in Lost Levels (the original Japanese SMB 2) for those who like to have a good challenge. Each of the games have their own little quirks about challenge: they all have the now famous Warp Zones if you want to skip levels, and a few of the games give you the opportunity to earn scads of lives if you're patient enough. Not only that, but the SNES version also affords you the opportunity to save your game along the way. This is especially a boon to SMB3 and Lost Levels, because of the length of one and the difficulty of the other.
And of course, we all know just how fun these games are to play. As one of the unlucky ones who never got any SMB game past 1, I'm thrilled that I have all 3 of them plus the Lost Levels ripe for the picking. And the fact that all four of them are in one package gives me even greater reason to throw a Mario-thon. Each game offers their own secrets, challenges, and surprises, and once you start playing, it's difficult to put it down. These games are true classics because of that.
All in all, anyone who doesn't own this cartridge is not a true video gamer. After all, these are the titles that revived the video game industry from near shambles in the mid-80's, and it's not just because they looked pretty.
|Play Control: ||
|Technical Score: 15
|Aesthetic Score: 23
|Overall Score: 91%|