The first ones, were surprisingly not the Mario All Stars games. No, the first remakes of Super Mario Bros were Kaette Kita Mario Bros and All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros, which were remakes of Mario Bros (the arcade/NES/GBA filler game), and the Lost Levels. Neither exactly did great as far as popularity goes, with their entire fame basically being a page on Mario Wiki. But they were interesting.
The Mario Bros remake had different physics, some new levels, better graphics and music and even a slot machine mini game. It also, bizarrely had advertisements for Japanese companies that appeared between levels, making Nintendo the pioneer of a new kind of annoying advertising that will hopefully never return.
It also had two player co-op
All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros, is a bit more well known, it's the radio celebrity remake of Super Mario Bros the Lost Levels. Why this exists, is pretty much entirely a marketing ploy, but it certainly had some weird changes.
Radio stars replaced Goombas and Piranha Plants, microphones replaced background objects, the Toads became Japanese celebrities and various levels were changed.
Next was Super Mario All Stars. This was pretty much the definite remake game. Every later remake ever made is based on the changes here, with the graphics and music being massively updated among other things. You should probably know most of what's new about this, because this game is pretty much the style used for most fan games and ROM hacks ever made.
There was later a version with Super Mario World included as well, which as Mario Wiki states, was never released in Japan for some reason I can't quite imagine.
However, the next remake, few have heard of. BS Super Mario USA was a Satellaview remake of our Super Mario Bros 2, in a Super Mario All Stars style. It was not though, just a minor update, with huge changes to the gameplay structure, plotline and gameplay in general.
You played the game in episodes, released at different times, and you had to collect the gold Mario statues in each level and defeat the bosses, one world at a time. There was actually even an radio drama going on, which meant while the music was silent, a story based on the game was being told at the same time, with full on voice acting between the characters.
New characters in this apparently included the King of Subcon, and some random bloke who's never really named (or because I can't read Japanese, the videos don't make it clear).
Levels now have coins, players only play as Mario except for certain timed events, a results screen records the collected Mushrooms, coins and cherries, as well as golden statues and bosses defeated, and a points system was added. Events often include level changes and forced powerup/downs.
Above: Results screen, showing the bosses defeated. Apparently, warp zones send you to Wart's final battle or something.
The intro apparently.
A video of the game. Ignoring the silly commentary some guy made.
Next up, were the more well known remakes, the Super Mario Advance series. These games were freaking awesome, to say the least. Sure, the graphics and music left a lot to be desired with the limited power of the GBA, but the changes were pretty *** big.
Super Mario Advance (original) actually added a whole new where Mario and co had to collect the Yoshi eggs in each level. It was pretty fun, and when done, added a Yoshi to the title screen.
It also added giant vegetables, Shy Guys, Ninjis and POW Blocks, with far bigger effects damage wise. The infinite hearts yielded by throwing the giant enemies made the game a lot easier though.
There were also the Dragon Coin like Ace Coins, a new boss (Robirdo, who looked rather weird), and a change with Mouser replacing the later Triclyde boss.
Yoshi eggs were hidden in each level.
Sadly, it also added voices to the cast, which really, really made you want to punch them in the face more than like them. The bosses were either really funny, or annoying as ***:
Here, have some bombs!! - Mouser
Step right up, if you're ready to get toasted! - Triclyde
You've come a long way! - Robirdo
I'm too hot to touch! - Fryguy
Yar! You'll make a tasty treat! - Clawgrip
I am the great Wart! Wah, ha ha!! - Wart
Super Mario Advance 2, the remake of Super Mario World, added quite a bit less stuff, arguably making it the most mediocre of the remakes as far as being... well, a remake was. It was a great game, because Super Mario World was such, but the changes were far more minor and gameplay related.
You could get coloured Yoshis in ? blocks if you free them in Star World, which was both neat and completely broke the game at the same time, since a caped Mario + a Blue Yoshi was pretty much an infinity plus one sword to the highest degree.
More Goombas were changed in the Autumn cut scene
You could have 999 lives, and there were a few new minor objects added.
Yoshi's Island was next to be remade, and was done pretty well. The biggest change were the six new secret levels, which possibly had some of the best level design in the entire game. Secret of the Castle was an interesting level, Go Go Morphing was infuriating to the Nth degree, Fight Baddies w Baddies was hard but interesting and Items are Fun is almost a masterpiece of game design.
Then there was Endless World of Yoshis/Crazy Maze Days. Hard, annoying, kaizo like and freaking long. I wouldn't be surprised if the designer moved on the DS sequel's secret levels, because it's probably the least fair level in Mario history.
There were also some name changes (Castles Masterpiece Set became Ultimate Castle Challenge according to Mario Wiki) and some minor level redesigns, but it was certainly the extra levels that made this fun. I hope any Virtual Console version adds them in with SNES era technical capabilities.
But the best one in the series, was Super Mario Advance 4. This was technically a Super Mario Bros 3 remake, but oh man, it added whole new worlds worth of levels with the e-Reader functionality.
Indeed, the game was a retro Mario fans dream! It even brought back Chargin' Chucks!
Above: Rip van fish?
Really, this game's extra content was fantastic. There was a fortress based on Kuribo's Shoe. A level named after Frappe Snowland from Mario Kart 64. Hoopsters from Super Mario Bros 2 appeared. Platforms from Super Mario World appeared. A level was called Haunted Hall after Donkey Kong Country 2.
A level had a fake Ludwig boss, as well as a real one. Bowser had two new levels to his name, with two new boss fights.
Giant Buzzy Beetles appeared. Super Mario Bros 1 Bowser appeared, in a remake of the first world's castle. Amazing Flying Hammer Bros and Bumptys from Yoshi's Island appeared. Portable springboards appeared. Sparkys appeared. Bony Beetles appeared.
Even the triangle run up wall blocks and arrow signs from Super Mario World appeared again!
Also, various other new things, like powerups returned. The cape from Super Mario World was back. Vegetables from Super Mario Bros 2 were back. A new boomerang item was introduced. You had 10Up Mushrooms. 100Up Mushrooms.
Switches could make enemies turn into coins and vegetables appear in the classic Super Mario Bros 3 levels. Or slow down the timer. Or halve the power meter, allowing to fly easier. Replace all enemies with harder versions. Replace all 1Up Mushrooms with 3Up Moons. Make Luigi have lighter gravity/higher jumps in normal levels.
After this, could it be topped? Maybe. Next was Super Mario 64 DS. You know, the love it or hate it launch game for the DS. It had a fair amount of new content, Luigi, Yoshi and Wario were playable.
The P Balloon effect and Super Mushrooms were in levels as powerups.
Three new levels with new bosses, Goomboss, King Boo and Chief Chilly. The former was even from Paper Mario!
There were also two crappy new levels called Sunshine Isles and Battle Fort, of which I don't think anyone actually enjoyed.
Levels like Whomp's Fortress were changed and had all new areas. A new star was added in each level and many secret levels. Sadly, this usually translated to either 'collect five silver stars' or 'hit a switch and reach the star before it vanishes'.
And of course, it had mini games and an awful battle mode that was over way too quickly and didn't have any of the actual levels as arenas. It was a fair attempt at a remake, but I don't think it lived up to Mario Advance 4 for new content, nor the original for the game's quality.
On the flip side, you did get to see King Boo insult Wario's ugly face, which may or may not be a positive.
Eek! What's this!? Your face... It would even scare a ghost. How horrible! You've got it backwards... I do the scaring around here! - King Boo
Augh! The scariest one wins, and your face is flesh-creepingly frightening. Good thing I don't have any flesh! Eee hee hee! This is not the end. See you again. - King Boo
We end our tour of the main series remakes with some interesting news... there's a planned game called 'Super Mario Collection Special Pack' for the Wii, which is a port of Super Mario All Stars. It apparently comes with a book called Super Mario History 1985-2010, and a CD with Mario game soundtracks.
Maybe it be an excellent remake? We'll see. If they include the e-Reader content, then it will be brilliant.
But what of spinoffs and other Mario related series? Let's look at Donkey Kong Country for a bit...
Donkey Kong Country for example had GBA remakes. They all had crappy graphics and ruined music, and the first mainly had extra mini games, but Donkey Kong Country 2 added some interesting new stuff:
Kerozene, a new boss added to Donkey Kong Country 2 GBA. He's a bit weird, found in K Rool's Keep, replacing a mere cut scene, and he seems to be some fifty foot tall evil Kremling thing of death. He also seems to use versions of Kleever as double swords.
Good addition? Maybe, better than the mini games, that's for sure.
The third game, added a whole new world, soundtrack and boss. The boss, was interesting enough:
The new world is debatable. It's called Pacifica, and has a few new levels. None are greatly designed from what I hear, but it's certainly an interesting attempt.
The soundtrack... is divisive. It's by David Wise from what I hear, but many preferred the different music style of the original SNES game. It also, for some reason gave Arich his own boss theme, but not KAOS or K Rool.
The graphics style change, has not gone over well. Toxic Tower has kinda been completely ruined by the change in style:
Always sad when the old Game Boy one feels more threatening than the GBA one:
Another series which had a remake game of sorts was Mario Kart. Okay, not the retro tracks, but Mario Kart Super Circuit basically remade all the old Super Mario kart levels.
This didn't work well. Sure, they looked a bit prettier, but it was definitely a last minute addition, since with the exception of Rainbow Road, they reused all the old graphics and such from the new levels, and worse yet...
They removed all the obstacles! No really. Gone are any Piranha Plants, moles, Thwomps, Rainbow Thwomps on Rainbow Road and I think pipes. The courses are now completely barren and extremely easy as a result. Rainbow Road certainly doesn't feel the same without the electric Thwomps.
So there you have it, almost a short history of remakes. What do you think of this Super Mario Collection stuff? Good, or bad? Ever wonder what it'd be like if Luigi's Mansion, Mario Sunshine or the first Galaxy game got a remake? What about the Mario Land games?
Remakes: Yet another thing Mario does far better than Sonic the Hedgehog, hah!