''It’s-a-me, Mario!'' If you say this to anybody, they’ll know what you’re talking about.
Sure, they might look at you funny, but they know. They know you’re impersonating the Mario who has had his name in the title of no less than 70 games. Yes, that’s right - 70. Not to mention at least 25 cameos in games such as Tennis (NES), Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out! (NES), and of course in the stained glass window in Ocarina of Time. But where Mario really shines (excuse the pun!) is right here, in Super Mario Bros. 3.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 is a faithful conversion of the classic game. Compared to the NES version, this has improved graphics, better sound, more detailed animations, and much more. But compared to the version that was on the compilation Super Mario All Stars on the SNES, there is little difference. A few coins have apparently been added here and there, but nothing that you would notice. As with all pervious Super Mario Advance games, this is accompanied by the original Mario Bros. arcade game. Wake up Nintendo! Nobody wants that damn game! This is on every one of the four SMA games, to make it seem as if you are getting two games on one cart. Hardly... Mario Bros. might keep you entertained for a few minutes, but you’ll grow well tired of it in under an hour.
As for Super Mario Bros. 3, this is without doubt, the best Mario game on the NES. Sure, the NES doesn’t match to today’s consoles in graphics or sound, but it’s the games that matter. And SMB3 is a game and a half. As I turned this game on, memories came flooding back. The glorious raccoon suit, with it’s bushy tail used to propel yourself into the air, and uncovering a secret area...
SMB3 is amazing. Rarely will you find a game as good as this. The controls couldn’t be any simpler - A to jump, and B to run/grab. That’s it (well, and the D-Pad to move - obviously). There is an abundance of power-ups in SMB3. Among these are the infamous Mushroom, the Raccoon Suit, Frog Suit, and of course not forgetting the good ol’ Fire Flower. Also in the game is the Tanuki suit, which you can use to turn Mario into a metal statue, and the Hammer Brothers suit, which lets you become a Hammer Brother, and chuck hammers at your enemies. Of all these great power-ups, the Mushroom and Fire Flower are the only ones which appear in other Mario games.
The sound has that unique Mario feel too it. It’s bouncy, sharp, and catchy. You will be humming these tunes for ages after you finish the game. Each type of level has it’s own music, so most grass levels have a common tune. New from the previous two incarnations of SMB3 is that Mario has a voice. This has been introduced in the SMA games. Before falling off the screen after losing a life, Mario, in a stereotypical Italian fashion, shouts ''Mamma Mia!''
But it’s not just Mario in this game. Oh, no. Not at all. Luigi gets his 15 minutes of fame too. He has been changed slightly from the first SMA and no longer jumps like a drunken man at 3 o’clock in the morning. He jumps like a civilised human now! There are no less than 80 levels in this game, and it will take you hours to beat. However, you can find Magic Whistles which let you warp between worlds. Using this method, someone has completed the game in 11 minutes! There is even video evidence of this feat, which seems almost impossible.
As you run along, your Power Meter builds up, until it begins to flash. At full speed, you can launch into the air, and soar majestically if you have the racoon suit. The tried and tested coins are back, as always, 100 for an extra life. Each level is ended by hitting a box. On hitting it, you will get either a Mushroom, Flower or a star. Collect three of any to get an extra life. If you match three of any one item, you get even more.
Other mini games include, flipping cards over in a ''Pairs'' fashion, where you must match two cards. Once you match the cards, you get the item displayed on the card, which includes coins, power-ups and extra lives. In another mini game, you must make up a picture of a power-up from three scrolling bars. These are top, middle and bottom. So, if you match the top, middle and bottom of a star, you get 5 extra lives. Then there are toad houses, where you open a chest to get a power-up.
Power-ups can be held, and used before any level. Other things that can be stored are magic whistles (which warp you to another world) and clouds (which let you skip a level). You can have up to 40 items held at any one time. When you get more, the first one is lost. These items make the game a lot easier, but are far from essential.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 is an excellent game, especially for newcomers to Mario. It's easy to pick up, hard to master - just how a game should be. If you've played the NES game, the basics are the same, but everything is improved. It would certainly be worth your while buying this game if you loved it on the NES. However, if you have it on the SNES Super Mario All Stars compilation, don't get it. There is very little changed, unless you must have this game on a portable console, it's just a waste of money if you have the All Stars edition. Otherwise, it's worth your money.
Replay Value: 8