Let's go back in time... a long way back, to the era where Mario went from fiery to little in one hit, to the era where boss battles were as simple as get over or under the boss to the axe, to the era where graphics meant nothing and level design meant everything. Remember that? I'm talking about the late 80's and the early 90's, when this original Game Boy game was released.
This is my first game that was for the original Game Boy, not the Game Boy Color, but it turns out that the Game Boy Advance gives it lots of color. This game is very similar to the original Super Mario Bros., Mario gets Mushrooms, Flowers, and Stars, he jumps on enemies or shoots them with his fireballs, and he is simply trying to get to the end of the level, not accomplish any other tasks (in most cases).
Once more, this game is reviewed on a 0-4 star scale. Game-makers should remember: 0's are free. You have to earn any other stars.
The graphics are poor, believe me. Even though this is for a small Game Boy system with only 8-bit capacity, it is proved through Super Mario Bros. Deluxe that games can be a little bigger on a smaller Game Boy screen. Also, with it being so small, it's very hard to tell whether Mario's barely on a pipe or in the middle of it. This matters many times when you need to make a precise jump. I can't say the graphics are completely horrible for their time, but they could have been improved somewhat.
The music in the first set of outside worlds is great. It's pretty catchy. Some of the other songs are all right, too. However, the sound effects are awful. They sound like an Atari. I guess you can ignore them and enjoy the music, but they do lower the score a little bit.
Final Level: ****
Rest of Game: *
I'll be honest: this game is very easy until World 4-3, when all the trouble begins. Sure, it's very easy to fall off ledges or misjudge a jump. However, the enemies are so simple, you won't have any trouble getting by most of them. All of the difficulty comes from a dreadful last world. You're in a little airship that can fire bullets at enemies. The trouble? There are birds that unpredictably will change their positioning and nail you. Also, there are robots that move similarly but also have bullets to fire back at you.
These bullets that they fire back at you go diagonally up to the right. Then, you'll have to avoid fireballs, followed by Roto Disc-like things. Finally, you have to face off against a blob, which fires those annoying birds at you. This battle would possibly be easy if it didn't move in circles, bouncing off walls. If it simply moved up and down, you can find a position to attack it in, then just keep pressing B to fire at it. However, it sometimes will go right into you, and you're in trouble. You can't fire towards the left; you can only fire towards the right.
That makes this very hard. Finally, the final boss comes out shooting totally unpredictable fireballs, and you're toast in no time at all. I've lost 16 lives on this level, three times getting to face the final boss, but never really having a fighting chance. So, overall, the game is easy, but World 4-3 is a doozy, which may prevent you from beating this game.
By the way, in case you're wondering what this "house advantage" thing is, it means what percentage the game has over you due to things not under your control. It's how much more percent of the time you'll "lose" than "win" (in this case, make it through a level or hard jump), but it's due to something you can't control, like loose controls, sheer luck, or the computer cheating. Anything above 10% is outrageous. House Advantage: 5%
Bosses that look like blobs aren't very interesting at all. There actually are a lot of enemies that look and act like ones from other Mario games, like Goombas, Troopas, Paratroopas, Bullet Bills, Pansers, Piranha Plants, Trouters, and Roto Discs. Of course, they have different, strange names, but that's what I call them. Anyway, they aren't very interesting, though it's strange that the Troopa-like creatures have their shells explode when they get stomped on. The one star has to go to Princess Daisy, in her first video game appearance.
The controls are not tight enough. Mario slips too easily, or his jump can be drastically changed by a slip of the finger. Sure, it's easy to know what the controls are, as they are very easy. But people always figure that "Controls" just means how easy it is to memorize the buttons and how simple it is to push them and if there are not that many controls. Really, "Controls" is all about how well the buttons control your character. In this case, they don't control Mario well enough. No, they aren't especially horrible, but they are bad enough for me to give them a low score.
I wasn't too impressed with the level layout. Sure, they offer some challenges like moving platforms,
cannons coming out of pipes, a submarine level and an airship level, and falling platforms once you step on them, but at least four or five levels have two or more areas that are exactly the same as each other. For example, you'll make it past three pipes, a pit, two ? Blocks, and a Fly, then you'll come to another three pipes, a pit, two ? Blocks, and a Fly. It looks like you're stuck in one of those original Super Mario Bros. "puzzle levels", where everything keeps on repeating, over and over again, but that's just the way the level was made. Talk about boring.
These are your basic Mushrooms, Flowers, and Stars, with one exception: Flowers give you Super Balls,
which can only be on the screen one at a time, but they bounce off the ground and walls and platforms, and they can collect coins for you. They're a lot better than normal Fire Flowers. It's hard to collect Stars because they fall straight down, right off the screen, instead of bouncing around, but that's not too big of a problem.
After you beat this game, it is made harder on the other levels besides the last one, which gives you a
brand new challenge and something more to play for. It's a shame the game is so short, however. It needed eight worlds, like most other Mario games.
Fun Factor!: **1/2
I really like 2D platformers, and this one is no exception. It's not as good as any of the other NES Mario ones of its time, but it's still pretty fun to play. Fun is taken away from the shortness of this game and the difficulty of the final level, which is nearly impossible.
This game looked like it was going to be great, but I remembered from an old book that this was only a four-world game. That's way too short for a game. Not only that, but it would have at least felt good if the last boss was beatable.
It always leaves a sour taste in my mouth when I can't beat the last boss, which is what happened with Luigi's Mansion. It happened again here, too. Is it worth buying? If you can get it for $10 or less in a used game store, sure.
But it's so short, it's like half a game. Four more worlds, and this game's score goes up by at least half a star, maybe a whole star. As it is, though, the game ends up average, although it had such great potential.
Overall rating: 4/10 - Below average for the series.