Friday, May 10, 2013
Super Mario Land for Game Boy
On the day the Game Boy and Super Mario Land was announced, a cry of "Holy crap, there's gonna be a portable Mario game? I WAAAAAANT!" echoed from coast to coast. Soon, Mario would lead us all into an golden age where portable gaming was as limitless as its TV-tethered counterpart. Right?
Running and jumping is still at the core of Super Mario Land, though, and it's here that I find the game's other major fault. Super Mario Land is plagued with sluggish and imprecise controls. Mario changes directions like he's running on ball bearings, and he has a floaty jump arc that makes landing tricky jumps extremely frustrating. Mario's movements here are very similar to his in the original Mario Brothers, which makes sense given Yokoi designed that game as well. In a sense, Mario has returned to his roots in terms of how he moves. Unfortunately, it was a poor choice to make for this game.
Graphics in Super Mario Land are a mixed bag. Each world has a unique theme, like Ancient Egypt or Easter Island, and the backgrounds reflect the theme well. The levels contain much more detail and variety than the repetitious red brick constructs of Super Mario Bros. The enemies are almost completely original too, and most of them are unique to the world they inhabit; only the Goombahs make a return appearance in Super Mario Land. However, Mario's own appearance is carried over nearly unchanged from Super Mario Bros, as is the game's camera distance. As a result, Mario is nearly microscopic when viewed on the original Game Boy's screen, and he becomes a smear of pixels when he's in motion. I generally prefer to play these games on their original hardware, but Super Mario Land is an exception. It's nearly unplayable on an original Game Boy.
Super Mario Land is a short, fun, but flawed little oddball. It's also a pretty daring reinterpretation of the series. made at a time when Nintendo was more willing to take risks with its flagship franchises. Give it a shot; if nothing else, it won't ask for much of your time.
at 4:22 PM