Super Mario World

This is the cover art for Super Mario World, on the SNES.

Super Mario World is the fourth installment in the Mario side-scroller series, and was released for the SNES.

This may actually be the first game I ever played. The other, of course, possibly being Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee.

This is a really great game, and I would know because I've played it for my SNES ever since I was about three years old. However, I don't think it was superior to Super Mario Bros. 3. There are a few reasons for this; in SMB3, there wasn't just a map that you could move around on, where you could travel from level to level at will, but you interacted with the map. You busted down blocks, used clouds, fought wandering enemies, pursued airships, did puzzles, visited toad houses, etc. In this game, you just move around the map to really bad music, in an effort to find your way over to the next level you had to do.

This kind of thing made the space between levels really stale and uninteresting.

HOWEVER, it's what's in the levels that counts. The character designs are excellent, and the graphics are pretty great. They also made the brilliant move of adding the cape to the move roster, which was probably my favorite of all of them. While this title did have far too few powerups, the cape almost made up for it entirely. It has roughly the same functions as the Super Leaf, but you could literally fly across the screen in enormous amounts if you practiced and did it right. This made the experience really cool and fun.

I gotta say, the diversity of level design is definitely up there with SMB3, in the way that they added cool enemies like the Fuzzies, as well as staying true to the old favorites, plus their addition of cool traps, platforms, switches, and secrets.

Oh, and there's another thing: this game far outdoes SMB3 in the realm of secrets. There are some places where, if you do it right, you can find a lock and key to open up a new route. Plus, the game features switches that allow you to fill in holes in some of the levels, which can make them more convenient and even get you to other secrets.

One of my favorite things that this game incepted was the Star World. I think you actually get these levels in a straightforward order after you finish the game (which is no easy task), and they are significantly more difficult than the others. However, they have "hip" names like "Tubular," "Funky," "Way Cool," "Mondo," "Awesome," and others.

This title also created Boo Houses, which are another step-up from SMB3 in the way that they became a part of the Mario legacy, not to mention the fact that they are incredibly fun.

A great part of this game was the availability of Yoshi as a companion, which I think was a key thing to add to the series. Yoshis made the experience really interesting and fun, and also gave you an in-game advantage that could really make the level for you.

One final addition that I liked a lot was the ability to spin-jump. This is similar to a regular jump, except in the way that it neutralizes an enemy completely, and also sends you pretty high into the air. It was very helpful and good for taking out the hordes of enemies that you might find yourself faced with.

While this review may have seemed more than anything like one comparison to Super Mario Bros. 3 (it isn't really), that's actually an important feature considering the fact that SMB3 was unequivocally the best classic Mario side-scroller. I gotta say, this game really stacks up. It's replayable, fun, and a great addition to the series. If you like Mario, especially the side-scrollers, you must buy this game.