If you are a Super Mario Advance Fan, I’m sure you are all familiar with this game. In case you have not played it, or you have not played it in a long time, here is a quick rundown of the game. Super Mario Advance is a Super Nintendo Advance game- it is the first Mario game to be released for an Advance System. It was released in September of 2000, and it was the first Mario Super Nintendo Advance game to be released. It was also the first game to appear on the Super Nintendo Advance. Set in the Mushroom Kingdom, the game was released for both the Super Nintendo and N64 Systems.
It’s been 20 years since we first saw Mario’s iconic red hat in the original Super Mario Bros. But it’s been twenty years since a true sequel to the original game has been released. Those that played the original, and even those who didn’t, will have fond memories of the game, and those memories will be magnified when Super Mario Advance gets released on the 3DS. So, 20 years later, what can we expect from this re-release?I find it odd that Nintendo, despite being known for its handhelds, has barely bothered to make any impressive Mario games for those systems. At least until the release of New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS. However, this game sent the series into a spiral of mediocrity that was only alleviated with the release of Super Mario Odyssey in 2017. During the Game Boy Advance era, for example, no new Mario platformer was released for that console. Example: The launch game and flagship of the time, Super Mario Advance, is now twenty years old, as is the GBA itself. If you feel like a dinosaur right now, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Can you see the children? Vegetables really do kill people. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last twenty years: Super Mario Advance was actually a remake of the American version of Super Mario Bros 2, released in 1988. For those of you who have been living under a different, even bigger rock for the past 32 years: This version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was actually a reused version of another Nintendo game called Doki Doki Panic. Although the original Japanese version of Super Mario Bros 2 is nothing more than Super Mario Bros with new, much more depressing levels. Super Mario Bros 2 was a fantastic game in its own right and was never considered a black sheep, despite being very different from its brethren. However, I wonder why exactly this game was chosen to be remade and released as the premier game for the Game Boy Advance. There was a time when these masks scared me. The main part of the game is here, completely unchanged. You can play as Mario (a balanced character), Luigi (slower, but with better jumping skills), Peach (weaker, but can navigate), and Toad (stronger, but with poor jumping skills). Instead of stomping on enemies to kill them, you climb on them, grab them and throw them at another enemy, or throw a vegetable to kill them in a move I like to call reverse Popeye. The gameplay is not as fast-paced as in the first Super Mario Bros. It focuses more on exploration and puzzle solving. All warp zones and end bosses are also present. So if you want to play Super Mario Bros. 2 again, but on the go, Super Mario Advance is perfect. The fact that it could be transported was also very important. The game was considerably longer than other Mario games and also more difficult, especially for a child. So a battery saving system for a portable version of such a game seemed like the perfect addition. In this game, Berdo really talks. In other Mario games, however, she does not speak. Finally, in addition to Super Mario Bros 2, Super Mario Advance also contains a fully remastered version of the original 1983 Mario Bros arcade game. Not much to say here: It’s a complete remake of an underrated classic, albeit with a slower framerate and slightly modified physics to fit the GBA’s small screen. As a launch game, Super Mario Advance was intended to showcase the graphics and sound capabilities of the GBA. While it wasn’t the most impressive visual demonstration in the system’s lineup (that award went to F-Zero: Maximum Velocity), the game proved that the GBA’s sound chip, while still a piece of junk, was an order of magnitude better than what the Game Boy Color could do. Not only was the quality of the soundtrack better than the SNES could achieve, but there was also a lot of voice acting. Yes, the voice-over. Charles Martinet and his band are all there, in highly compressed but still quite audible speech lines. That was and still is the thing that made the strongest impression on me at the time. Toad is the strongest playable character, for some mysterious reason….. In light of all this, I have two more questions that need to be answered. First: Did Super Mario Advance survive? My answer is… so to speak. The four Super Mario Advance games were essentially remakes or remasterings of classic Mario games, and didn’t offer much new that would have allowed them to stand the test of time. While these games are fun in their own right, they can be deemed redundant when a new portable system offers the same experience. As an example, the NES and SNES catalog for Switch, while incomplete, offers a perfect representation of these classic Mario games, as well as Super Mario All-Stars. There’s little reason to replay this version of Super Mario Bros 2 when the Switch or even the 3DS currently offer the same experience. Charles Martine’s dubbing, for example, is not enough to compete with the Switch version’s score. Playing with Peach is like playing in easy mode. My second question: Was Super Mario Advance a good way to showcase the launch capabilities of the GBA? Not really. Other games like Rayman Advance and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity were the best demonstrations of technology, whether it was the perfect translation of a 32-bit game to a handheld device, the excellent frame rate or the tricks of Mode 7. Super Mario Advance feels like a sloppy job, a game that screams hey, we have a new console and Mario Kart: Super Circuit won’t be ready on the launch date, so find something soon so we can launch the Mario game. A remake of the original Mario Bros arcade game is also included here. Twenty years later, Super Mario Advance is still a very entertaining game, but it doesn’t stand up to criticism. That doesn’t sound like a memorable chapter in the franchise’s history. It feels like the game was hastily made just to have a game with Nintendo’s most famous mascot on the Game Boy Advance. There are now many ways to play the classic and remastered versions of Super Mario Bros 2 on more modern handheld systems. But if you like collecting retro, this game should definitely be in your Game Boy Advance library. Plus, it’s probably pretty cheap these days.
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