Review written by
April 20th, 2014
Super Mario Bros. 3 is a game that is impervious to time. There are grown men and women all over the world in their 20s and 30s who will light up smiling if you simply mention the game's title.
That's for many good reasons. Released in Japan in 1988, USA in 1990, and PAL territories in 1991, the game was so ahead of its time that it was shocking. The graphics, while simple and limited by the NES' aging architecture, were colorful, varied and vibrant.
Environments were always changing. From grassy plains, to icy caverns, haunted castles, sand pits, block cities, oceans and ponds, airships to pits of fire. This game had it all. If you're a first time player, you are in for a treat. Few games have so much variety in stages, themes, and level designs.
While you romp around as Mario or Luigi, you're also going to be accompanied by Koji Kondo's musical brilliance. There are so many catchy, just mesmerizing tunes packed into this game. The eight main worlds each have their own theme, there are multiple overworld themes, an underwater waltz, a creepy castle jam, and much more - and they will stick in your head for days. The sound effects themselves are punchy and accurate for the actions made. Hearing bricks break and coins being collected sounds just... good.
That said, what good will nice graphics and sound do for a game if the controls are shoddy? That's definitely not the case here. The controls are extremely tight. The physics, while borrowed from the first Super Mario Bros. game, are honed to near-perfection. You can change your direction mid-jump. You can break your run quickly, hold the down arrow to slide down hills, press "A" at the right moment to bounce of enemies' heads and create an extra-life combo. If you run for 3 to 4 seconds, your "P-Meter" will fill and you can do a super jump, or if you're equipped with a super-leaf or Tanooki suit, you can take flight briefly.
This leads us to power-ups: There are tons of power-ups in this game. The raccoon a.k.a. super leaf, gives you the ability to strike with your tail and fly for brief periods. The P-Wing gives you flight for an entire level. The Tanooki gives you all of the powers of the super leaf, plus the ability to turn into an impenetrable statue capable of destroying enemies that were once thought invincible. The frog suit gives you superior movement while underwater, but quite a challenge on the land. There's also the extremely rare hammer-bros suit and Kuribo's shoe. The trusty old fire-flower and invincibility star make their appearances as well.
Most importantly, I would like to mention the gameplay. It is sublime. I've already stated that the music, sound, controls and graphics are top-notch, but the gameplay is the real "cake under the icing." There is simply so much variety, and there are so many actions Mario and Luigi can perform. There are even multiple ways to kill the final boss. There are secrets around every corner. You can play through the entire game without warping, and have hours of fun, or you can zip through the game in under thirty minutes by using warp whistles. The challenge level is perfect. The game is without a doubt one of the harder Mario games, but play your 'cards' right, collect a ton of power-ups, and you'll be fine. If you're playing two-player, and you're the more experienced gamer, be a hero and leave him or her to pick up the power-ups they will need to stay in the game with you.
The game is simply brilliant. It's a great co-op, competitive, or single-player experience. It's great for speed-running or playing all the way through, and the game never plays the same way twice. Ask around and see if there's anyone who dislikes Super Mario Bros. 3. Good luck. If you don't own this game then please do yourself a favor and make it happen.
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