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Super Mario All-Stars

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Reviewed by Yoshi-M Who DOESN'T like Mario? What game did you play when you got a NES. Super Mario (because it came with the system, along with Duck Hunt and World Class Track Meet or Gyromite. And you played it to death, getting stuck on the 6th level, and then discovering the warp zones to beat the game. You proud Super NES owners that bought your system when it first came out got Super Mario World: 99 or so levels of Mario fun. And you played it to death. The games were instant classics. Then, Mario kind of disappeared on the 16 bit scene (and I'm talking side scroll action), except for a few titles that had his name on it. Some players who never played the 8-bit games probably wondered how Mario got to be popular, or wanted more Mario action. The older gamers probably got rid of their NES systems and miss the old Mario games. Well, fear not! Super Mario All Stars brings the first three games back from the NES days and updates them to 16 bit glory. And oh what an update it is. Better music, graphics, and a save game feature. Nintendo also included a bonus game: The Lost Levels. Here are levels that never made it into the various games. And some are tough. For those of you who do not know about the games in the series, the pak includes Super Mario Brothers 1-3 (they do not have any catchy sub titles). Mario 1 is by far the side scrolling classic, where Mario must save Princess Toadstool from the clutches of the evil King Koopa. Mario 2 was the first in the series to allow you to choose what character you wanted to play (Mario, Luigi, Toad, or Princess), each with their separate strengths and weaknesses. You had to save the world from the clutches of the evil Wart, a gigantic frog. This game also featured a "health meter" that showed how many hits you could take. Mario 3 sort of stepped back a bit to its roots, forcing you to play as Mario (or Luigi in a 2 player game). but now you could carry an inventory of power up items. In the third game, you must collect different wands from the Koopa kids. The game also sported an overhead map where you could travel to different levels. Mario 3 also had lots and lots of secrets, from areas to items.

Graphics 5 out of 5

What an upgrade! Nintendo made sure their flagship characters got the royal treatment. Beautifully animated backgrounds and characters. The levels themselves took on a whole new look and feel. Also, the levels were not altered in anyway. The games play exactly like the originals. One improvement: no slow down with multiple enemies on the screen! For veteran Mario players, its almost like playing the games for the first time all over again.

Music and Sound 5 out of 5

The somewhat annoying music from the original games now become catchy thanks to the Super NES's sound capabilities. When in underground areas, the sound effects become echoed. Again, Nintendo pulled all the stops for this classic remake.

Game Challenge 4 out of 5

If you played the original Mario games and were really good at them, you could probably do well with All Stars (especially since all the levels are exactly the same as the originals). Then you play the Lost Levels. Because these are levels you have never seen before, you will not know what to expect, therefore making it more difficult. For those of you new to the games, they are not overly difficult, but get tough as you play. The save game feature is a plus.

Game Play-Fun 5 out of 5

I always loved the Mario games. There's something about them most people like (even the ones that say they thought Mario stank, you will see them play it and get into it after a while). If you like side scrollers, you got to get the king of all side scrollers. Its just that simple. For those of you who have only played Mario World and want more action, take All Stars for a spin.

Frustration

Come on, old school players, you know one of the frustrations: jumping over pits and missing the platform. Basically, the ease of screwing up royally in this game can be frustrating, and this usually occurs when our heads aren't on right and we rush in, only to slide to far and die. If you have played any Mario game pre 64 bit, you know what I mean....

Replayability 4 out of 5

I'm a warper. I find the warp zones and get to the end of the game. I know a bunch of other players are too. You will find lots of replayability by going through each and every level of all three games and the Lost Levels. With lots of secrets hidden in all of the games, and the sheer number of levels per game, and the appeal of the game itself, you will go back to this game often. Just like you do with the NES versions right now (and I KNOW you do....).

Game Value 4 out of 5

Four games (well 3 1/2 since Lost Levels isn't a full fledged game) at a price around $20. Now that is a steal. If you can't find the originals or don't have a NES but want to play these gems, get this game.

Overall 5 out of 10

It's a Mario, enough said. For us "old school" gamers, we grew up with Mario. Who doesn't like that little plumber guy? The fun of the original games, upgraded to 16 bit goodness, topped with a save feature and levels we've never seen before. Don't deny yourself this game. Its a lot of game for the price, and even if you beat the originals, you'll still enjoy your stay at the Mushroom Kingdom.

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