Today, I’m here to rectify a mistake. Sometimes in the rush of getting out these reviews on time, I will make one. Like my review of Dead Rising Chop Til you Drop; I mention Night of the Living Dead takes place in a mall (that’s actually DAWN of the Dead). Factual errors like that though, I’m ok with because someone can correct me. What I’m not ok with is when I make a mistake on my opinion because no one can and I don’t make the impression I would like to. For example, in my Spyro 2 review, I say I’m a fan of Spyro. Though I do have and enjoy his original PlayStation series, I haven’t played more than that, so “fan” might be too strong of a word. But the one I want to address now is Super Mario Land 2: the 6 Golden Coins. Now, it’s a really good game and deserves recognition, but I gave it 10 out of 10 not acknowledging its flaws, which makes me feel unfair and biased. However, I don’t want to go back and redo a review, so now I present to you a review of the game that came before it, and I will try to be as fair as possible. Here is Super Mario Land for the Game Boy.
Before Super Mario Land, most portable games were on Game & Watch, so a portable game that was comparable to something on a home console was a big deal. Most of the basic elements from the first Super Mario Bros. are still found in this game: you run from left to right, jump on enemies to kill them and mushrooms make you bigger and able to take an extra hit. As a matter of fact they even made a change I enjoyed: different castle bosses (it’s no longer just Bowser every time). There are also a few new and different enemies throughout the levels too. A little more variety is really appreciated.
HOWEVER something feels off to me. Part of it might have to do with the graphics, but there are a lot of little things too. For example, gaining momentum seems less important. What I mean to say is that in Super Mario Bros. it would take a small bit of time to reach top speed. In Super Mario Land, you seem to reach that speed quicker. It’s subtle, but I find it’s noticeable and gives the game more of a jittery feel.
I also have to point out that the hit detection is a little off. A lot of times, I would be running and see an enemy coming right for me. I then jump to avoid it but clearly see Mario running right into it. And then the enemy dies instead. I could keep nit-picking about the fireballs who bounce up in the air and never come back, how ridiculously short the game is and how there are 2D shooter levels (which just feel wrong for Mario), but I think I made my point: it just doesn’t feel much like as much of a Mario game.
I can’t judge the graphics too harshly due to when this game came out and the fact that it was made to look like the first Super Mario Bros. But I don’t think the size of that game was properly scaled back. In Super Mario Bros., most objects take up the same space as one block. In Super Mario Land, Mario looks like a giant! The blocks are all tiny, which, with the jittery controls, makes them really hard to hit sometimes. Mushrooms, extra lives, enemies: they all feel too small and like you need to adjust for it.
There aren’t any colors in this game either, so when you get the fire flower, you don’t see a difference. Often I’ll forget I even have it since I’m holding down the B button just to run. Super Mario Land 2 got around this by giving Mario a feather on his head, but here, no effort was made to distinguish the two.If it sounds like I’m attacking Super Mario Land to make up for being too nice to Super Mario Land 2, let me assure you, that’s not the case. The thing with this game is that everything it does right is taken straight from Super Mario Bros., so the differences are the only thing to talk about. Sadly the differences I do find mostly make this game worse. As much as Super Mario Land 2 had its problems (like the physics being off for stomping on baddies or it’s detachment to the Mario series at some points) it still felt like getting to experience a good, new Mario game. Giving it a perfect score was a little over the top though, especially since I couldn’t even give one to Pokemon. But the thing is my scores are one of the least important parts of my reviews, as the reason I ramble on for almost 5 minutes is to tell you about what you should know about a game so you can decide if it sounds good. That’s not to say I don’t put any thought into my score, but now I’m too off topic. Point is, I’ve change a bit since I started, and I think Super Mario Land 2 was judged unfairly in its favor, so don’t think I’m being harsh on this game because it’s not its better sequel. In all honesty, it was probably a good launch title, but hasn’t aged well and there are too many things about it that bug me. It’s a good game, but not one I’d put a priority on playing. I give Super Mario Land for the Game Boy 7.5 levels out of 10.