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Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 – GBA

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 – GBA

Super Mario Advance 4Platform:  Game Boy Advance

Developer:  Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date (NA):  October 21st, 2003

Genre:  Platformer

Rating:  8 out of 10



Super Mario Advance 4Well, this game sure does have a hell of a title.  Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 is an enhanced version of Super Mario Bros. 3, originally for the NES, ported to the GBA.  More specifically, it is a port of the updated SMB 3 included in Super Mario All-Stars.  It packs all the punch of the original and adds a few new features here and there for dedicated fans.  This is easily one of if not the strongest title for the GBA.

Super Mario Advance 4For the most part fans of the original will recognize SMA 4 instantly.  There’s a few minor changes such as the games that can be played for items and extra lives, and the addition of voices for Mario and Luigi.  Graphics are a touch better than those of the original NES version, especially when played through the Game Boy Player on an actual TV.  Controls are also improved, and there is a noticeable difference when pulling off precision jumps, lining up the cards for extra lives, and flying with the raccoon tail.  Even the difficult task of swimming is slightly easier.

Super Mario Advance 4SMA 4 adds a few things that are completely absent from SMB 3.  One is to play as either Mario, or Mario and Luigi.  When playing as Mario, the gameplay is identical to the original.  If Mario and Luigi is selected, it mimics the 2-player mode of the original.  In SMB 3, each player alternated turns, one as Mario and one as Luigi.  With SMA 4, one player begins as Mario, plays through a level, and then begins the next turn as Luigi.  What this accomplishes is unknown to me; if anything, it seems to be detrimental since Mario and Luigi do not share items or powerups.  Traditional SMB 3 multiplayer is available through the use of a link cable.

Another addition is one of the many renditions of Mario Bros.  When starting up the game, the player can choose to either begin SMB 3 or Mario Bros.  This version isn’t exactly the same as the original Mario Bros. release for the NES, nor is it quite identical to the versus mode Mario Bros. from SMB 3, but the general idea remains the same.

Super Mario Advance 4Perhaps the most relevant new feature in SMA 4 is the save feature.  Three save slots are available providing the perfect opportunity to share the title with friends and children.  After any castle, small or large, is completed, progress is saved indefinitely.  At any point during the game, the player may opt for what would become known as a “Quick Save” in later Mario games.  Essentially this is a way to temporarily save progress that isn’t tied to the completion of a castle and allows one to continue playing at the exact point one left off.  SMA 4 also contains a “sleep” feature that suspends the software; very useful for preserving battery life or when the player is forced to stop playing abruptly.  All of this is a welcome change from the original SMB 3 where one is forced to pause the Nintendo for long periods of time due to the lack of a save feature.

The last major difference manifests through the e-Reader.  SMA 4 utilizes e-Reader cards heavily to add new levels and powerups that can’t be found elsewhere (such as the Goomba Boot and the feather/cape from Super Mario World), but more on this in the Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3-e review.

Super Mario Advance 4Anyone with a GBA needs to get a hold of this game.  It may not be one of the cheaper used GBA titles, but it is one of the most available.  No matter how familiar you may be with SMB 3, it’s still a blast to play through this beloved title on Nintendo’s wonderful handheld.  SMA 4 is also the perfect introduction for those too young to be familiar with the original.  Certainly one of the giants of handheld gaming.

Reviewed by The Cubist

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist

Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

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