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Super Mario Advance – GBA

Super Mario Advance – GBA

Super Mario AdvancePlatform:  Game Boy Advance

Release Date (NA):  June 11th, 2001

Developer:  Nintendo

Publisher:  Nintendo

Genre:  Platformer

Nerd Rating:  7 out of 10




As one of the launch titles for the GBA, Super Mario Advance reimagines  a couple of early Mario games, namely Super Mario Bros. 2 and the original Mario Bros.  There’s not a whole lot of new stuff going on for those familiar with either game, and it doesn’t push the original material in quite the same way as Super Mario Advance 4but it is a nice update.

Super Mario Advance

Mario Bros. has some added backgrounds and improved gameplay mechanics.  Clearly this isn’t the main focus of the game, although it is a respectable and modern way to enjoy the dated arcade classic.  If you’ve ever been frustrated by the clunky jumping and stilted movement of the original NES version, this re-release will make the game seem worth playing, and you may even find yourself making some serious progress.

The real focal point here in Super Mario Advance is the slightly revamped version of Super Mario Bros. 2.  Is it any different than the original?  Not much; I guess I would call the additions “enhancements” more than anything.  Most obvious is the scattering of “A Coins” scattered throughout each level.  I’m still not sure what the point is since I’ve yet to collect them all.

Super Mario Advance

GIANT vegetables!

Other small touches are inserted as well, including giant vegetables, a few giant enemies, and the occasional underground bonus area with a hidden 1-up or POW block.  I want to say that some minor adjustments have been made to the controls, because overall the difficulty has been tapered down a little.  Other changes contribute as well, for instance, it’s now much easier to refill one’s life meter.  In the original, about the best we could hope for was a floating heart now and then, but between giant enemies, giant turnips, and the abundant powerups which can be found in the ground just like any other root vegetable, Mario (or any other character) can take much more of a beating.  Continues abound as well, so one never has to completely start over.  We also have some added taunts by the various Birdo bosses, and the strange replacement of World 3-3’s Mouser with a hitherto unseen robotic Birdo.



The graphics don’t appear to have undergone any major improvements, though the bright, simple colors and basic geometric shapes work well on the GBA.  Original sounds are intact, and even the characters’ individual abilities are present and accounted for.  SMB 2 gets shoved to the side more than most early Mario games, but really, it introduced many of the elements that would become standard over the years: Luigi’s exceptional jumping, familiar 4-character roster, floating Peach, and of course Birdo.

Super Mario AdvanceI’m not too sure if this is a “must have” for the GBA, but it’s close.  If you’re looking for some portable SMB 2 (or even Mario Bros.), then you’ll definitely want to pick it up.  If you want a smoother SMB 2 experience, you’ve got another reason to give it a shot.  It’s not the most exciting Mario game to come around, though it did come out at a time when NES nostalgia was at a popular peak and it makes sense to give a classic like SMB 2 a sleeker update.

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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