|Title: Super Mario Bros. 3
Rom Player: NESticle
Synopsis: If these reviews didn’t have to be longer than a single sentence, I could suffice with “BEST GAME EVER”. I don’t just say that because it’s the one I enjoyed most of all the games I’ve played in my life, but because every aspect of it has been thought out so carefully. But I’ll get to that later.
Unlike for Super Mario Bros 2, I remember seeing a commercial for Super Mario Bros 3. Unfortunately, all it had was a crowd of people gawking at the sky, then a picture of the old yellow box with Raccoon Mario in mid-flight drawn on the cover – no in-game shots. Ah, the curiosity. And then I finally got the chance to play this game for myself. It wasn’t long before I realized this game topped Super Mario Bros 1, topped it tenfold, and every other game I knew with it.
I got Mario-addicted along with a group of classmates. We would meet at someone’s house after school and hit the NES for hours with, usually, games of Super Mario 3. We exchanged secrets we sometimes found out, and usually heard of from others. I couldn’t give an estimate, but I’m sure this game held me over for years. In fact, it’s still holding me over.
After the complete change in gameplay in Mario 2, Mario 3 went back to its roots, and expanded or improved on all its features. Once again you were Mario or Luigi, running around and stomping on enemies to kill them. The aspect of picking up and throwing objects was kept by the new ability to pick up stomped Koopa shells and white blocks and kicking them at enemies. The fireflower and star “upgrades” were carried over into this game, along with a load of new powers for Mario and Luigi. Leaves now allowed them to turn into half-raccoons, and there were three suits that gave them more bizarre looks and powers. The Tanooki suit, a more elaborate raccoon form, had the same abilities as Raccoon Mario and could turn into a statue that enemies can’t harm. The Frog suit, though very limiting above ground, allowed Mario to swim in all directions and much faster. The Hammer Brother suit allowed him to throw hammers like his enemies. And the unforgettable goomba shoe, letting you make great jumps and hop over chomping plants.
And damn, the speed. The statistics on the bottom of the screen showing things like time, score and amount of coins now also has a “P” meter, which charged up when you ran with “B” held down. If it powered up completely, you could glide across the screen and make huge jumps, and even FLY if you had the Raccoon ability.
The game was absolutely littered with secrets that sometimes awarded you cool new items, but mostly acquired you extra lives. It wasn’t hard to hold a constant of 50 lives at a time. Still, the game had plenty of frustrating and difficult parts – I remember sitting in the living room on a quiet Sunday afternoon and hear my older brother swear the foulest things at the poor old NES when he’d dropped into a chasm once again. In other words, this game is not for those with a short temper.
Everything you might’ve missed in Mario 1 was here. You could gather up items such as flowers, mushrooms and stars in the overworld and keep them stored until you needed them. If you got hit while carrying a special ability, instead of reverting to little Mario like in Mario 1, you’d just become “Super Mario” again (the taller version). If you lost all your lives, you would be tossed back to the first level of the world you were in, and all the levels you played through would be closed again, but you weren’t told to start all over again. Bonuses, coins, extra lives and items were awarded to you left and right, and the minigames were endless. Just about all the enemies from Mario 1 were back, often with new and hilarious forms. Goombas now sometimes had wings and could bombard you with tinier Goombas. Beetles and Spinies could crawl on the ceiling and roll at you. There were Hammer brothers throwing hammers, boomerangs and fireballs. The fish were back, but now had a big sister aptly named “Big Bertha” that could swallow Mario whole. Instead of fighting Bowser eight times in the same game, you would fight his seven kids that all had unique abilities and techniques, and ten meet King Koopa (Bowser) himself for an awesome final showdown.
I don’t remember half the stuff they taught me in school, but give me a NES gamepad in my hands and I’ll show you every single secret there is to Super Mario Bros 3 like I learned them yesterday. I’m sure Mario veterans all over the world feel exactly the same way. Like I said before, every aspect of this game is thought out perfectly. Graphics are crispy, colorful and bright. The controls fit perfectly, Mario runs and jumps the way you want him to. Seeing a seasoned Mario 3 player in action is like watching ballet (except, not boring and fruity), because he knows every single move to execute already ten seconds before he has to. The variety of enemies is endless and each game world is wonderfully unique. There’s more secrets than you can count, and despite the unimportance of the storyline (oldest tale in the world – the plumber saves the princess from the dragon/turtle), the game’s ending is spectacular.
Best Cheats: No cheats. Secrets? Where to begin… In level 3, world 1, stand on the white block near the end and hold down “down” for about eight seconds. You will fall through the block. Walk to the right and get behind the black screen as far as you can to be taken to a secret place where you receive a whistle. Use this whistle to reach the warpzone. Other whistles are in the world 1 mini-castle (at the block with the leaf and the Bones turtle parading around, fly up and to the right, walk to the end and hit “up”) and behind a rock all the way to the right in world 2 (defeat Hammer Bros to get a hammer, pound the rock, and defeat the Fire Bros on the other end).
Game Play: 10
Overall Rating: 10
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