Monday, August 23, 2010

Super Mario Bros.

Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!
How many times did that give you the sh**'s growing up? If the answer is none then you are total wanker and don't read this or any other of my reviews.

Super Mario Bros. on the NES, I don't know any gamer who has not played this game. It is pretty much the most iconic game in Nintendo's long history. No other game has had more of a impact on the world than this game, it pulled the video game industry out of the depression it was in. For over 20 years it was the highest selling video game of all time, only topped by Nintendo's console bundled, Wii sports. Its a hard game to review, without a doubt the hardest I have had to do so far. How do you review a game that almost every gamer has played and has loved for so many years? Well you can't really, but I made a deal with myself that I would review every retro cart I got my hands on, and this little number is next! So without further f***ing around here it is!

Gameplay (9 out of 10)
Hmm how to start this... Its a platformer. From the day of it was released, it was the benchmark from which every single side scroller was compared to. You take control of Mario or his pallete swap of a brother Luigi, in there quest to save the princess from the evil giant turtle like Bowser. While saving a princess is nothing original, for the type of game it was the story didnt matter in the slightest. Set in the Mushroom Kingdom, Super Mario Bros. has a wide array of original and challenging enemy's. From Goomba's to Koopa's they all haveone great thing in common, just a bounce on the head to kill them.

The game features powerups in the form of mushrooms and flowers. You start as small Mario, collect a mushroom you power up to big Mario, now with the ability to smash blocks and from there collect a flower and you transform into Super Mario with the ability to shoot fireballs at your enemy's. While the range of powerups is nothing compared to the later games, its hard to criticize a game when it is only bettered by its sequels, which of course had not been created yet.

I think the thing that makes the game so great even by todays standards is the fact that its gameplay mechanics are spot on. The controls are super responsive, you press jump and Mario says how high! (Variable jumping joke if you missed it!) you tap right just a tiny bit, Mario moves right just a tiny bit. While the game has its fair share of bugs (Many of which are quite famous, world -1 anybody?) they are not enough to take away from the raw gameplay.

One point I found a lot of my friends complain about when they would come over to my house and fire up my NES in recent days is the fact that when you die, you have to start again, the amount of people who didn't know the A+START combo on the start screen to continue at the start of the world you were just at amazed me. That was always well known in my household.

Graphics (8.5 out of 10)
What a world Nintendo created with The Mushroom Kingdom, the detail shown with the backgrounds and tile sets is amazing compared to 99% of the games on the market at the time. While the graphics are great and everything is bright and colourful. I feel that compared to many other NES titles the games graphics most defiantly feel blocky at times in particular Mario's sprites, which is a bit of an eye sore today, but for such an early NES game it looks amazing and nothing can ever take away the look of how they all blend perfectly with one another.

I think one of the biggest pro's the game had going for it was how smoothly the screen scrolled, so many games of the era had single screens, but if they did have scrolling screens in the same way that Super Mario Bros. did it just was no where near as smooth, for years after its release games were still not getting the same smoothness that it achieved, it may sound pretty stupid by today's standards, but for such an important aspect of the game, to nail it perfectly it makes the entire game look better and not a slow down to be seen.

Sound (10 out of 10)
Who's entire childhood doesn't light up in front of them when they hear the sound of Mario getting a coin? While the sounds pumped out of the old 8 bit box are hardly anything amazing compared to today's standards they all do there job and do it so well. They are all so original and just scream MARIO! If I put a random soundboard in front of a gamer and played through every sound in the game 99/100 would get a perfect score when saying where in the game the sound came from. Utter addiction !!!

Featuring some of the most recognizable tunes every created in a video game, Kōji Kondō has created a beautiful collection of very memorable tunes that after a few games you will find yourself humming or whistling for a few days later. Another great feature with the music is that as you run out of time the tempo of the music picks up, it really creates a sense of urgency.

The music is perfect, I don't need to really go into it any more.

Replay Value (8.5 out of 10)
The game is loaded with secrets, from hidden 1-up mushrooms to Warp Zones which transport you to different worlds while skipping the ones before it. The game has enough secrets to keep you coming back for more even after 20 years of playing you are guaranteed that no two games of the game will be the same. Its always fun to watch a friend play Mario and do a secret you never knew existed. Years and years after I first played this game, I still find myself firing it up from time to time.

It also scores point on the Replay Value table by the fact it supports two players, while both players don't play at the same time like Double Dragon and such, it is still always fun to have your friends come over and fire up the NES to put to the test some of your friends "I was the best at that game" claims.

Overall (9 out of 10)
Overall the game is a classic to put it simply, from the moment of its launch it changed the face of gaming and turned Nintendo in to The Big N, they took hold of the video game world and didn't let go until Sony forced them to. The game may not be as amazing today as it was back in the 80's but for myself and millions of others, it will always have a special place in our heart.

With sleek graphics, smooth gameplay that was so finely tuned it still holds up today and music that could make Mozart cry. Super Mario Bros. is without a doubt a must have for anyone.

You must own this game in some way, shape or form.

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