Super Mario World was bundled with the Super Nintendo during its North American launch. It was a highly anticipated game at the time as the three previous Super Mario Bros. videogames set the bar pretty high. Super Mario World takes what worked best in the previous three Super Mario games, tweaked them a little, and added new gameplay mechanics to sweeten the pie. It is a game most known for its addition of everybody’s favourite dinosaur, Yoshi. Yoshi adds a bunch of new gameplay elements not previously seen in the franchise.
If Mario gets hit by an enemy while riding Yoshi, he won’t revert back to a previous state; instead Yoshi takes off running leaving Mario unscathed. However, it is now up to Mario to catch Yoshi. Essentially you can remain invincible throughout any stage, as long as you don’t lose Yoshi. Yoshi also uses his tongue to eat enemies and berries. After devouring a certain number of berries, Yoshi will create an item. Koopa shells are also capable of giving Yoshi powers. For example, red shells give him the ability to breathe fire, while blue shells give him wings and the ability to fly. Yoshi can also be abandoned which can give Mario an extra jump. Another new mechanic is the spin attack. This attack allows Mario to drill through yellow bricks, but can also destroy some enemies in one hit, or used to bounce on others.
Two new power-ups introduced in Super Mario World are the Cape Feather and P Balloon. Cape Mario can perform a variety of techniques that make it one of the best Mario power-ups of all time. Mario can use the cape to spin and defeat enemies, but he can also use it to fly. Flying isn’t new to the series as it was previously introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3, but it is drastically improved upon. Mario takes to the sky after building momentum and at first it may seem like flight is limited, but there is a technique that keeps Mario in the sky. While flying, press the d-pad in the opposite direction and Mario will create a parachute and bounce across the sky. This is very useful when clearing difficult stages and reaching hidden exits. Mario can also slam into the ground causing shockwaves that can defeat enemies. There isn’t much to say about the P balloon power-up other than it causes Mario to blow up and float towards the sky. It is a simple power-up that is outshined by Cape Mario.
Levels are more sophisticated in design than previous Mario games. While a lot of levels play out in a linear fashion, there are those that will challenge you to find hidden exits. Ghost Levels are confusing in nature and almost always have you searching for the true exit. In fact they are very whimsical and sometimes even force you to fight a Big Boo. Fortress levels and castle levels are designed to be downright tough and will challenge your timing and endurance. Making their return, each of the seven Koopa Kids wait for you at the end of castle levels.
Super Mario World has a lot of content to offer. Instead of separate maps for each world, each map is interconnected through a variety of paths. It gives the player a sense of one huge world and in my opinion is the best overworld map in any Super Mario game. Additional paths are uncovered upon the discovery of hidden exits. Hidden exits reside in certain levels, which is always designated by a flashing red dot. These new paths can be shortcuts, new levels and even more secrets. World’s most famous secret being the Star Road which even holds its own secret. Star Road holds a secret set of levels known as the Special World. Each of these secret levels will test every Super Mario World skill you have learned as they are definitely the most devious levels designed in the Mario series.
It goes without saying that Super Mario World also has great improvements in its presentation. Sprites are highly detailed and with a possible 32,768 colours on the Super Nintendo, Super Mario World is indeed visually stunning. There is also great music only possible with the upgrade to a 16-bit console. One of the standout tracks being the underwater theme. When riding Yoshi, drums are added to each song which is a nice touch. Overall the music is pretty solid; with only one track being a tad dull. I really don’t dig the underground theme a whole lot and find it much too boring in comparison to the great underground theme from previous Mario games.
5/5 D-Pads: Overall, Super Mario World is without doubt, one of the Super Nintendo’s many shining gems. It has fun level design, the addition of Yoshi and an incredible amount of hidden content; there is no way any gamer or Super Mario fan could be disappointed. There are also some obvious upgrades to the graphics and sound that weren’t previously possible on the NES. If you haven’t played the game you should try to score a copy on eBay, or just download it on the Virtual Console for 800 Points.