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SummaryThe ultimate Mario adventure for the NES
The GoodThe Mario series has been going for three years, and there was a huge difference between the original game and its sequel. The North American/European version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was nothing compared to the one released in Japan. The reason for this was, NoA rejected the real sequel to SMB on the grounds that it was very difficult and released a very different game based on Doki Doki Panic. The only similarity to the Mario universe was it had the four major characters (Mario, Luigi, Toadstool, and Peach).
Fortunately, with SMB3, Nintendo went out to set things right again. It expands on the original game by introducing new features. The first one of these are the world maps, which you see the moment you start a new game. There are eight of them (as well as a hidden one), consisting of about ten levels. Mario can navigate through each map, only stopping if he reaches a level he hasn't explored yet. The levels are indicated by a black square with numbers on them, but there are other stuff on the map like buildings and fortresses. The themselves are quite detailed, and there are some fantastic sprite animations as the sprites bop along to the music that serve each map. I am really glad that this map system returned in Super Mario World and other future Mario games.
Each level of the game is on par with the original's, with different platforms to jump on, and blocks you can bump into to be awarded a coin that was hidden in that block. The object of each level is the same, with Mario (or Luigi, if you are playing in 2-player mode) running to a black area that serves as the level's exit. There are levels that look like castles on the maps, and by entering them, you get to defeat the big boss. It is interesting to see what creature the king that serves each land was transformed into.
Another new feature of SMB3 is the inclusion of mini-games, which are either memory games or match-em-ups. Although they are optional, they are ideal for stocking up on lives. You can also, at the end of the level, touch a block that has a picture on it. Each picture is stored in its own space within its status bar. As you progress through the game, the levels get more difficult, so stocking up on extra lives in essential. Get three of the same picture, and you are awarded an extra life. The game also gives you a larger version of it, beautifully animated in the black sky.
The music is much better than the original game. Most of the music written for the game have a beat to them, with only it taking a more sinister tone as you enter fortresses and castles. And it is this tone that I like. I like the way the game lets you know when you are running out of time, by the sudden increase in tempo. The sound effects also match those of the original game.
The highlight of SMB3 is the number of ways Mario can transform. Transformations happen when you get a certain power-ups (either from picking a box or restoring a king back to his self). These power-ups help your character get through the difficult levels, or access areas that you can't normally. Raccoon Mario, for example, allows the player to fly up further into the sky where coins can be collected. My favorite power-up is Hammer Mario because that transformation allows Mario to throw hammers at enemies, and these hammers are far more effective than fireballs.
The BadI found some of the enemies quite annoying, especially those winged Goombas and Koopas that land on a platform, then take off again and get in your way. Other than that...