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A sequel that's a prequel?
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island is of the classic Nintendo role-playing scroller variety. The player takes charage of a Yoshi (a cute, colourful dinosaur) and directs him from one end of each level to the other. Yoshi's quest in this game is to reunite Baby Mario with his borther, Baby Luigi - and fight Baby Bowser of course.
The game is, clearly then, set before any of the other Mario games - with Mario howling like a... well, baby whenever he is "hit". The most unusual thing about the game is that when the player is hit (by a flying enemy, fireball, mutated plant etc.) you do not "die" (as you would do in most Mario games). Instead, Baby Mario flies from the back of your Yoshi (where he has been happily hitching a lift) and floats about in a bubble. You then have 10 seconds (or more, if you collect special stars) to reclaim Baby Mario before he is abducted by Bowser's evil flying critters - I believe the critters are known as Shy Guys.
The level format is very familiar - with a few twists and turns in the gameplay. For instance, Yoshi can transform into a number of vehicles (helicopter, submarine, train etc.) using special transformation blocks. Yoshi can also launch eggs at enemies/targets and knock them out/activate secret areas. The egg firing takes a while to get used to, but once you've got the hang of controlling both a Yoshi, a moving crosshairs and keeping Baby Mario safe, you'll be laughing.
There are loads of levels in this game. Loads. There are six worlds - increasing in difficulty naturally. Each world has eight levels (including 2 "dungeons" or "castles" if you will). There are also (alledgedly) bonus levels in this game. As hard as I try (believe me, I've tried!) I never once worked out how to access them. I tried getting a score of 100 on every level - didn't work. Never mind.
Ah yes, the scoring. That's one more special feature for this game. You can collect Red Coins to up your score, as well as jolly, smiling flowers - which give you an extra life if you collect all five on a level. Much like the Yoshi Coins in Super Mario World 1.
Conclusion - it's a good fun game. Nothing incredibly new - the egg firing is cool though. The graphics are very different from other Mario titles - kind of finer detail, more texture, but more of a "drawn" cartoon feel to them. The level backgrounds are the best of any Mario game and the music is cool. As you progress through the worlds, more and more instruments are added to the main theme - a nice touch. All in all, a highly respectable and playable Mario title.
y the time this worthy title was released, interest for SNES was slacking. Because of this, many have never played Yoshi's Island. But everyone should! Any cynic who believes that they have got to the point where no platformer is capable of surprising them also must play this. YI, more than any other Nintendo release I've seen, attempts to make as many surprises as humanly possible. This endevour is helped no end by the use of a Super FX 2 chip, previously used in Vortex and Wildtrax. Unlike the aformentioned titles, however, YI does not use the chip for polygons much. YI is a 2D platformer in the Mario World tradition, but with knobs on. The Super FX 2 chip is used here to stretch, rotate, and generally piss around with sprites for the most part, although the game is not totally polygon free. The idea here is that the Yoshis must save Mario from the clutches of the evil Kamek, by carrying him through the levels. If Yoshi gets hit, Mario floats away in a bubble, doing the most convincing baby wail in any game I've seen - not that I'm aware of strong competition - and you must get him again before the timer runs out and he is nabbed by the bad guys. Yoshi is better equiped to dispatch the forces of evil than he was in Mario World, as he can finally lick upwards, fire eggs (formed from swallowed enemies), butt slam Mario 64 style and do a really cool lip-licking animation when he swallows something small... Nintendo's coders have done a good job of making each and every level have something new, and not in the strict 'one gimmick per level' fashion of Donkey Kong Country 3: the ideas are liberally thrown around the levels in the way only a very imaginative group of people could do. Another thing which often grabs your attention is the attention to detail. In one area for instance, missiles are dropped on you from above. But they don't just appear from out of the blue, oh no. There is a line of Shyguys above you, and th
ey pass along the missiles down the line towards you. There are tiny frogs on some levels that also only serve to amuse you. The graphics are something that are likely to split people into two groups: those who call them messy and washed out, and those who call them imaginative. Basically, a lot of the graphics were done in the style of a felt tip, and whether this makes for an interesting style or a crap one is up to you. Personally I like the graphics. Few will dispute the graphical quality of the bosses, which are huge and ooze humour. The way you dispatch them is always different, too. One of the strengths of Mario World was the way you could choose your route through the game, and unfortunately they've done away with said feature here: your progress through the levels is totally linear. Also, there aren't as many levels as before, but to be fair there are a good number, with a good helping of secret levels, too. Sound? Not too bad for Nintendo to give them credit. One fantastic idea whereby the world map theme starts off with only a few sound channels, and then every time you complete a world, another instrument is added into the theme, ending which an orchestral ditty by the end of the game. The rest is pretty good by Nintendo's standards. Cutesy, but ultimately hummable. All the ideas floating around and all the little touches etc make this an unique game, and one I'd recommend playing through.