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Super Mario All Stars. Nintendo Wii.
Way back in 1985 in Japan and two years later in Europe in 1987, Nintendo introduced the world to a small Italian plumber on a mission to rescue the Princess Peach from the bad guys, this introduction was made in the form of the Super Mario Bros. game on the NES, Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was a huge success and led to the release of many more Super Mario titles and the creation of Mario and many other characters such as Luigi, Yoshi, Wario, Toad and the little Goombas' as we know them today. So, fast forward through years and years of gaming to 2010, it is now 25 years since the first release of a Mario Bros. game and obviously this is something to celebrate so Nintendo released a celebratory game for the Wii called Super Mario Bros. All-Stars. The game was released as a special box set which contains a Wii game disc featuring the 4 original Super Mario Bros. games in their original form, a Super Mario Bros. CD soundtrack and a booklet which tells the history of Super Mario from way back in 1985 all the way up to 2010. Now personally, being born in 1982 and most of my childhood gaming years involving Mario in some way this became a "must" on my games list!
Super Mario All Stars, The Game
As I mentioned earlier, Super Mario All Stars is a compilation of the four original Super Mario Bros. titles on one Wii disc. The games are all said to be in their original form with the same levels and challenges as the original game, so lets see if it is true.
To play Super Mario All Stars you need to hold the Wii remote horizontally so that it resembles a classic game pad or you can use the Wii Classic controller if you have one as well as a game cube controller if you happen to have one of those lurking around too.
Upon inserting the game and going past the usual adverts and Wii remote strap advisory screen you will see a screen with all of the Super Mario characters appearing to be talking, at this point you need to press the start button to be given a choice of which Super Mario game you would like to play.
Super Mario Bros.: The first ever Super Mario Bros. game to be released, originally on the Famicom System in 1985 in Japan and in 1987 on the NES in Europe. The game appears on All Stars in its original form with only the graphics having a slight update to make them a little smoother but this is hardly noticeable and takes nothing from the game. The story of Super Mario Bros. begins in Mushroom Kingdom where the evil Bowser has transformed this once quiet and peaceful kingdom into an unsettled mess with the help of magic and his tribe of Goombas and turtles. Bowser has kidnapped the only person who can stop him, Princess Peach and is holding her at his castle. Its not too late though Mushroom Kingdom can still be saved by Mario and his brother Luigi, two Italian plumbers who can use mushrooms and flowers as power ups and jump on the Goombas to get a little closer to saving Peach and Mushroom Kingdom.
I find that Super Mario Bros. still has all of the character it had the first time around and is actually quite a challenge to complete. The bad guys are unforgiving in the Mario games and there is no 'health bar', if you get caught out by a bad guy its simple, you either loose the special power you currently have or if you have no special powers then you are dead and must start again. Depending on where you are in the level will depend on where you start from. The levels are reasonably short so you do get the idea you are progressing quickly and doing really well, but there are loads of levels and they do get a lot harder as you go through them. The game play is exactly the same and even things such as which pipe you should slide down to enter a secret room all remain the same, I found it quite alarming that I remember my way around these levels after so many years of not playing! I use the Wii remote held horizontally to play this game and I have no trouble with controls although it did take me a while to get used to pressing '+' button for the start button instead of 'A'.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels: The Lost Levels was released in 1986 in Japan, however it didn't come to Europe until 1993 where it was released on the SNES as part of the Mario All Stars game. The Lost Levels is also known as Super Mario Bros. 2 and is basically a continuation of the first game. The levels are very similar in layout and the controls of the game remain the same, the only noticeable difference I find is that The Lost Levels are a lot harder than in the first game and you are also given a choice of playing as Mario or Luigi. Mario is easy to control, however Luigi can jump higher than Mario which creates better possibilities in some situations but is harder to control.
Super Mario Bros. 2: Confused? I was! I had just played The Lost Levels thinking that this was Super Mario Bros. 2 and then I return to the menu screen to find a Super Mario Bros. 2 game. So a quick check in the Mario History booklet informs me that Europe's Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in Europe in 1989 on the NES and later the same game was released as Super Mario USA on the SNES in 1992. So, depending on what systems you had and what country you lived in will depend on the actual order and titles of the games! The story of Super Mario Bros. 2 is that one night Mario has a dream, the dream is about another world called "Subcon" after telling Luigi, Peach and Toad about his dream it turns out that they are all having the same dreams and Subcon is a new world in their dreams and the setting for a new Mario Bros. game.
At the start of the game you can choose to play as Mario, Luigi, Toad or Peach. Each character has their own pluses and minuses and moves in a different way to the other. Personally I always choose Mario as he is the best all rounder for me and he moves in the same way as he has in the previous titles. This game keeps the same basic concept of the previous titles and the levels look pretty similar, however there is a difference here with how you can attack enemies. In the past you have only been able to attack enemies by jumping on their heads of firing flower bullets at them if you have the flower power up, however in Super Mario Bros. 2 you can pull various plants out of the ground and throw them at your enemies to defeat them. This is something which you need to master as a lot of the enemies cannot be defeated by simply jumping on them, this makes the game really hard as you have to be careful not to jump and land near an enemy as you will probably get hit and loose a life. There is a possibility to pick enemies up and throw them but this is also a tricky manoeuvre and one which can end in casualties but at the same time it is another move you need to master as without it you wont be able to defeat the boss at the end of the stage. Personally I find this game to be too hard and no where near as good as the other Mario titles. Out of the 4 games on the disc this one is my least favourite.
Super Mario Bros. 3: After saving Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser in the previous games, calm has been restored, until however Bowser wants revenge and sends his minions to steal the magic wands from around Mushroom Kingdom and turn the leaders into various animals. Princess Peach is safe this time and calls on Mario and Luigi to once again save the Kingdom.
This game was released in 1988 in Japan and 1991 in Europe. I have a vague memory of playing this when I was young however it doesn't seem to stick out for me as much as the first title. The setting for this game is slightly different to the others as you have a map screen where you can navigate through the different worlds and select the level you want to play, providing that you have finished the previous level you can replay other levels if you wish. There is a two player mode in this game, however after discovering that you don't actually play together we decided not to bother with this. The two player mode works in a turn taking way, so one player plays until they die and then it swaps to the other player, this isn't so good if one of you is better than the other at games. The levels in Super Mario Bros. 3 are nice and challenging and full of new enemies providing more of a challenge to complete the levels. The characters Mario and Luigi have more actions too and are able to transform into different outfits depending on the power up they collect. The power ups were possible in the previous titles too but there wasn't so many different options available. One of the big differences in power ups is the ability to change into a raccoon costume, this provides the ability to fly and perform tail attacks, this is pretty cool and a good example of how Mario kept his originality but still moved with the times in the gaming world.
I do like the 3rd title in the series but it isn't my favourite, my favourite will most probably always be the first as this was the original and holds the most memories for me from my childhood gaming years.
The one thing which I cannot remember from the original games is that all of the games featured on the Wii edition have the option to pause the game and choose to save your progress so far. For the life of me I cannot remember this feature, especially in the older titles as I seem to remember getting frustrated playing a level over and over again to reach the points I had previously reached. I do quite like this feature as it is opening up the chance for me to progress further than I ever have before, but at the same time that was part of the fun and the challenge for me to get further each time I played from the start.
The sound in the game is catchy and addictive and all of the titles feature their original music and sound effects. This definitely provides a trip down memory lane!
The Soundtrack CD
If you purchase this game brand new then chances are you will buy the special edition red box set which contains the audio CD and history booklet. I have never seen the game sold without these items other than on eBay. The audio CD is basically a CD which contains a large quantity of Super Mario Bros. theme tunes, level tunes and sound effects. I like the CD and I love the novelty value of it, I actually put the CD in itunes and now have the Super Mario theme tune as my ringtone on my phone. The tracks contained on the CD are not only from the four games featured on the All Stars disc but are from other titles as well including Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy.
The History Booklet.
The History Booklet can be found in the same box as the audio CD and is an interesting insight into how Super Mario began and how it grew to be as popular as it is today. The booklet is printed in full colour and illustrates the Mario history along with photos and comments from the creators and designers of the Mario games. I found this quite interesting to read and it made me want to go and buy all of the games in the series and have a Mario gaming session!
Price and Availability
Super Mario Bros. All Stars can be bought in most game shops for around the £20 mark brand new or less for a pre owned copy. If you have a look on eBay you can often find a bargain listing where the seller is just selling the game without the extras. Personally I would recommend that you buy the full package as it is interesting and unique.
Overall Super Mario Bros. All Stars is what gaming is all about, it is a challenge with lots of levels, lots of bad guys and lots of fun!
I love this game, it takes me back to my childhood and it still offers the challenges and fun of growing up in the 80's and 90's. The game is quite addictive and quite hard, I don't think I realised just how easy a lot of games have become in recent years and although I do really like games today I think that nothing will ever match the challenge presented in the originals!
Highly Recommended for all ages and 5 out of 5 stars!
Thanks for reading :)
This is the game I have been waiting for, it takes you right back to your childhood in one way or another. You get all the old classical mario games on one disc! The new Wii remote works brilliantly with the games and it almost feels like an old controller (you can buy the replica and play with that if you want, but for me to normal Wii remote is more than good enough).
It´s not new in any way, as the games are all really old but it´s pure joy to be able to play the old games on todays modern flat TV´s. After a while you sit there humming the old tunes with a big smile on your face.
The tunes you will get on a CD, so if you want - you can play them in your house or put them on your mp-3 player.
I had forgot how difficult they were tho, as you need to clear 3 levels in a row to be able to save your game - so prepare yourself for many funfilled hours and sometimes shouting in dispair as you die just before you can save and have to do it all over again - but then again, that´s why we fell in love with these old games in the first place.
This latest Super Mario release for the Wii is actually a re-release of an old classic (hence the 25th anniversary bit!). Mario Allstars was a hugely popular came when it was initially released way back when the kids were little 'uns. Now this new release means that they can revisit the game, and introduce it to the next generation as well. Despite its age, this game has stood up to the test of time rather well in my opinion. I know it's an old game, but to look at it for the first time I wouldn't say I felt it appeared to be dated or old fashioned at all.
Mario All-Stars includes all three of the original Super Mario games - numbers one, two and three - and the Lost Levels (which is basically an add-on but is played a seperate fourth game). These games have all previously appeared on various Nintendo console incarnations including the SNES and Gameboy. Now, they're finally available for play on the Wii.
When you first switch the game on, you find the original menu format. Even the sound effect when you press your A button to get started is the same as it was on the old SNES! I think it's a nice touch of nostalgia for those who remember the game from years before. You can easily scroll across between the four games to choose which one you'd like to play and you can create game saves for each as well.
The graphics seem to me to be just the same as they used to be, but then they were excellent graphics at the time - well ahead of the competition until Sega and Sony caught up in the 90s in my opinion. They do look slightly dated in places, especially when you compare them to the likes of Super Mario Galaxy, but there's a cuteness to them that I think will appeal to a wide audience regardless of their ye olde appearance in places. The colours are all bright and vivid, and I suspect they were touched up throughout as the game was turned into a Wii-playable format.
The big downside with the game is that two player mode is done in turns each time you lose your characters life. I think that's a real shame, and even if they'd had have to alter one of the games (perhaps the Lost Levels?) then it would have been much better to be able to play alongside another player.
The controls are easy for those who know how to use games consoles in general, or the Wii specifically. They do require decent hand-eye co-ordination in places and are definitely aimed at older children rather than tots. I don't feel your average under six would manage this, though of course some tots might be skilled gamers ahead of their peers. I think it's important for adults to remember that when these games were originally created, they were aimed at more the 8-15yrs level and not for very young children despite their colourful and slightly twee appearance. The actual gameplay is challenging in places even for adults, though of course it's also fun!
If you're not entirely sure what the games are about, Mario games are basically colourful platform games that involve Mario battling his way through a series of obstacles to keep levelling up until he beats the big boss at the end of the game and rescues the princess from the evil bad guys. It's a very simple concept, but the huge variation in bonuses, hidden levels and enemies is what keeps the game moving.
Also included in the box is an anniversary DVD which basically features a run through of the Mario history. I don't think this is anything special, but it's an enjoyable addition to the set and a trip down memory lane for those who've seen Mario develop through the ages. I guess it's akin to those Mickey Mouse documentaries you see from time to time.
Price wise you're looking to pay a little over £20 for this, which I think is very reasonable. The original RRP is more like £35 but the demand for this game isn't as high as it has been for other Mario games it seems, and that has driven the price down a little. For around the £20 mark, I highly recommend this to Mario fans everywhere - young and old. The DVD is a nice little extra, and you get a lot of gameplay for your money even if it is just revisiting an old game for those who've completed these on other consoles in the past. I'm going with a four star rating as I have to knock one off for the lack of an interactive two player mode. Other than that, this is an excellent buy.