Super Mario Bros. Deluxe Review
Posted by Marcel van Duyn
Super Small Screen Bros.
Especially in recent years, we've seen Super Mario Bros. re-released a ton, but back in 1999 it had been a number of years since the last release, Super Mario All-Stars. As such, Nintendo decided to port the original game to Game Boy Color and add some interesting new features at the same time.
Naturally, at its core, this is pretty much still exactly the same ground-breaking game as it always was. You run and jump through 32 different levels, stomping Goombas, pelting Koopa Troopas with fireballs, swimming around Bloopers and dodging Lakitu's Spinies. If there's still somebody out there who hasn't played one of the most influential games of all time — what are you waiting for?
Unlike the preceding All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros., this version of the game doesn't feature any updated graphics and sound during gameplay — it's all there in its original 8-bit glory. However, some small adjustments have been made; several glitches (Including the famous World -1 glitch) have been removed, the surface of water and lava is animated, Luigi's colours are adjusted and a map screen has been added between levels, among others.
However, one change has been made that is actually very dramatic — the game was too big to fully fit on the Game Boy Color's screen, so instead of shrinking the game and losing detail, Nintendo decided to simply make the visible portion of the screen much smaller. It's not just a "bit" smaller, either — both the height and width were reduced by about 33%, making it a lot harder to react to enemies in time and making certain jumps over large pits a real problem. As you might imagine, this makes the game a lot harder and can result in many frustrating deaths.
Thankfully, to make up for this downgrade, Nintendo decided to include some bonus features. It's possible to unlock "Super Mario Bros. for Super Players", which is actually a renamed The Lost Levels, making this the first western release of Lost Levels with 8-bit graphics. However, don't get too excited, as this is a long way from being a definitive version; all of the "extra" world — that is, 9 and A through D — are missing, and certain features (such as wind) have been completely removed.
Also new are Challenge Mode and You Vs. Boo. In Challenge, you run through the original game's levels in search of newly added red coins and Yoshi eggs, attempting to get as high a score as possible. You Vs. Boo is a time attack mode in which you race a Nintendo developer ghost character (represented by a Boo) through completely new levels featuring completely new gimmicks. These two modes are quite fun, but unfortunately they are still held back a little by the smaller screen. On top of these, there's also a whole bunch of collectables and other features, like a fortune telling minigame, a toy box and unlockable medals and images.
All in all, Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is both a hit and a miss. The newly added features and included edition of Lost Levels give you some bang for your buck, but the decreased field of vision — a throwback to the Game Boy Color's small screen — hinders enjoyment of all modes quite a lot. To those who have played the original game and are interested in Deluxe's bonuses — or to those who got the game as a freebie — this is quite a nice little experience, but to anybody simply looking to get a portable version of Super Mario Bros., the already available original NES version is probably the smarter option.