While some video games don't age well, playing through Nintendo's back catalogue is generally like drinking a fine vintage wine. Super Mario Advance is rather unique in that it's a re-release of a collection of remade NES games. Super Mario Advance's brightly coloured remakes of Super Mario Bros. 2 and Mario Bros. and their tried-and-true gameplay is as fun as always, even if overfamiliarity may sour them a little these days.
Super Mario Bros. 2 is the main attraction in Super Mario Advance, which is a curious choice given the game's odd place in the Mario canon. As you'll almost certainly already know. following the Japanese release of the original Super Mario Bros. 2 — later released as The Lost Levels — Nintendo executives feared it would be too difficult for Western audiences and decided to re-skin a different game, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, with Mario characters. A slower, more puzzle-oriented adventure, Super Mario Bros. 2 features large levels with hidden doors, secret areas, and verticality.
You can choose to play as Mario, Luigi, Toad, or Princess Peach (renamed from Princess Toadstool, her NES name), and characters have the same basic move set of jumping, picking up enemies, and throwing items; yet each control slightly differently. Mario is the easiest character to play with, Luigi can jump slightly higher, Peach can jump the farthest and Toad is the most lightweight. These features should be familiar to anyone who's played a more modern Mario game — Super Mario 3D World uses the same principles — but it's interesting to see the origins of these distinct physical character traits. You'll also witness the (remastered) first appearance of recurring Mario enemies, such as Shy Guy and Birdo.
The game did undergo some modern updates for the GBA release. Nintendo added a point system, as well as several collectibles to find throughout each stage. Super Mario Bros. 2 is not a particularly difficult game, and with save states you should have no trouble completing it in a short amount of time. There are a few secrets to uncover, extending the experience, and playing through with each character feels slightly different.
The other included game in Super Mario Advance is a remake of the original Mario Bros. arcade/NES title. This simple game sees Mario and Luigi tasked with eliminating all enemies in a vertical stage. To do so, they first need to knock the enemy out of commission by hitting the platform they're on, knock them onto their back, then run into them.
The intentionally floaty controls make this quite a challenge; Mario's jump is quite different than in subsequent follow-ups. There are also POW blocks that knock several enemies onto their backs at once, while each stage adds more enemy types, as well as hazards such as fireballs. Mario Bros. is a tough game, but it can be addictive and fans of the original or the NES Remix series should have no trouble jumping in. It's a neat addition and one that would reappear in subsequent entries in this Super Mario Advance series, but hardly a headliner.
Super Mario Advance's art style pops nicely on the handheld's screen. Sprites are large and colourful in both games and iconic tunes are remixed. There are also a few modern Mario sound effects sprinkled in, too. The game art style is nice to look at and the tunes are pleasant, but it's standard Nintendo fare and won't wow anyone.
Super Mario Advance contains two historic games attractively presented. The additions don't do enough to make it a "new" experience if you've played them both on NES, but the presentation and tweaks offer a welcome alternative. If the 8-bit presentation of the originals turns you off for some reason, or you aren't already schooled in classic Mario, this is a decent way to experience two intriguing entries that always stood apart in the mainline Mario canon.
The original NES version is a lot more charming in my opinion. I'd rather play that one. Same with SMB3.
This was one of my first games so I'll be downloading this sometimes soon since the visuals are far more attractive than the originals' and because of my nostalgia.
I was lucky enough to have all of the "Super Mario Advance" series of games within my childhood. Loved them all, I can safely say this game is the reason why I'm OK with SMB2 today. By all means, give this game a go if you've yet to play the original.
@NintyMan - Whoa, really? I didn't know he did most of the voices. They sound so different!
Now all that's left is for Nintendo to give us DokiDoki Panic. I've played an import copy once, and while the differences are cosmetical, it's an interesting experience nonetheless.
I prefer this one if only for the challenge after beating the game once! Those who completed it know what I'm talking about~
@Giygas_95 Problem is the NES emulator doesn't work properly (The GBA one is great).
@Nintyman "This is as far as you go!" made me cry with laughter. Literally. Almost every time. The birdos were terribly voiced, perhaps they should have got Charles to voice them aswell?
@unrandomsam I'd you're talking about the side of the screen in SMB3, that was there in the original, so it's not a bug in the emulator.
It's a shame SMB 1 didn't see a GBA release, as the trilogy seemed a bit incomplete this way. But still, a nice version of a classic title.
@NintyMan Bahaha, thanks for reminding me of that too! Seems like I'm gonna have to download this and play it through again for sheer giggles alone. And you, you'll, same difference!
@brewsky I mean working indistinguishably from real hardware. No noticeable changes switching from the VC to Real Hardware and back again. (For me on GBA - Tested Warioware : INC - tiny difference at the absolute best I can do on the grid but otherwise its just the same),
SNES I compared Super Mario World (Super Famicom cart / Wii VC / bsnes / Wii U VC). Ignoring the awful filter. bsnes or the cart are fine. Wii VC is not quite right but not that different. Wii U VC is wrong. (Connecting to a CRT doesn't make any difference).
JUST WHAT I NEEDED!
Bleh. I love Mario Bros. and all, but... yeah.
This was the first gameboy advance game I bought. I was in Singapore with the Marines and walked into a Toys R Us and saw the Gameboy Advance. At the time I was blown away as the gameboy had been out forever and the Advance hadn't even been talked about in the States back in 2001. I loved this, even though half the menus were in Japanese(which I don't speak).
My first GBA game right here. I may pick this up.
Ah, my favorite version of Super Mario Bros 2 and I didn't even know it was coming to the eShop yet. Downloading this asap!
For the record though, I still think Nintendo still charges too much for these games compared to other online services....
Giant enemies, vegetables, lots of chances for 1ups and extra hearts. Unlike the original, you're not stuck with the same character throughout the entire stage as you can select a different player when/if you die. Honestly, the SMB2 GBA remake is far more accessible IMO than the original. If you struggled with SMB2 NES, pick this one up.
The only reason I'm glad they're releasing these is that I hope it means the DKC GBA games will get the same release treatment.
Dig that GBA DKC3.
I would've liked to hear more about the differences compared to the All-Stars version!
All-Stars>GBA version. First because of the Points, the light sprites, some bad gameplay changes and the horrible voice acting are making me turn away from this game. This is as far as you go!
Please, next time just report spam comments and move on. We don't want to have to waste time cleaning up your replies to them, too! Thanks in advance :3 — TBD
I'd love to see SNES's Super Mario Bros. All-Stars come to Wii U VC. Really 3DS VC would be preferable but, yeah like they'll ever give us that. This one doesn't appeal to me since I've played the original so much. All-Stars at least looked a lot different from the originals.
NES one for me
It's probably because of my nostalgia, but I prefer this version over the NES version anyday. The NES version just looks bland in terms of graphics, and the SNES version is missing some of the improvements seen in this one.
The NES version is cheaper and more what I remember as a kid anyway. I think I'll pick that up. Would be cool if they released Mario All Stars as a WiiU VC title though.
When is the European version coming?
@unrandomsam How do you mean?
7? Wow. I thought this was a great game, same for all the other Mario Advance games.
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