Mario vs Donkey Kong Review

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After many years, I have finally been able to play the legendary Mario vs DK game. I actually always thought that it was in the same style as the original Donkey Kong and was surprised to see whole levels and puzzles in this one. The final boss is the only level that is just like the old game. It was cool to see such variety though and it’s a pretty fun game. There is also quite a bit of bonus content to be found here as well. I have one issue with how you obtain stars in this game, but beyond that it’s a solid experience.

The plot is that DK has decided to steal all of the toys for himself. Mario doesn’t take too kindly to this and calls DK a big monkey as an insult several times. Seeing as how this doesn’t work, Mario decides to beat DK down until the monkey finally gives in. Will DK let go of his toys or will Mario have to hit him with a clean uppercut? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, the Mario toys are fairly advanced and seem to have some rudimentary A.I. going for them.

There are 6 main worlds to the game and each one has 8 levels. This makes for a decently long campaign. It should take you a few hours to complete the game in total and add a few depending on how difficult the puzzles can get. There is an extensive amount of replay value to be found as well since beating the game unlocks 6 Plus worlds. After this you unlock the X levels. Once you complete those, then you can face the true final boss and unlock the ultimately true ending. I believe you need to get all of the Stars to make it this far so that should really take a while. The game has an unbelievable amount of bonus content in it so you’ll b getting your moneys worth.

Now, I originally thought that to get a star for a level you just had to complete it while holding onto the three bags in the level. It turns out that you actually have to beat the level’s high score to do it which is a little annoying. It’s hard to know how to do such a thing so repetition is your best bet. Just keep playing until you can really ace the level. It’s a little harder than I’d like and I still think grabbing the bags will be enough. It does help raise the difficulty once again though.

The graphics are pretty solid for the GBA. It’s certainly a AAA title as the competitors wouldn’t really be able to match this. It’s that golden era in Nintendo where all of the character models are right. There was only one boss level where I couldn’t even see the ladder so I died a few times. It was more of an optical illusion than an issue with the graphics though. As you’d expect from a Mario game, the soundtrack is quite solid. I particularly like the Fire Mountain themes, but the game has a good variety to it. Most of the level themes are quite good and it certainly amplifies the quality of the game. You’re able to play the level over and over again because you have good beats to listen too. It helps that the loading times here are great so you never have to wait for long.

Even the story felt like it had more effort to it than you’d expect. Mario talks quite a bit here, certainly more than I expected. He may be a bit meaner than usual as he calls DK a big monkey at times, but this is the plumber who calls you stinky in Mario Party. It’s easy to forget that Mario wasn’t always the very chipper guy that he is today. Even the Mini Marios rub the loss in DK’s face as they laugh at him quite a bit. You end up almost feeling bad for the monkey by the end. He certainly didn’t ask for this. Of course, DK is a robber so he ultimately did bring this upon himself. You gotta just live with the consequences. I only got the first ending, but at least it gives DK a fighting chance as he grabs more toys and runs. Mario’s going to need to hire more security even if it hurts the whole budget cuts angle.

The gameplay is sort of like a 2D Mario adventure, but you’re stuck in a limited space. There are two acts to each level. The first act has you hit a bunch of switches and get past obstacles to bring a key over to the door. In the second act you just need to get to the Mini Mario. The gameplay is actually quite spread out and diverse. You have an array of many different jumps to use. I personally liked spamming the dash dance jump as it would give you a lot of height and you could cheese many levels with this. I’m sure that the developers really thought the level designs through but with this many different options it makes sense that you would be able to cheese parts of it. They just can’t expect to cover for every contingency.

There are also the Mini Mario levels. There is one of them in every world and they’re a nice change of pace. The little guys get lost rather easily so you have to make sure not to go too fast or you’ll leave them behind. I enjoyed the levels in this format that I played and while the main ones were certainly more fun, it’s always satisfying to lead the little guys to the goal. The Mini Marios have heart.

It’s relatively simple gameplay which is likely what makes it so fun. It’s only half brain teaser while the other half of the puzzle is having the ability to physically get through the obstacles. It’s a great blend and a lot of fun to play. The game does a good job of bringing in many different enemies and obstacles so that the levels don’t feel the same. It would have been nice to have seen classic characters like Luigi and Peach, but I suppose even Mario has to work alone sometimes. It’s probably nostalgic for him to be the lone hero like in the original Donkey Kong game.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this title. It’s easy to see why it became so popular. The game’s just a lot of fun and it even has some cutscenes. It’s pretty impressive since the game is so old. The graphics and soundtrack are both on point as well as the level designs. There is a lot of replay value here and my only complaint is that getting the stars in the levels to unlock the final bonus ones is maybe a little too tedious. I’d like to have a clear metric so I know exactly what I have to do in order to clear the level. That seems a little more fair if you ask me. Maybe they’ll implement that in the sequel. I’ll certainly buy that one although it could be a little while until I do. In the mean time, buy this one and let me know what you thought of it.

Overall 8/10

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Frogger’s Adventures: Temple of the Frog Stats and Records

You thought there would be stats in this game? Think again, Frogger doesn’t play like that. It doesn’t even tell me how much play time I have.

Frogger’s Adventures: Temple of the Frog Review

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I saw that the next Frogger game was only about a buck on Amazon so I realized that I needed to snag it. Who doesn’t want to start off the day with some nice Frogger adventures right? That being said, shipping was 4 dollars so it nearly hit the 5 dollar bin. It’s a very short game so that’s definitely more or less what it is worth. You can beat the game in about an hour if not sooner. The gameplay is fun though and while one aspect worries me, it’s a wholesome game. (Like the 1 dollar pizza stores it will satisfy your craving for a delightful experience)

The game starts with the bigwigs calling in Frogger. They need him to find all 4 of the legendary elements, defeat the bosses who guard them, and liberate the Frog Temple! Frogger’s on board with this since he’s always wanted to leave the swamp but pretends that he just wants to stop the villains. The elders let him go and Frogger gets to work at doing what he does best…knocking out the baddies!

After the interesting (glitchy) PS2 Frogger game, it was nice to see one go back to its routes. This is the Frogger that you’ve likely grown up with as you move from space to space. You’re not dodging cars too often here as you’ll be dodging characters and animals the whole time. You can only move one space at a time usually, but you can jump which lets you cover 2 spaces. You can press B to stick your tongue out, but that’s only good for grabbing butterflies which gives you lives. Use L and R to turn Frogger around. These are the only controls in the game so you’ll be able to master it in seconds. The simplicity is what got Frogger popular in the first place and I can see why. A lot of simple games became masterpieces like Mario, Sonic, Pac-Man, etc. Of course, complex games can also go down as legends like Final Fantasy, but that’s another story.

There are 5 worlds and each world has 3 levels. They range in difficulty from easy to relatively difficult. None of the levels will stump you for very long which is nice. You get 5 lives and if you lose them all you can just hit continue. What worries me is that it said you only have a few continues left and the number started to go down. I completed the game before it hit 0, but I get the crazy feeling that it’ll take you back to the beginning of the game if you lost it all. Surely this wouldn’t be the case…right? I’m going to assume that this isn’t true but if it is and I had lost all of my lives, I’d probably deduct another star from the score.

The graphics aren’t bad. They’re decently bright for a GBA game and the sprites are on point. It’s not one of those games that will make you take a step back, but considering that the game feels like it had a low budget otherwise, I’d say that it did pretty okay for itself. The soundtrack is utterly forgettable though and you won’t be able to remember any of the tunes. It’s as generic as it gets and this felt more like the game you’d expect.

We have to address the elephant in the room, the game’s short length. It’s hard to justify a game only having 1 hour of content. There is no replay value either since there is nothing to collect. This will definitely be a 1 and done experience so you definitely have to get invested into the game. I enjoyed the gameplay which is why it has a positive score, but if you bought this for full price back in the day you should definitely be pretty upset. I wouldn’t pay 30 dollars for one hour, much less 50. That would be crazy and you’d basically be spending a dollar for every minute that you play the game. No, that definitely doesn’t sound like a blast to me. Keep the length in mind when you shop for the game, you need to get it at a good price.

The story is pretty forgettable, but that’s fine. For a game like this, you don’t expect much. I am glad that the game actually did have some bosses though and slight voice acting at the very end. That was a nice touch. The game was fairly innovative with the bosses considering that they were working with a very limited style of gameplay. It was a good test for my reaction times that’s for sure. The final boss nearly nailed me a few times, but I definitely wasn’t going to go down easy. They had some good designs as well.

There’s one part of the game where it tries to troll you so watch out. It says that you need 50 coins to enter the final world so I went out of my way to grab a bunch. However, you actually need 100 coins since you need 50 for each of the two acts. Luckily, I got that amount naturally but it would have been annoying to have to backtrack at that point. Make sure you earn 100 before you get there. It’s fairly easy if you know to get them, but it’s also easy to just skip them and shave a few seconds off each level. Once you earn 100 then you can fast blast through the levels.

Overall, This is a pretty fun Frogger game. While it is incredibly short, I can definitely say that it’s a lot more fun than the PS2 one. I like the gameplay and it tests your strategic decisions and reaction times. I expect that other versions of this game will likely ramp the difficulty up even further so I look forward to meeting the challenge. The duration is the game’s only weak point but it is a fairly significant one. You have all of the data now so you can decide if buying the game is worth it or not. For what it’s worth, I’d recommend it. 1 hour of fun is better than 10+ hours of repetition right? I look forward to seeing how the next Frogger game plays out.

Overall 6/10

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Stats and Records

The game uses an old password save file system so there are no stats. That being said, the main game wouldn’t have had any either since there are no collectibles or anything like that.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Review

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It’s time to take a look at the latest Star Wars game that I managed to beat. This game’s really short as it’s only about an hour long tops. That being said, the game’s poor level designs will ensure that the game could take you a little longer. Several levels took me more than one try, but there is one big trick that will save you a bunch of time once you learn it. Read on and I’ll explain it towards the middle of the review.

The game’s plot covers the second film. Good luck figuring out what’s happening from the cutscenes though. It’s not as if you’ll get confused or anything, but you’ll never get all that invested. You just see guys with swords fighting each other and that’s not a bad premise, but the story certainly isn’t trying very hard to be exciting. This is one of those games that you’re really supposed to be playing for the gameplay anyway. The title couldn’t even be bothered to give us any really cool screencaps in the mean time.

This game is a classic 2D beat em up. Think of the old X-Men games from back in the day and you’ll get the idea. Most levels consist of you beating up on robots and other enemies so you can move forward. Naturally, you’ll just get stopped by another group of enemies and you have to fight them as well. You need to really like the gameplay in order to be content. Honestly, I thought that the gameplay itself was pretty good. Blocking and reflecting energy blasts was a lot easier than I would have expected. The transition between attacking and reflecting is typically smooth and the only part that doesn’t work well is turning around. Do so at your own peril.

You can use a super jump when you have enough meter and you have to obtain energy orbs to use any other force abilities. You can learn the Force Push for example, but it takes a lot of energy. So, here’s the trick. Enemies will only give you force energy when you defeat them if you’re not maxed out yet. They’ll only give you health once you force is maxed out. The trick is to simply never use your Force abilities. Several levels require them and there will be moments where you need the super jump, but if you can resist the urge to use them otherwise, then you’re set. See, the tough levels were the ones where robots would constantly attack you and your health would be whittled down. It’s incredibly difficult to defeat them all without being hit after a while.

That’s where the health drops come in handy. If you haven’t been using your Force abilities, then the enemies will be dropping a lot of hearts for you to pick up. That results in an endless supply of health. If I had known about this from the start, I would have breezed through the game a lot faster. It won’t help much for some levels as the second to last one has a one hit KO attack for example. Still, it is of great value if you ask me. Don’t be intimidated by the final boss either, he looks like he’s tough stuff, but he’s actually not that bad. Hold the A button and keep alternating between low and middle strikes. Do it fast enough and he’ll be virtually helpless. This is also a good time to use your Force abilities if you haven’t done so already.

While most of the levels have the same format, there are 2-3 levels where the game turns into a 3D racer. It was a nice change of pace, but it was hard to keep up with what was going on. I just kept on turning and somehow made it to victory. On the last race I don’t even know how I won, but I guess my missile hit a weak spot or something since the win screen came up almost immediately. We take those. There are 11 levels total and each one is only a few minutes even if some feel much longer. There is absolutely no replay value since there isn’t anything to collect or achieve. The game uses a very old password based system so you don’t even get to keep a save file. This game gives you about an hour of entertainment so you really have to think about whether or not it’s worth the money.

One issue I have with the game is that there are no checkpoints. If you die, then you go all the way back to the beginning. That may not sound all that bad since the levels are short, but it’s very annoying. Keep in mind that some of the levels have you on a roller or in a set path where you have to wait for the enemies. You could end up waiting for a minute or two as you roll around in boredom. The levels like to start slow and ramp up later on which doesn’t work very well the second time around. Checkpoints would have made the game so much better and I dare say that it would have bumped the game up to a 7. It’s bold, but it definitely could have worked.

I do like beat em ups for the most part. Hyrule Warriors was amazing and I really enjoyed Devil Kings as well. I haven’t played as many 2D ones, but the X-Men game was entertaining. These titles also tend to be pretty difficult so I was ready for it. Without the health trick, I’m not sure if I could have beaten the level with the winged creatures. It was a really long one and I had to stop and grind out the health several times. I applaud anyone who can get through the level without it. The game really needed to lighten up on the repetition with these levels. If the gameplay had been worse, it could have severely hurt the game. As it stands, I enjoy taking down scores of enemies over and over again.

The graphics weren’t bad. The 3D levels tried to cram in too many things at once so the graphics did suffer quite a lot in this set up. The beat em up segments were a lot better though. While the Stormtroopers looked a lot chunkier than usual, there was a noticeable improvement here. Likewise, the soundtrack wasn’t half bad. The game over screen certainly had a pretty thematic feel to it and since we got very well acquainted during the course of the game, I was glad that it wasn’t a boring tune. I do think the developers put in some real effort to these areas of the game so I can appreciate that.

Overall, This is one of those games that you buy for a single playthrough and then it vanishes…never to be seen again. I can’t imagine buying this on launch day for 20-30 dollars, but for a few bucks? I’d say that it’s worth it. Some parts of the game are clearly low budget, but others age fairly well. The final boss was pretty neat even if it could have been annoying if I had lost more times since I’d have to replay the whole level. Luckily, button mashing never fails in this kind of game. I have a feeling that the next Star Wars game will be better or at the very least, longer. Still, this game was fun in the end and that’s what counts.

Overall 6/10

Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury Review

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Stop the madness! Is this one of the rare DBZ games that I didn’t own before now? Yes, I finally took the plunge and got the game at long last. It’s a very solid sequel to the last one and the gameplay continues to be quite excellent. Leveling up never feels like a grind here and the game seamlessly throws some of the movies into the plot. It’s all handled very well and while the game is not particularly long, it makes for an enjoyable experience.

The game’s plot adapts the Buu arc from DBZ as you’ve probably guessed. If you’ve never watched DBZ before, it involves the world’s strongest heroes coming together to defeat an evil genie. They’ll need team work and a lot of heart in order to win this round. The text boxes do a good job of adapting the whole arc and keeping in enough details to ensure that you still know what is going on the whole time. It’s a good way of blasting through the arc while still knowing enough to bluff your way through a quiz.

The gameplay is the same as the two predecessors. It uses an overhead view as you can punch or shoot energy blasts. If you can block, then I’m not sure how as I never bothered. Punching is the way to go here and with each level up you can power up a stat. Go for Strength and ignore everything else. The rest are borderline useless by the end while strength will allow you to one shot all minions. This allows for easy level ups and then you can build up your defense. You can also turn Super Saiyan which gives you extra energy and increases your speed. I didn’t notice it actually amping up the strength of my attacks, but it must have had some kind of effect. The gameplay is easy to pick up and you’ll likely have it mastered in no time.

One thing that I’ve always really liked about this series is how easy it is to level up. You can gain 50 levels in a quick 30 minute run and even faster if you’re in the right place. At times, you’ll get a whole level up for each individual minion that you defeat. Considering that they go down like flies, this results in a huge rank up to your characters. It’s quite impressive to be honest and is the single best RPG at the leveling system. It puts titles like FF VII to shame where you’ll have to fight for a very long time to make any kind of head way. I’m still rather sore at that game for making the climax so much work. It’s not so much the difficulty but the fact that if you save in the wrong place…you’re doomed. It’s just going to be game over for you from then on. More on that in another review though.

The game holds up really well when it comes to the graphics and the soundtrack. The sprites are all pretty fun and the images that the game uses for the text are unintentionally funny as well. The characters are constantly yelling and panicking throughout which doesn’t always fit the lines, but that’s part of what makes it enjoyable. As for the soundtrack, there are a number of good themes here. One of them is a remix of a rock theme from the anime, but sadly it cut out all of the rock elements which was a little disappointing. DBZ 2 is still the best when it comes to the soundtrack because of the great Cell theme, but the music here will still get you into a nice groove.

There isn’t a whole lot for replay value after you beat the game. You can max everyone out and grab a bunch of items, but that won’t buy you all that much time. The fact that there is any post game content is still a plus though. The actual game’s story is roughly 6 hours so maybe you could take it to 10 or so by the time you’re done with everything. You’ll likely be buying this game for a very low price so the time is not bad. Especially when you consider how good the game is. Quality over quantity and all that right?

One thing I’d highly recommend is stocking up on food while you can. Save your money for most of the game and then just buy as many Onigiri’s as you can for the final part of the game. I’d also recommend leveling up Vegeta a little since you’ll need him at the end and otherwise it’ll be a little tough to beat Buu. Ideally you want to be at around level 130 or so because then you can finish him quickly. Never use any money to buy equipment since the enemies will all drop a lot of it towards the end of the game. Also, put on the heavy boots and gear to get level ups faster. It makes quite the difference and considering that the game was already easy to level up in…this almost feels criminal.

Overall, Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury is a solid way to end the DBZ adaptions for the GBA. It was a really good trilogy and a very underrated one for DBZ. Granted, I’ll still take Budokai and Tenkaichi any day, but this was a great way to play on the portable. The series did everything that it could with the RPG format and I can’t imagine another title taking it out. Maybe if they ever made a big budget DBZ RPG with anime cutscenes and an awesome plot I suppose. For the GBA though, they maxed it out. I highly recommend checking this game out and seeing what you think of it. Now I just need to get the GT GBA game and I’ll have completed that saga of Dragon Ball adaptions. The gameplay shift is a little unfortunate, but I like beat em ups as well so it should be fun. Until then!

Overall 8/10

Mario Party Advance Review

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I’ve wanted to play a portable Mario Party game for a long time. I don’t know when exactly I first started to think about this, but it was probably back during the days where I played Mario Party 4 regularly. Advance is a good enough spinoff and the minigames are enjoyable although the story mode holds it down a bit. It wasn’t really constructed well so I’d advise you to focus on Minigame Mode. I do think Mario Party DS and 3DS will likely end up being better.

The plot of the series is that Big Bad Bowser has stolen all of the gadgets in the world and now Mario must steal them back. The townsfolk have taken them all, but they are willing to give them back if you solve their quests. Sometimes the quests involve going back and forth to find something or 1 on 1 challenges. Regardless, you must complete all 50 quests in order to save everything, but Bowser won’t make this easy on you. He plays for keeps!

Naturally, the plot isn’t really the key thing here. The game board is rather large as you would expect from Mario Party and you roll the dice to see how far you can move on the board. Each turn costs a mushroom and once you are out of them, it is game over and you’re sent home. Your progress is saved though as the only thing that resets is your current quest. You can earn 3 more mushrooms every 3 turns if you win a minigame and there are also spots on the board that have the same effect. Watch out for Bowser Jr though as running into him can have you lose a mushroom or be warped somewhere else. Unfortunately, there is no way to dodge him as it is luck based.

This is where the story mode flops a little. Towards the end of the game Bowser Jr starts to appear everywhere. It’s just not very fair as you can be super close to ending the quest, but suddenly find yourself back at the start. It’s not cool to have to retread the ground that you’ve already covered. The last mission that I did before the final Bowser battle was also a little cheesy and I head to check with Gamefaqs to see what the game wanted from me. The characters kept stating that King Bob Omb was hiding in the Condo, but it only had 3 floors. Apparently you had to hit an invisible option and then you can enter the basement. That’s a bit of a low blow if you ask me.

The majority of the missions were fine though. The trek could just be a bit tedious so I am actually glad that there were only 50 missions. Any more would have been a little excessive. The minigame selection was designed well though as you would typically get a new minigame every time you played. Collecting them all was actually pretty easy for a change so that was a pleasant surprise. Most of the minigames are pretty easy to understand, but some of them will likely take you 2 shots to fully understand.

They’re not made to be overly difficult or anything like that so you should breeze through them. My DS has a weak L button so the Chain Chomp game in particular took a little longer than I would have liked to complete, but the actual game was fair. I didn’t care much for the luck ones, but since when do I ever like those? Mario Party does succeed with its minigame selection and while people have mentioned that the games have gotten worse over the years, I have always liked them. The old games certainly had the best selection, but so long as the newer ones still have that classic fun factor, I’m satisfied. Mario Party’s made to be the kind of game that you can just boot up and play. This one fits the bill although I don’t see why I’d ever choose it over one of the big titles like Party 4.

I enjoyed the retro sprites here. The victory celebration after every minigame was a little annoying after a while though. Once you’ve seen it 50 times, you don’t want to see it anymore. Other running gags were more fun though. I liked Bowser’s little laughing sprite that he’d play whenever you’d go to his lair. It made the whole cutscene a little more enjoyable. His line “*sniff* I really liked that gadget too!” was also pretty endearing. You couldn’t help but feel bad for Bowser as he comes across as a kid who just wants some friends, but doesn’t know how to express himself. In the end, he turned out to be a pretty honorable guy and at least he admitted that he had fun. It was a nice ending for the whole cast. I liked the soundtrack as well. The main Bowser theme was a lot of fun and the rest of the tunes also aged well. There’s just not much to dislike here. It’s a standard Nintendo soundtrack, which means that it is well above average.

There isn’t really any replay value to speak of once you complete the game, but as I mentioned before, the 50 quests should be more than sufficient. It’s certainly a long enough game for the low price that you will have gotten it for. It’s just a fun game overall and a good way to spend a few afternoons. I do hope that the story mode is redone for the sequels though. It should just be a little more fluid and less time consuming to get from mission to mission. I don’t even think that a mission mode is completely necessary as a normal Party Mode would be cool although I guess it’d be hard for the GBA to process. Perhaps by the 3DS game as that one certainly has the specs for it.

Overall, Mario Party Advance is another good party game to add to the collection. I’ve played a lot of party games over the years so trust me when I say that the games here are a lot more varied and entertaining than most. If you haven’t played the game yet, then you should check it out. It’s aged pretty well and just take care not to let yourself get burned out on the story. Play it in batches and you should be just fine. As for the Mushroom Condo, just make sure to look at the invisible option and you’ll also be okay. The Christmas batch of games is roughly at an end now. The only two games left are Buu’s Fury and Kirby’s Mirror, but it could be a little while before I finish those two as I’m working on the New Year’s batch and other games may pop up on the side. Regardless, they will be completed though and that means that the GBA era lives on!

Overall 7/10

Super Mario Advance Review

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It’s time for another one of the Christmas games. I believe this makes 5 completed and 4 to go. Mighty No 9, Shantae, Mario Kart, and Klonoa have been completed along with this one and the ones left are Frogger, DBZ, and Mario Party. Not bad…not bad at all! I suppose Mario Party will probably be next, then Frogger, and then DBZ, but expect some game interruptions in the middle of those from the New Year’s batch. Anyway, this Mario game is pretty solid. It’s definitely shorter than some of the other Mario games and not quite as polished, but certainly a good game all around.

The “plot” involves Mario, Peach, Toad, and Luigi saving a kingdom from the tricky Wart. Wart will send his army of Birdos to stop you, but the heroes won’t waver. They’re just too heroic and determined. You know, it’s almost odd just how skilled these guys are. Mario’s just an ordinary man right? How can he jump so high and perform all of these feats? Well…just stick around for the ending. Lets just say that it makes everything clear and will answer all of your questions.

Mario’s gameplay has remained mostly untouched over the years, but this was one of the few games that tried to change the formula up a bit. At first, it seems like your usual 2D adventure with lots of jumping and running. The main difference is that the characters can grab things and that’s how you defeat enemies. Jumping on them won’t hurt the villains, but once you’re on top, then you can grab them. Throwing villains into each other will defeat them and you can also throw chairs at them. (They’re basically chairs) You use objects to defeat all of the villains. The backgrounds are also fully in 2D so if you run off the screen on the left, you’ll usually appear on the right. It opens up a lot of possibilities in the stages so keep your eyes peeled.

Attacking enemies with throws instead of stomps is a very different approach for Mario. It’s pretty fun and I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t want this to be the staple. Jumping on enemies is a lot more satisfying and it’s just so central to Mario that it’s hard to let it go so easily. Mario Advance’s large roster (For a Mario game anyway) also makes it interesting for long time Mario fans. That’s because there is really no reason to play as anyone besides Peach. Remember how overpowered she was in Super Mario World? That’s the case here as well. You can cheese a lot of levels by using her float ability along with the super jump. For example, there was one level that involved a lot of precise little jumps. I just chose Peach and floated over the obstacles. You could scale a few jumps with one and that made the levels a lot easier. Did you jump too far? No worries, you can float back a little. Playing with Peach makes everything a lot simpler. I can’t say that there’s any reason to play Toad and for Luigi, getting used to his jump would take a bit of time.

The level designs are pretty solid. Having your second heart is crucial for making the obstacles more bearable. It is annoying to run into an area that’s a dead end though because it becomes your new re spawn point and getting back up can be very difficult. That happened to me once on the last level, but for the most part, the check points are usually next to a heart, which helps a lot. I do like the fact that when you die, you always return to the last room that you were in. Having fewer checkpoints would have definitely made the game a whole lot tougher and more tedious as well since some of the levels were a little long.

There are 20 levels in the game so it’s good that they weren’t standard length or you’d really breeze through the game. As it stands, the length is decent. While it is less than most Mario games, you’re still getting a good value for your dollar and you can add in some replay value for grabbing all of the Red Coins and the Yoshi Eggs from the bonus mode. You can also play the classic Mario Bros game on the side to see how high of a score you can get. That game’s always entertaining and I like how the GBA Mario games always seem to include it. Why not right?

The graphics look pretty good. I wasn’t crazy about these sprites compared to Super Mario World, but they get the job done. The bright levels all age really well and I was a little surprised not to have any fire worlds this time around. Bowser should have made a surprise appearance at the end, that would have been really cool. The soundtrack is solid as always and it’s always fun to hear the old Mario tunes. Nintendo’s always done a good job with that and this game is no exception.

There is one part of the game that’s rather unnecessary and just slows the whole thing down. After completing a level, you can spin a roulette for extra lives. The problem is that it pops up after every level even if you don’t have any coins available. That just results in the game over sound effect and a lot of extra loading time. It should really only pop up if you are able to use it at the moment. Otherwise, what’s the point? It also feels rigged since I only won it once, but that’s another story I suppose.

Overall, Super Mario Advance is a solid game. I still consider it to be one of the weaker Mario titles, but if you compare it to something else then it still ages really well. The bosses are a little more limited since around 80% of them is just Birdo over and over again, but it’s a well designed fight. It’s certainly tougher than the modern Mario games that come out and the difficulty helps to extend the game’s length. It’s nothing unfair, but a good challenge that’ll keep you at a level for a while. The game doesn’t have much plot, but Mario’s never been about that. The gameplay is the important part and the game does that well. I certainly recommend it and it’s a game that anyone can get into.

Overall 7/10

Klonoa: Empire of Dreams Stats and Records

Stats time!

Stage Stats

Vision 1-1 30/30
Vision 1-2 30/30
Vision 1-3 30/30
Vision 1-4 72/100
Vision 1-5 17/30
Vision 1-6 44/100
Vision 1-7 30/30
Vision 2-1 27/30
Vision 2-2 30/30
Vision 2-3 25/30
Vision 2-4 78/100
Vision 2-5 24/30
Vision 2-6 40/100
Vision 2-7 15/30
Vision 3-1 25/30
Vision 3-2 18/30
Vision 3-3 30/30
Vision 3-4 59/100
Vision 3-5 27/30
Vision 3-6 50/100
Vision 3-7 15/30
Vision 4-1 21/30
Vision 4-2 25/30
Vision 4-3 20/30
Vision 4-4 24/100
Vision 4-5 28/30
Vision 4-6 40/100
Vision 4-7 20/30
Vision 5-1 19/30
Vision 5-2 23/30
Vision 5-3 21/30
Vision 5-4 15/100
Vision 5-5 20/30
Vision 5-6 33/100
Vision 5-7 13/30