Retro games are a hot commodity. With the Xbox Live Arcade and Wii's Virtual Console, it's quickly becoming a prolific segment of the industry. Blogcritics is going to start looking at gaming's generally under-appreciated past in a different way.
Teaming up with classic gaming database Digital Press, Blogcritics will be presenting some lost or under-appreciated classics in short reviews. Extras may include odd facts, the title's impact on the industry, some personal retrospective, different ports the game may have received, and how well they hold up on today's market. Our hope would be to introduce a new generation of gamers, or even those who recently purchased a game console for the first time to those games they missed and the legacy they left behind.
While seemingly lost in a buzz over Tetris, the bizarre and unfitting Super Mario Land found a home on Nintendo’s first dedicated portable hardware. While a fast paced platformer went against the horrifically blurring screen of the Game Boy, Mario Land is and was a resounding gameplay success, and more incredibly, it did so without a familiar figure.
Trimming the standard Mario formula at the time down to only four levels, in all the Worlds, Islands, and Galaxies Mario’s visited, there’s never been another one like this. Sure, the US version of Super Mario Bros. 2 would have the famous plumber picking up vegetables to whack an oversized frog, but when have you even seen Mario hop into a submarine to take down Egyptian idols?
This is definitely a departure for the series, helmed not by Shigeru Miyamoto, but Gunpei Yokoi. Yokoi crafted the Game Boy hardware, and this apparently landed him the task of crafting a Mario game to play with it. While by no means an insult, this would have become a far different character if Yokoi continued developing the franchise.
While most of the typical features are intact, from collecting coins to warping down pipes, everything else is different. The enemies include insects, explosive turtles, and as mentioned above, Egyptian-styled bosses. Mario is even out to save Princess Daisy, and the new enemies have apparently taken a note from Bowser to stick him with the “Princess is in another castle” bit. Even the classic fireball power-up has been altered into a reflecting ball that can be strategically used to gain coins.