Friday, April 12, 2013

Video Game Review: Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (Game Boy Advance)

If you haven't been keeping up, I reviewed both of the individual games included as parts of Super Mario Advance 4--Super Mario Bros. 3 and Mario Bros. Classic--earlier today. Individually those games hold up pretty well, really well, actually, but how does this all come together as a package? Well, it comes together nicely, actually. As I mentioned in the SMB3 review, I didn't have any method by which I could play the multiplayer game, which actually makes me pretty sad. The overall collection doesn't have much beyond the main games, of which the focus is on SMB3.

SMA4 opens with a short scene which leads into the main story for Super Mario Bros. 3, which is pretty nice. It's always good to see that little bit of emphasis on plot. It then empties into the title screen, which is simple and easy to read with an interesting jazz rendition of the main SMB3 theme. Choosing the single player game option sends the player into the next menu where the two games are displayed as top and bottom sections of the screen with a cute animated Mario running between them, ready to welcome to the player into each game.

One thing that can be difficult to miss is an options menu which can be entered by tapping the L button.  This menu only offers two options, both of which control a sleep mode to conserve battery. This took quite a while for me to find, and the Auto Sleep was set by default in my game, something which peeved me as I had no idea how to exit it until I looked online. The first few times I thought the game had shut off when I set it down, and that peeved me quite a bit.

The game select menu offers the player's top score in each game as well as displaying a number of stars depending on that top score. You can earn up to five stars for each game, but they don't really do anything. Their primary function is prestige, I suppose.

Though both of the games included are great games, SMA4 kind of fails as part of a series. If you have any of the previous Super Mario Advance titles or Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga you already have one half of this collection (Mario Bros. Classic) and it makes me sad that they simply pasted the same game throughout five titles instead of taking the opportunity to remake some of Mario's other arcade adventures. It would have been nice, for example, to have seen the Donkey Kong Trilogy or Wrecking Crew maybe Pinball or even the original Super Mario Bros. (or, and I know it'll never happen, Super Mario Bros. Special) remade with modern physics and graphics.

On its own SMA4 is a great, perfect game. But as part of a series it really does fall just a little short of what it could have been. Because of that, I'll give the game a nine out of ten.

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