Sunday, August 10, 2014

Game Review: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

2D Platformer; Game Boy/3DS Virtual Console; Nintendo; 1992
Yo ho. Not much to talk about this week, other than both of my brothers are out of town for the weekend so I'm all alone. You know what that means. NO PANTS TIME! Just kidding. But if you are wondering why I'm reviewing a really old game like Super Mario Land 2, well there are two reasons. 1) I got it for my 3DS as part of their Club Nintendo Gold Member Rewards. And 2) It's taking me a long time to beat the game I'm currently one. And that is for two reasons, 1) I only have so much time for myself thanks to having a job (which I still don't know if I'm still a temp or not because my 3 months are up, yet no one has stopped me from working). And 2) It's a pretty long RPG. I've pumped over 30 hours into the game and I'm still estimating that I'm only halfway through if that. Anyway, I'm reviewing Super Mario Land 2.

Wait, why are there Gordos in a Mario game?
After saving Princess Daisy of Sarasa land, Mario returns home to his Castle (wait, what?) only to discover someone has taken it over. The greedy, foul, and all around gross Wario. The only way Mario can get his Castle back is to collect the 6 Golden Coins (hence the title) that seal the Castle door from the 6 surrounding zones. Can Mario free his land from the garlic fueled tyranny of Wario, and take back his Castle? That all depends on YOU!

Anyway, like all Mario games the story is basically a loose justification for the game to exist, and Super Mario Land 2 is important in the Mario franchise as the introduction of Nintendo's most popular anti-hero, Wario. However, this game just feels odd when taken into the greater Mario Universe. I mean, Mario has a Castle? And he has subjects? And he rules a land? I've always thought that Mario and Luigi live in a house somewhere in the Mushroom Kingdom, and live modestly despite their superstar status and royal connections. Also some of the enemies just don't look like they fit the Mario universe. Like I never thought I'd play a Mario game where I had to avoid Gordos, or kill Tsukumogami. It's just.... weird.

So this is Mario's land... A small island with three buildings.
Super Mario Land 2, despite being on the small Gameboy, is a Mario game through and through. He walks through a world map, divided into zones and stages, and has to clear them by running, jumping, throwing fireballs, and jumping on a lot of heads. Unique to Super Mario Land 2 is it's set up and a few changes to common elements. Unlike say Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World where each area must be cleared in a particular order, Super Mario Land 2 takes a more Mega Man approach as all 6 areas are accessible from the start of the game and can be taken in any order. Mario also has a new power-up, Bunny Mario, where our favorite plumper gains bunny ears on top of his cap which allows him to.... float down... It makes about as much sense and wagging a raccoon tail. However, coins in this game function very differently. Instead of 100 coins = 1up, you keep all the coins you collect up to 999 coins, and can play a slot game with them to gain power-ups or extra lives. However, in this game Mario also has a MURDER METER! By killing his foe Mario's bloodlust reaches a fever pitch and after killing his 100th enemy a Star appears making him invincible so that he can murder more enemies... I never thought I would ever use the term "Murder Meter"  when talking about a Mario game.

What am I looking at?
Unfortunately, even though this is Mario 2nd attempt at going handheld, it's still not quiet right. It's hard for me to describe but Mario's momentum in this game is just off. His acceleration and deceleration seems off, namely if feels like I'm getting to my top speed too quickly and slowing down just as fast. It's not quiet like Mega Man's "Stop-on-a-Dime" but it isn't quiet Mario's usual momentum. Also for some reason Mario has a unique command for a high-jump. You either have to hold UP on the D-pad or do a running jump in order to jump higher than your normal jump, rather than just, I don't know, hold down the jump button for longer. You know, like most of the other Mario games. And lastly the difficulty curve of the game is really out of whack. I know it is hard for a game with a full Stage Select system to keep a gradual difficulty curve, but in the case of Super Mario Land 2, for most of the game the stages are rather easy with bosses that all they require is to jump on them three times. But as soon as you get to the final stage, after collecting all 6 coins, the difficulty spikes insanely hard, and suddenly you are getting killed over and over again since the rest of the game hasn't been designed to hone your skills at the tricky jumps you are required to do in the last stage.

Super Mario Land 2 is a good game. However, there are several small annoyances that keep it from being better, odd choices in control, awkward difficult curve, and Mario not controlling as tightly as I would like. If these where restrictions of the original Gameboy I won't hold it against the game, but even so it's not quiet the gold standard of the Mario franchise. But it is a solid Silver. Recommended.

Until next time.

-Crescent, geez Wario looks goofy.


  1. I never have any experience of the mario platformers that were on the gameboy.But, I heard they were pretty weird but this is some creppy stuff espically that Wario. Really the only mario related thing I got for the gba was Super Star Saga.You ever think of reveiwing that and the series or you already have?
    Also, how long since your 3 months been up?

    1. I only have the first Mario & Luigi game, and it's been a long time since I last played it so a review of it is unlikely for the moment. Also I have this ever growing backlog of games I've gotten but haven't beaten piling up thanks to finally having money to buy them, but not having time to play them. Odd how when one increases the other decreases.

      And my 3 months were up two weeks ago. I started the job April 29, so I thought it would over July 29. But no one has said anything about it and right now things are rather busy at work so I doubt I'll be laid off anytime soon. Also, I'm told that there is another guy who is also just a temp worker and he has been there for 6 months, so I don't know what is going on.