Game of the Month: Super Mario Bros. 3

LiveFromJapan_2By James Page
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 02/12/1990
System: Nintendo Entertainment System

Graphics: 3.5 out of 4.0
Game Play: 3.5 out of 4.0
Personal: 2.0 out of 2.0
Total Score: 9.0 out of 10.0 Player’s Page: Super Mario Bros. 3

The previous story is old and well known: The princess of a peaceful land is kidnapped and two heroes must rescue her from the clutches of an evil king who wishes to keep her for himself. Since the last game, Mario and Luigi have brought peace and stability back to the Mushroom Kingdom after successfully rescuing Princess Toadstool from Bowser.

However, peace in the Mushroom World never seems to last for long. Shortly after Mario, Luigi, and Princess Toadstool return to the Mushroom Kingdom, the heroes learn that Bowser has picked himself up after his defeat and launched an invasion of seven different kingdoms of the Mushroom World.

The invasion forces are led by Bowser’s seven children, the Koopalings, with each one heading the invasion of a different kingdom. Princess Toadstool knows only Mario and Luigi can overcome the forces of Bowser, so she sends them out to thwart Bowser’s evil offspring.

The battle plan for each kingdom is the same: fight through various enemies to reach the castle where they will board an airship to defeat a Koopaling and retrieve the kingdom’s magic wand, which will free the ruler from an evil spell. The plan may sound simple but the road becomes more difficult with each success and freeing all seven kingdoms will require great amounts of skill, coordination, patience, and luck.

While Mario and Luigi are distracted by the liberation of the seven kingdoms, Bowser decides to take advantage of the situation by striking an undefended Mushroom Kingdom and once again kidnapping Princess Toadstool. Once they have freed all seven kingdoms, Mario and Luigi learn of the assault on the Mushroom Kingdom and decide to launch an attack on Bowser’s realm.

When they set foot in Bowser’s Dark Land, Mario and Luigi proceed to dismantle his war machine by stopping his tanks, sinking his navy, and grounding his airships. After crushing Bowser’s battalions, Mario and Luigi reach the gates of his castle ready for a final showdown to rescue Princess Toadstool and decide the fate of the Mushroom Kingdom.

LiveFromJapan_1Released in February of 1990, Super Mario Bros. 3 is one of the most recognizable games in the long running Mario series. Super Mario Bros. 3 deviated from the original and introduced a number of elements, which have become iconic parts of the series and are present in many of the games released since.

The improved graphics, sound, and game-play elements made the game one of the most popular on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and this popularity has continued throughout the years, resulting in versions of the game being available on many of Nintendo’s subsequent systems and virtual consoles. The many releases of the game have helped to make Super Mario Bros. 3 one of best selling games in Nintendo’s history.

Super Mario Bros. 3 is a traditional platform game which requires a player to complete a stage as quickly as possible while defeating enemies, gathering power–ups, and collecting coins. Most of the stages require the player to move from left to right, but some move vertically, and others add a level of difficulty by having the left side of the screen encroach on the player, creating a new element of urgency to quickly complete the stage.

The original Super Mario Bros. offered the player three power–ups to choose from, but Super Mario Bros. 3 increased the selection to eight and gave the player inventory slots in which to store the numerous items. The game also offers the player the opportunity to gain extra lives by collecting coins, matching card received from completing stages, and from memory and luck based mini–games.

Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced the concept of worlds to the Mario franchise, each with its own unique world map, themes, items, and enemies. The world map is similar to a game board with icons representing stages, item houses, fortresses, and castles and allows for players to move their characters around the map with the possibility of skipping certain stages either with the assistance of a special item or by simply avoiding them on the map.

Along with the world map, the game introduced the concept of themed worlds. A themed world has a common trait present in all the stages of the world such as water in the Water Land world, sand and desert themes in the Desert Land world, and pipes in the Pipe Land world. However, the game developers realized that eight themed worlds could tend to make for a long play, and they introduced the idea of warp whistles, which would allow a player to skip multiple worlds.

Super Mario Bros. 3 is a perfect example of how an old game can still bring hours of fun to anyone who plays it. The graphics may not be as nice or clean as newer installments of the series but the game play is solid and the level of difficulty provides a nice challenge. This February help to celebrate the silver anniversary of the game originally released in a gold box and play a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3. The nostalgia of playing the old classic will help to make for a fun- filled day.

Remember, like all games if you play them just to have fun, there will never be a bad game.

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