TL;DR: just go down to the overall section. Sums it up pretty nicely
The original Super Mario Bros, Lost Levels, and even 2 definitely had their fans. However, if you were to ask the majority of people what their favorite of the original 4 mario games are. Super Mario Bros 3 would probably win by a landslide. That's not really a surprise, because a lot of popular mario tropes and characters got their start here. While yes its pretty expansive and intense, does it still hold up well today? With how many other 2d mario adventures there are today, is there any point in returning to this one? Here are my thoughts on Super Mario Bros 3.
Like I said previously, when toying with the eshop feature, my family downloaded the first 3 games in the original Mario bros series (not including Lost Levels). This was one of those 3 games. It wasn't my go to, that title would have to belong to Super Mario Bros 2. However it did provide me a fair bit of entertainment over the years. However, undoubtedly my most fond memory of this game was when my moms friend came over to play it with us. She had grown up on this game, and even after years passing she still memorized all the tricks and secrets. She was where I first heard of the magic whistle in world 1-3, and also how I found out how to beat the first fortress in world 7. That's pretty much my nostalgic connection to this game.
The games plot this time centers around Bowser not only kidnapping Princess Peach, but also turning the seven neighboring kingdoms leaders into various animals. This leaves Mario and Luigi to rescue peach as well as turn the other 7 leaders back to themselves. The player takes on the role of Mario.
Not much to note here
The gameplay is still the same as the original 2, start at the beginning and overcome various obstacles until you get to the end. There are a couple of changes that spice things up however, and would even become mainstays for the series.
The first is the ending. In the original and Lost Levels, each level ended by the player touching a flagpole. This time, however, the level ends by the player hitting a block that would give them a card with a different power up on it depending on how they hit it. Once the player gets 3 of these cards (or once they beat 3 levels) they'll get at least one 1-UP, if the player gets 3 of the same power up, they'll get 5. I think this is an interesting way to make sure that the player doesn't run out of lives too fast, and making sure that the player still has a fair shot in the later harder levels.
Another big change is the new overworld feature added for this game. I feel like this really was the game's big claim to fame back then and really even now because the majority of gameplay changes felt like they were made for this addition. The most obvious change was now being able to alter what level comes next to some degree by having branching paths. Pretty much what it sounds like. The next important change comes from the many toad houses and minigames spread throughout the world. The toad houses have the player blindly pick one of 3 chests which all contain an item that will help them. Whatever item they get is added to their inventory. At any point in the overworld, the player can then select that item to automatically start out the level with.
Something else they do with this is they add a slot mechanic. Similar to the card mechanic, this area is a chance to earn extra lives by matching 3 parts of the same symbol the way a slot machine does. While this is fun, I do think that it's just a tad bit too hard.
At random points throughout the game, the player has the option to play a memory match game. This pretty much includes what you think it would. There are multiple cards of power ups, coins, and 1 ups scattered throughout the screen and the player must turn them over 1 at a time to see if any of them match. If they do, then the player gets anything they flipped over. While I like this idea, the only problem is that it only gives the player two errors before the game is over. There are two solutions to this that I came up with just now that would keep the difficulty of the minigame while making it a little more fair. 1: give the player a 30 second time limit instead of limiting the amount of flips they have, limit the amount of time they can flip over cards. Or 2. Show the player all of the matches for like, 5 seconds and then flip them over again. I think I would prefer this method because in order for a memory match game to work, you kinda need to something to well…memorize. Its not really fun if youre just flipping through cards hoping to get a match. Sure, theise solution could make it a little bit too easy, but I think it could be balanced out somehow.
There are also occasional enemy blocks now, which completely prevent the player from moving forward unless they defeat them. This normally doesn't take very long, as typically there are only two enemies to defeat. After defeating it, the player is rewarded with another item for their inventory.
Each world ends with a level taking place on an airship. This level ends with a fight against one of the 7 koopalings. All of the koopalings have different powers which changes how they are fought (but not too significantly). This is in my opinion the most underappreciated change here. I do like the variety of new fights I can get in now, but I do think that New Super Mario Bros Wii did it better.
The last MAJOR change that I want to touch upon is the mini boss mechanic. In the middle of each world, there will be a mini boss called “boom boom.” He's defeated by jumping on his head 3 times after going through the level he resides in. Defeating him not only lets the player move on in the game but also unlocks a path that can be accessed if the player loses all of their lives in that world. That way the player doesn't have to replay all of the levels they beat. While I'm definitely glad for that, the only question I have with this is why not just save the game's progress? I'm pretty sure that the Legend of Zelda was out by then, and that game could save your progress. So why not just do that? Why go through all the trouble of having the player waste time in pipe zones when you could just save their progress? Sure, you could say that it adds to the immersion, but is it really necessary? But this is Nintendo, and they kinda just do whatever the hell they want…
So that's the last MAJOR change, but there are a couple of minor ones that I'd like to mention.
-Going back in levels is now possible, finally, you can get that mushroom you were off by just a little -the levels in this game are a bit smaller than the previous games, but they do pack a lot of ideas into them. A couple of times I found myself like “what? It's over already?” as opposed to later games where I felt like levels just dragged on and on. -The final bosses have cutscenes before them which features the ruler of the kingdom being transformed into some sort of animal. -as opposed to losing your big mario status and your powerup upon being hit, you now only lose your power up. -some levels autoscroll, which means that they keep moving whether the player is or not.
There are a plethora of new enemies in this game, but here are a few -the chain chomp, which charges at the player but is constantly held back by a chain -the spike, which hurls spike balls at the player in a constant line -the kuribo shoe goomba, which is like the normal goomba except it can jump a little higher -the paragoomba, which is also like the regular goomba except they jump a tiny bit off the ground every now and then -finally, the buzzy beetle, which is like a koopa, only it can walk on walls and drop down on you if it feels like it.
Along with new enemies, the player also has new power ups to deal with them, although most of them are overworld exclusive. -the racoon leaf, which transforms mario into a racoon with the ability to fly for a brief time, hover in the air for a little, and perform a tail whip attack -the tanooki suit, which is like the racoon leaf, but allows mario to perform a stone ground pound and makes him temporarily invisible -The p-wing, which is also like the racoon leaf but allows Mario to fly forever for a single level, and then turns into a regular racoon leaf -the hammer suit, which gives mario the power of a hammer brother -the music box, which puts all enemy blocks on the overworld screen to sleep -the lakitu cloud, which allows mario to skip an entire level -the hammer, which allows mario to destroy a boulder that might be in the way of him and a secret pathway on the overworld map -the magic flute, which allows mario to warp to another world
Overall while I definitely like all of these changes, I do think that a few of them can use a little tweaking
This game got a huge upscale from the previous 3 games, and I think it's for the better. The new artstyle just makes all of the changes feel more natural. I wouldn't go as far to say that this is the superior artstyle, but I'm glad they updated it a bit.
The sprites all fit well to, the only exception being fire mario. All they really did was just color him a reddish orange that just hurt my eyes to look at. Would've much preferred the original fire mario.
The music was also changed up a fair bit as well, also like my bit about the graphics, it really fits well with all of the other changes made and I'm glad for that. I wouldn't say that there's a single song in here that I don't like
So what do I think of this game overall?
If you saw my opinions on Super Mario Bros 2, you would know that I think this game's biggest downfall was that everything in it has been done bigger and better in later Mario platformers. While playing it again, I still think that's true. However, I can definitely see why this is not only the best Mario game out of the 4, but the best Mario game period to so many. It has the expansiveness and replayability of the later games in the series, while also having the 8 bit charm of NES games. And while I think all of the ideas here are good, some of them would still need a tad bit of tweaking, for that reason, i'm gonna give this game a ⅘.
Remakes and ports
This game got itself a remake on the SNES as part of the Super Mario All Stars collection. Here are the main differences -the graphics and sound are updated -theres a save feature -there are multiple files now -the button layout can be changed. -the animals that the kingdom leaders are changed into are now just animals from other games. Pretty sure this was done so that the team didn't have to redraw them. -the fire mario sprite now looks like fire mario.
There also was a version of this game released on Gameboy Advance as part of the Super Mario Advance series. I didn't play that, so I can't give my thoughts on it.
So which version is superior? I Kinda like Lost levels and SMB 2, that depends on why you're playing. If you're playing for nostalgia, the original is probably better for you, but if you're playing for an experience, the remake is the best way to go.
Ways to play this game today
-If you have an original cartridge and an NES you can play that way -If you have it downloaded on Wiishop you can play that way, but you'd have to have it already downloaded like I do -Its available on 3ds and Wiiu Eshop for 4.99$ plus tax, which I think is a good price for this game. -its one of the 30 games available on the NES classic, but I wouldn't buy it for this game alone -Its available on NES online, but again I wouldn't buy it for this game alone.
So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! So that's gonna be all for this one and until next time, happy gaming.
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