Few games have shaped their respective genre as much as Super Mario Bros. 3, but of course you already knew that, after all, it is the best selling video game of all time, and was even in a Hollywood movie. Now on the Game Boy Advance, those gamers who were too young, or suffering from amnesia, will be able to discover what the entire world was captivated by no less than a dozen years ago.
These days not every company is able to repackage their early hits and parlay them into top selling Game Boy Advance games, yet Nintendo has managed to do just that three times already. Whether this is a blatant cash cow, or a just great way of keeping old games available, the one thing you can't debate is the quality of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3. This is the best Mario Advance game yet, and will be nearly impossible to top.
Of course, I'll confess, I'm coming from an extremely biased point of view when I write this. Here is a game I played to death when it first came out, a game that I have many strong memories of, a game that I would enjoy even if I were blind. But it's been a few years, games have changed, my outlook on life has changed, and I've been given the opportunity to determine if the game still holds up in the days when 2D platformers are nothing more than distant memories.
Super Mario Bros. 3 is split up into eight unique levels, each taking you to completely different parts of the Mushroom Worlds. While one world may be completely underwater, another is far above the surface in the clouds. There are your inevitable cliche moments, including a world filled with ice; but there are a few genuine surprises, like a world where everything except Mario has been enlarged to enormous proportions.
These worlds both look cool and offer completely different challenges. As you progress through the levels you will find yourself running into brand new enemies, even in the latter half of the game. Super Mario Bros. 3 never let's you take anything for granted, and even seems to take pleasure in its own craftsmanship. The levels are full of secret nooks and crannies, and there is no way you would be able to see everything by simply playing through the game once.
While a lot of these levels brought back fond memories of my youth, it wasn't until I started tinkering with the various costumes that I had a full-blown case of nostalgia. You have to hand it to Nintendo, when it came to power-ups; there are few games that offer more than Super Mario Bros. 3. Besides you basic fireball flower, Mario can pick up a raccoon suit (that helps him fly), a frog suit (that helps him swim), a Hammer Brothers suit (that allows you to throw hammers), and the very weird Tanooki suit (which allows you to turn into a statue, for some strange reason). He is also able to jump on heads, throw blocks of ice, and even fit himself into a nice big shoe.
In the 13 years since Super Mario Bros. 3, our favorite plumber has donned many suits, but none of them have been as inventive as those in this game. I would have enjoyed using a raccoon suit in one of the two 3D Mario adventures, or going around throwing hammers with your Hammer Brothers suit. That's not to take anything away from those games, but there's no question in my mind that the third Mario outing was the most ingenious.
The fact that Super Mario Bros. 3 still feels fresh is a testament to its rock solid design. Not every 2D game can pull of a feet like this, as has been demonstrated by a number of iffy GameBoy Advance remakes over the years. But Super Mario Bros. 3 seems to fit in with modern day platformers, even though it's well over a decade old. It's no wonder it's the best selling video game of all time.
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!