Mario and Luigi are happy ... that GamePro forgot about Hotel Mario!
It's hard to stay objective when you're talking about Super Mario, he's one of the most beloved video game characters of all time, a recognizable face that everybody can love. And it's not just his silly design and bright clothing, it's that fact that he finds himself in one great game after another. No matter what Mario tries he is good at it, from 2D to 3D to golf to soccer, if Nintendo can think it up then you're in for one exciting adventure.
But just because we all love and respect Mario doesn't mean we can't be a little hard on the old plumber. We may be fans but that doesn't mean we can't make fun of the bad things Mario has done. This was the thinking behind GamePro's Mario retrospective which featured Mario's ten "sellout" moments. Unfortunately to make this list GamePro drew back the curtains to reveal their hypocritical side.
Hey, doesn't Pac-Man have his own kart racer??
In the June 2006 issue of GamePro magazine the editors made a list of the 10 Mario Sellout Moments, ten games that they considered to be the "lowest moments in Mario history." With ten slots available it was up to GamePro to balance out this Mario love fest with some sobering reminders of Mario's darker days. So bring it on GamePro, what was Mario's lowest moment?
Well, if you believe the June 2006 issue of GamePro then the answer is Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the disappointing fourth installment to the popular Super NES racing
This is so much better than Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
series. Critics around the world had mixed feelings about this better looking update, they liked the new courses and having two Nintendo characters on each kart, but hated the fact that nothing had changed. Most critics gave the game passing scores, but knocked a few points off for the been there, done that feel. Well, all but one magazine. GamePro wasn't afraid to stand alone and give their honest opinion. That's why they gave "the lowest moment in Mario history" a 5 out of 5!
GamePro loved Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, they spent months talking it up and making sure everybody knew where they stood on the issue. "Mario Kart: Double
Is drawing really the best use for Super Mario 64 DS? Oh, it is? Nevermind then!
Dash works a winning formula," said Bro Buzz in the December 2003 issue of GamePro. "Fans everywhere know exactly what to expect and that's a rip-roaring good time on the Mario road this time with a whole bunch of friends in tow, too." That sounds like high praise to me.
But that's not what they say now, not even three years later. "Without a doubt, the biggest letdown in Mario land was Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Double Dash is proof that not much has changed since Mario Kart on the SNES." Well, I can't disagree with that ... but it doesn't explain how it could be the "lowest moment" and a 5 out of 5 game all at the same time.
Next up on the list is Super Mario 64 DS. Now they call it "just plain goofy," but when it was first released they loved it. The game received a solid 4 out of 5 with very few complaints about the lack of the analog stick. While a 4 out of 5 is not a perfect score, it still seems kind of
Super Mario Sunshine is another good example of a game GamePro loved and now hates!
high for it being Mario's second lowest moment of all time. What's the matter GamePro, afraid to give a Mario game a bad score at launch? I wouldn't be surprised if you loved Luigi's Mansion, too (they did, they gave it a 4.5 out of 5).
Also on the list is Baby Mario, Mario Paint, Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, the original N64 Super Smash Bros., and Super Mario Sunshine. And if that wasn't enough, they even went as far as to make fun of Mario's gig in Mike Tyson's Punch Out for the NES. But still, GamePro considered all of these things to be better than a game they gave a perfect grade.
And how bad is that GameCube Mario Kart?? According to GamePro it's actually worse than the Super Mario Bros. movie! This 1993 box office disaster fits right in the middle of this list at number five, despite the fact that stars Latin John Leguizamo as Italian Luigi. How is this not Mario's
GamePro considered the Super Mario Bros. movie to be BETTER than both Mario 64 DS and Double Dash!!
lowest moment? If it comes down to a choice between a disappointing Mario Kart and the atrocious Super Mario Bros. movie, then I'm going to have to go with Mario Kart ... no matter how played out it is.
But at the end of the day the problem isn't that they considered Mario Kart to be the "lowest moment in Mario history," it's that they gave nearly every game on this list a good review. Super Mario Sunshine got a 5 out of 5. Mario Party 4 got a 4.5 out of 5. Yoshi's Island got a 4.5 when they first reviewed it ... and a 5 out of 5 when they looked at it again for the Game Boy Advance. Add that to the already good scores for both Super Mario 64 DS and Double Dash!! and you have a list that means nothing at all.
The real tragedy is that GamePro has decided to ignore
the truly awful Mario outings. They bitch and moan about Mario Kart being the lowest moment, but what about Mario is Missing on the PC or the CD-i Hotel Mario? And where is the abysmal Mario's Time Machine?? And if you're going to bring up Mario Bros. 64 DS then why not talk about all of those Super Mario Advance titles for the GBA. Is there a reason they couldn't just release all of those in one collection? That's what they did on the Super NES! Releasing them individually was just confusing and made for stupid names like Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3.
GamePro, you missed the boat on this one. You could have filled up this list with terrible Mario outings, but instead made yourself look like a hypocrite by giving a game a perfect grade one month and then calling it Mario's "lowest moment" the next. I have no problem talking about being disappointed by Double Dash!!, but if you were so disappointed by it then why did you give it a perfect 5 out of 5? Does this mean we shouldn't take your reviews seriously? I guess it's a good thing I haven't been.