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Super Mario All-Stars: What Did Critics Say in 1993?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 19, 2014   |   Episode 44 (Show Archive)  

Super Mario All-Stars (Super NES)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

It's Super Mario Week at Review Crew, which means that we'll spend the next three episodes looking at old school games starring Nintendo's favorite Italian plumber. Up first it's Super Mario All-Stars, a compilation featuring upgraded versions of Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, 3 and The Lost Levels. Did critics love this 16-bit collection of 8-bit games, or did they view this as a cynical cash grab from Nintendo? We turn to Electronic Gaming Monthly, Nintendo Magazine System, SNES Force, Die Hard Game Fan and other classic magazines for the answer.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Super Mario All-Stars (Nintendo)

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #50
10 out of 10

"Save the princess all over again! All-Stars is a masterpiece from beginning to end. Although it really is nothing new, All-Stars blows the roof off the fun factor! Four fun games with enhanced graphics and music is just too much. The best part is that all those wonderful secrets have been left in. Ditch those old 8-Bit versions for this one!" -Martin Alessi

NINTENDO MAGAZINE SYSTEM #11
95% out of 100%

"It goes without saying that this package houses three of the most popular video games ever ! The fourth -- The Lost Levels -- is simply a great bonus. Mario has earned his status as the character synonymous with Nintendo, indeed video games in general, because the depth of his games are beyond compare. Each title is perfectly designed and all, excepting the Lost Levels, have perfectly-graded learning curves." -Paul

COMPUTER + VIDEO GAMES #142
94% out of 100%

"New concepts in platformers may come and go, but this cart proves that you can't beat the old classics -- almost! Nintendo have not only crammed the first three Mario games into one cart, nor have they only spruced up the graphics and sounds, but they have even added a whole host of levels that never appeared in any of the previous Mario games -- the Director's Cut of Mario games, if you will." -Paul Anglin

SNES FORCE #4
91% out of 100%

"It's to [sic] good to be true! The complete collection of Mario games, originally produced for the NES, on one cart with enhanced graphics and sound! Overall, Super Mario All-Stars is an excellent buy, and if you're a fan you can't go wrong. The only fault is the slight lack of difficulty, but don't let that put you off a great compilation package." -Simon

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #50
9 out of 10

"Amazing! This four-in-one cart will keep fans occupied for hours if not days! This is a must-have for anyone with a Super NES! Everything is here, even the glitches and secret levels! The 16-Bit conversion, graphically, is fantastic, and the stereo sound enhances the overall effect. My favorite is Dream Factory!" -Steve Harris

DIE HARD GAME FAN (September 1993)
84% out of 100%

"I loved these games on 8 bit and they are even better on 16 bit (and I didn't even have to ask them). Nothing was lost in the translation over to the SNES. The control was perfect then and it's perfect now. The icing on the cake is the great graphics and the SNES-ized music ... way to go Nintendo!" -K. Lee

NINTENDO POWER (September 1993)
4.1 out of 5

"Some games don't get older, they just get better. Plus: Excellent graphics and classic Super Mario Bros. action. The battery backed-up memory lets you save your progress, which means players who never finished these games in the past have a good chance to succeed now. The Lost Levels present a true action challenge. Minus: Other than the face-lift, the only new element is The Lost Levels and the Battery Save feature."

DIE HARD GAME FAN (September 1993)
69% out of 100%

"What a thrill, all of my bad memories of 8 bit in living color ... boing, boing, happy, happy. I'm sorry, but the old Mario games just haven't stood the test of time. The music and sound FX are great, but the control is too lose [sic] and it's all just too cuddly. I believe it's time to retire Mario for a more nineties character." -Skid
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 88% - Long before HD collections were the norm, Nintendo surprised critics with Super Mario All-Stars. This collection was immediately hailed as one of the best deals in video game history. "All-Stars is a masterpiece from beginning to end," proclaims Electronic Gaming Monthly. "It's too good to be true," states SNES Force. Even if these games weren't very original, critics couldn't wait to hold Super Mario All-Stars up as that season's must-own Nintendo game.

Well, not every critic fell in love with Super Mario All-Star. In just 64 words, Skid lets us take a very scary trip inside his head. Super Mario Bros. is a bad memory? How is that even possible? And if you think that's bad, he goes one step further and wants to retire Mario. Blaspheme! Had Nintendo listened to this guy, we would never have played Super Mario 64, Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land. Then again, this is the same guy who refused to play EarthBound because it looked too "fruity."

DIRECTOR'S CUT VS. UNRELEASED GAME: Contrary to what Paul Anglin would have you believe, All-Stars is not the "Director's Cut of Mario games." These are not "levels that never appeared in any of the previous Mario games," but rather a completely different game known as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan. Paul's review suggests these are simply stages left on the cutting room floor, when that's not the case. I'm sure you know this already, but I wanted to get that off my chest.

ON WEDNESDAY'S EPISODE: Can't get enough saving women from dinosaurs? Then you're in luck, because we're spending an entire week looking at old Mario games. Wednesday brings us Super Mario Land, the oft-ignored Game Boy launch title. Was this another Nintendo homerun, or were the critics disappointed in this Mario outing? Find out this Wednesday. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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