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Super Mario Land: What Did Critics Say in 1989?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 21, 2014   |   Episode 45 (Show Archive)  

   

Super Mario Land (Game Boy)
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. Today we're taking a look at Super Mario Land, one of Nintendo's earliest Game Boy games. Did critics still love Super Mario on the handheld, or were they turned off by the changes in gameplay? We turn to Electronic Gaming Monthly, CVG, Nintendo Magazine System and more 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 Land
[ Company: Nintendo | Console: Game Boy ]

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #5
8 out of 10

"Even through it's in B&W and on a 2-inch screen, Super Mario Land is a fantastic game that is, above all, very fun to play. There are loads of things to discover and all new worlds to chart. It's a bit short (only 12 screens), but there's enough challenge here to recommend this one." -Steve

COMPUTER + VIDEO GAMES #96
93% out of 100%

"Everyone's favourite minuscule, Italian person makes his Game Boy debut. And how! Hectic action (including loads of hidden bonus screens dotted throughout the four big words), combined with remarkable graphics (considering their size) and rousing tunes and effects ensure yet another thumbs up for the Game Boy." -Paul Rand

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #5
7 out of 10

"Like Super Mario Bros. for the NES, Super Mario Land is filled with the same kind of running and jumping action. There are loads of secret things to uncover, and new screens that add to the Super Mario theme. This is the best GameBoy game I've seen so far." -Donn

NINTENDO MAGAZINE SYSTEM #1
90% out of 100%

"Although this brilliant game doesn't take long to finish, there are loads of secret things to uncocver and the gameplay's so good you just keep on going back to it! A must-buy for platform fans everywhere."

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #5
8 out of 10

"A great GameBoy game! Excellent scrolling graphics make Mario Land look and play just like Super Mario Bros. All the bad guys, mushrooms and other features from the original are here, along with new characters, 1Ups, hidden coins, and more! A portable Super Mario Bros.!" -Jim
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 82% - Critics love Super Mario Bros., even when it's on a tiny two-inch screen. Looking back at it now, it's obvious that the critics are cutting the game a lot of slack for being a first-generation Game Boy release. There are a few things these critics agree on, including the game's short length and the large amount of hidden areas. On the other hand, nobody talked about the 2D shooter stages or strange new villain. The general tone was positive, but the average shows that this Game Boy outing isn't quite at the same level as the console games.

SUPER MARIO ARCHIVE: Want to see how this Super Mario game stacks up against the rest? Below you will find every Mario game currently in the Review Crew archive. Read the original reviews and see if you agree with the old school critics.

Super Mario World
What Did Critics Say Back in 1992?
Nintendo Super NES 92%
Super Mario Kart
What Did Critics Say Back in 1993?
Nintendo Super NES 89%
Super Mario All-Stars
What Did Critics Say Back in 1993?
Nintendo Super NES 88%
Super Mario Land
What Did Critics Say Back in 1989?
Nintendo Game Boy 82%
Mario Paint
What Did Critics Say Back in 1993?
Nintendo Super NES 74%
Dr. Mario
What Did Critics Say Back in 1990?
Nintendo Game Boy 66%

ON FRIDAY'S EPISODE: Finish out Super Mario Week with yet another launch game. Join us Friday when we take a look at Super Mario World, our favorite plumber's first foray into 16-bits. We already know Electronic Gaming Monthly likes Sonic more than Mario, but what do other classic magazines think of this Super NES pack-in? Find out this Friday. 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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