Super Mario All-Stars
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Nintendo
  • Publisher:
    • Nintendo
  • Released:
    • JP 07/14/1993
    • US 08/01/1993
    • UK 12/16/1993
Score: 95%

This review was published on 07/01/2013.

Super Mario All-Stars is a 2-D, side-scrolling platform game published and developed by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993. It's a compilation of a bunch of 8-bit Mario games from the Nintendo Entertainment System remade in 16-bit graphics and sound. The games in question are Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, The Lost Levels, and Super Mario Bros. 3. If you're good at counting, that comes to about four Mario games in one cartridge. That's a lot of Mario for a single cart. It was a tremendous value to be able to get all these games for the price of one back then. That's not even counting the fact that these are really extensive remakes; we're not just talking 16-bit color here, but there are new backgrounds, sprites, sound effects, and music. The game is even worth getting if you already owned all these on the NES. Later copies of Super Mario All-Stars had Super Mario World added to the cart, but unlike the other games on the cart, this one wasn't remade. Thanks to Super Mario All-Stars, newer generations of gamers were able to experience Mario's 8-bit classics in the amazing 16-bit visuals of the SNES.

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Super Mario Bros. is the first classic in this amazing compilation. This is where it all started. Because this is one of the first Mario games ever made, it's not exactly the best. It's the least impressive game in this compilation, but it's still pretty good. Out of all the games in the compilation, I would say that this is the one to get the biggest update. The graphics have been totally revamped with bigger, more detailed sprites, new backgrounds; the works. All the music has been redone, too, though the 16-bit versions of these classical tunes sound a bit odd. I personally prefer the 8-bit original's music, to be perfectly honest. That's the only drawback to this version of the first Super Mario game. The physics of the game have also been improved to make Mario's midair maneuverability a lot easier, lowering the overall difficulty level of the game. If you're the type that hates any sort of lowered difficulty, then you may want to stick with the original. Most people, however, will appreciate this change. In addition to all of that, there are a lot of smaller improvements made, such as the animation that plays out whenever you complete a castle. In the normal game, completing a castle would reveal a Toad telling you that your princess is in another castle. The same thing happens here, but there is a unique animation that plays out for each individual castle. This really adds a lot to the game, as the animations provide a good amount of motivation to press on in your adventure. Super Mario All-Stars falters a little bit with the music in this one, but overall, it's a nice improvement over the original.

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Super Mario Bros. 2 is the second game on the list. This game was first released in Japan on the Famicom Disk System as Doki Doki Panic, but then it got a makeover with Mario characters and was released on the NES in North America as Super Mario Bros. 2. Technically, this isn't the real Super Mario Bros. 2, but to everyone in the West, it basically is. In Super Mario All-Stars, the game gets another makeover, though not quite as drastic as the first one. The graphics have been improved with the increased color palette of the SNES, and many areas that originally had no backgrounds now have them. What I like about this remake is that it really stays true to the original; all the sprites look really similar to the original game, but with added detail and color. The music is probably the best part, as it's a very faithful recreation of the original tunes. It doesn't sound at all weird like the first Super Mario game, even though it takes advantage of the SNES' improved sound chip. A lot of people complain about the authenticity of the first Super Mario in this compilation, but Super Mario All-Stars does the second Super Mario game justice. If you want to experience Super Mario Bros. 2 for the first time, then this isn't a bad way to do it.

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Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels is an interesting one. Remember how I said that the previous game technically isn't the real Super Mario Bros. 2? Well, that's because this one is. Up until this point, the West never saw the release of the true Super Mario Bros. 2. Originally, Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in Japan for the Famicom Disk System, and it was almost identical to the first Super Mario game, just way harder. Nintendo didn't think this game would do too well in North America, hence why they dressed up Doki Doki Panic as a Mario game and referred to it as Super Mario Bros. 2. Nintendo decided to include a remake of the actual Super Mario Bros. 2 in this compilation, but because another game already held that name, they opted to subtitle this one The Lost Levels. It's a little confusing. In any case, it's pretty nice of Nintendo to include this game in the North American release of Super Mario All-Stars, because it was technically a new game for the West. The problem is that the game isn't very impressive. As mentioned previously, it's almost identical to the first Super Mario, so while it's been remade here, it uses the same graphics and music as the remade version of the first game. The only thing worthy of note, for those of you who never played this one, is that you can play as either Mario or Luigi in this game. Similar to the other Mario 2, Mario and Luigi control slightly differently. Luigi can jump a bit higher and farther than Mario, but he also skids on the ground more. Beyond that, the only other thing to note is that this game is rock hard. Good luck trying to finish this one. Even though this isn't one of the better Mario games, it's a good thing that Super Mario All-Stars includes it for a new audience to experience.

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Super Mario Bros. 3 is easily the best game included in this compilation, unless you have the cart with Super Mario World. This game alone is worth the price of admission. Super Mario Bros. 3 is often touted as the best Mario game, and one of the best games of all time. It's the longest game in this compilation by far, especially if you don't use any of the warps to skip worlds. The graphics and music have been remade to fit the technical specs of the SNES, just like the previous games. Many new backgrounds were added to the levels of the game, making it a fresh experience for anyone who grew up on the original. Despite the 16-bit sound, the music does well to honor the original tracks, which is a good thing. I particularly like how the final battle theme sounds in this one. The biggest improvement is probably the more vibrant color palette. Super Mario Bros. 3 was a graphically impressive game on the NES, but the limitations made some of the colors seem a little off, like the way Mario looked whenever he grabbed a Fire Flower. That stuff has been corrected in this remake. Nintendo could have easily gotten away with remaking this game all by itself, but they decided to go the extra mile and include three other games with it. That's awfully swell of them.

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One of the best things about this compilation is the save system. That may not sound like a big deal, but originally, none of these games had save functionality. In this compilation, every game has save functionality. Not only that, but you can have up to four save files per game. That's pretty convenient. You can also save at any time by pressing start and selecting the respective option. This can be done in any of the games. The only drawback to the save system is that you can't continue from the exact level you left off on in most of the games. You're limited to continuing from the last world you were in, so if you were in the middle of world 4 in Super Mario 3, then you'll have to do it all over again. The exception to this is The Lost Levels, which does allow you to continue from the exact level you left off, for whatever reason. It can be kind of annoying if you have to quit a long world right in the middle of it, but considering none of these games originally had save systems, it's not a huge deal. Another nice thing to mention is that you can actually select whichever world you prefer to start from, so if you want to replay a previous world without starting a new game, you can. Little touches like this make Super Mario All-Stars a great compilation.

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Before HD collections, there was Super Mario All-Stars. The concept of officially licensed compilations wasn't too common back then, especially with such a great lineup of games. Super Mario All-Stars goes far beyond the average HD collection, because it gives each game a massive facelift. Every game in this compilation is worth buying on its own, so being able to get them all on one cart with big modifications is a fantastic deal that's still worth it today. If you have yet to play any of the games included in this compilation, then you can't go wrong with giving Super Mario All-Stars a try. Hardcore fans and purists might find the improved visuals and sounds a little off-putting, especially if they hold nostalgia over the originals, but there isn't much Super Mario All-Stars gets wrong.

Word Count: 1,647

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