Super Mario Land: Review

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This is a review I have been wanting to do for a while. It comes entirely out of frustration. I have played many Mario games in the past. In fact, Mario was one of the first video game characters I grew to love. His were the games that my mom bought knowing full well that they would be good, because they are.

Now, I was only recently introduced to this morphed version of my childhood favorite. Super Mario Land was one of the launch titles for the Gameboy. It was made before they knew much about the hardware, so they didn’t really stretch any boundries here, and it shows. At first glance, it looks like any side scrolling Mario title, just . . . uglier.

The characters all have the same basic shape as typical Mario characters, but they’re all a little off. It honestly took me a second to realize that I hadn’t gotten scammed, because this whole game looks like a fake version of its NES counterpart. The backgrounds are tiny, the coins are tiny, and Mario is pretty big compared to basically everything. I understand that Miyamoto didn’t work on this game, so it makes sense that it wouldn’t look like the real deal, but JEEZE!

Also, Mario doesn’t control very well in this game. When he jumps in other games, there’s still a sense of control, you float a little, it feels very natural. Here, Mario falls like a brick. It just plain doesn’t feel like Mario. With only 6 stages, it’s also a very short game compared to other Super Mario titles. There are people online who claim to have beat it in 10 minutes or less.

The good news with this game is that it’s very cheap right now (I got my copy for only 2 dollars) but the even better news with it is the fact that they completely redesigned the game for the sequels. Those games appear to have used Super Mario World graphics, and they look and play gorgeously. As for Super Mario Land, I’d say pick it up for your collection, but if you choose to play through it certainly don’t expect it to play like the typical Mario standard. Otherwise, if you truly want Super Mario Brothers on the gameboy go with Super MarioBrothers Deluxe, it’s the definitive Gameboy version plus if you beat it you unlock Super Mario Brothers 2 (the Japanese version!) it also has great mini games. 

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3 thoughts on “Super Mario Land: Review

  1. Based on the last paragraph, I take it you’ve played Super Mario Land 2? There’s like a night and day difference between 1 and 2. (I really love 2!) Otherwise, I agree with your assessment of the game, but when it was released in 1989 there were really no great handheld games to compare it to, so for a lot of people it was an amazing game in that context.

  2. I remember having briefly played this on someone else’s Game Boy as a child. I definitely didn’t have any art critique in my head back then, haha. It was all WAAANT PLAAAAY! 😀
    I recently discovered there’s a Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. for the NES, and that one’s like Megaman Unlimited vs. the official ones. I gave up quickly.
    A while ago, in a nostalgic bout, I made a video listing all the NES (and thus pretty much all the Nintendo) games I ever played in my childhood.

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