GAME NAME: Super Mario Land
DEVELOPER(S): Nintendo R&D 1
PLATFORM(S): GameBoy, Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console
RELEASE DATE(S): 1989/June 6th, 2011
There used to be three certainties in life: Death, Taxes and a Nintendo System launching with a Mario title. This tradition held true when Nintendo released its Game Boy system in the summer of 1989. Nintendo brought hungry gamers Super Mario Land to satisfy their cravings. Now twenty-two years later, with the launch of the 3DS Virtual Console, Nintendo has brought out of the archives Super Mario Land for day one.
Super Mario Land is quite different then the Mario games that were on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The story does not take place in the Mushroom Kingdom but in a place called Sarasaland, where Mario must rescue Sarasaland’s Princess Daisy from the grasps of the evil alien Tatanga. Sarasaland is split up into for different levels: Birabuto, Muda, Easton and Chai. Each of the levels is split into 3 different stages for a total of twelve stages. The game is rather short and an experienced Mario player can beat the game in an hour.
While the location and most of the characters are different the main gameplay remains the same with a couple of different quirks. The controls feel a little looser then the NES counterparts, which makes landing a few of the more difficult jumps later on a hassle. The Fire Flower power up is now a throwing ball that bounces all over the screen which can also be used to collect coins in those hard to reach areas. Another minor difference in this version of Mario is that the game no longer pauses for a second when receiving a power-up or being hit by an enemy. There are also levels in which you pilot a submarine and a prop plane which feels weird and out of place for a Mario platforming game.
The graphics are very bland, which is to be expected of a launch title for the Game Boy. There is not much of a background to the levels but the game does run exceptionally smooth. The music still has a great Mario feel, but is different enough that it stands on its own in the series. The music sounds great and will have you humming it long after you put the game down.
Super Mario Land being released on the day that Nintendo launches their new 3DS Virtual Console is a no-brainer. It launched with the Game Boy in 1989, so it just makes complete sense to launch it with the service. While being on the short side and not having the greatest of controls it still manages to captivate you and give you the feeling of nostalgia, which by the way is a very powerful feeling. Nintendo fans and Mario fans alike should not hesitate to pick this game up on their 3DS.