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Super Mario Land Review

Super Mario Land Cover

Released by Nintendo in 1989 as a launch title for the Gameboy, Super Mario Land is oI ne of the most unique and distinctive Mario titles that Nintendo ever produced. The first Mario game to be released on the Gameboy, Super Mario Land changed and adapted the standard Mario formula to create a game which now seems at odds with other titles in the Mario series. Despite many of these changes being dropped and abandoned by Nintendo in future games, Super Mario Land remains a fun, challenging and at times frustrating addition to the franchise.

Super Mario Land GameBoy

Upon first glance, its gameplay follows the standard model set by most other Mario platforming titles. As in previous games, Mario has to jump from platform to platform, combat an array of colourful and varied enemies and obtain coins and power ups in order to aid the player throughout the game. The core pillars of a Mario title remain in place here, with obligatory desert, cave and underwater levels which are a hallmark of the variety of levels that are found within any Mario game. However, this is where the similarities end, and much of the game is made up of features which are unique to this Mario title and may even make a seasoned Mario player flummoxed before they get their head around the new gameplay.

Super Mario Land GameBoy

There are countless drastic differences in both gameplay and setting which new players will have to deal with when picking up this title. The game is no longer set in the Mushroom Kingdom, which is the usual key location in Mario games, instead taking place in the new world of Sarasaland. Gone are the large Mushroom backgrounds and many of the classic Mario themes we are familiar with, instead replaced with Alien themes as well as a world based around the Easter Island statues. The series famous damsel in distress character of Princess Peach is also replaced with Princess Daisy in this game, a princess with just as much a talent for being kidnapped and placed in castles as her predecessor. Koopa shells now explode and damage the player instead of being sent crashing into other enemies, and Fire Mario’s flame balls now bounce erratically off the terrain. Also gone is Mario’s arch nemesis Bowser, instead being replaced with several sets of unique bosses for each world, each of which is inspired by the design and composition of the worlds. For example, the first desert world involves battling a fire breathing sphinx, while the second underwater section involves fighting off a giant seahorse.

Super Mario Land GameBoy

While always a fairly difficult series, Super Mario Land manages to take it to the next level, arguably remaining one of the hardest Mario titles. While the first world is fairly reminiscent of the difficulties of other titles, from the end of the second world onwards the difficulty spikes dramatically, and even seasoned gamers and Mario players will have to dedicate a reasonable amount of time to complete it. This steep difficulty curve lengthens the game considerably, and may provide a source of frustration to many players who may find they have to frequently repeat sections of the game. While Super Mario Land is an interesting title with a unique tone, many of its deviations and changes from other Mario titles adds relatively little to the game, and its difficulty and drastic set piece changes may make many players frustrated with this title.

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