Review: 25th Anniversary Edition of Super Mario All-Stars

Greg Tito | 17 Dec 2010 09:00
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I remember being pretty excited for Super Mario All-Stars ... back in 1993. Compiling the first three Mario games released in North America along with a game that previously couldn't be found on this side of the Pacific into one package for the Super Nintendo was a great idea. Now, 25 years after the first Super Mario Bros. game first enchanted owners of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo has come out with a commemorative edition of the compilation, which seems like a no-brainer. The problem is that the code was copied wholesale from the Super Nintendo cartridge and pressed onto a DVD with almost no changes.

Putting the disc into the Wii allows you to choose to play Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 or 3, or the Lost Levels. The Super Nintendo cartridge improved the graphics of the games, bringing them up to the 16-bit look of Super Mario World, and the interface on the Wii looks exactly like it did in 1993 on a Super Nintendo, with no graphic embellishments, bells or whistles to bring it into the 21st century. The only difference I could discover is that you can play the games with any controller that currently works with the Wii, including the Wii Remote (turned on its side to resemble an old 8-bit Nintendo controller), Wii Remote Motion Plus, Classic Controller, Classic Controller Pro, Gamecube controller or even the good old Wavebird. I found that the best way to play was using either the Classic Controller or the Wii Remote without the Wii Motion Plus add-on plugged in. The extra inch or so that it adds throws off the balance requires a different grip to pull off extended sequences of sprint jumping.

The games are all quintessential examples of the platforming genre and are still fun. The first Super Mario Bros. is just as tough as I remember, and the Lost Levels is even more so. Super Mario Bros. 2 is just as surreal, with the weird dream sequences and all those vegetables to pull up from the ground. That old callous on my left thumb started developing again as I played my favorite of the bunch, Super Mario Bros. 3. Thanks to Fred Savage's brother in The Wizard, I was able to grab a magic flute to warp to World 8 - Bowser's Castle. It's funny how many secrets are locked in the neurons of my brain even though I haven't played the game in 10 or more years. I remembered where every hidden 1up mushroom was and how to get 99 lives without looking it up (World 3-4, bounce the turtle shell between the two wooden blocks as cloud guy rains down green spiky things, nootch.)

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