By Sam Coles:
We’ve entered the season known as “bugger all is coming out” where the gaming industry takes a back seat with news and releases of games so it gives us gaming reviewers and journalists a time to rest and indulge ourselves of games from the past or review games that we didn’t get to review this time round.
The game in question in this retro review takes us back to the year 1989, this marked the release date of the Nintendo Gameboy and it was the first commercially successful portable gaming system by Nintendo. I know you’re all going to say that it wasn’t the first portable gaming system and bring up the Game and Watch, but this system really broke into the casual market with people who don’t usually play video games, with titles such as Tetris that helped.
The launch title I’m here to review is Super Mario Land it was released alongside the Gameboy in 1989 and was the first Mario game not to be created by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, but was instead headed and directed by the creator of the Gameboy and the producer of the Metroid series Gunpei Yokoi. So we had a new Mario game that was trusted to someone else.
So if you have been living under a rock or something you should know how a standard Mario game works with running and jumping keeping up a good speed to get through a level with careful platforming, but with some new enemies that we haven’t seen since this game debuted, from weird flies to sphinx’s that spit fire at you.
The locales aren’t your standard Mario setting either because instead of the familiar Mushroom Kingdom you have various locations from the different continents and countries around the world. These could be an Egyptian temple to an Easter Island style cave with the statues displaying in the background.
As well as the standard running and jumping in this game they added different segments to split up and add variety to gameplay such as having Mario piloting a submarine to get through those annoying water levels quickly while shooting everything in your way or fly in a plane and again shoot everything that moves. When you finish each level there will be two exits, the bottom one will let you finish as usual and the top one will grant you a bonus mini game where you have to determine which platform Mario goes on to score an extra life or power up such as a fireflower.
My only nitpicks with this game and it’s mainly due to the hardware limitations of lack colour is the fact you can’t tell when Mario has a fireflower and they did fix this situation with Super Mario Land 2 by having a feather in his cap, but it’s a bit irritating in this one. Another slight annoyance is that Mario does have any momentum when he jumps he feels incredibly floaty and sometimes you can’t judge where he is going to land when you go for long distance jumps.
Overall Super Mario Land is still a great game and is good to burn some time when you have nothing to do due to its short length and that’s not a bad thing. You can pick it up for fairly cheap because it’s not a particularly rare game, so if you want to relive some nostalgia or want to play it for the first time then pick up your Gameboy, Gameboy Colour or Gameboy Advanced. There is no shortage of systems to play this on.