Mario Monday - Super Mario Bros. 3

Monday, May 18, 2009

This is the one I have been waiting for. This is the one that inspired me to create this little weekly feature. This is the one that will probably have five or six follow ups. You see, today we discuss what I consider to be the greatest video game of all time.

Wait, that was not enough build up. Let me try that again...

Super Mario Brothers 3 arrived in the United States a year and a half after its debut in Japan in October of 1988. After the bizarre Super Mario Brothers 2 was rushed to the US because the third game was already in production, Nintendo fans were thirsty to see what the big fuss was about.

Never before had a game practically driven the production and sales for a movie like Super Mario Brothers 3. The only reason kids begged their parents to go see The Wizard was so they could get a glimpse of Super Mario Brothers 3!

Super Mario Brothers 3 was Mario's biggest adventure to date. Bowser was back and not only had he taken Princess Peach captive, but he also got his kids in the act. Each Koopa Kid stole the magic wands possessed by the kings of each world and transformed them into different creatures. It was up to Mario and Luigi to save each kingdom's king and pick up clues to find where the Peach was being held by Bowser.

The familiar cast of Mario characters returned, including Goomba, Koopa Troopas, Cheap-Cheaps and more. The Koopa kids, known as the Koopalings, made their first appearance in the Mario series. Each Koopaling had their own character traits, and they were fought in order from youngest to oldest. The concept being that the oldest Koopa heir would be the most difficult, and he was.

Larry Koopa is the most basic of enemies and presents little to no problem. Morton Koopa Jr. can make the ground shake when he jumps in the air. Wendy throws giant candy cane rings around the room. Lemmy would bounce balls off the walls. Ludwig von Koopa could make the ground shake and he was the quickest of the bunch, providing Mario one last test before advancing to the final level of the game.

Anybody who has played Super Mario Brothers 3 will agree that this game is all about the power ups and the warp whistles.

In addition to the normal Super Mario, Fire Mario and star man power for invincibility, Mario was given a new ability to fly. The most common way to fly was to become Raccoon Mario by grabbing a leaf. Mario would grow a tail and ears and could now attack enemies by whipping his tail. He could also fly when running fast enough. The Raccoon form was planned for the Super NES debut of Mario in Super Mario World, but it was replaced with the feather and cape combination. Raccoon Mario, to this day, is still my favorite form of the plumber.

In order to maneuver throw the water levels with greater ease Mario could put on the first of his new suits, the frog suit. Putting the frog suit on limited Mario's effectiveness when above water, but when under water Mario could move as fast as a fish and avoid enemies easier. Of course if he wasn't careful he could just as easily swim right into an onslaught of baddies too. The frog suit came in handy in level three, the water world.

Perhaps the most hyped suit in the game was the Tanookie Suit. Donning the teddy bear-esque outfit gave Mario the same abilities as Raccoon Mario, but also added an ability to become a statue for a brief moment. When in statue form enemies would walk right by Mario without causing damage. Personally I never really used the statue feature but it was a cool trick to do.

Finally there was the rare Hammer Brothers Suit. Putting on this suit gave Mario the same abilities of the pesky Hammer Brothers, allowing Mario to throw hammers at his enemies at different ranges. The shell on his back, when ducking, could also shield Mario from incoming fireballs.

The most requested item to return to the Mario franchise though must be Kuribo's Shoe. This green shoe was worn by Goombas in Level 5-3 and if knocked out of the shoe from below, Mario could take over and bounce around in it for the remainder of the stage. With the shoe Mario could stomp on enemies he could not before, such as Spinies and Pirahna Plants. Unfortunately the item could not travel from stage to stage and had to stay in 5-3.

Then there were the Warp Whistles. Hidden in three secret spots the Warp Whistles would call a tornado to carry Mario from wherever he was to the Warp Zone. From there Mario could cut his adventure short and jump ahead a couple levels. Using a warp whistle in the Warp Zone at any point could take Mario straight to level eight, where Bowser was holding the princess captive.

Super Mario Brothers 3 had so many great elements to it that made it such a success. There is too much to review in one post so be sure to check back through the week for the appropriate follow ups on this game.

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