Mario Monday - Super Mario World

Monday, June 08, 2009

In 1991 Nintendo introduced the much anticipated successor to the smash hit Nintendo Entertainment System with the aptly named Super Nintendo Entertainment System. As a young Nintendo player growing up I naturally learned as much about the system as I could through my subscription to Nintendo Power. I had saved up my allowance for months and was a proud owner of the Super NES soon after its August 1991 release.

As cool as I thought it was to be the first kid on the block to own a Super NES (most kids fancied a Sega Genesis at the time) I was more excited to lay my hands on the pack-in game (remember when systems came packaged with a game and two controllers as the standard?), Super Mario World.

At the time Super Mario World was pegged as the greatest Mario adventure ever, and it may in fact still be. While Super Mario Brothers 3 took the series to levels it never reached before, Super Mario World took those changes and enhanced them. Super Mario World took the traditional Mario storyline and took it further with a new land to explore, a new power-up, many new enemies and some new friends.

Super Mario World takes place in Dinosaur Land, which I assume is adjacent of the old Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach (of course) and taken reign over Dinosaur Land with the help of his kids from Super Mario Brothers 3. Each Koopaling took control of a castle that would stand on Mario's way to tracking down Bowser. Along the way Mario would encounter many familiar baddies, such as Goombas, Koopa Troopas, piranha plants, and more, but these traditional foes took on new looks in Super Mario World. Goombas were more difficult to defeat. One jump would not kill them as before, but turn them over. Mario could then pick them up, similar to the ability to pick up a Koopa shell.

Also an army of new enemies made their debuts in Super Mario World. Underwater stages now featured Rip Van Fish and Urchins. Many land stages featured new foes like Chargin' Chuck, Dino-Torch, and .

Gone from Super Mario Brothers 3 were the different suits, such as Hammer Brothers and Frog, as well as the popular Raccoon Leaf. Super Mario World did not take Mario's flying ability away though, and introduced the feather, which provided Mario with a cape. The cape, when used properly, allowed Mario to fly over great amounts of land but could also be used as a weapon. Spinning with the cape would wipe out enemies if they got too close. Mario also had the trusty fire flower available to him. But the most important addition to the Mario family was the famous green dinosaur, Yoshi.

Yoshi quickly became a fan favorite and would eventually go on to star in his own line of games, garnering much more attention than Mario's brother Luigi. Yoshi was the ultimate weapon for Mario as he could gobble up many enemies (giving Mario a coin in exchange), walk on many foes that Mario could not, and could also be used to give Mario a boost when the plumber jumped off of his new green dino friend. Who amongst us has not used Yoshi to save ourselves at least once?

While the most common Yoshi was green there were also three different colored Yoshis hiding in the secret Star World. A red Yoshi would breath fire. Yellow Yoshi's caused an earthquake. Blue Yoshi's could fly. The ultimate combination was a caped Mario with a blue Yoshi.

Super Mario world was a monumental game for Nintendo. There was not better way to introduce the Super Nintendo to consumers than with one of the best Mario games of all time. Sega was blasting Nintendo for their delay in bringing the SNES to the United States and would point out the Genesis' superior "blast processing". But when gamers got their eyes set on Super Mario World it was painfully obvious that the Super Nintendo was capable of a lot more than critics thought.

As always, feel free to share your memories of Super Mario World in the comments section!

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