19 Sep 2012

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

Year Released:  Gameboy Classic 1993
3DS Virtual Console: 2011
Publisher: Nintendo

The story is Wario has stolen Mario's castle and has locked the door with 6 golden coins which need to be recovered from 6 different zones: Pumpkin, Macro, Mario, Turtle, Space (accessed by Hippo Statue) and Tree.

This is the sequel to the Gameboy's Super Mario Land, but has a lot in common with Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World, and while it is still a platform based game, it is not strictly linear. The player upon once completing a introduction level to the island, can choose what level they want (except boss levels and intro mini-level) and even then can chose another zone to play. In this game you can save your progress via the inbuilt battery pack (cartridge) or via the 3DS (virtual console).

World Map
The graphics whilst still in monotones, have improved since the original Super Mario Land graphics, and the levels are more detailed, and more attention to the level design has taken place not just platform, blocks, enemies- more thought has gone into this. Even if this game was converted to colour and graphics updated (sharper pixels etc. like Link's Awakening DX) it would still be just as good, if not better. This is such a hidden gem that I'm glad has now been made more accessible on the 3DS Virtual Console, as only Gameboys up to and including the GBA SP could play this original Gameboy game.

The player is Mario, with all the recognisable power ups: Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Starman. It also introduces Bunny Mario which is gained by a Carrot. Bunny Mario can jump higher, can float short distances. Due to the monotone graphics normal Mario and Fire Flower Mario are differentiated with a feather in Mario's cap for Fire Flower (first time ever).
Like with many Mario games there are a few extra levels that can be accessed within the main levels and if you ring the bell at the end of the level, Mario gets taken to a bonus room where the various Mario states; Mushroom, Fire Flower, Carrot and life mushrooms (1 or 3 lives). There is also a hill cave where you can use a arcade type slot machine to gain more lives or a power up to start a level.
Most of the enemies in this game may not be recognisable but they fit in with the zone theme, for example in Mario Zone, there are teddy bears on bouncing balls (fits in with the zone's toy image), and in space zone, space monsters and even the sharp pointy stars are dangerous to Mario's health.
This game in my opinion is also the inspiration to Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2. Why? Play the game and see for yourself, but the themed zones are a start...
Pumpkin Zone Boss
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is a hidden Mario gem of a game, and one of my favourite Mario games (Mario Kart, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine are my other favourites). This game will be 20 years old in 2013, and like Super Mario 64 has stood the test of time to be a re-playable and engaging handheld game, where the excellent game design has really paid off and paved the way for future Super Mario games. This game deserves to be played and gain recognition for its brilliance. I also think if they updated the game in colour, 3D and music, it will still just be as good as it was 20 years ago. A retro classic.