Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Super Mario World vs. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii was a pretty sweet video game. Plumbers tripping on Magic Mushrooms is something that everyone should experience. I really like it. I'm of a mixed mind whether prefer it to my other favorite Mario game, Super Mario World, or not. I decided to make a comparison.

Good Level Design, Thy Name is NSMB-Wii

In terms of level design, I think it holds its own well against any of the classic games. Some of the scenarios are downright challenging to get past. I was impressed that Nintendo would make a game this hard for their casual gaming device called the Wii. However, when I say "hard," I only mean it in the sense that some levels will might take eight or ten of your lives on the first attempt. If you have any Mario skill whatsoever, you probably won't get a Game Over in this game. Extra lives are everywhere, and you can stock up on them without really trying to. Basically, I'm saying that I beat the game with 99 lives, yet still think that it's a pretty challenging game.

Why is it challenging? Things popping out of lava, thirty or forty fireballs chasing you back across the levels, jumps that require absolute precision, and all sorts of arduous scenarios that just never existed in Super Mario World. It's almost like playing those classic Mario games is a prerequisite. To me, NSMB-Wii plays like a version of The Lost Levels that has been packed with thousands of extra lives... and made a little bit easier. Nothing in this game is as hard as 7-3 of The Lost Levels. Damn those catapult springs!

Overworld Devolution: NSMB-Wii's Failure

There's no denying it. The pack-in game for Super Nintendo had a more impressive overworld than a comparable mid-life Wii game. In Super Mario World, there are numerous alternate exits. Only a few were really hard to find, which made it accessible enough for most players to try and find them all. In NSMB-Wii, there are secret exits. However, the map only gives you a vague suggestion of where they are. Also, I haven't counted them out, but I would wager that far more secret exits exist in Super Mario World than in this game. NSMB-Wii's overworld wasn't bad by any means, but it didn't quite live up the still-impressive feat that was the SMW overworld.

When I was finding NSMB-Wii's Star Coins to beat the levels in Star World (or World-9), I was hoping there would be a Special Zone after beating all of the levels in Star World. Well, there wasn't, and that was a letdown. It actually wasn't a big big deal as the game was still really good, but, the Special Zone is legendary in its difficulty -- right up there with the Lost Levels, in fact! I know that Mario and hardcore aren't often mentioned in the same sentence, but you've gotta be pretty hardcore to clear SMW's Special Zone levels. But anyway.

Star Coins: NSMB-Wii's Improvement

After beating Bowser NSMB-Wii, I thought, "Yeah that was pretty good. The bosses were a step backward to Super Mario Bros. 3, but I liked it." Then I got to collecting the Star Coins to unlock levels in Star World. At this point it hit me: This game is like Super Mario 64 in 2D. As someone who has issues with the slow pace 3D Mario, I was pretty excited. "Finally, they've put this find the stars stuff into a game style that I enjoy!"

You can actually try to collect all of the Dragon Coins in Super Mario World. I went back and did it a few months ago. It was a lot of fun, and I'd recommend it. However, there's no system in place to keep track of whether you've obtained all the Dragon Coins in a given level. Also, not all of the levels have four Dragon Coins. Some have five, and a few have three (Chocolate Secret, and one other... I forget which). I do believe I obtained all of the Dragon Coins, but I can't be sure. :P

So, NSMB-Wii did something that was quite unique for a 2D Mario game. Whether the other NSMB games did, I don't know. I would to play them find out if I had a (3)DS. This "find the coins in the level stuff" also occurred in the Donkey Kong Country games with DK-Coins, Bear Coins, and whatever else was in there.

Multiplayer: Pick Your Flavor

Super Mario World plays like Super Mario Bros. 3, alternating whenever a play beats a level or dies. NSMB-Wii doesn't do that. It does something that's, to me, far more annoying: You need to play these levels with everyone on the screen at the same time. I'm Mario God in one player (like most people, I imagine), but 2-players is quite hard due to each player going for the same platforms. 3-players is unruly. 4-players is impossible, man. Everyone wants to go their own way. While I think that the co-op mode is a good feature, they should have included old school alternating Mario to appease people who actually want to finish the game with more than one player.

Music: SMW owns it

This is just my opinion, but I don't think that the music in NSMB-Wii is all that great. There are good themes here and there, but the main little motif is as mediocre as it gets. Other pieces sound good, but they're just too ambient for a game that's focused on rhythm, running, and jumping. Compare it with the Donut Plains 1 music, the Vanilla Dome, and the Valley of Bowser. NSMB-Wii's music seems like it's at its best when it's paying homage to previous games in the series (a-la SMW's Castle Theme. The Hammer Bros. theme from SMB3. etc.). I suppose nostalgia affects my opinion here, but I stand by it. ;)

Final Verdict: Doesn't Matter

Is it a better game than SMW? For the most part, no. SMW's overworld and Music were better, to me. but it was still pretty damn good. Collecting the Star Coins was just fun. If I had $400 to just throw away, I would get a Wii-U and the 2D Mario game for that. Just keep making 2D Mario games, Nintendo! It's not creative and definitely not innovative, but they tend to rule. In my opinion, NSMB-Wii beats the hell out of SUper Mario Galaxy, but I may have a minority opinion on that. :(

Well, that concludes a pointless comparison of two games with very similar gameplay. I hope you enjoyed. I thought it was a fine time-waster.

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