Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario 3

Nintendo saved the best Mario for last...


The Lowdown

Pros: Classic Mario gameplay, e-reader support yields endless possibilities. just as fun as it was over 10 years ago

Cons: No new multiplayer game, must have an e-reader and cards to unlock new features

Purchase at Play-Asia
Mario fans have been long awaiting a remake of Super Mario Brothers 3 for the Game Boy Advance since the first Super Mario Advance. Time and time again another Mario game was released and it started to look bleak for the fate of Super Mario 3. However, Nintendo made it worth the wait. The remix of Super Mario 3 is the best of all of the Game Boy Advance remakes.

Super Mario Brothers 3 is a classic in platforming game play. It raised the bar of what gamers expected in a platform game and created a host of new features that would be drawn upon even in platform games today. Super Mario Brothers 3 was the first game to have a RPG styled map system where you chose which level you wanted to engage. For the first time gamers had a choice to avoid levels that were annoying or hard, because there were multiple paths to the same goal. Items were another addition to gameplay. Yes, you can get items in levels, but you can also stock up on items by visiting Toad's house. There are vast amount of items in the game too. Mario has all his traditional powers like gaining height and fire power from the mushroom and fire flower respectively. There is also the addition of many new items. Most notably is the inclusion of the super leaf, which gives Mario a raccoon tail so he can fly. To go with the super leaf, there is the P-wing, which lets you have unlimited flight for one level. Mario also has a variety of suits such as the frog suit, hammer brothers suit and tanooki suit. Super Mario Brothers 3 also included a vast number of mini games. One game is a matching game where you try to line up three pieces of the same picture. Another game has you duke it out with the hammer brothers on a small field. The last game is a semi-secret game, which is a memory game. All of these games provide you with either extra lives or valuable items.

What makes Super Mario Brothers 3 a true classic are two things. First is the great level design. All of the levels are cleverly designed with Mario's power ups in mind. 1-ups and warp pipes are hidden away in the sky for Mario to fly to and certain areas require Mario to be small in order to obtain secrets. The game is also designed with different themed worlds. There is a desert world, water world, giant world, ice world and dark world just to name a few. The number of themed areas keeps the game fresh and interesting. Each world gets significantly more difficult from the next. When you're in World 7, Pipe World, you may be pulling out your hair from frustration. Even though there is some aspect of frustration the game feels rewarding when you beat a level, which is the second thing that makes Mario Brothers 3 a classic. There are also some "super secrets" in the game like making the coin ship appear or the white mushroom houses to appear. These extras are very rewarding and provide more challenges for people to master.

While the game is an enhanced version of the Super Mario All-Stars remake for the Super Nintendo, Nintendo added on a few extra features in the game. First of all the graphics have been altered to make more vivid backgrounds. The changes in the backgrounds are similar to the enhancements seen in the other Mario Advance games. Nintendo also added some voice sound effects in the game for both Mario and Luigi. While these are cute at first, they are forgotten rather quickly. There is also the addition of the original Mario Brothers game that can be played via link play with a friend. However, this game was seen in three of the other Mario Advance games and by now gamers want something new. Also like the other Mario Advance games Luigi plays slightly differently from Mario. Luigi is like the Luigi from Super Mario Brothers 2. He has a higher and slower jump than Mario, which leads to some minor gameplay differences between the two characters.

All of those enhancements are nothing to the e-reader capabilities of this game. If you have an e-reader its time to get it out of the closet and wipe the dust off it. Super Mario Advance 4 is compatible with special e-reader cards that are one of three types. The cards can be item cards that instantly give Mario an item. Nintendo has included cards with some of the harder items to obtain like the Hammer Brothers suit and the tanooki suit. The next card type teaches player tricks of the trade in movie format. Some of these tricks include how to get 99 lives and where some secret areas are. The last type of card is the most interesting. There are cards with levels from other Mario games. One of the cards that was packaged with the Japanese version of Super Mario Advance 4 was the first level from the original Super Mario Brothers. However, you have all of the powers from Super Mario Brothers 3, which means you can fly over the entire level. This leaves the game with endless possibilities. At this point it is unknown what type of cards Nintendo will bring to the stateside, but it is expected that Nintendo will be releasing special promotional cards so keep your eyes open. 

If you remember the original game you'll love this remake with all of the new features and if you haven't played the original (or SNES remake) go buy this now.

Import Friendly?

The game is rather import friendly since you don't need to know any Japanese to play the game, but the game is coming stateside so its probably worth waiting to get in the US. A warning to importers: it is believed that the e-reader cards will not be compatible between different territories.

US Bound?

A US release is currently scheduled for October 20, 2003

Overall

If you have GBA you should get this game, its classic Mario gameplay with a few new twists that everyone can enjoy.