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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Retro Review: Super Mario Bros. (3DS Virtual Console)

So here we go again. For possibly the 1000th time (may or may not be an exaggeration), people are able to play the original Super Mario Brothers in another form. If you hadn’t experienced it on the original NES, or the SNES remake, the Wii Virtual Console version, the Game Boy Color version or the Wii port of the SNES remake, you’re now able to play it on the Nintendo 3DS if you happen to be an Ambassador.

The problem is, this is easily the worst version to date.

It’s not that the game itself suffers on the 3DS. It’s a perfect emulation of the original game that is emulated well and runs happily on the new hardware. The high quality of the 3DS screen means the pixels in Super Mario Brothers are crystal clear, and the colours pop and have superb depth.

And to get the positives out first: Super Mario Brothers is a surprisingly long game (assuming you don’t use those warp pipes), and difficult to get through in one sitting, especially if you’re using your console on public transport or as a time waster. The ability to suspend a game mid-progress is therefore very, very welcome indeed – though there is no “create save point” option that we get with the Game Boy Virtual consoles. If Mario runs out of lives, it’s back to the very start of the game, in other words.

On the downside, for a game that requires great precision and agility, the 3DS’s ultra click buttons and awkward D-pad positioning are less than ideal. While I was never able to do those crazy speed runs that Mario legends are capable of, I have been playing Mario since I was a kid, and the basic run and simultaneous jump move is far too uncomfortable this time around.

And that’s really what kills this version of Super Mario Brothers. It’s still the same incredible, intelligent level layout. It’s still the same music tracks that have become as iconic as the Final Fantasy theme. It’s still the same mushroom-eating goomba-stomping goodness. It just sucks because it’s easier to lose lives in this game on no fault of the player’s.

And for a game that was challenging with ideal control setups, this version of Super Mario Brothers just becomes frustrating.

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Retro Review: Super Mario Bros. (3DS Virtual Console)
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