Super Mario Bros. Crossover (Review)

“One hell of an addicting flash platformer.”

I’m not really too keen on reviewing flash games, but will do so when a particularly enjoyable one grabs my attention. Today I am reviewing one such flash game, which happens to be the quirky (though nostalgic) Super Mario Bros. Crossover.

As one would probably be able to guess, the game has at least something to do with the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES. There is a little bit more to it than that, as Super Mario Bros. Crossover takes the original 8-bit adventure and completely recreates it in Flash. Yes, the complete SMB game that you played as a kid is now available in your browser! There is a catch though, and this is where the “crossover” in the title comes into play. This may be a Mario game, but everybody’s favourite plumber takes a surprising back seat role.

Joining Mario in this excellent flash game are several other iconic characters from the Nintendo era. They are Billy, Ryu Hayabusa, Link, Mega Man, Samus Aran, and Simon Belmont. If any of those names are unfamiliar to you, then shame on you! Billy is from Contra, Ryu from Ninja Gaiden, Link from Zelda, Mega Man from his own self titled franchise, Samus Aran from Metroid, and Simon Belmont from Castlevania. All in all, it’s a very iconic cast of selectable characters, each with their own play styles.

Billy is probably my favourite character. He plays exactly as he does in any Contra game. He jumps high, has a machine gun, and can fire in virtually any direction. Super mushrooms enable Billy to have a slightly more powerful machine gun that has more range, and the fire flower gives Billy the trademark spreadshot gun. I find that Billy is practically unstoppable when he has the spreadshot, and I only had difficulty playing as him in the water levels.

Ryu has several fun tricks. He can wall climb, slash with his sword, and throw shurikens. When you power him up, his attacks become stronger and he can do things such as throw out boomerang shurikens, which are fairly devastating.

Link is a difficult character to use, I feel. He’s very small, his range is terrible, and his boomerang can be tough to use if you are faced with paratroopas and the like. Thankfully Link’s fire flower ability makes up for this slightly, as it allows you to shoot sword beams just as he does in the original Legend of Zelda when he has full health.

Mega Man is a very fun character to use, and he plays exactly as you’d expect him to. He has a ground slide, which I haven’t found many uses for, but it’s good to have it regardless. My only complaint about Mega Man is that he can’t jump high on his own. You need to call Rush down to give you a boost up to higher platforms and, in levels where high platforms are plentiful, you’ll find yourself losing a bit of time to just calling Rush down. Aside from that minor issue, Mega Man is very fun to play as, and he somehow fits into the Mario universe strangely well!

Samus feels a bit plain, but possibly because I’m not a huge Metroid fan. She is able to turn into a ball and roll around, which doesn’t feel as fun here as it does in her native Metroid setting. Her weapons feel a little bit underpowered to me and her range isn’t too exceptional, but her rate of fire is actually pretty fast. Her powered up weapon is a sort of zig-zag projectile that, in my opinion, feels worse than her default weapon.

Simon is a pretty cool character. He has a double jump ability and his whip powers up differently depending on which power-ups you get. His secondary attack is his trademark axe, which he throws diagonally into the air. I’ve had a bit of trouble hitting enemies with the axe, but it’s fantastic for clearing bricks!

I won’t even bother mentioning how Mario plays because, well, it’s Mario! The game even pokes fun at this as well, questioning why you are playing if you don’t know how Mario himself plays.

It’s a lot of fun to play with these characters in a Mario setting. Many fond feelings towards various NES games from my childhood are contained in this game, and it’s great to relive some old sensations that I have not felt in twenty years. There’s so much nostalgia here, thanks in part to each individual character and the music from their own games that accompany them.

Beyond the addition of new characters, everything is reproduced one hundred percent faithfully. All graphics and sound effects are as they should be, and the level design is completely like the original game. Overall, this is a very fun game to play. If Nintendo made this game and released it for a few bucks, I’d definitely buy it. Hats off to the creator, Jay Pavlina (aka Exploding Rabbit). You’ve created a very enjoyable flash game that I find myself coming back to again and again, just to experience various levels with different characters. Good job, sir!

Click here to play Super Mario Bros. Crossover.

Final Score

8.8/10

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