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

Advertisements

Super Mario World (SNES, 1990)

INFO: My “Retro Vault” reviews are not scored. Instead, I just talk about why I have fond memories of whichever game I’m writing about at the time. Generally, I won’t pick out any bad games for the Retro Vault feature, so scoring them is essentially useless anyway. Enjoy the read.

I have to apologize to fans of Mario 64 and Mario Galaxy, because those games cannot stand up to the 16 bit behemoth that is Super Mario World. 3D Mario games are great and all, but 2D platforming, where Mario’s roots are, is also where he shines his best.

I remember when I was only six or seven years old, and I was visiting a friend’s house for a few hours. When I had walked in, I was greeted by what sounded like a very exciting video game. Back then, there was no internet and most people found out about games by word of mouth. Also, the Super Nintendo had only been recently launched, so a lot of people didn’t yet know about it. So, what was the first thing I saw when I rounded the corner and peered at their living room television? Why, it was Mario looking better than I had ever seen before! And he was involved in a fight with Bowser, and the graphics just blew my mind. Everything about this unknown Mario game captivated me. I found myself not caring much about the mysterious console that it was running on, instead only caring about one thing. Mario.

After I had gone home, I anxiously told my brother about what I had seen. It’s funny, because I vaguely remember him not believing me. However, after he had seen it for himself, a Super Nintendo wasn’t long showing up in our home which resulted in our bulky old NES being pushed aside. It was at this time that I could finally sit down and play Super Mario World. No, not play it… Bond with it, and love it.

Super Mario World is really something special. These days, those who are relatively new to gaming are spoiled when a new generation of consoles arrives. My first transition into a new generation was going from 8 bit to 16 bit, and this was a colossal leap at the time. Everything was just so much better by leaps and bounds, and this included Mario. This SNES launch title was better than any of his NES adventures by a gigantic margin. Not even the fantastic Super Mario Brothers 3 could compare!

So what was so great about Super Mario World? And why is it still so great? Well, Super Mario World took the superb gameplay formula from Mario 3 and did one simple thing – they perfected it. Mario World isn’t made great from the way it looks or sounds, no. Incredibly friendly and responsive controls, imaginative enemies and obstacles, and one of the most balanced difficulty curves I’ve ever experienced in a game are what makes Mario World what it is to me, and that’s the best platformer ever made.

Mario World probably doesn’t have as many levels as Mario 3, but the game makes up for that by making it’s levels some of the finest ever in a 2D video game. There are many superb challenges and obstacles that Mario must overcome, and the amount of secrets that take both creative thinking and skill to reach astounds me even to this day.

This was also the first game to feature one of the most iconic Mario sidekicks ever, and that is Yoshi. The green dinosaur has become very popular over time and certainly has his own loyal fanbase. Nintendo has not introduced a character as beloved as Yoshi since Mario and Luigi themselves. The later games try to make us fall in love with new characters, such as Bowser Jr, but the charm just isn’t the same anymore. Yoshi became well loved for being the most sought after “power up” in Mario World. He could breathe fire, fly, ground pound, and eat just about anything that wasn’t bolted down to the ground. Obtaining Yoshi also instilled a sense of confidence in players, since Yoshi made it far more difficult for our plumber friend to bite the dust. Yoshi allowed even the not-so-skilled players to get through some of the harder levels, which was a great thing.

Super Mario World had loads of charm. The music is only surpassed by the tunes in the original Super Mario Brothers in my opinion, but the graphics are the most charismatic out of all Mario platformers. The NES titles cannot compare, nor can the woefully unimpressive New Super Mario Brothers on the DS. I can’t speak for the latest Wii incarnation, but it doesn’t look that much better than what I played on the DS.

Considering that this game was a Super Nintendo launch title, it’s stunning that the graphics are as good as they happen to be. Many Super Nintendo games that came along a few years later couldn’t even look as charming as Super Mario World. This is evidence that Nintendo went the extra mile to make this beloved game not only play better than the competition, but also look it in some instances. Of course some Super Nintendo platformers such as Donkey Kong Country look better from a plain graphics perspective, but the DKC franchise doesn’t have nearly as much charm or charisma. Super Mario World had it all and then some. The koopas, thwomps, boos, various fish, and of course the Koopa Kids, Mario World had loveable style oozing out of every pore.

Super Mario World is my second favourite Super Nintendo game, and one of my favourite games of all time. This game is, purely and simple, Mario at his best. Try to hate this game I dare you, because you’ll find it hard to do so when you can’t even put your controller down.

Nintendo, thank you. This game truly is the epitome of 2D platforming.

Top 5 Retro Super Mario Brothers Enemies

The Mario franchise has featured more baddies than you can possibly keep track of! Fortunately, almost all of them have appeared in more than one Mario game, which allows for a bit of consistency. Because there are so many enemies in the Mario franchise, they cannot all make returns as often as we’d like. I’ve taken five classic enemies who haven’t made nearly enough appearances in the Mario franchise, and I personally feel that Nintendo should stop neglecting them! So, here are the five enemies that Nintendo really needs to show more love towards.



#5 Flying Hammer Brothers
One of the most fearsome encounters in Super Mario World when I was younger. Flying Hammer Brothers fly back on forth on winged platforms, throwing an endless barrage of hammers below. They were intimidating foes, and to Mario newcomers they usually spelled death. To defeat one of these hovering baddies, Mario only had to give them a knock on the bottom of the flying platform. However, getting under was the tricky part!


#4 Volcano Lotus
I will always remember the first level of the Donut Plains in Super Mario World very well, because it was the introduction of this frightening plant. It could only be defeated by a cape spin, super star, or Yoshi. Fire flowers and spin jumps were completely ineffective. That isn’t what made these flowers tough opponents though. These guys would periodically spit out several fireballs that would raise quickly to the top of the screen and then slowly drift back down. They weren’t overly difficult on flat plains, but on tricky ledges they were quite a hassle!


#3 Goomba in a Shoe
Goombas introduced Mario to one of his greatest power ups ever, the Kuribo Shoe, which he was only fortunate enough to use for one level in the entire Mario franchise! These shoe-dwelling goombas would wildly jump all over the place and were not to be underestimated. These were not difficult foes like the previous two entries though, and are primarily on this list because of the power up that they provide Mario with when defeated. It is a shame that it has only appeared in one game in the Mario Brothers platformers.


#2 The Chucks
My all time favourite Mario enemies are the chucks, the football loving koopas in Super Mario World. They would run at you, jump at you, wake up nearby hostile fish, split into three and (of course) chase you… The more difficult chucks would pitch baseballs and kick footballs at Mario. These guys made some levels tough and added a bit of challenge to Super Mario World. It really is too bad that they’ve struggled to appear in other Mario games given their interesting design and their admirable set of skills. I cannot believe Nintendo neglects these guys so much.


#1 Angry Sun
… However! It absolutely BAFFLES me that Nintendo has never brought the angry sun back. Without a doubt the most intimidating encounter in all of Super Mario Brothers 3, the angry sun was a force to be reckoned with. The sun can be defeated via shells, hammers, or by using a super star, but the rarity of these items in sun levels made them next to impossible to kill as they would swoop down at Mario with killer intent. The angry sun has only been in two Mario Brothers levels ever, but considering that it is enormously popular among Super Mario Brothers 3 fans says quite a lot. This is, without a doubt, the most awesome neglected Super Mario Brothers enemy of all time.

Return to May 2010 Articles