Super Mario Land

Super Mario Land was the first Mario platformer for the Game Boy. I never played the Super Mario Game Boy games until recently. I was a Sega Game Gear girl, so the Game Boy came much later in my life. Super Mario Land is very different than the main series. The biggest difference here is the gameplay itself. Each of the other 2D Mario games is pick-up-and-play if you've played one because the gameplay remains consistent. Here, the jumping mechanic is very different. It's not sloppy, it's just different. Mario jumps at a different rate than he ever did before, so there's a learning curve involved where you have to discover how to time jumps correctly. Luckily, the jumping is still tight, which is expected in a Mario game, so when you figure out how the jumping works you're good to go. The fireballs work differently too. They bounce around the entire screen instead of just along the ground, and they can be used to pick up coins you can't reach. The only thing that bothered me about this game was the mushrooms. You can't pick them up as soon as they come out of blocks, you have to wait until they fall for a little bit. This means that you'll jump right through a mushroom sometimes. It's not too big of a problem, and it's easily remedied by learning to time jumps differently, but it is annoying especially at first.

That's just a small nitpick though, since I do love what the game offers. The game takes place in Sarasaland instead of The Mushroom Kingdom, so the enemies and levels are different here. The levels are designed with more of a real world influence, with levels ranging from an Egyptian-themed land with Sphinx enemies, to a land with Moai Easter Island heads as enemies, to the Japanese-themed level with ninjas and music to match.

The things I really liked about this game were the exploding turtles, using the fireballs to get coins you can't reach, and the horizontal-shooter levels where Mario is in a submarine and in an airplane and shoots out fireballs at enemies and blocks. It was also fun to see some familiar characters, such as the goombas (what would a Mario game be without Goombas?), the pipe plants, the bullet bills, and the plant that shoots fireballs at you from Super Mario Bros 3.

The game is laid out very similarly to the original Super Mario Bros., with stages hyphenated with levels (for example 1-1, 1-2, etc.). Instead of 4 levels per stage, in this game there are 3 stages. After you complete the last stage, you are taken to a screen that is very similar to the "Thank you Mario but our Princess is in another castle" screen, but with Princess Daisy instead of Princess Toadstool. There are only 4 stages in this game, so with 3 levels per stage, that makes only 12 levels altogether, making it a very short game. The fun factor definitely makes up for the shortness though, since the game has the classic charm found in all the games in the Mario series.

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