It is hard to believe the Super Mario Bros 3 has yet to be spoken about on here. It is one of the all-time classic Super Mario Games albeit slightly different from the original Super Mario Bros but still an absolute diamond of a video game. So much so that Super Mario Bros 3 received a 16 bit upscale for the release of Super Mario Allstars on the Super Nintendo. We could re-live the entire experience in a much better resolution back in the 90s.
Nintendo released Super Mario Bros 3 in 1988 on the NES. Back then the new top down perspective overlooking each world looked stunning and certainly influenced the styles in numerous other Mario game namely Super Mario World and the New Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo DS. So there’s a legacy right? Of course there is. This is a Super Mario game after all and it seems fair to suggest that most Mario game games leave a long standing legacy. Name a series or gaming franchise that is more popular that the Super Mario Bros (including spin offs)?
Super Mario Bros 3 contains eight worlds that Mario must battle though over fifty levels in order to rescue the the pesky Princess. Why pesky? I could not help but feel annoyed with Princess Peach throughout my younger years. I used to wonder how can she be so helpless and why is she constantly getting herself caught? The answer is obvious. Super Mario Bros 3, like many Super Mario games, adopts a classic formula of Hero saving the damsel in distress. Ta da. It works very well and provides an excellent story for Super Mario Bros 3 to build upon. Throw in some amazing Power-ups like the Mushroom, Tanooki Suit, Flower and more and voila.
Amidst the eight world’s are eight big bosses and eight mini bosses that are half way though each world. That seems like a pretty basic fact but it’s a pinnacle part of the game. As a kid I found the mini bosses very difficult which often left my confidence decreasing the closer I got to the final boss (of the world). Don’t forget that Super Mario Bros 3 was the first game to adopt this type of structure: overhead world’s containing two bosses. This holds true in Super Mario World also.
Dubbed as The Racoon Leaf by many The Tanooki Leaf was first introduced in Super Mario Bros 3. Once discovered Mario turns in to a racoon and is able to fly for a short period. Perhaps Fly is a little ambitious but rather float (upwards or downwards) and hover are better ways to describe this quirky little leaf. Just be sure to make sure your power meter is full otherwise you’re going nowhere. Thanks to those functions, the Tanooki Leaf opens up a lot of new areas in Super Mario Bros 3; cloud areas, beanstalks and tubes can all be found thanks to the Tanooki Leaf. What’s more about that luscious leaf is that it can be used as a weapon. With one flick of the tail the Goomba’s go down hard! I’m flawed Nintendo didn’t use this power up in later games. The Leaf was planned to make an appearance in Super Mario World but it was later abandoned and the Cape replaced it.
Consistency in level design
One thing that always seemed apparent in the side scrolling Super Mario games were the level designs. Ledges, pipes, more ledges, blocks, underground coin rooms and crazy eccentric characters all feature heavily thought the classic Super Mario games. Super Mario Bros 3 remains true to this ethos. Let’s take the very first level. Do you recall the blocks with what looked like screws were placed in all four corners? I couldn’t help but wonder why they had been placed there? Why the screws? Then I remembered. This is a Super Mario game where anything goes and more importantly: Anything works.
Super Mario Bros 3 is not without a challenge…or three. The castle’s can often feel like mazes with multiple doors, bullet cannon’s and deathly pits! World 8 is by far the most frantic. Here is where my patience felt tested the most! Fire balls, Koopalings, dark castle’s, getting stunned and flying Koopa Paratroopers often made my head spin. Is it fun to try and beat the game? It sure is. Despite Super Mario Bros 3 containing a multitude of testing moments it is probably one of the best Super Mario Bros games on the market. In fact I’d place it joint first alongside Super Mario World.
Mini games were a fun feature in this classic side scroller. I remember playing them for the first time and being amazed at how cool they were to play. Needless to say that I was terrible at trying to memorise the card placements back in the day but now it is fairly easy to beat. What's interesting about these games is that they break up the monotony of the action. I used to love approaching them and wished that they lasted a little bit longer.
2016 and beyond
I think it is always important to talk about how our beloved Video Games hold up in the present. Super Mario Bros 3 does fairly well by today’s standards. Admittedly I prefer playing it on the Super Nintendo over the NES as the vibrant colour palettes appeals much more over the dull backdrop of levels on the NES. Not to mention that there are less bugs on the Super Nintendo version. My NES seems to crash lot these days which often renders smooth play throughs near impossible. Thank goodness for the Retron 5! Those overhead world’s never looked so good. I firmly believe that Super Mario Bros 3 will have a very long lifespan in our gaming world! It sure is a classic!
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