I was playing the game via the Wii Virtual Console version, which you can purchase for $8 (800 Nintendo Points) via the Wii Shop where you can download the game directly to your Wii.
I am no stranger to the world of Super Mario World, having mastered the game in the past, finishing the Star Road, completing the Special World, and playing through all of the levels. However it has been a VERY LONG time since I last played the game.
I never got around to playing Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World for the Game Boy Advance, even though I always wanted the game.
So how many years has it been since I’ve played Super Mario World? I don’t even wanna guess, else I age myself. But its gotta be close to 10 years if not way, way more than that….
The first aspect of Super Mario World that struck me was how “loose” the controls are. I am playing with the required, SNES-like Wii Classic Controller. I don’t know if its the Wii SNES emulation that’s the cause or if it is just how the game was; but I had an extreme struggle with precise landings… causing me to die very easy on the easiest little enemies in the game. Generally platforms are large enough that it wasn’t too much a problem as far as platform jumping, but it did make landing on enemy heads much harder than I remember it being.
Case in point, in one of the Vanilla Dome levels I died, no joke, SIX TIMES on the first Buzzy Beetle-type enemy! Now that’s just not right!
Another area that really surprised me, outside of the level variety, is how many puzzles there are in the game. I only vaguely remember where all of the secrets are…
Unlike when I was a kid, this time I really paid attention to what the info boxes tell you, and I was struck by how it mentions the fact that there are five entrances to a “special world” (that would be Star Road) and how it tells you, in no uncertain terms, that a red level means that there are TWO exits. One of which is hidden.
Due to my increased comprehension in my old age, I was more conscious of finding all of the hidden exists on the Red Levels. I should mention that Ghost Houses do NOT tell you when there is a hidden exit… and another “flaw” is the fact that the game doesn’t tell you which levels you’ve found all of the “Dragon Coins” (the large coins with Yoshi on them) on the Map Screen. I imagine that these are two areas that were fixed for the improved Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World GBA version though. I imagine… and hope.
Back to the fact that I only vaguely remember all the secrets in this game, it made for real brain-testing moments where I really had to rack my brain and actually figure out where the hidden exits were and how to get to them. This was awesome because it made it feel like I was playing Super Mario World for the first time!
Although I had enough remembrance that I could successfully recall pretty much all of the major secrets, but even so, there were several red levels I had a pretty tough time finding the hidden exits. In those levels I didn’t remember at all and had to find them pretty much on my own.
Then there is the Forest of Illusion. I could not recall whether or not the “blank space” held an unlockable level or not. This resulted in me spending like an hour after already completing the Forest of illusion Map trying to figure out if there was an additional hidden exit that would make the blank space level appear. I turned to the internet to figure out if there was a level or not so I wouldn’t waste more time, but I’m committed to sticking to completing the game 100% without the use of the net otherwise.
All in all, I’m surprised at how well Super Mario World holds up. It really is a fantastic game deserving of all the accolades the game has received over the years as one of the best platformers of all time… and a fan-favorite Mario title. I’m also taken by how massive the game is, how much variety there is between levels, which always keeps the game fresh, how puzzling some of the secrets are (you WILL be playing levels multiple times before you discover all the secrets) are just how much meat there is to the game.
When you add all of the hidden levels and secrets, the ability to teleport around the map using the Star Road entrances, pipes that take you to different places on the map, the Star Road itself and the secret hidden Special World… and the fact that every stage has 5 Dragon Coins to find and so many stages have secret exists to discover.
I definitely recommend playing Super Mario World even if you haven’t played the game in a long, long time. It still holds up extremely well and is just one heck of a fun ride from beginning to end!