Retro: VC Weekly #178

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe's guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo's download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

Many a Nintendo fan will surely rejoice at this latest release as it's instantly iconic and highly regarded as being one of the best GameBoy games ever created.Anyway enough from me and on with the game!

Available for download this week we have...

  • Super Mario Land 2 : Six Golden Coins

Price: GB �3.60, EU �4
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Released: 1993
System: GameBoy

While the original Super Mario Land was indeed brilliant for its time of release it was afterwards that fans felt somewhat short-changed because though enjoyable it hardly felt representative of the series, so when Nintendo created Super Mario Land 2 it's clear to see that they went back to the drawing board which is a blessing as its legacy has lasted to this very day. Only essential elements from the first title were retained as everything else was improved upon tenfold to create a bigger, bolder and better sequel which turned out to be much more than was originally hoped for; things such as the full map-screen which allows the player to tackle the six unique worlds in any order plus the beautiful simplicity which the original Mario games were famous for is portrayed here magnificently in an entirely different way.

Even the plot is decidedly different as it introduces Wario who is responsible for turning Mario's castle into his own, sealing it with door which will only open when the six golden coins are inset; to collect these you of course have to work your way through all of the worlds and battle the bosses which are rather unique this time around one being the Three Little Pigs plus Tatanga the original boss from Super Mario Land even makes a return. Although the game is relatively easy it's this simplicity which is maintained throughout which makes it such fun to play, you control the portly plumber with the d-pad as usual as you proceed to stomp on the heads of your enemies occasionally collecting the Fire-Flower; - allowing you to shoot projectiles - Rabbit Ears; - granting you the ability to float - and of course Starman which grants you temporary invincibility oh and the ever iconic Mushroom can be consumed to make Mario grow back to his usual size.

Gaining extra lives is a frequent occurrence as not only can you obtain Hearts within the levels but also in the mini-game at the end where you can pick up three from a conveyor belt plus if you happen to amass nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine coins then you can opt to trade them for the chance to win ninety-nine lives which doesn't really serve much purpose being that the game is fairly easy to complete but it's amusing to see that the option is there. But the lack of difficulty in this title isn't a negative as it actually works to the games advantage thanks to everything being so memorable; you may complete it with ease but there will always be something that makes you want to come back to play though it once again, this is perhaps the games biggest strength especially as it could be seen as a negative aspect elsewhere.

Much has been improved visually also with many backdrops being lavishly detailed throughout, sprites have been made significantly larger which results in slight slowdown but really adds charm to the proceedings and everything just feels that much more solid. Even more impressive are the level themes which are truly a joy to the ears, indeed after hearing just the first couple of notes I found myself instantly recalling them from when I played the game originally just under two decades ago which is the true mark of a decent game score; each piece ties in perfectly with the visual theme too which helps in marrying together everything perfectly to form one concise package.

Quite honestly if you have yet to play this game, you own a 3DS but haven't downloaded this yet then you really need to as it is easily one of the best portable Mario games ever created, the timing of its re-release couldn't really be better either as with Super Mario 3D Land shaping up to become on the 3DS what this game was to the original GameBoy there has never been a better time to get familiar with a true classic. Many platformers these days come and go but Super Mario Land 2 is an absolutely timeless classic and should be enjoyed for many console generations to come.

Verdict : Mario's most memorable monochromatic masterpiece.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins
[email protected]

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