VC Weekly 289

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

The lean, green - and multi-coloured - eating machine is back in his original adventure which is still easily the best title starring Mario's occaisional companion to date. Anyway enough from me and on with the game!
Available for download this week we have...     

Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island

Price: GB £6.29, EU €6.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Released: 2002
System: GameBoy Advance

Originally introduced to us in 1995 during the golden age of the SNES it is the much celebrated Yoshi's Island which not only managed to captivate us not once back in the day, not twice when re-released on the GBA, not even thrice as the near-perfect portable port also got a second wind on the 3DS as an Ambassador title - which quite frankly was the best part of the promotion seeing as I knew of many who would have gladly paid for this monumental title again - but now for a fourth time as it has actually happened but this time on the Wii U, which is better as it means the title is now available virtually not just for the privileged few. Titles like this rarely come around once let alone four times over now in total; so just what is it that makes this such a special title which has earned its place within the hearts of many a Nintendo gamer... if you need that answering then please read on for it is my pleasure to enlighten you on one of the finest games created and quite possibly the best platformer in existence.

We begin our story as a stork flying high in the sky is carrying a package containing two baby brothers Mario & Luigi who are being delivered to their expectant parents but out of nowhere Luigi is snatched away leaving Baby Mario to plummet to the ground below right onto the back of Yoshi who – thankfully unscathed – vows along with the other coloured Yoshi's to work as a relay team carrying Mario on a mission to rescue his kidnapped brother. And so it begins as you take control of a Yoshi roaming across the sprawling worlds of the island containing many levels which you'll need to be on the top of your game to complete; thankfully each Yoshi is equipped with a variety of moves so while you can gleefully jump then bounce on the heads of certain enemies you may also stretch your long tongue out to eat enemies either choosing to spit them out or transform them into an egg which you can then throw in almost any direction but even better than that is the ever-versatile flutter jump which allows you to reach higher places the longer you hold down the button for, master this for it will prove indispensable when used with the ground-pound.

Not only is everyone's favourite dinosaur well equipped as is but he will also get the opportunity to transform at certain points into many vehicles including a car, helicopter, mole... even a train, indeed these transformations are so magical that it's clearly obvious where the recently released Kirby's Epic Yarn gets its direct inspiration from so let us not forget that this is the platformer that continues to give back even a decade and a half on! Admittedly it is possible to take damage in this adventure but Yoshi is almost entirely invincible though it's not him you'll be worried about as upon taking a hit Baby Mario will fall off the dinosaurs back, floating off in a bubble and will get carried off unless you can get him back in time this is why you need to keep your eye on him at all times while collecting stars which will extend the timer; if you think you're more than capable of completing this title then don't get too overconfident because if you want to finish this title with 100% completion then you still will have quite a task ahead of you involving collecting many red coins, flower petals, complete all GBA version exclusive levels and still have thirty seconds to spare... surely not an easy task even for Nintendo veterans.


Perhaps the biggest draw by far though is the simply spectacular visuals which have been carefully crafted throughout the adventure making use of some rather clever techniques which convey a wonderful hand-drawn quality mixed with sparingly used but very believable pseudo 3D effects which look impressive on the 3DS even though they don't employ any of its true technology which is the mark of a true classic. Aurally astounding would be the only fitting way of describing the soundtrack as there are many tracks that have gone on to become classics and quite rightly so because there isn't a single moment in which the music could ever be considered disappointing, indeed if that wasn't enough this portable version is even better in this department because all of Yoshi's trademark noises made famous during the N64 era have been used to great effect here adding an extra level of likeability to an already loveable character.

Since this monumental title has been around for a long time I'd be surprised if there were any Nintendo fans left who have yet to play this game however if there are then I'd just like to express a little bit of envy for those experiencing the game now with fresh eyes on the Wii U as has got to be one of the best feelings ever because it still feels ground-breaking even by today's high-standards and there are few platformers regardless of console that can match this level of brilliance, quite honestly I doubt there ever will be. I'm delighted to see that this classic which originated on the SNES has now made it back to its 'rightful' place on the big screen with all of the portable enhancements which were bestowed upon it over a decade ago - by all means play the portable version instead if you prefer - as along with the additional screen smoothing plus save-states at the press of a button, this is now almost the most definitive version of the game ever released, second only to the SNES original because of... reasons! But one thing is for sure, if you own a Nintendo console which has this game available for it then there is no reason for you not to have experienced it.            

Verdict : Quite possibly the most perfectly produced platformer in the world.


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!

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