Super Mario World was the first great Mario adventure to premier for the Super Nintendo and it was the first major game for Mario since the colossal Super Mario Brothers 3. In many ways, Super Mario World is a lot like Super Mario Brothers 3, except that it's a lot more enhanced and it has some extra features.
The Princess has once again been kidnapped by Bowser and it's up to either Mario or Luigi to rescue her from Bowser's mansion of a castle. Instead of having several different worlds, in Super Mario World, the two plumbers will maneuver through one huge world that has many different kinds of levels and territories throughout it. I'll just use Mario as the main man instead of saying Mario and Luigi every time from now on in this review. In the wake of Mario's path to finding Bowser and defeating him once again, Mario will have to journey through many different lands such as glittering underground caves, a land covered over by chocolate, haunted ghost houses, swimming levels, a hidden world full of stars, a forest, and many others.
Before you begin a level, you will have to guide Mario to where the next level is on the huge map. All the levels are represented by either a yellow or red dot, or by another symbol such as a ghost house or castle. There is a difference between the levels that are represented by a yellow dot and those that are symbolized by a red dot. In the levels with a yellow dot on the map, there is only one way to complete that level. But with the ones with a red dot, there are two ways to complete them: one the regular way and a secret (hidden) way to complete them. Most of the time, to complete a level the secret way, you will have to kind a key somewhere in the level and then put the key into the keyhole. Each time you pass a level in Super Mario World, the road to the next level will be unearthed. With the levels that have two dots, that means there are two different paths from that level on the map. A few of the ghost houses and other levels also have two different ways of completing them.
Of course, to get past a level in Super Mario World, all you have to do is get to the end of the level. At the end of each level, instead of a flagpole or a square with a card inside it, there will be a couple of poles with a piece of tape moving up and down in the middle of the two poles. To complete the level, you just have to go through the two poles, but it would be better if you touch the tape and earn yourself a few star points. No, these stars don't have anything to do with invincibility, but after you get past 100 star points, you will go to a bonus level for a chance at some extra lives. The higher up the tape is when you touch it, the more star points you will earn. You can get up to 50 star points for each level.
There are also a few other differences and additions to the levels that Mario has to get through this time around. As you probably guessed, the most noticeable difference is the new enemies. There are now many new kinds of fish, bullets, football player wannabes, new turtles, and tons of other newcomers along with the old ones. Mario can still collect the famous items such as mushrooms for growing up, flowers for fire power, stars for invincibility, 1-up mushrooms, and this time feathers represent flying power and instead of a tail, Mario will have his own cape so he can feel more like a real Superman. While you play a level, you will always see a box at the top middle part of the screen. Let's say you're already big but you collect another mushroom. Not only will you get extra points for the mushroom, but since you can't really put that mushroom to use at the moment, that mushroom will be stored inside that square for later use. When you get hit or press Select, the mushroom will come out of the square. The square will also keep other items such as flowers and feathers in storage for you.
While you play a level of Super Mario World, you will also notice a few other differences in the levels. There are still tons of blocks waiting to be busted, but most of them won't bust this time around. Instead, when you punch a block that doesn't have anything in it, it will spin. Also, in all of the regular levels, there is a midway point represented by a short pole with a line through the middle of it. Collect this line while you're little and it'll make you grow big. If you die after you touch the midway point but before you finish the level, you will continue at the midway point. Oh yeah, there are still coins to be collected everywhere you go, 100 coins will still give you an extra life, and there is still a time limit that you have to keep an eye out for.
Since Super Mario World is so updated from the classic NES games, Mario has got to have some new moves in his repertoire, right? Right, he does. While you fly, you can make Mario go straight down and possibly cause a minor earthquake when he hits the ground by holding right on the control pad, slow his descent by keeping hold of left, or keep pressing left from time to time to make him stay in the air until he bumps into a stationary object or finishes the level. But that's not all! If you press A, Mario will jump and spin real fast. This can come in handy when trying to defeat enemies or when you want to bust some blocks that are right under you.
When you begin a whole new game of Super Mario World and play through a few levels, you'll probably notice a few chalked lines that look like they could be filled in in most of the levels. If that was your impression, then you're right, they can be and need to be filled in. From time to time, you should find a level on the map called a Switch Palace. This is where you'll find and stomp on a huge block in order to fill in those chalked up blocks in the levels. There are a few different colored blocks that you'll need to find and fill in.
Well, I figured I would save the best for last and reveal what I thought was the best new addition to Mario's first adventure for the Super Nintendo. In case Mario gets lonely during a level or in case he needs or wants some extra help, there is a green dinosaur that he can find from time to time in certain levels. This dinosaur's name is Yoshi. Yoshi has decent speed, great jumping ability, and he can stick his tongue out like a frog and eat a few enemies or items. The best thing Yoshi can do is eat turtle shells and, depending on the color of the turtle's shell, obtain a certain ability. For example, Yoshi just spits out green shells, blue shells give Yoshi the ability to fly, red shells give him the ability to spit out a blob of fireballs, and so on.
Yoshi is hidden in certain places in the levels throughout Super Mario World. Once you find Yoshi, to use him you just have to hop on his back like you would a horse. He will then stay with Mario until you get hit and let him run off or until you abandon him. While you go through any level in Super Mario World, you will notice dragon coins from time to time, which are big gold coins with a dragon symbol on them. If you can find and collect all five dragon coins in a level, you will get a 1-up. There are also different colored apples in a few levels that Yoshi can eat. Red apples just count as a coin, eat a few purple apples and you might get a pleasant surprise from a clouded up friend, and green apples put a few seconds on the clock.
Well, that's pretty much all you absolutely have to know about Super Mario World. There are some other things I could mention, but I'll let you find out the rest on your own. But I do need to mention a couple more things. You can play Super Mario World by yourself in a one player game, or you can take turns playing in a two player game with one of your friends. Finally, just like you see in some other popular 2-D side scrollers such as the Donkey Kong Country games, Super Mario World keeps score of the percentage of secrets, or in this game's case, levels that you find and complete. The more levels you successfully find and complete, the higher your percentage will be. Have fun and give this game a try if you haven't already!!