03 March 2011

Download Super Mario Bros

Super Mario Bros. 4
Mario is back! This time… well, he has to save the princess again. Can he do it… again?

You have to be really, really patient with this one. It's not bad, and certainly I've seen much worse Mario clones, but it has some infuriating aspects that detract from the overall gameplay.
The most frustrating one is certainly the controls. Hit detection is EXTREMELY finicky - not to say random or inconsistent. I'm not the type to attribute my deaths to "bugs" - if I die, it's because I'm sucking at the game or have made a bad/stupid/reckless mistake. Here, however, it is common for me to lose a couple lives just trying to KILL A GOOMBA.
That's right, the easiest thing in SMB is made difficult by the fact that if you touch it from anywhere but the EXACT PRECISE angle, you die. The same can be said for some jumps, that require you to hit the EXACT balance between speed and height, or to hit the EXACT ceiling pipe, in order not to fall. So something as easy as stomping an enemy or jumping over a pit is made into a lethal deathtrap. Plus, there are NO POWER-UPS, apart from the occasional extra life, which means that...yup, one hit and you're dead. Overall, it's frustrating, but if you're really patient, you may get to have some fun with it.
The remaining departments are better. Graphically, it looks just like every other decent Mario clone. When you stomp an enemy, they "squash" rather than puff, which is visually horrible, but apparently used to save memory (some Flash Mario games also use this technique). Levels look like they should, the camera distance is correct and the enemies and pipes look good. The Mario sprite used is from the SNES, and overall this is a decent department.
However, the sound is where the game truly shines. All the familiar melodies are there, but given a funky updating treatment,which makes them sound modern and fresh as well as nostalgic and recognisable.
All in all, I appreciate what this guy is trying to do, paying homage to Mario. But you just can't overlook the glaring shortcomings the game presents. As a one-man-show, and a small download, it's all right; but a real Mario fan should demand more.
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 9.5/10
Control - 4.5/10
Fun - 5/10
Overall - 4.9/10
Frustration level - Very High
Difficulty - High

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