Super Mario Bros. 3
Reviewed 6/12/00

Ah, the memories. I bet a lot of people, like myself, remember the first time they saw the movie trailor for "The Wizard", sitting with a gaping jaw for 5 minutes straight after they showed the part which officially unvieled SMB 3 to world. Everyone was all over it months before it's release, the game had everything going for it, including a marketing blitz bigger than most blockbuster movies. When I was 8, SMB 3 was life. I didn't know a single kid that couldn't recite how to get the whistles in world 1, it was just that huge. You couldn't have lived in that time frame as a kid and NOT have played the game. But, when the Super Nintendo was on the market and the game finally started to lose it's hype, I remember sitting down with the game and asking myself "why is this such a great game? What's so good about it?" I found out I (gasp) didn't like the game all that much.

The game is a more official and traditional sequel to the original Super Mario Bros., which itself wasn't such a hot game. As the biggest Nintendo game of all time, neh, biggest GAME of all time, it naturally made a lot of updates to the "classic" SMB. You still started in your vulerable small form and could grow bigger and badder with a mushroom, and then a fire flower, but this time there was a whole slew of new powerups, first and foremost the racoon suit that could give Mario flight. Of course, you had to deal with the awkward speed meter and could only be airborne at full speed. This time there was a linear world map for each area which gave the player a minimal choice in which path they could take to finish the area. Overall it was much more varied than SMB, but the game just doesn't have the originality of the series' 2D masterpiece, SMB2.

Fire flowers are spread out and hard to find, and the other powerups much moreso. The mushroom and feather (racoon suit) are the staples of this game. The basic gameplay goes a few notches above SMB, but still seems a little too cut and dry for my tastes. The graphics are good, and very defined, but definately a DOWNgrade from SMB2. Soundwise it's pretty good also, it even has a special chip installed to give it more realistic sounding drum-lines (which I've never noticed, probly 'cause I use an RF switch). But even still, the quirky music sounds like a throwback to SMB almost, and is also not on par with what SMB2 has to offer.

Part tres' introduces many new bosses to the series, the 'Koopa Kids', children of Bowser. However, the bosses all act the same and offer no fun whatsoever. And worst of all, the battle with Bowser is, just, lame. I, being a big fan of boss battles, think this is a huge upset. For what it's worth, some levels can offer a lot of originality, and (sometimes) fun. The race through the desert with an infuriated sun comes to mind, as well as hopping in the Kuribo's Shoe and stomping enemies. Overall, it doesn't have the worst level design I've seen, but that aspect is sorely overrated.

The game may be the most popular game of all time, but that could be chalked up to coming at just the right time and with the help of a massive marketing strategy, including a movie, McDonalds toys and the all-powerful name of Mario. When all is said and done, the game lacks that special "something" that makes it one of my favorites. Or, if you want to get technical, "good gameplay". In comparison, SMB 2 waxes the floor with this game, offering 4 unique characters, GOOD level design and boss battles, and inspiring graphics that gave Mario his trademark look he's been sporting ever since. It would have been best if Japan kept this one for themselves and given us a Nintendo-produced sequel to the American SMB2. Or they could have made both, and made everyone happy, but that's a pipe dream :)

Graphics 7
Very clear, and defined, some of the better on the NES
Doesn't show off the cartoonish side of the Mario universe
Sound 7
New sound chip, the same kind of catchy didees found in SMB...
Which can get on your nerves after a while. And it's not exactly a strong point
Innovation 8
While the game did revolutionize the market and introduce a number of sidescroller cliche's...
It is still only an extension of SMB1
Gameplay 6
Varied terrains, lots of powerups
The same basic gameplay of SMB, and the boss battles are just bad
Replay Value 7
Lots of paths to the end, many many worlds to conquer
So-so gameplay=not too much replay

Overall Score