Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island Review

In 1995, the gaming world's eyes were fixed on Nintendo's next new gaming wonder: the Nintendo 64. The pre-rendered silicon graphics and Blast Processing of the day were being overtaken by the rise in 3D gaming. Not ignoring the people who already had a SNES, Nintendo pushed everything the 16-bit machine could do into one single game: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. This game became an instant success and gave Yoshi a long-running franchise in gaming.

Yoshi's Island is a prequel to previous Mario games: the stork is carrying babies Mario and Luigi to their parents when the evil magikoopa Kamek abducts greenie, leaving Mario plunging towards an island. He lands on Yoshi's back by coincedence, and the two instantly bond: Yoshi is charged with protecting the little plumber from the evil all around them. This game plays very differently from the past Marios: there's no time limit, no power-ups (in the traditional sense), and instead of controlling Mario, you control Yoshi. This has been the center of debate as if this is really a Mario series game, but for my money, this goes amongst the plummber's other platformers.

Players instantly found out that Yoshi controls much differently from Mario: he can dash without holding a button, has a long tounge that can go into any direction, can produce eggs and throw them using an ingeniuos Egg-tossing system, can Ground-pound (the first game it appears in), and can flutter to gain extra height and width on his jumps. Yoshi can also encounter Transformation Bubbles, which turn him into a helicopter, mole tank, train, etc., each with a more distinct feel than the last. But if he gets hit, Baby Mario floats away in a bubble (crying obnoxiously), and a timer ticks down until 0, when he will be abducted by Kamek's croonies and a live will be lost.

The levels are the true highlight of this game. Besides one or two levels, the rest all are brilliantly designed. Nearly every one has its own unique gimmick, then that same gimmick is multiplied tenfold in the later level. There are too many of them to list, but the most notable are merry-go platforms that move by your weight, jelly blocks that conform to you and the wall, the fuzzies that make you dizzy and the world go wavy, and much more. This game's difficulty level is no child's play, either. The first two worlds give you the basics, then the challenge ramps up evenly until levels become pure madness. Yoshi's Island also has a high emphasis on collecting: with 30 mini-stars, 5 Flowers, and 20 red coins to collect every level. Trying to get 100% on every level certainly adds a huge replay value.

The game's graphical style is one of the most unique in gaming history: the art, levels, enemies, and effects seem straight from a child's coloring book: it still looks beautiful in motion today. Yoshi's Island ran on the Super FX 2 chip, so it could process these astounding graphics on the fly. The music is also worth a great look. Out of all the tunes from the SNES era, this game probably has the most catchy and memorable.

The only real problems with Yoshi's Island, besides the aformentioned 2 unfun levels, is that the difficulty spike might be too much for smaller gamers, and there could be much less of Baby Mario's obnoxious crying.

Gameplay: Well-polished and tight. Yoshi can definitelly do what Mario doesn't. 9.75
Graphics: Still a charm. This graphical style eventually carried over to games like Paper Mario and Kirby's Epic Yarn. 9.75
Audio: Joyous. Tunes that get you up and running in the level. 10
Overall: The huge variety quantity of insanely fun gameplay should keep you well into this game for months. If you plan on owning one SNES game, make it this one or Super Metriod.

9.75 out of 10