Any doubts in my mind that the Game Boy Advance could faithfully and fully replicate SNES-quality graphics were destroyed by this game, in a fashion similar to a 500-pound hammer smashing a soda can. Any doubts that GBA would somehow suffer by becoming nothing more than a SNES port machine were also destroyed. This is the 500-pound banana, ladies and gentlemen. The real slim shady. Welcome to Super Mario World. I hope you've packed your bags...FULL OF FUN!
If I seem a little enthused, let me explain. You see, Super Mario World was probably the first title that most of us old fogies (man, the world's screwed up when 19 means you're "old") got on the SNES. As such, for me at least, it was the first 16-bit title. Yeah, I had played Genesis games at other peoples' houses, but those failed to impress me in the least. But this was Mario. Mario is always great for a good time and this title proves it.
What can I say about the graphics? It looks EXACTLY like Super Mario World, apart from the slight visual dent the game takes by being on the GBA - which is by no means a fault of the game. No, rather, it's the GBA's dark and blurry screen that causes the trouble. While graphics are not something to be quibbled over, it does occasionally become a problem: your fireballs are sometimes hard to keep track of unless you're looking really hard, and sometimes the difference between the blue and green Yoshis is almost indistinguishable.
The music is also straight port of the Mario World music. This is good, because I was worried that the GBA would not be able to handle some of the more advanced SNES sound emulation. And while Super Mario World doesn't have as complex a score as say - Chrono Trigger, my worries are now gone. While there is a slight hint of tinniness, it's barely noticeable if you're not wearing headphones. The sound effects are also back, but, thankfully, the annoying voice that was featured in the original SMA is toned down, although Mario and Luigi both do, in fact, talk.
Being a home-bred Miyamoto title, Super Mario World's gameplay is, of course, impeccable. While not the best Mario title (and that's a purely personal statement), it's still got more panache and greatness in its little finger than most other titles. Excellent play mechanics (which are, I must admit, hampered a bit on the GBA control setup), sweet, sweet level design, refined control - it's all here. It doesn't get much better than this.
But, much like SMA2, Mario World features eensy weensey, tiny winy tweaks to the gameplay that, in my opinion, do the game no service. It's all vague minutiae that should only bother weenies like me, but it still bears pointing out. First of all, Luigi is now available as a second playable character. As his tendency has been lately, his jumps are higher than Mario's, but very floaty. This was good in Super Mario Bros. 2, but for Super Mario World, where there's a bit more of aerial resistance, things don't go so well. It's still a fun option, except for one thing: when Luigi is riding on Yoshi, and Yoshi grabs something, instead of eating it, he kind of holds it in his mouth for a bit, giving you the option to use the enemy as a projectile. While it's fun to give an extra difference to the character, it's also rather bland. Another new factor involving Yoshi is that now, when you run into him, you push him a little. Very annoying in a game with so many tiny, tiny platforms.
But, as I said, these are minor quibbles in the face of an otherwise awesome port. If you have a Game Boy Advance, you MUST HAVE IT, unless you're the kind of (stupid) person who can't stand to buy the same game twice, or you, for whatever reasons, don't like Mario.
· · · Riisuke