Overall rating: 5/5
The original Super Mario Brothers was an astounding triumph in innovation, graphics, challenge, and pure whimsical enjoyment, as it single-handedly dragged the video game industry out of a spiraling crash. It was great in its day and, with age, has only more firmly established its canonical place in the home console mythos.
Yet, two games in the franchise later, another game released on the Nintendo Entertainment System that was arguably even better: Super Mario Brothers 3. Was this truly a superior game?
The look had definitely improved since the original iteration: Mario was bigger, more detailed, and every action flowed smoother. Although some would question the choice of Fire Mario being clad in flaming disco orange, the appearances were otherwise nearly flawless. Old favorites like Goombas and Lakitu received updated looks, while introducing new enemies with distinctive characterization, including the popular Koopa Kids bosses. On the NES, few titles ever looked sharper.
The sound effects were already legendary, from the lighthearted jumping noise to the unmistakable sound of gathering coins. These remained similar, while the soundtrack added new favorites: From the twinkling, otherworldly notes of the wand-grabbing fall theme, to the foreboding tones of World 8. Again, this was an aspect of the adventure that obviously underwent thorough, quality development.
Although the original SMB introduced the world to a new breed of platformer genre, SMB3 not only equaled the proven formula, but triumphantly expanded on it. The quest added an overworld view, an items inventory, more hidden and nonlinear areas, and perhaps best of all, enhanced power-ups. While the first had the mushroom and the fire flower, Mario now gained access to Tanooki suits, a flying raccoon getup, a Frog suit for the water, and others, including the superpower P-Wing and the rare Kuribo’s Shoe and Hammer Brothers suits.
Overall, the game was designed so well that its most imaginative elements could have been a legitimate part of literature. Instead, this incredible creativity energy was harnessed into an awesome video game, which players are still thankful for. Boasting a perfect difficulty level that made it challenging and a true epic without being frustrating or boring, many players still load a session and give it a whirl. For providing the gaming scene with a unique, heroic saga with few equals, for elaborating on an already remarkable series, for becoming the all-time best-selling video game at one time, and for being so stunning that it was featured as the prime event in the film The Wizard, this game definitely and easily deserves five stars out of five.