I was excited about this game before it came out and had heard it was originally the best Mario game ever on the NES and the SNES. If you didn't know, this is GBA version of Super Mario Bros. 3, and also has Mario Bros. (just like the other Super Mario Advances and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and it's the exact same thing). I decided to get it, considering that I have the other three Super Mario Advance games.
There are eight worlds, and seven of them have kings. Bowser's children, also known as Koopalings, stole magic wands, transformed the kings into different creatures, and hid them on Airships. It is Mario's (and Luigi's) job to get the wands back. Also, Bowser eventually kidnaps Princess Peach, so Mario and Luigi must save her too. This story is good, but it's not the best I've seen.
This is a side-scroller game where you must finish levels and go to new levels on the map. Mario and Luigi must find power-ups from blocks like Mushrooms and Fire Flowers (allows you to throw fireballs) to help you. This game also has many more power-ups, including a Super Leaf to give you a Raccoon Suit (lets you fly temporarily), a Tanooki Suit (like the Raccoon, but you can also turn into a statue to protect yourself), a Frog Suit (lets you swim quickly and smoothly underwater, but doesn't do well on land with one exception), and Hammer Brother Suit (throws hammers to defeat enemies). In the levels, you must dodge or jump on Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and many more enemies to beat the levels. Sometimes levels have hidden rooms too! In Mushroom Houses or by defeating Hammer Brothers on the map, you can get items from blocks for storage for later on, plus some additional ones (Lakitu's Cloud to name one example). Also, the world map you play on has many junctions, sometimes allowing you to choose the level you want. Some levels have fortresses in which you must defeat Boom-booms (stronger version of Goomba). Also, there is a new option in which you can play never-seen-before levels if you have an e-Reader. This game is fun and incredibly addictive!
In some ways it is good; in some ways it is not so good. Many enemies aren't very detailed. Koopa Troopas look like they did in Super Mario Bros. Goombas look OK but could look better. Lakitu doesn't look very detailed, considering its cloud is pretty ''flat.'' Buster Beetles look like... well, they're hard to explain. Also, on the map, the ground looks ''tiled'' or ''tessellated.''
But, despite all this, everything looks colorful -- especially the backgrounds. Ice has a nice aquaish color, Mario seems to have a bit of a tan, and the ground has a dark brown. The blocks look creative. And the backgrounds have a very realistic parallax effect that makes it look like you're actually there. This is especially noticeable in dungeon areas -- the pillars are a nice touch. This saved me from giving this a 6/10.
I like the music for the most part. The music themes in the levels sound pleasing. One of these themes can even be heard in Super Smash Bros. Melee! Also, the castle music sounds scary, like it should be. Sometimes, the music in this game even gets stuck in my head; that's how good it is. I DO have to cry about the music on the world map; it is too short then it repeats.
Time for voices and sound effects. There aren't many sound effects; the most notable are the jumping, the Mushroom sound, and coin collecting. Mario's and Luigi's voice has been added in this game (like in the other SMA games). Basically, if you've heard Super Mario Advance 2, then you know what Mario and Luigi say in this game. Yes, there's the ''Let's-a-go!'' when you enter a level, the ''Ha Ha! Just what I needed!'' with the powering up, the ''Lucky!'' with 1-Ups, and the ''Oh! Mama mia!'' when losing a life. This makes the game sound more realistic.
They're easy when you get used to it. You jump a bit differently from other Mario games (he jumps higher and slower), so it takes time to get used to. In fact, I've died numerous times in the first few levels on the first time I've played this just because I couldn't get used to the control. Also, there is a ''P-Meter,'' which is useful with Tanooki and Raccoon Suits when it comes to flying, as you have to build this up in order to do so. (If you've played Super Mario World, you should have a slight idea to what the P-Meter is because there is a Cape in that game.) And, carrying Koopa shells is just as hard as it is in Super Mario Land 2. You have to run into them while stunned (and holding B), and you can't jump on them at all if you want to pick one up (unlike you can in SMW). It's slightly annoying, but I got used to it. Once you get used to the controls in this game, it's easy.
Replay Value: 10/10
Liked it the first time? You'll like it the second, third, and even fourth time too.
Buy or Rent?
Buy! You won't regret it.
Final rating (not an average): 9/10