For a very long time, Super Mario Bros. 3 stood as the best of the Mario franchise.
During the days of the NES and SNES there was a reason to wait salivating for the next Nintendo first party titles, especially Super Mario games. The reason was because you knew that a very solid and memorable gaming experience was coming your way and it was only a matter of time. I still remember the hype surrounding Super Mario Bros. 3, with this game being the talk in those junior high school walls. I mean literally everyone was waiting for this game, and it sure as hell did not disappoint. Super Mario Bros. 3 further propelled Super Mario into legendary status, as this game took the various formulas of the first two Super Mario games, then added its on creative ideas to create arguably the greatest game for the system. This is something I could play right now despite the NES version not having a save system.
The story follows Mario as he attempts to save Princess Toadstool from Bowser yet again. However, this time Bowser has brought his 7 children into the fight with them stealing a magic wand for themselves from each kingdom Mario comes upon. Now Mario must also retrieve the wands from the Koopalings and return them to their owners; but this time he has more at his disposal than just the Starman and a Fireplant. The frog suit helps him swim like a fish in water worlds, and the raccoon tail gives him that airborne ability to find other routes located in the sky or simply by-pass a stage, plus whip enemies with the tail adding more offense.
This game is still magnificently made from the first world to the very end. The world map still looks great traversing from one stage to the next, plus there are obstacles in these worlds thrusting Mario into encounters that rewards him with an item when he wins. One of the coolest features is Mario now being able to stack away items and use them before entering any stage, which gives him an advantage by keeping him from going to these worlds small and extremely vulnerable. I love these stages and the addition of battling sub bosses in castles, then taking the fight to the Koopalings in airships added another dimension to the game play. The creative juices ran wild with this game, and it only gets much better later on.
The different themed worlds does make the repetition run smoothly as Mario will visit water filled worlds, worlds where every enemy is giant sized, ice worlds, and just other cool settings. After the 4th world there is a plat-forming difficulty spike from hell that many people I know never forgot about until this very day. The bosses will put up a decent enough fight as they get harder later on having new abilities to them such as stomping the ground and leaving Mario stuck in movement. Plus it does feature a nice battle against Bowser.
This game definitely had some nice visuals for its time, with a brand new design once again for Mario and Luigi. The worlds look really nice with Giant World, Ice Land, and Pipe World indeed standing out mainly for their uniqueness; and I have to love those different airship fortresses. The game just looks great. The worlds also have their own themes providing some variation in the soundtrack. Some of these themes would be reused or remixed in later games.
Overall, Super Mario Bros. 3 is a great game, I’ll go so far to say legendary. It’s true that the boss battles have this little same like feeling among them, and some of the stages are inconsistent with some later stages being easier to get through than earlier one’s; but for the most part this game is pretty near flawless in my eyes. It’s still tons of fun even now. I highly recommend this to those who love Super Mario games but may have missed it, but don’t expect something easy like New Super Mario Bros DS or New Super Mario Bros DS. 2; this game will eat both of those and spit out the pieces it don’t like.
The Good: Some great plat-forming, nice additions to game play, moderate difficulty, spot on controls
The Bad: Some minor rehashing at times but nothing major