Super Mario Land is a 2D sidescrolling platformer developed and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy on July 31, 1989. A handheld successor to Super Mario Bros., it is one of the launch titles for the Game Boy, developed with no input from series creator Shigeru Miyamoto (instead developed by Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi's R&D1 devision).
Players control hero plumber Mario as he ventures through the four tropical kingdoms of Sarasaland to rescue Princess Daisy (and the hypnotized inhabitants of the lands) from mysterious space monster Tatanga.
The game would receive a direct sequel in 1992, titled Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, which vastly improves upon the platforming aspects of the original while adding a new adversary, Wario (who would play as the protagonist in the series spin-off, Wario Land). Tatanga returns in this sequel (as a boss), while Daisy later becomes a regular in Mario spin-off games (starting with Mario Tennis). Super Mario Land was later released for the Nintendo 3DS (via Virtual Console) on June 6, 2011.
Super Mario Land is a standard sidescrolling platformer (in similar vein to Super Mario Bros.) where players must guide Mario through 12 levels (split into four unique areas, called "Worlds"), to reach each level's goal (at the rightmost part). Players move Mario using left and right on the d-pad, while holding the "B" button to run and hitting the "A" button to jump.
Like Super Mario Bros., Mario is vulnerable to touching most enemies and their projectiles. If he gets hit once (while not powered-up), falls off the level, or gets trapped in automatic side-scrolling stages, he loses a life and must restart the level. If the player loses all of his lives, then he must either use a continue (and restart the level with three lives and no score) or end the game with a game over. Mario can knock out most enemies by jumping (or falling) on them, gaining points by doing so.
Scattered around all levels are coins which can be collected by touching them. Coins can also be found by hitting certain boxes (scattered around levels) from below. For every 100 coins collected, the player earns an extra life. For every 100,000 points earned, the player earns an extra continue.
The end of most levels contain two exits, one of which is located at the top of the screen and is more difficult to access. If Mario reaches the higher exit, then the player is rewarded with a mini-game in which players can earn a Fire Flower power-up or up to three extra lives.
By hitting certain boxes (scattered around levels), players can find special power-ups which grant Mario special abilities.
- Super Mushroom - Transforms Mario into Super Mario, giving him a taller stature while allowing Mario to get hit once without losing a life.
- Fire Flower - Only appears if Mario is Super Mario. If Mario is no longer Super Mario before touching one, it automatically applies the Super Mushroom power-up. Mario also has the ability to throw "superballs" (by tapping the B button), which bounce off surfaces and knock out most enemies.
- Starman - Grants Mario temporary invincibility (as indicated by a change in background music and Mario's clothes flickering). Mario can still lose a life by falling off the level or getting trapped in automatic side-scrolling levels.
In certain levels, Mario pilots a personal vehicle in an automatic side-scrolling level. While in the vehicles, Mario moves around the stage with the d-pad while shooting torpedoes or missiles with either A or B buttons.
During these levels, the screen scrolls right automatically up to the level's boss battle. If Mario gets trapped between the left edge of the level and an object, he automatically loses a life and must restart the level.
The game has 12 stages, all split up into four themed "worlds". The player progresses through each world in order, defeating a boss at the third stage of each world.
- Birabuto Kingdom - An Ancient Egyptian-themed world. The second stage takes place on top of giant palm trees while the third stage takes place inside a pyramid. The boss of this world is King Totomesu, a large sphinx creature that jumps and spits fireballs at Mario.
- Muda Kingdom - A water-themed world. In the third stage, which is underwater, Mario pilots his personal submarine (the Marine Pop). The boss of this world is Dragonzamasu, a large seahorse creature that swims around and spits fireballs at Mario.
- Easton Kingdom - An island-themed world. The second stage takes place in a cavern. The boss of this world is Hiyoihoi, a moai head creature that throws large rocks at Mario.
- Chai Kingdom - An Ancient China-themed world. In the third stage, which is in the sky, Mario pilots is personal aircraft (the Sky Pop). The boss of this world is Biokinton, a cloud creature that throws flying birds at Mario. After defeating it, Tatanga appears with his spacecraft as the final boss fight.
By clearing all twelve levels, players can replay the game in "Expert Mode", where enemies are moved around in each stage to make the stages more difficult. Clearing the harder levels allows players to replay any of the game's levels.