When Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance in 2001 they knew that a new Super Mario Brothers game would be a "killer app" for the new system. However, rather than develop a new game from scratch they chose to port the Super Mario All-Stars version of Super Mario Brothers 2 to the system. Why release an old game in a shiny new package? Nintendo wanted Super Mario Advance to showcase what the new portable game machine could do, and the best way to show how handheld gaming had advanced was to show that the grainy, pixeled graphics and sound of the Game Boy system were a thing of the past and that scaling, rotation, and other effects were the new norm. In fact, Super Mario Advance opens by emphasizing the GBA's wide screen.

Despite being familiar from the get-go, Super Mario Advance does deliver some new challenges for players who think they've mastered the world of Subcon. There are now five red coins hidden in each level that must be collected as well as two large Yoshi eggs to pick up on subsequent plays. These items do not change the gameplay, but they do provide super players with something new to search for. The levels themselves are 95% intact with some portions of the game having received minor adjustments to show off some of the GBA's power. Watch for spinning ferris wheel style platforms and bulging platforms. Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool have also been tweaked, as they now shout their Mario Kart 64 sound clips from time to time, plus their high jump animations now feature a flip. Furthermore there are some additional 1-ups scattered around as well as a new overall mapscreen. Levels are replayable once they are completed as well. If the SMB2 aspect of the game grows stale players can switch over to the included upgraded port of the original Mario Brothers game. This mode is also multiplayer capable for up to four players, and best of all only one game pak is needed to make the multiplayer aspect work. The multiplayer mode even works with the Mario Brothers games included in the game's two sequels, Super Mario Advance 2 and Super Mario Advance 3.

Super Mario Advance is a fun trip down memory lane for old players and a grand adventure for players who have never picked up a previous version of this title (and there have been several: the original Super Mario Brothers 2, the Japanese re-release Super Mario USA, the Super Mario All-Stars rendition, and the Satellaview BS Super Mario USA). The game is still easy to find in stores and online auctions.

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