Announced at SpaceWorld 2001 in Tokyo, this game for the Game Boy Advance is a sequel of sorts to Super Mario Advance. While the original game featured Mario Brothers and Super Mario Brothers 2, this one is a ported version of Super Mario World.
Yes, everyone's favorite SNES platform game is coming to the Game Boy Advance. In addition to all of the original worlds, it features single-pak multiplayer, where you and up to three friends can race through stages. These mini-games are downloaded through the Link Cable (sold separately) so your friends don't need to have the cart... er, Game Pak.
One immediate concern comes to mind: the Game Boy Advance has L and R shoulder buttons like the SNES, but lacks X and Y. I wonder how they'll handle the spin jump.
Expect it to be out in the U.S. sometime around early to mid-2002.
Update: In the U.S., this will be entitled "Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2." Just to be silly...
I bought this game in summer 2002, and enjoyed it thoroughly. The spin jump has been mapped to the R shoulder button, but it is still easily accessed. The gameplay and graphics are virtually identical to the SNES original, although annoying voice samples have been added to Mario and Luigi. Speaking of which, you can play as Luigi or Mario on each stage. Luigi plays like the Super Mario Bros. 2 version, with his enormous jump and loose control. This makes some stages substantially easier.
A few other niceties have been added. It is possible to save at any point, even in the middle of a stage, although restoring such a game will require you to restart the stage you were playing. By pressing SELECT on the outworld map, you can view a listing of all the stages you have cleared, whether you have acquired all five Dragon Coins on the stage, who you beat each stage with (Mario or Luigi), and the time you have invested in the game so far.
Multiplayer mode is virtually nonexistent: the same Mario Bros. mini-game as Super Mario Advance allows for multi-pak and single-pak multiplayer.
If you enjoyed the original SNES game, you will find little that has changed in the GBA adaptation. If, like me, you did not complete the SNES version, you will be satisfied with the innovative level design and bright but not cutesy visuals. I would recommend buying this, especially because most stores have deeply discounted the price.
Super Mario Advance 2 will be followed by "Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island," a translation of the SNES sequel. That leaves Super Mario Bros. 3 as the last NES or SNES Mario game to go portable, in Super Mario Advance 4.