proved once again that they are the king of re-releases when they unleashed Super Mario Advance 4
for the Game Boy Advance
upon the world in 2003. This time around Nintendo
chose to give the Nintendo Entertainment System
classic Super Mario Brothers 3
the portable treatment, although this game has more in common with the 1993 rendition of the title found in Super Mario All-Stars
for the Super NES
. The graphics and sounds are lifted and enhanced from that version of the game, plus Nintendo
added the now-familiar Mario
voice effects. Other cosmetic additions include an opening scene where the Koopalings
come to the Mushroom Kingdom
, a redrawn Luigi
sprite, the movement of the status bar to the top of the screen, and minor tweaks to some of the levels themselves (nothing too extensive though).
The biggest changes to the game are the ability for a single player to alternate between playing as Mario and Luigi, some replay challenges unlocked upon completion of the game, and some unlockable extras that are gained from sliding cards into the e-Reader. By pressing the R button while on the map screen a menu to slide one of fifty special cards is accessed. Special extras include new levels (some of which are based on elements from Super Mario Advance and Super Mario Advance 2) and tweaks award extra lives, helpful animations, and power-ups. Two cards come packaged with the game while others are sold wherever e-Reader cards are found. The game pak will save 32 of the scanned data cards, so it's not necessary to carry an entire collection of the little papers around when you want to play. Nintendo reportedly plans to create new cards as time goes by to unlock new features, thus keeping the game fresh.
Rounding out the cartridge is the original Mario Bros. game that is found on all Super Mario Advance game paks for play in single or multi-player mode. Super Mario Advance 4 was released in July 2003 in Japan and October 2003 in the rest of the world. Gamers who have explored the original game inside and out may not find much new worth playing, but new gamers who have never experienced this classic title should acquire this game without delay.