Super Mario World 2
Yoshi's Island

James: I've owned Yoshi's Island for a very long time but I never actually got far in it. The game just seemed too long and I always got bored with it after awhile. However, I recently rediscovered this game and now I'm amazed at just how great it really is! I'm not sure why I didn't see it before. Maybe it was just at a bad time that I received it...Perhaps I was too RPG-crazy or just bored with games in general. Anyway, I practically had to forget everything I had learned about Mario up to this point. This game not only rewrites Super Mario Bros. history, but has a look and style all its own. Instead of playing directly as Mario, you play as a Yoshi (dinosaur) who carries Baby Mario around on his back. The idea? Don't allow Baby Bowser's Shyguys and other cronies steal Mario away! If you take a hit, Mario flies off of Yoshi's back and you have to catch him before a timer runs out. So how does Yoshi fend off his adversaries? He laps them up with his legendary tongue, then poops them out as eggs. ( Yoshi really female??)

Yoshi's Island has many levels and boss fights, and they are some of the most creative around. During your travels, you will be searching for flowers, coins, and stars. Get 100% of these in a level and you'll open up bonus stages and other surprises. If "collecting" is not your thing, then don't worry. The genious of the level designs, themselves, is enough to keep you playing, and basically, the bonus stuff is just there on the side for those who have mastered the game and want a little more replay value.

And, the bosses...boy, are they huge! Each boss requires a very different tactic to defeat, and they will put your skills to the test. You may have to simply hit the boss with eggs, or ricochet the eggs around the room, pound posts, or do other fancy maneuvers to win.

The graphics are simply amazing. Nintendo utilized the Super FX2 chip to create enemies that scale and rotate like never before, as well as various other special effects. Watch how the whole screen becomes jittery and vibrates when you "touch fuzzy" and "get dizzy"! And it's not just that the quality of the graphics is good - the style is unique and entertaining! The backgrounds look like they came from a coloring book, and the enemies are really well-animated and abstract, without any of that obnoxious "attitude". Am I the only one who laughed hysterically at the Fat Shy Guys?

Junus: I agree that this game has excellent graphics. I just wish they had been used on a better game. Super Mario World certainly wasn't the best Mario game ever. It didn't have the charm and challenge of SMB1-3. And, in some ways, Yoshi's Island may be a better game. But I just don't like it better. I don't like the play control. Yoshi seems too tenacious or something, and the flutter-flap jump never seems to work the way you'd want it to. Baby Mario's screaming is one of the most obnoxious sound effects, ever! Also, it seems like almost everyone who's argued with me about Yoshi's Island in the past has only had one point to make, and that is, "it's better than Super Mario World!" Well, if that's the best you can say about Yoshi's Island, then that's not saying much! I can think of a million games that are better than Super Mario World!

James: Hmm...Well, I do think the play control does take some getting used to, but it's okay. I remember when I first played Super Mario Bros. on the NES, it took awhile to learn to control Mario fluidly. I'm glad that I put the effort into it, otherwise I wouldn't be playing games at all, today. I try to give other games the same effort. Yes, I agree that Baby Mario is obnoxious, but you can always turn the volume down and play some music or something. I don't think that bad music or sound effects can ever really destroy a game, because you can always turn that off. As for being better than Super Mario World....well, of course I think it's better than SMW, but that's hardly the only good thing about it. As I said, I thought the boss fights were fun. Finding the secret bonuses was a lot more fun than finding all the hidden exits in SMW. A lot of those hidden exits didn't even go anywhere. At least I knew that I would always get something for my hard work in Yoshi's Island. And speaking of hard work, that's just another reason I feel Yoshi's Island is better, because it makes you work harder. Look at how many levels in SMW could just easily be flown through with the cape, and I remember some in that Star World that were only like a screen and a half long!

Junus: Well, when it comes down to which one is just much more intuitive and fun to play, I've gotta go with Super Mario World. It may not be that challenging, but I can't feel challenged by a game that has irritating play control or puts me to sleep - both of which I feel Yoshi's Island is guilty of. Another thing is that I'm not overly fond of the Yoshi character. I hate how throwing the eggs brings the action to a grinding halt. If I'm playing as Fiery Mario, I can keep moving and shoot fireballs at the same time. Yoshi has to come to a complete stop to aim the eggs and can't move, making the game feel a little slow and tedious at times. At least in Super Mario World, you can opt to play without Yoshi. And even if I could get used to Yoshi's Island's main controls, some of those vehicles that Yoshi turns into can be even less intuitive to maneuver.

James: Oh, yes, I forgot about the vehicles. I've heard other people talk about the difficulty of controlling the Yoshi Vehicles, but I didn't find it to be too much of a problem. It just takes practice. And you don't have a stage timer in Yoshi's Island, so you have all the time to practice that you want. Speaking of which, I'm really glad Yoshi's Island didn't have a timer. What was the point of SMB3 and SMW having timers? I can understand having a timer in SMB1, because that was a straight action game, and they wanted you to be able to complete the obstacle courses within a set time. That would prove how "good" you are. But SMB3 and SMW took the series in a direction that focused more on exploration and finding hidden secrets. So, why time you for that? If you're encouraging exploration, shouldn't you be given all the time you want?

Junus: Well, there was that one stage in Super Mario World where you had to keep picking up the green berries to add to the timer so that you could complete it. Otherwise, there was no way you could complete the whole course without running out of time. That was a sort of "challenge" that was added to the game. In most stages that encouraged exploration, the timer was inconsequential. You usually had enough time to explore all you wanted. Even so, the best thing to do is complete the course once, then re-enter and explore, so that if you started to run out of time, you could just hit Start + Select to exit the course. I can't comment too much on SMB3, though.

James: I think we may be getting a bit off-subject. My apologies.

Junus: No problem. Another thing I despise is the fact that this game is even called "Super Mario World 2". You don't even get to play as Mario except when you're invincible, and the game just doesn't have the feel of the older Mario games. I know many people say the control is exactly the same, but it just isn't! And let's not forget that this is the game that eventually spawned Yoshi's Story (*shudders*).

James: Well, Yoshi's Story was an awful game, I agree, but that doesn't have anything to do with Yoshi's Island. What's next? Blaming Castlevania 3 for Castlevania 64? I kind of agree that it shouldn't have been called "Super Mario World 2", because the game is much different. But it's different in a good way. Mario games are great and all, but I think that Super Mario World showed that there isn't much else that could be done with that style of gameplay.

Junus: I disagree. I think that plenty more could be done with the Mario-style gameplay. It's just that Nintendo focused more on exploration and secrets with Super Mario World. Maybe it they'd focus on pure action challenge, it could still work. Unfortunately, most of today's gamers don't want challenges.

James: So true. And that's exactly why I think Yoshi's Island is a great game. It's challenging and creative.

Junus: It's only challenging because of the awkward play control and the fact that the levels are so damn long!

James: Not necessarily. Once I got used to the play control, it wasn't that bad. The bosses were the main challenge. I especially liked Raphael the Raven and Bowser.

Junus: We'll just have to disagree, I guess.

James: I guess. What were some of your favorite graphic effects in the game? I like the huge scaling bosses and the big blarrghs that pop out of lava and water.

Junus: Some of the castles have these wooden walls that fall towards the screen, using polygon effects. I thought that looked really, really cool! I really like the overall style of the graphics. It's painted like a storybook, but it isn't overly babyish, like Yoshi's Story is. Like I said before, I just wished the game itself had been better. Good graphics don't equal good game. I also thought much of the music was annoying.

James: Ack! I liked the music! I think it has better music than most other Mario games. Well, okay, nothing will ever outclass the original SMB theme, but I'll take this game's music over SMB2, 3, and SMW, anyday! I like the harmonica, calypso beat, and the excellent boss themes. And it's a hell of a lot better than Yoshi's Story's music, which is just one song replayed 50 different ways (and it's not even that good of a song!)

Junus: Better than Yoshi's Story? Yes. Better than Super Mario World? Maybe. I don't remember that game's music too well. Better than Mario 2 or 3? Pffffft! I liked the main themes of SMB2 and 3 much better than that irritating harmonica music! What's next, bagpipes and accordians?

James: The end credits theme of Super Mario World had an accordian....

Junus: Well, like I said, I don't remember much about that game's music.

James: I also liked that there were lots of Shyguys! Of course, that may sound like a trivial reason to like a game, but I can't help it! Shyguys hadn't been seen since SMB2, and I had thought they were long-forgotten, but there are fat Shyguys, Shyguys on stilts, rotating Shyguys, flying beany-hat Shyguys, Shyguys with jungle skirts and spears, and others all over the place!

Junus: I like Koopas more than Shyguys.

James: Well, there's plenty of those in here, too.

Junus: Maybe. The animation of the winged Koopas was pretty good.

James: I think Yoshi's Island is an incredible game with tremendous replay value. I've already begun a second game, and I'm still working on getting 100% in my first game. (It seems like the first bonus stage is the absolute hardest. I still can't complete it with 100%.) I would give Yoshi's Island 4 1/2 Stars out of 5. I'm not the kind of person who just hands out really high scores to lots of games, but I feel this one deserves it. It's near-perfection. Challenging, great graphics, lots of replay value, and fun characters and themes.

Junus: I've beaten it, but I just don't have any motivation to get 100% on this game. We'll just have to disagree on this one. I'd give it 2 1/2 stars. It just seems like an average platformer with above-average graphics to me.

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