Super Mario Land 2 Review
March 18, 2018
Super Mario Land 2 will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first Nintendo game. I saved up my money to buy a Game Boy Pocket when I was in second grade. We went to the electronics section at Fred Meyer with its glowing neon Nintendo sign. I only had enough for the Game Boy itself, no game, so my dad asked what I wanted and got me Super Mario Land 2. I remember the car ride home, it felt like a dream, I couldn't believe it was actually happening. Before getting my Game Boy, we had a computer with some cool games, like the Magic School Bus Dinosaurs, Jurassic Park: Chaos Island, and Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant. But there was just something different about playing on a Nintendo. I got to see the Game Boy and Nintendo 64 in action at my cousin's house the previous summer, and realized that Super Mario games are in a league of their own, including Super Mario Land 2. This is my review.
Fun Fact: Super Mario Land 2 is the first appearance of Wario. He has stolen Mario's castle, and is the final boss.
I've always thought that levels are one of the most important parts of a mario game. The most memorable levels stick with you. There are six "worlds" in Super Mario Land 2: Halloween, outer space, inside a tree, under the sea, inside a giant robot mario, and a "micro" zone where you are the size of an ant. Each world has some good levels, but some stick out. The beehive level inside the tree has bees flying to attack you. Jumping onto a bee makes a very satisfying "crunch" noise. The space levels have low gravity, which is awesome. The Halloween levels are spooky. As a seasoned Mario player, I find the levels easy. But as a kid, they were the perfect difficulty, even bordering on too hard. Wario's Castle is an exception. It is super tough, and very unforgiving. The lava kills you immediately, and there are no checkpoints. It always gets my adrenaline pumping, and is one of the harder Mario levels.
The gameplay is what you would expect from a Mario game. Tight controls, familiar enemies, hitting your head on question mark blocks-it's all there. It is a very well-done Mario game. The powerups are good too. You have the standard mushroom, the fire flower, the star, and a carrot, which gives mario bunny ears. I thought this was the 2D equivalent of Super Mario 64's wing cap as a kid, as it lets mario glide through the air. The carrot is the best powerup in my opinion, and is a fun addition to a standard Mario game. The boss-fights at the end of each world are great. Typically, I hate long complicated boss-fights. The bosses in Super Mario Land 2 are short, and fun. The bosses are very predictable, and it feels good jumping on their heads. In my most recent playthrough, I did notice some lag when there were a lot of enemies on screen at once. I had never noticed this before. Maybe my Game Boy is just showing its age. That is the biggest drawback I noticed in my latest playthrough.
Super Mario Land 2 was released in 1992, so keeping that in mind, the graphics are great. I haven't spent much time with Super Mario Land 1 (though I have heard it is very good), but the graphics difference between the two games is huge. The levels and enemies are very detailed. I'd say the graphics are closest to Super Mario Bros. 3, but with the game zoomed in. Mario definitely seems "big" on the Game Boy's screen, like the camera is zoomed in compared to the console Mario Bros. games. It works nicely for the Game Boy's small screen.
It is difficult to judge this game's difficulty. As a kid, I thought it was hard. Watching inexperienced people play it, it is hard for them. The game includes an "easy mode", which reduces the amount of enemies, and I liked that as a kid. However, now, this game feels very easy. I think any experienced Mario gamer will find it easy. Except the last level, it is hard. The easy, short levels are still fun though, which is what counts.
Super Mario Land 2 is a great Game Boy game, and a great Mario game. The levels are short, but great for playing on-the-go or in short bursts, which is perfect on a Game Boy. It is one of my favorite games of all time, though that is because it was my first Mario game, so I am biased. Still, I would consider this a must-play for anyone with a Game Boy, or any Mario fan.