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4.4 out of 5 stars33
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 March 2015
For a gameboy launch title this game has held up well to the test of time and is just as much fun now as when I was a kid. Its pretty short around 12 levels well worth the purchase
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on 2 March 2014
Thank you Mario you gave me so much pleasure in my youth and still continue to do so. Unputdownable in more ways than one. Simply addictive.
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on 1 December 2012
Mario's first portable adventure, though fun while it lasts (which isn't long), is the weakest entry in the "Super Mario" franchise. The tone of the game, while clearly modeled after the original "Super Mario Bros." for the NES, has a much different feel to it than [any other Mario time] Mario game. That is because Shigeru Miyamoto did not produce the game; instead, his mentor, Gunpei Yokoi, produced and directed the title.

Yokoi, who was killed in a car accident in 1997 in Japan, was Miyamoto's mentor. It was because of Yokoi that Miyamoto's game "Donkey Kong" came before the leaders of Nintendo at the time. Yokoi came up with the Game & Watch series, "Kid Icarus" and "Metroid" for the NES, and the Gameboy. (A "Metroid" enemy even makes a cameo appearance in "Super Mario Land").

The game features elements not seen before (or since) in the Mario series, including Egyptian themed bosses (although the Egypt theme is common in Mario, the bosses from SML are never heard of again, just like SMB2), space aliens, an apparent unending fascination with Easter Island and its Moi heads, and even two Shooting levels. Although Miyamato revealed in an "Iwata Asks" interview that the original "Super Mario Bros." was going to have shooting levels, and the coin heavens are left over fragments of that idea (along with Mario having a gun), this idea was never implemented in the core series with the sole exception of "Super Mario Land".

I grew up with Mario, like most other gamers. With only two exceptions, I have played every Mario title at launch or shortly thereafter, from the original 1985 "Super Mario Bros" all the way down to "New Super Mario Bros. 2" (yes I'm old). Obviously being American we didn't get "Lost Levels" until "Super Mario All-Stars", but I got the SNES version when it was released back in '93 and have played through "Lost Levels" so many times over the years I've more than made up for not getting it back in 1986.

Anyway, the two I missed? "Super Mario Land" for the Gameboy (which I did play very briefly back when it first came out, but I never had it; we went with "Super Mario Land 2" instead when I did get a Gameboy) and "Super Mario Sunshine". The very few times that I did play the game on the original Gameboy back in 1989 or the very early 1990s, I do remember getting as far as the first boss, which means I was a fourth of the way done.

Being the Mario fan that I am, I did play through "Super Mario Land" on emulator a couple of years back, beating the game over two decades after it was first released. [Before I really played the game I remember getting as far as the first boss, which means I was a fourth of the way done]. Since then, I purchased the title on the 3DS Virtual Console (love those restore points!)

So my thoughts on the game? Well, of all the Mario games, this is easily the most insubstantial title in the entire franchise of proper "Super Mario" games (I am not including spin-offs and subseries). "Super Mario Land" was a launch title for the Gameboy, and boy does it show. The majority of the sprites are small, including Mario himself. Being monochrome, it can be hard to see what is going on given how small the sprites are as well as how small the screen is. The game is SHORT - only twelve levels. Each level has about a 400 second time limit, so to do a full run through of the game, even dragging your feet, will not net you much gameplay in terms of time.

Due to Miyamoto's lack of involvement, the setting and overall enemy roster feels quite different than other Mario titles. There are octupuses, jumping flowers that shoot fire (reminds of me of Panser from "Super Mario Bros. 2", Gaos (they resemble Egyptian sphinxes), robots (!!), Totais (running Easter Island Moai heads), Pionpis (jumping men who shoot at Mari in the last world) and Yurarin Boos, who are fire-breathing seahorses. The last two are the most interesting, as they are heavily reminesnt of "Metroid". The Pionpis reminds me of Samus Aran's female sprite when the JUSTIN BAILEY code is entered, and the Yurarin Boos are identical to the seahorses (in terms of game play and species type, though the sprites differ somewhat) in "Metroid" as well.

The game is set in Sarasaland, comprised of four kingdoms, Birabuto, Muda, Easton and Chai. Suddenly an evil space alien named Tatanga appears, kidnaps Princess Daisy (who debuts in this game), and it is up to Mario to rescue the Princess (but it's not Princess Peach at least).

Probably my biggest complaint about the game, besides the short length, is the looseness in the controls. I don't know if this holds true for the original Gameboy (I suspect it does), but playing on the 3DS, I found Mario often times going slightly further than I wanted, [or not far enough]. I've never hard this problem with the other Mario games. There is also some weird hit detection issues going on. I was playing 4-2, jumped up on a pipe with a pirana plant and definitely hit the plant, and Mario did not lose his power up. I've seen this happen multiple times.

The loose play control further exacerbates another issue: no saving. If you run out of lives (unless you're on 4-3, the very last world), you have to start all over which can be frustrating. If you die on the last level you do get two continues. Often times due to the loose play control I would slightly overshoot where I was jumping and Mario would plummet to his death. Now, to be fair, to expect such a short game all the way back in 1989 to having saving is ridiculous, but none the less the criticism holds that there is some inherent frustration having to start all the way over. Nintendo could have at least provided continues (a more realistic option for a game of this age). .

The game is clearly modelled on the original "Super Mario Bros.", although with some noticable differences. First, the music itself is unlike anything else in the series, and is one of the strongest assests the game offers. Just like the first game, you can't go back to the left; the screen only scrolls right. Mario's sprite is also modelled on his sprite from the NES title.

The power ups are pretty weak. There are exactly three: the Super mushroom, the Super Ball, and an invincibility star. The Super Mushroom will make Mario big. The Super Ball (this game's idiotic version of the Fire Flower) allows Mario to shoot projectiles. However, the key difference between the fireflower and the super ball is that when you shoot the Super Ball, the ball will bounce off the flower floor and go up until it hits another surface. So on levels that are pretty open, you shoot the Super Ball, it hits the ground right in front of Mario, and then shoots straight up into the sky, never to be seen again, rendering this power up effectively useless unless the enemies are right up by you, creating a bigger margin for error. If you are in a more enclosed space, the ball will bounce around against the various surfaces until it either hits an enemy or times out. Unfortunately you can only shoot one at a time, so if you have one bouncing around and it's not connecting with an enemy, you have to either go on or wait and try shooting whatever your aiming for after the first ball disappears.

Like the other Mario titles, "Super Mario Land" would prove to be a massive hit, selling over eighteen million copies in its initial run. What's depressing to me is that "Super Mario Land" actually outsold the far superior "Super Mario Bros. 3". Note: that does not count the rereleases and Virtual Console sales, only the intial NES release vs. the Gameboy release.

For a game of its time, the title is pretty fun. But of all the games in the core "Super Mario" series, this is easily the least substantial title, due to its brevity, the loose play controls, and the overall disconnection from the rest of the series. The games sequel, "Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins", is infinitely better, with bigger sprites, more engaging gameplay, and a much longer gametime. The music though from SML is, admittedly, fantastic and is probably its strongest point.

Mario's first portable adventure, though fun while it lasts (which isn't long), is the weakest entry in the "Super Mario" franchise. The tone of the game, while clearly modeled after the original "Super Mario Bros." for the NES, has a much different feel to it than [any other Mario time] Mario game. That is because Shigeru Miyamoto did not produce the game; instead, his mentor, Gunpei Yokoi, produced and directed the title.

Yokoi, who was killed in a car accident in 1997 in Japan, was Miyamoto's mentor. It was because of Yokoi that Miyamoto's game "Donkey Kong" came before the leaders of Nintendo at the time. Yokoi came up with the Game & Watch series, "Kid Icarus" and "Metroid" for the NES, and the Gameboy. (A "Metroid" enemy even makes a cameo appearance in "Super Mario Land").

The game features elements not seen before (or since) in the Mario series, including Egyptian themed bosses (although the Egypt theme is common in Mario, the bosses from SML are never heard of again, just like SMB2), space aliens, an apparent unending fascination with Easter Island and its Moi heads, and even two Shooting levels. Although Miyamato revealed in an "Iwata Asks" interview that the original "Super Mario Bros." was going to have shooting levels, and the coin heavens are left over fragments of that idea (along with Mario having a gun), this idea was never implemented in the core series with the sole exception of "Super Mario Land".

I grew up with Mario, like most other gamers. With only two exceptions, I have played every Mario title at launch or shortly thereafter, from the original 1985 "Super Mario Bros" all the way down to "New Super Mario Bros. 2" (yes I'm old). Obviously being American we didn't get "Lost Levels" until "Super Mario All-Stars", but I got the SNES version when it was released back in '93 and have played through "Lost Levels" so many times over the years I've more than made up for not getting it back in 1986.

Anyway, the two I missed? "Super Mario Land" for the Gameboy (which I did play very briefly back when it first came out, but I never had it; we went with "Super Mario Land 2" instead when I did get a Gameboy) and "Super Mario Sunshine". The very few times that I did play the game on the original Gameboy back in 1989 or the very early 1990s, I do remember getting as far as the first boss, which means I was a fourth of the way done.

Being the Mario fan that I am, I did play through "Super Mario Land" on emulator a couple of years back, beating the game over two decades after it was first released. [Before I really played the game I remember getting as far as the first boss, which means I was a fourth of the way done]. Since then, I purchased the title on the 3DS Virtual Console (love those restore points!)

So my thoughts on the game? Well, of all the Mario games, this is easily the most insubstantial title in the entire franchise of proper "Super Mario" games (I am not including spin-offs and subseries). "Super Mario Land" was a launch title for the Gameboy, and boy does it show. The majority of the sprites are small, including Mario himself. Being monochrome, it can be hard to see what is going on given how small the sprites are as well as how small the screen is. The game is SHORT - only twelve levels. Each level has about a 400 second time limit, so to do a full run through of the game, even dragging your feet, will not net you much gameplay in terms of time.

Due to Miyamoto's lack of involvement, the setting and overall enemy roster feels quite different than other Mario titles. There are octupuses, jumping flowers that shoot fire (reminds of me of Panser from "Super Mario Bros. 2", Gaos (they resemble Egyptian sphinxes), robots (!!), Totais (running Easter Island Moai heads), Pionpis (jumping men who shoot at Mari in the last world) and Yurarin Boos, who are fire-breathing seahorses. The last two are the most interesting, as they are heavily reminesnt of "Metroid". The Pionpis reminds me of Samus Aran's female sprite when the JUSTIN BAILEY code is entered, and the Yurarin Boos are identical to the seahorses (in terms of game play and species type, though the sprites differ somewhat) in "Metroid" as well.

The game is set in Sarasaland, comprised of four kingdoms, Birabuto, Muda, Easton and Chai. Suddenly an evil space alien named Tatanga appears, kidnaps Princess Daisy (who debuts in this game), and it is up to Mario to rescue the Princess (but it's not Princess Peach at least).

Probably my biggest complaint about the game, besides the short length, is the looseness in the controls. I don't know if this holds true for the original Gameboy (I suspect it does), but playing on the 3DS, I found Mario often times going slightly further than I wanted, [or not far enough]. I've never hard this problem with the other Mario games. There is also some weird hit detection issues going on. I was playing 4-2, jumped up on a pipe with a pirana plant and definitely hit the plant, and Mario did not lose his power up. I've seen this happen multiple times.

The loose play control further exacerbates another issue: no saving. If you run out of lives (unless you're on 4-3, the very last world), you have to start all over which can be frustrating. If you die on the last level you do get two continues. Often times due to the loose play control I would slightly overshoot where I was jumping and Mario would plummet to his death. Now, to be fair, to expect such a short game all the way back in 1989 to having saving is ridiculous, but none the less the criticism holds that there is some inherent frustration having to start all the way over. Nintendo could have at least provided continues (a more realistic option for a game of this age). .

The game is clearly modelled on the original "Super Mario Bros.", although with some noticable differences. First, the music itself is unlike anything else in the series, and is one of the strongest assests the game offers. Just like the first game, you can't go back to the left; the screen only scrolls right. Mario's sprite is also modelled on his sprite from the NES title.

The power ups are pretty weak. There are exactly three: the Super mushroom, the Super Ball, and an invincibility star. The Super Mushroom will make Mario big. The Super Ball (this game's idiotic version of the Fire Flower) allows Mario to shoot projectiles. However, the key difference between the fireflower and the super ball is that when you shoot the Super Ball, the ball will bounce off the flower floor and go up until it hits another surface. So on levels that are pretty open, you shoot the Super Ball, it hits the ground right in front of Mario, and then shoots straight up into the sky, never to be seen again, rendering this power up effectively useless unless the enemies are right up by you, creating a bigger margin for error. If you are in a more enclosed space, the ball will bounce around against the various surfaces until it either hits an enemy or times out. Unfortunately you can only shoot one at a time, so if you have one bouncing around and it's not connecting with an enemy, you have to either go on or wait and try shooting whatever your aiming for after the first ball disappears.

Like the other Mario titles, "Super Mario Land" would prove to be a massive hit, selling over eighteen million copies in its initial run. What's depressing to me is that "Super Mario Land" actually outsold the far superior "Super Mario Bros. 3". Note: that does not count the rereleases and Virtual Console sales, only the intial NES release vs. the Gameboy release.

For a game of its time, the title is pretty fun. But of all the games in the core "Super Mario" series, this is easily the least substantial title, due to its brevity, the loose play controls, and the overall disconnection from the rest of the series. The games sequel, "Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins", is infinitely better, with bigger sprites, more engaging gameplay, and a much longer gametime. The music though from SML is, admittedly, fantastic and is probably its strongest point.

While there aren't really any BAD Mario games (they all very fun), there are definitely some top tier Mario games. Mario is like The Beatles - pretty much everything from the core series is top of the line and tremendously polished, sells massive amounts of product, and is loved the world over. Even a substandard Mario game is better than so many other games out there. That being said though pretty much any other Mario game is better than this one. Unless you have a nostalgic attachment to this game or you just want to play Mario's first portable adventure, there's not a lot of reason to go back to this unless you've played the other Mario games first. This one should be down pretty far on your list..
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on 2 March 2015
The one game that made me buy the game boy all those years ago. A must play game on the game boy.
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on 5 November 2013
great to be able to still get this, my daughter loves the game and so do i, it takes me back
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on 29 December 2015
My son was very happy with his game. It was in great condition,like new! Thank you!
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on 12 May 2015
The game is very well protected and it works perfectly. Thank you very much!!!
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on 9 August 2014
It was in fantastic condition for a 1989 game! I love it so much!
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on 12 September 2014
really pleased product came as instructed and works great
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on 27 December 2015
Item as described and delivered earlier than expected
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