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Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Game Boy) artwork

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Game Boy) review

"Following in the footsteps on Mario Land, ML2 is filled with wackiness from beginning to end. Its stellar soundtrack, originality and variety in environments more than make up for some of the platforming “floatiness” that is present in Mario's movement."

Mario Land 2(ML2) came out for the Gameboy in 1992 and was re-released for the 3DS Virtual Console in 2011. Players can now get their hands on one of the most unique Mario titles to date.

Mario Land 2 may seem like a standard Mario platformer on a handheld. It holds all of the traits that compose a classic Mario title; jumping, cool power-ups and Mario himself. While the title holds many similar facets to the old Mario titles, this one does have a couple of things that set it apart from the others. Following in the footsteps of Mario Land, ML2 is filled with wackiness from beginning to end. First thing that should be noted is the music. From the very first minute you start Mario Land 2 you will notice the superb soundtrack that will flood your ears with memorable chip tunes. The music is so catchy it will stick with you for days after playing the game. Every stage has a special tune to get you into the mood and atmosphere of each landscape. From the file-selection screen all the way to the moon, each stage is filled with contagious melodies.

The second thing you will notice is Mario Land 2’s over world. It boggles my mind on why such an overworld has not been incorporated into recent Mario titles as it is rivaled only by the likes of Super Mario World. The map consists of a sizeable world divided into different sections. Each section acts as a world with its own bosses (a total of 7). The bosses must be defeated in order to get into the castle and face the final boss. For those of you who have not played it, you will be very pleased to know that the final boss is a very memorable character that Nintendo fans have come to love (or hate, depending on your tastes). Another characteristic that sets this Mario title apart is the ability to choose which stage you want to play first. The map is completely open, with the exception of the last boss area. This means you can choose what to do at your own pace. You could essentially play all of the stages first and leave the boss stages to tackle altogether at the end, before heading to the final area. This however, leads to some inconsistencies with level difficulty as there is not linearity to keep you on a path from easiest to harder stages.

Mario Land 2 is not a hard title by any means, it is however challenging at times. Something that stands out from its gameplay is the pickups that Mario utilizes in the game. Bunny ears are now present, giving Mario the ability to glide for a few seconds. Coins also play a different role in this game. In every other Mario game, getting 100 coins meant receiving a 1-UP. In this game however, lives are only received by collecting a heart. This means that lives are not as abundant as in the recent New Super Mario Bros 2 game. Personally, I believe this added some depth to the game because you cannot simply rely on your infinitesimal amount of lives to get you through. Had the game been difficult, this would have created a rather frustrating experience but it is balanced well with the game’s difficulty level. The heart system is something I wish was incorporated in more Mario games today.

Mario Land 2’s looks are also a great step up from the first Mario Land 1. Instead of looking like clump of small pixels, Mario looks like he is supposed to. His resemblance is close to that of Mario World’s look. The enemies also look great with bosses and common enemies having a special charm to their look.

As mentioned before, the game follows the classic Mario platforming formula. However, there is one difference that keeps the gameplay in this game from being a complete gem; the floaty controls. While this is not something as prevalent as in a game like Little Big Planet, Mario’s movements are not as tight as in other Mario titles. There seems to be a certain "floatiness" to Mario’s jump. This is the complete opposite of Mario Land 1 where Mario’s jumps felt much sharper than in the original Super Mario Bros in the NES. While this is by no means a game-breaking characteristic it is something that will be noticeable to any Mario veteran. The good thing about this however, is that the gameplay does not suffer from this and it will take very little time to get used to the peculiarity. While it may seem different, there is still inertia to Mario’s run and jump which is the most important thing in a Mario platformer. Coupled with the game’s varied and balanced stages, this is not something that should keep anybody from playing the game.

A potential problem with Mario Land 2 is its length. I managed to beat the final boss at about 2.5 hours. Add in about thirty minutes to an hour if you are trying for a completionist save file. Some may see this as a downside, and I certainly wished the game lasted a bit more since I was having a lot of fun with it. However, once I finished the game I appreciated that it did not last too long and instead left me wanting more. Some players may appreciate its length while others may find it to detriment from its overall value. Personally, I’d rather a game keep me coming back for more than bore me and stop me from replaying it in the future due to it overstaying its welcome.

If you have a 3DS and are looking for a great game to play, Mario Land 2 is a great game to pick up. The same can be said if you’re into classic games and have a Gameboy to play some games on. Of all the Mario platforming games that have come out, this is one of the most original ones in terms of design. While the gameplay stays true to its roots, the overall package provides enjoyable platforming with a coat of diversity. Mario Land 2 deserves a playthrough for those who have yet to play it and those looking to relive the experience too. The game holds up extremely well. Its stellar soundtrack, originality and variety in environments more than make up for some of the platforming “floatiness” that is present in Mario's movement. While certainly a short-ride, some players looking for a quick adventure may see the length of the game as a bonus. Super Mario Land 2: Legend of the 6 Golden Stars gets a 8/10.


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Community review by Sol1dus (May 13, 2013)

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