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Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) artwork

Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) review

"A brief bit of musing, amusing to no one if not myself, as it pertains to the great Super Mario Bros. 3."

For me, itís about the simple marches, the repeating melodies, the whimsical tunes that the NES could pull off with such capability and distinction. Itís about the little ditties that'll find a place in your head even after a single playthrough. Itís how their aural presence complements a sense of wonder to behold. This is a score to be cherished.

Go ahead; play those tunes in your head as you read on.

Itís about the color palate and how some of the best tonal displays on the 8-bit NES can be found here. Itís about how the maroon and navy blue on Marioís suit are perfectly distinct against each other and how Frog Marioís green skin juxtaposes against the water stages in World 3. Itís how beautiful blue Thwomp looks crashing against a grainy black block that makes up part of a passageway in an imposing desert castle or how perfectly positioned each one of Dry Bone's fossils scatters to the ground after a stomp to its shell.

Itís about neon Fire Marioís glowing orange aura and not wanting to lose that look even upon realizing thereís a better power-up to nab. It's how tossing hammers and turning into statues offers joy, but taking high to the skies with a wind-powered raccoon tail proves most exhilarating.

For me, itís about collecting just the right number of coins in Stage 1-4 to ensure a white treasure ship will appear on the Grasslandís over-world map. Or itís about holding Down on that one white block Ė you know which one Iím talking about Ė in Stage 1-3 so Mario can fall behind the background and gather a rare warp whistle that will surely help him on his way.

Itís about promising yourself that youíre going to play through each and every stage to beat Bowserís forces all the way through . . . only to then immediately use that aforementioned warp whistle obtained from Stage 1-3 because you just feel like going straight to the giant lands of World 4.

Itís about seeing colossal sprite renditions of Goombas, Koopas, and Pirhana Plants and wondering why there arenít more of them to behold. There are so many fleeting things in this wondrous world; itís easy to take their inclusion for granted. The Kariboís Shoe fits the bill; itís such a strange and mythical contraption, allowing unhindered traversal atop ravenous plants and spikey foes alike. Its rarity and usefulness have no equal.

For me, itís about the Hammer suit, the Frog suit, and the Tanooki suit. Costumes as strange as they are powerful, as convenient in their concept as they are useful in their utility. Why didnít these become staples in every installment afterwards?

Itís about collecting coins, a key aspect to most Mario titles, but here the intrinsic value offered through gold and silver coins is more prized to me than any red or blue coin could ever hope to achieve. Itís about finding P-switches to turn bricks into bank or trying to go down each and every pipe, scouring every corner for gilded bits of metal. Money is plentiful in this Mushroom Kingdom, a far cry from what many of us experience in our lives . . .

Itís about crushing the Koopa Kids with three well-placed stomps to the head or a bevy of fireball blasts to the body, dodging Wendy O.ís candy rings and Lemmyís circus balls, or avoiding Royís tremor-inducing stomps. Itís about kicking Koopa Troopa shells and breaking bricks, covering chasms with precision hops atop donut lifts and rotating spinners, risking falling into a bottomless pit with a mistimed jump. Itís about displacing the Hammer Bros. while dodging their namesake Ė a challenge far greater when there are two to face at once.

Itís about levels 8-1 and 8-2, the only numbered stages where Mario can encounter a Boo or an Angry Sun, and the only two numbered stages that make up World 8's dark and dreary inner ring of military formations offering a last ditch effort to protecting King Koopa's castle. Itís about making it through all the cannonballs, flame jets, and Bob-ombs and somehow setting a course through Bowserís egomaniacal lair. Itís about making it to his throne room and tricking him to his own doom by having his massive force break through the floor below, rescuing Princess Toadstool, and immediately picking up the controller to do it all over again. And again. Again and again.

For me, all of that stuff makes Super Mario Bros. 3 one of my favorite experiences ever.

What is it for you?


Fiddlesticks's avatar
Community review by Fiddlesticks (September 03, 2017)

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honestgamer posted September 03, 2017:

It's all that stuff for me, plus rowing a canoe to the islands in World 3 to find more bonus mushroom houses, or challenging my friend to a bonus game as we fight to be the one to tackle the next stage, or watching my mom hop wildly around level 1-5 and somehow find an invisible block I didn't know about that launches her to one of the cloud-based bonus levels. Or jumping just right at the end of a level so fireworks spell out 5 extra lives, or climbing a tower to the clouds in World 5, or using an invincibility star in world 7 to run across a bed of black piranha plants, or sinking down a quicksand waterfall to find a hidden bonus room. And between us, we've left plenty of other great experiences unmentioned, because Super Mario Bros. 3 is full of them. There's a reason it consistently rates as one of my top 3 favorite games of all time, and has for years.
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Fiddlesticks posted September 03, 2017:

Amen, thanks for reading!

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