Super Mario 3D Land: As Good As Super Mario Bros. 3?
Time to see how the plumber's newest adventure ranks against the best Mario games of all time.
It's not every day the world sees the release of a brand new Mario game, and Super Mario 3D Land marks the first time the famed plumber hit Nintendo 3DS. The game received perfect scores from multiple publications (including Modojo), but I knew it was going to rock. It is, after all, a new and original Mario adventure. Nintendo always treats games starring its mascot with the utmost care.
The bigger question, the one many Nintendo fans want to know, is how good is Super Mario 3D Land? Does it take its place amongst other quality Mario titles, like New Super Mario Bros. Wii or Super Mario Galaxy, or does it reach the upper echelon of previous romps in the Mushroom Kingdom? Can it possibly be as good, or dare I say it, better than Super Mario Bros. 3?
Of course not, right? Super Mario Bros. 3 is highly regarded as the pinnacle of Mario games. Ever since it debuted in the 1989 Fred Savage vehicle, The Wizard, as the final game at the end of the film, Nintendo's creation held a special place in everyone's heart.
It was that rare combination of great level design with tried-and-true gameplay, along with just enough surprises to drop your jaw every now and then. Remember the first time you took flight while wearing the Raccoon Suit? Or the first time you became Tanooki Mario, along with his ability to turn into a stone statue for some strange reason? How about Kuribo's Boot, which only showed up for that one level? Classic stuff.
Super Mario Bros. 3 and, to an extent, Super Mario World, both have that great formula, thanks in part to outstanding level design, tried-and-true gameplay and enough surprises to keep everyone guessing.
Amazingly, after playing through Super Mario 3D Land and collecting a ton of gold coins, having my extra life count skyrocket to 100 plus before getting whittled away to almost nothing, thanks to the later levels, does it stand up alongside those classics?
If the game concluded after the first eight worlds, I would have still praised Nintendo for creating yet another quality Mario. Super Mario 3D Land would stand alongside hits like New Super Mario Bros., but there's more to this title, that special something that pushes it further.
For one thing, the 3D effects play a significant role in improving the overall experience. The depth not only enhances the visual appeal, but makes judging distances between objects significantly easier. We're also big fans of how Mario leaps into the screen, particularly while inside the Propeller Box.
And while the first eight worlds are full of cool ideas, you need to beat the game and save the princess for a bigger challenge. You basically unlock another eight worlds, some of which contain some of the best Mario levels we've seen. Even better, you get to play through the entire game as Luigi.
While it's tough to compare Mario games from different decades, everyone knows when he or she has played something special. In the pantheon of Mario games, Super Mario 3D Land carves its own niche that, unlike so many cookie cutter sequels, puts it amongst the best Nintendo has offered.