Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (known as just Super Mario Advance 4 in Japan) is the Game Boy Advance remake of Super Mario Bros. 3, and is the fourth and final entry in the Super Mario Advance series of games on the GBA. It boasts similar graphics and sound to the Super Mario All-Stars version, and made use of the e-Reader.
A few e-cards came included with new copies of the game, while two sets (referred to as series) of cards were released and sold alongside the game. By scanning special cards into the e-Reader, players were able to upload items, videos, and most importantly, new levels into the game. One notable item was the Cape Feather from Super Mario World, which allowed Mario to transform into Cape Mario. There were also two Switch cards that the player could activate (and deactivate) the effects of by scanning them; the Orange Switch and the Blue Green Switch. Scanning these switches triggered small functions in the game. The e-Reader feature is still available in the European version, but disabled by default and inaccessible. It is fully translated, possibly because the e-Reader was planned to be released in Europe. It can be "unlocked" by having a corrupted save file.
The game was re-released on the Wii U's Virtual Console service in Japan on December 29, 2015, and later in North America on January 21, 2016, in Europe on March 10, 2016, and in Australia on March 11, 2016. This release also includes all of the e-Reader levels, including the PAL version and levels previously only released in Japan.
The story, from the instruction booklet:
The Mushroom Kingdom has remained a peaceful place, thanks to the brave deeds of Mario and Luigi. However, the Mushroom Kingdom forms an entrance to the Mushroom World, a place where all is not well. Bowser sent his seven children to make mischief in this normally peaceful land. As their first order of business, they stole the royal magic wands from each country in the Mushroom World and used them to turn the kings into animals. Mario and Luigi must recover the royal magic wands from Bowser's seven kids to return the kings to their true forms. As Mario and Luigi set off on their journey deep into the Mushroom World, Princess Peach and Toad have but one thing to say: “Good-bye, and good luck!”
List of changes
There are many changes between the original Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario Advance 4.
Level design changes
For a complete listing of the cards themselves, see here. The list of features added to Super Mario Advance 4 by the cards is as follows:
Features and enemies from past titles
Super Mario Advance 4 was developed by Nintendo EAD, with Hiroyuki Kimura as its director and Takashi Tezuka as the producer. The new graphics were designed by Emi Tomita, and the new music tracks were composed by Taiju Suzuki. Very few of the original game's staff were involved in the production of this remake; even Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto goes uncredited here, when he had previously produced Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 with Tezuka as his supervisor.
Pre-release and unused content
The game's logo looked different than it did in the E3 trailer. Grey Switches were also found in the game's data and also includes pressed versions of these switches. Compressed Super Mario World graphics were found in game data, these include an animation frame for the Koopa Clown Car, three frames of a Koopa Troopa walking, and two frames of a Galoomba walking.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 has received very positive reviews, and has been considered one of the best Game Boy Advance games ever made. It is the third highest-rated GBA game on Metacritic, with an aggregate score of 94 based on 25 reviews, and also that site's third highest-rated game in the Mario series, behind only Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel. The game was also commercially successful in North America, with sales in excess of 2.88 million copies. By the end of 2006, it had sold more copies in that region than any other Game Boy Advance game. Super Mario Advance 4 won IGN's 2003 award for best Game Boy Advance platform game, and GameSpot nominated it for best platform game of the year.
Both Pocket Gamer and Play Magazine gave the game perfect scores. The former called the game "Mario hop-'n'-bop action at its finest", while the latter lauded the challenge in the gameplay, the quick save feature, and the e-Reader functionality. Meanwhile, Electronic Gaming Monthly praised SMA4 for its controls, stages, and visuals, stating that it looked good for an "old, trippy 2D game", and Yahoo! Games stated that the game surpassed both the original NES/Famicom version and the Super Mario All-Stars release.