Super Mario Advance

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This article is about the Game Boy Advance remake of Super Mario Bros. 2. For the Super Mario Advance series as a whole, see Super Mario Advance (series). For the Choose Your Own Adventure book based on this game, see Super Mario Advance (book).
"SMA" redirects here. For information about Super Mario Adventures, the Nintendo Power comic, see Super Mario Adventures.
Super Mario Advance
North American box art for Super Mario Advance
North American box art
For alternate box art, see the game's gallery.
Developer Nintendo R&D2
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance
Virtual Console (Wii U)
Game Boy Advance - Nintendo Switch Online
Release date Game Boy Advance:
Japan March 21, 2001[1]
USA June 11, 2001
Europe June 22, 2001
Australia June 22, 2001
China June 8, 2004 (iQue)[2]
Virtual Console (Wii U):
Japan July 16, 2014
USA November 6, 2014
Europe March 10, 2016[3]
Australia March 11, 2016
Game Boy Advance - Nintendo Switch Online:
Japan May 26, 2023[4]
USA May 26, 2023[5]
Europe May 26, 2023[6]
Australia May 26, 2023[7]
HK May 26, 2023[8]
Language(s) English (United States)
Genre 2D platformer
ESRB:ESRB's E rating symbol - Everyone
CERO:CERO rating A - All ages
Mode(s) Single player
Wii U:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Nintendo Switch:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Game Boy Advance:
Game Boy Advance icon for use in templates. Game Pak
Wii U:
Wiimote Sideways.png Wii Remote (Horizontal)
Nintendo Switch:
Game Boy Advance:

Super Mario Advance is a remake of Super Mario Bros. 2 developed by Nintendo Research & Development 2 as a launch title for the Game Boy Advance, released in Japan in March 2001 and in North America and Europe in June of the same year. It is based on the Super Mario All-Stars remaster for the SNES, and also contains a remake of the original Mario Bros. game. Super Mario Advance includes many new features, gameplay mechanic changes, graphical and audio enhancements, and stylistic and aesthetic alterations from the All-Stars edition, with the most significant changes being the addition of the enemy Robirdo, a robotic Birdo, replacing Mouser as the boss of World 3; the addition of the "Yoshi Challenge," in which players may revisit stages to search for Yoshi Eggs; a new point-scoring system; multiple hit combos; enlarged sprites; and digital voice acting.

The game was rereleased on the Wii U's Virtual Console in Japan on July 16, 2014; in North America on November 6 of the same year; and in Europe and Australia in March 2016. It was later rereleased on the Nintendo Switch's Game Boy Advance - Nintendo Switch Online service on May 26, 2023.


The story is the same as in the original release of Super Mario Bros. 2, written in the North American manual as follows:[9]

One night, Mario had a mysterious dream. He dreamed he was climbing a long stairway that led up and up to a closed door. When he reached the top and opened the door, he found himself gazing out at a world he had never seen, stretching out to the horizon. Then he heard a voice say, “This is Subcon, the land of dreams. The evil toad, Wart, has used his magic to lay a curse upon the land. Please defeat Wart and free us from his spell. Oh - and remember that Wart hates vegetables. Hurry! We need your help!” And then a bolt of lightning suddenly split the sky, and Mario woke up to find himself on the floor. He had fallen out of bed!

A few days later, Mario and his friends hiked to some nearby mountains for a picnic. Upon reaching their picnic spot, they looked around and found a small cave. When they entered the cave, they were amazed to discover the land Mario had seen in his dream stretching out before them.

List of changes[edit]

Changes to Super Mario Bros. 2 from the previous editions[edit]

Graphical changes[edit]

The developers reduced the display resolution to fit better on the GBA screen, and brightened most of the original color palettes to combat the handheld's lack of a backlight.[10] In the process, Subspace lost its Super Mario All-Stars dark blue tint, and is now only slightly darker than Subcon. Additionally, many sprites are stretched, shrunk, recolored, and rotated, due to the GBA's technical powers.

  • Pidgits and their carpets, Hoopsters, and Autobombs were recolored purple, red, yellow, and gray, respectively; and there are no red Beezos, only yellow.
  • Bombs and Bob-ombs now pulsate when they're about to explode; explosions also do so.
  • Enemies now rotate when thrown.
  • Birdo's eggs now rotate upon hitting a wall.
  • Cherries and Hearts rotate and shrink when collected; the former poofs away, while the latter re-sizes and floats to the Health Meter afterwards. Also, Hearts are bigger, and now pulsate as they float upwards.
  • Trouters enlarge as they reach the peak of their jumps and shrink while falling back down.
  • The "1UP" sprite is redesigned, and it now gets bigger before exploding into particles.
  • Phantos use a larger sprite, which appears shrunk down to the original sprite's size in most cases; they appear in full size when they exit the screen upon the player's throwing the key or losing a life. The original Phanto graphic is used for the lifeless ones.
  • Luigi's overalls (which were purple in All-Stars) and Toad's vest (which was blue) swapped colors.
  • Toad's cap spots were edited to match his kind's modern appearance, though this does not apply to the sprite in the cast list.
  • Front- and back-view "door entry" sprites, backflipping sprites for the Power Squat Jump, and skidding sprites were added for the player characters. Their throwing sprites (which were only used in midair in the All-Stars version) are used again when standing on ground.
  • A "static" effect appears when the player touches a Spark.
  • Characters, items, and enemies fall in front of the water in World 4, as in the NES version.

Along with the character and enemy sprites, many of the scenes and background have also been updated, altered, or modified for the GBA's hardware. While some have been small graphical updates, others added/removed major things to/from the game.

  • The Super Mario Bros. 2 title/story screen is removed. Instead, there is a brand new introduction sequence, which appears as soon as the player turns on the game.
    • Because of this, the explanation of the story is confined to the manual. In the original game, it had been seen by waiting on the title screen.
    • The old title screen's design is retained on the Bonus Chance, Subspace Warp, and Game Over screens. However, the character and item sprites on the bottom are now gold, like the border, and the black background now fades to blue on the bottom.
  • The level intro screen is now preceded by a level chart (like that of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe's Challenge Mode) which shows what levels the player has cleared and how many total Ace Coins they have as a percentage (the Pause screen also has this total); when all five Ace Coins have been collected and the level is cleared, a star is added to the corresponding panel.
  • The character select screen is changed to a three-dimensional circular screen similar to that used for the Tag Barrels in Donkey Kong 64. Additionally, it now displays "Choose a Player" instead of "Please Select Player."
  • The slots on the Bonus Chance screen are now shaded to look more 3D.
  • The background does not flash during explosions, likely to avoid risk of epileptic seizures.
  • The "Contributor" screen only shows the lower half of the original screen, alongside shorter windows.
  • If the player does not get any coins before clearing a level, "No Bonus" appears on the Bonus Chance screen alongside everything else without flashing.
  • Fryguy and Clawgrip have cutscenes before their fights showing their original forms (respectively, a simple pair of eyes and a normal Sidestepper) being transformed by four giant bubbles into their boss forms.
  • In levels, a full HUD is shown on the top of the screen (as in most other 2D Super Mario games), displaying the player's current world and level, lives (with character symbols similar to those in Super Mario Bros. 3), Ace Coins, Yoshi Eggs (in Yoshi Challenge mode only), and score, alongside the Health Meter.
    • Due to this change, the current world and level and the player's extra lives are no longer shown on the Pause screen.
  • Jar interiors have new colorful backgrounds, with a black background outside the jar walls and floor.
  • The sky in the background of the corked jar room now scrolls, and the row of stained glass near the top of the room is now centered.
  • On the cast list screen, the black border is absent, and the view is widened (due to the GBA's resolution).
  • In the cast list, Robirdo is added between Clawgrip and Tryclyde, and like Birdo's sprite, it too lacks its bow.

Textual changes[edit]

Princess Toadstool is now referred to as "Peach" (her original Japanese name and the current universal standard, as introduced to Western territories in Yoshi's Safari and re-introduced and popularized by Super Mario 64 onwards) as opposed to just simply "Princess". Toad is now referred to as "Kinopio", his original Japanese name in that country's version. The Ostro/Birdo mix-up is corrected in the cast list, in addition to misspellings in the international version.

Additionally, some text on the screens has also been changed.

  • On the Pause and Game Over screens, the "&" symbols in "Save & Quit" and "Save & Continue" became "and". The former screen is now headed with "PAUSE".
  • The player's score is displayed on the level intro screen and both it and the current level are displayed on the Game Over screen.
    • On the latter screen, the options from the All-Stars version do not appear until A Button or Start Button is pressed.
  • The stats of each character are shown on the character select screen.
  • "COURSE CLEAR!" (using the same font as in the All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. 3) is now displayed upon clearing a level.
  • On the Contributor screen, the character used the most times is declared the "MVP" rather than the "Contributor," and the number of times each character was used does not appear until after Wart passes across the screen.

Gameplay changes[edit]

Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach now start the game and each life in their Small forms with only one hit point of the current maximum remaining, and their Small forms persist between levels (as in the other 2D Super Mario titles), whereas in the original and All-Stars remaster, they always start each life and level in their Super forms with full health regardless of whether they were in their Small or Super forms upon completion of the previous level. Also, a "Try Again" feature was added to the Pause Screen that allows the player to restart levels from the beginning in Small form.

The controls of the characters have had slight changes made.

  • While climbing vines, chains, or ladders, A Button can be used to drop off at any point.
  • R Button can be used as an additional run button, but not a grab/throw button, making it possible to start running while holding an item.
  • L Button and Select Button can be used to pan the camera vertically and horizontally, respectively, though the latter button can only be used in vertical sections.
  • Toad only runs faster if he's holding a normal-sized POW Block or Mushroom Block.
  • The game can be saved at any time. It saves the current level, like the Super Mario All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, as opposed to just the current world.

The levels have had many updates to their designs, and many levels have had their objects relocated. Some features and items have been added or changed from the original, while others have had their functions slightly changed.

  • An extra Mushroom was added to all levels except for 4-1, raising the maximum hit points per level to five.
  • The placement of certain 1-Up Mushrooms is changed, and there are also 1-Up Mushrooms sitting on the surface; these ones are usually contained within bubbles, which the player can pop with three hits.
  • The boss order is slightly altered: a new enemy named Robirdo, a robotic Birdo, acts as the new boss of World 3; and the second Mouser battle is moved to World 6, where it replaces Tryclyde's second battle.
  • In horizontal sections, the camera is usually panned ahead of the playable character, rather than centered.
  • After the game is beaten, a "Yoshi Challenge" mode is added; the player may revisit the levels to search for two Yoshi Eggs per stage, hidden in Subspace where they replace two of the Mushrooms, and is allowed to select any level to play regardless of whether or not they played them before beating the final boss.
  • An all-new scoring system is introduced, similar to that used in the BS Super Mario USA Power Challenge; players get more points for making one thrown object hit lots of enemies, and are awarded extra lives if they eliminate eight or more in a short time.
  • This game features "giant" variants of vegetables, enemies, and POW Blocks, with enlarged sprites and larger areas of reach. The giant POW Blocks bounce around and shake enemies off the screen four times as opposed to just once.
    • Red Shells are enlarged as well, and are now capable of bouncing off walls and hurting the player.
  • Hearts (here resized) appear much more frequently than in the original; they appear when two or more objects are involved in a collision, when giant enemies are thrown to the ground or beaten, when Red Shells defeat enemies, when Ostros are beaten, simply floating in midair (mainly in boss rooms), and as special radishes that can be pulled up from the ground.
  • Two new objects are introduced: the Hidden Item Container, which gives the player either a Heart, a bomb, or a Starman after being thrown; and the Spark Chaser, located inside jars, which clears Sparks on the walls, ground, and ceiling.
  • Five red Ace Coins are added to each level, which reward an extra life if all are collected in a single level playthrough.
  • Elevator Platforms are added to Worlds 1-1 and 1-3, which spring from under hills to catapult the player to higher places.
  • The ribbons of red and green Birdos are removable.
  • Bombs are bouncier, taking longer to stop moving than in the original or All-Stars versions.
  • Players can now bet more than one coin per spin in the Bonus Chance game to earn more extra lives (the coin amount used times the normal amount of lives gained). Lining up three "7" symbols now gives five extra lives, rather than ten.
  • New jars were added to levels; some incorporate Ferris wheel platforms with Shyguys riding them, and one in World 5-2 has a bouncing blade that expands and contracts.
    • Some of these are jars that were previously inaccessible in prior versions, namely those in World 6-1.
    • A jar was added in World 2-2 to prevent players from softlocking themselves after digging through all the soft sand above them.
  • Most glitches have been fixed.

Some of the enemies are easier to beat compared to the original NES version.

  • Generally, enemies do not respawn unless the player leaves and reenters the area.
  • Cobrat and Snifit bullets travel slower.
  • Pansers shoot fireballs less frequently.
  • Running Ninjis don't turn around as quickly.
  • Swooping Beezos charge forward above magic carpet-riding player characters.
  • Phantos are now beaten by invincibility alone, without the need of a Stop Watch.
  • If the player gets rid of a key, they cannot be hurt by the Phanto, as it flies towards the screen.

Audio changes[edit]

The entire soundtrack has its quality downgraded for the GBA's sound chip, and many of the tracks in the game have been altered or replaced to fit on the GBA.

  • The original Super Mario Bros. 2 title/story screen music is replaced by a new jazz arrangement of the underwater theme from Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels that is similar to Super Mario Bros. 3's title screen music from the All-Stars version.
  • The Subspace music now has same length as the NES version, therefore most of parts from the All-Stars version and the original Super Mario Bros. are removed.
  • Whenever the player enters a boss room, a new foreboding track plays, switching to the boss theme once the battle begins.
  • The final levels of Worlds 2 through 5 use the boss theme for the rooms immediately preceding the bosses' arenas (as in the NES version).
  • World 4-2 now plays the ground theme in its first room (as in the NES version), even though the underground background was not changed.
  • Jar interiors have new music, instead of the underground theme.

Digital voice acting is added for the four playable characters (who are given voice samples for such situations as being chosen, picking up items like Mushrooms or Crystal Balls, gaining an extra life, clearing a level, and losing a life) and the bosses, who are given lines of dialogue for when they begin their respective battles and when they are defeated. An announcer also shouts "Choose a player!" at the character select screen.

Some of the game's sound effects have been altered to fit the GBA's hardware.

  • Mouser's "bomb throw" sound, Tryclyde and Fryguy's "fireball spit" sound, and Clawgrip's "rock throw" sound are all changed to Birdo's "egg spit" sound.
  • The "enemy hit" sound is replaced by its Super Mario World counterpart, and like that game, it increases in pitch during a point chain until extra lives are earned, at which point the All-Stars sound returns (though only for lives gained by shells). However, this does not occur for enemies defeated by invincibility.
  • The drumroll that starts when two of the same picture are lined up in the Bonus Chance minigame now loops until the third slot stops.
  • A chime is added to announce Starmen.
  • Phantos now make the same noises as the larger Phanto in the background of the key rooms as they move around.

Mario Bros. remake[edit]

The game features a Mario Bros. remake also present in the other Advance games, as well as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. The remake features a "Classic Mode" based on the original game's co-op mode, and a "Battle Mode" similar to that used in the All-Stars remake of Super Mario Bros. 3. Changes to the original game come in the form of enhanced graphics, the addition of music where it was originally absent, an extra POW Block in every stage, the addition of the Power Squat Jump, and the replacement of Shellcreepers with Spinies.


Super Mario Advance was developed due to the success of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the Game Boy Color in 1999,[11] and had the tentative names Super Mario USA: Advance for the Japanese market and Super Mario Bros. Deluxe 2 or Super Mario Bros. 2 Deluxe for the international market.[12] Despite the use of most graphical and audio assets from the All-Stars remaster, the game was coded from scratch; new sprites and audio cues were created because their existing counterparts were "not good enough". The development team purposefully decided to add "large" versions of enemies and increase the number of enemies on-screen as a means of highlighting the Game Boy Advance's processing power.[11] The Mario Bros. remake was initially a separate project designed to experiment with four players, but it was eventually decided to include it as an extra.[11]

The main staff for this game includes director Toshiaki Suzuki, producer Masayuki Uemura, and assistant director Hiroaki Sakagami. The team was supervised by Takashi Tezuka, Toshihiko Nakago, and Kensuke Tanabe, respectively the motion designer, lead programmer, and director of the original NES game.


Super Mario Advance received generally positive reviews, garnering an aggregate score of 84% on Metacritic.[13] When GameSpot reviewed the game, it thought that Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World would have been a better choice for a launch game considering their respective popularity;[14] both titles were eventually also remade as part of the Super Mario Advance series. Conversely, IGN praised the choice, calling it "one of the most polished and creative platformers of the era".[15]

Release Reviewer, Publication Score Comment
Game Boy Advance Craig "Talon" Wessel, Gamespy 90/100 "It's Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad…sound familiar? It should. This remake of the NES classic Super Mario Brothers 2 doesn't break any new ground, but it's still a good title to pick up for the GBA."
Game Boy Advance Shahed Ahmed, GameSpot 8.2/10 "Those interested in single-player platformer gameplay, albeit with relatively loose controls, will find Super Mario Bros. 2 both unique and highly challenging, while those looking to link up their GBAs and taking part in multiplayer action will crave the lively, fast-paced gameplay in Mario Bros. The fact that Nintendo decided against packing the GBA game with added features, as in Super Mario DX for the GBC, is disappointing, but Super Mario Advance deserves a close look among the crowded crop of software for the handheld, if for its multiplayer mode alone."
Game Boy Advance Marc Nix, IGN 8.2/10 "If you do pick up Super Mario Advance, I can pretty much promise you won't regret it for a second. It's probably the most immediately satisfying game on the Game Boy Advance right now... until, of course, the next Mario adventure."
Compiler Platform / Score
Metacritic 84
GameRankings 82.17%

Pre-release and unused content[edit]

Main article: List of Super Mario Advance pre-release and unused content

The game's graphics data contains smaller versions of the slot machine icons and two unused vegetables, which also went unused in Super Mario All-Stars. A mouse, possibly intended for Mouser's boss intro with a blue Cobrat, possibly intended for Tryclyde's boss intro were also found in the game's data. Also, an early screenshot of the game, shown on a GBA on the cover of Nintendo Power Vol 143, shows one of the two "hills at night" backgrounds brightened like all the others; in the final game, these retain their original color palette.


Main article: List of Super Mario Advance glitches
  • When playing World 2-2, World 3-1, or World 6-3 as Luigi, the player can pick up a Spark Chaser out of its jar, hitting a Spark at the top and trying to get to one side or the other in the process; once the player leaves the jar, the Spark Chaser becomes a Yoshi Egg, with no change in behavior.
  • In World 2-3, if the player does a Power Squat Jump to the ceiling in the digging area with the Key in hand, their character can get stuck in the wall.
  • In Fryguy's boss fight area, if the player slides underneath one of the flying Mushroom Blocks and releases the down button the character's body will be stuck inside the block; the player can get out of it by sliding again.
  • In World 5-1, if the player jumps on the rightmost log, jumps on top of the wall to the right, picks up the first Mushroom Block and throws it right before landing, the block will float in mid-air.
  • In World 6-1, if the player navigates the Pokey off of the ledge, it will float in mid air, with no change in behavior. The player can navigate the Pokey back onto the ledge.


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Super Mario Advance.


For a complete list of media for this subject, see List of Super Mario Advance media.
Audio.svg Title Theme
File infoMedia:SMA Title Theme.oga
Audio.svg Overworld Theme
File infoMedia:SMA Overworld Theme.oga
Audio.svg Jar Theme
File infoMedia:SMA Jar Theme.oga
Audio.svg Mario Bros. Title Theme
File infoMedia:SMA MB Title Theme.oga
Help:MediaHaving trouble playing?

References to other games[edit]

References in later games[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese スーパーマリオアドバンス
Sūpā Mario Adobansu
Super Mario Advance
Chinese (Simplified) 超级马力欧2 (iQue)
Chāojí Mǎlìōu Èr
Super Mario 2
Chinese (Traditional) 超級瑪利歐ADVANCE
Chāojí Mǎlìōu ADVANCE
Super Mario Advance


  • In the intro of this game, a portion of the screen is light while the borders are darkened, which remains that way until the characters are positioned above the grass to pick them up, where the darkened parts are brightened. The resolution of the bright portion is the same resolution as the Game Boy, at 160 x 144 pixels.
  • This game has several differences from the later games in the Super Mario Advance series.
    • It is the only game to not feature a prologue cutscene that depicts the story from the game's manual (or its original opening cutscene in the case of Super Mario Advance 3).
    • It is the only game to not feature the original game's opening when selecting the game.
    • It is the only game to, when selecting the main game, have the chorus (consisting of all playable characters) declare the title in full (in the second and fourth games, the chorus is truncated to just "Super Mario," preceded by Mario only saying "Here we go!", and in Super Mario Advance 3, due to the main game being Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, it is replaced with a shout of "Yoshi!").
    • It is the only game to not have French, German, and Spanish translations, due to not having any amount of screen text substantial enough to warrant such translations.
  • Unlike the majority of Nintendo-published games of the era, the instruction booklet's copyright page does not have the Official Nintendo Seal of Quality in its normal certificate text box, even though the manual for the GBA system does use the seal's box in its design from the previous hardware generation. Instead, the seal is presented with small text below it, as it would be in a third-party game's manual. An updated design for the seal's text box was introduced with Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the following first-party GBA title.


  1. ^
  2. ^ “2004年6月,神游推出小神游GBA,捆绑简体中文版《超级马力欧2》和《瓦力欧寻宝记》” (In June 2004, iQue released the iQue Game Boy Advance, with the Simplified Chinese versions of Super Mario Advance and Wario Land 4 bundled.) 大狗 (June 22, 2016). 《记录》第17期:神游中国(上). 触乐. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  3. ^ Nintendo Download: 10th March (Europe). Nintendo Life. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  4. ^ Nintendo 公式チャンネル (May 18, 2023). ゲームボーイアドバンス Nintendo Switch Online 追加タイトル [2023年5月26日]. YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2023.
  5. ^ Nintendo of America (May 18, 2023). Game Boy Advance – May 2023 Game Updates – Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2023.
  6. ^ @NintendoEurope (May 19, 2023). "Join Mario and friends for some classic platforming action! Three classic Game Boy Advance titles from the Super Mario Advance series come to #NintendoSwitchOnline + Expansion Pack 26/05." Twitter. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  7. ^ @NintendoAUNZ (May 19, 2023). "Join Mario and friends for some classic platforming action! Three classic Game Boy Advance titles from the Super Mario Advance series come to #NintendoSwitchOnline + Expansion Pack 26/05." Twitter. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  8. ^ 任天堂(香港)有限公司 (May 19, 2023). "加入「Nintendo Switch Online + 擴充包」就可遊玩的「Game Boy Advance™ - Nintendo Switch Online」,5月26日起新增可以遊玩的作品《超級瑪利歐ADVANCE》《超級瑪利歐ADVANCE 2》《超級瑪利歐ADVANCE 3》。" Facebook. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  9. ^ Super Mario Advance Instruction Booklet (US), page 13
  10. ^ The extent to which color palettes were brightened is inconsistent and varies widely throughout the game. Some palettes, such as those used for the tilesets in the ending cutscenes, were not brightened at all.
  11. ^ a b c Interview on Nintendo's Japanese website, Nintendo. Retrieved March 30 2015 (partial translation available here)
  12. ^ Marionova64 (July 30, 2020). Super Mario Advance Unused Title Screen Voicelines. Twitter. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  13. ^ Super Mario Advance (gba) reviews. June 11, 2001. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  14. ^ Super Mario Advance for the Game Boy Advance review. GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
  15. ^ Super Mario Bros. 2: Super Mario Advance - Game Boy Advance Review. IGN. Retrieved 2010-02-26.