Super Mario Advance
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Super Mario Advance (Japanese: スーパーマリオアドバンス Sūpā Mario Adobansu) is the port remake of Super Mario Bros. 2 developed by Nintendo Research & Development 2 as a launch title for the handheld 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. 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.
Changes to Super Mario Bros. 2 from the All-Stars edition
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 is moved to World 6, where he replaces Tryclyde. 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 point-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 an extra life if they hit enough foes. Two new items are introduced in Advance: the Roulette, which gives the player either a heart, a bomb, or a Super Star after being thrown; and the "Spark Chaser," located inside vases, 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 play. The level intro screen is now accompanied by a "map screen" which shows what levels the player has cleared; when all five Ace Coins have been collected in a certain level, a star is added to the corresponding panel.
Nearly all levels have extra items and enemies added to them, and some also undergo minor design alterations. 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. Hearts (here resized) appear much more frequently than in the original; they appear whenever two or more objects are involved in a collision, and appear as special radishes that can be pulled up from the ground. Other gameplay changes in Advance include the addition of a "Try Again" feature that allows the player to restart levels from the beginning in Small form; enemies that they do not respawn unless the player leaves and reenters the area; the addition of large carrots to the first and third levels, which spring from under hills to catapult the player to higher places; the ribbons of red and green Birdos being removable; and players being allowed to bet more than one coin per spin in the Bonus Chance game.
The game also features "giant" variants of vegetables, enemies, and POW Blocks, with enlarged sprites and larger areas of reach. The giant enemies also yield hearts when thrown to the ground or beaten, and 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, yielding hearts, and hurting the player. The areas within vases are completely revamped, gaining a new background and an original theme; some vases also incorporate Ferris wheel platforms with Shy Guys riding them. 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; in the process, Subspace lost its original dark-blue tint, the Mario brothers' overalls were changed to the standard blue, and Toad's vest was recolored purple like in some of his vintage hand-drawn artworks. The enemies Pidgit, Hoopster, and Autobomb were recolored purple, yellow, and gray respectively; and there are no red Beezos, only yellow. Other graphical additions include a "flash" effect that appears when the player touches a Spark; a more advanced animation for the Power Squat Jump; front- and back-view "door entry" sprites for the player characters; and an enlarged sprite for the Phantos that appears in full size when they exit the screen upon the player's throwing the key or losing a life.
The Super Mario Bros. 2 title screen is removed, and the character select screen is changed to a three-dimensional circular screen similar to that used for the tag barrels in Donkey Kong 64, now labeled in the international version as "Choose a Player" instead of "Please Select Player." Princess Toadstool is now simply referred to as "Peach" (her original Japanese name and the current universal standard) as opposed just simply "Princess", Toad regains his original Japanese name in that country's version, and misspellings and the Ostro/Birdo mix-up are corrected in the international version of the cast list. During the ending sequence, where the heroes are standing before the crowd of Subcon people, the player 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.
The entire soundtrack has its quality downgraded for the GBA's sound chip. 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. The final levels of Worlds 1 through 5 use the boss theme for the section immediately preceding the battles, and whenever the player enters a boss room, a new track plays, switching to the main boss theme once the battle begins. The original forms of the bosses Fryguy and Clawgrip (respectively, a simple pair of eyes and a normal Sidestepper) are seen before the heroes battle them; four giant bubbles transform them before their fights. A chime is added to announce Super Stars, Phantos now make the same noises as the larger Phanto in the background of the key rooms as they move around, and Tryclyde and Fryguy's "fireball spit" sound and Clawgrip's "rock throw" sound are both changed to Birdo's "egg spit" sound.
Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad 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 Mario platformers), whereas in the original and All-Stars remaster, they always started 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. An extra Mushroom was added to each level, raising the maximum hit points per level to five.
Mario Bros. remake
The game features a Mario Bros. remake that carries over into the other Advance games and the RPG 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. 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. The Mario Bros. remake was initially a separate project designed to experiment with the Game Boy Advance's link cable feature, but it was eventually decided to include it as an extra.
Super Mario Advance received generally positive reviews, garnering an aggregate score of 84% on Metacritic. 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; 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".
References to and in other games
For references also present in the original game, see here.
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 Issue #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.