Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land is the first installment in the titular Super Mario Land series, released as a launch title for the Game Boy in 1989 as the first handheld title in the series. Unlike previous installments, the game takes place in Sarasaland rather than the Mushroom Kingdom, and introduces Princess Daisy, a new character serving as the damsel-in-distress in place of Princess Peach. Tatanga, a malevolent alien with powers of hypnosis, serves as both the main antagonist and final boss. Unlike previous games, Super Mario Land was not developed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo's EAD division, but by Nintendo R&D1, with Gunpei Yokoi as guiding producer.
In addition to being the first of the three Super Mario Land games, this game is also the shortest, comprising of only twelve levels spanning four different worlds. It was succeeded by Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, which introduced Wario, and Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, which is also the first installment in the Wario Land series. They were originally excluded from the main Super Mario series, but were included alongside the more traditional games for the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., and the history page from the Mario Portal and "The official home for Mario" websites.
This game is notable for its inclusion of different or unrelated enemies and sound effects compared to traditional titles. Additionally, though the game did not receive critical acclaim, mainly due to its graphical capabilities and shortness in length, it sold extremely well, eventually totaling over 18 million copies sold, making it the fourth best-selling game for the Game Boy overall. The game was later rereleased for the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console in 2011, over twenty years after the original game was released.
The following text is taken directly from the instruction booklet.
In this game, Mario is tasked with saving Princess Daisy and the inhabitants of Sarasaland from Tatanga. To do so, he must travel across and conquer all four kingdoms - the Birabuto Kingdom, a desert kingdom based on ancient Egypt, the Muda Kingdom, an aquatic kingdom, the Easton Kingdom, a kingdom partially based on Easter Island, and the Chai Kingdom, a kingdom inspired by mythical ancient China.
The first three kingdoms are each guarded by a boss Mario must defeat to rescue an enemy disguised as Princess Daisy. These three kingdoms are led by the Gao-like King Totomesu, Yurarin Boo-like Dragonzamasu, and Tokotoko-like Hiyoihoi. A cloud known as Biokinton is fought in the fourth kingdom. In the end, Mario must board the Sky Pop to battle and defeat Tatanga himself in his heavily armed airship, Pagosu. After he is defeated, Mario rescues Daisy and the two ride off together in a spaceship.
It is revealed in the sequel, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, that Wario took advantage of the events in this game to take over Mario's castle. In this game, Tatanga guards a Golden Coin, presumably working under Wario.
Super Mario Land is very similar to previous Mario platformer games. allows the player to jump, while serves as the action command, allowing Mario to run faster. controls where Mario walks or runs. The player may also pause at anytime with . Jumping on an enemy usually defeats it and earns the player points. When Mario is Superball Mario, or if he is driving the Marine Pop or Sky Pop, fires out projectiles at Mario's enemies.
Most of the bosses can either be beaten via physical attack, or by jumping on a switch behind the boss. Collecting one hundred coins earns Mario an extra life, and if he manages to earn 100,000 points, he gains an extra continue to use in the event all lives are lost.
Mario is vulnerable as Small Mario. When he gets a Super Mushroom, he grows slightly in size and is able to take damage once without losing a life, instead reverting back to his small state. If Mario collects a Superball Flower, he becomes Superball Mario, and is able to shoot Superballs at his enemies. If Mario happens to find and collect a Star, he becomes invincible, and is able to defeat any enemy just by touching it. These effects are temporary and last a short time.
At the end of every non-boss level, the player reaches a goal tower with two entrances. The lower entrance takes Mario directly to the next stage, while the upper entrance sends him to a bonus game for the chance to win a Superball Flower or one, two, or three extra lives.
After the main game is beaten, the Mushroom icon on the title screen changes to an icon of Mario's head. This allows the player to play through the game once more, with additional enemies spread throughout the levels, though no further changes occur to increase the difficulty. Beating this game unlocks a level select option. As the game has no battery backup, the title screen reverts to the standard version upon switching the Game Boy off, resetting the game, or having the batteries run out.
Worlds and levels
Super Mario Land utilizes Sarasaland as the main setting rather than the Mushroom Kingdom. The land is divided into four kingdoms serving as the corresponding worlds of the game - the Birabuto Kingdom, the Muda Kingdom, the Easton Kingdom, and the Chai Kingdom, respectively. Each world consists of three levels. These levels normally feature music, backgrounds, and enemies relevant to the themes of their respective worlds. Due to the length of the game, as well as the amount of enemies featured in the game, most enemies are indigenous to one world, while some only appear in one level. At the end of the first two levels of each world, Mario reaches a goal allowing him to advance to the next level immediately, or complete a bonus game for an item beforehand. At the end of the third and final level of each world, Mario fights and defeats a boss to rescue an enemy disguised as Daisy, with the exception of the Chai Kingdom, where he must defeat two bosses, including Tatanga, to rescue the real Daisy.
Around thirty different types of enemies appear in Super Mario Land. Some are found throughout multiple kingdoms, though most are exclusive to a certain kingdom. The only recurring enemy of previous Mario titles is the Piranha Plant, which goes under its Japanese name, Pakkun Flower. A few creatures seem to be closely related to enemies of earlier Mario games, though most of them are unique to Super Mario Land. Notably, their English names are generally very similar or identical to the Japanese names, with the only exception being Kumo, which is not the case for other localizations of Super Mario platformers.
The following enemies and obstacles appear throughout several different courses, and are not indigenous to any particular kingdom.
The following enemies and boss are found only in the Birabuto Kingdom.
The following enemies and boss are found only in the Muda Kingdom.
The following enemies and boss are found only in the Easton Kingdom.
The following enemies and bosses are found only in the Chai Kingdom.
Objects and obstacles
The following objects and obstacles exist within the game, either to help, hurt, or hinder Mario and his progress.
Later printings of the game featured alterations to the soundtrack and fixed the screen wraparound glitch of the original release. Unusually for a Virtual Console version, the 3DS release of Super Mario Land is based on the original version rather than the 1.1 revision.
Super Mario Land was initially set to be the pack-in game for the Game Boy. However, Henk Rogers of Bullet-Proof Software managed to convince NOA president Minoru Arakawa that Tetris would have wider appeal.
The game was developed by Nintendo R&D 1 rather than by Nintendo EAD, making it the first Super Mario platformer to not be developed by EAD. Gunpei Yokoi acted as the producer and future R&D manager Satoru Okada was the director. Hirokazu Tanaka handled the sound effects and soundtrack.
Nintendo eShop description
To tie in with the game's Japanese release, an original soundtrack for the game was published in that region by Nippon Columbia, featuring arrangements of ten of Tanaka's compositions by Ikuro Fugiwara, and performed by the "Mario Freaks Orchestra."
Super Mario Land was the focus of Game Boy, a 4-issues miniseries published by Valiant Comics as part of its Nintendo Comics System brand. The series had Tatanga and his minions invade the Real World after being summoned by disgrunted electronic store worker Herman Smirch, while Mario fought to foil their efforts.
Super Mario Land received mostly positive reviews. The difficulty, the length of the game, the price, and the overall gameplay experience were among the most discussed aspects of the game. The game has received a 77.94% based on 8 reviews.
Corbie Dillard of Nintendo Life noted the successors of the game as superior in both length and quality, praising the sequel, Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, as the better game, despite the price. However, he recommended playing the game in commemoration of Mario's first portable experience. Adam Riley of Cubed3 scored the game well, also acknowledging the standards achieved by later games, while also recommending the game as a short and sweet adventure.
Additionally, Lucas M. Thomas of IGN, noted the differences between the game and standard titles as odd, focusing on the graphical and other visual capabilities. Nevertheless, he gave the game a good 7.5/10 rating, calling it a "small, singular oddball", though worth the small purchase.
Ryan Lambie of Den of Geek reviewed the game on a much more positive note, referring to it as both an "underrated classic" and "weird but deeply lovable handheld classic", complimenting the difficulty, music, and simplified graphics, among various other aspects of the game.
On GameSpot, the game received an average rating of 8.1 out of over 2,000 reviews, with almost half of the ratings being 8/10. The more positive reviews praised the simple though memorable elements of gameplay. The neutral or mixed reviews noted the short length of the game and the graphical capabilities, while acknowledging some of the aforementioned positive traits the game had to offer. Various negative or critical reviews heavily or harshly criticized the graphics and length in addition to other aspects such as the controls and inexplicable differences from main games in the series.
The game sold very well. It became the fourth best-selling Game Boy game, with over 18 million copies sold. Additionally, it is currently the tenth Mario game with the most sales overall, as well as the sixth best-selling portable Mario game, being surpassed by New Super Mario Bros. and Mario Kart DS, both for the Nintendo DS, and Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS, as well as Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, both for the Nintendo Switch.
Pre-release and unused content
The theme that played when climbing ladders lasted much longer, over five seconds longer than necessary.
A tile reserved for a Hidden Block existed in 3-3, though was ultimately unused, rendering it futile.
Various jingles, including the death and goal themes, originally had less detailed audio, with no background tracks.
Several enemies and platforms were misplaced in certain levels, indicating developmental oversight. For instance, a Bombshell Koopa is placed right above a pit in 3-2, and can only be spotted if quick enough.
In 1-1, Mario must get hit by a Honen at the same time he falls from the bottom side of the screen, causing a glitchy sound to play rather than the regular sound effects. This also happens in 1-3, if Mario auto-fires a wall while turning into Super Mario.
Additionally, while battling Hiyoihoi, Mario may be at the left edge of the boss's platform. If done correctly, every time a Ganchan is thrown, Mario is able to collect it as a coin.
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages