GBA Review: Super Mario Advance
Review by: TW (

Game Info

 System: Game Boy Advance
 ESRB: Everyone
 Genre: Platform
 # of Players: 1-4
 Size: 32 Megabits
 Developer: Nintendo
 Publisher: Nintendo

 Game Save: Yes
 Multi-Pak Link: Yes
 Single-Pak Link: Yes

 Release Date:
 US: Jun 11, 2001
 EU: Jun 22, 2001





Final Score:

Reviewed on: July 14, 2001

A while back when Nintendo's "Playstation-Beater" Portable was unveiled to the public eye, the word Super Mario Advance came to light. What could it be? The TRUE Super Mario Land 3 (Excluding Wario Land and its sequels), as I hoped. But as the release date drew nearer it turned out that it was going to be a port of an old Mario game, similar to the great SMBDX on the GBC. But this time it was Super Mario Bros. 2 USA, the reworked Doki Doki Panic that Western audiences got in 1988 instead of Super Mario Bros. 2 Lost Levels. I initially thought this is good as I never got SMB2 on the NES, only 1 and 3 for the reason it was so different, but this time as they have reworked it, it may just live up to the challenge?

Nintendo have simply pulled the game out of their dusty Osaka attic, added a few new features, made the screen larger and put in Charles Martient and co. doing thir nice Mario voices. Then they slap "Mario Bros" onto it, which the untrained Mario fan would think is the 1985 classic, but is a simple Arcade game which has the most boring concept of all time. I tried and be optimistic about it, and when I finally got the game I was greeted with exactly the opposite of my optimism.

Super Mario Bros. 2

The Nice thing about this game is that you can select a character out of Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad. Mario is the all-rounder, Luigi is a high-jump star, Peach is no good at all, and Toad is the "Sonic the Hedgehog" of Mario 2. The main objective is to get through each level and defeat a boss at the end, which is surprising in a Mario game, since you usually fight a boss at the end of each world, not each level (excluding SM64), then you get to the end and defeat Wart.

The other thing I can be nice to Nintendo about here is the graphics, which look great and colourful, they have turned the previously boring Sub-Con into a great, Yoshi's Story style land with active graphical backgrounds and a greater selection of colours. The Wide screen also helps with seeing enemies before you run into them, but there is a lack in some respects as games like Tony Hawks' and F-Zero graphics are damn better.

The sound has been improved from the NES version, and voices provided by Charles Martient and co. which are nice, but sound a bit 'tinny', and there isn't really much of it, it's all the same really, and Peach and Toad's voices sound bad. Also the music is annoying and repetitive in places, there is only about 4 tunes, surely they could have added some more…

The bad thing about this game is the difficulty, it is exceptionally hard in places when it needn't be, and sometimes the slightest mistake can see you being taken back to the beginning of the level. This is why I prefer games with health meters and not simply 'dying' as soon as you get hit or fall down some hole that appears

Also the game has no replay value, no extra modes like "You vs Boo" or opening up a new game (SMB Lost Levels) as seen in SMBDX, just the Yoshi challenge which has no rewards, surely they could have made Yoshi playable or something?

Mario Bros. Arcade

As I mentioned before this is not the 1985 classic but the 1983 arcade game which was Luigi's Debut. It may have been OK in 1983 arcades, but on 2001 32-Bit Hand-held it is absolutely a waste of time. If I remember they even put this on SMB3 NES as a Head-to-Head level. The concept is one of the most boring ever devised -

Hit POW block or jump baddie from below
Kick baddie to kill.
Repeat Twice to win Level
Repeat n times

It is all on one screen, if you run off you appear on the other side

I haven't played this, but the multiplayer game is the Mario Bros. Battle mode, which seems to be the only good thing on this part of the Cart. They didn't bother doing a SMB2 Multiplayer like there was in SMBDX on the GB Colour, they just decided to cop-out and do a Mario Bros one.

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe vs. Super Mario Advance





Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels (earnable)

Super Mario Bros. 2 and Mario Bros. Arcade


8-bit Colour

32-Bit Colour


Yoshi Challenge, Versus Boo Mode, Printouts, Fortune Telling, Picture Gallery, Calendar

Yoshi Challenge (earnable)


Versus Game Challenge

Mario Bros. Battle

So, as you see in this chart, I would rather play a fully-fledged second game like Lost Levels over a Arcade thing that lasts 10 minutes, and the only extras on SMA is the Yoshi Challenge which you have to earn, so I think SMBDX rules supreme here.


Super Mario Advance is extremely lacklustre, sure they have made SMB2 better than it was, but there is not enough material here to keep you going on, and slapping Arcade Mario Bros. onto the cart isn't going to help either. This game has neither the features, depth and playability of Super Mario DX on the GBC, Nintendo have gone and hauled out this game with no thought of what they could have made. Which is a new Mario game for a new console like all previous have done.

-- TW (

Bottom Line: Nintendo screwed up here and did not try at all, SMBDX 2 it is not. If you want a real port get SMBDX, but if you do like SMB2 a lot get this, but its not much more than the original.