GBA Review: Yoshi's Island: SMA3
Review by: AxemRed (axemred@sm128c.com)

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: Sep 27, 2002
 EU: Oct 11, 2002

Screenshots:

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Final Score:
9.0/10

Reviewed on: August 5, 2003

Super Mario Advance 3 is the third re-release of a classic Mario game onto the Gameboy Advance system. The classic presented this time in the SMA series is Yoshi’s Island. Of course, as with all SMA games, the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros. is also available on the cartridge. This newest edition of Super Mario Advance is probably the best one yet.

Yoshi’s Island is just as good on the GBA as it was on the Super Nintendo. There are some minor changes in the game that make it different from the original version, and these changes perhaps make the game even better. The biggest change from the original version is that there are six new levels to try once a player completes all 48 of the regular levels. The extra levels (awarded when a player gets 800 points in a world) are also still in the game, so now there is a total of 60 levels to play!

Another minor change from the original version is that a player is awarded extra lives when they earn 300 points or more in a world. This makes the game considerably easier. Also, the Bonuses in each world can now be opened when a player has 700 points, as opposed to the 800 that one would have to earn in the SNES version. Other minor changes include a couple of new map screens and some music changes in certain levels (no new tracks added, just some tracks were switched). The majority of changes made to the game make it better than the original. The one negative change is that extra lives are easier to obtain, since it was already easy to obtain them anyway.

For those who have never played the original Yoshi’s Island, it should be known that this is one of the best platformers ever. Yoshi’s Island is a unique game because Yoshi can swallow his enemies and turn them into eggs (which are weapons). A player can make Yoshi throw the eggs to open up certain areas and hurt his enemies. Yoshi also can do a hovering jump which is different from any other video game character’s jump. The graphics are very good, especially on some of the bosses. The music in the game is creative, and it is somewhat catchy at times. But the soundtrack is certainly nothing to brag about. The life of the game is the best thing about it. The normal levels in the game are actually rather easy, but it can still be hard to get a perfect score (100 points) on all of them. The addition of the secret levels to the game make it much better because they are so hard to beat, and barely possible to get a perfect score on. The levels that aren’t normally on the world map can take a lot of time to beat, and a player must have a sharp mind to solve some of the puzzles in them. A player can spend hours trying to get a perfect score on some of the hidden levels.

The Mario Bros. arcade game is just the same as it was in the other two SMA cartridges. Nothing to get excited about, but it is still very fun. It is especially fun when four players get linked together and play at once. As with the other editions of SMA, there can be a link with any of the other games (including SMA4). The game is still the same as before, though. It is not improved on in any way.

This game is better than both the original Yoshi’s Island and the two previous Super Mario Advance games. The updated Yoshi’s Island will provide several hours of play, especially for someone who is new to it. The Mario Bros. game is just as fun as it’s always been, and playing with four players can make it even more fun. For new fans of the Super Mario series, this is definitely a good game to start with.

-- AxemRed (axemred@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: Yoshi's Island is one of the best platformers available, and it will provide hours of fun. Even if you have played Yoshi's Island before, this is an improved version so you should still give it a try. And if you have never played the original, YOU NEED TO PLAY THIS!!!