SNES Review: Yoshi's Island
Review by: Namek (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Game InfoSystem: Super NES
# of Players: 1
Size: 16 Megabits
Game Save: Yes
US: Mar 25, 1995
One of the last blockbuster games released for the Super Nintendo (SNES) system, Yoshi's Island was also one of the best. Also known as "Super Mario World 2," Yoshi's Island represented the pinnacle of 2D 16-bit gaming. Shigeru Miyamoto created the side-scrolling platform genre of gaming; and in 1995 with Yoshi's Island, he perfected it.
Graphically, Yoshi's Island was truly a work of art. The game was powered by the Super FX2 chip which (in the words of Nintendo) allowed for "incredibly smooth vertical, horizontal and diagonal scrolling, as well as multiple foregrounds, multiple backgrounds, scaling, rotation, zooming, tons of special effects, huge characters and even bigger bosses." However you phrase it, the game just looked pretty darned awesome. It actually resembled a cartoon, and showcased the abilities of the aging but agile SNES.
The Yoshi's Island graphics were rendered in an innovative hand-drawn artistic fashion that called to mind cartoons and pastel paints. More importantly, the style felt organic...a refreshing departure from the typical videogaming fare.
The gameplay of Yoshi's Island was in many ways similar to the first SNES title, Super Mario World. One great addition to the usual Miyamoto repertoire of jumps and stomps was Yoshi's ability to throw eggs. By swallowing his enemies, Yoshi was able to -ahem- produce eggs that make effective weapons. Egg-tossing added yet another fun level to the already deep gameplay.
Shigeru Miyamoto was once asked about how games have changed over the past ten years. He replied that today's games are different because they will retain their value over the long-term. The 64-bit games made today, Miyamoto insisted, will still be enjoyable ten years from now. While this was not generally true of 16-bit games, Yoshi's Island must also be considered in this category. The game was simply ahead of its time.
-- Namek (email@example.com)
Bottom Line: While some Super Nintendo games have easily been surpassed by their next generation cousins (see, generally, Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64, StarFox and StarFox 64, etc), Yoshi's Island was such a strong game of its genre that it will be difficult to improve upon.