Many would argue that Super Mario Bros. 3 is close to the pinnacle of 8 bit video games, and some would even go as far as saying it’s one of the greatest games of all time!
Developed by Nintendo and released in the United States in 1990, Super Mario Bros. has sold over 17 million copies worldwide making it the third best selling NES game.
What can be said about Super Mario Bros 3. That hasn’t already been said?
While the original Super Mario Bros. is considered a classic and was the start of a video game icon, the third in the series expands the world of Mario exponentially.
After the somewhat ‘miss step’ of Super Mario Bros. 2 (I remember enjoying it as a kid, but it still was very different compared to the original), number three in this series blew my mind.
The plot hasn’t changed too much though, with Bowser again causing problems for Mario and Luigi in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Along with his Koopa Kids, Bowser has captured the king’s magic wand and turned him into an animal.
It’s up to our heroes to traverse the ‘worlds’ of the Mushroom Kingdom, find and defeat the Koopa Kids and restore order to the land.
While the plot is fairly basic, the game itself now is so much bigger and so much bolder than its predecessors.
This is evident at the very beginning of the game. For starters, the linear stage progression of the previous titles has been replaced with a world map system.
Players get to move Mario (or Luigi in 2 player mode) around each world map and choose which path they take to tackle stages.
While the very first world has a pretty basic layout (and is linear itself), future worlds have more complicated routes to navigate.
This includes finding bonus stages, warp pipes and fighting against the Hammer Bros. (who independently move around the map).
Each world ends with a final stage that takes place on an airship owned by the Koopa Clan.
These airship stages are generally harder to beat as they require more precise platforming gameplay.
These stages also continually auto scroll to the right (as in, the stage keeps on moving even when you are not moving), forcing the player to keep up or face certain death.
At the end of each airship stage, the player will face off against one of the Koopa Kids in a climatic boss battle.
When it comes to the gameplay, Super Mario Bros. 3 is sublime. Like most Mario games, it’s one of the best platformers ever.
There have been a number of improvements from the original game.
One of these is the amount of new power-ups that Mario and Luigi can use.
This includes the Fire Flower and Starman power-ups that were in the first game, as well as a host of new ones.
Super Mario Bros. 3 introduces the Super Leaf.
This item grants the Tanooki Suit allowing Mario or Luigi to fly up in the air temporarily if enough speed is gained.
Other new power-ups include the Frog Suit, giving the player better control of movement when under water.
Another new feature is the ability to store these power-ups and use them when you see fit (Before you enter a stage from the map).
Some of them will help you on the world map like the Hammer, that breaks rocks blocking routes that the player can take.
Other features include a massive new roster of enemies for the player to tackle.
From Flying Koopa Troopas, to Venus Traps shooting fireballs, there are enough new challenges here to test a player and their skills.
Generally, stages have become more complicated in layout and structure as well.
They can include multiple sections, a range of secrets and elements that mix-up the gameplay.
Each world has its own theme and gimmicks that players will notice as they progress through the game.
There are a total of eight worlds in Super Mario Bros. 3 that the player must work through.
Each one has their own theme and setting, as well as gameplay mechanics.
World 1 – Grass Land
As you would expect, the first world contains the easiest stages as well as a basic map layout.
There aren’t many surprises here, with the first batch of stages introducing basic gameplay mechanics.
World 2 – Desert Land
Welcome to the Desert Land where you will face against a bunch a new foes – some that exclusive to this area like the Angry Sun.
The players also have to be wary of environmental traps such as sand pits and the notorious Chain Chomp!
World 3 – Water Land
Most games have them – the dreaded water level, but Super Mario Bros. 3 takes it to the extreme with an entire water world!
As you can imagine by the name, you’ll be in a lot of water based stages. This makes the Frog Suit power-up especially useful.
The player even has to avoid the dangerous Boss Bass – a giant fish that leaps and tries to swallow you whole in one bite.
World 4 – Giant Land
The famous giant world, definitely one of my favourites in the game.
The player will have to navigate giant sized version of enemies including goombas and Koopa Troopas.
Even other items have been given the gigantic treatment such as ? Blocks.
World 5 – Sky Land
We head up, up and away with Sky Land.
Starting off with some ground-type stages, the player will eventually make their way into the clouds and back down again.
Here you also find a stage with the Goomba Shoe, an item you can ride to stomp on other enemies (and avoid environmental hazards)
World 6 – Ice Land
Of course they had to include a frozen world in the game!
Ice land, as the name implies, has stages filled with ice blocks that force the player to slip and slide when crossed.
This makes platforming more difficult, especially in gauging jump distance and speed.
The land also has the most stages in the game, with 10 in total.
World 7 – Pipe Land
Welcome to the maze like world of Pipe Land!
Stages can be a little more confusing here as the you have to navigate different warp pipes.
And of course, many of these pipes are filled with different varieties of piranha plant enemies.
World 8 – Dark Land
Being the final world in the game, Dark Land includes the hardest stages in the game.
Making your way to confront Bowser will have many challenges in the way, testing your platforming reflexes.
This includes a stage your entire view is darkened, except for a small circle of light around Mario (or Luigi).
Defeat Bower and rescue Princess Peach to win the game!