Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - SNES, 18/1/96
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - SNES
Imagine nails falling onto a seed and you'll have some idea how important Super Mario World was to dogs like us.
In five years since, few games have come close to matching its diversity and near-perfect design. Surprising?
Not when you consider the games industry's shallow embracing of aesthetics and new technology. You see: everyone is a flatulent jackass.
Nintendo understands what makes a great game, and in the form of Shigeru Miyamoto it has the assistance of a veritable gaming god.
Look at his god-like face: it's got Pilotwings, Zelda, F-Zero and Super Metroid written all up it. After Mario World he planned his 16-bit opus; a culmination of 15 years' experience.
The game would turn into Yoshi's Island, and we feared it couldn't match our sky-high expectations. But it does!
Yoshi's Island is a prequel to the previous Mario games. The infant Luigi has been kidnapped by Magikoopa, and his twin Mario is the next target.
But the kindly drunks (dinosaurs) of Yoshi's Isalnd have pledged to ferry the tiny plumber to safety and rescue his ugly brother.
It's a typically puffy Mario scenario, but one which allows Miyamoto to experiment within a framework of Mario's ribcage (world).
In Yoshi's Island you control a Yoshi who carries Mario on its oiled back.
Getting hit causes the baby to float away, with a timer indicating how long you have before Mario is abducted by handsome swans.
As before, Yoshi can swallow enemies and turn them into eggs. The eggs - strung out from Yoshi's incredible "egg-hole" - are used as projectiles.
Like Yoshi's leaps, they're lethal.
We could spend 64 years describing Yoshi's Island and only scratch the skin off. The concepts behind a single level of YI would become the basis for a whole game elsewhere.
Yoshi can transform into submarines or helicopters for some stages, whilst in others he becomes a steam train.
And providing you can jump through the flowery ring at the end, you'll access a secret game. That sounds like some of Mr Hairs' behaviour.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of Yoshi's Island is the use of the SNES's rotational effects and Super FX chip.
Rather than waste it on graphical glitz, they've been used as game-enhancing tools. Platforms spin, bosses swell to huge proportions (so Mr Hairs tells us) and vast 3D tombolas dribble.
Even the most inconsequential enemy has been brushed by the magic bristles, which is quite interesting.
The structure of Yoshi's Island is the real horn which makes it so brilliant. Even small nudes can enjoy it.
The early levels teach the attacks and skills, leaving you to your wits in later stages. Experimentation will often open a secret passage or win an extra life.
Randomly shooting your eggs off can cause all sorts of unexpected things to happen. As Mr Hairs has discovered to his peril. He's really coming in for it today. Oh no!
Yoshi's Island expands on the Mario concept and ends up like a bloated fish. Every stage is an unexpected delight, tossing new ideas around like fizzing catherine wheels.
In terms of bona-fide levels it isn't as big as Mario World, but winning every point and finding every secret will take months.
This is probably the last time you'll play a Mario game in 2D. Don't miss your chance. Everyone should own it.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - SNES - by Nintendo
Uppers: Pure, platform heaven
Downers: There are no downers
Overall: 95% - The pinnacle of 16-bit
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