Virtual Console Review: Super Mario Land

Super Mario Land first hit the scene back on the original Game Boy in 1989 in Japan and America, coming to Europe in 1990. It was Mario’s first appearance on the Game Boy, and funnily enough, today it marks Mario’s first appearance released on a 3DS. Super Mario Land is one of the three launch titles for the 3DS Virtual Console in Europe.

When I first caught wind that this title would be available for the launch of the e-Shop, I knew I had to download it. Super Mario Land is pretty straight forward. You must guide Mario to the end of each level before the time runs out, avoiding Goombas, Spiders, and Koopas whose shells explode when you kill them. At the end of the levels you will find two exit doors, with the harder door of the two allowing a bonus mini game where you can gain more lives or a Flower power-up. There are four worlds, each world containing a boss on the final level. These are pretty simple to over- come. What I like about the games on the Virtual Console games is the fact that you can create a restore point, meaning if you are fighting the last boss in World 4, you won’t have to start from World 1.

Visually its exactly how you would remember it from playing over 20 years ago, what you would expect from an original Game Boy title. Not too much detail in the backgrounds, plain and simple.

Controls are pretty basic, similar to playing it on the original Game Boy. You can use either the analog slide or the D-Pad to move Mario, while moving Mario you can press the ‘B’ to make him run just a little bit faster. The ‘A’ button is to makes our little plumber  jump from obstacle to obstacle..

The music is what I loved most about this game. Each world’s music fits in perfectly with the theme of the world you are in. Particularly I loved the Arabic style music when playing across World 3.

The only downfall in my opinion with Mario’s debut handheld title, is that it is very short in comparison to many other titles. In total it features 12 levels, each with an average time frame of 5 minutes. Gamer’s could easily complete this game within 30 minutes up to an hour. But don’t let this stop you from purchasing it, this is a fun game to play. Its a timeless classic.

My verdict on Super Mario Land for the 3DS Virtual Console is 9/10. No full marks, simply because of the length of the game itself. A must have for those of you that have never played it previously. You can purchase this title on the Virtual Console for €4/£3.60.

TIP: Just a small tip for those of you that may have purchased a Virtual Console title. There a two hidden combinations allowing you to get a more authentic feel when playing these Game Boy games. If you press L and R while you are playing the games, then press Y, the game screen will have a green tint(do the same again if you want to switch it back to grey). Also, before booting up the game, press Select and Start (or Home and Start), the screen will have an original Game Boy border, making it look as if you are playing on a Game Boy. See below images.

Don’t forget, E3 2011 is almost upon us, so join Wes here as he will be live blogging during Nintendo’s big E3 conference.

5 Responses to “Virtual Console Review: Super Mario Land”
  1. jimjamz says:

    Link’s Awakening looks so cool when you add the GBC border. The 3D effect makes the Gameboy Color look closer than the image on its screen. It’s these small touches that I love about Nintendo hardware.


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