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Plugged In

New Mario praised for gameplay, dissed for extras, value

Plugged In

Super Mario All-Stars

Platforms: Wii

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It's-a-me!

Happy
birthday, Mario. It's been 25 years since his genre-defining appearance in
Super Mario Bros. on the NES, and this week sees a compilation of four of his
best-loved appearances releasing on the Wii.

Super Mario: All-Stars is actually a re-release of a SNES compilation of the same
name, which bundles Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, 3, and the game released in Japan
as Super Mario Bros. 2 (but in the U.S. as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels).
It's a bit baffling, we know, so suffice it to say that what you get is a
collection of four NES Super Mario platform classics ported to the Wii with
very little in the way of changes and updates.

But that's not to say that All-Stars is low on extras. Quite the opposite, in fact:
in addition to its quartet of classic games, it also includes a smart booklet
retelling Mario's history and a soundtrack CD featuring tunes from his 25-year
back catalog. Not bad value for $29.99 -- although NES versions of the four
games are available separately (and cheaper) for download on the Wii Shop.

The importance of the Mario series in the development of video games can't be
overstated, but
1UP's Jeremy Parish does his best.

They "[occupy] the same pedestal for the medium that William Shakespeare commands in
literature, or the Beatles in rock music," he says. But even Parish can't
muster much enthusiasm for this compilation, calling it "a wasted opportunity,"
while the booklet is "nice" but "perfunctory," and the soundtrack "a letdown."

"Here Nintendo had a chance to step up and establish a gold standard," he continues,
"the video game equivalent of a Criterion Collection. At the very least, the
game disc itself should include some supplemental material...there are
gigabytes of empty space on the All-Stars disc begging to be transformed into a
definitive Mario museum." He scores it a "B," but you get the distinct feeling
it's in spite of the extras rather than because of them.

Over on IGN, Richard George is much in agreement. "The pedigree on display here is not in dispute," he says, "but the value of the games and their rerelease definitely is."
Similarly, he's disappointed with the too-brief booklet and the soundtrack CD,
which is half sound effects and misses many classic Mario tunes.

"All four of these games are already available for less cash," says George in a 7/10
review, "albeit in a more primitive graphical form. The soundtrack and
historical booklet certainly aren't worth it." He concludes that "if you
really want to see the legacy of Mario on display, you're probably better off
replaying Super Mario Galaxy 2."

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