Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Review
As a celebratory move to honor the iconic Mario's 25th anniversary, Nintendo has decided to rerelease Super Mario All-Stars which was originally seen on the Super Nintendo back in 1993. Though the game disc itself is an exact port of the original SNES cart, the complete package includes a soundtrack CD with a few of the many themes heard throughout the series as well as a 32-page booklet featuring concept art and quotes from the creators of past Mario titles. The compilation is pretty acceptable and features some cool content, but it's hard to shake the fact that Nintendo could have gone a little further to celebrate the plumber's 25th anniversary.
Included on the Super Mario All-Stars disc are Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. The games feature the same enhanced 16-bit visuals that they did when the compilation was originally released as well as the save function which allows you to save at any point in each of the games and restart from the beginning of the last level you left off on. Overall, the disc is a fairly by-the-numbers affair. Though it certainly seems like a quick cash-in, the fact that the four games on the compilation are highly enjoyable 2D platformers makes it a worthwhile collection. This is especially true if you have never played or don't already own any of these games.
But as enjoyable as the four games in Super Mario All-Stars may be, there are a few openings for complaint. Nintendo could have put forth a little more effort into the collection rather than simply porting the SNES cart onto a Wii disc. For example, it would have been really cool to play the games with updated graphics akin to the visuals seen in New Super Mario Bros. Sure, that would require more time and possibly some physics tweaks, but isn't Mario worth it after 25 years? Alternatively, Nintendo could have at least included a few more games on the disc such as Super Mario World, Super Mario RPG, or Super Mario 64. Going the extra mile to provide a new compilation was fitting here, but Nintendo opted out of that and went with the least creative option.
Another gripe comes with the included soundtrack CD. Featured on this disc are a mere 10 themes from Super Mario Bros. all the way to Super Mario Galaxy 2 as well as 10 memorable sound effects and jingles. The Mario franchise has always features excellent music, and it's a shame that more tracks weren't featured on the CD. For what it's worth, though, the moment you listen to any of these songs, you're bound to remember fond moments with titles such as Super Mario 64, Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros. 3, and many of the other games in the series. Admittedly, the nostalgia that comes with listening to the Delfino Plaza theme from Super Mario Sunshine and other catchy tunes definitely makes this CD enjoyable despite its small number of tracks.
Aside from the game and soundtrack discs, Super Mario All-Stars includes a booklet with concept art, images of retro Mario merchandise, and quotes from numerous Nintendo staff members. This 32-page booklet is a nice addition overall, and seeing the different drawings for each of the games as well as reading the developers' thoughts on each Mario title is interesting. Between the predictable game disc and the limited soundtrack, this history booklet is easily the most well-rounded addition to the compilation.
Super Mario All-Stars on the Wii is not a bad compilation by any means. The included content is solid and offers a good look at the early years of the series. Unfortunately, everything in the bundle is fairly predictable and doesn't exactly shine for a momentous benchmark like this. It's a shame that this collection didn't feature more, but Super Mario All-Stars is for all intents and purposes a fun little package of Mario classics that any die-hard fan would enjoy. It also serves as a good history lesson for younger games. If you already own the original SNES release and don't care for the extras, you really won't find much that's new here. If you're a hardcore Mario or Nintendo fanatic, though, the $30 price tag is pretty fair.