On The Level

Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988): Level 5-3

The other shoe never drops.

By Zack Handlen • May 29, 2013

The secret to Mario is: nothing. Sonic The Hedgehog can run like hell, and Mega Man has his trusty blaster, but Mario? A cheap pair of red overalls, a hat, and a porn-star mustache. Sometimes his brother will show up, if you’re lucky and have a friend to play with, but mostly, it’s just one dude, alone against a sea of bad news. The first level starts with poor Mario barely tall enough to hit eye level with the bad guy. You run into a question-mark block and you jump into it hoping for the best, because, seriously? It’s not like this day was going to get any worse.

If Mario is a blank slate with just enough personality to make him likable, then Super Mario Bros. 3 is the crayon explosion designed to distract from all that white space. It’s a tension that’s been with the series from the start. Super Mario Bros had the novelty of a side-scrolling world to explore, and the U.S. release of Super Mario Bros. 2 thought outside the box, filling up Mario’s life with a whole cast of characters to play with. (Even then, while Luigi can jump high and Princess Toadstool can float, Mario’s defining characteristic is his averageness. He’s the control group. The others are the experiments.) When SMB3 rolled out in 1988, the question was, what came next? And the answer was pretty much everything.

Super Mario Bros. 3 goes back to basics, plot-wise: The Princess has been kidnapped by King Koopa, yada yada yada, happily ever after. The one wrinkle to the story is that this time, Koopa has seven kids (the Koopalings) along for the ride, and each of those kids runs amok in his or her own world, with several levels, fortresses, and an airship to defeat. Koopa’s virility was a sign of the times. Everything in SMB3 is bigger, richer, and more stuffed full of secrets than ever before.

Hammer Suit

In movies, sequels that try to repeat the original film only with louder explosions and crazier effects tend to be terrible, because all that shininess comes across as a soulless attempt to cover for a dead story. But with Mario, the story was never the draw. The play was the thing, and SMB3 offers so many new treasures to try. There are the world maps, with their shops scattered throughout the land (the treasure’s free, but the shopkeeper always makes you choose blind), and the freedom of being able to pick which level you played when. Sure, that choice is mostly an illusion, but the illusion is an important one. It turns the Mushroom Kingdom into a playground waiting to be explored.

Best of all, there’s a wardrobe full of different suits to try out. The mushroom is still around, and the good old reliable fire flower, too. But now you can grab a Super Leaf and turn yourself into a flying raccoon. You can put on a Frog Suit to finally make those awful swimming levels a breeze. You can get a Tanooki Suit that lets you fly and turn into a statue as needed. If you look hard enough, you might find a black armored Hammer Suit, in which you lob hammers at your enemies like a good koopa.

And then there’s Kuribo’s Shoe.

Kuribo’s Shoe—“Kuribo” is the Japanese word for the Mario game’s squat “goomba” enemies—is not exactly a suit. It’s a big green shoe with a wind-up key stuck into one side, and unlike the other power-ups in the game, it only appears in the third level of the fifth world. You can’t get it at the store, and there’s no way to cheat and hold onto the thing: Even if you manage to survive the level without losing it, as soon as you hit the end of the stage, the shoe drops off.

World five is the cloud world, but the first few levels are on the ground. Level 5-3 opens on a single screen, forcing the player to go down a pipe to continue. This isn’t unusual, except that the pipe doesn’t send you underground or underwater. Instead, it empties into a normal level, except that you’re traveling right to left. There’s some tricky business with a spiny guy and a piranha plant, but if you survive that, a goomba hops into view wearing the distinctive green shoe. To steal it, all you have to do is hit the goomba from below while he’s sitting on a block. Manage that, and you’ve got yourself some stylish new footwear.

Design-wise, what’s most notable about 5-3 is how the game goes out of its way to help you get the most out of the Shoe in the small time it’s available to you. It’s possible to beat the level without the Shoe, but it’s significantly more difficult (and a lot less fun.) With the Shoe on, you can jump on pretty much everything, even enemies that would normally kill Mario stone dead. Level 5-3 is packed with spines and plants called munchers that fill up long, flat areas. Normally, all these hazards would require you to find an alternate route. Not with Kuribo’s Shoe.

Kuribo's Shoe

In the Shoe, you don’t so much run as bounce merrily along. Accordingly, the level offers plenty of places to explore by jumping, and there’s no real need to do much running. Even more telling, if you lose the Shoe, there are a couple of opportunities to pick up a new one before the end. Heck, there’s even a Shoe-wearing goomba stuck inside a cage of blocks, just waiting for you to take him out and steal his footwear.

Like most levels in Super Mario Bros. 3, this one is short by modern standards, easy to finish in a couple of minutes even if you take the time to enjoy yourself. There’s something bittersweet in that; no matter how much you try to savor the power up, there’s only so much you can do with it, and only so much space to do it in. Unlike later Mario games, once you beat the stage, there’s no going back. You can waste a few lives letting the clock run out, but SMB3 is made to keep you moving along, to see what else you can discover, what other treasures you can find. It’s built for the rush.

Yet the Shoe is hard to forget. Its singularity is part of its appeal—a cliffhanger of design that leaves us forever waiting for the other shoe to drop. That singularity points to the fundamental genius at the heart of the game. There are all these toys and tricks and wonders, but they don’t last. If it isn’t the end of the level, then it’s a pit, or a hammer, or a giant fish ready to swallow Mario whole. And every time, Mario comes back, short and vulnerable and ready to go. A little nothing of a guy, but with so much possibility.

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  • vinnybushes

    The sad part is that you could miss the whole thing if you go straight for the warp whistles. Sometimes I thank my lucky stars for pre-internet gaming. Ignorance was bliss.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      One of the great things about Mario 3 is that, between the branches and cul de sacs in the map, and those warp whistles, there are huge swaths of the game that are totally optional and usually skipped – yet, when actually played, those areas are just as rich in design and full of secrets as the ‘mandatory’ stuff.

      It’s such a fucking good game.

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      • Shain Eighmey

        That and the tight controls make it a timeless classic in my eyes. The game is just as enjoyable today as it was when I first played it. It’s one of the few NES classics that passes the “play it with my daughter” test. 

  • The_Helmaroc_King

    The Tanooki Suit, the Hammer Suit, and the Frog Suit all had one fatal flaw: they were simply too awesome to use. We’re talking “awesome to twelve-year-olds”, here, but gems like those were just too rare to waste on any old level, and as a consequence they just gathered dust.

    The shoe, though? You can’t keep it; you can’t take it with you; you only get one level to make anything of it, it knocks your socks off, and then it’s gone forever. That, my friend, is the kind of item you remember.

    • PaganPoet

      Ah yes, the “Too Awesome to Use” category of items. Many a Tanooki Suit, Megalixir, and Multi Bottlerocket shall never fulfill their intended purpose, because they just needed to be saved for that perfect level or boss that never came. Requiescsat in pace, friends.

      Funny, they exist in real life too. I recently had to throw out some rotted champqgne mangos which are my favorite fruits in the world. I just HAD to save them for the perfect mokent, which was apparently after they spoiled.

      • Citric

        In my cupboard there is scotch. I discovered it this month. At some point in the past, I bought some scotch, then since no opportunities for scotch presented themselves, it sat in the cupboard. It has to be at least two or three years old by now, since I forgot about it completely, and I still haven’t actually drank it.

        Wanna come over for scotch?

        • tinwhistle1

          It’s funny but good scotch is what got me to get over the “too good to use” conceit. Sure it is an expensive bottle, but there are a very few things in this world that are better than a good bottle of Islay scotch, and you can always buy more.

      • rjonathon

        The P-wings (that’s what WE called them…fuck if I know the real name) were a definite example of this. I never wanted to use them for fear of wasting them on an undeserving level.

        Might also explain why I’ve never actually beaten SMB3.

        • Nudeviking

          P-Wings (on my random Upstate NY playground we used the same terminology) for us were the opposite.  There totally was a perfect level to use them and that level was the world 8 airship. 

          That shit was all small platforms with a forced side scroll, but with P-Wings you could just fly up to the top of the screen and coast through without having to throw your controller down in a 9 year old rage about how the game was “unfair,” and possibly even “cheating.”

        • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

          no, no, that is what they’re called. It is a wing. It has a ‘P’ written on it. Ergo, P, Wing.

          Also I never felt cheated when I pilfered a Music Box from Toad’s (“pick-a-box-its-contents-will-help-you-on-your-way”) House because It played a lullaby version of the Mario song, and the jerkass Hammer bros feel asleep on the map. That was dorkily funny. Saved ‘em all up for Bowser’s map just to spoil the mood for a laugh.

        • Nudeviking

          @HighlyFunctioningTimTebow:disqus The internet informs me that the P in P-Wing stood for Paratroopa (or Patapata in Japan).

        • craigward

           @Nudeviking:disqus the airship level on world 8 seemed so fast when I was a kid.  going back to it, it’s really not that hard.

          Level 8-1, however I always saved the P-Wing for.  I have never beaten that level fairly.

        • Nudeviking

          @craigward:disqus Yes!  8-1 was also a level that P-Wings were justifiably used.

        • Uncle Roundy

          There are a lot of levels in worlds 6 and 7 where if you enter the level with a P-wing, you can fly over the wall ahead of you and skip the entire level outright.

      • http://twitter.com/Tim_Kraemer Tim Kraemer

        No need to be too shy with your Multi-Bottle Rockets – by the time you reach the final act of Earthbound, you can buy them a dozen at a time in Deep Darkness. After Magicant, I just keep Jeff’s inventory 100% full of them and use them essentially every turn on everything.

        • zzyzazazz

          I was going to say the exact same thing. They are plentiful.

      • https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/xyvir-games Xyvir

        You didn’t use the multi-bottle rocket? There were shopkeepers that would sell you literally infinity of them, and at the end of Earthbound you would get so much money anyway, they are so worth it. Basically every sanctuary boss could be beaten by using a handful of mult-bottle rockets, the item was so broken. I kind of want to do a replay without them because they made a lot the ‘big’ battles so trivial.

    • craigward

       they are definitely still awesome.  I went as Tanooki Mario for Halloween last year.

      • WTFkid

        I’m guessing you went home alone?

    • http://twitter.com/zhandlen Zack Handlen

      The Frog Suit had one more fatal flaw: it absolutely sucked on non-water missions. I played through a few worlds of SMB3 before writing this, and I found myself getting nervous before using the Frog in World 3 (which is the only one with major water levels), not knowing if I was going to speed through the ocean, or consign myself to a quick, awkward death.

      • boardgameguy

        after we became good at the game, my friends and i would use the frog suit as a handicap on non-water levels to test our skill. frog suit on the ice levels of world 6 was always good for a laugh.

      • Uncle Roundy

        World 7 has a major water level where a frog suit is a godsend. 7-4, the autoscroller with the field of Jelectros midway through. A harrowing area; it gives you a lot of peace of mind to have the frog suit’s precise control there.

        There’s also a late level in the ice world where a frog suit is required if you want to get one of those giant question blocks (it’s in a pipe that pushes you away with current). 6-9, I believe?

        Of course you also need the frog suit to get the white mushroom house in 7-2. That one’s a total bitch to get. I always found late frog suit levels interesting; you generally don’t think to hang onto it that far in, but there are still occasional rewards for doing so. It’s nice that Nintendo allowed it evenly spread places to shine despite its disadvantageous awkwardness.

  • PaganPoet

    Aside from the awesomeness of the Goomba Shoe, this game has one of my favorite useless powerups in a game. That being the 3rd warp whistle in the 2nd world. I didn’t even know it existed until the late 90s in spite of the giant III shaped oasis heralding. They may as well had a blinking neon sign saying “NO SECRETS HERE” and I’d have shrugged and  continued on my merry way.

  • Citric

    Mario 3 was filled with tiny one-shot moments, it’s like they threw every idea they had at the game but only had so much space to do it in. It’s quite experimental in that way, but never gives you time to dwell on that.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

      Like that one part in Desert World where out of nowhere THE FREAKING SUN tries to mess with your shit and swings down at you like Great Tiger from Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. It’s like “AAAAAAUGH! OHGODNO! Why Does The Sun Hate Me And Me Aloonnee~” which is really my reaction anytime I’m forced to wake up and go to work on Mondays.

      • craigward

         not to mention the tornado that comes right before it.

        • DrFlimFlam

          I so loved timing that jump so the dust devil just launches you.

      • PugsMalone

        You just knew that that sun was up to no good the moment you saw him.

        Although he does make an encore appearance in World 8.

        • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

          And the sky was still black when he showed up in World 8! What an asshole sun.

        • ApesMa

          The sky was black and the sun itself was grey, like some sort of unholy anti-sun or something… Anyway, you could avoid it entirely by sinking into the first quicksand pit into a secret area.

        • Citric

          World 8 is a jerk.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

        What made the sun such a clever sonuvabitch is that when he swooped down to kill you, he hesitated just for a second. Meaning, you couldn’t just jump straight up to leap over him. You always had to be moving to survive.

        Oh, yes, SMB3 is my favorite game of all time.

    • PugsMalone

      “It’s so dense, every level has so many things going on.”

      • George_Liquor

        Fuck you, Rick Berman. You ruined this too?

  • Enkidum

    I don’t think I’ve ever gotten past the second world of any Mario game, ever. It’s because I’m a fake gamer.

    • PaganPoet

      Flagged.

    • fieldafar

      That’s okay, it took me five years to fully beat Super Mario World.

      • Cloks

        By which point Stockholm Syndrome had set in and Peach didn’t want to be rescued.

        • JohnnyLongtorso

          Where do you think Bowser’s children came from?

    • mizerock

      I got really good at “Super Mario World”, since it came with my SNES, which was the first console I owned (at 22 years old!). Well, I thought I was really good, until I saw other people play. It turns out, I’m not so good.

      And since I never owned it, I’m fully capable of dying for good in the first world of “Super Mario Brothers”, though I’m not typically that bad. You would think by now I would admit that I’m just not a good gamer. Yeah, I wasn’t allowed to play games as a kid, but surely I’ve had enough time to overcome that handicap. I can’t use that excuse forever, right? And I can still hang out here, right?

      I am pretty damn good at Angry Birds, but that’s a whole different kind of game. In fact, I might have just given even more evidence that I am not a Real Gamer …

    • mizerock

      OK, isn’t this the Mario game that started out as another title completely? Which is why it is so radically different from other Mario games: many levels (at least the early ones) involve wandering through the desert, with sand everywhere, and you had to dig up radishes. You would think this would be an easy question to answer by searching online, but either my Google-Fu is weak today or my memory is corrupted.

      • ApesMa

        No, that’s SMB2, which was originally a game called Doki-Doki Panic. You can google that or “The Lost Levels” for the full story of how and why that happened.

        • mizerock

          Yes, that’s the one! I don’t think I have played even a minute of SMB3. And clearly my memories of SMB2 are from when I borrowed an NES from a friend a few times. Now there is a good friend. He will be in my wedding.

  • George_Liquor

    Given Nintendo’s entirely nostalgia-based business model, I’m surprised Kuribo’s Shoe hasn’t turned up in subsequent Mario games. The Internets say that it was scheduled to appear in Super Mario 3D land, but was cut for unknown reasons. This may be naive of me, but I’d like to think that Nintendo recognized the charm inherent in this ephemeral little piece of footwear, and they chose not to exploit it.

    • Anspaugh

      Until they included it in the recent Paper Mario: Sticker Star to make all our childhoods a little less special. Is nothing sacred!?

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      The pretty great fan-game Super Mario Bros. X makes liberal use of it. And, as a result of its “more is more” sensibility, they also invented two other similar shoes. Podobo’s Shoe, which lets you walk on lava and hop on fireballs, and Lakitu’s Shoe, which can fly.

      • Uncle Roundy

        SMBX can be difficult to work with–its features are often implemented counterintuitively and it generally feels like it was coded by a drunken goat–but people have managed to make some amazing quests with it. I highly recommend The Great Empire and Super Talking Time Bros 2.

    • http://twitter.com/zhandlen Zack Handlen

      Kuribo’s Shoe: the “Uncle Ben stays dead” of video games.

    • http://profiles.google.com/fablesto Nathan DeHoff

       Considering that Yoshi could walk on top of a lot of the same stuff as you could with Kuribo’s Shoe, I figured his shoes were probably made of the same material. They weren’t giant and didn’t have keys attached, though.

  • conditionals

    “a cliffhanger of design that leaves us forever waiting for the other shoe to drop.” – why this article was written.

  • Flying_Turtle

    It’s a shame that it only appears in 5-3; it would have been fun to see it in other levels. Obviously, it would have made some of them impassable (you couldn’t build up much speed in those things for a long jump, for instance), and I imagine it would have been completely useless underwater, but SMB3 doles out extra lives and powerups in bunches, so why not?

    This gets to one of the things I think makes SMB3 so great, which is that you get a chance to employ some strategy in deploying powerups, which wasn’t an option in the first 2 games. It creates the “too awesome to use” problem that @The_Helmaroc_King:disqus mentioned, but you could also make decisions about whether having a fire flower or a raccoon tail was better in a particular situation. Other games at the time were doing inventories, of course, but SMB3 was the first game I remember playing that had one, and that made a big impression on me.

    Also, you could stomp on those spiny creatures. Take that, you jerks!

  • tinwhistle1

    I love this shoe! There is just something so freeing and joyous about the way Mario bounces around. Even now, I look forward to this level just to see Mario bounce back and forth, a momentary respite from having to jump and run himself. Every Mario game since I have awaited the return of the shoe (it would have been great in the Galaxy games). But a small part of me knows that if it did return, it would never recapture that spirit of freedom and general awesomeness of the shoe.

    • logicalDemoness

       I think the spring from the Galaxy games is a pretty good substitute in spirit. You don’t get spike immunity but you still get to bounce everywhere with reckless abandon.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

      Also, the little wind up thing! There’s NO reason for it, but it’s just there, spinning as you bounce around. Because FUCK IT.

      Badassery.

  • http://twitter.com/Yoder Yoder

    What about this: The Kuribo’s shoe level is the first Yoshi level.

    Think about it. The shoe can walk/stomp on enemies that would normally kill Mario, just like Yoshi. Mario can get knocked off/out of the shoe without losing his life, just like Yoshi. The shoe is available at the beginning of the level, but also appears again halfway through the level, just like levels in SMW that featured Yoshi.

    • Nudeviking

      And what color is the shoe?  And what color is Yoshi*?  I think you might be on to something @twitter-14172070:disqus .

      * I am aware that in that game with the screaming baby Mario there were multiple Yoshii of varying colors, but the original Yoshi is green.

    • https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/xyvir-games Xyvir

      I don’t know if we can nominate comment cat comments, but I nominate this one. This theory is too good to ignore! Yoshi is definitely the spiritual successor to the Kuribo Shoe; Kuribo is Yoshi’s metaphoric grandfather.

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

      I once discovered a game genie code that allows you to start the game with Kuribo’s shoe. The catch is that there’s a graphical glitch that almost makes it look like you’re riding Yoshi.

      Someone else found it too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4JPuRWCOo0

      • http://tmaiblog.wordpress.com/ Chalkdust

         Aside: I could never hear that background music without mentally assigning the lyrics, “A mistake, a big mistake / that is what you’re mak-ing”.

    • caspiancomic

       Woah… there is wisdom in this here comment.

    • ApesMa

      Well, Myamoto had wanted to include Yoshi in SMB3, but they couldn’t quite make it work. It makes sense that they would give the shoe some of the functionality originally intended for Yoshi.

      Yoshi and the cape also seemed to be replacements for many of the items in SMB3. SMW had fewer items, but those two were given more functionality than any of the items from SMB3.

      E.g. in addition to Yoshi’s regular powers he could get more from the four different colored Koopas (not to mention the different colored Yoshi’s), the cape could be used to fly past entire levels like a P-Wing if you did it right, and you could combine the two. It seemed like a way to streamline things a bit.

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

    Is this Handlen’s first official byline for GS?  Nice to see you here, always love your take on things.

    • http://twitter.com/zhandlen Zack Handlen

      Thank you!

  • Cloks

    For me, the magic of Mario is that the games have a very casual perfection. Almost no other platformer that I’ve played has had the same perfect button-press to jump translation, the lack of which leads to the complaint of floaty controls and the idea that the offending game is unfair. Classic Mario, on the other hand, has always felt a game where almost every do-doot do doo doo do doo doo do doot has been my fault because the game is practically an extension of your hand as you hop and bop your way through the mushroom kingdom.

    I also can’t think of a single good friend that I’ve made in the past few years who I haven’t played some NES Mario game with. Although I’ve spent more than 200 hours in Pokemon Silver, 140 some in Fallout New Vegas and close to that in both Arkham games the time that I’ve spent in Mario 1 and 3 is incalculable. Even though you can quickly navigate the worlds, I’ve never been bored by playing through the same first few levels with friends (preferably as the pallet swapped ne’er do well Luigi).

  • Nom_de_Suck

    Fun-ish fact: There was a second level with the shoe, but it got cut.

    • http://tmaiblog.wordpress.com/ Chalkdust

       Oh god, that site is dangerous.  MY TIME!  WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH IT

      • Nom_de_Suck

        My work here is done.

  • MrTusks

    Oh man. This was the fist game I was obsessed with. I read the strategy guide so many times the spine needed to be taped together.

    I did not have many friends.

    • ApesMa

      THE GAMEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

      I did not have many friends

  • https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/xyvir-games Xyvir

    In a similair vein to the Kuribo Shoe, Mother 3 has several once-off, but otherwise trivial enemies, for example Negative Man.

    • zzyzazazz

      Many of which had their own battle music that you never heard again. After Mother 3 with its 50 or so different pieces of battle music, all the other jrpgs with their 3 just seem repetitive.

  • duwease

    What’s weird is that, in my experience at least, this little piece of gaming trivia has been quite successful in pervading the minds of my generation at large.  Most of my friends aren’t big gamers, but “Don’t make me put on the Mario Boot” still became a common threat.

  • Gibbon9000

    Kuribo means chestnut in Japanese, I had a Japanese housemate that always used to tell me Goombas are chestnuts – and they do actually look like the nut, so… There you go
    Also the shoe was the best! Nice article

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

      In Mario World, they definitely behave like chestnuts: they’re hard and round.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      @twitter-493417375:disqus And in some levels in the New Super Mario Bros. series, they hide in spiny chesnut casings. In the American manual for the first game, they are described as evil fungal turncoats from the Mushroom Kingdom, though.
      So much of Mario stuff has been shaped by weird trans-Pacific games of telephone and weird coincidences and misunderstandings – but the fact that goombas are somehow a hybrid of mushroom and chestnut might be the weirdest bit of ambiguity/synthesis in the series. It’s just so strange.

    • ApesMa

      When i went to google “chestnut”, one of the first suggestions was “chestnut mushroom”, which look like Goomba’s.

  • Long_Dong_Donkey_Kong

    SMB 3 and Super Mario World are perfect games. They don’t look as good as they did to us 20 years ago, but they are still fun.

    I miss the days of the side-scrolling Mario where simply screwing around and saying “hey, what if I fly up here” or “what if I just keep running above the ceiling” could lead to the discovery of a warp whistle/zone. In the New Super Mario games, the exploration seems so forced. “Well, I’m missing the second of three coins, I will explore this area, rub up against the walls to find a fake wall, and failing that, I’ll fly above the area. There, now I can unlock everything.”

    Mario is at its best when the point is to get from Point A to Point B – sometimes leisurely, sometimes running your ass off because the fucking sun is chasing you. The Galaxy games captured the feelings of the originals, but the 2D New SMB series falls flat (for Mario games, if Little Big Planet played that well, we would be ecstatic).

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      They look pretty great, honestly. I think, aesthetically, they certainly hold up better than the recent 2D Mario games. (And, as you note, design-wise the NSMB series is pretty pathetic compared to SMB3 and SMBW. Galaxy is also really solid!)

      • ApesMa

        I heard NSMBU is much better designed than the previous ones and resembles SMW in many respects, but to find out you would have to own a Wii-U so who the hell knows.

        The Galaxy games are awesome and true spiritual sequels to the old Mario games. The problem with the NSMB series is that nowadays Nintendo are not going to put their best people to work on a 2D Mario game for several years, and that people buy them in massive quantities regardless of quality.

        • Long_Dong_Donkey_Kong

           It more than resembles Super Mario World.  However, Super Mario World was full of surprises, while New Super Mario Bros U is full of things that try to make it feel like Super Mario World.

          SMW surprised you with things like huge Bullet Bills or huge moving pillars in the castles that would crush you – completely surprising for their time and they showed off the new muscle of the SNES. When those same types of things show up in NSMB U, they’re bigger and badder, but they’re not surprising. Obviously, the Wii U can handle more enemies or bigger enemies, but there aren’t any “Holy Crap” moments where something catches you completely by surprise and even though you died, you just have to smile about it.

          Maybe we’re just so accustomed to the Mario universe, that it’s hard for them to surprise us in a 2D game. On the other hand, there is one level that is absolutely gorgeous (Starry Night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUrwREVuU7I). If they would have created more stylized levels like this, we could be praising this game along with its predecessors. Unfortunately, and probably due to time constraints, the rest of the game is pretty run of the mill.

        • ApesMa

          That was a great looking level. The fact that they can’t even be bothered to give each installment its own visual style anymore greatly contributes to the impression that they are just cheap cash grabs assembled on a conveyor belt to profit off of our nostalgia.

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

        The Wii version in particular suffers from having a design that needs to accomodate multiplayer. The kind of free-flowing exploration of the best platform games isn’t possible.

  • MidnightNoon

    I loved the Hammer Bro suit. You can kill Bowser with just one hammer! The hard part was getting to him with the suit intact; one brush with an enemy or fireball and the suit is gone.

  • ApesMa

    I can’t think of another sequel to a game released on the same console that was this much of an improvement.

    Everything about it is ten times better than the original (bearing in mind that it was not really a sequel to SMB2, although it’s much, much better than that too).

    • signsofrain

      SMB 2′s gameplay certainly doesn’t compare to 3 but it had its own innovations. The magic carpet you can steal from those black lump-like enemies for one. Riding enemies is fun too. Also SMB 2′s improvisational chiptune jazz soundtrack is amazing.

      • ApesMa

        Yes it was quite an innovative game and a great one too, but SMB3 didn’t seem to build on these innovations. It seemed to pretty much ignore it and only use the original as its template.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.podgor Mike Podgor

    My copy of Super Mario All-Stars was glitched in such a way that allowed me to cycle through the suits. This included Kuribo’s Shoe. I have lived the dream, and will one day offer proof of this. 

  • Pierre-Luc Gagné

    My friend’s copy of Super Mario All-Stars could switch between the power ups by pressing select. I you pressed L and select you got the Kuribo shoe.  The physics worked but the graphic would glitch. IT WAS AWESOME.

    Nobody believes me when I tell the story. His mom got the cartridge from a mail-in promotion from Nintendo themselves. Maybe they got a test cart or something I don’t know, but I swear it’s true !

    • ApesMa

      Would be pretty cool if your friend turned out to be @facebook-100004254730142:disqus .

      • http://www.facebook.com/mike.podgor Mike Podgor

        I got my copy as a pack-in with the Super Nintendo, and yes, that’s how the glitch worked. The graphics for Kuribo’s Shoe worked on certain levels, but not on other ones. There was another facet of the select glitch that was a blessing and a curse. I discovered that if you switched to a Tanooki, and then morphed into the statue, and then pressed select again, you’d be invincible. Not in the traditional Starman way, but rather, any and all enemy attacks would completely fail to damage you. Falls and lava would still kill you, and you couldn’t enter pipes or doors, but you could just wander through the game completely ignoring any and all danger. Or, alternatively, become an untouchable Hammer Brother Mario in a Kuribo’s Shoe.

        I think I know someone who can take gameplay videos off a television. If so, I think it’s time to show this glitch to the world. I really hope it still works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506262943 ErikPeter H Walker

    Another great feature of the shoe, not mentioned above, was that it wasn’t a suit, and as such, wouldn’t replace whatever power up you were using. Shooting fireballs (or presumably, hammers) while bouncing around in this protective, mobile death machine was just the best.