Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island - GBA

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Viewed: 2D Side-on, Scrolling Genre:
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Nintendo Soft. Co.: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo (GB/US)
Released: 11 Oct 2002 (GB)
2002 (US)
Ratings: 3+, ESRB Everyone
Connectivity: Link Cable


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It's certainly a good time for Mario fans. The much-anticipated Super Mario Sunshine finally hit British shores in late September 2002, and now, although there's no sign of the moustachioed Italian plumber himself, Super Mario Advance 3 makes its way onto the Game Boy Advance. Continuing Nintendo's trend for porting its classic SNES series to the GBA, SMA3 is, in fact, the handheld's conversion of accomplice Yoshi's first solo outing, Yoshi's Island.

As the story goes, a stork carrying baby Mario and his twin brother to the Mushroom Kingdom is intercepted by meddling magikoopa Kamek. In the confusion, baby Mario slips from the stork's bundle whilst the other twin is taken away, quite fortunately landing on Yoshi's Island. Upon discovering their new visitor, the many Yoshis subsequently take it upon themselves to make the journey through the perilous land and reunite the twins.

In keeping with the successful pre-3D formula that characterised the 8 and 16-bit Mario series, Yoshi's Island delivers the usual combination of 2D-platform jumping and item collection. Carrying the wee nipper on his back, Yoshi travels through the artistic, crayon-scribbled levels, collecting coins, stars and flowers. Along the way, enemies can be jumped on, stomped on, or eaten, the latter move enabling Yoshi to lay an egg. Up to six eggs can be collected at one time, trailing behind Yoshi in an obedient line, to be used as weapons via an innovative targeting system. Should our hero take a hit, then little baby Mario floats away and must be retrieved before he's taken to the castle by some nasty little Shy Guys.

As well as all the above manoeuvres, Yoshi can also take advantage of Morph Bubbles. Scattered across the various worlds, these bubbles allow him to transform into unique characters with special abilities, such as a mole or a helicopter, and thus allow him to reach new areas.

An essential addition to anyone's GBA collection, Yoshi's Island features everything you'd expect from a Miyamoto title. In addition, a multiplayer link-up option allows for a four-player game and, as usual with this series, the cartridge comes bundled with a copy of the original Mario Brothers game. Aside from the fact that this is also one of the nicest looking GBA titles to date, there's really nothing more needs to be said about it.

Apart from "Buy it".