It seems like Nintendo has been a little shifty in much of their advertising for the Super Mario All Stars Limited Edition Wii set. At least in many of the promos I’ve seen, they often skip over the detail that this is in fact a port of a collection that came out about 17 years ago. They often throw in some crafty wording like “together on a disc for the first time” or just get all hyped that these four games are together as though it’s something they just thought of.
I think the angle is to go after younger gamers who might not be aware of the original package. I’ll say this, if you have never played these games before then oh my good god yes go out and pick this game up. What the hell are you even doing, go buy this! For the rest of us who grew up with these games, likely had the Super Nintendo collection of All-Stars and have played these games ad nauseum, is this $30 package worth it?
Earlier when I mentioned that this is a port of a 17-year-old Super Nintendo game, I was not exaggerating in the slightest. Once you boot up the game, you are taken straight into the SNES title. They added in Wii controls (classic controller or holding the remote sideways) but that’s where the changes immediately stop. Same menus, same music, same graphics, it’s all exactly how you remember it. They just dumped the ROM onto a CD.
There’s really no point in reviewing the actual games. Like I said, if you haven’t played them then you are either 4 years old or in jail and you need to buy this. If you have played them, then you already know everything there is to know. Here’s a lightning fast breakdown of my thoughts after revisiting these titles for the first time in a few years:
Super Mario Bros. – What is with that jump in World 8-2?! Why can’t I get over it?! I know I’ve beaten it before so what is going on?!
Lost Levels – Why is this game so mean?!
Super Mario Bros. 2 – I want the music from the end credits to play during any activity I ever do in life.
Super Mario Bros. 3 – Warp whistles are for pussies and Karibo’s shoe needs its own trilogy.
So that’s basically everything that you need to know. The games are each fantastic in their own right (well Lost Levels and I have our differences I suppose) and they have not lost any of their magic over the years.
You already know what you’re getting into in terms of the games with this set, but what about the package itself? That’s what most people are wondering about and whether or not it’s actually worth it. My thoughts? Eh, kinda.
Packaged along with the game disc is another DVD case, which contains a CD soundtrack and a Mario history booklet. Let’s start with the CD.
You already know going in that a single CD is obviously not going to be enough to cover all of the great Mario music. Each individual game can take up a full CD with quality music. Here they’ve narrowed it down to the most iconic tracks from each of the main series’ games and you get all of the music you would expect with virtually no surprises.
There are 20 tracks in total and once you get past the 10th track you naturally assume you’re going to loop and that each game will get a second piece of music. This is not the case. Instead you get 10 sound effects. That’s right, things like collecting a coin or dying each get their own 4-second track and these close out the CD.
So overall about 50% of the soundtrack is worth it. A second piece of music from each game would have been very welcome as while there’s certainly no denying that what’s there are all classic tracks, it just doesn’t feel like enough of a representation.
That leaves us with the history booklet. Here we get sketches and artwork from the production of each of the games, as well as insight from some of the masterminds behind the series, including of course, Shigeru Miyamoto. Actually a more appropriate term instead of “insight” would be “one sentence blurbs that don’t mean a god damn thing”. Seriously everything here ranges from terrible to just plain baffling.
Take for example, Super Mario 64. Most would agree this is an iconic title that really showed what 3D platforming can do and helped Mario make a seamless transition into the third dimension. To this day many still refer to it as one of the best 3D platformers ever made. And what mind bending information does Miyamoto provide us with on this groundbreaking title?
“Mario runs around like a hamster in this game. I actually had a pet hamster at this time.”
Now I’m paraphrasing, but only slightly. I know right?! If you’re wondering what it was like to move Mario from 2D to 3D, was it hard, were people worried, etc, I’m afraid you’ll never know. But you can rest comfortably with the knowledge that in the mid-nineties, Shigeru Miyamoto had a fucking hamster. Granted not all of the comments are this pointless but they never get to a point where I would call them interesting. At least some of the original artwork is pretty cool.
As much as I wanted to review this package for what it is instead of what it could have been, it’s almost impossible. Mario’s 25th Anniversary is a pretty big deal and what we get to celebrate is seemingly thrown together collectible that should have been amazing but tragically falls far too short. For the price you pay it’s not a bad deal overall, but any more than $30 and I would be hard pressed to recommend it.