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VG Review - Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

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Aaaah! That's not a Blargg! That's its Blue Man Group brother, Nep-Enut!

In a world where a particular Yoshi spinoff was deemed a "Mario installment", fans and critics have constantly been debating throughout the years. Such questions have been asked; "How do you call this Super Mario World 2 if it's in the Yoshi series, for the most part?" or "How come Mario, Luigi, and Bowser are all babies? What, does this entry appear to be some sort of prequel!?" Me, personally... I have no friggin' idea why those could be even asked in the first place


Greeeeeeeetings, mortal minions! It is I, Ouroburos! So as you may know, today is finally my birthday; which means that my "Almighty Deity" title has now been vanquished. You shall know refer to me as "Chaotic Lord", a rank more superior to my preceding one. BUT! Now is not the time for spontaneous gloating. I am here today to also give you two brand new VG Reviews. The first one is starting now, while the second review will be later tonight. With that said, let's take a dive into... Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island!

So Yoshi's Island is a platformer game developed and published by Nintendo (AKA "Everyone's Favorite") for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System console. It was later released for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS (as "Yoshi's Island DS"), and Virtual Console, as well. Yoshi's Island has received overwhelming praise since its launch, in which it gained a huge cult following and appeared on "greatest games of all time" lists.

First off, I'm going to be completely honest: Yoshi's Island needs a bit more praise than the critically acclaimed Super Mario World. When I hear people think or talk about a SNES title involving Mario and/or Yoshi, it's gonna be real apparent that the words "Super Mario World" come into play. But don't fret! Perhaps Yoshi's Island could be getting as much attention these days... granted, it couldn't be as much as in the past, but still.

When you begin the game, you'll notice that Mario isn't exactly the shining star of this here installment; that award goes to Yoshi. Why? Because Yoshi's Island is actually a prequel that comes before all of the other Mario Bros. titles, therefore in this game, Mario is only known as "Baby Mario", who happens to be a helpless infant who is being carried by Yoshi (who you truly play as in this entry) during gameplay. As I've said before, this installment is a prequel that comes before the established Mario games that mostly everyone remembers or is fond of... don't let the name of this game fool you, now! Because if such a thing were to happen, I WILL SLAP YOU SO SUPER HARD!!! I could even go SLAP HAPPY! {*cough* *cough*} Let's move on...

The story in itself is just basically all bare bones... at least from my prespective. To summarize, it begins with a stork carrying two babies across the sea while the nefarious Magikoopa Kamek comes in to steal the newborn babies. He captures Baby Luigi, yet fails to capture Baby Mario. I wonder if this has to do with Mario being slightly smarter than his brother... AAANYHOO!! Baby Mario falls onto an island in the middle of the sea. The middle of the sea, if you wanna be curious, is called "Yoshi's Island". And as its name suggests, then that's the home to all Yoshis. Baby Mario happens to land on a green Yoshi (who was taking a walk, mind you) in the process. The entire Yoshi clan accompanies Baby Mario and they realize that they must venture throughout the game's six worlds to rescue Baby Luigi and free that blundering stork from Kamek and Baby Bowser. During each world's fourth and final area, Kamek appears near the end of the level and puts spells on any encountered normal enemy that transforms into a more powerful force to be reckoned with. All and all, this is only Kamek impeding Yoshi's progress moreso than before. Remember to not hate the player and instead hate the game, folks! THAT'S all it takes.

What makes Yoshi's Island much more different than the other Mario games is the visual style. The graphics and character sprites all appear to look like felt-pens and crayons being used, after all; that's one of the things I adore about this game. In a way, there are even SNES fans such as myself who would compare Yoshi's Island graphical design in Donkey Kong Country. Oh, sure, some people will say stuff including, "Donkey Kong Country had pre-rendered graphics, you arrogant snob! Yoshi's Island looks like someone drew all of the visuals around the age of three or four!!", but these guys might be misunderstanding what I'm saying, here. If you'll notice some of the cutscenes in Yoshi's Island, then those really have pre-rendered graphics... I ain't kidding, either. Eventually, Yoshi's Story would attempt to perfect the similar visual style of Donkey Kong Country, using 2D digitized graphics mixed with high resolution 3D character models. But why we still keep talking about the damn visuals, again, is BEYOND me. Yonder we go!

Another difference from any other Mario game is that since you're playing as Yoshi, you can now throw eggs (in nearly any position), initiate the HI-LARIOUS Flutter Kick (the reason I call it "hilarious" is because of this ability's rendition from Super Smash Bros.), and most notably, the Ground Pound; this attack was not only used by Yoshi, but almost every other character since then. Also Super Smash Bros. Brawl has a stage that is heavily based off of Yoshi's Island... just thought you'd like to know that.

For the most part during gameplay, if there's one mess-up you want to avoid, it's let go of Baby Mario. If you happen to get hit by a certain object or a Bandit tries to steal our lil' plumber, then a countdown will begin in which you start of hear Baby Mario's infamous crying... DEAR GOD! BE QUIET, PLEASE!!! He's also inside a bubble, and when the countdown goes almost completely down to 0, Baby Bowser's minions (Toadies) fly on screen and kidnap him, thus ending the level reducing the player's chances to retry by one. This can get damn annoying whenever it happens! :(

While being different from the other Mario installments, Yoshi's Island DOES bear a few similarities... even if that doesn't say much. For instance, you can defeat some enemies by jumping on their heads, keys are required to open doors in castle stages, and general level structure on which this is also linear. Yet as I already mentioned once, Yoshi's Island is different in these sort of aspects: power-ups are no longer a commonplace and can be only found in certain locations (Baby Mario can use a power-up similar to the Starman that transforms him into "Super Baby Mario", in which he is now invincible and fast enough to also run on his own two feet and on directly walls, all have to do with Yoshi being protected inside a large egg; Yoshi can find vehicles such as a car and a helicopter to transform, as well... and just like Baby Mario, Yoshi's transformations are temporary and may wear off relatively quick. Once you beat a level, you are scored on a scale from 1-100, with 100 of course being a perfect score. Even the countdown timer for each level is no longer present, allowing players to take as much time as they want when it comes to solving puzzles without penalty. Again! Another valuable addition to this game, as well...

Musically speaking, Yoshi's Island has a delicious set of music to dance to and hear almost 24/7. I find myself constantly humming both the "Athletic" and "Overworld" themes... as well as the map theme, which features a sound that slightly changes each succeeding world. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Yoshi's Island's music is more memorable for me than even Super Mario World... HOOOOLY SHIT!!! Not to mention that some tracks were remixed for Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

But in conclusion, is Yoshi's Island generally an amazing game? Why should me or you even ask that? The answer is staring us in the face: YES!! I've had worth thousands of fun playing this game, and to some extent, I still do. You may not be able to play as everybody's heroic Italian plumber, but even then, this title is still very pleasing. Props to Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto for delivering such a classic like Yoshi's Island! Soldiers... I salute you.

I, Ouroburos, give Yoshi's Island a heavily-equipped and fantastic A+! This installment does show that Yoshi isn't just a pawn who can only jump on enemies and eating them in the process; in fact, he's something a little more than that.

P.S. Tune in later tonight for the Chaotic Lord's other VG Review! What's it going to be? You will all find out soon enough... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Final verdict

Pros

  • Great graphics that appear to be made from both felt-pen and crayons; a very nice technique, if I might add.
  • Kickass and memorable musical pieces.
  • The more linear gameplay is something that isn't cheat-happy {*ahem* all other Mario titles aside from the more recent outings, I'm looking at you}.
  • Boss battles are simply charming.
  • Yoshi's further in-game development is stunning, to say the least.
  • Enemy variety (which I forgot to put in the actual review) can be rather cool and artsy; especially the drug-inducing Fuzzy, which is surprisingly different from that other godawful piece of black crap Mario fans are used to seeing.

Cons

  • The infamous Baby Mario cry, which is more or less a nitpick.
  • Sometimes the story of this game feels only like more bare bones coming in... yet on the other hand, Nintendo fans seem to disagree.

Final vote

Showcase

Yoshi's Island (Opening)03:49

Yoshi's Island (Opening)

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