Hello readers! I have a big bag of Mario awesomeness to dispense today so let's get right down to it!
First up is the so far excellent Super Mario 63, which is so far quite frankly an incredible flash game in which the traditionally "3D Mario" games get a 2D makeover and the result is pretty cool from what I've played until now. The game starts off with its own take on the 'Bowser kidnaps Peach' and although they play this pretty much straight there are some Mario gags that fanboys like me will just eat up.
But honestly, they've whacked everything in here! The non-linear castle exploration and paintings that act as portals to worlds with many missions is from Mario 64, as is the health bar and red coins but we have Silver Star missions (DS Mario 64), FLUDD and Shine Sprites (Sunshine), Star Coins (New Mario Bros), and even the Star Slings from Galaxy! The Mario sprite hails from the Mario and Luigi RPGs on the DS and There's a whole host of backgrounds and sprites from Yoshi's Island --where I have yet to see the little green dude but I have not had a full playthrough yet. This is all before I've even collected my first Shine Sprite so I'm uber excited to play more of this game. There are bosses to fight with set piece puzzle weaknesses and although the levels are all in 2D, there is a great deal of non-linearity here and one can even zoom in and out of levels to see more of what is happening.
Mario can dive, jump, double and triple jump, use FLUDD nozzles and do spin attacks and ground pounds from the start and I imagine many other abilities become available further in the game. My one complaint is that Mario's movement and jumps can feel a bit clumsy sometimes but I was able to adjust rather quickly and it doesn't ruin the gameplay for me. SM63 is an excellent and exciting game. Please have a go.
If that's all a bit too modern for you, we now go all retro and visit the UPDATED version of Super Mario Crossover. I say this because the original version of this game came out a while ago and there have since been some improvements. Anyway, for those who have never played this game, Super Mario Crossover is basically the original Super Mario Bros. NES classic with the option of playing through the game with (at time of writing) 6 other NES characters including Megaman and Samus Aran in all their pixelley glory.
The characters are all roughly controllable exactly as they were in their own NES games and attack accordingly. Megaman has his buster, Samus has her Power Beam and Link has his sword. However since they are guests in Mario Land, they play by Mario's House Rules in that if you take a hit from a Goomba or fall down a bottomless pit, you die. Mushrooms and Flowers each have their own unique effects on the characters and as well as offering the usual one hit shield before being vulnerable again, characters usually get a weapon upgrade. For example, Megaman can charge his weapon and acquires his headgear in Mushroom Mode. Purely a nostalgia love festival this but it's very well made.
I also intend to delve into the dark scary world of Super Mario World rom hacks and recommend some particular titles soon so watch this space.