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Super Mario All-Stars review

AT A GLANCE
  • Nice collection of goodies
  • Very reasonable price
  • Four pieces of game history
  • Completely unchanged from 1993 version
  • Why not all 2D Mario games?
  • Physical goodies could've been grander

Nintendo typically doesn't indulge in "special editions" or reverent collections of its aging franchises, so the very fact we're getting a 25th Anniversary edition of Super Mario All-Stars is something to note. Granted, it's the exact same game that shipped on the Super NES way back in 1993, but now it comes bundled with a nifty red box, art book and a 20-track CD full of classic songs and iconic sound effects.


Above: Well worth the meager price of $30

As previously mentioned, Nintendo rarely acknowledges its various milestones with limited edition bundles (in the US, at least), so this particular collection is pretty special. The art book, for example, contains original sketches from Miyamoto that outline how the first SMB would work, and there are even shots of World 1-2 drawn on graph paper. Maybe that means nothing to you, but for Nintendo nerds and the Mario faithful, that alone is worth $30.

The CD is another Nintendo anomaly, as outside of Japan, physical game albums don't regularly see the light of day. Nintendo of America is also not keen on making its back catalog of timeless VGM available to us, so obtaining legit, sanctioned releases of classic Mario tunes is another boon for big time collectors. According to the documentation, this CD is actually the first official release of the 25-year-old Super Mario Bros "Ground Theme," which is a pretty good indicator of how little Nintendo mines its history. Sure it re-releases games all the time, but does Nintendo celebrate them with referential materials and behind the scenes goodies? Not usually, and that's why these small tokens are such a big deal. Even the letter that came with the review copy of the game was crafted with misty-eyed reverence and old-school charm:


Above: The soundtrack CD, which contains songs from Bros 1, 2 and 3, plus 64, Sunshine and Galaxy

As a die-hard Nintendo fan, I am deeply appreciative of the set. But considering how far other companies are willing to go (Call of Duty, Halo, Assassin's Creed, GTA IV and so on), I'm a little let down that Nintendo didn't follow suit with a statue, diorama or other equivalent piece of bad assery. Certainly not complaining, and it's a nice gesture, but this is a case where Nintendo has more to work with than any other game company and with that in mind, as well as the series in question, it's unfortunate there wasn't more.

Oh right, the games! Next page for that.

When you consider the entire package, $30 is more than fair. But the Super Mario All-Stars game itself? Not necessarily worth that much. The Wii version is a straight-up port of the SNES game, right down to the "Copyright Nintendo 1993" text along the bottom of the screen. Honestly it comes off as a bit lazy - you couldn't do anything to these games for a 25th anniversary?


Above: Even the SNES controller menu is the same!

Furthermore, why only four games on the disc when you could fit every 2D Mario game (or you know, every NES/SNES game period) on one DVD? I get that the anniversary is for Super Mario Bros and the NES, but Nintendo actually produced a version of All-Stars that included Super Mario World as well - would it have killed 'em to toss that in as well?


Above: C'mon guys, it's only like 8 extra megs of information

However, none of these nitpicks change the quality of the included games, or the intended purpose of the entire collection. You're still getting inarguable classics that defined not just platformers, but also the '80s games industry and millions of childhoods around the world. Think about that - you, me, everyone reading this article, thousands more on Xbox Live right now... we've all played these games to death, and that's forever a common ground among us all. Truthfully, the majority of games journalists are writing today because of these games, and you could even argue they're the reason the games industry is here at all. That's up for debate, but the point is these games are immortal, even if they're kinda-sorta not as fun as they once were.


Above: The All-Stars versions feature enhanced graphics, upgraded sound and the ability to save your progress... but we actually prefer the old versions because we're old mummies who hate new things


Above: But for the most part, the games are just like their 8-bit counterparts

The SNES version isn't available on the Virtual Console, but if it were, it would technically only cost 800 points (eight bucks). Or you could buy the individual games on the collection, which would still only total to $21, so if you're looking at this as $30 for four NES games, you're going to feel ripped off. But when you consider the whole package, what it means and the history it represents, this is definitely worth the cash. Plus it's a LIMITED EDITION (ITION...ITION...ITION) so you should get on it before Nintendo yanks it away.

More Info

Release date: Dec 12 2010 - Wii (US)
Dec 02 2010 - Wii (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii, SNES
Genre: Other Games/Compilations
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo
Franchise: Mario

36 comments

  • talleyXIV - June 18, 2012 5:42 p.m.

    I wish I could still get the limited edition. $30 for this beautiful looking collection of some of the greatest games ever made organized onto one game disc with enhanced graphics? 10/10 easily.
  • Ravenbom - February 9, 2011 10:06 p.m.

    Oh man, I'm torn but I really can't help think that it should be 800 points...
  • FFSamurai - December 19, 2010 5:09 a.m.

    You know how sometimes your staff is accused of being biased? "Truthfully, the majority of games journalists are writing today because of these games, and you could even argue they're the reason the games industry is here at all. That's up for debate, but the point is these games are immortal, even if they're kinda-sorta not as fun as they once were." That statement where you judge a game based on its predecessors' history rather than its own merits and enjoyability would be why. Oh, and just to clarify for all you people new to Mario's past games, this "Limited Edition" is a Wii re-release of an SNES re-make of the NES games he mentioned and not the original titles themselves so that statement just doesn't work.
  • Supernintendosixtyfourcubedswii - December 15, 2010 12:09 a.m.

    Probably my favorite mario game right behind super mario world. I have fond memories of getting this way back in the day and i cant wait to play it again. despite still owning the SNES original now i dont have to hook up my snes. oh and for those that call it a rip off ill tell you what a REAL rip off is... namco releasing the ORIGINAL pacman on i devices for $5.00
  • therawski - December 13, 2010 8:31 p.m.

    @MrDuracraft It's like everyone else is saying, it's just a snes rom on a dvd (graphics are not changed, about 6mb large), True it has a music cd and booklet, but SERIOUSLY???!!! even someone said Mario deserves better than this! You can extract music from rom files, you can print out your own booklet and burn your own cd for MORE FUN, you could buy a NEW game for the price! IT'S MISSING SO MANY MARIO GAMES!!!! They didn't even put Mario Kart like they got drunk and forgot about everything. Nintendo needs to change their business model soon, we can't let them think this is ok.
  • JohanLiebert - December 13, 2010 10:20 a.m.

    I don't want to downplay the collector's value of this allegedly great package, but I can't really see why this is not a 10-dollar Wii VC download. When I see Nintendo going to all the trouble of releasing Super Mario All-Stars in an age of "New Super Mario Bros" games, and on a system which seeks to always be re-defining this or that, I would have loved to see a "New Super Mario All-Stars" which might include Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, Luigi's Mansion, or whatever more recent Mario games might fit the bill. Then again, this has nothing to do with me, since I sold my Wii years ago.
  • CH3BURASHKA - December 13, 2010 6:21 a.m.

    Cool or not, the fact that it's completely unchanged from its 17-year-old counterpart is INCREDIBLY lame, almost making the score invalid (at least for me). Even though I've never been a proprietor of the original "All Stars", it still feels dirty that they basically found a long-lost ROM and said, "Let's put this out for nothing and rake in the cash". The fact that the pack-ins are lame as well isn't much of an incentive.
  • NightCrawler_358 - December 13, 2010 3:46 a.m.

    I was skeptical but great review! really changed my perspective. The soundtrack really makes it all worth it. Of course, you can always play them on, ummm, rhymes with shmemulator, so for some it seems a waste of money.
  • thedonut - December 12, 2010 4:38 p.m.

    Hmm this compilation could atleast have some unlockable extras and what not. Maybe even a "museum" mode.
  • super0sonic - December 12, 2010 7:46 a.m.

    I will be buying this but fucking hell no Super Mario World? I mean i own it on SNES and GBA and even Wii already but i need to buy it MORE.
  • Lionzest7 - December 12, 2010 3:11 a.m.

    Sounds like a waste of money. The same games I played several times through and can fire up the snes and play this off the bat. This doesn't include yoshi's island or super mario world? What a gyp
  • Spybreak8 - December 12, 2010 1:34 a.m.

    The only advantage here is that the price will drop over time unlike a digital copy. However I've already played and loved all of these games like I think 10 years ago.
  • kangaroocory - December 11, 2010 11:07 p.m.

    for the same price i could get a used snes and nes plus those four games and more so......no, thanks.
  • talleyXIV - June 18, 2012 5:44 p.m.

    You could not. At all. Look up the prices you dummy. An NES alone would cost $30 or more. A SNES would cost $40 or more. Every single one of these game would be over $15. This shit is not still being produced so it is actually quite expensive. You are really dumb.
  • SausageLozenge - December 11, 2010 8:48 p.m.

    I still own my NES originals and All stars w/Super Mario World for my SNES, but I'm still getting this for the book and soundtrack. This purchase will push me to the 1000 Nintendo Club points needed to buy the 2nd game & watch collection for the DS. : )
  • Redeater - December 11, 2010 1:37 p.m.

    Christ I wish I could stop buying these re-released Mario games.I have all the GBA versions as well as the wii ones. Not to mention I just bought Snes All Stars and even the original Nes cartridges. So do I really need this game?........Sadly yes.
  • veryweirdguy - December 11, 2010 10:16 a.m.

    Got this last week. Totally worth it! I'd never played the All-stars versions, so this is very nice for me. Great review!
  • slowdrum13 - December 11, 2010 7:59 a.m.

    30 bucks?! that's such a rip off! i'll pay 8 dollars, the same as all the rest of the snes games on virtual console. no thanks, i'll pass.
  • marioman50 - December 11, 2010 6:53 a.m.

    Word, No Mario World or Yoshi's Island or Mario Kart or Mario Paint or updated graphical style options (similar to PAC-MAN DX)? This is just a SNES ROM copied onto a Wii Disc. Fucking love Mario, and he deserves better than this!
  • brickman409 - December 11, 2010 6:06 a.m.

    meh, i think i might pass on this one. already got these games on nes, kinda wish this came with new super mario bros wii instead

Showing 1-20 of 36 comments

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