Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Super Mario Bros. Crossover

In commemoration of the new Super Mario Bros. Crossover that seems to be lingering on the horizon, I decided to jump all over the FIRST in this newly-dubbed series of games. I'm frankly surprised I've neglected it up until now, as Crossover is browser gaming at its finest.


It's Super Mario Bros. with a bunch of different NES characters. What's not to understand?

Okay, okay, I'll not be a douche. Here's the skinny: Crossover is an entirely-faithful recreation of the original Super Mario Bros. That said, it ALSO incorporates no less than seven additional NES heroes into the works: Samus from Metroid, Ryu from Ninja Gaiden, Link from Legend of Zelda, Sophia III from Blaster Master, Mega Man from... y'know, Simon Belmont from Castlevania and Bill from Contra. The end goal is the same in each game: rescue Princess Toadstool. Peach. Whatever.

What makes Crossover unique from the original game is the fact that each hero brings their respective powers along for the ride. Samus has her arm cannon and can roll up into a ball, for example, while Simon Belmont hefts his whip wherever he goes and can hurl axes at odd angles. You can beat the game as any of the heroes, thanks to extensive tinkering, though playing with characters you've already mastered in other arenas will definitely help your chances - they play the same here as they ever did elsewhere. You can also change characters between levels, which is REALLY helpful for circumventing certain challenges.


The controls vary from character to character, though each utilizes a combination of the arrow keys and Z, X and C. Simple and sweet, just the way I like it. Each character has their own traits when it comes to moving around and attacking, so it's difficult to generalize - though I can at least say that, while faithful to each game, the controls are also nice and tight. If you die, it's your own damn fault.


Everything has been stripped from a slew of NES games, aside from the intro title. If you have beef with 8-bit glory, take it up with Nintendo. I personally thought the combination of games worked beautifully, even if Bill combating goofy turtles looks a little odd.


Again, stripped from various NES games, aside from the selection screen ditty (which is a remix of the famous Mario theme). Deal.

What I liked about the sound was the way in which it was used. Each character received an allotment of tunes from their original games which changed based on the circumstances: for example, Mega Man starts off with the infamous Dr. Wily theme from Mega Man 2, then when he hits a star he reverts to the traditional Mega Man intro screen music. Go in a castle and he's got boss music from the first game. The same applies to each character, making for a nicely varied musical experience - and if you've played any of the games, you should easily recognize the iconic tunes chosen for Crossover.

Challenge Rating

The difficulty level of Crossover varies based on three factors:

a) Your familiarity with the original Super Mario Bros., as it's exactly the same;

b) Your familiarity with your character(s) of choice; and

c) Your choices from level to level.

Though every character is capable of getting through Crossover, some do not fare so well in certain environments compared to others. Mega Man is great for plowing through lots of enemies, but he sucks at jumping, even with Rush at his command. Bill is pretty good for walking levels, but I hated him underwater. Simon Belmont wasn't that great at taking out flying enemies, but he rocked against land-based foes - and he was terrific for leaping long distances with his double jump capacity. You get the picture: everybody's good and bad at something. (I personally thought the Sophia III was the best choice for most situations. Sticking to the ceiling? Fugedaboutit.)

In the end, though, regardless of your character choice or familiarity with Super Mario Bros., your experience with the game boils down to retro skill. Are you good at side scrolling platformers? Then you'll probably do just fine in Crossover.


I could play Super Mario Bros. Crossover all day, each time sampling the levels with a different character. The experience changes so much with just a few game play tweaks that it's like a whole new set of levels on each romp. Whether you're a major NES fan or not, plaaaaaay!


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