The “Get To Know” line of articles are built to get a better impression of what I love/hate, and why, through a more direct means. While my tastes have been quite unconventional to the “norm” we’ve seen, I feel as if it’d be beneficial to run a series of articles that go into what I adore, and deplore, about gaming, and why.
I alluded to a major project I was going to work on throughout 2018, but due to repeated illnesses, I was unable to produce a healthy enough queue to get it going. That project was going to be my top 100 games of all-time, in which I would go into a great bit of detail on each game, and why it has a position on said list.
With this miniseries I have going with Get To Know, it’s given me a renewed sense of urgency to try and get some portion of this project revealed and shared with everyone. Instead of being overly ambitious, I’ll truncate the list to a top 25; that’s more than enough to show the kinds of games I adore the most, and the genres that they represent.
9 – Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2
- Developer: Nintendo EAD
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Platform: SNES
- Genre: 2D platformer
- Release date: 10/4/95
- Rating: 9.8
What is Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2?
The second full-fledged, original Mario game on the Super Nintendo, Yoshi’s Island was a bit of a departure from the norm. Featuring Yoshi as the star and Baby Mario as his companion, as well as some Mode 7 enhancements to its gorgeous visual style, and the tight gameplay that the franchise is known for, Yoshi’s Island became the single greatest 2D platformer I ever played.
What warrants Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2‘s inclusion on this list?
I don’t recall whether or not I was anticipating Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2 or not. I know I followed it throughout its development, yet I can’t remember whether or not it was a game that I was eagerly waiting on. It ended up being the best 2D platformer I ever played anyway, even nearly 23 years removed.
Yoshi’s Island was a deceitful game – the audio and video package seemed geared towards a much younger audience, however, it became devilishly difficult the further you went. In fact, Yoshi’s Island might have been the most difficult Mario game I’ve played, outside of Super Mario Bros. 2j. The challenge was more than fair though, as it was easy to pinpoint why a death occurred. Bosses weren’t always hard to fell, but sometimes it took a couple of attempts to understand the pattern, and then a couple more attempts perfecting the means to dispatch them.
As mentioned, the audio and visual work in Yoshi’s Island seemed like it was trying to reach a younger demographic. The visuals were a sight to behold, with each stage looking like a kid took a crayon to my television screen. It was a beautiful art direction, one that was bolstered by the Super FX chip, creating enemies and objects that scaled to a significantly larger size. All of this was without a hint of slowdown.
The audio was a real treat as well. The music, for the most part, sounded like something that would be in a game geared towards 7-10 year olds. That’s not a dig either, because the compositions were so well done, especially the intro and outro portions of the game. All of the effects sounded proper, and kept with that motif.
Lets get this out of the way too – Baby Mario’s crying was not a detraction point to Yoshi’s Island. Yes, the crying wasn’t the most pleasant thing to listen to, but many gamers discredited the entire game due to this. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – “git gud”. Don’t get hit often, be careful, and you won’t have to hear it. With Yoshi’s Island being a difficult title, that might not be the most plausible outcome, but it’s never been something that’s detracted from my enjoyment.
And boy, did I enjoy Yoshi’s Island.
The tight gameplay the franchise has been know for, seamlessly transitioned over, even with Yoshi being the star of the show this go. Many of these stages had quite a bit of length to them, but never did they feel like they went on longer than they should have. As with Super Metroid, the collect-a-thon that goes on with stars, coins and flowers had me returning to each stage, making sure I 100% cleared every single one that was in the game.
The boss battles stole the show, with the Super FX scaling increasing the size of these adversaries by double, sometimes tenfold. The final boss battle in particular may still be my favorite final boss in a 2D platfromer. The epic music that plays, with the frantic platforming and egg aiming created one brilliant battle.
Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2 shouldn’t have been this good. The overall game length was perfect, with the perfect challenge, perfect controls, and some of the best 16 bit visuals and audio ever. If you passed up playing this one because of folks that said Baby Mario’s crying was too annoying, you’re missing out on the best 2D platformer out there. Whether it’s the SNES Classic, Virtual Console or the original cart, please take the time to play through this one.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has Baby Mario beat.
You wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world? Well, other than that link, try playing through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES when one of your turtles has one health unit or less left. That’s another game that’s taken a ton of flak for no good reason (hell, even the low health warning is manageable for me), but I digress.