Video Game: Super Mario Land
Welcome, and enter the center
Of my Super Mario adventure
My girl is trapped on the other side of town
So I'm movin' in leaps and bounds
Folks around my way think I'm strange
But there's a villain to blame
Even my ma, she thinks I'm crazy
But I've got to rescue Daisy (let's go!)
In his first adventure for the Game Boy
travels through Sarasaland to rescue Princess Daisy from the invader Tatanga. The sprites in this platformer
are very small, due to the Game Boy's small screen, which supports only four shades of gray.
Unlike most installments of the franchise, Super Mario Land
was directed not by Shigeru Miyamoto
but rather by Gunpei Yokoi
, the man who designed the Game Boy itself, and developed by Nintendo R&D1, the team who were responsible for all Metroid
games from the original
to Zero Mission
except for the Metroid Prime
sub-series (Metroid: Other M
also had a different developer, but was released after Zero Mission
). The sequel, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
, had larger sprites and marked the debut of Mario's Evil Counterpart
Other differences from Super Mario Bros..
- Mario's jump physics are noticably different from the main games; for instance, when Mario jumps diagonally, you can't control how it moves (although you can when it jumps straight up) and he maintains no momentum.
- Instead of fireballs, the flower powerup gives Mario the ability to throw "superballs", weaponized balls which bounce off their targets at 90-degree angles. Nearly useless outdoors, but they can be fun when there's a ceiling. It did have the perk of collecting any coins it hit.
- The game has two automatically scrolling areas. In the first, Mario pilots a submarine, the "Marine Pop"; in the second, he flies an airplane, the "Sky Pop". These are Unexpected Shmup Levels.
- Koopa shells cannot be kicked, and are in fact bombs that explode after a few seconds of being stopped.
- Instead of the usual eight worlds, the game has only four, with three levels to a world for a total of 12 levels, and no warp zones.
- The otherwise common melodies known in Mario series are not present.
Along with Tetris
, it was one of the original launch titles for the system.
Please note that Super Mario 3D Land,
which was released for a later handheld console
, has nothing
to do with this game (or series, for that matter).
This game contains examples of:
- All Deserts Have Cacti: World 1-1 in the first game.
- Ancient Astronauts: Invoked Trope, given that Sarasaland is made up of four areas with connections to alien or myths of paranormal phenomenon (Ancient Egypt, The Bermuda Triangle, Easter Island, and China).
- Antepiece: The game has great level design involving interesting yet accessible setpieces. One tool it'll use is to build up to a complicated setpiece with an "antepiece". In this image  you can see the third boss on the far right, who tries to crush Mario by throwing bouncing stones. On the far left, a positioned a little before you will encounter him, you can see one of those bouncing stones. That anticipatory stone presents no real danger, because it only bounces beneath the question boxes, which you can jump onto. The purpose of the stone is to warn you about what is ahead and maybe give you the opportunity to practice dodging and jumping on them in an enclosed environment.
- Big Bad: Tatanga.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The English manual is more or less a direct translation of the Japanese, with enemy names transliterated rather than being renamed in localization, as is the norm for this series. Even when a localization convention exists, it is ignored: thus, Piranha Plants go by "Pakkun Flower" (their Japanese name) in this game, and enemies that are obviously intended to be subspecies of normal Mario enemies (i.e. Gira for Kira or Bullet Bill, or Nokobon for Nokonoko or Koopa Troopa) wind up with names that are completely incomprehensible to English-speaking fans. Granted, none of this comes up in the game itself, but the manual was meant to be a companion piece to the game in those days.
- The names of the game's locations suffered as well, albeit slightly less so as the puns on real world locations (Muda Kingdom for Bermuda, Easton Kingdom for Easter Island, Chai Kingdom for China) are mostly still comprehensible in translation. The exception is world one, Birabuto Kingdom, which was completely misread from the original Japanese by virtue of the translator confusing a handakuten for a dakuten. The intended name is Piraputo kingdom, a portmanteau of "pyramid" (piramido) and "Egypt" (Ejiputo). "Piraputo" or even "Pyrypt" would have been acceptable translations, but "Birabuto" is completely wrong.
- The 2011 Virtual Console rerelease fixed some of this by renaming some of the common enemies, like "Goombo" and "Bullet Biff".
- Bonus Level: In true Super Mario fashion. Interestingly, some bonus levels have Spikes Of Doom, making for a rare chance to actually die in a bonus level.
- Chinese Vampire: Pionpi, a goddamned enemy in World 4-1.
- Copy And Paste Environments: Even more so than SMB. Hey, didn't I pass by an area like this just now? It's deja vu all over again.
- Damsel in Distress: Princess Daisy.
- Dolled-Up Installment: Like Super Mario Bros. 2, it was not originally a Mario game early in development. That is why it is about aliens invading Egypt, Bermuda, China, and Easter Island.
- Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: World 3, the Easter Island-themed Easton Kingdom.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console rerelease modified the translation of enemy names, with one being an example: Bombshell Koopas. When stomped on, their shells explode without Mario getting a chance to kick them.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In contrast to the usual Super Mario Bros. settings, every level is directly inspired by a real-world setting. Birabuto is based on Ancient Egypt, Muda is based on Bermuda, Easton is based on Easter Island, and Chai is based on highland China.
- Fan Vid: Action Adventure World has come out with a fun one.
- Four Element Ensemble: The variety of locations gives the game an exotic feel that most Mario games don't have. Each of the kingdoms, and the bosses associated with them, can also be associated with one of the classical elements. The Fire kingdom of Birabuto is based on the deserts of Egypt and ruled by the fire-breathing King Totomesu; the Water kingdom of Muda is a series of tropical islands and an underwater stage ruled by the seahorse Dragonzamasu; the Earth kingdom of Easton is a mountainous place filled with rocklike Ganchans and ruled by the Ganchan-throwing Hiyoihoi; and the Air kingdom of Chai is a series of highlands and a flying stage ruled by the mysterious Blokinton, who hides within a large cloud and attacks by hurling flying Chickens at Mario.
- Giant Spider: World 3-2 and 3-3 will greet you to these guys.
- Gratuitous Japanese: Most of the monster names are still in Japanese. Until the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console release translated the variants of recurring Mario enemies, this applied to even the Goombas, which were originally called Chibibo worldwide (and retranslated as Goombo).
- Averted in the European version of its Virtual Console release, where the enemies still retain their Japanese names.
- Hitbox Dissonance: Small Mario is a bit taller than a block yet he's still able to go through a tiny gap between two blocks with his head clipping throug the upper block. (here at 0:40)
- Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The Superball power Mario gets from flowers is this instead of the usual fireballs.
- Jump Physics: Mario's jump physics in this game are rather odd; for instance, when Mario jumps diagonally, you can't control how it moves (although you can when it jumps straight up) and he maintains no momentum.
- Kung-Fu Proof Mook: The Pionpi of the Chai Kingdom cannot be defeated by Goomba Stomp, but only with a Super Ball. It's nearly impossible to tell how from the game itself, but these guys are actually based off of the Jiangshi, or Chinese vampire-zombies.
- Levels Take Flight: Level 4-3, which has you flying around in the Sky Pop.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Tatanga's whole palace goes down after his defeat.
- Made of Explodium: Tatanga's Palace — when Tatanga dies, the entire airborne structure explodes for no apparent reason...
- Also the Bombshell Koopas when they've been stomped.
- Oddball in the Series: The game plays like a traditional Mario platformer, but throws out all sense of familiarity after that, as spoofed in this Brawl in the Family comic. And yes: to say that the game stands out as weird in a series starring an Italian plumber who eats magical mushrooms and flings fireballs at turtle monsters is certainly a mouthful, but it's true.
- Outside-Context Villain: Tatanga.
- Projectile Pocketing: The Superball Power-Up. Throwing balls at coins will collect them instantaneously. Very handy in certain coin-filled bonus rooms.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: Swaps out the traditional Starman invincibility music with the Can-Can, and game-over music with "Rock-a-bye Baby".
- Ratchet Scrolling: Like the original Super Mario Bros., the game does not allow you to backtrack in a level.
- Regional Riff: That's how Chai Kingdom theme starts.
- Spikes Of Doom: Very prevalent in World 3 and even in a few warp pipe bonus stages!
- Super Drowning Skills: Mario sinks like a rock if he falls into water (mostly because it's a Bottomless Pit).
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
- Princess Daisy is so similar to Princess Peach/Toadstool that for over a decade, many people thought that she was Princess Toadstool, and that "Daisy" was just her nickname. In the Nintendo 64 era, she became a distinct Palette Swap for Princess Toadstool, and more recent games have given her a Southern accent and more of an Action Girl personality than her cousin.
- The Palette Swap status is Older Than They Think — Daisy actually appeared with her more "modern" look in NES Open Tournament Golf.
- The Bombshell Koopas are exploding clones of Koopa Troopas.
- The Goombo enemy is based on the Goomba
- The Bullet Biff enemy is basically a miniature Bullet Bill.
- Under the Sea: In World 2-3, Mario rides around in the Marine Pop and shoots down enemies and objects underwater.
- Unexpected Shmup Level: Worlds 2-3 and 4-3.
- Unique Enemy: Immediately before the final boss room, you see coming out of the pipes...human fists?
- Wutai: Worlds 4-1 and 4-2.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: This is Mario, and the game was hyped as the "true" sequel to Super Mario Bros. However, instead of rescuing a new citizen of Sarasaland after each boss, the false princesses were monsters in disguise.