By Matthew Scott Hunter
‘Super Mario All-Stars’ (E)
A platform legend
The most famous character in the history of interactive entertainment turns 25 this year, and to mark the occasion, Nintendo has released a game called “Super Mario All-Stars,” containing the 8-bit titles “Super Mario Bros.,” “Super Mario Bros. 2,” “Super Mario Bros. 3” and “Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.” If this sounds a little familiar, that’s because Nintendo released a game called “Super Mario All-Stars” for the Super Nintendo back in 1993, containing all the same games. It’s a little like forgetting to buy your wife a gift for your 25th anniversary, digging up the gift you gave her for your eighth anniversary, scratching out the “8” on the card and replacing it with a “25” and giving her the gift again. Mario should seriously consider divorcing Nintendo over this insult. Fans should feel disrespected as well. Nintendo could’ve at least included “Super Mario 64” or “Super Mario Sunshine.” Even a 1994 version of “All-Stars” included “Super Mario World.”
That said, the included games are still all-time classics. While a bit dated, the original “SMB” is still an important piece of video game history. “The Lost Levels” was the true sequel and was released as such in Japan, but since its challenging platforming was deemed too difficult for Americans, an excellent game called “Doki Doki Panic” was given a Mario makeover and released to us as “SMB 2.” “SMB 3” has aged the best and remains one of the greatest games ever made. Despite simplistic graphics and limited controls, these brilliantly designed games continue to entertain, so I suppose it’s worthwhile to pick up this package if you don’t already have these games on the original Nintendo. Or the Super Nintendo. Or the GameBoy Advance or the Wii virtual console or a Nintendo emulator…
‘Golden Sun: Dark Dawn’ (E10+)
It’s been seven years since the last “Golden Sun” game came out on GameBoy Advance, but in the world of Weyard, that’s long enough for questing duties to pass to the next generation. As the child of two characters from the earlier game, you’ll be collecting and summoning magical critters called Djinn and utilizing them in far-too-easy RPG combat. Fortunately, the powers that make fighting too simple also make puzzle-solving a blast. Figuring out how to use your party’s powers in tandem to open up new areas to explore is the highlight of this adventure.
‘Pinball FX 2: Marvel Pinball’ (E)
This expansion for “Pinball FX 2” is designed not only to appeal to fans of Marvel comics, but also to pinball purists, who can be finicky about their physics. Except for a few unrealistic superhero flourishes, “Marvel Pinball” exercises a lot of restraint, playing the same way any real world pinball table would. The flippers sound authentic, the balls bounce realistically, and the hand-painted themes — focused around Wolverine, Spider-man, Iron Man and Blade — look like they’d be right at home in any arcade.
‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1’ (E10+)
This game couldn’t be any more evil is it was one of the horcruxes containing Voldemort’s black soul. Like it’s Wii counterpart, this game dumbs J.K. Rowling’s story down into a simple shooter, only this time, you’re casting spells in generic levels with an isometric view. If it didn’t say so on the cartridge, I wouldn’t even know this was a “Harry Potter” game. CV