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Super Mario Bros Deluxe

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Released: 1999

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Game Boy Color

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo

Submitted by: Craig Hawkins

This is ether a reworked masterpiece or sacrilege depending on who you listen to. It's certainly of more interest than the NES Classics straight port the GBA received and is essential for every Mario and/or GBC collection.

The game is altered through a couple of fundamental changes: (1) the chance to scroll the screen backwards and (2) the ability to save your progress. While this makes the game easier and more enjoyable for some, it makes it too easy and unrewarding for others. To cater for the GBC's screen, less of the playing area is displayed and you have to scroll up and down with the D-pad to see where you're going at certain points to avoid Mario inching towards the dreaded leap of faith.

In terms of graphics and audio the game remains unchanged beyond a new spruced-up front end and the addition of a world map. The release gets its 'deluxe' tag from a bundle of new extras. On completion of the main game, SMB Lost Levels are opened up. While not quite the same or as hard as the famed levels from the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, they provide a stern test of your skills with the GBC's controls.

The new challenge mode is the real draw that adds an impressive amount of value. Predating Achievements, here you earn medals for finding Yoshi eggs and red coins, while another is given for beating the High Score challenges. Success sees pictures added to your album which can be printed via your Game Boy printer to show and impress all the kids at school. It's probably best not to do this now we're all in our 20s and 30s, though.

If you're greedy enough to demand more, you can race Boo to the end of each level. Upon victory you can crank the difficulty level up, and when you're bored or racing a ghost, you can race a friend through the link cable. If you think you've played SMB enough times, SMBDX makes you think again. And again. A genuinely deluxe version of a classic.