Ranking the ‘Super Mario All Stars’ Games


Photo By Ian Walker, Kotaku

Mario performs the satisfying Spin Attack. Photo courtesy of Ian Walker

By Reagan Babbitt, Reporter

Way back when, on July 14, 1993, Nintendo released a compilation celebrating their flagship series Super Mario. The collection featured 16-bit remakes of Super Mario Bros, the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 (nicknamed Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels), the U.S. Super Mario Bros. 2 (nicknamed Super Mario 2 USA), and Super Mario Bros. 3. The collection later got a re-release including the latest and greatest (at the time), Super Mario World, but I’m not going to rank that as it wasn’t remade for the collection. Just to be clear, I am ranking the remakes of these games, not the originals.


4. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

Back in the day, Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. 2 as a direct sequel to the original on their FamiCom system in Japan- and I do mean direct sequel. This game seemed like an expansion to the original Super Mario Bros, and because of that, it was expected of the player to have mastered the original. If the player mastered that game, they would get the reward of attempting one of the most difficult, unfair, and unforgiving games in the series. Nintendo cleaned up their act by “disguising” another FamiCom game to match the Super Mario theme (The original game; Doki Doki Panic, had its characters replaced with that from the Super Mario series), and released it to the U.S. That being said, I think this game is the weakest in the collection. Despite the nice visual upgrade, this game is still as brutal as it was in 1986. The remake does nothing wrong for this game (or any of the games in the collection), but none of the original’s wrongdoings are fixed, giving it the number 4 spot. 


3. Super Mario Bros.

Ah, yes, the game that started it all… kind of. This game gave Mario signature traits such as jumping, power-ups, rescuing a princess, and the works, so it’s always a good time to boot up this game in Super Mario All-Stars and give it a whirl. Due to this game’s many secrets that allow you to skip through most of the game, it’s entirely possible to beat it in one sitting. It makes for a fun play experience in which you can beat the game quickly, but maintain a good score throughout your short playtime. Many people remember the remake of this game despite never even playing it. Back in the early 2000’s, it was incredibly common to see Super Mario flash games on the internet use music from this collection, most namely the remake of the original Super Mario Bros. I’m giving it the number 3 spot because it’s just not as achieving as the games that appear further on in this list, but it at least lacks the unfair design of its sequel. 


2. Super Mario Bros. 2 (Super Mario 2 USA)

For Nintendo fans, we all have to cross that barrier of realizing Super Mario Bros. 2 USA is not what it seems. Nintendo thought the U.S. player base would come to hate Mario if they played his putrid original sequel. This game features Mario and his buddies (Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and Toad) throwing turnips, riding carpets, and defeating everyone’s favorite antagonist from the series, Wart. The remake of this game gave the world a really vibrant feel. It now feels like Mario has truly entered the Land of Dreams, rather than the world of simple-texture-overhauls. I guess I have to credit the original Doki Doki Panic for its unique gameplay.


1. Super Mario Bros. 3

Ever since it was revealed in the 1989 film, The Wizard, Super Mario Bros. 3 has been seen as a classic amongst fans for its rich game design and fantastic graphics (for the time), and the All-Stars remake completely does it justice. The All-Stars version looks incredible, but unique from the others in the collection. Most of the games in the All-Stars collection are complete graphical overhauls, but this remake almost looks as if it’s an update to the original to match the hardware. Still, there are plenty of new changes to the backgrounds. This game is stellar, and still holds up to this day. It’s still being matched against Super Mario World today to see which is the better 2D Super Mario platformer, giving its remake the number one spot.


It’s been 27 years since Super Mario All-Stars was released on the Super Nintendo console, and many are happy to see this great collection have some light shed on it due to its recent re-release, but what’s more important is the 35 years Mario himself has been around. Happy 35th, Mario, never change. 

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