One week from today, on Sunday, December 12th, Nintendo is re-releasing Super Mario All-Stars for the Wii. And aside from some tweaks to the control input to allow for a number of the Wii’s configurations to be used, it is the exact same game that was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1993, from top to bottom.
And some people are fine with this. As the 8-bit original versions of the four included Super Mario Bros. titles could easily run you $20 by themselves, getting four 16-bit games (which, taken separately, could conceivably run $32 altogether) with added save features, plus a commemorative music CD and series history art book seems like a steal.
Others, on the other hand, are a little less pleased with Nintendo’s offering. Reports are that this is the Super NES game, period. Nothing more, nothing less; even the in-game illustration of the control layout is said to still be the original Super NES graphic.
With nothing more on the disc, some people believe it is a waste, as the size of Super Mario All-Stars would only take up a tiny fraction of a DVD’s capacity. Some believe Nintendo should have remade all four games with New Super Mario Bros. Wii-styled graphics and music, though for the price, that seems a little unreasonable.
Others, however, have a more reasonable gripe: the omission of Super Mario World. It is believed that the reason it is not included in this Limited Edition Wii release is due to its availability on the Virtual Console. But nonetheless, there is more to the desire for its inclusion than merely having a fifth game.
As it happens, about a year after Super Mario All-Stars was released, Nintendo began to bundle it with the Super NES console alongside Super Mario World. To keep costs down, presumably, Nintendo included World on the same cartridge as All-Stars, effectively making the package Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World.
One thing fans of Luigi no doubt noticed in Super Mario All-Stars was that Mario’s brother had been given a unique appearance in all four games, to better match what had been established in Super Mario Bros. 2 and other media. But when it came to Super Mario World, the developers had continued to make Luigi the “green Mario,” at least during gameplay.
So then came the problem with including Super Mario World with All-Stars: it would be odd to simply have Luigi be a palette-swapped Mario in one of the five games, so they gave him a makeover.
Those who have played Super Mario Advance 2, the Game Boy Advance port/remake of Super Mario World, may believe they have seen what they missed out on in the All-Stars/World package, but as it turns out, that’s simply not the case. Not only does Luigi look different in each game, but he acts different, too.
Washed-out colors aside, the Advance version of Luigi would vary from what came before in that his art and mannerisms were derived from the Super Mario Advance version of Super Mario Bros. 2. He jumped higher, kicked his feet, controlled a bit more loosely, and even his fireballs acted differently. In short, it was more or less the same treatment Luigi usually gets when he is included in a one-player game with Mario.
For Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World, however, Luigi’s physics would remain the same as Mario’s. But what he lacked in different abilities, he made up for in character.
As you’ll see in the video below, which compares Luigi in all three versions as he goes through Yoshi’s Island 1, a number of unusual and peculiar changes were made to Luigi:
As Squirminator2k of GameJournosBlog (who not only captured the above video, but the above screenshots, and brought this to light to begin with) points out:
Gone was the traditional Mario jump, with one fist in the air and one leg raised higher than the other. Luigi lunged with both legs, and raised them ready to land upon descent. No longer did Luigi throw fireballs from his hands as his stout brother did – he spat them. He didn’t throw the V-for-victory hand signal when he finished a level anymore, instead opting to cross his arms like a badass.
In addition, he also slides differently from Mario; as AbsoluteZero put it during our discussion on the Penny Arcade Forums, “He slides on his knees like a rock star sliding across a stage!”
One thing that is interesting about Luigi’s new animations here is that they seem to further perpetuate some misunderstandings about Mario, such as the idea that he hits blocks with his head, rather than his fist, or that he “spits” fireballs, rather than throwing them. It’s almost like Luigi was expected to wind up in the hands of mothers around the world who viewed things in such a way.
Did we say “around the world?” Actually, that would be incorrect: this version of World would only see release in North America and Europe, and even then only as a pack-in with the Super NES. As a result, it is safe to say that there are probably a lot of people who have not seen this side of Luigi before.
And, as noted before, Super Mario World is on the Virtual Console, but it is not this version. Therefore, those who prefer Luigi to stand tall as his own character would seem to have some legitimate grievances with the World-free release of Super Mario All-Stars on the Wii.
It would be nice if Nintendo were to release this alternate version on the Virtual Console, or perhaps even have the VC World and Wii All-Stars act as some sort of “lock and key” to reveal the game so few people had a chance to see. Unfortunately, however, it seems unlikely that Nintendo would ever regard it as worth the trouble.
Perhaps someday in the future.
In the end, it is ironic that a release designed to commemorate 25 years of Super Mario Bros. would sell one of the duo’s more interesting appearances short.