Blast from the Past: Super Mario All-Stars (SNES)



There is no mascot as synonymous with the games industry as Mario. Even back in the early 90s Mario had already cemented his dominance in the world of platformers. In 1993 the SNES had its first rival, the SEGA Mega Drive, and with that they had to get games onto the console and fast. What better than giving the original Super Mario titles an upgrade?

Wahoo! It’s a me, Mario 1, 2 and 3… and some other levels

Yes, as far back as we can remember Nintendo were already remastering their games. Super Mario All-Stars consists of four NES games – Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3. Each game received a graphical upgrade to match what was capable on the SNES along with improved sound. It wasn’t just a big deal that the game was going to look so much better on the SNES – it was the first time western gamers got to play Lost Levels. Lost Levels was known as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan, but was considered too difficult for western gamers, hence Super Mario Bros. 2 (as we know it) is actually a whole different game altogether and is included in this pack too.

Each game comes with four slots to allow up to four people to save their own playthrough progress.

As soon as the first World 1-1 tune starts up you’ll feel right at home. That said, I personally still prefer the original 8-bit soundtrack. It’s fancy hearing the upgraded audio, but sometimes some things are best left untouched. Unfortunately you can’t switch between the original and modern soundtrack of the time either. The game physics is also not quite on par with the original games and it’s something I felt throughout my experience with all four games. Super Mario World, which this new upgrade is based on, is a very different game and works well with the implemented game physics, but in All-Stars I found that Mario slid more than he should. It’s a minor problem, but it’s something retro fans of the 8-Bit versions will pick up right away.

Where it does thump each original game is in terms of its saving feature. Each game comes with four slots to allow up to four people to save their own playthrough progress. Back in 1993 this was an unheard of feature. When failing in one of the many levels, which you ultimately will, it’s a welcome feature to pick up where you left off. Surprisingly the memory is still intact all these years later and you can save your progress as need be using original SNES hardware. Seeing as the SNES also came with extra buttons on the controller it grants you to opportunity to customise your button setup as you please. Considering that you only require two buttons, jump and dash/item throw/hold, it’s not too complicated. I found that the default setup works just perfectly.

Out with the old in with the new old

Super Mario All-Stars is unquestionably great value for money. You’re getting four games for the price of one and host some of the best level design in it that money can buy. Whether you’re after the classic original Super Mario Bros. levels or if you’re in the mood for a throwback to one of the best games of all time, Super Mario Bros. 3, there’s enough here to last you a long time. I did find that Super Mario Bros. 2 aged poorly when compared to the other two, but that is just personal choice. Lost Levels on the other hand is the toughest of the lot and you’ll experience some level design choices that is on par with some of the more difficult levels you might have faced in Super Mario Maker on the Wii U or 3DS.

Gamers who own a SNES should have this in their library. No, I don’t think it’s quite as good as the original outings on the NES, but it’s a bit of Nintendo history all wrapped up in one adventurous package for fans of the platforming genre. Throw in a second player and you have a great time ahead of you both.


  • 4-in1? South African gamers will be accustomed to that
  • The saving feature
  • Customising your button layout


  • Game physics aren't on par with the 8-Bit games
  • 16-Bit sound upgrade is good, but the original soundtrack is better


Super Mario All-Stars is great value for money if you never played the first four games on the NES and would like to see what all the fuss is about. For those who own the original games this is just a bonus collector's piece with improved graphics and little more.


Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.

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