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Friday, 31 May 2013

Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2

Yoshi fighting off Kamek's evil posse. pic:

Yoshi's Island 2 is among the last major releases for the then dying Super Nintendo Entertainment System and, not surprisingly, it's one of the greatest games ever released on the SNES. in fact, one could even say that it's one of the best games ever made as I've just played this eighteen-year game and it seems as fun as ever. How can games this old still pack so much fun? I feel the very cells in my body itching to play that again. Even the myelin sheaths in my central nervous system feel strongly compelled to playing this wondrous game.
North America box art for Yoshi's Island

The plot of Yoshi's island is comprised of Yoshis handing out Baby Mario to one another in a relay system. Within their sojour, the Yoshis are bound to face challenges comprising different genre, namely mini-game puzzles, races, guessing games, shooting and more! Yoshi and his similar buddies prove themselves not only keepers of the Yoshis' Island, but also as guardians to Baby Mario, whom Kamek and his bunch of toadies are out to kidnap. They're still holding baby Luigi captive, but they still need to make sure that Mario is still out of teh way. Thus, they are pressed to gather both babies and thus send out for Baby Bowser to conquer the world along with the pitiful humans. That's why he needs Kamek, the evil magikoopa, to power him up with his magic wand so he can become huge enough to take on Yoshi because, in all earnest, he's unable to stand a chance against Yoshi at his current size.

Mario also proves himself to be a super smart human baby who is able to run up walls and even upside down on ceilings once he gets hold of a starman. Strangely is temporarily converted into a huge green-spotted egg in order to be towed along.

Baby Bowser is the actual villain in the game, even though it's Kamek who is Yoshi's usual opponent.

 Yoshi's Island is something of a departure from the conventionalities that most platform games employ in more ways than one. At certain stages the action plays like half side-scrolling and half 3-d, there's even a crosshair that can be fixed in order to shoot eggs in the desired direction. Speaking of such, Yoshi relies on a multitude of moves to make his way across the dangerous crooks on the exotic island. He can ground pound in order to defeat some really tougher foes and drive wooden posts into the ground. He can also shoot eggs high into the air in order to hit straight-flying or overhung enemies. By default the aim runs the whole angle held by Yoshi's eyes, but a few button presses it's possible to lock on a target before firing away. Reminiscent of various Nintendo games is the jumping attack, in which Yoshi, as well as some other Nintendo characters like Kirby, Luigi and Mario, defeats foes simply by jumping and landing on top of them. Yoshi can also make use of his lengthy tongue to grab an enemy and draw it into the ruthless digestive juices of his avid stomach. When Yoshi comes cross certain items, he acquires new destructive abilities: should he swallow an ice melon, he acquires the ability to freeze his enemies up before shattering them to death. It's actually quite satisfying to ice up those pesky piranha plants before having them crumble to their definite death. If you have an ice melon, it would be only fair to have a fire version of this fruit as well and that's where the fire watermelon comes into play. It simply heats up enemies to the point that they die. It's funny to use this on those hugeass crabs in the third world, it feels like you're steaming them to death. What further drives the point home is that you actually get to cross paths with two of those big crabs in the mid-way fortress of the third world, where the background is draped by an eerie reddish texture, which makes it seem like it might be tad hot in there.

When Yoshi gobbles up a standard watermelon, he gains the seed-shooting power. He can shoot a huge amount of seeds within a short time period. This is best when up against a barrage of enemies surging in.

Yoshi's island feels different than its predecessors when it comes to gameplay. As mentioned above, Yoshi has a plethora of new moves, many which only Yoshi can wield well. These changes actually work well as far as adding to variety goes. It also adds to the game's enjoyment, one of Nintendo's all time hallmarks. One thing that many platform games suffer from (and, to some measure, most games overall) is the lackluster variety of enemy designs. People have often seen this often: enemy designs tend to become repetitive and lean on boredom after a while. In some contexts, it's tantamount to torture. Lucky for us that Yoshi's Island has addressed this issue to perfection. The player feasts their eyes on a rich array of enemies that never feel like plentiful enough. Among these are weird mad-looking sunflowers, dashing storks, roly poly ambling pigeons, monkeys, sea monster popping up out of the water, koopa troopas (what video game would be complete without red and green-shelled turtles?) and shyguy in his many forms and appearances. And what a comeback for old Shyguy. This enemy had seemly been left out after Super mArio Bros. 2 was out. He hadn't appeared since. But in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island he's back in Business Again sporting all sorts of apparels, weapons and moves. You can find a dancing shyguy through a tropical thicket, run into a ghostly one or be bombed by a shy guy form high above or stepped on by some shy guy on stilts. Although some players may shy away at the dynamic action presented in this game and the amazing manoeuvres players have at their disposal, this game still manages to be very approachable to beginners. Although Yoshi's Island has a linear story, part of the player's interactions with the in-game environment includes performing an assortment of puzzles along the way. Many of these hold the intention to reward the player with extra lives, hoardable items or something even necessary to achieve the stage's maximum score.