Super Mario Land Game Boy front cover
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Super Mario Land

Super Mario Land, the plumber’s first outing on the Game Boy, is a side-scrolling platformer much in the vein of the previous Super Mario Bros. Play Super Mario Land online!

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This time, Mario must save Princess Daisy, rather than Princess Toadstool, from her kidnapper, Tatanga, a mysterious spaceman.

The game follows largely the same formula of its aforementioned predecessor, with Mario defeating enemies by jumping on them and collecting coins and power ups by hitting floating blocks, with each world leading up to a boss fight which is defeated using by collapsing the floor. A unique feature of this instalment is two scrolling shoot-’em-up levels, the first of which Mario pilots a submarine, and the second an aeroplane.

Super Mario Land game description

As a side-scrolling platform game and the first in the Super Mario Land series, Super Mario Land is similar in gameplay to its forebears: as Mario, the player advances to the end of the level by moving to the right and jumping across platforms to avoid enemies and pitfalls, the screen only scrolls to the right, as the player advances, but will not scroll back to the left, sections of a level that have passed off screen cannot be revisited.

In Super Mario Land, Mario travels to Sarasaland to save Princess Daisy from Tatanga, an evil spaceman.

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Two of the game’s twelve levels are “forced-scrolling” Gradius-style shooters where Mario helms a submarine or airplane and fires projectiles towards oncoming enemies, destructible blocks and bosses.

Levels end with a platforming challenge to reach an alternative exit located above the regular exit, the former leading to a chutes and ladders style bonus minigame that awards 1 to 3 extra lives or a Superball Flower power-up.

Unlike other Mario games, which take place in the Mushroom Kingdom, Super Mario Land is set in Sarasaland and drawn in line art. Mario pursues Princess Daisy, in her debut, rather than the series standard damsel in distress, Princess Peach. When jumped on, Koopa shells explode after a small delay, Mario throws bouncing balls rather than fireballs (referred to as “Superballs” in the manual), 1-Up Mushroom power-ups are depicted as hearts, and the level-end flagpoles are replaced with a platforming challenge.

Compared to Super Mario Bros., which contains 32 levels subdivided into 8 “worlds” with 4 levels each, Super Mario Land is smaller, with 12 levels subdivided into 4 “worlds” with 3 levels each. There are five unique bosses, one at the end of each of the four worlds, and a fifth and final boss being Tatanga, who appears when the fourth boss is defeated.

The first three bosses may be destroyed with projectiles, or the player may move past them to the exit without destroying them first; the last level has no regular exit, and the two bosses at the end of that level must be destroyed with projectiles to complete the level and the game.

Some elements recur from previous Mario games, such as blocks suspended in midair, moving platforms that must be used to traverse pitfalls, pipes that lead to other areas, collectible coins that grant an extra life when 100 are collected, and Goomba enemies.

After the player has completed the game they may play through again on a harder mode, in which the levels are the same apart from enemies being more numerous; if the player completes the harder mode, the game allows the player to start another play on any level in the game.

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