Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I never knew this existed!

I have this tradition where I play through Super Mario World about once a year. For some reason I have never seriously tried to beat Star Road in any of these playthroughs. I usually just take the quickest way to Bowser, kick his ass and turn the console off. That I never gave Star Road a chance is a bit weird since the place always fascinated me as a kid, plus it is not terrible difficult, I beat its 5 levels in about 30 minutes. What really surprised me is what came after, it turns out there is this whole secret world known as Special World. Its levels are a big mishmash of elements grabbed from other worlds, in many ways they remind me of the fan made Super Mario World levels that have become so popular, except for the near impossible difficulty of many fan creations. The challenge of Special World is actually quite manageable.

The world design as seen in the screenshot above is almost overly bland, the most memorable thing about it might be the attention grabbing names of the levels: Gnarly, Tubular, Way Cool, Awesome, Groovy, Mondo, Outrageous and finally Funky. At the end of the unusually long level ‘Funky’, as the timer is counting down towards zero the player is greeted by the message "YOU ARE A SUPER PLAYER!" spelt out with gold coins, quite possible the first instance of fourth wall breaking in a Nintendo game, at least on the SNES.

What is possibly more interesting is what happens after the player completes this odd world. The overworld changes in to an autumn theme and it appears to be Halloween in Dinosaur Land, the Koopas are dressed up as Mario and Luigi with ridiculous looking huge heads and the Piranha Plants are hiding inside scary looking pumpkins. So not only did there exist a secret world I knew nothing about, there was this whole hidden alternative version of Super Mario World.