Back in the Super Nintendo era, the act of topping SUPER MARIO WORLD seemed gargantuan and impossible, yet it was done. That same task has once again confronted Nintendo, this time the gargantuan being SUPER MARIO WORLD SUPER MARIO ADVANCE 2. And once again, history has repeated itself, with YOSHI'S ISLAND SUPER MARIO ADVANCE 3 releasing for the Game Boy Advance.
For those of you unfamiliar, YOSHI'S ISLAND takes a different path than many of the other Mario games released. The Yoshis are the main character, and they form a literal "Mario Express" to get Baby Mario back to his family. When Yoshi gets hit, Baby Mario and his bubble are dislodged and a timer begins. If Yoshi doesn't collect Mario quickly enough, he'll lose a life.
To help out, Yoshi has his typical move from SUPER MARIO WORLD where he can grab an enemy with his tongue and spit them back out. But now by pressing the down button, he can swallow the enemy and turn them into an egg. The ability to carry eggs behind him as he walks allows the storage of ammo.
Firing this ammo isn't quite as easy as just spitting an enemy out, though. By pressing the "R" button, a targeting icon appears and moves on the screen.
Another aspect of Yoshi is his ability to morph into different forms. There are several power-ups that will turn Yoshi into a vehicle, such as a helicopter or tunneling vehicle for a brief period of time. Using all of these skills, you will attempt to get Mario to the next Yoshi that is waiting for him, while on the way collecting five flowers, twenty red coins and thirty stars (extra time for the counter when Mario is off of Yoshi). All of this collector-mania is optional, but one of the finest points of the game is how well it is hidden and spread out.
A strange part of the game is that once again, the original Mario Bros. has been included. Not sure why we need this for a third time, but it is there if you get bored of YOSHI'S ISLAND.
The graphics are bright and very cheery. It's odd how much this game reminds me at times of SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE, another Mario game I've been playing a lot of recently. This bright, colorful look translates very well to the Game Boy Advance, and I've had a fairly easy time viewing it on the dark GBA screen. There is some slowdown from time to time, which typical of the platformers of this age. For the most part, though, it's a perfect translation.
The sound is excellent as well. The music and sound effects have been ported over, and as usual, you'll be humming the musical tunes without even realizing it. The Yoshi sound effects are also as funny and cute as always.
The Game Boy Advance has struck again with one of the best platformers ever released. If you've never played YOSHI'S ISLAND before, you should. And if you have, there is no reason to avoid it again.