UNITED STATES—This was the installment in the “Super Mario Bros.” franchise that I think totally changed the game. No I’m not talking about the classic or “Super Mario Bros. 2” I’m referring to “Super Mario Bros. 3” the one where we get the cape as I like to call it that allows Mario or Luigi to fly. It’s actually the Raccoon, but we remember what we want to remember.

Yes, it changed the scope of our hero and totally opened the game to new mysteries and possibilities. Other great upgrades is the frog suit, which is great for swimming, then you have the Tanooki Suit, which allows Mario to turn to stone and prevent injury and I love the Hammer Bros. Suit that allows you to throw hammers at your enemy.

So the upgrades are great because each have a unique edge for the hero depending on the stage or more notably, the world. Yes, this is the first time that each of the eight worlds has a unique theme and that theme is SO MUCH fun! I mean you have Grass and Desert Land which are the first two worlds in the game that are not that difficult, but things get fun when you get to Water Land where each stage comprises of water, Giant Land which is a hoot because everything is bigger than normal and so much fun.

Sky Land I can live without; its nothing unique, but it sets the stage for the stages to be more difficult and longer. I love Ice Land which is a challenge to say the least. It is not easy people and after world 5 you’re not visiting one dungeon in each world you have two. Pipe Land is a challenge people and it’s all about tunnels, secrets and wicked travels. Be aware the bosses in each world are Koopa’s children. None are particularly difficult; three hits on the head and they’re defeated.

The challenge in “Super Mario Bros. 3” is the direct result of the stages in each land that is difficult. They are not easy and the further you get into the game the more difficult they become. The bevy of secrets, coins and power-ups you can garner are epic. Each world has a stage where if you find the secret you get access to a whistle. That whistle allows you to transport to other worlds. So in essence you can skip several worlds making it much easier for you to get to the final world, Dark Land. Its title lives up to its name. Each stage in Dark Land, particularly the ships that you have to accomplish are difficult as hell. Why? You are moving at a fast speed, one mistake and you’re done people.

Once you get past those first two to three ships, you get a bit of breathing room. It is not much, but you’ve accomplished surpassing the difficult stages in the world before you meet Koopa. Koopa is not a challenge at all if I have to be completely honest. Dodge his fireballs, allow him to break the bricks and fall to his demise and the game is over. If you decide to play the entire game from start to finish, I’ll just tell you, you’ll be playing it for a while, but that is the fun of “Super Mario Bros. 3” it is all about exploration, timing and patience and isn’t that what all video games are supposed to do?

Written By Davy Jones