Since I mentioned my favorite level from Super Mario Bros. 3 yesterday, ¿how ’bout I write ’bout my least favorite level today?
I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the my big “Super Mario Bros. 3 vs. Super Mario World” article how much I hate autoscrollers, or a’least those that don’t let you scroll ’head o’ them. They’re almost ne’er timed so that you don’t have to wait round most o’ the time. General rule: if I have to wait round doing nothing, your level’s not paced well.
Sadly, Super Mario Bros. 3 & Super Mario World have plenty o’ autoscrollers, & I don’t think any o’ them were hardly good or were improved by being autoscrollers. The 1 exception I can think o’ is the airship in World 8 o’ Super Mario Bros. 3, which is the only autoscroller that didn’t scroll @ the speed o’ slugs. That’s the 1 level ’mong both these games that uses autoscrollers how they, presumably, should be used: to force you to keep pace, which is the opposite o’ “wait round doing nothing”. & if ’twere the only level to have it, perhaps “autoscroller” would’ve been a fresh special gimmick rather than a cliché so trite we already have a well-known name for it. You have to admit, this is 1 thing the 1st Donkey Kong Country & almost all o’ Diddy’s Kong Quest ( “Castle Crush” is the only exception ) did better than classic Mario games.
The absolute nadir for Super Mario Bros. 3 autoscrollers is unquestionably World 5-9. ¡Just look @ its map & see for yourself! ¡It’s literally just “Wooden platform, wooden platform, wooden platform, wooden platform, wooden platform — ¡Ooo! ¡Now there’s a Fire Chomp with a janky hitbox!”! That must’ve taken, like, a minute to design. I praised Super Mario Bros. 3 for having mo’ focused levels than Super Mario World, but sometimes it took it too far into the realm o’ monotony.
But the map, which a’least looks short, doesn’t show how unbearably slow it moves. I guess the actually difficulty was s’posed to be surviving the Fire Chomps for a certain amount o’ time. So it’s a diagonal elevator level — ’cause everyone loves those.
In general, World 5 is a bit o’ a weak point o’ Super Mario Bros. 3 — with only World 8 as possibly worse, due to having a full 4 autoscrollers, 2 o’ which are impossible to distinguish ( though the real levels it does have are good ’nough to almost undo that ). A’least the upper sky part o’ World 5’s quite weak. Yeah, the lower part has that Kuribo’s Shoe level; but that level’s only truly good ’cause o’ Kuribo’s Shoe & the slightly funny joke o’ taking a pipe down into the sky o’ ’nother outside area; otherwise, it’s just a bunch o’ pipes & Piranha Plants. I guess that works @ demoing Kuribo’s Shoe & its ability to stomp on Piranha Plants.
To be fair, the upper area has some good levels, like 5-5 & it’s subtly clever brick & donut-block puzzles, & 5-4 makes a decent introduction to those fucking mental 2D fidget spinners, mate; but then you have 5-6, which is just a copypasta swarm o’ Para-Beetles, 5-8, which is just “Here’s Lakitu”, with level design as advanced as that you’d find in the original Super Mario Bros., & the 2nd fortress, which is just a bunch o’ simple jumps with Podoboos & magical ceiling lava that’s e’en less advanced than every castle level in the the original Super Mario Bros. — ¿& what the hell does a red, hot lava fortress have to do with the sky?
Now that I’m looking through World 5’s maps: 5-2 is a good level, but it’s an underground level. ¿What the hell is an underground level doing in sky world? That’s the exact opposite o’ the sky. The 1st part o’ this level, where you can skip the rest o’ the level with careful jumps o’er note blocks, is so memorable; but I thought I remembered it from World 7, where it fucking belongs.