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Mario Is Missing

Systems: NES, SNES
Release Year: 1993
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Interplay
Number of Players: 1


I don't know the official story, so I'll approximate. Bowser has kidnapped Mario! He has sent his Koopas into the real world and they've stolen many famous artifacts. It's up to Luigi (with Yoshi's help) to retrieve the heisted treasures, rescue Mario, and destroy Bowsers castle in Antarctica.

This game has gotten a lot of bad press. Not because it was a bad game. Quite the contrary, it is arguably one of the better of Nintendo's educational titles. After all, it's either this or Big Bird and Elmo. No, it was rather because of the genre itself. It was 1993. Super Mario World, one of the best-selling Mario games to date, had just had it's day in the sun. By this time, Luigi's popularity was steadily climbing, and a rising number of fans were expecting him to have his own game. At the same time, Nintendo had made an agreement with a third-party developer from which sprouted Mario's Time Machine, the three Mario's Early Years titles, and Mario Is Missing. So for whatever reason Luigi was given the lead role as hero. Fans were outraged! Here they'd been asking Nintendo for a Luigi adventure game and they got this? To this day Mario Is Missing is arguably one of the most underrated games ever.


Fan's were rampaging in the streets over the game! People were picketing everywhere! Three tanks and a bulldozer showed up at Nintendo of America's HQ. If not for the quick thinking of...(Ness: Toadmon, you're rambling off again). (Toadmon: sorry, where was I?). (Ness: the overview, Toadmon) (Toadmon: Oh, of course).Graphically, this game wasn't a milestone in any way, but no complaints. The photo scenes on the SNES version were pretty good, considering that the programmers were going for realism. Just thought I'd give them some credit there. The musical scores in both games were okay. However the majority of the music is limited to several recomposed versions of the Super Mario World theme. By this time that theme had been recycled so many times that it was headache inducing, so minus points on originality. Also of note is that this is an example of a rare instance in which a game shared by the NES and the Super NES has different music in at least some parts of the game, such as on the pause menu. The gameplay is quite original. Granted it is your side-scrolling, pipe ducking Mario game. But as opposed to running around jumping over holes and squashing defensless mushrooms, your instead walking down the street like any civilized person asking history questions and seeing the tourist attractions, being a good samaritan the whole while. This is actually a pretty educational game. After all, that was the intent.

Overall, granted that there were those who still want to see Luigi in his own game (which still hasn't happened for some reason...), the programmers succeeded in their ultimate goal, and if you look past the fact that the game isn't a Luigi adventure, you can even learn something. Who says video games are all mindless?