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Mario's Time Machine

Stats:
Systems: NES, Super NES
Release Year: 1993
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Interplay
Players: 1
ESRB: K-A

Plot

Again I don't have the "official" story to this game, so I'll summarize. One day Mario and Yoshi were wandering around aimlessly when they stumbled across a new museum on its grand opening day. Yoshi rushes in, but the ever-wise Mario senses something wrong. Suddenly he hears Yoshi howl in fear, and Bowser steps outside, gives away his entire plan to Mario, then locks himself and Yoshi into the museum. Mario learns that Bowser has gone back in time and stolen many important items throughout history, and put them in his own museum. No doubt he plans to keep the artifacts, and charge outrageous admission prices at that. Now Mario must return all the artifacts to their rightful places and rescue Yoshi from Bowsers evil clutches.

This is second of five educational games released through a contract with Interplay (the first being Mario Is Missing, and the others being the Mario's Early Years games). You traveled throughout time, retrieving famous artifacts and returning them to various places in time. Everything from a dinosaur egg, to Cleopatras throne, to the hammer that destroyed the Berlin Wall has been taken from its rightful place. I could go into detail about the temporal paradox's that would be created by the dissapearances of these items, but that would ruin the whole game.

Overview

Mario's Time Machine is to history as Mario Is Missing is to geography. The games are graphically identical and nothing to really complain about (although the Super NES version of Mario looks a bit out of place on the NES). The backgrounds on this game are a bit bland and flat-looking in some parts, most noteably in the time machine room. The sound effects are minimal, but the few in the game aren't very Mario-esque. The music used in the game is rather annoying, but it's mostly just quiet background stuff so for the most part it isn't noticable. The gameplay, like it's counterpart Mario Is Missing, is pretty original. Like Mario Is Missing, you're still running back and forth, jumping on turtles and picking up items. But then you have to figure out in which point in time your item belongs, and then you have to put it right back in the very spot it came from. If those spots were marked in some way, that would be nice, but they're not too hard to find. If anything, this game isn't as complicated as MIM. No history questions. No geography. And maybe a third of the levels available in MIM.

In the end you return the artifacts, rescue Yoshi, and put Bowser to ruin. This is another of the better education games out there. I can't begin to compare them to some of the other education liscenses (*cough* Sesame Street *cough*). This game is at least worth a rent. If you know some history you can probably breeze by pretty quick.