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Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

Stats:
System: SNES
Release Year: 1995
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Players: 1
ESRB: K/A

Plot

This story happened a long long time ago... This is a story about a baby and Yoshi... A stork hurries across the dusky, pre-dawn sky. In his bill, he supports a pair of twins who are to be delivered to their parents as soon as possible. Suddenly, something appears between the clouds and races towards the stork with blinding speed!
SSCCRREEEEECH!!! It screams. These babies are mine! Snatching only one baby, the creature vanishes into the darkness from whence it came. Oh no! The second baby falls undetected towards the open sea...
The kidnapper is Kamek, an evil Magikoopa from the Koopa Kingdom. Having divined last night that twin babies born this morning will bring disaster to the Koopa family, he arranged for an early morning ambush. Returning to his castle, Kamek realizes that he missed the other baby. He orders his toadies. Go forth and find the other baby!! Don't let his parents get him back! Ever!! Meanwhile, the second baby does not fall into the sea after all...it lands safely on Yoshi's back! And right after him drops a map!!
This paradise is Yoshi's Island. And on this island lives lots of different Yoshies. These Yoshies are naturally laid back and relaxed, but this is a calamity and everyone is in a state of panic. As the Yoshies frantically yell over each other, the baby insistently points at something. Yes! The baby can sense the other baby's location. All the Yoshies quickly agree to help carry the baby to its destination by using a relay system not unlike the old pony express. The Green Yoshi draws first honors.

The long awaited sequel to Super Mario World finally arrived in 1995. This time around, Yoshi was the main character. It introduced some new abilities of Yoshi, such as egg-tossing and the ability to transform into vehicles, and gave us some backstory on the connection between Mario, Bowser, and Yoshi. The game was more cutesy than SMW, and more cartoonish. However, Yoshi's Island became another great success in the Mario series, and even earned Yoshi a semi-sequel without Mario's presence.

Overview

Yoshi's Island was released four years after Super Mario World, and the differences show. Graphically, the game was an improvement over previous titles. It featured a cartoony, more enhanced look. The characters stood out in their backgrounds, yet each level's creatures fit well in their surroundings. From the Jungle full of monkeys and watermelons to the snow-capped mountains with penguins, snowmen, and ski lifts, the levels were far more original and unique than in Mario's previous titles. The game also added new features to the Mario titles. Side-items such as skiing, floating on balloons, transforming into cars, trains, helicopters, mole cars, submarines, and so on, took the idea of power-ups a step further. The music was fitting for the game. It was even lighter and more cheery than even Super Mario World. The sound effects fit the cartoony theme.

This is a good follow-up to SMW, and explains how the entire Mario saga begins. I recommend playing this game through.