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Welcome, and enter the center
In his first adventure for the Game Boy, Mario travels through Sarasaland to rescue Princess Daisy from the invader Tatanga. The sprites in this Platformer are very small, due to the Game Boy's small screen, which supports only four shades of gray.
Unlike most installments of the franchise, Super Mario Land was directed not by Shigeru Miyamoto but rather by Gunpei Yokoi, the man who designed the Game Boy itself, and developed by Nintendo R&D1, the team who were responsible for all Metroid games from the original to Zero Mission except for the Metroid Prime sub-series (Metroid: Other M also had a different developer, but was released after Zero Mission). The sequel, Super Mario Land 2 Six Golden Coins, had larger sprites and marked the debut of Mario's Evil Counterpart, Wario.
Other differences from Super Mario Bros.:
- Instead of fireballs, the flower powerup gives Mario the ability to throw "superballs", which bounce off their targets at 90-degree angles. Nearly useless outdoors, but can be fun when there's a ceiling. It did have the perk of collecting any coins it hit.
- The game has two automatically scrolling areas. In the first, Mario pilots a submarine, the "Marine Pop"; in the second, he flies an airplane, the "Sky Pop". These are Unexpected Shmup Levels.
- Koopa shells cannot be kicked, and are in fact bombs that explode after a few seconds of being stopped.
- Instead of the usual eight worlds, the game has only four, with three levels to a world for a total of 12 levels.
- The otherwise common melodies known in Mario series are not present.
Along with Tetris, it was one of the original launch titles for the system.
This game contains examples of:
- Alien Abduction: Tatanga kidnaps Daisy.
- All Deserts Have Cacti: World 1-1 in the first game.
- Ancient Astronauts / Landmark of Lore: Invoked Trope, given Sarassaland is made up of four areas of the world with connections to alien or myths of paranormal phenomenon ( Bermuda Triangle, Ancient Egypt, China, and Easter Island).
- Big Bad: Tatanga.
- Bonus Level: In true Super Mario fashion. Interestingly, some bonus levels have Spikes of Doom, making for a rare chance to actually die in a bonus level.
- Chinese Vampire: Pionpi, a goddamned enemy in World 4-1.
- Copy and Paste Environments: Even more so than SMB. Hey, didn't I pass up an area like this just now?
- Distressed Damsel: Princess Daisy.
- Dolled-Up Installment: Like Super Mario Bros. 2, it was not originally a Mario game early in development. That is why it is about aliens invading Egypt, Bermuda, China, and Easter Island and why the only familiar face is Mario himself.
- Eenie Meenie Miny Moai: World 3, the Easter Island-themed Easton Kingdom.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console rerelease modified the translation of enemy names, with one being an example: Bombshell Koopas. When stomped on, their shells explode without Mario getting a chance to kick them.
- Expy: The Bombshell Koopas are exploding expies of Koopa Troopas.
- The Goombo enemy is based on the Goomba
- The Bullet Biff enemy is basically a miniature Bullet Bill.
- And Princess Daisy for Princess Peach.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In contrast to the usual Super Mario Bros. settings, every level is directly inspired by a real-world setting.
- Fan Vid: Action Adventure World has come out with a fun one.
- Gratuitous Japanese: Most of the monster names are still in Japanese. Until the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console release translated the variants of recurring Mario enemies, this applied to even the Goombas, which were originally called Chibibo worldwide (and retranslated as Goombo).
- Load-Bearing Boss: Tatanga's whole place goes down after his defeat in the first game.
- Made of Explodium/No Ontological Inertia: Tatanga's Palace — when Tatanga dies, the entire airborne structure explodes for no apparent reason...
- Also the Bombshell Koopas when they've been stomped.
- Oddball in the Series: The game plays like a traditional Mario platformer, but throws out all sense of familiarity after that, as spoofed in this Brawl in the Family comic. And yes: to say that the game stands out as weird in a series starring an Italian plumber who eats magical mushrooms and flings fireballs at turtle monsters is certainly a mouthful, but it's true.
- Outside Context Villain: Tatanga.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: Swaps out the traditional Starman invincibility music with the Can-Can.
- Regional Riff: That's how Chai Kingdom theme starts.
- Super Drowning Skills: Mario sinks like a rock if he falls into water (mostly because it's a Bottomless Pit).
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Princess Daisy is so similar to Princess Peach/Toadstool that for over a decade, many people thought that she was Princess Toadstool, and that "Daisy" was just her nickname. In the Nintendo 64 era, she became a distinct Palette Swap for Princess Toadstool, and more recent games have given her a Southern accent and more of an Action Girl personality than her cousin.
- Unexpected Shmup Level: Worlds 2-3 and 4-3.
- Wutai: Worlds 4-1 and 4-2.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: This is Mario, and the game was hyped as the "true" sequel to Super Mario Bros. However, instead of rescuing a new citizen of Sarasaland after each boss, the false princesses were monsters in disguise.
- His apparent ability to tri-locate can mean any number of things.