Left Behind: Super Mario's Wacky Worlds
Well, here we are once again. It's Wednesday, and on Wednesdays I release a new Left Behind. Consistency is a wonderful thing, no? For a game that didn't even make it to the alpha stage, there was a surprising amount to write about it. That being said, today's entry is definitely what I'd consider to be one of the more “odd” entries in this series. A large part of this is due to this game being developed for the SNES-CD, which I'm sure a fair amount of you have never heard of. The SNES-CD was an attachment for the Super Nintendo which would allow it to play disk based games. I won't go much further into the device itself, you can simply Google it, so there are only two things you really need to know about it. First, Phillips had gained the permission to make several games with various Nintendo characters. Second, the CD-I was a commercial failure, and the games using Nintendo characters that did managed to be released under agreement were...horrid, to say the very least. However, we're taking a look at one of games that didn't make it, so let's dive in.
The story begins with a company under the name of NovaLogic. Nintendo recommended to NovaLogic that porting more simple Super Nintendo games to the CD-I might be a good idea, and additionally set the ball rolling for a squeal to Super Mario World. NovaLogic, hoping to impress Nintendo enough to be hired by them, agreed to the task. Silas Warner and John Brooks were appointed to develop this squeal, and very much put their all into this game. Working 24 hours a day for a two week time period, they managed to complete only one section of a full level before presenting it to Nintendo. Managing to port what they had to a CD just 4 hours before the meeting, the duo appeared before Nintendo on a Friday morning. Surprisingly, Nintendo was extremely impressed with what Warner and Brooks managed to accomplish in the short time they had been granted. Unfortunately, the CD-I was suffering from sub-par sales, and due to this the game would not be finished or published. The game's final prototype, which was a pre-alpha, was completed on March 3rd, 1993. This prototype shows that 80% of the game's artwork, 95% of the game's design, and 30% of the game's code had managed to be completed. Now, understandably, some of you may be wondering if any copies of this game managed to escape to the loving hands of the public. Well, do not worry my friends, you're in luck. There are 3 known prototypes that managed to find their way into circulation. One of these prototypes ended up on eBay, and was sold for the price of $1,000. Shortly after the purchase, a copy of the game's ROM was released on the internet for download.
Now, as the previous information I mentioned above stated, this game wasn't finished. Heck, it didn't even make it to the alpha stage. Fortunately, there is a decent amount of information about the game that can be provided, though there is a fair amount that can only be left up to speculation. Either way, it's time to see what this game would have had in store for us. Firstly, we have the gameplay. There really isn't that much to be said here. The player can jump, as well as move Mario left and right across the screen. While there is no solid proof, there seems to be suggestions that the game was intended to feature the abilities to swim and slide later in the game's development. Also, and I personally find this to be funny, the enemies programming is not completed. Due to this fact, enemies cannot hurt Mario, and upon touching him, simply freeze, even if they are in midair. It's also worth noting that when Mario jumps on a foe, they simply vanish. It would be entirely reasonable to assume that this would indicate an unfinished stomping mechanic. The next stop of our tour is the graphics department. The CD-I had an entirely different style of sprites as compared to the Super Nintendo. NovaLogic would not be stopped by this, however, and managed to port copies of the Super Mario World sprites to their game. Funnily enough, this was accomplished by pirating the designs from Super Mario World. The original sprites that NovaLogic did create consisted of variations of the Koopa Troopa, as well as a walrus type foe, all keeping true to the style of the previous game. Lastly, the backgrounds found in each level were hand drawn by the team. Only one thing can be said about the sound. The game's soundtrack was taken directly from Super Mario World, and other than the jump sound, the game featured no sound effects.
And so, here we are at our final stop. To end this Left Behind, we'll be taking a look at the game's levels. The majority of these worlds feature two to three levels in them. Most levels ended when Mario passes through the end goal, very similar to the giant gates found in Super Mario World. The actual appearance of the gates varied as the game progressed. The first levels ended with warp pipes, another with a Trojan Horse, and many other levels featured a gateway in the shape of an “M”. The warp pipes and M shaped gateways do not function, so to leave a level you must restart the game.
After some debate, I decided that I will not be providing detailed information about the levels, even though it does exist. The amount of text that would be added to this would be...intimidating, to say the least. However, there are several themes for each world, and I most certainly can provide those. The themes are as follows:
Greek – Features 3 levels.
Egypt – Features 3 levels.
Aztec – Is entirely unfinished. The only information about this stage is was to include two levels.
Castle – Features 2 levels.
Ship – Features 3 levels.
House – Another level that is incomplete. It also was to feature 2 levels.
Cave – Features 3 levels.
Swamp – Surprisingly features 6 levels, though, most of them have little to nothing in them.
Village – Once again, we have a world that was not finished. However, like the swamp stage, it featured 6 levels.
Iceberg – Features 2 levels.
Igloo – Featured only 1 level.
Ice Mountain – Also featured only 1 level.
Neon City – Features only 1, largely incomplete stage.
Geometropolis – Features only 1 stage, riddled with pipes and an incredible amount of bugs.
Land 'o' Plaid – Features only 1 stage, which is entirely absent of graphics.
Pipeworks – This level is a copy and paste of Geometropolis.
Sewer – This level has no data.
Chemistry Lab – The final level, which also has an absence of data.
And with that, we end our tour. Due to how incomplete this game is, it may not seem to be anything special, but who knows what would have happened if had been released fully finished? Nintendo themselves were impressed by the work of NovaLogic, but would this game really have stood up to its older sibling, Super Mario World? Let me know what you think below.