Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) Review

By Adam Riley 01.03.2006 30

Review for Super Mario Bros. 3 on NES

There are many legendary games on the market, but the Super Mario series is one that springs to the minds of most seasoned gamers. Nintendo has relied on the Italian plumber a lot over the years, but Super Mario Bros 3 remains one of the most outstanding examples of the two-dimensional platform genre. How does it hold up to today's standards, though?

As usual the evil, nefarious Bowser has kidnapped the hapless Princess Toadstool, patron of the Mushroom Kingdom and is holding her hostage in his dark domain. Therefore, it is up to the heroic Mario (and Luigi in two-player mode) to save the day and defeat the big brute once more. Can the team overcome all obstacles and save the day, or will the King of the Koopa clan be victorious?

The Mario series progressed extremely rapidly over the lifespan of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Whilst the original Super Mario was clean-cut, smart and head-and-shoulders above the rest of the first generation NES pack, it hardly holds a candle to the later releases on the 8-bit platform. Super Mario Bros 2 USA notched up the standard slightly, but the final Mario blew the socks off anything else on the Sega Master System's competitor. With larger sprites, brighter, more varied colours and barely any slow-down, Nintendo had managed to craft a title that pushed the NES beyond the limits many thought it could reach.

Screenshot for Super Mario Bros. 3 on NES

You start of running from left-to-right, but this time you could go to the left and retrace your steps on the current level you are playing. This proves to be very helpful when compared to the restrictive original SMB as if you slide past a vital '?' item block, you can simply about-turn and nab whatever it is you require. Running is activated by holding down 'B' and to jump is a simple tap of 'A'. If you run for long enough a meter fills up and you can jump much higher than before for a short time. Around each level you must face enemies such as Goombas (small, slow walking mushrooms with eyes), Koopa Troopas (turtles that hide in their shell when first hit, then can be kicked away) or Cheep-Cheeps (flying fish).

Mixed into the normal play levels, are little bonus stages where you must stop images, matching three-of-a-kind if possible to reap a reward. The same idea is brought in at the end of each stage where you must jump at a box with flashing images on it. Get three of the same image on three stages in a row and you get extra lives. Then there are free item shops, which prove a nice extra, especially when you reach the boss stages as you will need all the ammunition you can get! Clever, tough, interesting, engaging, and many other positive descriptive words can be used to talk about Super Mario Bros 3.

Screenshot for Super Mario Bros. 3 on NES

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

Super Mario Bros 3 is still considered by many people to be the peak of the Mario series, ever superseding Super Mario World and 64, and in all honesty it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with those newer generation titles with ease. If any game has stood the test of time, it has to be this Nintendo classic. Buy it now, in any form you can find it...






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (22 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


A proper classic and the perfect way to kick off the Retro Month festivities! :Smilie

Don't have any version of this in your collection? Then you truly are missing out on one of the best platformers ever... Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Yeah, amazing game. Obscenely hard at points though

For rookie gamers maybe! Smilie :tongue: This is how Mario games should be, not like Princess Peach's adventure...That's why I still hold respect for Mario Sunshine, because it was ridiculously taxing at times. Pure gaming goodness! :-D

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Oh yeah< I'd rather have a hard game than an easy one. But I've had this game for an absolute age and still haven't completed it. I yearn for the day I do it.

I'm currently playing through the GBA version of it. :-D

Really? Blimey! Where can you get up to? I love the moving ship level...gruesome!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

This is a mario game i didn't like, it's kinda hard and I could never be bothered to complete it plus the characters always felt very floaty when jumping around. I like the art and style of the game but I always just thought it was far more annoying than anything else.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Wow, controversial! Are there any others out there that don't like this game as much as C3 does? If so let us know why! :Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

lol, maby I would have liked it had I played it when it first came out but I already experianced Super Maio World on the SNES at the time.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

I love Yoshi's Island - now THAT was a brilliantly designed game that wasn't too easy or hard.

Apparently there's a lot of SMW's style in the NEW Super Mario Bros, which is good to hear.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Yeah i've played Yoshi's island about 4 times on the GBA but thats only because my younger bro kept erasing the save file when I got to about world 5 :roll:

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Yoshi's Island is the best of the Mario platformers I think.

There was quite a Super Mario Bros. 3 influence in Mario Kart DS which i thought looked pretty cool.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

It was such a shame that Yoshi's Island never received a high class follow-up. Yoshi's Story is very good, but limited in length and replayability and Yoshi's Universal Gravitation / Topsy Turvy was inventive, but clearly not developed by Nintendo (outsourced) and lost its thrill later on.

I can't wait for NEW Super Mario Bros, because Tezuka-san has said he's looked at the original and SMW games for inspiration on how to make a classic gamer-friendly Mario game!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I never played Yoshi's Story all the way through, mainly because it wasn't charming like the original at all. I just couldn't get into it.

I still hold hopes for a Yoshi's Island 2 on DS, using a similar control system to Yoshi's Touch and Go...

Ah, that's the other one...Touch & Go. I always forget about it because it's just a jazzed-up demo, not a full game in my eyes. It has SUCH potential, but was wasted unfortunately. Perhaps, like you say Mike, it's control technique will be re-used...just like Namco's doing with Rousseau the Thief's Pac-Pix gameplay.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I liked it, but there just wasn't enough there. It had the charm I was seeking, but not enough content...

Awesome review, I also loved this game (although it's not my favourite Mario title), haven' played it for a fair while, though.

Retro month is already beginning to wet my retro appetite, time to dig out some golden oldies me thinks! :D

Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

Exactly Mike - a more substantial game based around that format could have been exceptional!

And thanks Karn, my retro palette is also getting moist between this and the Children of Mana preview I'm currently writing (mmm, Mana goodness *drools* ... :read:Smilie.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Am I going to have to get you a bib, Adam?

Too late! :eek:


Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

glad to see retro month is finally up and about, huzzah!

I really love this game, the music is brilliant and I've always found myself humming it at random points in the day :-D

In the SNES version of this, I think I got to like... world 4... In the GBA version I'm on near to the end of world 2 and it's insanely hard even now...

As for Yoshi's Island, now THAT is a brilliant game. I love it. I remember the joy I felt when I completed it on SNES. Played it non-stop one day :-D don't remember how old I was... I now own it on GBA, but haven't completed it yet. Maybe i'll give it another play through. I hope somebody reviews that during this month *hint hint* Smilie

Co-founder of the PDSLB - Pink DS Lite Buddies Fraz: Cheerios are made from fairy orgasms.

Suffice to say, SMB3 is a legend. I wrote at length on the historical significance of this installment here. Im pretty sure it was Cubed3. You had a topic up on this and we were having lots of comments, then had a crash and lost it all.

This really was an accomplished piece of creative work at the time and I'm sure it was an eye opener for many game designers out there.

by the way, regarding your earlier note on Yoshi Touch & Go. I think it was a bad idea that Nintendo used "Mario & Yoshi combo" for it. It was very misleading in terms of character branding.

Touch & Go was more of an arcade type game, not a platformer. Characters like Donkey Kong would have been a better character to represent its arcadeness and hence avoiding misunderstanding for hapless consumers.

Got it on all stars. Love it to bits.

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