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Review: Super Mario Brothers X Saturday 9/18/10

Posted by smcgamer in Archive, mario, smbx, Super Mario Bros. X, Technology.
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My next review concerns Super Mario Brothers X, a Mario fangame that has been considered by most to be the best Mario fangame ever made.  This is only a slight exaggeration.

  • Written by: Andrew Spinks “Redigit”
  • Written in: Visual Basic
  • License: Freeware; closed-source
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows (XP or later recommended)
  • Latest version: Version 1.2.2 Build 59 (final)
  • Price: Free

Super Mario Brothers X tries to combine most of the elements of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2 (both versions), Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and a few other Nintendo games such as The Legend of Zelda and Super Metroid.

It uses the original sprites of the All-Stars versions of the first three Mario games,and contains the most of the music of these games.

The feature list is quite extensive:

  • Two-player multiplayer
  • Five available playable characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, and Link
  • Power-ups including the Fire Flower, Raccoon Leaf, Tanooki Suit, and Hammer Suit
  • Sloping platforms and swimming
  • Eight varieties of Yoshi
  • Additional objects unique to this game
  • Built in level editor
  • Comes with episode “The Invasion 2″
  • Other “official” episodes can be found at the website

The features of the level editor include:

  • 627 types of blocks, 184 background objects, 245 non-player characters (NPCs), 57 level backgrounds, 53 music tracks.
  • Real-time level testing and editing
  • Several cheat codes for the editor
  • Complete overworld editor, featuring 329 tiles, 65 map objects, 21 level tiles, 28 path tiles, and 16 music tracks
  • A simple-yet-powerful layer/event structure, allowing for moving platforms, airships, and things to appear/vanish on certain events.
  • Custom graphics can be used on a per-level basis
  • NPC generators for endlessly producing enemies or powerups
  • Auto-scrolling levels can be made
  • Multiple types of exit, each exit can lead to a different place on the map

The Levels

The default download ships with one long episode, titled “The Invasion 2″.  This contains 49 levels, 4 dungeons, and six bonus rooms.  It stretches throughout the Mushroom Kingdom, from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Subcon, then Super Mario World, and more.

The level design is very great.  Instead of being too easy, too hard, or too incomplete, the levels are balanced, and difficulty progresses as one would expect.

The design also looks professional, with background objects in just the right places, clever mechanisms that do interesting things, and hard levels that aren’t completely unfair or stupid.

The Level Editor

The level editor is quite simple, and making great levels is quite easy.  By default, the editor is tile-based, but unchecking the “Auto-Align” box turns it into a powerful pixel-based editor, though I haven’t really found a use for pixel-based editing.

The selection of blocks is quite extensive, and every block can contain items or be invisible.  The variety of items that can be put in a block range from up to 99 coins or dozens of powerups, shells, and enemies.

The most astounding are the non-player characters (NPCs). The player has almost 250 to choose from, ranging from a lowly Goomba to Mega Mole or Rex.  In addition the game has five bosses, ranging from Birdo and Wart to Boom-Boom and two varieties of Bowser.

Another great feature is the Overworld editor, which provides 329 ground tiles, mostly from Super Mario World.  Advanced overworlds can be created from the tiles and scenery, and the themes can range from grass to desert to snow to cave.  The paths can be straight or can curve around.  There are 21 different types of level tile, ranging from the START box to the entrace to the Valley of Bowser.  Map warping can also be done.

A new feature is the Online mode.  Multiple people can work on a level or test it out (No overworld editing is available online, though).  There is also a chat feature.  Unfortunately, this feature is a permanent beta and is still buggy, mainly the level testing.  Oh, and always save the level before testing it.

Preview

If you need more convincing, here is the game’s official preview, uploaded by demilogic (redigit):

Note: this preview covers Version 1.2; the latest is 1.2.2.

Cons

  • While this game has a lot of the enemies and blocks from the four Mario games, it doesn’t have them all.  Spike (SMB3), several bosses from SMB2, and other enemies are not included.
  • The level editor has an annoying bug: If you leave the editor to go to another window, the music is broken for a few seconds.
  • It takes a long time to load.  (Or maybe it’s just my computer).

This is It

Redigit has stopped work on Super Mario Brothers X.  The final version, 1.2.3 Build 59, is not the version available for download from the official site, but a patch can be found here.

Build 59 includes:

  • Roto-disc (SMB3)
  • Firebar (SMB)
  • Nipper Plant (SMB3)
  • Link Blocks

Redigit has taken down the official forums, though Google links still exist.  Certain threads were archived in the Google Cache.

A few more forums has sprung up:

The source was never released.

Conclusions

This is the best Mario-related fangame in existence.  While it’s not complete (and never will be), it is a great and addictive game.  It also presents a legal alternative to romhacking.

Because of the lack of documentation after the forums went down, I’ll be providing tutorials of how to do stuff in the level editor.  I also know a few cheat codes, too.

I rate this game 5 out of 5.

Correction: This Isn’t It

(edited 9/21)

This post on the unofficial forums has linked to this Youtube video showing a new power-up – the Ice Flower, functioning exactly as it did in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The uploader is Redigit (demilogic is his other screen name). This version doesn’t appear to be available for download yet (I’ll verify later tonight), but the background for the download page has changed significantly.

May I not be the first to say, welcome back, SMBX!

Update (9/21): Redigit has said in the comments that this version is not yet available.

Update (9/23): Another, much larger forum has came back online.  The forums can be found here.

Update (9/27): Redigit has started posting many Let’s Play episodes of Super Mario Bros. X.  So far he’s done seven videos of The Invasion 2, and one test video showing the updated Princess Cliche episode.  They can be found on Redigit’s channel.  In part two, he says that the next version of SMBX will be released when the level designers have finished with “Return to Yoshi’s Island”, a new episode of the game, so it probably won’t be for a while.  My respected, non-existent research department tells me it will be available “Just In Time for the Holiday Season!”

All jokes aside, this release may be out by the end of the year, considering the quick release schedule of the game.  Oh, and he stated the Starman will never exist in the game.

Update (10/7): Redigit has started making Let’s Plays of a user-contributed episode titled “The Great Empire”, created by Knuckles96, which is available here.  This episode requires build 59, for which the link is above.

He has said that the next version of SMBX will include many more features:

  • Powerups for Link have been completed
  • Several sprites have been made for Raccoon/Hammer/Tanooki Peach, for Hammer Toad, and prototype Link sprites.
  • He has added the Super Mario World Lakitu, and you can set it to throw a different object than default.  (Older Lakitus only dispatched Green Spiny Eggs that rolled after you and never hatched.
  • Enemies can now be placed in bubbles, if small enough.  He got this idea from the SMW level Forest of Illusion 3, where enemies and powerups floated in bubbles which burst when Mario pops them or they hit a solid object.

Legal:  This game is copyrighted by Andrew Spinks.  The screenshots taken here were made by Greenshot, open source screenshot program.  The star image is the Star powerup of Secret Maryo Chronicles, copyrighted by Florian Richter (FluXy) under the GNU GPL, version 2.

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1. January 4: SMBX Tutorial Tuesday: Eight Red Coins | Smc_Gamer's Blog - Tuesday 1/4/11

[...] Review: Super Mario Brothers X (smcgamer.wordpress.com) [...]


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