Due to the success of the first two Advance games, Nintendo decided to port the second SNES Mario adventure, Yoshi’s Island to the GBA, as Super Mario Advance 3. This game, like Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 before it, was a much easier port to the GBA then the first Mario Advance game, but Nintendo tweaked the game nonetheless, adding new features and sound effects.
Despite the subtitle of the original SNES version (Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2), this game took place long before the events of any of the Mario games, Super or otherwise. The story begins with a stork flying through the night, carrying a set of twin brothers to their parents. However, during his flight, the stork is assaulted by an unseen force, which happens to take one brother from the stork, while the other seemingly falls to the ocean. However, that baby happens to land on top of a Yoshi, who is minding his own business on his home land. Along with the child falls a map, which the stork was using to find the brothers’ parents. The Yoshi calls together all of his friends, and they decide to help reunite the baby with his brother and get them to their family. They decide to travel by a relay system, traveling the span of the island in search of the baby’s brother. Meanwhile, the unseen force, revealed to be the Koopa court magician Kamek, realizes that he only grabbed one of the twins. Fearing the worst, he sends out various cronies to search for the missing brother, in the area where he was lost.
The gameplay in this game is pretty unique when compared to other Mario games. As opposed to playing as Mario or Luigi, you play as one of many Yoshis, each in varying hues (green being the most common). As opposed to most Mario games, where your primary attack was jumping, the Yoshis have many attacks, such as the infamous “Butt Stomp” technique. They are also able to eat most enemies, with the choice of swallowing them and turning them into eggs, which can be tossed at enemies and objects through a crosshair, or spitting them out at other enemies or objects. When Yoshi gets hurt (unless he hits some spikes or something similar, in which case, he dies), instead of just taking direct damage, baby Mario flies off his back and floats around in a bubble for at least a successive 10 seconds. You must then retrieve Mario in the allotted time, or he gets taken away and you have to start again from your last checkpoint. The time can be extended up to 30 seconds, by collecting stars that appear through out the stage. You can also collect 20 red coins (usually hidden under the guise of regular coins) and 5 Flowers, to collect a total of 100 points per stage. Also, Yoshi can pick up various items (such as watermelons that can either allow him to spit seeds (green), ice (blue) or fire (red)) and can even transform into various vehicles (including a helicopter, a submarine, a racecar and more). There’s even a power up that allows you to run around as an invincible baby Mario. The boss battles are pretty inventive, though. For some of the bosses, you have to explore completely different methods in order to defeat them. One small gripe of mine is the fact that the various different-colored Yoshis don’t have any unique abilities, unlike those of Super Mario World.
This game’s graphics retain their colorful aspects and show very little signs of aging when compared to other GBA games. The backgrounds are extremely vibrant and the characters are well-detailed. Some of the Super Nintendo version’s visual flaws have also been remedied, giving the game a much nicer overall appearance. However, the 3D graphics (which have obviously been taken directly from the original release) still look as horrible as they did on the SNES.
The game’s sound quality has been improved from the SNES release. As opposed to the old “squishy” sounds that Yoshi used to make, he speaks in the same voice as he does in most of the more recent console games (the same way Mario and Luigi do). As for the music (and oddly enough, Kamek’s “grunting”), it seems to be either arranged or in a different pitch of some kind. Either way, the music in Yoshi’s Island was always very good, and this version is no different.
As for replay, this game apparently shows a bit less than the first two Advance games. After the game is completed, you open up 6 GBA-exclusive “secret” levels, 1 for each world. Also, if you get 100 points in every stage of a world, you unlock that world’s “Extra” level, which is usually extremely difficult. Also, the usual “Mario Bros. Classic” sub-game returns, and is exactly the same as it was in its predecessors.
-Originally Posted by Wolfdogg