When comparing Super Mario Bros. 3 against Super Mario World, the two legendary platformers match up against each other well.
Super Mario World plays as a logical evolution of Super Mario Bros. 3. As with any Mario game, Mario runs and jumps on platforms or enemies in either game. This works as the staple in each series entry, and it is fun.
One logical progression in Super Mario World is the ability to spin-jump. On certain enemies that Mario cannot stomp on, he can at least spin over. Other enemies that survive Mario’s basic jump might die against the spin-jump.
Obviously, the graphics are different as well. Not only does the art style change in Super Mario World, but the game takes advantage of the upgraded capabilities of the 16-bit console to give it a brighter feeling.
Another major change in Super Mario World is the ability ride a cute green dinosaur known as Yoshi. Just like Mario, Yoshi can jump on enemies and kill them in the same fashion. Yoshi can also eat smaller enemies such as goombas and help out Mario by holding certain items such as secret keys.
Later in Super Mario World, players can find different colored Yoshi dinosaurs beyond the standard green one and they each offer various abilities such as flying, throwing fire or stomping on the ground.
In Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario does not get any dinosaur help. Yoshi does enhance the gameplay in Super Mario World, although perhaps Mario considers them a dime a dozen as the player will sometimes abandon Yoshi in the middle of a jump and watch him fall to his death in order to progress.
The most powerful power-up in Super Mario World is the cape, which allows Mario to fly for an infinite amount of time assuming no obstacles get in his way. Mario can also use the cape to spin and attack enemies, and it helps when jumping because he can slow down.
In Super Mario Bros. 3, players can use the racoon or tanooki tail on Mario in order to fly, but the effect is temporary and eventually he must come down.
Note the less colorful graphics in the screen capture above. The NES lacks the wide-ranging colors of the SNES, which could display 256 colors at once.
Mario can also use his tail to slow down his jumps and swing the tail to attack enemies. If Mario has the tanooki suit on, he can even turn into a statue for five minutes, which admittedly is kind of fun, and strange too.
There are more power-ups in Super Mario Bros. 3. Besides the fire power, raccoon tail and tanooki suit, Mario can turn into a frog, one of the Hammer Bros. or even ride a boot to avoid getting hurt by aquatic plants.
With that said, using the cape in Super Mario World feels faster and better than the tail in Mario 3. The freedom one feels when flying with the cape is unmatched and makes the game feel broken in a way, but that is not bad.
In Super Mario World, the player is in control of the game.
Mario travels through a world map in each game, with each set of levels offering a boss at the end once all the courses are completed. For the most part, there are specific world themes connecting the courses in each area.
The world themes are more specific in Super Mario Bros. 3 and include the standard type of levels one might expect, such as desert, water and ice.
The world themes might seem less prevalent around Super Mario World.
Super Mario World does improve on the world map though by connecting each area to the next. In other words, Mario travels across the same land to reach the next set of levels, and the entire world feels a bit more connected.
Music-wise, both Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World offer classic tunes that players can hum in their minds forever. The power of the SNES probably gives the slight edge to Super Mario World as the soundtrack feels like it contains wider range of sounds and instruments than in Mario 3.
For example, when Mario first rides Yoshi, the player can start to hear a percussion instrument playing in the background underneath the normal overworld theme, which is a cool effect that signifies the presence of Yoshi. Also, when Mario explores different caves there is a clear echo heard when he jumps around. These touches seem minor, but they make a difference.
Because Super Mario World is built for a 16-bit console and works as a logical progression of Super Mario Bros. 3, the latter game cannot compete in a head to head comparison using the NES version. With that said, there are other versions of Super Mario Bros. 3 out there, including one on SNES as part of the Super Mario All-Stars collection and another edition on Game Boy Advance awkwardly titled Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3.
If pressed to choose between the ‘All-Stars’ Super Mario Bros. 3 and the Game Boy Advance version, then the All-Stars edition wins out thanks to the SNES sound quality holding an edge over the Game Boy Advance sound.
The Super Mario All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. 3 is shown below. Mario is riding the aforementioned boot, also known as Kuribo’s Shoe.
Thanks to the SNES app on the Switch, now most current gamers can experience the All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. 3 on the go as well.
For those remaining gamers who own a Game Boy Advance and not a Switch, the Game Boy Advance version of Super Mario Bros. 3 is also great and at least features updated graphics to make it more pleasing to the eye.
Both Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 3 deserve their spots in history as legendary games that helped Nintendo become a powerhouse in the video game world. Even with the updated graphics in the updated SNES and Game Boy Advance versions of Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World still holds the slightest edge in terms of game mechanics, graphics and fun.
Super Mario World wins because of slightly more polished gameplay and better graphics thanks to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, otherwise known as the SNES.
About the Author
Reinier has been an enthusiastic writer his entire life, later attending California State University, Stanislaus where he earned an English Master of Arts degree. He grew up with a Nintendo Entertainment System as his first console and still plays a wide range of retro games. In recent years, Reinier wrote for Nerd Reactor, a website covering video games and other nerd material. Now, he writes horse racing articles and contributes to Phillip Schneider.
This article (Mario Bros. 3 VS Mario World: Which is the Better Game Today?) originally appeared at Phillip Schneider and may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author credit, and this copyright statement.