Review Information
Game Reviewed MTA3 - Mario Takes a Three, by MTA3 Team
Review Author Q-Nova
Created Jan 22 2020, 4:41 AM

General Commentary and Game Overview
As part of a community that occasionally does community level packs for a particular DOS game series, I'm a fan of such compilations. It's always fun to see what each person has created using the tools they're provided, and I've wanted MFGG to do something like this, especially since level design is one of those things that can make or break a game, and look what we got here!

Mario Takes a Three takes nearly all of the levels made for a contest of the same name, where level designers (and not-really-level designers, I guess) are given a level editor for a SMB3-based engine! The compilation game is one of those few fangames I've been anticipating these days, and does it manage to take home after all that waiting? Let's review, shall we?
Pros +Funny story
+Includes judge comments
+New elements are thrown into the mix
+Each level feels unique
+Excellent use of both default and new graphics
+Great choices for music
+Some excellent level design!
Cons -...but there are some frustrating designs
-Some bugs
-Dull ending
8 / 10
There are 23 levels in this game (the contest actually had an extra one, but it was excluded for the compilation for... who knows what), which are divided into four groups based on quality according to the judges. As expected from a community level pack, each level has a distinct style, from the questionable-in-name-and-design Pipes?, to the casual Casualle, to the immeasurably mind-blowing One Too Many Marios, to the rather-fun-packed Hollow Factory!

Most levels are pretty fun to play; some are so well made, in fact, that they could've been long lost Nintendo-made levels! There are, however, others that could drive both level design pros and gamers crazy, but some of the bad levels happen to be so bad that they're actually funny! Each level comes with comments and scores from the contest's three judges (apparently there was a fourth one as well, but he seems to have dropped out) that can be viewed while on the map, and they're really helpful for learning the dos and don'ts of Mario level design! Edutainment, in a Mario game, that's actually fun? It's more likely than you think!

The level design isn't the only highlight here, though! The engine does an excellent job at replicating the feel of SMB3, even if there are a few bugs. (Expect to get hurt by jumping on a non-spiky creature once, which seems to be common in Game Maker platformers for some reason.) There are also new features that have seen some good utilization in this compilation, such as the key doors that are based on SMB Dimensions and the Ptooie power-up!

So, how will the gameplay be rated here? I suppose it's a given that the levels will be a mixed bag in quality when it's dependent on the community, but I feel that it's not fair to rank it higher than a game that does level design more consistently well. How about an eight?
9 / 10
Of course, SMB3 graphics are used here. Yes, those sprites that people were once tired of seeing, although nowadays they seem to be declining in usage. Many levels make creative use out of the limited set of visuals, though, (who would've thought airship tiles could pass as trees!?) and some contestants took advantage of the option to use custom graphics to create unique-looking levels. By the way, the new features have good sprites, like, REALLY good! The reason this didn't get a 10/10 is that a few levels look barren.
9 / 10
SMAS sounds are some of the most used ones in Mario fangames, but honestly, nothing else would work for a game that aims to recreate the feel of the SMAS version of SMB3! While the original music is used, the level editor can use any other song, and some levels have groovy picks! I love that the Castle of Regrets chose a DOS game song, as I'm a fan of such games! A couple levels have dead silence, though, and it feels jarring to hear music that is... uh, more advanced than what the SNES could do.

(Also, I might be in the minority, but part of me wishes for an option to hear those GBA voices, even if you're gonna hear Mario constantly crying for his mother in a difficult level.)
Final Words
8 / 10
This should've been called Mario Takes an Eight!

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