REVIEW – Super Mario Adventures Viz Media Visual Novel

Reviving the Past

Back in mid-2015, Nintendo re-released their Legend of Zelda Nintendo Power comics as one visual novel. You can read our full review of this book HERE. While it is nice to see the effort put forth to preserve this forgotten ephemera, the quality of the story and visual art style do not hold up well. Super Mario Adventure, published by Viz Media and sold for around $15, is essentially a repeat of the Zelda graphic novel – it is nice that it exists but best to keep your expectations low.

The back cover summarizes the story.

The story was written by Kentaro Takekuma and art was created by Charlie Nozawa and follows are stereotypical “Bowser kidnaps the Princess to marry her and the Mario brothers have to save her” plot point. Just like the Zelda book, the Mario brothers will encounter familiar characters, such as Yoshi and Toad, but also strange one-off characters such as salesman Friendly Floyd; who knew a business man wearing business casual attire could fit into the Mario universe?! With this said, the plot might have been done a million times before but can’t deny how strange and out-of-place some panels are.

Remember Floyd from Super Mario World? Of course you don't because he doesn't exist.
Remember Floyd from Super Mario World? Of course you don’t because he doesn’t exist.

The overall speed of the book is super fast as panels jump from one extreme to the other. This is most likely due to the fact Nintendo Power had limited page space for comics so the story couldn’t accommodate a deep, detailed narrative. But reading this story actually reminded me a lot the Super Mario Bros 80s cartoon series where characters constantly bicker with each other through ridiculous name calling and constantly complaining about how hungry they are. In other words, there is more cheese in this visual novel than at a fondue restaurant and, again, keep those expectations low. It is, however, nice to see specific Super Mario World elements such as Charging Chucks, the yellow cape that allows gliding flight, and that Yoshi sprouts wings when the corresponding Koopa is ingested.

Mario uses a cape to fly in the game. Here, Princess.
Mario uses a cape to fly in the game. Here, Princess. There is also a lot of cross dressing going on mid-book.

Because the story and art style do not hold up well, Super Mario Adventures can only be recommended for hardcore fans or for someone wanting to re-read these long forgotten comics; the book doesn’t even contain page numbers. Personally, I think you might be better off watching a few episodes of the Super Mario Bros Super Show with Lou Albano on your streaming service of choice. Just be sure to bring pretzels and broccoli for all that extra cheese.

Terminator X Mario!
Terminator X Mario!

Easier Than: tracking down old Nintendo Power mags
On Par With: The Legend of Zelda visual novel
Wait For It: the Metroid or Star Fox Nintendo Power comics to be re-released as one graphic novel

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

Nintendo's seal of quality
Nintendo’s seal of quality

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