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Super Mario's Wacky Worlds (CD-i) versus Super Mario World (SNES)

>> Thursday, March 22, 2007

John Szczepaniak from Retrogamer Magazine was responsible for the excellent Super Mario's wacky Worlds article, written in early 2006. It's a really smart article and probably the most accurate that has ever been published in commercial press to date. John is also an active forum member and it's interesting to capture some thoughts from what he said about this game.

"I'm not saying it would have been better than SMW on the SNES (I'm not that crazy!). But looking at the design ideas, reading what the designers have said, and playing the beta, it seemed like it would have become a fairly good platformer and at best, a really good clone of SMW.

There are an additional 3 or 4 interviews alongside that main article [available at The Black Moon Project, ed.]. Worth reading. The jumping physics for a start were identical, they said they'd put a lot of time in replicating the control method, which considering this was a CD-i, is very impressive! The control mechanism for the hardware was sloppy, and there was a timing delay which needed working around (something to do with the machine always trying to center a non-existent mouse pointer).

Plus, they used a SMW guidebook with maps for all the levels. I'm not saying it's right, but they did say they were going to use some of the best design elements from it, at least those that worked on the hardware. I also commend them for achieveing what they did technically. There was no tile system, or sprite scrolling system built into the hardware, and it required a lot of hardwork to get anything out of the system.

The beta also showed some clever ideas they were implementing.

* They were putting the CD media to good use, by increasing the art assets etc. For example, in each level, the turtle enemies were dressed differently. In the Ancient Greek stage, they wore togas, in the Roman levels, they were dressed as Centurians, in the Haunted Castle levels, they were dressed like Dracula, in the Ice stages, they were dressed like Eskimos.

It may not have been a huge idea, but they were putting the effort in, and despite the head company using the project as a cash cow to milk money out of Philips (long saga there!), the actual team struggled on with nearly no resources and really tried. I mean, it may not have been the best game ever if completed, but it's nice to see them actually putting some love into their work, rather than wanting to rush out any old crap.

* There were some clever design elements. Like when you enter the giant Igloo, it's a maze inside, with two exits out of the level. Meaning there would have been some kind of branching level structure. Although the exits didn't yet work, and the enemies couldn't hurt you, I had fun exploring the Igloo :)

* Another stage, you wandered through ancient Greek ruins, before coming to a Trojan horse, you enter through the mouth and make your way through some compartments, before ending up leaving through the leg and reaching the exit. It wasn't just a straight run across flat ground, and there was some satisfaction to be had.

* It did a good job of conveying a Mario theme throughout, like finding a Sphinx with the head of a turtle, etc. And pipes, all over the place.

* There was some outstanding rippling and mirror effects done for areas that had water. It looks very impressive in motion.

* Character graphics, animation, and music were copied directly, so you can't really fault them.

I mean, it never would have been as good as Nintendo's original Mario series, purely because of the hardware limitations, but they were trying their best to at least not make it crap. Looking at the beta, you get the feeling that had it been completed, it indeed would have been the best game on the system, and even if it annoyed ardent Nintendo fans, there would have been merit in playing it.

Remember, those screens are from a version that only had 30% of programming and 80% of art complete. I still think it had potential to be a fun title on a system that only had a handful of games worth playing.

The [available screenshots] are very poor, and [in] low resolution. In fact, they're abysmal! No wonder you guys think the game is crappy! The graphics up close on a TV screen are awesome. Just have a look at the haunted ship levels. There is a beautiful background going on when you see it on a proper screen."

With due thanks to John Szczepaniak for bringing this obscurity to the attention of the retrogaming community through his article and continued support of CD-i. The original story as published through Black Moon can be found in the CD-i Articles & Interviews section entitled The Lost CD-i Mario Game.

2 reacties:

Devin,  March 23, 2007 at 10:09 PM  

The Haunted ship was a wonderful piece of artwork, in fact the interior level is probably the best of them all. Displaying shimmer/reflective effects besides the scrolling, something I found particularly impressive. This article tempts me to finish and release the composite image I worked upon for a magazine feature not so long ago!

Corey,  March 26, 2007 at 7:02 PM  

You know after looking at the levels I do wish things were more stable.

E.g. you could actually kill the enemies and the levels were more concrete with defined boundaries.

Maybe a nice overworld map.

I do wish someone with some cd-i skills would piece together this game into something more playable. Not adding levels or anything but, just refining things, adding goals and score and maybe a level overworld.

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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