|Nintendo offers classic, old-fashioned Mario platform action on a brand new system with Mario Advance. Produced as a launch title for the Game Boy Advance, Super Mario Advance marks the first appearance of the Mario franchise on the 32-bit handheld system. The game is based on the classic Super Mario Bros. 2, released for the original Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. Although characters and gameplay remain true to the original, the cartridge makes use of the increased technical abilities of the handheld Game Boy Advance over 1985's original 8-bit Nintendo console, featuring detailed graphics and animations.
Much of the action in Super Mario Advance concerns lifting items to throw at enemies or carry to a special location. Instead of hopping on a Shy Guy's head, for example, Mario may need to pull a turnip from the ground and throw it at the enemy to get him out of the way. Often, characters will need to carry a key from one part of the level to another. GBA gamers choose to play as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Toad. Each character has a different combination of strength and agility. The Princess can jump very high and float gracefully to the ground, but if she is carrying an item she moves much more slowly and cannot leap as far. Toad can't jump as far as the others, but he can carry items without any effect on his speed or leaping ability.
Going even further back in the characters' history, Super Mario Advance also features a multiplayer-compatible mini-game based on the original Mario Bros. arcade game. Players will have to hop their way to the top of the screen, quickly and carefully, avoiding turtle-like Koopas and other enemies. This enhanced version of the arcade game can be played in "Classic" or "Battle" modes. In all, Nintendo makes an effort to send their best characters ahead to welcome the handheld system to their product line.