Review Information
Game Reviewed Super Mario Alpha: 100 Magic Stars, by Biebersoft / FZGames
Review Author Vitiman
Created Jun 6 2020, 10:29 PM

General Commentary and Game Overview
When it comes to old fangames, there are now three types: old fangames (hailing from around 2006-2010), older fangames (from around 2001-2006, primarily made in Clickteam products), and then there are the oldest fangames, which were made from any point prior to 2001. These artifacts of a pre-Web 2.0 world are absolutely fascinating to me, not just from a historical POV but also how utterly bizarre and creative they could get.

While this version of "Super Mario Alpha" may not necessarily be from that era (attentive readers may notice the description of the game explicitly states it to be a remake of a much older fangame), it preserves all of the qualities of an "oldest" fangame, right down to being single-screen and having a charmingly primitive set of moves and actions.

This isn't going to be an especially observational review, just a stroll through memory lane.
Pros Well-made graphics for a pre-2006 world
A very arcade-like gameplay mechanic: get all the stars on one screen!
Not terribly difficult
Cons Engine can be a bit shoddy
Very repetitious
6 / 10
For such a vintage piece of fangaming history, one would not be super surprised to find out that "Super Mario Alpha" doesn't have a very complex premise: get all the stars in a given screen (or level, or board if you're REALLY old school), they're hidden in some enemies, in blocks, and even just flying around randomly. Once you do that, a giant star appears - grab that, and the level ends. Repeat until you get the titular 100 magical stars, and you probably get to fight a boss or something. I don't know for sure, I got stuck in a block about halfway through and had to reset.

Therein lies the most glaring fault of the game: the default platform engine. It's something that plagues a lot of older fangames, but here it's especially heinous! Since the game's levels are one-screened and require a lot of jumping around and through block structures, it's shockingly easy to get stuck if you're not careful. I suppose as long as you play it smart, you'll probably not get caught between some bricks... but it's up to you if that's worth the risk.

Beyond that, I like the older fangames that don't let Mario do his iconic jump to defeat enemies. Instead, Mario is equipped with an evergreen Fire Flower powerup and can throw fireballs at basically any direction ever.
8 / 10
Surprisingly strong! Lots of unique palette edits/custom blocks appear here, the game has a very warm, SMAS SMB1 style to its visual presentation, and I enjoy it quite a bit.

There isn't much else to say here, it's got some good graphics!
4 / 10
Weakest aspect of the presentation. The sounds and music are the exact same stuff every fangame from that time used, the same MIDIs, etc. It's not really offensive, and over the years has managed to be very charming to me! But I can't help but admit that it's overused and repetitive.

...wait, did you guys get rid of the Replay Value section? Really? How come? Was there a discussion about this? That's just kind of weird to find out right now. Sorry, I guess that's a bit of a tangent from someone who hasn't written a fangame review in a while... uh, carry on.
Final Words
7 / 10
A surprisingly playable example of an extremely archaic and outdated type of fangame, "Super Mario Alpha" proves to be pretty fun for something with such a simplistic premise! It's not without its flaws, and most players might find themselves pretty bored by it, but for those of you seeking a pretty well-made arcade-y fangame to goof off with for a little bit, you might just find it in this.

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