Mario’s a bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to gaming genres. Platforming, racing, puzzle, and even minigame collections – Mario has done them all. However, did you know Mario also tried his hand at first person shooting? It’s true! Back in 1993, Nintendo released the shooting peripheral known as the Super Scope to the world. Sadly, only 12 games ended up using this peripheral, one of which is Yoshi’s Safari
Yoshi’s Safari doesn’t have much of a story to speak of, like most Mario games. Bowser is causing trouble again, and it’s up to Mario and Yoshi to stop him and his children from wreaking havoc. Simple plot, and it gets the game moving. In a title like this, what more is there to ask for?
Well, good gameplay obviously, which this title is sorely lacking. Yoshi moves you on a set course through a very short level, where you point the Super Scope at enemies and then squeeze the trigger until they die. Certain times during levels, you’ll be prompted to hit the cursor button to jump, creating the illusion of platforming. It’s not very convincing. During missions you will also see Mario’s iconic question mark blocks, which you can shoot to get items. These items will take the place of the jump function during boss fights, helping restore health or give your shots more energy.
Levels are filled with your standard Mario enemies, such as koopa shells, goombas, and boos. Each of them can be pretty easily defeated with the Super Scope, and the only real challenge comes from the bosses. At the end of each of the twelve levels, Mario faces down a boss. Now, the trouble isn’t always in properly soaking up and dealing damage like most rail shooters, it’s in finding out just how to beat them.
All you have to do is find each boss’s specific weak point and hammer it until they are defeated. Obviously, the weak points aren’t always properly choreographed so you do have to spend a lot of time just wildly shooting until the boss flashes white to signify your shot hit. The problem is that obvious weak spots, such as the Koopalings exposed heads, often don’t do much, which can get really annoying. The worst is easily level 8’s boss, who only takes damage when you shoot him in the face… Sometimes. While I managed to beat the boss, I still have no idea how he works.
The presentation is downright wonderful, especially the graphics. Each level plays out with the SNES’ iconic Mode Seven, but backgrounds are gorgeously detailed, and it made each level still feel fresh, despite them practically being the same shooting galleries. Sometimes, a new coat of paint goes a long way. The same cannot be said about the music, which is dull and doesn’t fit the game’s tone in the slightest. When shooting enemies, I want at least a little urgency to the music.
So is Yoshi’s Safari any good? No, not really. It’s pitifully short, taking about an hour or so max to beat on your first run. Sure there is a hard mode, but there’s no real reward for playing it again, and it certainly doesn’t make the game any more fun. Overall, Yoshi’s Safari is not really worth your money or time, unless you really need a rail shooter fix and the only thing on hand is a Super Nintendo.