Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2

Think of your favourite film. Remember the sense of wonderment you found yourself lost in when you first watched it? Yet wonderment was possibly followed by the crushing realisation you would never feel that way again, at least not without undergoing some form of voluntary amnesia.

It's an experience not unlike playing Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World. Some gamers will remember the game from its previous iteration in the early '90s on one of Nintendo's past home consoles. As such, they will never again experience the absolute joy of discovering Super Mario World for the first time. Everyone else, though, can delight in the event that awaits them.

Sure, it's a platform game in the sense it involves the fundamentals of the genre - negotiating tricky environments through skilled running, jumping and (occasionally) shooting, and collecting tokens (in this case coins). But Super Mario World goes much, much further. It conjures up nine themed worlds comprised of 96 brilliantly designed levels inhabited by fantastically inventive enemies, all backed up by a finely-tuned difficulty curve and a simply exquisite control system.

Part of the excellence has to be attributed to Mario himself. For a plumber, the protagonist is uncommonly skilled in dealing with opponents. In addition to disposing of them by jumping on their head, he can also ride on the back of a dinosaur, throw fireballs or even fly, provided he gobbles up one of the appropriate 'power mushrooms' scattered around the levels.

Familiarity with Mario's many abilities is the only way to pass some of the endlessly imaginative situations you'll find yourself pitted against, but ultimately it's also the very essence that makes Super Mario World so special, so magical. Super Mario World will grab your gaming heart and never let go, but make sure you enjoy every moment - the grip will never again be as tight as the first time around.

Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2

The epitome of 2D platform gaming - an absolute classic.