A hidden educational gem in the Mario series was released in 1993. Mario Is Missing is a game staring Luigi turning the tables on the usual Mario series trope of Mario rescuing Princess Peach. This time Mario has fallen into a trap at Bowser's castle and Luigi must travel the world to find him.
Many people overlooked this game, but it's a fun little diversion if you want to learn interesting facts about the world while saving the usual hero. Yoshi makes a great guest appearance as your trusty steed throughout your worldly travels.
Each level of Bowser's castle contains five doors to different parts of the world where Luigi must find pieces of famous landmarks to take pictures of their completed exterior. To collect the famous missing pieces Luigi must kill koopa troopas wandering around the map. Warp pipes are in every level, as are five citizens that will give you hints as to where you are in the world.
Perhaps the best thing about the entire game is the music for each world. The music for different parts of the world is reflected in the ethnic changes in the tunes that play while in that level. In particular the China and Africa tunes are some of the best Mario music heard before.
The ending is slightly anticlimactic, but the game as a whole is a short, fun romp through a world of exploration and discovery. Not the greatest game in the world, but a lost gem that completely deserves a play from every retro gamer that has any self respect. If only to play every game in the Mario series, and this is one of the most unique entries in the entire catalogue.
One thing about this game is that Luigi can never get hurt, the koopas do no damage and neither do the three bosses of the game. In this way Mario Is Missing was perhaps meant for children, but any retro gamer would be put to shame if they didn't experience at least a few worlds of this game and expand their intelligence while doing so.
The time spent playing this game can be a very good companion learning tool for small children, but it is also a great learning experience for adults as well. Many aptitude tests show that people in any age range need to learn more geography and world culture as a whole. With the way that the global marketplace has expanded over the years it is key to know exactly where certain countries are. Mario Is Missing could be a helpful tool in this regard as well as being a traditional Mario game and a bit of a twist one at that.
My time with this game really made me want to dive into more geography studies as well as find more hidden gems in the retro gaming library available to rediscover.
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