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Imagine Mario Bros. with a 3D perspective and you'll end up with Mario Clash for the Virtual Boy. As in the arcade classic, gameplay involves bouncing on small turtles (Koopas) and picking up their shells to throw at various enemies within a fixed, non-scrolling level. Two turtles will crawl out of pipes on either side of the screen along with enemies, the number of which depends on the level or floor of the tower.

As you stomp and throw a turtle shell, another Koopa will emerge to replace the one lost. One set of pipes will take you up or down and another will take you deep into the background, adding a depth of play the original Mario Bros. never had. Mario Clash uses the new perspective to another advantage: you can throw turtle shells into or out of the background to knock enemies off ledges! Think of it as a shooting gallery only with shells as the ammo. In fact, most enemies can only be defeated in this manner.

Mario Clash is a game that relies on split-second timing and jumping with precision. The problem with this is that the control is a little slippery: Mario isn't as heavy as he should be and jumping isn't as precise as it could be. When swirling fireballs and ghosts start flying around the screen, Mario's floating jumps can get frustrating.

Another issue is that you can select from any of the game's forty levels right off the bat. This is both good and bad. Bad because people may skip to level forty, win the game and feel cheated; good because people who want to jump right in on the action won't have to waste time on the easier levels. Since it is an arcade game in which players compete for score, many won't mind this option at all. After all, you're not going to score as many points if you start on a higher level, and you'll also miss out on the bonus rounds.

They will mind, however, that high scores are not saved after the game's turned off! This is regrettable since the game rewards skillful players with bonus points for defeating multiple enemies with one shot or within a certain time. Mario Clash is a fun game that ultimately suffers from its relatively simple, repetitive style of play, hurting its long term value. It's simply hard to come back to a game knowing that your best efforts will be erased as soon as you flick the switch.

Graphics 3.5/5
All of the characters look like the ones from the Super Mario series. The levels rarely change backdrops, however, so they look all the same.

Sound 3/5
Sounds are just as you'd expect from a Mario game, light and bouncy.

Enjoyment 3/5
This game is certainly fun, but it needs more diversity or a feature to save high scores.

Replay Value 2.5/5
What's the point of playing for points if they are not saved? Forty levels can get repetitive since you are pretty much doing the same thing over and over again.

Documentation 5/5
Full-color graphics and easy to read text. No complaints here.