Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool and mushroom retainer Toad are getting deeply involved in a strange dream world where they must hop, jump, run and find vegetables.
Starting the game
In Super Mario Advance, you will have two options: play the game, or choose settings. If you choose to play the game, you will have two more choices: Super Mario Bros. 2, or Mario Bros.
If you choose Super Mario Bros. 2, it will show the three save slots for the game. Choose a slot to begin playing from where you last left off. If it is a new slot, it will show "New". If it is a saved game, it will show the world that you last saved on (e.g. "4-3").
The only information that is visible while you are running around is your HP. This is displayed as diamonds on the left side of the screen (in mushrooms. If you get hit by something and take damage, your bottom-most HP will turn white/appear empty. If you get reduced to a single HP, your character's height will be halved, as in the screenshot to the left., these are displayed as hearts). This depiction on the left side of the screen is called the "Life meter" in the NES manual. You start the game with two HP, and you can acquire more by getting
When the last, top diamond turns white, you will die and have to restart the level from the beginning.
You start the game with three lives (five in the All-Stars version and Super Mario Advance). You lose a life if your HP reaches zero or you fall in a hole/waterfall. You can get more lives by finding 1-Up mushrooms or continuing after dying three times.
Death and continues
If you happen to die, and have an extra life, you will start at the beginning of the area that you were in when you died (e.g. the boss room).
If you run out of extra lives, you will be taken to the continue screen where you can either continue or end the game. If you continue, you will start at the beginning of the world you were in (e.g. if you continued at 4-3, you will start at 4-1). After continuing, the remaining lives get reset to the starting amount.
Be careful! You only have three continues. In, however, you have unlimited continues and you can save your game in any sub-world (e.g. 4-2).
Note that the background music will change when you are on this screen, leaving just the bass line playing.
Defeat your enemies
The World of Dreams consists of seven worlds. Each worlds has three areas, except for the 7th which has two. All areas have a Mini-Boss at the end. When you defeat it, you'll finish the area and you will finish each world when you defeat the Mini-Boss of the last area. Here are some of the various ways you can conquer your enemies:
- Vegetables: Fight your enemies with vegetables. Simply pull them up from the ground and throw them at the bad guys.
- Lift enemies: You can defeat the enemies by throwing them. First jump on top of the enemy character and lift him up with ease.
- Slide and hit: You should try to defeat as many enemies as possible while you are in hot pursuit of the Turtle Shell.
- Explode!: Bombs can be found to destroy walls and attack the enemy. Learn the timing of the bomb explosion.
- Earthquakes: The most powerful weapon in your Sub-con arsenal is the POW Block which blasts away the enemy force with its power!
has some strange new additions. For one, there are hidden, spring-like carrot creatures that live underneath some hill platforms. If you stand on one of these platforms, the carrot will grow to its full size, pushing the platform up high enough for you to help reach other platforms or nearby items. You can walk past it without taking damage, or stand on the platform above its head to be lifted into the air.
Beating a level
Many levels have a boss you have to defeat before clearing the level. After beating a boss, or if there is no boss, a crystal orb will be found. Grab the orb to open the hawkmouth, then walk through the open hawkmouth.
After going through a hawkmouth you will either reach the slot machine mini-game, or a boss. If you beat the boss (you will get the "Course Clear!" message in ) then it will go to the slot machine mini-game.
Mini-game: bonus chance slot machine
After completing a level you will be rewarded with the ability to play a slot machine. The goal here is to match three images. If you do, you will be given an extra life.
You can play once for each coin you acquired in that level. If you picked up no coins, you will see "NO BONUS".