12. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island > Super Mario World
Super Mario World is regarded as one of the finest games ever produced. It's a universally held truism of the industry. The platformer is a paragon of perfect design, and I gladly count myself part of the huge group espousing its virtues.
It's surely contradictory, then, to go right ahead and make the audacious, almost insolent statement that its sequel is superior. How can that be? Is it merely an act of baiting nonconformity?
Not at all. It's a well known cliché that when you have a winning formula, you should add a crying baby. Formula. Baby. Baby formula. There's something in that.
Yoshi's Island did so much more than just place the bambino Mario in his erstwhile dino pal's saddle. The virtuosity of SMW's level design remained in evidence, but each new stage in the sequel brought with it more invention than a conference of mad scientists.
Where to start? The 'fuzzies' which send Yoshi on a dizzy trip? The precision egg-hurling? The magic-touched, oversized bosses at the end of each world? Fighting on the moon? Fighting in a frog's stomach? The game just drips with all the creativity you'd expect of a brush dipped into Nintendo's chromatic palette.
That's not to mention that the SuperFX-backed cartridge is pushing out one of the most technically impressive titles on the SNES. Forget Donkey Kong Country's pre-rendered visuals; Yoshi's Island's pastel-daubed pastiches utterly eclipses them, the world gracefully scaling and rotating as each new level turns expectations on their head.
And that soundtrack. The castle music? Bloody eggs-ellent.