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Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island was one of the Super NES's best selling titles, so it was only natural that it would get a Nintendo 64 sequel. Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto went to work and came up with 1998's Yoshi's Story, the first Nintendo-produced Nintendo 64 2D side-scrolling platformer. While many players originally anticipated the game's release, that anticipation turned to ire when gamers saw the finished product. Many denounced the game as too kiddie, too cute, and too easy. Yoshi's Story contains twenty-four levels, but one need only beat six to beat the game. Six. Out of twenty-four. That's only 25% of the levels. This is also the game that introduced Yoshi's grunts, whines, and cheers to the Nintendo universe.

The story begins as Baby Bowser steals the Super Happy Tree from the Yoshis and turns the land into a pop-up book. With all of the adult Yoshis stricken with extreme sadness, it's up to the Yoshi kids to stop Bowser and recover the tree. Each Yoshi is a different color, meaning that each one prefers a different kind of fruit. The yellow Yoshi prefers bananas, for example. To finish a level your chosen Yoshi must eat thirty fruits in each level, and eating a favorite fruit can be worth big points. Most fruit is out in the open, but some is hidden away in the background and can be sniffed out by holding down the R button. As a rule all Yoshis love melons, and feeding your Yoshi an all-melon diet can lead to big things. A large flower in the corner of the screen acts a life meter, and eating fruit also adds units to the meter. As usual Yoshi's primary attack is his mighty tongue that can be used to scarf down the baddies. Stomping is also an excellent way to take out the enemies, but of course some baddies cannot be crushed underfoot. In those cases our dino hero can toss eggs at the enemy.

As mentioned above there are only twenty-four levels in the game, and one must clear six to win the game. The levels are split into six worlds with four levels in each. In the beginning only a handful of levels are available, but finding hearts in each level will unlock more challenging levels. A time attack mode also exists so that players can play through any level they like for fun and frolics. After completing a level the Yoshi's sing an annoying tune and the storybook turns a page to reveal the next group of levels to choose from.

The graphics are the best part of the game. Yoshi and his world are completely rendered for maximum graphical goodness, despite the cute theme. Visuals are sharp and well refined. The music is equally overly cute, but does contain the classic Yoshi theme and other familiar elements. The gameplay is the weak point with its short playtime and easy goals, but expert players can get more from the game by setting their own challenges. Yoshi is controlled with the control stick instead of the control pad as one would expect in a 2D game. The game also supports the Rumble Pak and contains a battery so that game progress and records can be saved.

Yoshi's Story never set the game world on fire, primarily due to its cutesy graphics. Many players either passed it over in the first place or sold them back to stores, making it a common game to find in the used game world. Nevertheless, the game did sell a million copies, making it eligable for a Player's Choice rerelease. If for some reason you can't track down a copy you can take a gander at Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee that feature music and levels based on this game. Furthermore, in 2001 Nintendo put together a Game Boy Advance demo based on this game that recreates a single level of the game. No matter how you do it, there's plenty of ways to get your Yoshi fix.

Playing the game

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