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Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

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Title Screen

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

Developer: Nintendo R&D2
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Released in JP: July 11, 2003
Released in US: October 21, 2003
Released in EU: October 17, 2003
Released in AU: February 23, 2004


AreasIcon.png This game has unused areas.
DevTextIcon.png This game has hidden development-related text.
EnemyIcon.png This game has unused enemies.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.


Elementary, my dear Cactus.
This needs some investigation.
Discuss ideas and findings on the talk page.
Specifically: A debug menu exists.

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 is a port of the SNES version of Super Mario Bros. 3, making this a port of a port.

The biggest addition to this game is World-e, a hub where you can access new levels...provided you have an e-Reader and the appropriate level cards. There were 38 level cards released in Japan, North America only got 12 before the e-Reader was discontinued, and Europe didn't get anything. You're welcome, Europe!

At least all of the World-e levels were included in the Virtual Console re-release. (Yes, including Europe and the three promotional levels!)

Main Game

Stuff from the main game. Natch.

Unused Graphics

Mainly consists of unused graphics from the SNES version, which contains unused graphics from the NES original. Clean up your tilesets, Nintendo!

General

Glove walking I hate to see him leave, but I love to watch him go

The unused animations of map Mario walking left/right and up have been updated again for Super Mario Advance 4, adding gloves to Mario's sprite.

They both look like turtles

Gloves were also added to the Hammer Suit sliding graphic.

Still still missing

These bonus tiles still aren't used. While there were three bonus games added to Super Mario Advance 4, none of them are the ones removed from the original game.

Super Mario Bros. 3 Super Mario All-Stars/Super Mario Advance 4
Lordy lordy One fish two fish dead fish blue fish

The original Spiny Cheep-Cheep graphics are still in the ROM. Seriously.

Give them back, Nintendo!

The same four end-of-level outlines that went unused in Super Mario All-Stars are present here.

Where's my money? Seriously, where is it, Toad?! Oh boy

The bonus game intros were redone for this version, so these old Toad/Mario/Luigi graphics are no longer needed.

Plains

R.I.P. foreground scenery I'm seeing double double

The updated eye clouds and double bushes are still present.

Grasslands

I said no Give it a mushroom, it'll grow

Updated big and small clouds. Mmmhmm.

The corner pieces that aren't used in the NES version are still present, and still in their 4-color format.

Higher Plains

Still a lot

Spiral clouds and the original hill designs.

SMA4GrassSkyText.png

Text reading "3 transfer" (3テンソウ -> 3転送), loaded with the Higher Plains tileset.

Caves

cloud

Updated small cloud, but it isn't used. Ever.

The unused cloud corner tiles are present as well, unconverted.

Desert

The mystery hasn't been solved

A piece of foreground scenery? Let's update it, but not use it.

The multitude of unused desert tiles in the NES version still linger, unchanged in the tileset. Again.

Underwater

Vrrrrrrr

The new, slimmer propeller is present. Guess what? It's unused.

The alternate block hasn't been removed or updated. Much like this sentence.

Sky

The unused cloud corner tiles remain in the tileset.

Ice

duolc

There was a big cloud here. It's gone now.

Castle

SMB3UnusedDungeon.png

This weird door frame or whatever it is was never deleted when the tileset was ported over. Twice.

World 8

Vroom Spikes in a Mario game, you say?

The updated tires and spikes from the SNES version.

Super Mario Advance 2 Leftovers

It won't work, the grankulator chain is malcorked Get out of here

These graphics from Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 are stored in one block of the ROM. Unlike most of these graphics, these tiles are uncompressed, so they were not likely intended for World-e.

It's a font

This font is found in the same block, with what appears to be a string for the game version.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Enemies

Still shiny!

A gold version of the Cheep-Cheep enemy. They swim faster than normal Cheep-Cheeps, in a wave-like motion.

Still green!

A faster green version of the Para-Beetle enemy, which can only be generated by the also-unused Para-Beetle spawner.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Regional Differences

Title Screen

Japan International
Ah, my favorite part of the SMB3 box art: the classic flying raccoon Mario pose. Ah, my favorite part of the SMB3 box art: the...text?

Super Mario Advance 4 continues the habit of giving the international title screens a massive downgrade in quality. Also, as you can see, the Japanese version has the "Single Player" and "Multiplayer" options in the top-left corner like the previous three games, while international versions move them down to the bottom.

e-Reader Support

Hmmm...
To do:
Make a better description and get some screenshots.
  • Due to the limited support for the e-Reader outside of Japan, international players can only obtain a maximum of 49 Advance Coins in World-e, enough to enter the Blue House, which hosts a digging minigame. The Red House (which hosts a ball-throwing minigame) and Yellow House (which hosts a Balloon Fight-like minigame) cannot be opened without hacking the game or scanning modified Japanese cards. The Red House needs 50 Advance Coins to access, while the Yellow House needs 80. Since Nintendo originally planned to release the entire card set in the US, the unused games are fully translated. The missing levels were added to the game when it was released on the Wii U Virtual Console in January 2016.
  • Certain levels in World-e have an e-Coin hidden inside them. Again, due to the premature cancellation of the e-Reader outside of Japan, only the Mushroom, Super Leaf, and Starman e-Coins can be obtained. The Fire Flower, Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach e-Coins cannot be obtained normally. US players finally got to get the missing e-Coins when the game was released on Virtual Console.
  • Due to its e-Card not being released outside of Japan, the Blue Boomerang item cannot be added to the player's inventory in the international versions without hacking. While the Blue Boomerang can be obtained in the international versions from the World-e level "Slidin' the Slopes" (as well as "Bowser's Last Stand" and "Bowser's Airship 2" in the Virtual Console release), it disappears upon completing the level much like Kuribo/Goomba's Shoe.
  • World-e is present but unavailable in the European version (see below).
  • Also due to the limited support for the e-Reader outside of Japan, international players can only obtain two of the seven e-Switch cards (that added special features to the main game, and sometimes World-e) that were released: the Orange Switch (added the ability to get coins from enemies by hitting them with fireballs) and the Blue-Green Switch (added the vegetables from Super Mario Bros. 2). However, since e-Reader functions work in all versions, the Japan-only Switches' functions are also coded in the game and can be used with CodeBreaker codes:
    • Blue-Green Switch (code: 83002D52 0001)
    • Orange Switch (code: 83002D52 0040)
    • Cyan Switch (code: 83002D52 0002) - cuts the P-Meter in half, allowing you to fill it much faster.
    • Green Switch (code: 83002D52 0010) - slows down the music and timer on each level for 50 seconds, after which the coin sound plays and the music and timer go back to normal.
    • Yellow Switch (code: 83002D52 0100) - gives Luigi his flutter jump ability in the main game.
    • Blue Switch (code: 83002D52 0400) - turns all 1-Up Mushrooms into 3-Up Moons.
    • Red Switch (code: 83002D52 0A00) - replaces all the enemies with harder ones, and awards double the normal points for beating them. Note that this is actually two switch effects in one switch — 0200 has just the point multiplier, while 0800 gives you only the harder enemies.
(Source: Original TCRF research)

World-e

World-e has more unused content than the entire main game!

Sub-Pages

SMA4FlyingWiggler1.gif
Unused Objects
How many levels did they plan to make?

Unused Backgrounds

Most of the unused backgrounds are variations of existing backgrounds. To view these backgrounds, use CodeBreaker code 33003BBF 00??, where "??" is one of the below.

Bonus Game

Tetris anyone?

Background ID: 33
This background uses graphics found nowhere else in the game. Its ID is directly after the three new bonus game backgrounds, hinting that it might have been a possible candidate for a bonus game.

Caves

Spelunker Mario

Background ID: 34
The standard cave background, with a second cave layer in place of a skyline.

Hills

The hills are alive! They also have eyes

Background ID: 36
The hills background (seen in grassland levels) at a higher elevation.

Waterfalls

There's this one and this one and this one. How many did they need?

Background IDs: 3B, 3E, 3F
Three(!) unused waterfall background variants. The first two have much larger waterfalls than normal, the only difference being the height the clouds form. The third looks like the waterfall background used in-game, but at a much greater height.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Level Icons

These World-e level icons are unused, mainly icons already used in the main game.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Level Sets

Even more levels?!

Three level sets are unused: lowercase e (00), Fire Flower (03), and Heart (04). There are three sets used for the released levels: Mushroom, Star, and Promotional.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Switch Details

Grey Switch

It's grey, alright More grey/gray

A grey palette exists for the e-Switches, present in both the e-Reader room and the World-e map.

Switch Cards

Collect them all? You can't, sorry

These are stored in the ROM and should be displayed on the e-Reader screen when an e-Switch card is scanned, but this never happens. It's too bad, as these are some nice graphics.

The e-cards make the game easier, the ?-cards change the normal game in some way, and the !-cards make the game more difficult. Note that the 2x points multiplier and the harder enemy effects are separate cards, but they're both controlled by a single switch in the final game.

e?!

Similar graphics are found on the World-e map.

Unused Switch Content

A number of additional e-Switch cards were planned, but remained unreleased. Their in-game effects can still be activated using the CodeBreaker code 83002D52 ????, where "????" is one of the IDs below.

4000 Points Switch

No card image found
Switch ID: 0020
With this effect, the continuous enemy point bonus will start at 4000 instead of 100. This means that the player will start earning extra lives with the third enemy in a row.

1-Up Mushroom Switch
3 for the price of 1

Switch ID: 0004
With this switch active, all blocks that contain 1-Up Mushrooms will give three of them instead of one.

Double Health Switch
Mathematically, this is twice as hard. I am good at numbers

Switch ID: 2000
This will double the health of bosses.

Floating Platform Switch
This card has a misprint, it's worth more

Switch ID: 1000

Now that's service

This switch will enable a cool feature when you fall down a pit: the first two times the player falls down in a stage, they will be raised out of the pit by a floating platform. The first time it will be two blocks wide (much like the Amazing Flying Hammer Brother's platform in Super Mario World), and the second time it will be only one block. Jumping down a pit a third time will result in death.

Hold Box Switch

No card image found
Switch ID: 0008

Wow, talk about easy mode

This switch effect will add a hold item box to the center of the screen, again like Super Mario World. Once you get hit, the item will drop down and a new one will be added. The item box will always be a Mushroom at the start of the stage.

The item can be any one of the following: Mushroom, Fire Flower, Raccoon Leaf, Frog Suit, Tanooki Suit, Hammer Suit.

Luigi Demo Switch

No card image found
Switch ID: 4000
Any demo recorded with this switch active will have Mario replaced with Luigi when played back. If used during the main game in conjunction with the Luigi gameplay switch (4100), or during World-e, this will usually lead to Luigi dying.

Two-Hit Switch
SNES Mario gameplay returns with a vengeance

Switch ID: 0080

Wow, talk about hard mode

When the player is hit with this effect active, they will always revert to small Mario/Luigi regardless of the current powerup, as was the case in the original Famicom version.

(Source: Mike007)

Miscellaneous

European World-e

World-e is disabled by default in the European version, but not actually removed, and was even translated into other languages. It can be unlocked by exploiting a corrupted save. Europe eventually got World-e when Super Mario Advance 4 was released on Virtual Console on March 10, 2016, and the European language translations are thus used in that version.

Alternate Bonus Icons

Early Final
Ra ra ra! Ae you

Older graphics for the e-Coin and Advance Coin counters are loaded before the new ones take their place.

Advance Coin Graphics

Flip around again, I know what the letter A means

Two unused frames of the Advance Coin flipping. The text here translates as "rare". The coin only has three frames of animation in-game, making it look rather awkward.

Castle Floors
Going up

The castle that houses the e-Coins actually has three floors, but the latter two are never accessible.

Choose your floor! Under renovation

The upper floors are unlocked when an e-Reader level is marked to have a 9th and 17th e-Coin, respectively, and allows you to move up or down a floor by pressing L and R respectively. Since even in the Japanese version only eight e-Coins got released, these floors are never accessible.

Placeholder Text

Before After
What? Oh

A little block of katakana text that's stored in memory for a couple of frames before the level loads. マント translates as "cloak", and marks where the Cape graphics are stored.

Other Unused Text

Trap replacement

"Trap replacement". This chunk of text is loaded for the bonus game intros.

Well, would you?

Japanese text translating to "Will you save this course?"

Linking?

Japanese text "R" menu: "tsuushin" = Communication; "touroku" = Register; "sakujo" = Remove.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Build Dates

Unsurprisingly, this game has a build date.


Version Offset Text
USA 002630AC
03-07-22 22:08:47
Europe 003084A8
03-08-25 21:56:26
Europe
(Rev 1)
00308AA4
04-01-20 13:38:18
USA, Australia
(Rev 1) &
USA
(Virtual Console)
00263C78
04-01-20 13:32:00
Japan (Rev 1) 0026327C
03-08-25 16:07:53
Japan (Rev 2) 00263908
04-01-14 13:35:42
(Source: Hiccup)

Wii U Virtual Console Changes

Hmmm...
To do:
  • Upload the extracted level data from here.
  • Perhaps is the code for the sleep function still there, or was it completely cut?
  • "Bowser's Last Stand" is data optimized in (USA) (Virtual Console). Other differences exist between versions of e-World levels.

The Wii U Virtual Console release has all of the World-e levels loaded by default, due to the Wii U lacking support for the e-Reader. In addition, if the player attempts to use the in-game sleep function, it will not work. If the ROM data of the game is extracted and run on original hardware, the sleep function still fails on certain flash carts.

(Source: Nintendo, Team Fail)