Mario has traversed a lot of ground over the years, but for all of the places he's been, which are the best? Over at Kombo, I team up with fellow resident Mario expert Lucas DeWoody to examine and analyze what we believe are the ten best Super Mario levels of all time. We cover a wide range of the famous plumber's career, spanning from the original Super Mario Bros. all the way to the just-released Super Mario Galaxy 2. Some of our choices are even a little obscure while others will most likely surprise you.
Super Mario 64: Tall, Tall Mountain
Nintendo was just getting its feet wet in the world of 3D level design in this classic that launched the Nintendo 64, but there's a spark of what was to come in a massive mountain accessed from the upper floors of Princess Peach's castle. Tall, Tall Mountain has to be one of the largest levels in the game in terms of sheer height. Climbing the mountain can be daunting on the very first try, but exploring what the place has to offer reveals plenty do to. There's a secret slide to find (and descend), a crafty monkey that'll swipe Mario's hat if given the chance, a cannon that leads to a lonely mushroom, red coins scattered on tiny platforms to collect, and much more. There's even a great oversight in the N64 version that allows one to collect the secret slide star without actually visiting the secret slide (shame they fixed it in the Nintendo DS remake by putting a grate over the spot in question).
Since this is a Top Ten list we had to leave a few stray choices on the cutting room floor, but honorable mentions go out to the Comet Observatory from Super Mario Galaxy, World 5-2 from Super Mario Bros. 2, World 7-A from New Super Mario Bros., and Cookie Mountain from Super Mario World.