The lights are on
When I was a kid, and the Atari 2600 was the console I was stuck with, I used to go the the local electronic store and just stare at the Super Mario Bros box for hours. I would imagine what it would be like to play the game that is taking the world by storm. When I get back home, the Atari looked like an ancient relic, one that should be in a museum, not one that I should be using when a console like the NES was on store shelves, ready to be played. It was the future, and Mario was its ambassador.
Eventually, I got my wish. My sister received a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas, and Mario to go along with it. To say I was blown away by what awaited me isn't quite doing it justice. Over the years, Nintendo continued to blow everyone away with its Mario games. Mario 2 on the NES, despite not being a real Mario game, was still incredible fun. Mario 3 was a revolution. Super Mario World on the SNES was even more revolutionary than the last, and Yoshi's Island was the perfect way to end the 2D Mario games on the SNES.
Nintendo continued to knock it out of the park. Mario 64 is still one of the greatest games ever made. Sunshine is extremely under-appreciated, and both Galaxy 1 & 2 are in my top 10 of all time. Nintendo knew how to reinvent the series with each release. They weren't reusing assets, they weren't phoning these games in. They were giving us brand new experiences each time, and gamers worldwide were eating it up. It couldn't get any better.
When Nintendo started with the "New Super Mario" series, I don't think anyone could have expected where it would end up. I for one would have never, ever believed that Nintendo would have farted out the same Mario game 3 times and called it a day. Yet, here we are, and that is exactly what Nintendo has done. New Super Mario Bros for the 3DS is the same game you've already played on the DS and the Wii.
Sure, the levels are different, but it is the same exact game. The assets, the music, the sound, the enemies, all of them are reused from previous Mario games. Nothing feels fresh or new. Nothing feels as though Nintendo actually cared. I never thought I would ever say this, but the entire game feels like Nintendo just didn't care. It is Nintendo's fall from grace. And while reviewers are bound to shower praise on it, know that if you have been playing Mario games for as long as I have, you are going to feel a stinging disappointment like you've never felt before.
When you pop this game in and play the first level, you're going to want to slip the cart back out to make sure you didn't put the DS one in. Trust me, you didn't. This is actually the "New" Mario game, and it couldn't feel more ancient.
Man, that was like reading an article!
We understand your complaints about not being quite original enough to warrant a release, but a 5.5 does it discredit as a fun, solid platform, with lots of secrets to find. I think GI's score was entirely fair. Not every game has to revolutionize the entire genre.