A.) Hate platformers, and/or
In either case, I pity you. The core Mario franchise (I’m talking about the platformers, not the spin-offs) is my favorite franchise to date and has been for the past 2 decades. Mario is an icon that represents not only Nintendo, but video games itself. But, I probably don’t need to tell you that, do I? I mean, whether you hate him or not, you know who he is. He’s so famous and world-renowned that any sort of introduction for the plumber would seem pointless and almost redundant in a sense. So, what am I doing here? Everyone and his or her grandma knows who Mario is, right? Well, I’m not here to talk about who he is. I’m here to talk about what he does best: jump.
If you’re at all familiar with the franchise, then you know that everyone’s favorite plumber is indisputable and irrevocable proof that white men can, indeed, jump. Mario has over 20 years of experience under his belt (literally), and he’s built up quite an arsenal. The following is the crème de la crème of what Mario brings to the koopas in each of his outings.
Although this may seem unnecessary, I feel an official definition of jump should be established before I get started. As defined in the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary (because I figured the concept and act of jumping has changed very little over the years):
1. To spring free from the ground by the muscular action of
the feet and legs; to project one’s self through the air;
to spring; to bound; to leap.
Now that that’s established, I’d like to present to you, in honor of gaming’s most iconic and prolific mascot, my Top Ten Mario Jumps.
10.) Slide (Hump Jump)
Okay, I’ll admit this hardly counts as a jump. However, when doing the Slide, Mario does jump… initially. In Super Mario 64, it was like a diving attack. But, in Sunshine, you could use it to simulate humping! Well, that may not be very useful, per se, but it sure looks hilarious! By repeatedly hitting the B button, you could make the old plumber bounce around on his stomach like some kind of coked-up baby seal. Actually, now that I think about it, it kind of looks like he’s doing the worm. Couple this with the cool sweep-kick move Mario had in 64 (hold Z and press B), and Mario could be a regular B-boy!
Anyway, ridiculousness aside (or is it just starting?), the Slide also had another use in Sunshine. You shoot a little water in front of you, slide into it, and what do you get? The Crocodile Mile!
So, the Slide is an attack, a cool party trick, and a sweet summertime backyard activity! How could it possibly be so low on the list? Basically, when it comes to getting air, the slide blows. Mario just has so many better tricks up his trousers that he can use to save the princess.
9.) Betrayal Jump
Poor Yoshi. Jettisoned like a White Castle burger an hour after ingestion. One would think such a noble beast would deserve a better fate than to have his death summed up in a poop simile. It seems like only 5 minutes ago you hatched from your egg and ate that Starman to instantly grow to be a full-grown, adult male dinosaur. Where does the time go?
I always thought Mario was a bit careless with animals. I mean, you’ve seen what the guy does to turtles, right? But after seeing him punch his loyal steed in the back of the head several times and watching him abandon the helpless creature outside numerous haunted houses, I couldn’t fathom him doing anything worse. And then he does. Mario doesn’t think twice before ejecting out of the saddle and sending Yoshi to his certain doom in order to save his own fat, Italian ass. What a bastard.
But if I find this jump to be so deplorable, why is it even on this list? Well, because dying sucks! Nothing’s worse than having to redo a level just because you miscalculated one stupid jump. Plus, have you seen the air Mario gets when he leaps off Yoshi? Kick ass! Due to its height and ability to save your life, this jump definitely deserves this spot. Sorry, Yoshi.
8.) Backward Somersault
There’s not a single jump in Mario’s repertoire that looks more technical or graceful than his Backward Somersault. Mario has to completely stop and crouch, then he does the flip, gaining spectacular height before landing with a flourish: arms extended at his sides, spine erect, posture immaculate. It’s like watching a beautiful, rotund angel take flight and then land in front of you and say, “You are the Lord’s favorite.” I may be exaggerating a little, but it sure does look cool. I’d at least say that Mario’s technique makes [insert current and relevant gymnast whose name I don’t know because I’m a dude] look like a spaz. And it’s extremely satisfying to flip over some jabroni that’s charging at you full speed and then landing behind them with a boot waiting for their bum.
7.) Side Somersault
This move is almost exactly like the Backward Somersault, but it doesn’t look as technical. However, you don’t have to stop in order to do it, so it’s actually more practical in a sense. I’d say that this and the Backward Somersault get about the same air, but the Backward Somersault gets way more distance in Galaxy. So, why is the Side Somersault a place higher? Practicality. That’s it. It’s easier and quicker to pull off than the Backward Somersault. That’s really all I have to say about it because the 2 are just so similar. I suppose I like the Side Somersault better because you can go from it straight to the Slide, and then you can start Hump Jumping! I’m sure if you were really awesome you could do a Side Somersault into a Crocodile Mile. Hmm…
6.) Front Handspring
If you’ve ever played Donkey Kong on the original Game Boy or its sequel on the GBA, then you should know this jump. It’s pretty much invaluable against DK’s constant barrage of barrels. Mario springs forward onto his hands and does a handstand. Then, he can spring off his hands and launch himself super high. In the Game Boy game, you actually have to do the 4 levels that were in the original arcade game, but, this time, you get the Front Handspring, which makes these levels a joke. You can seriously clear all 4 in under a couple of minutes.
What makes the Handspring so cool is the handstand. You can actually walk around on your hands and stop DK’s barrels with your legs! If you can stop a full-grown gorilla’s projectiles with just your legs, that’s a testament to your badassness. That’s why this jump couldn’t be ignored. I know, the jump itself isn’t all that great, but it is very useful (if not for the height it gets, then for its barrel-stopping capabilities), and it’s really fun to pull off. I like jumping onto an enemy’s head with the handstand and then springing off onto a higher platform. Oh, the places you’ll go!
5.) Triple Jump
I know I said the Backward Somersault was Mario’s most technical jump, and I stick by that, but the Triple Jump is every bit as technically sound, if not a little more difficult to pull off (from a player’s perspective). You have to jump 3 times consecutively to do it, and that takes a lot of room and some timing. But the pay off is just so delicious that it’s as fattening as the plumber himself. The Triple Jump gets a little more vertical than any other jump on this list, and it’s just incredibly satisfying to pull off, especially if you’re speed running. Plus, doing the Slide at the apex of the Triple Jump is why God made Miyamoto. It’s just that good.
4.) Spin Jump
The Spin jump’s been in a few Mario games: Super Mario World, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 to name a few. But, even though it’s had a specific use in each game, I think it was greatest in SMW. In Sunshine, you could turn yourself into a sprinkler and whip the sludge off of you, and Galaxy turned it into a deflector of projectiles, but World had the Spin Jump at its deadliest. I mean, you could finally crush Buzzy Bettle! I don’t know about you, but I’ve hated those guys every since they took the Goombas’ places after you beat Super Mario Bros. The Spin Jump also lets you hop on Spinys and destroy blocks below you. Now that’s hardcore!
Even though the Spin Jump doesn’t really give you any substantial distance vertically or horizontally, you can’t deny its power. It can turn turtle shells into dust, for crying out loud. For being so deadly and effective in the destruction of the Koopa race, the Spin Jump definitely deserves such a high spot on my list.
3.) Long Jump
You like when Mario says that? Good, because in Super Mario 64 he yells that every time you do a Long Jump. If you haven’t played it (and I can’t imagine why) trust me when I say it can get a little annoying. But what can I do? The Long Jump is just so awesome; I’ve no choice but to endure Martinet’s high-pitched bastardization of the Italian dialect. The jump is just that good.
For starters, it’s very easy to pull off. You just hold Z and press jump while moving. That’s it. You don’t need to stop, and there’s really no precision or expert timing needed to actually do it. Secondly, just as the name implies, it puts a lot horizontal distance behind you. It’s pretty much my go-to jump when I need to cross any long distances (my alternative being the Triple Jump/Slide combo). And lastly, it’s fast. With practice, you can practically go through an entire level Long Jumping in lieu of actually running. But be warned: there’s gonna be a lot of “YA-HOOs” in your future. Ugh.
2.) Chain Jump
Chain Jumping is for the elite. There’s not another jump Mario can do that’s nearly as awesome as Chain Jumping. Chain Jumping makes you look like a professional, and it can get you some serious air and lots of 1-ups, as if a pro like you would need them anyway.
Chain Jumping is simple: jump from one enemy to the next without touching the ground. It’s that easy. But, damn, is it fun! I’m sure older gamers like myself, and even some of you younger gamers as well, know of some of the legendary Chain Jumping areas, such as the infamous 3-1 turtle shell trick in SMB and the Dry Bones trick in the Desert World fortress in SMB3. But, those are isolated areas and not very exciting. I like to try and find places where you can just fly through the level doing this. They’re few and far between, and, if I had any sort of editing and recording equipment, I’m sure I could show you guys some sweet Chain Jumping in SMW. But, alas, I do not. However, I did find a sweet spot for Chain Jumping in New Super Mario Bros. for the DS. Moreover, I actually found a video on YouTube by Kosmonavt77 where he does it! Observe.
Man, Chain Jumping is so fun! But it’s not my #1. Why not? Because Mario actually has a jump that’s more commonly used, more practical, and can easily be linked with a great majority of his other jumps all while still being a blast to use. And that jump is…
1.) Wall Kick
Yes, the Wall Kick. Despite being a pretty standard jump nowadays due to the recent Parkour craze in gaming, the Wall Kick is still my favorite jump that Mario does. As stated above, it’s incredibly practical and can be linked to a bunch of his jumps. My personal favorite is the Side Somersault/Wall Kick combo. Those two jumps combined will get you just about anywhere you need to go in the Mushroom Kingdom. The Wall Kick is also a life saver. There have been many times in Mario 64, Sunshine, NSMB and Galaxy where I Wall Kicked myself back from a catastrophic lapse of platforming judgment. And let’s not forget about how freaking fun it is to repeatedly Wall Kick from wall to wall. I guess this just goes to show that reliability, practicality and funitude always trump the complicated and complex. Just the sight of a pair of parallel walls about 4 to 5 feet away from each other gets me all weak in the knees, which is exactly why I keep ending up in the ER every time I try wall kicking.