While the clever minds behind Super Mario Crossover combined a range of Nintendo characters, such as Simon Belmont, with the original Mario Bros. game to excellent effect, Mario XP rolls with the inverse idea of introducing Mario into the Castlevania world. And it’s a combination that works surprisingly well.
Mario retains his signature moves, being able to jump on enemies and smash blocks from underneath to collect the goodness hidden within. Instead of coins though, he can collect hearts a la Castlevania which act as ammunition to activate various sub-weapons, such as the classic fireball or iconic Hammer Bros. hammer. Just like in Castlevania, Mario now has a health bar, while typical Mario enemies make an appearance – Koopas and Goomba’s and the like. However boss fights are more Castlevania-inspired, requiring a lot more action and keen reflexes to survive.
The controls are a bit odd, a relic of the times: press Shift to Jump (and start the game), and Ctrl to attack when you have a subweapon. Z unleashes a powerful special attack, which costs more hearts. An important tip is to hold jump when bouncing off enemies to bounce higher, enabling you to get over certain platforms. However, a high jump can also be performed by holding up before jumping. It doesn’t natively support gamepads, so Joy2Key is highly recommended.
Download: Acid Play