In honor of McDonald’s latest Mario Happy Meal offerings, I’ve decided to do a review of the original Mario McToys from back in 1990. There are 5 toys available in a complete set if you include the “Under 3” toy. There are two different Marios, Luigi, a Goomba, and a Koopa Troopa.
One huge selling point for Mario 3 was Mario’s ability to fly when he donned his trademark Raccoon ears and tail. Sure, there were other suits and power-ups to choose from, but the raccoon was the mascot version of Mario for a long while, until it was replaced by the much cooler Cape Mario from Super Mario World.
In order to depict Mario’s flying ability as a toy, McDonalds has put this Mario on a spring. Press down on Mario and a suction cup on his butt will stick to the base and compress the spring. A few seconds later he pops free flying into the air. While it’s not a real accurate depiction of how Mario flies, but it’s still a lot of fun and he jumps an impressive foot and a half to two feet in the air while wildly flipping about.
Luigi gets the title of “lemon” in this set. He’s grotesquely under-scaled next to all of the other toys for starters. Luigi is supposed to be taller than Mario, not a midget. I suppose you could argue that this is “small Luigi”, you know, before the effects of the Mushroom. When you pull him back and release he will zoom forward on his own. He also has a cloud permanently attached to his ass.
Oh the poor Koopa Troopa. With the right mindset, this toy is extremely twisted and perverted. You see, the Koopa’s gimmick involves a small squeeze ball on a tube. When you squeeze the ball, air flows through the tube and up the Koopa’s ass. This causes the Koopa Troopa a bit of a shock, at which point he hops lightly. Squeeze it fast enough and he sort of scoots along slowly.
Alternately it sort of simulates the Koopa’s flying ability. You see, this guy has those little wings some Koopas are blessed with. Unfortunately, this is “Real World Koopa Troopa”, where wings a tenth the size of a turtle’s heavy bone shell are not capable of lifting said turtle into flight.
If you’re so inclined you can always cut the tube off and have a generic Koopa Troopa action figure.
Definitely the best of the set. This little guy was actually 50% of the reason I wanted these to begin with. While the other toys are laden with obtrusive gimmicks, the Goomba simple gimmick and simple design makes this the most versatile one of the lot. What you get is a Goomba, without clouds on his but or little squeeze-balls or large springy bases, just a Goomba. Well, a Goomba that does back flips anyway. I don’t recall Goombas doing back flips in Super Mario Brothers 3, but I think there may have been some in a few of the later games. Maybe he’s back flipping because he knows he’s so awesome.
This is probably the least common of this set of toys. Mostly because half the time people don’t even realize there IS an under three toy for most Happy Meals. Or at least there was. Somewhere around 1998 they started using Fisher Price based toys for their Under Three toys instead of using the same theme of the month for the regular toys.
He is a gimmick less unarticulated hollow squeeze toy of Raccoon Mario, but his generic properties almost make him a superior Mario toy than his springy brethren. I say almost. This is version is slightly too chubby to really look like Mario. Sure, Mario is supposed to be overweight, but this version is still slightly too wide.
Despite their minor flaws, at least they properly depict the characters in question in situations they would more or less be found in. This is more than I can say for the newer promotion which features flying Frisbees and inflatable hammers that really could match with almost any promotion with the right images printed on the side. You can often find these on eBay and the Goomba alone is pretty fun to play around with. Jumping Mario isn’t too bad either.