Back when v1 of this delicious mashup first debuted from Exploding Rabbit, I was completely hooked. The thrill of absolutely DESTROYING lvl 4-2 with Contra's Bill is one I can hardly forget experiencing. At the end of it all I could only think of how the game could get bigger, better, and more nuanced. The simple world of SMB1 against a team of Nintendo's greatest hardly stood a chance. That said, given the limited power ups of SMBCv1, I began to understand how absolutely perfect SMB1 was and how Mario himself was such a key part of winning many given levels. As fun as blasting your way through these levels is with Megaman, Bill, or even the slow and antiquated Samus, eventually the "lesson" of SMBCv1 is that in the end, Mario still reigns supreme.
Not so in the 192 staged, 152 character/skinned version 3.0.
With added difficulty settings, gameplay modes and level skins, SMBCv3 is not your average crossover. In fact, it becomes a treasure trove of Nintendo "what if's" that have been culminating for the past 25 years. The character change feature is absolutely stunning and attaches attributes of the various games to their individual characters and maps, beyond the obvious. Power ups affect your character as it would in their platformer and offer a chronological enhancement of your given state(Mushroom<Fire Flower:Mushroom<Super Arm<Metal Blade: Mushroom<Missiles<Missile Expansion: you get the picture) This makes dynamic gameplay possible each and every time you start SMBCv3 up. Go to war against Bowser as a charged up Cutman, a fist fighting Alex (RCR), or whip lashing skeleton from the Castlevania franchise. All with their own set of family power ups. It's like an incredible, playable fanfiction.
Overall, Super Mario Brothers Crossover 3.0 is a very satisfying game. In certain areas, Exploding Rabbit could have gone over the top but kept it simpler. For instance, with the Megaman power ups, a possible taking of board enemies powers COULD have been an improvement. Possibly easter egg-like rooms in the underground levels where you are basically blasting a hole through the confining bricks... COULD it have led to a matrix-like room of code or maybe a bonus level, completely separate from the SMB1 world? It COULD have. Maybe they COULD have added some monsters from the Dragon Quest series into the mix, maybe they COULD have created power ups that enabled Dr. Light or Wily to access machines, maybe they COULD have added a multiplayer option so players could vs. each other for high score online, maybe maybe maybe... This game is so full of "DIDS" that focusing on what more I can have from SMBCv3 seems selfish. Plus, I think that is the point of following your title with "version": You can always make more versions.