Technopeasant I see. I guess level design on those Apogee games focuses on exploration more than on dextrous platforming. I don't dislike exploration, but I like platforming, so I appreciate the linearity of Mario. Monster Bash has those slanted branches that make the platforming more interesting, in a way that enhances exploration - the "can I make that jump?" effect. And you get to shoot in an arc too, so there's aiming through positioning.
I really do like fixed arc platforming in some ZX Spectrum games, but those are very linear too. Puzzle-like, even. I have yet to play the classics Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy, but Horace in the Mystic Woods is *chef's kiss* MASTAPIECE!