Super Mario Brothers 2

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Introduction 

This is gonna take some telling. I’m going to explain this like no one ever played it. Mario is an italian plumber who, with the help of his brother Luigi, saves the Princess Toadstool and her legions of mushroom people from the insidious giant dinosaur, turtle, wizard Bowser (Usually called Toads). The game begins with Mario falling out of a door in the sky. Forget all that other stuff. This time Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Toadstool are working together to save a dream world from a giant frog tyrant by the name of Wart. Use Luigi’s totally busted jumping powers, Toad’s speed and ability to pick things up real fast, Toadstool’s ability to float, and Mario’s powers of mediocrity to throw vegetables and enemies at other enemies and save the land of Subcon. (Get all that? No? Neither did I. This game is so messed up, but that’s a story for…. right now)

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Yeah, it’s basically like this.

 

Development

In Japan, Super Mario Brothers 2 is a similar game to Super Mario Brothers 1. Mario runs, jumps, gets mushrooms, almost everything between the two games is the same. But the game is a lot more difficult. The levels are more harshly designed even some of the mushrooms damage Mario instead of giving him the power to take an extra hit. Nintendo of America found the game to be frustratingly difficult. And so it was never released in the United States until the Super Mario All-Stars Super Nintendo pack was released, where it was known as Super Mario Brothers: The Lost Levels. Super Mario Brothers 2 was released in Japan in 1986.

Yume Koujou: Doki Doki Panic was developed by Kensuki Tanabe and was originally created as a prototype for Mario Brothers 2 and involved a lot of vertical platforming and picking up objects and enemies to destroy other enemies (Apparently the game was originally supposed to be 2 player, allowing players to throw the other player). Yume Koujou: Doki Doki Panic was released in Japan on July 10, 1987. When Super Mario Brothers: The Lost Levels wasn’t to be released in the states Nintendo turned Doki Doki Panic back into the Mario game that it began as and released it in the United States October 10, 1988.

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Super Mario Brothers 2…

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…Doki Doki Panic. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

 

Nostalgia

I originally played this game on the Super Mario All Stars pack and I was shocked and amazed at how different it was from the original Mario Brothers. I didn’t understand why jumping on enemies didn’t destroy them, I didn’t understand why there weren’t any coins, I didn’t understand why I was throwing vegetables at birds or why giant birds were spitting giant eggs at me. I also didn’t care much. I learned very quickly how the game worked. Some of the deeper systems like heart generation and Invincibility Star appearances worked but that didn’t matter.

I usually played as Luigi because he jumped the highest. I liked jumping high, I liked bouncing around, so this was the guy for me. It was playing this game where the idea that Luigi was my prefered brother came into play. He was taller than Mario and he could jump way higher, so much higher that he can reach hidden areas. Why was Mario the hero? I just didn’t get it.

This game also taught me the meaning of fear. This guy here is Phanto. I’d pick up his key and his eyes would burn a most sinister red. He’ll chase the hell out of you if you pick up a key. He’ll chase Luigi to the ends of the earth until he drops that key and decides to come quietly. It also can’t be destroyed, I remember getting so upset that I couldn’t throw the key at it or anything.

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Oh god, it’s back. It never left. It will never leave. Take all my keys! Just go!

The only reason I beat this game is because I found a bunch of level skipping pipes and skipped myself to the final world. In order to warp I have to find a potion from a vegetable patch, throw it to make a door, pray that the pipe I make the door next to is a warp pipe, open the door, enter negative world, see if the pipe is a warp pipe (Did I mention that this game was weird?). It took me weeks to find all of the warp pipe locations. I remember staying up until 9, passed my bedtime when I was 8 or so, in order to beat the game. Frantically running through Wart’s castle, getting totally trashed by everything. But Wart was embarrasing easily. I didn’t care though, I was so psyched.

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Original graphics

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All Stars graphics

 

The Gush

This game is so unlike the original Mario game. There are no coin boxes, mushrooms are acquired by using potions to create magic doors in the right location on the stage. The mushrooms are all in predetermined locations. If I knew where the mushroom was then that was cool but that was almost never the case. It became a giant game of memorization. There’s no real rhyme or reason to where they’re placed. You just have to get lucky and I think that’s lame.

One of the complaints that’s usually leveled against the game is that there are only 4 bosses and they get reused again and again. Nearly every level ends with the player fighting Birdo, he/she shoots eggs and you pick up the eggs as they fly through the air and hit him/her with it. That’s only so compelling so many times, like once or twice. I ended up using so many warps that I don’t even remember these boss enemies. I remember fighting a hydra that spit fire, I think.

Two words: Ice physics. I hate the ice worlds in this game, especially as Luigi. His jumping controls are already really slippery so he gets put on ice and things go completely out of control. I usually ended up switching to Toad so that I wouldn’t have to be in constant anxiety everytime I walked or jumped (So… did anything really).

The only way to get more lives in this game is by playing a slot machine game at the end of levels. It took me forever to figure out how to get coins to play the game. If I grab a door potion and throw it near some vegetables then plucking those vegetables in negative land will produce coins instead of vegetables, who thought this was a good idea? Something like lives shouldn’t be a gamble, or at least not a difficult one. If I’ve got 30 coins or something then that’s fine but I’m usually lucky to get 5 or 10. Keep me in false suspense because with that many tries I’ll get enough lives to continue. But the coins are never where the mushrooms are so I feel like I’m trading between lives to continue the game and hits to continue the level. It’s just frustrating.

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This is Wart. Phanto is yards more menacing than this guy.

The Verdict

The Gush for this game is really short. There aren’t any real moments that stick out in my head. This game can be beaten by speed runners in 9 minutes and that’s ridiculous. I’m not nearly that fast, but between all the warps that I used and all the deaths I amassed it couldn’t have taken me more than an hour when I hit my stride.

There’s nothing that really stands out for me, except that slot machine thing. The only prominent memory was arguing with my father over which character was better (He always played Mario and I kept saying that Luigi’s ridiculous jumping powers made him better).

The nostalgia in this game is strange for me. I was super pumped when I was a kid, but I can’t harken back to it really. When I look back on Super Mario Brothers 2 I don’t really remember what was so great about it. It’s weird, it introduced a lot of elements and characters, and it’s decently fun at points but it just doesn’t stick out for me

 

Next Week: Megaman X

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