Twenty years ago, the American sequel to the most popular video game of all time, Super Mario Brothers was released, titled Super Mario 2. The game was a great departure from the gameplay that made the first a classic and is considered by many to be the black sheep of the series. Super Mario Brothers 2 is available on the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console for 500 Nintendo Points and I decided to take a look at the game to see if I could gain a new perspective.
Super Mario Bros. 2 takes place in a dream world where Mario, Luigi, Princess TOADSTOOL, and Toad travel through a world of dreams to defeat the evil Wart and his generals.
The graphics and sounds are pretty good for an NES game. The graphics look more colorful and sharper than SMB 1 and runs very smoothly on the Virtual Console. All the sounds are back and while they were good, doesn’t live up to the Mario standards of all the other games. The controls, while ok on the NES version, are ported perfectly from the NES to the Wii Remote.
The gameplay is much different than the original Super Mario Brothers. You get to choose between controlling Mario, Princess Toadstool, Luigi, and Toad; each with their own unique abilities. Luigi can jump highest, Toad is the Strongest, Princess Toadstool can hover for a short time, and Mario is a blend of the three. Originally I wasn’t a fan of this but gaining some perspective I liked it better. Another major difference is how to vanquish enemies. To destroy them, they must have something thrown into them. This can include other enemies, vegetables, and turtle shells; much different than the standard jump on the enemy or fire flower maneuver.
What really ruins Super Mario Bros. 2 is it’s unforgiving difficulty and it’s non Mario like feel. The game is easily the most difficult to play in the series due to a lack of power ups, health replenishment, and stars.
As for the difference in gameplay, take a look at this video:
This game is called Doki Doki Panic and was released only in Japan in 1987 and not the rest of the world. When Super Mario Brothers 1 became such a huge hit an immediate traditional sequel was released in Japan with gameplay very similar to the original game. You may recognize it as Super Mario Brothers: The Lost Levels on Super Mario All-Stars. As for Doki Doki Panic, the main character sprites were redesigned to look like Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool for the game, and tagged Super Mario Brothers 2. This was done to make the game look different than Super Mario Brothers 1, so this accounts for the difference in gameplay and it’s dichotomous nature.
Back in the day I hated this game, but after some reflection my view has changed a bit. While it’s still my least favorite Mario game, it’s not terrible. I won’t say it’s good because the gameplay is way too unforgiving to be fun. It is more of an annoyance if anything. The Game Boy Advance Port is worth picking up if you get a chance as it’s easier. The Virtual Console version is just a straight port of the original and unless you loved the original game, not worth your time.
Game review by Anthony Lifrieri.
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