You have to love mysteries like these! Who knew there was a genuine second Super Mario Bros. “Lost Levels” game? Super Mario Brothers Special, was an 80’s licensed pseudo-sequel to Super Mario Bros. It ran on the obscure Japanese NEC PC-8801 computer, and was created in 1986 by veteran developers Hudson Soft and released only for a limited time. WOS has it for download or you can watch Destructoid‘s video of it here:
So while it looks and sounds very much like the arcade/NES original, SMB Special has three major differences:
1. It contains a complete new set of levels, different from both the first game and the Japan-only “Super Mario Bros 2” which later appeared on the SNES Mario Allstars compilation renamed as the “Lost Levels”.
2. Rather than having a side-scrolling display in the manner of the other Mario games, SMB Special features a flip-screen format which changes the gameplay significantly. For example, a kicked Koopa shell will now rebound off the edge of the screen and come back at you whether there’s an obstacle there or not.
3. It has a smaller color palette and a somewhat faster speed, with the timer draining faster and jumping handling differently. It also lacks a multiplayer mode or the presence of Luigi (despite the “Bros.” in the title). There are also some new enemies and obstacles, including the Hammer weapon, rolling barrels, and fireballs from Donkey Kong. There are also falling icicles, Fighter Flies, and Side Steppers from Mario Bros. One notable addition is the elusive Hudson Soft Honeybee in the first level, which enables continues.
Super Mario Bros. Special isn’t the only Hudson Soft re-imagining of a Nintendo original for the NEC computers, they did the same with the arcade/NES original Mario Bros. and called them Mario Bros. Special and Punch Ball Mario Bros. Via Digg
January 17, 2007 update: For those of you playing the defunct SMB game via emulation, don’t give up if you run out of lives, help is on the way! You can use the infinite 1UP trick in the first level on the first green Koopa Troopa that enters your path by using the game’s non-scrolling screens to your advantage (because Koopa Troopa’s shells bounce back from the screen borders). Check out the video below to see how it’s done. Also shown in the video is the Hudson Soft Honeybee “powerup”, which enables continues.