Classic NES Review – Super Mario Bros. 2

15 October 2006
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Super Mario AdvanceSuper Mario Bros. 2 was released in the US for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. The game is extremely unique in comparison to the rest of the Super Mario Bros. series, and it is beloved by Nintendo fans the world over, some who’s first experience with Mario came by Mario 2.

Super Mario Bros. 2 absolutely tips the 2D Mario gameplay from the original on it’s head; by changing the run-and-jump nature of the first Mario game into the run, jump and pick-up and throw gameplay of this sequel.

Read my full review for all the details on the game and my personal opinion of how it stacks up nearly 18 years later.

Super Mario Bros. 2

Title Screen

System: NES
Also On: SNES – Super Mario All-Stars, GBA – Super Mario Advance, Wii – As a Virtual Console $5 download
Originally Released: October 1988
Genre: Side-Scrolling Platformer, 2D
Players: 1
Save: NES – None, All-Stars – 4 Files
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Origin: Japan

There is only one way to describe Super Mario Bros. 2 . . . . And that word is: Odd.

As the second game in the series, Mario Bros. 2 does exactly everything that you WOULDN’T expect from a sequel to the first game. It takes the characters in the Mario universe, adds them to a strange and quirky world, and then takes the gameplay of the first game and absolutely tips it on it’s head.

There are several design changes that factor in to making Super Mario Bros. 2 so different from the first game in the way it plays. First off is the elimination of the timer. Since there is no timer on any of the levels, you are no longer racing to try and finish the game as fast as you can. The second difference is the fact that you can go backwards in a level. In the original game, when the level scrolled, you could no longer go back in that direction (which made sense in Mario 1 because you are always racing to reach the end of the level before the timer runs out and you die, so there is no reason to go back).

. . . As this video demonstrates to well

Thirdly . . . while Super Mario Bros. 1 popularized the aspect of a side-scrolling game, meaning that the screen scrolls to reveal a bigger playfield (instead of being confined to a single-screen as in games like Pac-Man or Galaga) it was still a game that was confined in the sense that you could only go forwards, you were forced to go forwards (even though you scrolled the screen yourself). Super Mario Bros. 2 changed all that by letting the scrolling of the level, either forwards or backwards, be completely up to the player.

Carrying Potion

However the biggest change did not come from the aforementioned improvements, but rather from another improvement . . . one that you didn’t really see much of in the first Super Mario Bros. This sequel let the player explore the world in a whole new way . . . a new dimension. And that dimension was vertically. Mario 2 opens up the whole notion of vertical gameplay to the player. Whether it’s jumping onto platform after platform that are suspended in the air, or climbing vines or ladders, Super Mario Bros. 2 sends the player vertically just as often as you scroll left or right, which is a dramatic change.

The combination of the lack of a timer, the ability to go backwards and the insistence of the levels in pushing you upwards, gives Super Mario Bros. 2 a COMPLETELY different feel as far as level design goes. And that vertical aspect comes into play as soon as you start the game and are immediately dropped from a door in the sky to the ground below you.

Believe it or not, these are not the only changes that separate Super Mario Bros. 2 from it’s prequel.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. First a look at some history. Although many do not know it, one reason that Super Mario Bros. 2 is so different from all the other games in the series is because it originally was not a Mario game at all! What we know in America as Super Mario Bros. 2 was actually a game that was only released in Japan. This game was developed by Nintendo and called Doki Doki Panic. Actually the full title is Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panikku which translates to Dream Factory: Doki Doki Panic.

This quirky NES game was Mario-ized and brought to America and other regions as Super Mario Bros. 2. The Mario version was also later released in Japan as Super Mario USA.

The real sequel to Super Mario Bros. was actually a game that was strikingly similar to the first game. Matter of fact it was really just a remixed version. It was much more difficult than the original and allowed you to play single-player as either Mario or Luigi, with both characters having different abilities (Luigi jumped higher but was harder to stop once he took off running). It also added the new Poisonous Mushroom (identified by their purple color) to the equation. If you grabbed a Poisonous Mushroom it’d harm you rather than help you.

Nintendo of Japan however had a hard time deciding whether or not to release Super Mario Bros. 2 (Jap) in the US, fearing that it would be too difficult for American players (it was common in the Japanese video game world at that time to underestimate the abilities of American and European players, even though we had no problem with supremely tough games like Metroid or Contra).

So they decided to take another game that they thought was easier (which is quite ironic, cause it’s definitely not an easy game) and modify the game, making it into a Mario title to release in the US as Super Mario Bros. 2. The game was developed in cooperation with Fuji Television (who licensed the characters for Nintendo to use) to promote their Yume Kōjō ’87 event in Japan, which showcased several of Fuji TV’s latest TV shows and other products at the time. Doki Doki Panic featured the mascots of the Yume Kōjō festival (an Arabian family consisting of siblings Imajin and Lina and their parents, Papa and Mama) as its main characters and the rest of the characters, including the main villain, Mamu (Renamed Wart for the modified American version), were all original creations by Nintendo for the game.

Doki Doki Panic takes place within a book with this Arabian or Indian setting (which explains the desert landscapes and Arabian-style sounding music) where all four characters are sucked into it’s world. They are all playable as well, and the game is not completed until the player plays through the game as all four of them, unlike in the American remake.

For the modified US version of Doki Doki Panic, Mario corresponds to the Imajin character, Princess Toadstool (or Peach as she’s known now) corresponds to Lina, Luigi corresponds to Mama and the stout Papa corresponds to Toad.

So Nintendo did all this modifying (leaving most of the game exactly the same, including the enemies and bosses and most of the music and sound effects) thinking that no American player would know the difference. And they were right. Unless you worked in the video game industry or for gaming publications and were in the know, then you’d never realize that what you were playing was not a “true” Mario game.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (US) was widely accepted by the people that played it despite it’s oddball flavor, and it become so popular and infamous for it’s uniqueness that it actually became considered by Nintendo as the real Super Mario Bros. 2 and took it’s place alongside the other core games in the Mario saga (Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, etc.).

And the elements of Super Mario Bros. 2 (US) that weren’t originally Mario but Doki, such as the enemies like Bob-Ombs, Birdo and Shy Guy‘s (who were unchanged from their Doki Doki Panic origins), actually became part of the Mario universe.

Nowadays Birdo has developed more into a full-fledged Mario mascot character and taken his place alongside Yoshi; as is evidenced by her appearance as a Yoshi team-up character in Mario Kart: Double Dash on GameCube and in some Mario sports titles.

Had Nintendo never converted Doki Doki Panic into a Mario game and released it as such in the US, then many of the beloved characters that people now love would never have existed. And that would definitely be a shame.

So I for one am glad that we got this Nintendo game instead of the “real” Super Mario Bros. 2 [Jap] since it is much more unique and original than what we would have gotten, and the new enemies that came along for the ride ended up being great additions to the Mario family (The Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 btw would later hit America for the Super Nintendo as part of the Super Mario All-Stars compilation, in which it was included as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels)

So . . . now getting back to the differences in gameplay between Super Mario Bros. 1 and this Super Mario Bros. 2 (US). Whereas the main form of attack in the original game is jumping on the heads of the various enemies, this game changed all that by allowing every enemy in the game (virtually) to be picked up and thrown. Matter of fact, there are no enemies in the game that can be destroyed by jumping on their heads! Your form of attack is now exclusively picking up and throwing. And it’s not just enemies that you can pick up and throw at other enemies, but lots of other things as well. For example, the game is also littered with . . . . VEGETABLES! Veggies can be pulled out of the ground and hurled to kill enemies (All enemies in the game die with one hit outside of bosses) and you will find that they play a prominent role throughout the game. They appear in both small and large varieties.

Super Mario Bros. 2 was also the first Mario game to introduce other playable characters, which was a huge change from the first game. In Super Mario Bros. 2 you can play as not only Mario and Luigi, but also the Princess and Toad. While both of the latter characters did appear in the first Super Mario Bros., it was really Super Mario Bros. 2 that popularized them and made legions of fans of those characters since it was our first shot at actually being able to play as them. And even though they were simply character swaps for the Doki characters, most people, like me, didn’t know that as kids and took a personal liking to the Toad and Princess characters. I have always loved Toad ever since I played Super Mario Bros. 2 when I was about 5 years old. I thought the little guy was great (and I’m still holding out hope that he’ll get his own spot as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl).

Each character has their own abilities that make them useful in different situations. The speed at which they run or the height of their jump when holding an item, the speed at which they lift items, and the height of their jump all differs between characters.

Mario (typical nowadays) is the “average” character, he doesn’t really excel at any one ability. Luigi is the character with the highest jump, he’s also the tallest character. Toad is the shortest of the bunch and also the quickest at running and lifting, but he also has the lowest jump. Princess on the other hand is the slowest lifter, but she has an ability that’s completely unique to her character (and one she inherited for her debut in Super Smash Bros. Melee) . . . if you hold the jump button, she can FLOAT for a short time! This almost makes her a kind of unfair character as she really is a great choice no matter what level you are on cause you can almost always benefit from her floating ability.

As for the other features of Mario, such as coins and items, everything in Super Mario Bros. 2 has been changed up or altered from the first game. Although the way you progress from level to level is still largely the same, as there are a number of worlds and each world has 3 levels, and it uses the same dash system, so world 2-2 would mean the second level on the second world. Pipes though, a major feature of the first Super Mario Bros. have been replaced with these objects that look like vases, some of which can be entered by pressing down, leading inside the vase, much like a pipe in the first game.

You now have a life bar made up of hearts on the left side of the screen. If you lose all your hearts by getting hit, then the containers will empty and you will die. If you only have one heart then you are small. You start with two containers, and can get up to four in any one level (containers do not carry on to the next level).

If you are small, then getting another heart or a Mushroom will make you grow. Mushrooms are the only way you can get another heart container, and you only find Mushrooms in what is known as “sub-con”, which is basically another dimension of the world. Throughout the levels are a certain number of these red potions. You will pull them up from the ground like a vegetable. If you throw the potion, it will create a door. Enter that door and whatever is on the screen will turn dark to signify that you are in another dimension, in “sub-con”.

80’s Commercial for Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 and 3

Sub-con is a big part of the game. Mushrooms, as well as coins, only appear in sub-con. But Mushrooms only appear in a specific spot. So to get that Mushroom, you are required to throw the door at the place where you think a Mushroom may be. While it’s true that Mushrooms theoretically can appear anywhere in a level, they will generally appear in some obvious places, usually where you find many vegetables or something else to give you a hint. Vegetables in Sub-Con turn into coins (one veggie counts as one coin). Coins count towards how many tries you will have at the slot machine in between stages, where you can earn extra lives (and it is the only way to earn extra lives outside of some uncommon 1-Up Mushrooms that you will occasionally pull from the ground).

The last big piece of the Super Mario Bros. 2 world are cherries. Cherries kind of take the place of coins in the previous Super Mario Bros., that is, while outside Sub-Con you will see cherries just floating in the air, as coins did in the previous game (actually, they aren’t so much floating as nailed, literally, to the air). Grabbing enough cherries will summon a Starman, which works just as in Super Mario Bros. and will give you invincibility for a short amount of time.

Super Mario Bros. 2 keeps a nice balance in the way the various game mechanics come into play. For example, unlike most games, the only way to heal yourself (outside a Mushroom) is by killing enemies, which will summon a heart to come floating onto the screen from below, collect it to fill a heart container. This helps in giving you a reason to actually kill enemies instead of simply running past them. You will also occasionally come across other items that you will pull from the ground. These include Shells, which you throw and jump on top of as they slide across the ground, killing any enemies in their path, Stop Watches, which you will pull from the ground once you’ve pulled 5 big vegetables. Stop Watches will freeze time for a short period. You will also occasionally come across “POW” blocks. These big black boxes will shake the screen once thrown and destroy any enemy that’s touching the ground. POW’s are still a really cool part of the Mario universe, although they haven’t shown up as prominently since Super Mario Bros. 2. But they did make a cameo appearence in the first Super Smash Bros. on the Classic Mushroom Kingdom stage and they occasionally will pop-up in different Mario titles.

The last real item you’ll come across are bombs. Similar to in the Zelda series, you will come across bricks which can be blown up by using bombs. Bombs will explode a bit after you pick them up and you pull them from the ground like you would vegetables. Bombs will always appear near where they need to be used.

And speaking of bombs, this segues into the almost puzzle like aspects of Super Mario Bros. 2. There are many points in the game where you will have to bomb walls or bricks in a certain way. For example, there may be a platform above a lower one, with breaks and walls that can be bombed, blocking the middle of the bottom platform. And if you go into sub-con a Mushroom will appear, but you may only be able to get that Mushroom if you have bombed the right spots.

Early on you will come to a secret where you need to drop a bomb down a skinny area where a bombable wall is blocking the door. But it’s only wide enough for your character and if you fall or climb down you don’t have enough room to throw the bomb. So you gotta drop it from above, and the key is to wait for the bomb to flash and time your throw so that it blows up at the right time, destroying at least two blocks, which will give you enough room to fit in through the gap. And these types of little bombing areas are numerous.

Unlike the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2 is a lot more non-linear. You can pretty much complete the levels as slow or as quick as you want, for the reasons mentioned above, but also the world itself is also a lot more complex.

The world in Super Mario Bros. 2 is full of doors. All the doors can be entered and exited by pressing the Up Button. And there is almost no point where you can not re-enter a door, leaving the player free to explore the world pretty much at their leisure. Doors can lead to all kinds of places, and some levels will have over ten doors (or much less . . . or more), leading in and out of various areas. You will also find many places that are populated with vines, ladders (leading to higher or lower levels) and vases, some of which can be entered. Making the world of Super Mario Bros. 2 a lot larger with various areas and environments within one level. Which is a big improvement over the original game.

Underground Level 1-1

Super Mario Bros. 2 has great variety in the design of it’s levels. Some worlds are themed to a degree as well. You will come across desert landscapes, ice and snow levels, and more green, tropical style levels (complete with Palm Trees), which generally come with a lot of waterfalls. The first time you see a desert stage though, or even the initial level with it’s waterfalls, you will realize how big of an improvement the game is graphically over the original Mario Bros.

Stages have their own quirks too that make them different. Desert stages for example will have pyramids that you can enter. Once you’re inside you will find that you will need to press the B Button to dig through the soft sand. Digging will have the character pull out that space of dirt right below them . . . . and there is lots of dirt! Generally you will have to dig about 5 or more screens before you reach the bottom, encountering enemies and cherries along the way. This mechanic still feels really cool and I can’t even think of another game that’s similar in the digging department.

You will also encounter locked doors in Super Mario Bros. 2, and they will require a key that you will have to pick up and carry from one location (generally far away) to the location of the door that is locked. Picking up a key will summon these faces/masks called Phanto‘s, that are on the wall and will chase after you. If you throw the key they will go away until you pick it up again, and they can’t be killed.

A lot of these locked doors will be found inside these kind of construction/warehouse type environments (though like the first game, much of Super Mario Bros. 2 is only black backgrounds), where you will find chains you can climb, Mushroom Blocks you can pick up, stack and throw, and various hazards ranging from Sparky enemies that will encircle platforms and harm you if you touch them, to spikes or even pits where you will die or be damaged if you fall.

The non-linear nature of Super Mario Bros. 2 really comes into play throughout the game. You will come to find that lots of levels actually have multiple paths you can take. Or at least two paths. And many of them feature secrets that will lead to “backdoors”, these doors will take you directly to the boss of the level, or to our pal Birdo.

Birdo is a strange dinosaur-like creature who spits eggs out at you and serves as a boss, mini-boss and all around common enemy throughout the game. You will fight different varieties of Birdo in different environments. The main form of attack Birdo has is spitting out eggs, which you jump on top of and throw back at him (her? In the new games it’s a girl) to kill it. You will also encounter Birdo’s that spit fire. At the end of nearly every stage will be a Birdo fight. So learn to enjoy them!

The end of the level, generally after a Birdo fight will lead you to a pearl that when picked up will open this “Bird Door” that will lead to the next level. The Bird Door only helps to give the game it’s dreamy, otherwordly kind of feel.

While Super Mario Bros. 2 is easily one of the best games from my childhood and thus it has a lot of nostalgic value, playing through it again has made me realize how many memorable moments the game has. And that I believe is it’s biggest difference from the first Super Mario Bros. game. The stages are SOO unique. And there really are too many cool moments to name.

One level for example has a giant waterfall. You start about half-way, and there are clouds leading upward, which is the direction to go if you want to proceed through the level. If, however, you jump down, you will fall and in the middle at the bottom of the waterfall is a little island (if you miss the island you fall to your doom). There is a door on the lil’ isle, go inside and you will find a room packed full of veggies. And somewhere in there is a potion, if you can find it all those veggies (or as much as you can pull, if you haven’t pulled them up before entering Sub-Con) will of course be coins. And you get the Mushroom as well.

Another level has a huge uncrossable gap. The only way to cross it is to use Birdo! He’ll shoot an egg and you can actually jump on top of that egg and it will sail you across to the other side. Don’t forget to take the potion with you! Another waterfall level has you crossing the waterfalls by jumping on top of fish which will jump up from below. But you have to be careful because if you fall you’ll die. Still another level has you sailing on top of a bird! With no ground beneath! Another stage features whales. These whales will shoot water out of their blow holes which you can stand on to get to the higher platforms.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg! The levels in Super Mario Bros. 2 easily and single-handedly eclipse anything in the original Super Mario Bros. From the digging to the ice worlds to the secrets to the backdoors and multiple paths to the various environments to the warp pipes to the bosses, Super Mario Bros. 2 is one diverse game.

And you really get better the more you play too. As in the example above of the room with a ton of vegetables demonstrates (you will encounter a lot of similar rooms), the player will benefit from actually knowing the layout of the stages and knowing where Mushrooms, Potions and whatnot are located.

And did I mention the bosses? This game has some really cool boss fights. Such as Mouser, a mouse who will hurl bombs at you. You have to catch the bombs and toss or set them up on his platform, timing them right so that they explode and hit him as he gets close to them. Or Fry Guy, a big flame-head that will fly around the room dropping little fires. You have to use the Mushroom Blocks in the room to hit him three times (which is the sweet spot for most bosses) by using the platforms above where he flies, after which he’ll burst into four little flames that must be extinguished before he is completely defeated.

A cool element of the Fry Guy fight is the fact that, while the fight takes place on one-screen, you can keep going through the edge of the screen at which point you’ll pop-out on the other side. In fact, if you go half-way, then half of you will be on one-side and the other half will be on the other side! You can even hurl a Mushroom Block at the edge of the screen and, naturally, watch it sail onto the other side, hopefully hitting Fry Guy in the process.

This kind of effect is really neat and a far cry from anything you see in the first Super Mario Bros. And there are other levels where this effect will come into play as well. One stage in particular has you hopping on platforms to reach the top of the screen, where-in it will scroll up one, until you reach the top of the environment. But while on a single screen and hopping on the platforms leading up, there are platforms on the edges which you can stand on and if you keep going to the edge of the screen you’ll pop-up on the platform on the opposite side. So while you are going up you’ll encounter plants that will be coming down . .. this plant will shoot fire that will fall both on the left and right of the plant. The only way to avoid it is to run across the platforms at the edge to pop out on the other side of the screen if the fire is coming your way. It’s hard to describe but in the actual game it happens seemlessly and is a cool gameplay effect.

Bird Riding

And it’s this type of unique gameplay that makes the game really imaginative and fun. You really haven’t seen anything like it, and even today it is unique among 2D 8-bit platformers. It’s also interesting that you actually seem to do a lot more platforming and jumping in Super Mario Bros. 2 than you do in the original, which is ironic considering how the original is all about jumping. The world in Super Mario Bors. 2 is HUGE too compared to the original Super Mario Bros., and the game, if played straight through, is much longer, at least twice if not three times as long.

Super Mario Bros. 2 also contains an incredible amount of secrets. You will find many pathways which will lead off the beaten path. Generally they will either take you to an area full of coins, or they will lead to a backdoor that will quickly take you past the level and directly to the boss. The first time you find one of these and you find yourself entering the boss stage by jumping down from the dirt roof at the top it will hit you that this is one unique game (the roof area is just a straight wall leading to the top of the screen and naturally there is no way to get up there from the other side).

And secrets like the one mentioned above litter the levels. And many of these are really memorable moments that will probably stick with you after you have completed the game. And for those that have played Super Mario Bros. 2 before it will be really gratifying encountering these nostalgic scenes again. I know for me it brought many fond memories flooding back into my brain.

I mean who doesn’t remember throwing Mushroom Blocks on top of clouds so that you could stand on them and cross the gap? (even though Princess can simply float across). Or letting the quicksand in one level take you UNDER the starting wall . . . which leads to a backdoor to the boss? If you haven’t encountered these secerts then you really owe it to yourself to experience it.

The game even contains some well hidden warp pipes (er . . . warp vases?), which will transport you to another world. The warp pipes are cool to find as they can only be found/discovered in Sub-Con, and you will only know it’s a warp pipe by entering it. Can you find them all?

The game is also surprisingly difficult. Yet it’s rarely frustrating, which is a nice balance. It can be easy to die and you will die quite a bit, but you will always feel that it was your own mistake that killed you, not anything cheap. And due to the slot machine in between levels and how many coins you find, you will generally have lots of extra lives, so getting “Game Over” is pretty hard to do unless you are super reckless.

Graphic-wise, the game is really colorful in comparison to Super Mario Bros. 1, which has a really dull color pallet, although the NES version of Super Mario Bros. 2 isn’t nearly as colorful as the All-Stars version, which also has characters that are much, much improved. And obviously the environments are a lot more diverse, with desert landscapes, ice, waterfalls, frozen places, and more. It really gives the game a lot of variety and you will never get bored with the levels.

All the tunes in the game are good and if you played the game back in the day then they will definitely bring back some extremely nostalgic memories and feelings. The music is nice, happy and upbeat, except for the inside/warehouse type tune, which is perfectly fitting. While the music is pretty great overall, there really are only a few tunes which play throughout the whole game which can get old.

Super Mario Bros. 2 actually has quite a lot of replay value. I played the game start to finish three times for this review. The first time I used warp pipes (skipping some worlds entirely), the second time I followed secrets and back doors (skipping large parts of some levels) and the third time I played straight through without using any secrets or back doors. So the game contains a lot of replay value for a game of it’s age.

While the game did get somewhat tedious by the last play-through, there’s no denying that the game is extremely unique and varied for it’s time. It’s a great platformer and one that is well worth checking out if you’ve never played it before.

Like with the original Super Mario Bros., there are several different versions of Super Mario Bros. 2 available. The NES version, the SNES Super Mario All-Stars version, and the Game Boy AdvanceSuper Mario Advance” version. Though the latter is different enough to warrant an entirely different review (which may come in the future).

The All-Stars version (which is a compilation containing all the NES Mario games: 1, 2 and 3) doesn’t improve on the game in any way except for in graphics and sound (as it does for all the Mario games). The music tunes are all the same but they’ve been updated. And it adds lots of cool graphical details to sharpen up the game and make it look more modern (well . . . modern for 1993 that is).

When you are inside the warehouse-type places, for example, the All-Stars version actually adds warehouse-type backgrounds with boxes and things. Phanto rooms now have a very cool background with the face of a Phanto in the background, and when you pick up the key it’s eyes glow. And it’s a lot of little details like that, but nearly every screen has something added to it and it really gives the entire game a complete face-lift which is especially noticeable if you directly compare the two.

The graphics in the All-Stars version are even more colorful with more details added and the interface has been updated to look smoother and more refined (though it’s nothing compared to the Super Mario Advance character select screen update, which features almost 3D graphics), and while there are no gameplay changes, it certainly makes the game even more easier on the eyes.

All in all, Super Mario Bros. 2 is a phenomenal platformer by anyone’s standards. It holds up to the test of time extremely well and is no less fun nowadays. And if you’ve never played the game before then you surely are in for a great time. There are tons of secrets to discover and it’s very likely that you will play the game several times if you want to see the entire game. The gameplay is so unique that I can’t even think of a modern game (or classic one for that matter), that comes close to mimicking what is on display in Super Mario Bros. 2. And even if it did, Super Mario Bros. 2 definitely does it best. The gameplay is so refined that it’s practically perfect. Any complaints I have are so minimal they aren’t even worth mentioning.

Super Mario Bros. 2 is a definite classic that all gamers should have in their library.

Should I buy Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Wii?

Wii System and ControllerAs the most unique and different Mario game in the series, there is no reason why you shouldn’t purchase this $5 NES title on the Wii. Whether you have played it before or not, it’s probably still worth purchasing due to the sheer amount of replay value it has for an 8-bit pre Super Mario Bros. 3 title.

Even if you have played it extensively, it’s still a fun game and there is surely some parts of the game you haven’t seen. So why not add it to your collection? And the Wii will make it much easier to get the game for those that don’t want to play it on a portable system and don’t feel like tracking it down for one of their older consoles (SNES and NES) and having to deal with cartridge problems.

With it’s pick-up-and-throw gameplay, bevy of secrets and really unique worlds, the gameplay stays fun throughout the 7 worlds of the game, with lots to see; requiring a few play-throughs before you will see it all.

Graphics: 8.5
The game looks great . . . for an NES title. While it is very colorful compared to Super Mario Bros., it still looks dull today, especially the characters, and especially in comparison to the SNES All-Stars version. The unique environments make up for the graphical detail though.

Ingenuity: 9.0
This is by far, with the exception of perhaps Yoshi’s Island, the most unique game in the 2D Super Mario Bros. series. No other game involves picking up and throwing things in the way Mario 2 does, and while it’s not mind-blowing nowdays, it was for the time. And even now it still feels highly original and the gameplay is refined to near perfection. The idea of Sub-Con is also really neat and was highly original for the time as well.

Replay Value: 8.5
Due to multiple paths, lots of secrets, hidden warp pipes and back doors, Super Mario Bros. 2 is not a game where you can see everything your first play-through. It will take a few play-throughs to see all that it has to offer, and the game stays pretty fun throughout even though you are simply hurtling things beginning to end. Most people who want to see all the games has to offer will want to play more than once, which is pretty good for this type of game since there are no difficulties, no extra modes and no 2-player.


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Josh Romero By Josh Romero: He is a lover of videogames, as well as metal music, Gilmore Girls, chatting, social networking, Phoenix Suns, reading, writing and many other nerdy things. Read his posts here and connect with him on Youtube.

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