Super Mario Bros.

Posted: March 28, 2013 in Game reviews
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Greetings mortals. I am DracoJames102 and I am here to give you a review.

For my first review on this blog, I am going to review the very first video game I ever played (well the Game Boy Colour port anyway), the original 8-bit Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (N.E.S) in 1985 and is considered a classic in the video gaming industry. It is the second best selling video game of all time right next to Wii Sports. But is it as good as it was back then? Well we’re going to find out.

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The story takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom, where Princess Toadstool (A.K.A Princess Peach) rules the land. One day, an evil monster called Bowser (A.K.A King Koopa in Japan) kidnaps Princess Toadstool using his evil army and transforms all of the civilians into blocks…according to the manuel anyway. Now a plumber named Mario and his brother Luigi must travel through eight worlds in the Mushroom Kingdom and save Princess Toadstool from the clutches of Bowser.

The story of the game is almost non-existent. There are no cutscenes, no dialogue and no in-game animations that give you story devices. This was back when story wasn’t important in a video game.

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The gameplay is very simple. Since this is a classic 2D platforming game, you use the D-Pad to move left and right and the ‘A’ button to jump. You can hold the ‘B’ button to run and build up momentum while you are using the D-Pad. Your goal is to travel through the level avoiding any enemies and touch the flagpole at the end of the level to move on to the next level. Although the controls are simple and easy to pick up, Mario’s endurance sucks. Just one hit from an enemy and you lose a life. If you lose all of your lifes and get a game over, you are sent all the way back to the beginning of the game with no continues which can be really painful especially if you made a lot of progress. Luckily, Mario can obtain power-ups to help him travel through the level easier. By hitting glowing boxes marked with question marks, Mario can obtain either coins, which grants you an extra life if you get one hundred of them, or a classic mushroom which makes you grow in size and let you take an extra hit without losing a life. After obtaining the mushroom, Mario can obtain the fire flower which allows Mario to shoot fireballs and kill enemies. However unlike future Super Mario Bros. games, Mario goes back to his normal state instead of his mushroom state whenever he gets hit while he is equipped with the fire flower. Mario can also obtain the rare Star, which grants you temporary invincibility. When you get one, plough through enemies and get as far into the level as you can.

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Throughout the Mushroom Kingdom, you will encounter many enemies, most of which can be defeated by jumping on them. The most basic of enemies are Goombas. Goombas like to walk around and…that’s it. Pretty pathetic. Koopa Troopas like to walk around like Goombas only after being stepped on, they retract into their shells. The shells can then kicked around to kill other enemies. Careful though, Mario can also be hurt by the shell. Koopa Paratroopas are flying Koopa Troopas that require two jumps to retract into their shells. Buzzy Beetles are exactly like Koopa Troopas except that they are immune to the fire flower. Piranha Plants like to pop out of some pipes to try and nom at Mario. They can easily be avoided by standing next to the pipe that they are in and they don’t come out when you are standing on top of the pipe. Lakitus like to fly around in the sky and drop Spinys onto you which you cannot jump on. Bullet Bills like to come out of turrets and just like Buzzy Beetles, these guys are also immune to the fire flower. Hammer Bros. are the most annoying enemies in this game. Hammer Bros. like to jump and throw hammers at you and most of the time you’ll meet them in pairs. Since these guys like to throw hammers at you all of the time, it is very hard to time your jumps so you can kill them. The underwater levels contain only two types of enemies, Cheep Cheeps and Bloopers. Cheep Cheeps like to move across the screen with the green ones moving up and down as they move forward and Bloopers like to follow you. Since you are underwater for these levels, Bloopers and Cheep Cheeps cannot be stepped on. They cannot be harmed except with the fire flower. Yes you can use fire underwater! Don’t start questioning logic now after what you’ve just been reading!

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The castle levels are at the end of each world and they are certainly the most dangerous levels in the game. Each of the castles are armed with lava pits, fireballs that jump out of the lava pits and swirling firebars. At the end of each castle you will come across Bowser who likes to jump and shoot fireballs. After World 5, he starts throwing hammers at you as he jumps. To defeat him, you simply need to run under him when he is in mid-air and touch the axe at the end of the drawbridge and then Bowser will fall in the lava pit below. Bowser can also be killed with the fire flower, where it is revealed that you were fighting a regular enemy that was disguised as Bowser. After defeating Bowser, you enter a room where you encounter one of Princess Toadstool’s servants, Toad who tells you that his princess is in another castle, which really makes you wish you can nuke the scumbag with the fire flower.

The real Bowser is in the final castle and he pretty much uses the same strategy as the fake Bowsers. So yeah, the boss fights are really easy, but after defeating Bowser, you finally rescue Princess Toadstool thus beating the game. After rescuing her, you unlock a level select option at the title screen just by pressing the ‘B’ button and you get a second quest which is the hard mode of the game. The level layouts are the same but the Goombas will be replaced with faster moving Buzzy Beetles and Koopa Troopas.

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Super Mario Bros. also contains a few secrets that can help make your play-through easier. By hitting certain blocks in some levels, a vine will come out that will take you to a secret part of the level that will score you lots of coins and skip a chunk of the level. The same thing can be said if you manage to go down certain pipes in some levels. In the underground levels, there are also secret warp zones where you can skip entire worlds just by going down a pipe. Use these whenever you feel like speed running.

Super Mario Bros. also has a multiplayer feature where the other player can control Mario’s brother, Luigi, who controls exactly like Mario. Instead of playing at the same time, both players take turns in completing the levels whenever one player dies. The control does not switch between players whenever one of them has completed a level.

Graphically, Super Mario Bros. is pretty basic, but then again it was an early N.E.S game. It is still colourful and pleasant to look at. Everything manages to stick out from each other.  Although it’s not as great as the graphics of today, I still think the game looks nice considering it was for the N.E.S.

Musically speaking, the main theme is one of the catchiest tunes ever. The rest of the other tracks are catchy too. All of the music tracks are really short and although they are repetitive, I never get sick of listening to it. That’s how great the music is.

Control wise, it’s pretty good. However I have a few problems about them. Sometimes it is hard to control your momentum when you are moving too fast which can result in slipping off a platform edge. The jumping control works, but it’s pretty stiff when trying to control your direction in mid-air and cannot be as responsive as you want it at times, which is noticeable if you’re trying to launch off of a spring.

So overall, I think Super Mario Bros. is still a really good game to play. It isn’t something I’ll play as many times as other games, but for those of you who want to get into video games and you’re looking for a good place to start, this is the game for you. It’s easy to pick up, easy to play and unlike a lot of other games from the 80s, it manages to offer just the right amount of challenge. In my opinion, it still holds up pretty well and I am really glad to say that seeing as how this was the first game I ever played.

Final rating: 7/10

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