Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA)

Posted: October 8, 2013 in Game reviews

Greetings mortals, I am DracoJames102 and I am here to give you a review.

In my last review, I stated that ‘Super Mario Bros. 2 The Lost Levels’ was not released outside of Japan initially, so in order to satisfy the appetites of American and European Mario fans, ‘Nintendo’ of America decided to create their own ‘Super Mario Bros. 2’ game. Well sort of, they took a Japanese game which was also created by Shigeru Miyamoto called Doki Doki Panic (which was also not released outside of Japan) and gave it a ‘Super Mario Bros.’ make-over. The game was released in Europe and America in 1988 for the NES as ‘Super Mario Bros. 2’.

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Now I have never played the original Doki Doki Panic so I will not be making comparisons from that game (for the most part anyway. I’ve heard things). The only times I have ever beaten the game was when I had the Gameboy Advance port of it and again on the ‘Super Mario All-Stars’ port for this review. So does this sequel manage to expand upon what made the original great? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Story

If you let the title run long enough, you get the premise of this game. Mario had a dream about entering a new world called Subcon where the inhabitants are crying for help to be freed from an evil tyrant known as Wart (who will never appear again). One day when Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad go out to have a picnic, they stumble across a cave which leads them to a door that goes to Subcon. Now it’s up to them to free this world from Wart and his evil minions.

The story is about as simple as the story of the last game except that there’s no princess to save (because she’ll be joining us).

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Gameplay

In this game, you can control either Mario, Luigi, Peach or Toad. You use the D-Pad to control them, the A button to jump, B button to run and pick up vegetables and the Start button to pause the game. If you hold down on the D-Pad, not only can they crouch, but they can charge up a super jump which is needed to get to places. The game’s HUD contains your new health bar which determines how many times you can get hit before you die. You shrink in size if you are down to one heart of health. You select one of them before each stage and each of them have their own attributes. Mario is the most balanced out of all of them. No mentioning weaknesses but no redeemable strengths either. Luigi has a higher jump and he flutters his legs as he’s jumping making him more floaty. Toad is the fastest and the strongest out of everyone (which sort of makes me not to want to deck him for telling me ‘sorry. wrong castle) but his jumping sucks. Peach is the weakest and slowest out of all of them but she has the most useful ability in the game. She can hover in the air for a few seconds which can make some platforming challenges a complete joke.

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The objective of the game is to get to the end of the level like in the last game. There are seven worlds and each of them have three levels except for World 7 which only has two levels. Each world has their own gimmick and theme. A couple of worlds are your basic green grass lands with trees and hills while a couple of them can be desert themed and up in the sky.

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Along the way, you notice little grassy patches that you can pull on to reveal vegetables which you can throw to kill enemies. But they might be other things such as bombs which you can use to blast your way through walls, koopa shells which can kill enemies or a potion that can transport you to subspace temporarily so you can dig up some coins to spend on a slot machine when you complete a level to score more lives or if you use the potion at just the right spot you can find a secret warp point to skip a few worlds or you can score a mushroom to increase your health bar for that level. You can also encounter cherries which will grant you an invincible star from the last game which will grant you temporary invincibility. Sadly the fire flower is nowhere to be seen.

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None of the enemies from the last game return for this installment. Instead we have a whole new list of enemies. When the developers were fixing up Doki Doki Panic to be a Mario game, they did not change the original enemies. In fact some of them even become staples in the Mario franchise. There are Shy Guys who do nothing but wander around, Pokeys that do nothing but wander around, Porcupos that you cannot step on and they…wander around. Yeah some of the enemies are pretty boring in terms of what they do. Granted some of them can be a problem such as Shy Guys that shoot pellets from their mouths but some of the time it’s because of their placement. In fact later on in the game some enemies can be pretty cheaply placed. Not as cheap as Lost Levels thank god but they can still be pretty annoying. You cannot jump on enemies to kill them like in the last game. Instead you have to kill them either by throwing vegetables at them or actually picking them up as most of them cannot damage you from the top.

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At the end of each level you fight a mini-boss called Birdo. They fire eggs at you which you can pick up and throw at them to kill them. But later on in the game you’ll come across different varieties which fire a combination of both eggs and fireballs and some that shoot nothing but fireballs. If you manage to kill them they spit out an orb which opens up an eagle mouth so you can get to the next stage (wow that sounded trippy even for a Mario game). There are some levels where you have to complete an obstacle course instead of fighting Birdo.

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The actual bosses are at the end of each world. There is Mouser which throws bombs at you, Triclyde which spews out fireballs at you and Clawglip which throws rocks at you. Their strategies are simple but they are better than the Bowser bosses in the last game. However my most hated boss in the entire game is FryGuy at the end of World 4. Some levels have a gimmick where you go off one side of the screen and come out from the other side. This guy likes to fly around the place dropping fireballs and the only way to beat him is to throw obstacles at him and when you do enough damage he splits into four little fireballs which jump around and each time you kill one, the others move faster. It takes a lot of strategy to kill this guy without losing all of your lives.

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If you lose all your lives you get a game over but you are given the option to continue. However you only have two continues and you have to start over from the beginning of the world that you died in instead of the actual level you got a game over in. I was thankful I was playing the ‘All-Stars’ port where I had a save feature but I still had to start over from the beginning of the world which was draining. I heard that the original Doki Doki Panic has a save feature so why didn’t we get one in this game?

The final boss in the game is none other than Wart himself. He spews out bubbles at you and moves left to right on a platform. That’s it. The only way to beat him is to grab vegetables that a dream machine in his room spews out and throw them at him when he has his mouth open. Once you have damaged him enough times he will be knocked out and you will go into a secret room and free the trapped inhabitants of Subcon. The ending of this game frustrates me a bit. I won’t give away what it is but most people will know what I am talking about.

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Graphics

The graphics in this game are pretty good for 8-bit standards (yeah I know I said I played the ‘All-Stars’ version, but I don’t necessarily need to play the original game to review the graphics). They are nice and colourful and the sprites are nicely done.

Music

The soundtrack of this game is ok. I do like some tracks like the cave theme and the final boss theme but the rest of the soundtrack can be pretty forgettable.

Control

I feel that the control of this game is smoother than the control in the last game but the acceleration can be pretty unpredictable. The characters can slow down instantaneously which can make some platforming sections a little tricky. They also suffer from knock-back issues when they get hit and they lose momentum when they get hit in midair which can be pretty irritating when it comes to jumping over bottomless pits. But overall the control isn’t bad, just ok.

Final thoughts

So does this game manage to not only expand upon the massive success of its predecessor but still hold up today on its own merits. Well yes…but it doesn’t hold me for very long. Honestly out of all the classic Mario games this one is my least favourite (Lost Levels doesn’t count). This game just doesn’t get me engaged as much as the other games in the series. There were many times where I put the game down to take a break from this game because I was either bored or because of the negative aspects of this game. World 4 and afterwards were where I really started to get sick of the game because of their odd design choices and its boring structure. I hate the fact that I have to start at the beginning of the World I died in as it just drains me. I’m sorry if I am coming off as negative but this game just doesn’t really do anything for me. If you like this game, that’s fine. I’m not saying it’s a bad game but it’s a matter of personal opinion. This game still manages to stand on its own merits and it managed do some things right for the Mario franchise. It didn’t sell nearly as well as the first Mario game (in fact it sold over ten million copies when it was first released) but it was still pretty popular. I do recommend this game to you so you can decide whether you like it or hate it.

Final rating: 6/10

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