Available on: Amiga, ARC, Atari ST, MAC, NES, PC, Virtual Console
Think about it: what began as a Donkey Kong spin-off, is today’s legend and the sacred foundation of console gaming. Mario Bros. gave Jumpman a new name, blessed him with a little brother, and landed him a new job as a plumber instead of a carpenter. Just a couple of years later, these brothers would break out of their arcade mold and revolutionize the world of daily gaming. After literally dozens of successful, magnificent games from various genres under their name, it’s no wonder this ol’ arcade game has remained a curiosity, an easter egg, a minigame which no one in the right mind would actually pay for. Except, of course, for collectors. Mario Bros. is a classic, that’s for sure... but not THAT sort of classic.
Some call it a pipe dream, I call it raw sewage
Two plumbers extraordinaire, brothers Mario and Luigi, are called in to check New York City’s sewage system, which is filled with all kinds of pests ranging from crazy lobsters and overgrown houseflies to manic turtles.
The game might be older than the dinosaurs, but you know what? It actually doesn’t look that bad for what it is! The sprites are all right, considering the times. The few musical clips – Mozart in MIDI, oooooh – and effects that make up the game’s sound are damn horrid. You’d best shut whatever monitor you’re using up from the get-go. You absolutely don’t need or want to hear the sounds.
My deepest apologies, and condolences; I will never think of this game as anything more than a minigame. I used to play it a lot in co-op mode with a friend of mine when I got Super Mario Bros. 3 as a birthday present from my mom. As you probably know, the multiplayer version is included as a minigame, and it’s accessible from the main menu. As a single player game, Mario Bros. might evoke a few nostalgic tears, maybe a couple of good laughs... but that’s it.
|Not quite Super.|
The main way to dispose of any enemy is another ability that was carried over to the Super Mario series. You simply wait ‘til they walk over you on an upper level, then jump and hit the tile underneath ‘em. The weaker enemies are stunned instantly by this – then you just go over and kick them off the screen, to get a coin for your troubles. Gathering enough coins grants you an extra life. When you’ve defeated enough enemies, you’re taken to the next phase – you read right: phase, not stage. When you’re in a bind, you can also use the POW tile (fans of Super Mario Bros. 2 will know it) for a limited amount of time to stun all enemies on screen. It should be used sparingly. The game naturally gets harder with every phase, and if the player takes too much time to strategize a way to victory, flying flames and ultrafast enemies appear to provide some extra motivation. Thanks!
The arcade version might’ve been the hot shit back in 1983, the best way ever to waste your quarters, but the NES retail’s controls really aren’t up to par with what is expected from a Mario game. Sometimes the damn plumbers just move the way they want, refusing to adjust their jumps and keeping on sliding despite the player’s very best efforts to tract ‘em from a damn edge and harm’s way.
Like I said, the game does get hard, all right. A lot of it, though, is plain frustration in motion. The controls just aren’t too responsive. Mario Bros. is somewhat entertaining, especially as a co-op game, but for a very short while in any case. There’s just no way around it: the game is dated and once again, simply nothing more than a minigame. I think it’s even a bit unfair to review the game under any circumstances, because no one, not even me, can deny its cultural impact.
Graphics : 6.3
Sound : 4.2
Playability : 6.0
Challenge : 6.8
Overall : 6.0
Nintendo Power ranks Mario Bros. #179 on their list of the Top 200 Nintendo Games of All Time.
Mario Bros. has been ported to countless platforms and handhelds, usually as a minigame within later Mario games, including Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and all Super Mario Advance installments.
Mario was renamed after Nintendo’s landlord Mario Segale.
The first movement from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” starts each phase in the game.