Available on: NES, Virtual Console
Shigeru Miyamoto began designing Super Mario Bros. 2 right after work on the first game was completed, and the second game was finished by 1986. However, American testers rejected the game due to its incredible difficulty and uncanny likeness to its predecessor. The domestic release of the game was therefore indefinitely canned, but North America and Europe were still demanding for a proper sequel to keep the cash flowing. Nintendo responded with something completely unpredictable and remade an unrelated Famicom Disk System platformer named Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, replacing the characters and some minor elements with those related to the Mario franchise. This crossover product indeed became Super Mario Bros. 2 as we non-Japanese know it. Although it's generally referred to as a black sheep of the family, Super Mario Bros. 2 was a critical and commercial success in its time and it's considered to be another defining moment in the history of Mario games.
Rebellion in dreamland
In a strange dream, Mario is summoned to save the land of Subcon from the rule of an evil, froggy tyrant calling himself King Wart. Mario explains his dream to his brother Luigi, Princess Toadstool and Toad, who all agree to join Mario in his endeavor to free the people of the dreamland.
|Throwing all kinds of shit at enemies is the|
primary method of progress.
So, why doesn't Super Mario Bros. 2 necessarily come off as a Mario game? It differs so much from the first one I'm not really sure where I should begin. So, let's just start with what happens right after you're done with the title screen. You are given a choice to play as one of four characters: Mario, Luigi, Toad or Princess Toadstool. Mario is an all-around guy with medium abilities, while the other three all have some sort of specialty. So yes, finally you'll get a good reason to play as Luigi. Mario's little brother jumps higher than anyone else, and his jumps have incredible hangtime. Combine this ability with the new superjump ability (common to all characters, used by crouching for a few seconds and then jumping normally), and you don't need to bust your ass when you're working your way up a vertical cavern, which are a-plenty in the game. Toad picks up stuff quicker than anyone else, and carrying stuff doesn't affect his natural physical abilities in any way. Princess Toadstool might be the best overall character to use, as she can use her dress to glide through the air for a few seconds. You can beat any stage using any character, but after the first playthrough, you might enjoy trying some character-specific methods out.
|Luigi vs. Mouser - the game's first main boss -|
and a minor graphical glitch.
Collecting enough cherries summons a Starman, which will then flow freely across the screen until disappearing or until you catch it. The Starman is one of the only elements truly connecting the game to the rest of the franchise, and it serves the exact same purpose as in the first game. Dispatching enough enemies will summon a heart in the same fashion, and it is used to replenish one point of lost health.
Every world has its own boss, and nearly every stage pits your character against a miniboss, a pink reptile named Birdo, who shoots eggs as her (?) primary method of attack. Fighting Birdo on the first half of the game is very simple, you just have to grab the eggs and throw them back at her, collect the key item she leaves behind and proceed through the hawk statue's mouth to the next stage. Fireballs instead of eggs, different heights and strategies are added into the mix later, and from a certain stage onward, Birdo even occasionally appears as a regular enemy. The actual, bigger and more epic boss fights require more complexed strategies and a couple of them are surprisingly bitchy. After each stage, besides being able to choose a new character, you'll also have a chance to gain some extra lives in a slot game activated by and paid for with the coins you possibly accumulated in the last stage.
|Toad is very proficient in carrying and|
throwing items, which makes him the
most fatal mushroom in the world.
|Everything's so... PINK!|
The game might be far from the Mario franchise as we know and cherish it when it comes to thematics and atmosphere, but Super Mario Bros. 2 is still an outstanding platformer, the kind of which are just not made anymore. Nintendo was very lucky with how this game ultimately turned out, and I do believe it played its own part in the birth of the famous Mario Mania of the early 90's.
Graphics : 8.4
Sound : 8.0
Playability : 8.3
Challenge : 8.8
Overall : 8.4
GameRankings: 80.00% (Virtual Console)
Nintendo Power ranks Super Mario Bros. 2 #45 on their list of the Top 200 Nintendo Games of All Time.
Since it’s based on an earlier, unrelated Japanese game, the international version of Super Mario Bros. 2 wasn’t released in Japan until 1992.
The differences between the original FDS game Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic and our version of Super Mario Bros. 2 are mostly audiovisual. Our game has better animation and mushrooms replace the original's large heart icons. In our game, the characters shrink when they're on their last legs, which is homage to the first game. Doki Doki Panic, however, does have a save feature which was impossible to be ported to the NES due to Famicom Disk System's larger memory capacity.
Super Mario Bros. 2 has been remade a few times for later-generation Nintendo systems. The first remake was released as part of Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES in 1993. The second remake was the first Super Mario Advance title on the Game Boy Advance; it was released in 2001.
One of the few Mario games to feature Princess Toadstool as a brunette instead of a blonde. Her hair colour was changed in the remade versions to match her usual portrayal.