Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

Super Mario Bros. 2
- Nintendo, 1988 -


[REVIEW|+ VS. -|IF YOU LIKE...|SECRETS & TIPS|FINAL SCORE|BREAKDOWN|MISCELLANEA]

A Curious Tale Of Two Sequels

When humble plumber, Mario, took a wrong turn down that green pipe and found himself saving a princess named Toadstool (?!?) and her Mushroom Kingdom from a spike-shelled, fire-breathing Koopa (?!?) named Bowser — little did he know that he would also be saving a whole industry. The future of home gaming would never be the same again. But, after Mario’s deliverance, what could Nintendo possibly do to mount that next tall flagpole and keep its tight grip on majority share of the market?

After some trial-and-error in what could be seen as a form of beta testing in Japan, Nintendo would make an avant-garde move to keep its banner flying high above its adoring public. Super Mario Bros. 2 would go where few other smash sequels have been — both before and after.



This is the Japanese version of the original Super Mario Bros. 2.As confusing as it is, this is the first version of Super Mario Bros. 2 — the version of the sequel that Japan would know.

Originally intended as a single sequel (like most games), the title would actually be released as two disparate games in two distinct regions of the world.

In Japan, the game would live on as a tougher reworking of the original Super Mario Bros.; in the rest of the world, a divergent variation would exist as a loosely-based, altered state of the first game.

In the latter Super Mario Bros. 2, mascot Mario takes brother, Luigi, and a small gathering from the Mushroom Kingdom to explore the slumberous land of "'Subcon', the land of dreams" (as stated in the game's manual). Mario is drawn to a strange door — one, first seen in his dreams — and thus, another journey begins.

The first step through that peculiar door is, indeed, a giant leap of faith for Mario and his fans alike — as Mario falls out of consciousness, he takes a deeper fall (some five screens high!!!) into the world of Subcon. Enter World 1-1 — and thus, begins the trippy experience of a sequel to a sequel that has a crazy tale all its own...

The first step through that first door in Super Mario Bros. 2 is more than a leap of faith... it would be a sign of the willingness of Nintendo to take risks in new directions.
The first step through that first door in Super Mario Bros. 2 is more than a leap of faith — it is a franchise taking a bold step into a new direction — a quality that Nintendo has become renowned for.

In 1985, Shigeru Miyamoto set the gaming universe into a frenetic state. His efforts made the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the new must-have for the average household — to rest alongside the clunky VCR, rabbit-ear antenna and cable box atop the rugged, floor-model television set, of course.

Miyamoto transformed the original Mario Bros. and made it super by plucking plumbing brothers, Mario and Luigi, from the sewers and plopping them into a magical kingdom of mushrooms, pipes and turtles. The Super Mario Bros. platformed themselves into the collective heart of the world. Crazed, gaming fanatics demanded more... catching a contagion of the type, not seen since "Pac-Man Fever"!

Naturally, while riding the swell of high demand, Nintendo pounced with what was, in effect, a sequel to that sequel.

Nintendo's knee-jerk response was to glide forward into, what they believed, was a safe approach. Thus, a more unyielding follow-up was thrust upon the Japanese test-market. With a hard sell and even fewer buyers, most of this game's structure was derivative of the original Super Mario Bros. — little true evolution into bigger and better things actually took place in this first attempt.


On the Super Nintendo (SNES), gamers can get to try a run of Super Mario Bros. - The Lost Levels, found on the SNES cartridge, Super Mario All-Stars.

On the Super Nintendo (SNES), gamers can try a run at Super Mario Bros. - The Lost Levels, found on the SNES cartridge, Super Mario All-Stars.On the Super Nintendo (SNES), gamers can try a run at Super Mario Bros. - The Lost Levels — which is one of the first times, Americans got to play the original Super Mario Bros. 2. Confused, yet? It can be found on the SNES cartridge, Super Mario All-Stars.

To be known later as The Lost Levels, this first of the two spin-offs was a trickster's maniacal remix of the monumental Super Mario Bros.

Turning the original on its head by dumping in a defeating dash of deceitfulness, this iteration took depraved pleasure in poisoning mushrooms; reversing warp zones (pushing Mario backwards to earlier stages); setting Bloopers afloat in the water and air on some stages; hiding invisible blocks to entrap Mario; whooshing up unexpected, wind gusts during treacherous jumps and drizzling in other certain deathtraps.

The result? The disapproving reception that seemed lost on this Nintendo Family Computer Disk System, or Famicom, version prompted Nintendo to find a quick-fire fix before release elsewhere.

In America, stories pointed to North American quality control and intervention by Howard Phillips, a key figure at Nintendo Of America. He deemed the game frustrating and decided that it just wouldn't be much fun for American audiences. Executives heard out the concerns of their tastemaker and conceded — they agreed that the rest of the world would desire a more accessible and more original sequel, not a warmed-over rehash that might risk souring the newly-returning Western market's taste.

To take that harder edge off, America and the West would receive an overhaul of sorts for its version — a second and decidedly-unique sequel to Super Mario Bros.

Developers at Nintendo would take a game called Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic (English translation: Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Panic) to begin the task. The strategy? To deconstruct this game — a title exclusive to Japan that the outside population knew relatively nothing about — and essentially rearrange the furniture and give it a fresh coat of paint. By inserting Mario, Luigi, Toad (Mushroom Retainer) (Toad's official name according to the game's manual) and Princess Toadstool from Super Mario Bros., the remodel would be ready for reveal.

Being pressed for an early release date and eager to satiate the Super Mario Bros. craze, Nintendo found Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic to be the perfect game of convenience.

Now, for a bit of background...

In the summer of 1987 in Japan, Yume Kojo '87 (or Dream Factory '87) was a grand exposition held by the Fuji Corporation to promote its upcoming fall television lineup, as well as being an exhibition for the future of technology. The event was trumpeted a full year in advance with a promotional blitz upon the public there.


Yume Kojo 87 in Japan was built up to be such an event that several pieces of merchandise and souvenirs were released ahead of its opening. Pictured here are some of the promotional masks that inspired design within Super Mario Bros. 2.Japan's Yume Kojo '87 was built up to be such an event that several pieces of merchandise and souvenirs were released in advance of its opening. Pictured here are some of the promotional masks that inspired design within Super Mario Bros. 2.

Everything from popular music to train passes and telephone cards to clothing to Venetian-styled masks were emblazoned with the upcoming expo's themes and mascots — one of whom, Imajin (the Japanese form of the English word, imagine), was the central character.

To further agitate the media buzz, Fuji tapped Nintendo to create a video game to coincide with the 44 day-long Yume Kojo '87 festival. The mascots of the event were chosen to star in said game. Doki Doki Panic came out of this favorable marriage in marketing.

The motifs of dreams, imagination and international culture that permeated the festivities, seeped into the groundwork of the game. This explains the notion of a world of dreams; the Arabian stylings of the set pieces and main characters — Imajin (Mario), Mama (Luigi), Lina (Princess) and Papa (Toad); and the game's obsession with masks — prominent carry-overs into Doki Doki Panic's future re-emergence as Super Mario Bros. 2.

These distinguishing features informed the almost-disjointed continuation of the story of Mario and his friends into this brave new world. For the casual gamer outside of Japan, Super Mario Bros. 2 seemed like a totally new experience because in many ways, it was.

Was this trippy game fraught with interpretations of dreams like some Jungian or Freudian study? Maybe so. Mario and company would go on a mind-expanding journey of their own that expounded greatly on their abilities from the prior title.

Previously in Super Mario Bros., Mario and Luigi had few resources to draw from. They could simply stomp foes or slide turtle and beetle shells. Grabbing special Mushrooms, Coins, Fire Flowers and Starmen gave incentive to break blocks and bricks.

But, now... with this notion of the crazy, irrational world of dreams to experiment with, the game designers' imaginations could bloom and push all Mario conventions out or greatly expand upon them.


This is a picture of the cover art from Yume Kojo:  Doki Doki Panic. Super Mario Bros. 2 is essentially a remixed version of this title.

This is a picture of the cover art from Super Mario USA - Super Mario Bros. 2 to America and the rest of the world. Notice the Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic cover art, refitted with the Mario cast.The top picture is from Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic. Super Mario Bros. 2 is essentially a reimagined version of that title. To confuse things more, the bottom picture shows Super Mario USA, which is the Super Mario Bros. 2 that America and the West got, but which was reintroduced back to Japan.

The Dream Factory inspired much. Metaphorically-speaking, Mario’s Magic Mushrooms did more than make him grow — now they seemed to provide hallucinogenic attributes.

In Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario and friends can pluck vegetables and gourds from as crazy and random an area as a whale's back and toss them at the foes of Subcon to defeat them — no more stomping Little Goombas in this game (More about that later.).

Or any member of the crew may tug on a sprout that ignites a magic rocket to take them away!

The Arabian influence on the Japanese celebration left mementos all over Super Mario Bros. 2. Toad — dressed in turban and open waistcoat — might fly on a magic carpet (!) above a desert scene with palm trees and walking cacti. Clay jars, far below, may be filled with leaping, lethal Cobrats — a completely-unexpected departure from the Piranha Plants that clogged the green pipes of Mario Bros. past.

Or maybe Luigi — whose team-best, high-jumping abilities — may be better-suited hitching a ride across a night sky and bottomless chasm on the back of a magenta pterodactyl called Albatoss (!).

Of course, Princess Toadstool can just as easily take to the sky and float across a wide stretch of territory, as her flowing gown makes her the best long-jumper in Subcon.

These are, but a few of the loopy sights seen in Super Mario Bros. 2. So, while Mario is trying to wrest himself and the land of Subcon free for a restful return to a slumber of happy dreams, the wayward Wart — Bowser's stand-in for this title — has machinations on making Subcon's Dream Machine churn out nasty nightmares instead.

Usually the masks of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (the same kind that were seen throughout Yume Kojo '87) are associated with playfully hiding away the faces of glistening bodies reveling and dancing the night away. Wart's army of dream warriors, however, is concealing more sinister motives behind theirs'.


For the Super Mario Bros. 2/Doki Doki Panic overhaul, Nintendo swapped out the original cast for those ready-made Super Mario characters.
For the westernized Super Mario Bros. 2, Doki Doki Panic had an overhaul — Nintendo swapped out its original cast for those ready-made Super Mario characters. Above shows Imagin and Mario, Mama and Luigi, Papa and Toad and Lina and Princess.

The manual warns of some of these masked terrors: "Obstructing your way – gangs of enemy characters". The "8 bits", which is one of those gangs (referred to as "a club of evil dreams", in fact), is comprised of such unruly ruffians as Shyguys and Snifits — not exactly the type of shady characters your parents warned you to avoid, nevertheless, in Subcon's confectionary confines, bad enough.

Other masquerading manifestations are the scary masks that activate and spring to life, known as Phantos. They chase you down as soon as Mario and his teammates grab a Key to open locked doors — a new concept in the land of Mario games.

And tampering with the crystal balls that are left behind when a boss is defeated at the end of a World, will not reveal the future. Instead, they may make you fear it — as they force you to nervously step into the gaping mouth of a giant mask that looks like an intimidating, angry bird.

These are some of the lunacies that manifest in the sleeping mind of Mario. It is, as though, he took a swig from some of the bubbling, red Magic Potions the game has to offer (More about them later.) and drifted off into his imagination's unbridled embrace.


There are multitudes of masked enemies in Super Mario Bros. 2.
Yume Kojo '87's infatuation with masks are vestiges that found their way into Super Mario Bros. 2. Several foes in Subcon are hidden behind masks.

It is apparent that Super Mario Bros. 2 wrote a new chapter in the Super Mario saga. Its shocking departure from the Mushroom Kingdom showed that Nintendo had courage to stretch out, albeit in a very calculated way. After all, it is fair to say that the venture wasn’t so impetuous — the more standard sequel was tested in Japan and the company did, essentially, re-skin a fairly-safe game for Mario remarketing. Nevertheless, the gamble was real and credit should be given.

Upon first look at Super Mario Bros. 2's opening screens, things would never be the same. The curtain was drawn back and now the gamer had the power to choose beyond the prerequisite Mario Bros. as their "Players". Toad and Princess Toadstool (representing with a punch of girl power!) would make a name for themselves, standing side-by-side on the pedestal, leaving their insignificant, non-player character (NPC) status forever behind them.


You can choose to play as either Mario, Luigi, Toad or Princess in Super Mario Bros. 2.
Curtain call for Super Mario Bros. 2's heroes — and this time, heroine, Princess. This marks the first time in a Mario game that a female is a playable character.

And from that point, it was a new revelation... the game felt like the breathtaking instance in the classic film version of The Wizard Of Oz, when after her house is violently uprooted by a twister and subsequently crash-lands, Dorothy opens the front door leading to the Land of Oz for the first time.

In a parallel, whichever one of the "Players" the gamer selects — Mario, Luigi, Toad or Princess — also, comes crashing down from dizzying-high altitudes to turn the knob of their first door and then... Click!

Vibrancy — brighter colors with more expressive characters, outlined in bold strokes, standing out in front of dramatic backdrops of foreign new worlds to explore... all in Technicolor 8-Bit, realized dreams!

Mario’s previous jaunts through grasslands, underwater caverns, clouded sections and stone castles in Super Mario Bros. are supplemented by Subcon's waterfalls, ice-glazed paths and desert danger zones of quicksand, snakes and sandstone pyramids.

The preoccupation with fungi-based ideas in Super Mario Bros. is abandoned for a more inclusive biosphere in the land of dreams. Wart's warriors are recruited from the ranks of fauna and flora alike.

Subcon's verdant plains yield Vegetables by the bushel. But, to use a poor cliché, there are bound to be a few "bad apples".

Pansers are Wart's answer to the Fire Flowers from Super Mario Bros. — but, now they "spout fire" at you, instead of vice versa. Pokeys are walking walls of cacti. These plant-based attackers harm, whereas all other Vegetables and Unripened Vegetables crunch the unsquashable foes of Subcon. In this crazy form of food-fighting, it seems that the bad characters go running from healthy vegetables like so many children averse to "eating their veggies".

Along the way, Mario also finds sweet Cherries for the taking. Cherry-picking yields sweet rewards: grabbing 5 Cherries will cause Starman to appear, while getting Cherries in the Bonus Chance slot machine can reward between 1UP and 5UP.


Cherries give Starmen and 1UPs in Super Mario Bros. 2.
Cherries are a sweet treat that gives the "Player" in Super Mario Bros. 2 a Starman (upon collection of five of them). Getting Cherries during the Bonus Chance mini-game that follows every world can get you up to five 1UP's!

The remainder of Wart's Dream Machine mischief-makers are part of those "gangs of enemy characters" the instruction booklet cautions about.

A majority of these creatures are masked menaces, patrolling the grounds and impeding our heroes' march. Even through their masks, emotive eye and mouth shapes and gestures in tune with body movements and synchronized simulations of sound breathe more life into these "gangs of evil dreams" (and our heroic foursome, as well) than the sterile, flat visages of the cast of Super Mario Bros. (Even the Vegetables and Unripened Vegetables have facial expressions!?!)

This can be better illustrated in Wart's end-world recruits. Birdo, who has the most curious of background stories (Could Birdo be the video gaming world's first transgender character?), is the mini-boss featured most. He launches eggs and balls of fire at our friends, perhaps laying down the ideas for Yoshi in the near-Nintendo future.


Birdo is an unusual and iconic enemy in the Super Mario mythos. He makes his first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2.
Birdo is an unusual and iconic enemy in the Super Mario mythos. He makes his first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2.

Mouser — not to be confused by the Mouser of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame — is an edgy mouse with cool shades, a short fuse and bombs-a-plenty.

Fryguy is a flaming mass of nastiness that, like so many other Super Mario Bros. 2 villains, obscures his identity — behind a flame-retardant, burglar's mask.

The change of scenery and upgrade in enemy design may be pretty, but the game's transformation and growth from the first title is more than cosmetic for the "Players" as well.

In Subcon, the limits on Mario’s former capabilities have been lifted. He doesn’t have a cape — (yet)... that will happen in later adventures — but at least, he can feel more super in other ways in this tale.

Building on his previous accelerated foot speed and fearless climbing skills (but, inexplicably, abandoning his occasional swimming strokes and ridiculous lung capacity), Mario and his mates pick up a fundamental, new ability.

Instead of solely using his feet to stomp out Goombas and Koopas, Mario gets a more evenly-distributed work-out this time around — he learns that his arms and back are equally important, required for pulling, lifting, carrying and throwing items and characters. This new mechanic becomes intuitive quickly and makes for a fun, new way to play.

To further fortify the Players' potency, they can now "power squat jump" (leaping 1½× higher than normal) and even, freeze time (just like Simon Belmont in Castlevania, a Stopwatch appears after five large Vegetables are pulled up). [Click here to check out our A Classic In Horror Immortalized Castlevania NES review.]

By collecting Mushrooms (More about that later.), up to four "Marks" are added to the expandable life meter per World. That's right! Super Mario Bros. 2 has a life meter, making it the only NES Mario title that has this feature. For every eight enemies that are defeated, a Small Heart will float onto the screen, filling in one empty Mark per capture.

Tossing the Power Block [POW] will shake the earth and rattle Wart’s comrades out of their boots, while a Bomb will crumble rocky walls. And for good measure, a remnant from Mario's waking days can be occasionally found. Turtle Shells can be tugged out of some tufts of grass!


Here in this single section of World 1-1, the Player can get a 1UP, Power Block [POW], Cherries, a Turtle Shell and a Bomb!
Super Mario Bros. 2 shows off a diverse set of new items early on. Here in this single section of World 1-1, the "Player" can get a 1UP, Power Block [POW], Cherries, a Turtle Shell and a Bomb!

All of these shiny-new abilities and items may seem like a lot to play with, but Director Kensuke Tanabe's finished project that grew from an early prototype for a game centered around the mechanic of lifting and stacking doesn't let you down.

With maestro game maker and Producer, Shigeru Miyamoto, at his side, offering touches of his magic — suggesting the additions of side-scrolling gameplay, invoking his spirit of discovery and exploration that is a signature specialty and more; and with core members of the original Super Mario Bros. team programming the vision into a worthwhile expression of gaming, the former Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic seemed destined for a future life in the Mario universe from inception.

Much of the beauty and joy in this title comes from that Nintendo pedigree of stellar game design. Subcon's Worlds seem to extend an invitation for the gamer to explore and freestyle through its bright landscapes.

The 32 levels of Super Mario Bros.'s Mushroom Kingdom felt redundant and restrictive; Mario and Luigi could only race toward the right. With the occasional underwater cavern thrown in, the brothers were goaded through a rather mundane landscape of physics-defying brick blocks and cliffs.

For Super Mario Bros. 2, perhaps Mario has wanderlust. His dreams have pared down all of the repetitious design and condensed Subcon into 20 new worlds to discover.

There are lands of ice blocks — which never make for a fun outing in the gaming world, especially in 8-Bit titles.

There are lands where he can dig in the sand and where giant, sandstone pyramids hide away enemies instead of treasure.

And perhaps because Mario has such an affinity for collecting shiny coins, there are lands where luxurious, palatial structures are built out of golden bricks and pillars.

All of these new Worlds let Mario break free from the bricked-in feel of Super Mario Bros. And with all of that freedom of open air and newness, there is a new energy to explore.

Unlike any Mario before it (and most platformers of the era), strategy and the careful planning of matching a "Player"'s strengths to each of these new World's unique challenges added a richer experience than the mainly-cruise control tendencies of the day that prescribed to just mindlessly-running to the right and jumping through a fairly-standardized set of courses.

In Subcon, our heroes can move about freely, able to retrace their steps by re-entering doors and stretching out their limbs, both vertically and horizontally — something that was much more restraining in Super Mario Bros.

The clay pots or jars that rest throughout Subcon's many stages — that have, in effect, replaced the pipe mechanism of the prior title — invite curiosity.

Snatching keys and evading stalking Phantos takes some degree of preparation and foresight, as you make your way to the locked door that sometimes is found far away in another screen.

Bombs open up blockages and Mario’s interactions with Mushroom Blocks, Magic Carpets and obstinate enemies that are fun to piggyback upon, fold in an element of puzzle-solving that simply didn’t exist in the Mushroom Kingdom.


Coins remain an important collectible for Mario in Super Mario Bros. 2 - he just gets and uses them in a different manner.
Coins remain an important collectible for Mario in Super Mario Bros. 2 - he just gets and uses them in a different manner... but, with the same end result - gaining 1UPs!

In Super Mario Bros., the ever-present timer flashed down to Mario or Luigi’s doom. But, in dream world, time is of no concern, so more dedication to the details is admissible. And with the new life meter feature and the lack of a scoring system to divide your attention and efforts, you have a game that invites striking out across the great unknown.

One of the quirkiest new items — the Magic Potion — stacks another tier of investigation for each World. Wherever the Magic Potion is broken, a new red door appears. Sub-space lies immediately behind it.

Sub-space is a reversed, shadowy version of Subcon. (Could it be that all along, Mario’s dreams have proven the existence of multiverses or some other esoteric theory of cosmology or modern physics?!?)

Landscape items that existed in the “normal” Subcon reality can be acted upon — these items can be touched, grabbed or lifted. Any patches of grass can be tugged on, but instead of harvesting Vegetables, that other fuel for life that is found in the Mario gaming universe — Coins — can be collected.

In this title, 100 Coins cannot be cashed in for a 1UP; but they can be used on the Bonus Chance slot machine that appears after the completion of each World. This fun gambling simulation rewards those of steady hand and clock-like precision of rhythm with the opportunity to gain up to five extra players per coin! Bonne chance! [Click here to learn a trick that helps you to gain more coins than normal per World.]

Coinage aside, there are still more reasons to explore Sub-space. Some clay jars lead to that familiar bonanza that so many gamers loved from the first Super Mario Bros. — those secret Warps to advance to later worlds quickly. [Click here to learn where these Warps can be found.]

Finally, in this game for Mario and company, there are no bricks to bust or break. Don't fret, though — Mushrooms still exist here and they do grant an instant growth spurt still.

In every World, a number of Mushrooms are hidden out-of-sight, just within the realm of Sub-space. The trick is to find out where to test each Magic Potion. It is worth the hunt because this game rewards you with something no other Mario game on the NES had — that precious life meter that was discussed earlier!


The story of Super Mario Bros. 2.

The story of Super Mario Bros. 2.Here is a snapshot of the backstory of Super Mario Bros. 2.

Because of theses upgrades on the Super Mario Bros. formula, Super Mario Bros. 2 proves to be a joy to pick up and play.

The gameplay is tight and responsive, and with its celebration of the individual, replayability stays high as the gamer learns to memorize level design and assess each "Players"' skill set.

Composer Koji Kondo's catchy music is a chipper mixture of lively tunes that plays off of the game's sprightly sprites.

And a little nostalgia for the homesickness of the Mushroom Kingdom still pervades — the game's Title Screen opens with a playful riff off of Super Mario Bros.'s 3/4 water waltz.

Other pieces that flashback to the first title are the Starman's theme, driving you forward with its spunky conga accompaniment and the ironic, original Super Mario Bros. main theme, which only plays when Mario and crew are in Sub-space (which, in a twist, could be seen as the opposite of SubCon or the subconscious, which would actually be reality in Mario's everyday, Mushroom Kingdom life... very deep, indeed).

Fresher compositions in Super Mario Bros. 2 glisten in tense tinges of ragtime and bossa nova. The game is sent out with a triumphant march that is escorted by the rat-a-tat-tats of pseudo-snare that melts into a calming lullaby that twinkles to a peaceful close.

...

In retrospect, it is quite telling that the phrase, "MARIO MADNESS", is displayed prominently, running across a black banner on the cartridge's box. Overall, Nintendo won with Super Mario Bros. 2 — even, if it took the unprecedented, convoluted path of double-dipping and issuing two Super Mario Bros. 2's. The company realized the commercial consequences that were at hand, and the gutsy gamble paid off.

Had a release of this type been made today, it is likely that the move would have been met with harsher scrutiny and a level of biting cynicism from critics. But, prior to the internet and digitized technology, news moved much slower and localized games remained safely isolated from other regions, so Nintendo's bold decision to redesign Doki Doki Panic as "Super Mario Bros. 2" skirted by with less friction.

From a bigger picture, Super Mario Bros. 2's sidestep into sleeping worlds paid off — the game sold well and received a grand reception from fans. At the time, other risk-taking sequels on the NES that swerved off-course were met with less agreeable reactions (Castlevania II - Simon's Quest and Nintendo's own, Zelda II - The Adventures Of Link, for example — although as time moves forward, these games are gradually getting warmer receptions).

However, Super Mario Bros. 2's success set up the future of the whole series by daring to be so different. As long as Mario was involved and solid, fun platforming stayed intact, Nintendo and Miyamoto were emboldened to reach out even beyond Mario's dreams. And so, the curious tale of two sequels has spawned an unparalleled series in the history of gaming that still dares to go where other games don't or can't.

b. jones © 2017, 2018

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+'s vs. -'s

PROS:
  • an exciting and unexpected sequel to an epic classic in gaming
  • ability to choose between four Players — all with specific strengths and weaknesses for the Worlds ahead
  • a fun, new environment to explore with new elements of simple strategy and puzzle-solving
  • expansion of abilities and game mechanics (lifting, carrying and throwing) and interaction with world items (mushroom blocks, enemies, etc.)
  • great soundtrack and sound effects
CONS:
  • an exciting and unexpected sequel to an epic classic in gaming (some may feel it strays too far)
  • because of its make-over of Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, some may not feel like it is a true Super Mario Bros. sequel [purely subjective]
  • no save or password save feature
  • (Nitpick: Although the characters of Super Mario Bros. could swim in certain stages, the players in this title cannot swim and die upon touching water.)

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If you like Super Mario Bros. 2, perhaps you would like these titles:

  • Donkey Kong, Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. [NES] (spiritual prequels that helped inspire Super Mario Bros. 2)
  • Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic [FAMICOM] (the true template for Super Mario Bros. 2)
  • The Legend Of Zelda II: Link's Adventure [NES] (whose colorful graphics and feel are somewhat reminiscent)
  • Kirby's Adventure [NES] (feels like a spiritual successor)
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 [NES] and all sequels, extended games in the franchise, etc. [various] (direct descendants and continuation of overall story and family tree)

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Secrets & Tips for Super Mario Bros. 2

1UP LOCATIONS

Super Mario Bros. 2 is a fun adventure, broken up across 20 "Worlds". These free 1UPs will help to extend that joy.

WORLD 1-1:

(Pluck the grass circled below.)


1UP on World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. 2


WORLD 1-2:

(Go down this Jar and pluck the grass circled below.)


1UP on World 1-2 of Super Mario Bros. 2
1UP on World 1-2 of Super Mario Bros. 2


WORLD 2-2:

(When you reach the cave pictured below, enter it. Inside, pluck the circled grass.)


1UP on World 2-2 of Super Mario Bros. 2

1UP on World 2-2 of Super Mario Bros. 2


WORLD 5-1:

(Jump up on the high ledge and pluck the circled grass.)


1UP on World 5-1 of Super Mario Bros. 2


WORLD 6-1:

(See the animation below. Grab the Cobrat from the tall Jar pictured below. Toss him at the Jar that is on the left side of the screen that has a Mushroom Block on top of it to knock the concealed Cobrat away. Remove that Mushroom Block and go down the Jar.)


1UP on World 6-1 of Super Mario Bros. 2

(Once inside the Jar, dig through the sand, while avoiding the Shyguys.)


1UP on World 6-1 of Super Mario Bros. 2

(When you see the four tufts of grass, pull up either the leftmost or rightmost one, and the 1UP will appear.)


1UP on World 6-1 of Super Mario Bros. 2


SECRET WARPS

Super Mario Bros. was well-known for a number of innovative features in game design; one of which was the secret Warp Pipes that scooted Mario or Luigi worlds ahead.

Although Super Mario Bros. 2 has a different feel, it essentially left this cool feature intact. However, under the laws that govern the world of Subcon, Mario and crew have to use Magic Potions at select points near Jars. If the right location is found, the Jars in Sub-space, in effect, become the "Warp Pipes" of Super Mario Bros. 2. Check out the areas below to see where and how to find these secret warps:

(World 1-3) WARP 4-1:

(Grab the Magic Potion near the end of the first section. Be careful not to drop it yet.)


Grab the Magic Potion near the end of the first section of World 1-3 in Super Mario Bros. 2. Be careful not to drop it yet.


(Carry the Magic Potion to the far-right edge of the screen, until you see the Jar and Door. Drop the Magic Potion near the Jar and when Sub-space appears, go down the Jar to warp to World 4.)


Drop the Magic Potion near this Jar in World 1-3 in Super Mario Bros. 2. When Sub-space appears, go down the Jar to warp to World 4.


(World 3-1) WARP 5-1:

(Fall down the waterfall at the start of the world and stay in the center of the screen. You'll drop onto land that reveals a door.)


Falling down the waterfall at the start of World 3-1 of Super Mario Bros. 2 will reward you with a way to warp to World 5.


(Inside the room at the bottom of the waterfall, you'll encounter 15 tufts of grass. Pull up the sixth one from the right to get a Magic Potion. Carry it to the Jar at the end of the room and use it there to go down the Jar into World 5.)


Pull up the Magic Potion from the 6th tuft of grass from the right and drop it near the Jar to Warp to World 5.


(World 4-2) WARP 6-1:

(Carry the Magic Potion across this treacherous patch of deadly water, icy ledges, whale tails, water spurts and slippery enemies. Once you reach the small chunk of land that holds a Jar, drop the Magic Potion to enter Sub-space and warp to World 6.)



In World 4-2 of Super Mario Bros. 2, Grab the Magic Potion and skillfully make it to the island that has a Jar on it. Enter Sub-space to warp to World 6.


(World 5-3) WARP 7-1:

(Leap up to this ledge near the entrance ladder, pull up and toss the Magic Potion and enter Sub-space and warp down the Jar to World 7.)



After you climb the ladder at the beginning of World 5-3 in Super Mario Bros. 2., quickly get and use the Magic Potion on the high ledge to enter Sub-space and warp to World 7.


RETURN TO REVIEW - WARP SECTION
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SECRET SHORTCUTS

Warp Jars are the most ideal way to take large, safe strides over several Worlds at a time in Super Mario Bros. 2. Unfortunately, there are only a few of these to be found.

However, for those with some diligence, there are some Worlds that offer secret shortcuts that will slide Mario and his fellow Players past large sections and/or tough stretches. They are discussed below: (Special Note: Luigi is typically, the Player of choice, to use in these shortcuts because his high jumping ability makes him easiest to reach tall ledges.)


(World 1-1)

There are two options to use here, but they both result in the Player leaping to the high plateau to avoid the interior room.

Option 1: Time a Power Squat Jump from the back of Tweeter when it bounces on its highest hop.


Riding on the back of Tweeter and timing a Power Squat Jump at his highest hop, will let you exploit this secret shortcut on World 1-1.

Option 2: Use Luigi and Power Squat Jump from the red log that lies across the waterfall.


Using Luigi to perform a Power Squat Jump from this log, will let you exploit this secret shortcut on World 1-1.

Either way, the end-goal is to reach the higher path, in order to skip past using the open door in the hillside.


Using Luigi to perform a Power Squat Jump from this log, will let you exploit this secret shortcut on World 1-1.


(World 1-2)

To avoid having to find a Key and working your way through the locked door, Luigi comes in very handy here. Jump onto the Ninji pictured below, duck down to Power Squat Jump and leap up, when Ninji reaches the height of his jump. The plateau above cuts down on a lot of time.


In World 1-2, Luigi can score a big shortcut by using the Power Squat Jump on the back of a Ninji.


(World 3-1)

This special shortcut exploits a quirky quality that Mushroom Blocks hold in this title, and could be performed by any one of the four Players with a lot of effort and luck. However, to more easily take advantage, Princess or Luigi would be the best choices.


Once your Player reaches the top of the vine pictured below, you will notice that there seems to be a large region of sky, dotted with clouds, to your immediate left. To your right, you will find a number of Mushroom Blocks and a Panser.


These Mushroom Blocks on World 3-1 can come in handy for a secret shortcut.

Now for a shocking surprise — if you toss a Mushroom Block onto any one of the small, oval clouds, the block will actually rest on top!


Yes. The strange physics in Super Mario Bros. 2 allows for solid Mushroom Blocks to be stacked on clouds that seem to be weightless and in the background.

If you are using Mario or Toad, you can progress slowly and with care to the left until you are able to reach the secret shortcut door that lies at the screen's edge. If you are using Princess or Luigi, you can accelerate and levitate or jump across the bottomless sky with ease.


Princess or Luigi can leap the bottomless length with ease in World 3-1 to reach the secret shortcut.

Princess or Luigi can leap the bottomless length with ease in World 3-1 to reach the secret shortcut.

Now, enter the secret door and follow the arrows in the diagram below to reach the boss. Bomb through the first rocky wall and leap above the actual screen of play, running left to drop a surprise ambush on Birdo!


Follow the arrows inside the secret door to surprise Birdo, the boss of World 3-1.

Follow the arrows inside the secret door to surprise Birdo, the boss of World 3-1.



(World 3-2)

From the start, have your Player run all of the way right across the overground region, taking care to avoid Ostros and other obstacles along the way. Once your Player reaches the rocky wall, pick up a Bomb and blast your way through the rock covering found above the underground entrance. Work your way to the left until you encounter a ladder. Climb down it.

Using Luigi and his Power Squat Jump, you can bypass a tough tunnel of rocky walls and Bombs ahead.

Kneel down at the edge of the cliff pictured below and use the Power Squat Jump to leap above the rocky ceiling to your left.

Once Luigi goes down the far-right ladder on World 3-2 on Super Mario Bros. 2, you will go underground. At this area, you can use the Power Squat Jump to bypass a large section of this difficult level.

Run across the top of the screen until you reach the left-most ladder - the fifth ladder over (See illustration below.). Go down that ladder.


On World 3-2 in Super Mario Bros. 2, to reach the secret shortcut, run above the screen to the left until you reach the 5th ladder. Then, go down it.

Climb back up the same ladder. Enter the door to reach Birdo.


On World 3-2 in Super Mario Bros. 2, to reach the secret shortcut, climb up this ladder.

On World 3-2 in Super Mario Bros. 2, to reach the secret shortcut, enter this door.



(World 4-3)

After riding across a large body of water on Birdo's egg near the beginning of this stage, your Player will encounter a door. If you are using Princess or Luigi, skip that door and simply accelerate and leap to the right. Your Player will land on another stretch of land at the second tower. Run past that first door and keep right to bypass most of the ice and spikes that are contained within the tall towers. Get the Crystal Ball and face Fryguy.



Using Luigi to leap or Princess to levitate from this castle tower to the next one, will let you exploit this secret shortcut on World 4-3.

Using Luigi to leap or Princess to levitate from this castle tower to the next one, will let you exploit this secret shortcut on World 4-3.


(World 6-3)

There are two options to use here, but they both result in the Player passing a tall, rocky wall that conceals a shortcut that shaves several minutes from your stay.

Option 1: Climb up the ladder at the start of the stage. Using Luigi, run to the right to lure a Pokey to follow you back to the tall wall. Jump on top of the Pokey, duck down for the Power Squat Jump and when you approach the wall, leap above the screen to land on top of it. Run left and drop down to take the door. (See illustration below.)


Use Luigi to lure the Pokey over, jump on top of it and use a Power Squat Jump to scale the wall that leads to the secret shortcut on World 6-3.

Option 2: Climb up the ladder at the start of the stage. Run left until you reach the quicksand that is in front of the tall wall. Continuously move left against the wall. As you sink lower into the quicksand, be sure to jump, so that your head never falls too low below the surface. If you perform the trick correctly, your Player will slowly trudge underneath the wall and through the sand, until you reach the other side. Hop out and take the door. (See illustration below.)


Running against the wall and actually moving through the quicksand underneath it, will let you exploit the secret shortcut on World 6-3.

Carefully hop across the cloud platforms to your left and land down in the pyramid area. Enter the opening to fight Birdo, followed by main boss, Triclyde.


Carefully hop across the cloud platforms to reach the pyramid and ultimately, Birdo and Triclyde to complete World 6-3 in Super Mario Bros. 2.


World 7-1:

The multilayered cloud platforms, crawling with Ninji, Shyguys and Snifits, makes for a tedious stretch of play. But, with Luigi and a well-timed Power Squat Jump from the back of Tweeter over the pillar, an easier escape to that elusive ladder on the other side will be your reward.


On World 7-1 of Super Mario Bros. 2, a perfectly-timed jump and bump by a stray bullet or a Power Squat Jump from Tweeter can create a sky-high leap above the pillar and shortcut.



INFINITE COIN TRICK

The role of the Coin in Super Mario Bros. 2 is completely different than what it was in the original Super Mario Bros. Cashing in 100 Coins in the first game would get you a 1UP and there seemed to be no shortage of change.

However, the scarcity of Coins in Super Mario Bros. 2 does come with the chance to reap high fortunes. Finding this currency in Sub-space proves invaluable, as it can be used on the Bonus Chance mini-game that follows completion of each World. The Bonus Chance slot machine takes one Coin per play, but with precision timing, one can collect a bounty of either 1UP, 2UP or 5UP per play.

There is one clear problem, though. Sub-space can normally only be entered twice per World, before its special effect of rewarding Coins wears off. However, there is a tweak that can be made — if your Player dies, while in Sub-space, the game doesn't register that death as one of the two times you can enter to get Coins. So, theoretically, you could repeatedly enter a particularly-fertile parcel of Sub-space, grab several coins and then, perish before Sub-space reverts back to normal play in SubCon.

Once you reach the end of your extra players, defeat the world and you will have several Coins for the Bonus Chance. Luckily, we have scouted out some especially Coin-abundant areas in different worlds for you to exploit. See the examples below: (Special Note: Toad is typically, the Player of choice, to use for gathering coins because his strength and speed make it easiest for him to pull up all of the sprouts.)

World 1-3:

Prime infinite coin location for World 1-3 in Super Mario Bros. 2.


World 2-2:

Prime infinite coin location for World 2-2 in Super Mario Bros. 2.


World 4-1:

Prime infinite coin location for World 4-1 in Super Mario Bros. 2.


World 4-2:

Prime infinite coin location for World 4-2 in Super Mario Bros. 2.


World 4-3:

Prime infinite coin location for World 4-3 in Super Mario Bros. 2. Be sure to fall in water before Sub-space reverts back to SubCon. Repeat.



World 5-1:

Prime infinite coin location for World 5-1 in Super Mario Bros. 2. Be sure to fall in water before Sub-space reverts back to SubCon. Repeat.



World 5-2:

To find the Magic Potion, you must first go down the Jar pictured below (↓). Pull up a Bomb and safely place it onto the stone floor to blast an opening. Drop down and carefully dodge the Porcupos as you pull up the tuft of grass on the right side — it holds the Magic Potion. Safely escape the Jar.


On World 5-2, get the Magic Potion from within this Jar to get the infinite coins.

Use the Magic Potion here, grab your Coins and drop off of the screen before Sub-space disappears. Repeat.


Prime infinite coin location for World 5-2 in Super Mario Bros. 2. Grab Magic Potion from Jar, carry outside, use, fall out of screen before Sub-space reverts back to SubCon. Repeat.


RETURN TO REVIEW - COIN SECTION
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SACRIFICE A MARK FOR HIGHER BOOST ON JUMPS

There are heights that the vertically-exceptional Luigi cannot reach in this title — even with Power Squat Jump.

To gain an added boost in height in your jumps, you must first be large and have at least two Marks filled in, in your Life Meter (preferably, three or four Marks because this technique may take some practice).

Position your player below an enemy. Purposefully leap into that higher enemy and if the technique is done correctly, your player will take damage and flash as he or she is launched high into the sky. This tiny sacrifice of energy can save a lot of frustration in certain difficult areas. However, it does take some practice to perfect. See the illustrations below.

World 3-3:

Luigi stands on the ledge poised to use his Power Squat Jump to leap into the Spark above.


On World 3-3 of Super Mario Bros. 2, a perfectly-timed jump and bump by the Spark can create a sky-high leap and shortcut.

Upon successful contact, Luigi will flash and will be launched with a lot of momentum high into the air and hopefully onto the rung of the ladder above and against the right wall.


On World 3-3 of Super Mario Bros. 2, a perfectly-timed jump and bump by the Spark can create a sky-high leap and shortcut.


World 7-1:

The multilayered cloud platforms, crawling with Ninji, Shyguys and Snifits, makes for a tedious stretch of play. But, with Luigi (preferably) and a well-timed jump into a stray bullet from the Snifit that hops on the short pillar on the left side of the screen, Luigi can be launched above the pillar that separates him from the ladder to escape. (Of course, Luigi can use the Tweeter and a well-timed Power Squat Jump to similar effect.)


On World 7-1 of Super Mario Bros. 2, a perfectly-timed jump and bump by a stray bullet or a Power Squat Jump from Tweeter can create a sky-high leap above the pillar and shortcut.



HOW TO RIDE ON BEEZO

There are a few ways to actually fly above the ground in Super Mario Bros. 2. Some players like to ride on Pidgit's Flying Carpet; others like to ride on the backs of Albatosses or even propelled on Birdo's launched eggs.

A trickier, yet faster, mode of flight is to catch a ride on the back of the winged Beezos that zip across some stages. To do so, simply take a well-timed hop onto a passing Beezo and push your directional pad in the direction of its flight. In simpler terms, run in the same direction.

(NOTE: Do not accelerate run or you will fall off.)



In Super Mario Bros. 2, if you simply run in the same direction of the Beezo's flight, while standing on its back, you won't fall off.


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1UP Ratings Scale for
Super Mario Bros. 2

Presentation: 6    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Presentation score of 6 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Presentation score of 6 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Presentation score of 6 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Presentation score of 6 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Presentation score of 6 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Presentation score of 6 1UPs out of 10

The cover and box art show a bold, cartoon-like print of Mario mid-jump. It is a departure from the cruder, 8-Bit renderings shown on the first Super Mario Bros. box. However, the picture is simply a redrawn copy of the original Famicom Super Mario Bros. artwork.

Rushed deadlines allowed for numerous errors to slip through and pop up throughout the manual. Better proofreading with all sides involved, being on the same page could have eliminated these needless issues.

Of course, it is easy to point out all of these things in retrospect; still and all, there were some glaring character, picture and naming errors and more that still could have been corrected before publishing.

Originality: 7    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Originality score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Originality score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Originality score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Originality score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Originality score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Originality score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Originality score of 7 1UPs out of 10

This is a tricky category to rate for such an unusual sequel with so strange of a history. Trying to judge it from a purely American point-of-view, this Super Mario Bros. took the series to an unexpected place by introducing the idea of a setting of Subcon, the land of dreams. The brand-new cast of foes, game mechanics and exotic setting drifted far from the Mushroom Kingdom of Super Mario Bros.

This title was to be more of an anomaly in the series. Few hold-overs from this game reach into later games in the series — so that alone could justify high marks for being original or different.

The game, literally, feels like a new experience outside of the Mushroom Kingdom realm... how much more original can that be?!

However, in retrospect, realizing that the game is essentially a quick re-tooling of Japan's Doki Doki Panic, viewing it in that light, Nintendo did minimal work, except primarily, in story and character redesign.

This answer lies more for you - the reader - to decide upon on a personal level. As for this review, being true to its time of release and with little or no prior knowledge about Doki Doki Panic available back then, the game should score relatively high in this category.

Creativity: 10    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Creativity score of 10 1UPs out of 10

The game style of Super Mario Bros. 2 expounded on the straight-forward approach of direct platforming found in Super Mario Bros. This sequel opened up the boxed-in feel of straight advancement through action-based platforms. It added more strategy and creative puzzle-solving for an adventure-styled play of game.

Nintendo's shrewd gamble to shake up its valuable commodity and totally revamp everything about it — except for its cast of playable characters from the previous title — is commendable. By essentially bulldozing the concrete structure of the Mushroom Kingdom and allowing for an ethereal, dream world to be conjured, creativity bloomed in everything from character, enemy and level design to game mechanics.

Creativity abounds from such imaginative features, as Magic Potions, flying carpets, whales and waterspouts, rockets igniting from plants, pterodactyls, invincible stars, slot machines, etc., etc., ETC.!

Programming/Debugging: 7    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Programming or Debugging score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Programming or Debugging score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Programming or Debugging score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Programming or Debugging score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Programming or Debugging score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Programming or Debugging score of 7 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Programming or Debugging score of 7 1UPs out of 10

The game maintained Nintendo's high quality for the most part. Gameplay and game design had few discernable glitches. However, rushed release into the western market left some translation/name/spelling mistakes in the actual ending of the game, while the manual was peppered with inconsistencies and lack of thorough proofreading.

Challenge/Fairness: 10    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Challenge/Fairness score of 10 1UPs out of 10

The game design was stellar and free of game-ending glitches. The speed and complexity of main bosses was fair. The relative ease of receiving marks for your life meter and pacing of power-ups alleviated a lot of frustration from unfair deaths. Patience in exploration rewarded the player with power-ups, shortcuts and warps to later worlds. The lack of a time limit encouraged that patience. In general, figuring out the easiest way to pass a world (sometimes, with simple puzzle-solving) was more difficult than the boss battles at the end of those worlds. Collecting coins and earning 1UPs through the Bonus Chance slot machine made for even more opportunity to keep playing on.

Replayability: 10    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Replayability score of 10 1UPs out of 10

The game's open exploratory nature made it more accessible and less stressful than the first Super Mario Bros. Memorizing the designs of each world and correctly matching the ideal Player, whose strength was most suitable for that world's obstacles, made for a high degree of replayability. The game's slower pace lent its way toward exploring with no time limit to scare you into panicked deaths. Its more forgiving design extended play with an actual life meter that could withstand up to four hits before death. It gifted more power-ups to defeat enemies in a fresh variety of ways and had less panic-inducing areas to try to advance past (unlike Worlds 8-1 through 8-4 and so many other tough levels on Super Mario Bros.). The safer stage constructions and even the cheerier enemy design and music eases one's nerves. Also, trying to find all of the hidden Mushrooms in Sub-space and discovering all of the areas you can pull up the most coins to practice your hand at the addictive Bonus Chance for 1UPs make for a fun challenge.

Controls: 10    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Controls score of 10 1UPs out of 10

Because you have four Players — each with their own strengths and weaknesses — there is a lot of flexibility in control. The controller is programmed with intuitive controls... ducking is available and all eight, primary directions work well (unlike some games from the era). The additional abilities — power squat jump, lifting, carrying, throwing — on top of acceleration speed gives even more agility.

Graphics: 9    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Graphics score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Graphics score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Graphics score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Graphics score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Graphics score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Graphics score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Graphics score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Graphics score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Graphics score of 9 1UPs out of 10

The game exhibits a cheerier, better-detailed representation of the Super Mario experience graphically than its clunkier, older brother. Expressive characters and foes, animated sprites (like dancing trees, swaying Cherries, tufts of grass blowing back and forth and the scrolling POW blocks and logs tumbling down waterfalls) catch your eye. Contrasting palettes and outlines help to make the characters and sprites pop out from the background. The ending animation is a beautiful touch.

Music/Sound FX: 8    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Music/Sound FX score of 8 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Music/Sound FX score of 8 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Music/Sound FX score of 8 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Music/Sound FX score of 8 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Music/Sound FX score of 8 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Music/Sound FX score of 8 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Music/Sound FX score of 8 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Music/Sound FX score of 8 1UPs out of 10

A chipper mix of songs, heavily-doused in ragtime... Starman's touch brings out the infectious attack of bongos... and the ending lullaby is a soothing piece that twinkles in warm nostalgia and peaceful tranquility.

Ending: 9    1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Ending score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Ending score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Ending score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Ending score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Ending score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Ending score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Ending score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Ending score of 9 1UPs out of 10   1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Ending score of 9 1UPs out of 10

One of the best endings on the NES... beautiful, lullaby-like jingle; great graphics; twist in ending... the only thing that mars it is the misspelled and incorrectly-named enemies... again, glaring errors that should have been corrected in the proofreading/translation stages.

FINAL SCORE:

86 1UP from Super Mario Bros. 2's out of a possible 100


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Super Mario Bros. 2

© 2017, 2018 (mmxvii/mmxviii) b. jones




 

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Super Mario Bros. 2 - Mario Dreaming