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Super Mario Bros. (NES) artwork

Super Mario Bros. (NES) review


"Back when the video game industry was in ruins, a plumber would rise from the rubble and restore it better than before. There are few games in this world that has left an impact on the video game industry and redefined the standards of quality that is expected in video games. Super Mario Bros is the sequel to the popular Mario Bros created by Shigeru Miyamoto in Japan and was released to the U.S. in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a 2D sidescrolling action platformer that has s..."



Back when the video game industry was in ruins, a plumber would rise from the rubble and restore it better than before. There are few games in this world that has left an impact on the video game industry and redefined the standards of quality that is expected in video games. Super Mario Bros is the sequel to the popular Mario Bros created by Shigeru Miyamoto in Japan and was released to the U.S. in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a 2D sidescrolling action platformer that has sold so well that video game companies today can only dream of reproducing such results. It is the first game to be different than the arcade games in that it actually had more than 3 levels and not all the background screens were black. This game is on so many consoles that I would be shocked if there is a person who has never heard of this game.

According to the manual the story begins in the Mushroom Kingdom ruled by the Mushroom King and his daughter Princess Toadstool who is now known as Princess Peach. One day King Koopa who is also known as Bowser came and kidnaped Princess Toadstool and I am assuming that he just put the Mushroom King on ice since he is never heard from again after this game. He also turned all the Mushroom people which are called Toads into bricks, stones, and plants in which only Princess Toadstool can undo. Mario who I am guessing through XM radio in New York heard the news from the Toads and answers there pleas for help to put an end to King Koopas plot and rescue Princess Toadstool.

There are 8 worlds in the game with 4 levels each. There is a time limit of 300-400 seconds depending on the level. There are many blocks that contain items such as coins, super mushrooms, fire flowers, starmen, and 1-up mushrooms. Makes me wonder how many Toads were harmed by the end of Mario's 1st adventure. Super Mushrooms allows Mario to become bigger which allows him to take an extra hit and a Fire Flower which allows Mario to shoot fireballs at enemies. The Starman makes Mario invincible and turns him into a wrecking ball of death. Collecting 100 coins gives you an extra life and collecting all of the floating coins in the level (minus secret vine sections and warp pipes) will make an invincible block containing a life giving 1-up mushroom appear in the 1st level of the next world.The objective of the game is to get from point A to the flagpole while overcoming enemies and obstacles and jumping from platform to platform.You can play the game with 1-2 player. However, unlike Mario Bros which lets 2 players play at once, each player takes turns until one player loses a life. You start off with 3 lives at the beginning of the game. Taking a hit, falling into a pit or running out of time will cost you a life. Lose all your lives and it is game over and back to the beginning of the game unless you use the cheat code by holding A and start which will bring you back to the beginning of the world you died in. Why that is a cheat code and not an actual game feature is something I will never understand. There are many secrets in the game that can be discovered such as secret warp pipes that allows you skip worlds or contain coins and hidden vines that can take you to the sky section with alot of coins. This was the most innovative gameplay for it’s time.

Most of the enemies do nothing but walk straight forward with only a couple enemies having an actual attack thus making enemies rather simple to understand. Enemies include: Goombas, Koopas, Spinies, Buzzy Beatles, Lakitues, Cheap cheaps, Bloopers, Piranha plants, and Bullet Bills launched from cannons. The notably grief inducing Hammer Bros is tricky to get past as small Mario because they keep throwing hammers at completely random intervals. They do jump every 5-6 seconds which gives you an opening to run underneath them but it can still be hard to pull off because they drop down pretty fast. Good luck getting past these terrors Unless they are on a platform above you or you are powered up.

Last on the roster is Bowser himself and his doppelgangers which appears at the end of each world. On the first 5 worlds he jumps and shoots blasts of fire at random intervals and throws a barrage of hammers at Mario at the end of worlds 6 and 7 which in my opinion is the easiest form of Bowser to overcome. Just stay close to Bowser and don't let him walk into you and he will never hit you. That strategy will not work as well at the end of world 8 however because the real Bowser uses both strategies. You can defeat him and his clones by either throwing fireballs at him or by getting behind him and reaching for the axe thus cutting the bridge which will send Bowser into the lava. Bowser is very easy to defeat and most new comers will not have many problems defeating him especially if you cheat him with invincibility frames.

The controls of the game is simple. A jumps; B shoots fire balls if your Fire Mario; and holding B makes Mario run. The game is very responsive to button input and I feel like I am in control the entire time. Mario does have a floaty jump but I find it to make jumps easier. Mario’s running feels natural because of the momentum he carries.

The game is very fair in difficulty that scales well throughout the game. For 1st time players who don't use a guide may find worlds 4-4 and 7-4 absolutely annoying. In those levels you have to move in a correct pattern in order to progress through the level. The level will loop until you get the pattern right. Other than that level design feels easy to get accustomed too and there is nothing that I encountered to be along the lines of unfair. For those who think that the 1st game is easy, play hardmode for a nice suprise.

The graphics of this game is amazing for an early NES title and alot different from the usual arcade titles of that era. It really did a good job in show casing what the NES was capable of in comparison to its competition. In todays generation I still think it looks very nice and colorful and gives the game a nice, fun, LCD induced world to experience. Sadly though there is occasional sprite flickering on some of the enemies but it never really bothered me.

The sound effects are very appropriate for the actions taking place in the game. Koji Kando really outdid himself in composing the music of this game. Every tune is very catchy and once I hear the over world theme, it stays in my head for hours. The Star Man theme puts you in the mood to plow right through the enemies. It is no wonder that the music in this game has become some of the most familiar tunes in todays society.

The collision detection can be a fickle on occasions. This is especially noticeable with throwing hammers in that sometimes you can take a hit while being no where near them and on some occasions you clip right through them. During the game there are times when Mario can get caught on the wall as if suddenly deciding that he wants to be a ninja instead of plumber. I have not come acrossed any gameplay glitches that would render the game unplayable or unbearable to play.

What more can be said about the 8-bit game that started a long line of games that we know of today and forever implemented a long line of colorful characters that started the Mario Universe. This game set the standards of what was expected in a video game for its time. I think this game still plays beautifully and has aged decently well in today's generation of gaming. Do I think this is the best game ever made? I gotta say no. The game has only about 1 hour of gameplay and without a save feature, it may be considered too antique to some audience. This is a game for those who want to get started on retro gaming or looking for a fair and short challenge. If this applies to you, then this would be a good game to start with.

Rating: 8/10

Retroman's avatar
Community review by Retroman (January 07, 2014)

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