Super Mario Bros. 2 (Eastern Version)

Prepare to be annoyed. I’m not sure why the title is missing here.

Review Date: February 19, 2021

Release Date: June 3, 1986 (Japan date); on a related note, dumpsters overflowed on Thursday, June 5, 1986 due to all of the broken Famicom controllers in Japan

Platform: NES (but really, it’s the Famicom)

Publisher: Nintendo (the Evil Sadist division)

Genre: Linear Platformer

Anecdotes: (Note: This is the Japanese version. The North American version is planned to be reviewed on April 2.) Every gamer knows the story of Super Mario 2 and why it didn’t come to town until 1993, so I won’t repeat it. Here in North America, it is marketed as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, but it was originally called Super Mario Bros. 2 and still is in Japan.

Super Mario 2 can be summed up in one word: Infuriation. Most games wait until players get a few levels in before cranking up the difficulty to “impossible.” Not here, though; Super Mario 2 angers its players right from the start. Go to the Negatives section for more.

Description: This is basically Super Mario Bros. continued. The graphics are the same and so is the gameplay style.

Positives: Many of the expectations from the previous game can be tossed out the window. They did a nice job of adding new twists to the game without completely overhauling it. Pipes appear on World X-3 platforms. Bloobers can fly now. Koopa Troopas and Goombas can appear in Bowser’s castles. The game also lets players choose Mario or Luigi. Personally, I started with Luigi, but then went with Mario because he was easier to control.

Luigi looks so much like Mario that the game actually thinks that’s Mario. Meanwhile, there are actual Goombas in the castle, but the worst thing of all is the small gap of lava. It is way too easy to fall into it.

Negatives: As was saying earlier, Super Mario 2 angers its players right from the start. First, they put a powerup mushroom in a regular block. I have no problem with that, but the mushroom is blocked in and won’t fall, plus Mario or Luigi can’t reach it. Would a player know to bump the mushroom up? Then they tempt players with question blocks, one of which has a poison mushroom. It’s just a palette swap of a good mushroom; new players will never know the difference.

Lay off the bad ‘shrooms, Luigi.
Here’s a warp zone that leads back to World 1. I found it by going down the wrong pipe, but it’s also a penalty for jumping over the flag in 3-1. In a rare display of mercy by the developers, though, players can stay in World 3 by sacrificing a life and jumping down the hole.

The game also requires players to stomp Koopa Paratroopas to complete certain jumps. By itself, that’s not really a problem. However, the KPs needed to make those jumps either don’t spawn 100% of the time or are flying at the wrong height for Mario to reach. Players could wait to time it, but generally, the KPs are off screen when starting the jump, making the jump a blind leap of faith. At that point, it not something skilled players can overcome. It’s just dumb luck. Two of these points I found are in 4-3 and 8-1.

It also appears that some of the tiles weren’t updated for their new surroundings. The graphics were unpolished and gaps appear in several places. It’s either laziness or a lack of testing, but either way, those obvious mistakes shouldn’t happen in a professionally made product.

Here’s an example. There is a black gap between the pipe and the water. Perhaps redrawing the pipe sprite would have fixed that.
Now why would they put a cloud down there? It looks terrible with the bottom cut off.

More Screenshots:

Those jerks really tried to tempt me with a question block. I’m not taking the bait.
After a brutal level with a forced turtle stomp to complete a jump, they hit me with this. The developers are sadistic schmucks.
Just when I thought it couldn’t any more cruel, the developers add red Piranhas and WIND PHYSICS, starting in World 5-1. I need to go blow off some steam.
Outdoor firebars. %$#@!

Final Opinion: Super Mario 2 continues where Super Mario left off. It’s a great concept, but the extreme difficulty really hurts my opinion of it.

Grade: C

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