Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
|Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels|
|Engine||Super Mario Bros.|
|Release date(s)||Famicom Disk System
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, originally released in Japan as Super Mario Brothers 2 (スーパーマリオブラザーズ2 Sūpā Mario Burazāzu Tsū?) and as Super Mario Bros. For Super Players in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, is a platforming video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Family Computer Disk System. First released in Japan on June 3, 1986, it is the direct sequel to Super Mario Bros. A 16-bit remake was released as part of Super Mario Collection in Japan with a subtitle known as For Super Players, which was also used in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe.
The North American and European 16-bit remake, entitled Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was released as part of Super Mario All-Stars for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). More recently, the original Disk System version was made available as a download (including North America and PAL regions) for the Wii Virtual Console as of 2007 and the 3DS Virtual Console as of 2012. Unlike the 16-bit version, the Virtual Console version is the original Disk System version with all its original subtitles, but without the disk loading screen. Like Super Mario Bros., the vintage game had already been presented entirely in English.
The premise of the game is identical to Super Mario Bros.: Bowser has abducted Princess Peach Toadstool and is holding her captive in one of his castles. Either Mario or Luigi must navigate through the Mushroom Kingdom, overcome Bowser's henchmen, and rescue the Princess. The game uses the same game engine as its predecessor and is quite similar in visual style. It is intended to challenge players who have mastered the original Super Mario Bros.
In contrast to its predecessor, this game does not feature a two-player mode. Instead, at the start of the game, players are given a selection between Mario or Luigi. It is also the first entry of the Mario series in which Mario and Luigi exhibit differing movements: Mario retains the same movement characteristics from the original Super Mario Bros.; whereas, Luigi can jump higher and farther, but is significantly less agile. Minor tweaks have been made to the physics engine, allowing Mario or Luigi to bounce higher off the backs of enemies. Aside from improved sound quality, the background music and sound effects are reused from the previous game (except for sounds added for Mario or Luigi skidding and the wind blowing). The various character sprites are for the most part also unchanged, though more detail is given to the surrounding backgrounds and terrain.
It follows a similar style of level progression as its predecessor: eight Worlds, having four levels each. At the end of each World, Mario or Luigi navigates through a lava-filled castle, culminating in a battle against Bowser. The first eight Worlds are numbered 1-8, while the remaining four—earned by completing the game eight times—are lettered A-D in the original Disk System version. It is possible to bypass parts of the game by exploiting warp zones, but unlike the previous game, two of The Lost Levels's warp zones return the player to earlier levels. Completing Worlds 1-8 without using a warp zone allows the player to access "Fantasy World" (also known as World 9), a repeating bonus stage that is similar to the "Minus World" glitch from Super Mario Bros.
There are no new enemies, though many of them behave differently from before. Land-borne enemies such as Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Lakitus now appear during underwater levels, while sea creatures such as Cheep-Cheeps and Bloopers can be found hovering in midair. Hammer Bros. are much more aggressive and will continuously advance towards Mario, far past their starting points. In addition, red Piranha Plants are more aggressive and will emerge from their pipes even if Mario or Luigi are standing directly beside them (in the original Super Mario Bros., Piranha Plants stay dormant if Mario is standing in close proximity), although they will remain dormant if Mario is standing directly on top of the pipe, as the ones in the original game do. Lastly, in Worlds 8-4 and D-4, Bowser will appear twice inside his castle. The first Bowser is a fake, and is a darker hue of green than his counterpart. This does not happen in any level of the previous game or in the 16-bit remake.
This game was also the first to feature the Poison Mushroom, a recurring obstacle in the Mario series, which is a booby-trap disguised as a power-up. While similar in shape to a Super Mushroom and 1-Up Mushroom, the poison variety will harm Mario if he touches it. The resultant damage is similar to being struck by an enemy: if Super Mario or Fire Mario touches a Poison Mushroom, he will revert to regular Mario; if regular Mario touches one, the player will lose a life. In the original release, Poison Mushrooms are distinguishable by their black spots (as opposed to the red spots of a Super Mushroom or green spots of a 1-Up Mushroom) and their color varies depending on the environment; in later editions of the game, the mushroom is blue-violet in color and sports a telltale skull marking as well as "angry" eyes. Another new obstacle, windstorms, now appears during clifftop levels. The gusts blow intermittently from left to right, and are strong enough to push Mario or Luigi off a ledge. The direction of the wind is indicated by the leaf animations blowing across the screen. Also introduced are special green springs, which bounce Mario or Luigi extremely high. These are usually used to cross large gaps.
The original Japanese release of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Famicom Disk System was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, the creators of the first Super Mario Bros. game. Visually, this sequel looks very similar to its predecessor, but it has a higher level of difficulty. Smooth level designs were replaced by tough obstacle courses, intended for players who have already mastered Super Mario Bros.:p. 2
Nintendo of America did not want the Mario series to be known for frustration, to be inaccessible to a steadily broadening market of video game players, nor to be stylistically outdated by the time the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 could be eventually delivered to America's already delayed Nintendo Entertainment System. To avoid risking the franchise's emerging popularity on this new system, they canceled the American release and sought instead to develop a new Super Mario Bros. 2 title for the Nintendo Entertainment System.:p. 3 This effort became Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and then the American Super Mario Bros. 2.
A remake was released in 1993 as part of the Super Mario All-Stars collection for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The English name of the game originates in this compilation, in which it was renamed from its original title of Super Mario Bros. 2 to avoid confusion with the game released with that name in North America. In its original release in Japan, Super Mario Collection', the game subtitle "For Super Players" was added. Each game in the collection is given a 16-bit graphical and sound upgrade, as well as a save feature. Due to the increased difficulty of The Lost Levels, that game's save feature enables players to restart from any level if all lives are lost, not just the beginning of the World, as is the case with the other games in the collection. In addition, Luigi has the ability to jump higher than in the original Famicom version. The Worlds A-D are also accessed after beating the game once, as opposed to beating it eight times in the original. Additionally, World 9 does not repeat over and over again just like in the original version. The collection was re-released in Japan, North America, and PAL regions for the Wii in 2010.
In May 1999, a handheld port of The Lost Levels—under the Japanese subtitle For Super Players—appeared as an unlockable reward in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the Game Boy Color. Similar to the All-Stars remake, this port includes a save feature. Among the many differences between the Super Nintendo and Game Boy Color versions is the exclusion of Worlds 9 and A-D. The overall difficulty has been reduced through various means, including the elimination of strong winds and shortening of jumps. The physical differences between Mario and Luigi have been removed, allowing them to move in an identical manner, and the graphics are mostly the same as Super Mario Bros. rather than the original graphics of the FDS version.
In observance of the 2007 Japanese Hanabi Festival, the Disk System game was released in English as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and made available as a download for the Wii's Virtual Console service in North America and Europe, although the title screen still reads "Super Mario Bros. 2". The release was originally priced at the above-standard 600 Wii Points. In Europe and Australia, the game was released for a limited time during the latter half of September. Nintendo of Europe announced that The Lost Levels would be retired as a download at the end of the month. Contrary to that statement, however, the game was later reinstated on August 22, 2008.
The game was also released on the 3DS Virtual Console on July 25, 2012 in Japan and December 27, 2012 in both North America and Europe and then on the Wii U Virtual Console on August 8, 2013 in Japan, January 23, 2014 in Europe and March 13, 2014 in North America.
Reception and legacy
The Lost Levels sold 2.5 million units in Japan, becoming the best-selling game of all time for the Famicom Disk System.
In a review of the Virtual Console version of the game, IGN compared the game to the original Super Mario Bros., saying that "The Lost Levels feels a lot like a fan-made hack – with platforming challenges that are just a bit too frustrating and don't flow as well as Mario 1, and graphics that seem like a downgrade as well". IGN also claimed that Nintendo of America made the right choice keeping the game in Japan.
Several aspects of The Lost Levels have gone on to become standards in the Mario series. The appearance of the mushrooms, shorter and wider with eyes, became the standard for all subsequent games. The game mechanic of Mario and Luigi having different abilities (i.e. Luigi jumps higher but skids more) was later reused in the Super Mario Advance series of Game Boy Advance remakes and in the Super Mario Galaxy series. Poison mushrooms have proven to be an enduring aspect of The Lost Levels, appearing in subsequent games such as Super Mario Kart and the Super Smash Bros. series.
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