Super Mario Bros. 2
|Super Mario Bros. 2|
North American box art, with Mario holding a beet
Fuji Television Network
|Release date(s)||Famicom Disk System
Super Mario Bros. 2, later released in Japan as Super Mario USA (スーパーマリオUSA), is a 1988 platform game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System as a sequel to the 1985 game Super Mario Bros. The game was also remade as part of the Super Mario All-Stars collection for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), released on August 1, 1993 in North America and December 16, 1993 in Europe. It was rereleased on the Wii's Virtual Console in Europe, Australia and New Zealand on May 25, 2007 and the U.S. on July 2, 2007.
Super Mario Bros. 2 initially started out as a demo for a vertically scrolling, two-player, cooperative-action game that was scrapped. The reasons included the technical limitations of the NES hardware making it difficult to produce a polished game featuring a vertical orientation and multiplayer features conceived for the project. It was decided to add more Mario-like elements, such as horizontal levels (though many vertically-oriented levels were retained in the final project). Since the game had gone through some development, Nintendo created the game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic for the Family Computer Disk System during its agreement with the Fuji Television company. The game was changed in order to fit with the theme of the mascots of the company and their adventure.
After Nintendo of America had concluded that the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was too difficult, Nintendo redeveloped Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic into Super Mario Bros. 2 for the international market outside of Japan. The game became a commercial success, and eventually the game became well received enough that it was also released in Japan as well. After performing successful sales, Super Mario Bros. 2 has since been considered a classic Super Mario Bros. game around the world (including Japan), and has since been released in many remakes including to being one of the Mario games featured in Super Mario All-Stars, and as well as having its own remake in Super Mario Advance.
Super Mario Bros. 2 is set in the dream-land known as Subcon. Mario's task is to free Subcon from Wart, the game's final boss.
The game is a side-scrolling platform game. At the beginning of each stage, the player is given a choice of four protagonists to control: Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool. Each character has different strengths: Mario runs faster; Luigi can jump the highest of the four; Toad can run and pluck vegetables the fastest but is the poorest jumper; and Peach can jump the farthest, due to her ability to hover for a short time, though she is the slowest runner and slowest at plucking items from the ground. All characters have the ability to increase the height of their jump by ducking briefly before they jump.
Unlike the previous and following Mario games, no enemies can be defeated by jumping on them. Instead, the player character must throw objects at enemies, such as vegetables plucked from the ground. Certain opponents can be picked up and thrown as well, and several levels feature blocks marked with the word "POW", which when picked up and thrown kill all the enemies on screen at impact, similar to the one in Mario Bros.
The game features a life meter, a then-unusual feature in the series. The player begins each stage with two points of health, represented by red hexagons (in remakes, they are shaped like hearts), and can increase the number of health points in the meter by collecting mushrooms. Health can be replenished by floating hearts, which appear after a certain number of opponents have been defeated. The invincibility star from the previous game appears, with a player needing to collect five pairs of cherries to acquire it.
Each stage contains one or more hidden flasks of potion. When plucked and thrown, a potion creates a door to Sub-Space, an alternate world in which coins are collected instead of vegetables when plucked. The mushrooms used to increase the health meter can also be found here. The player automatically leaves Sub-Space after a short time. The coins collected are used in a slot machine mini-game played between stages. This mini-game is the chief means of obtaining additional lives. In addition to the mushrooms and slot machine coins, several Sub-Spaces are also used as warp zones; these involve the use of vases as pipes.
Nintendo of Japan's official sequel to Super Mario Bros. was released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2 in 1986. Visually, it looked like Super Mario Bros., with the same basic game format but with a completely different level design that delivers a higher difficulty setting. Nintendo of America disliked the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, which they found to be frustratingly difficult and otherwise little more than a modification of Super Mario Bros. As they did not want to risk the franchise's popularity, they canceled its stateside release and eventually decided on helping the original Japanese developers to revise a Japanese Family Computer Disk System game titled Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (夢工場ドキドキパニック, lit. "Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Panic") into Super Mario Bros. 2.
Doki Doki Panic originally started as a Mario prototype developed by Kensuke Tanabe. The prototype emphasized vertically scrolling levels and throwing blocks. Notably, it was originally intended to be a two player co-op game allowing players to toss each other around. The gameplay was considered not fun enough at the time and was scrapped until later when Tanabe received instruction to use the Yume Kōjō mascots in a game, at which point he expanded the gameplay and developed Doki Doki Panic.
Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic is a platforming game that follows a family of four, each with different abilities, on a quest to rescue kidnapped kids in a fantasy world. The title was a license cooperation between Nintendo and Fuji Television to promote the broadcaster's Yume Kōjō '87 event, which showcased several of their latest TV shows and other products at the time. The game features the mascots of the Yume Kōjō festival – a family consisting of siblings Imajin and Lina and their parents, Papa and Mama – as protagonists. The rest of the characters, including the main villain, Mamu, are creations by Nintendo for the game. Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic takes place within a book with an Arabian setting. All four characters are playable, and the game is not fully completed until the player clears all levels with each protagonist. In the American version of Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and Toad were built on Imajin, Mama, Lina, and Papa's models, respectively, marking the first time that Mario and Luigi had noticeably different heights. Because Tanabe's original prototype already contained Mario-like features, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic naturally features many elements from the Mario universe, such as Starmen, coin and jumping sound effects, POW blocks, and warp zones. Additionally, the game's soundtrack was composed by Koji Kondo, the original Super Mario Bros. composer, and needed only a few alterations and new compositions throughout the conversion. Both Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and Super Mario Bros. 2 were directed by Kensuke Tanabe.
The Western version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was such a success that it was eventually released in Japan in 1992 under the title Super Mario USA.
In 1993, Nintendo released an enhanced SNES compilation titled Super Mario All-Stars. It included all of the Super Mario Bros. games released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Family Computer. The version of Super Mario Bros. 2 included in the compilation had improved graphics and sound to match the SNES's 16-bit capabilities, as well as minor alterations in some collision mechanics. Among other enhancements, it was also possible to change the character after losing a single life, while the original version allowed to change it only after completing a level or when the player lost all its lives and chose "Continue", making the game much more forgiving when choosing a character not adept at some specific level. Also, the player began with 5 lives instead of 3, and the slot game gained an additional character: if one could get three "7"'s, the player could win ten lives.
In March–April 1996, Nintendo (in collaboration with the St.GIGA satellite radio station) released an ura- or gaiden-version of the game for the Satellaview system featuring graphical enhancements similar to Super Mario All-Stars. This new game was entitled BS Super Mario USA Power Challenge (ＢＳスーパーマリオＵＳＡ パワーチャレンジ), and like all Satellaview titles it was released episodically in a number of weekly volumes. BS Super Mario USA Power Challenge was never released outside of Japan and as with all other Satellaview titles it has never been re-released as a stand-alone title. The game exists today solely in ROM-format and is traded online by Satellaview emulation enthusiasts.
Super Mario Advance 
In 2001, Super Mario Bros. 2 received another release (this time based on the All-Stars remake) as part of Super Mario Advance (which also contained a remake of Mario Bros.). Super Mario Advance was developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development, and was a launch title for the Game Boy Advance. The Super Mario Advance version of Super Mario Bros. 2 includes several new features such as the addition of the enemy Robirdo (a robotic Birdo acting as the boss of World 3, replacing Mouser), the addition of the Yoshi Challenge (in which players may revisit stages to search for Yoshi Eggs), and an all-new point-scoring system (a first for the game). Graphical and audio enhancements were also added in the form of enlarged sprites, multiple hit combos, digital voice acting, and such minor stylistic and aesthetic changes as an altered default health-meter level, boss-order, backgrounds, the size of hearts, Princess Toadstool being renamed to the now-standard "Princess Peach," and the inclusion of a chime to announce Stars.
|The Video Game Critic||A- |
Super Mario Bros. 2 sold ten million copies, and was the third highest-selling game ever released on the Nintendo Entertainment System at that time. Nintendo Power listed Super Mario Bros. 2 as the eighth best Nintendo Entertainment System video game, mentioning that in spite of not being originally a Mario game, it was able to stand on its own merits and its unique takes on the series' trademark format. Super Mario Bros. 2 was ranked 108th out of 200 of the "Greatest Games of Their Time" by Electronic Gaming Monthly.
When it was re-released in 2001 as Super Mario Advance it received generally positive reviews, garnering an aggregate score of 84% on Metacritic. One reviewer concluded "all nostalgia and historical influence aside, Super Mario Bros. 2 is still a game worth playing on the merits of its gameplay alone", also saying that "the only reason you may not want to pick it up is if ... you already own it in another form." However, GameSpot thought that Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World would have been a better choice for a launch game considering their respective popularity; both titles were eventually also remade as part of the Super Mario Advance series. Conversely, IGN praised the choice, calling it "one of the most polished and creative platformers of the era". The game was named one of the NES best games ever by IGN, saying that the game offers greater diversity in graphics and gameplay than the original, making it a great bridge game between the other NES Mario titles. The game was ranked as the ninth worst game in the Mario game series by ScrewAttack; they said that while it was a good game, it felt like a lie because they weren't playing the "real" Super Mario Bros. 2. They also named the music played in the battle against the final boss Wart in the eight best 8-Bit Final Boss Themes.
Many elements in Super Mario Bros. 2 stayed for the game's sequels and related games in the series. The game added the ability to pick up and toss enemies and objects, a move that has become part of Mario's permanent repertoire, appearing in other Mario games including Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong (Game Boy), Super Mario World, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, New Super Mario Bros., Super Paper Mario, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. U.
Many characters of Super Mario Bros. 2 have been assimilated into the greater Mario universe as well: Birdo, Pokeys, Bob-ombs and Shy Guys are notable examples. This is the first game in which Princess Peach and Toad are featured as playable characters. Princess Peach herself has gone on to star in other Mario games such as Super Princess Peach while Toad has received supporting roles in later Mario games and has starred in games like Wario's Woods and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. This is also the first game where Luigi received the appearance he has today (notably, he is taller than Mario). In the Super Smash Bros. series, Peach not only has the ability to pluck and throw vegetables, she can also float in mid-air both in the same vein as this game. Super Smash Bros. Melee has a stage called Mushroom Kingdom II, which is based on Super Mario Bros. 2 (though the visuals are more similar to the version seen in Super Mario All-Stars). The stage also has characters in their 2-D sprites, including Pidget and Birdo. The television series The Super Mario Bros. Super Show produced by DIC Entertainment features animated segments featuring characters from Super Mario Bros. 2.
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