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Wrecking Crew (video game)

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Wrecking Crew
North American box art
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D1[7]
Director(s)Satoru Okada
Producer(s)Gunpei Yokoi
Designer(s)Yoshio Sakamoto[8]
Makoto Kanoh
Programmer(s)Toshiyuki Nakamura
Yase Sobajima
Kenji Imai
Composer(s)Hirokazu Tanaka[9]
July 26, 1984
  • Arcade (Vs. Wrecking Crew)
  • Famicom/NES
    • JP: May 26, 1985[a]
    • NA: October 18, 1985[3]
    • EU: October 15, 1987
  • Famicom Disk System
  • Game Boy Advance
Genre(s)Action, puzzle
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
Arcade systemNintendo VS. System

Wrecking Crew[b] is an action game developed and published by Nintendo. Designed by Yoshio Sakamoto, it was first released as an arcade video game for the Nintendo VS. System in 1984, titled Vs. Wrecking Crew with a simultaneous two-player mode.[10] It was released as a single-player game for the Family Computer (Famicom) console in 1985, and as a launch game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) later that year. A sequel, Wrecking Crew '98, was released in Japan in 1998 for the Super Famicom.



The player controls Mario (or Luigi in two-player mode) and attempts to destroy all of a certain set of objects with a large hammer on each of 100 levels. Mario cannot jump because of the hammer's weight. The player can select any level to start on from the title screen. Each level's playfield is divided into an invisible grid, each space of which can contain one object. Objects include these: destructible walls, pillars, and ladders; indestructible barrels and ladders; bombs that destroy all connected destructible objects; and various enemies that Mario must avoid. Doors may be opened to cause enemies to move harmlessly into the background. The game introduced a new character, a construction foreman named Spike (known as Blackie in the Japanese version),[11] who chases Mario and attempts to disrupt him by knocking down objects and causing him to fall to the bottom of the playfield. The player starts the game with five lives and loses a life whenever Mario comes in contact with an enemy or fireball. The game is over when all lives are lost. The game can also be aborted at any time, and must be aborted if Mario becomes trapped in a barrel.

Because Mario lacks the ability to jump, the player must figure out the optimal order in which to destroy objects—for example, if a player destroys a ladder too soon, a wall may become unreachable and thus the player cannot finish the level. Destroying multiple objects in a row (usually with a chain of bombs) scores extra bonus points, and occasionally bonus items may appear that Mario can collect.

Wrecking Crew features a level editor, which allows the player to design up to four custom levels. They can be saved and loaded using the Famicom Data Recorder, a cassette tape drive. Because this peripheral was only released for Famicom in Japan, other localizations cannot save or load the custom levels. The U.S. manual includes a note stating that the load and save functions "have been programmed in for potential product developments". The feature was reenabled for the Wii Virtual Console release using Wii system storage.[citation needed]



In Japan, Game Machine listed Vs. Wrecking Crew in its October 1, 1984, issue as the thirteenth most-successful table arcade unit of the month.[12]



Wrecking Crew was re-released in 1989 on the Family Computer Disk System, and in 2004 as the 14th game of the Famicom Mini series on Game Boy Advance.[13] It was also included as a playable bonus game in its sequel, Wrecking Crew '98.

The game was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2007. It was briefly distributed to Nintendo 3DS owners in September 2011 as part of the "Ambassador Program",[14][15] before being made available for general sale on 3DS Virtual Console in Japan in September 2012, with a release in other territories following in 2013. Wrecking Crew was also released on the Wii U Virtual Console in June 2013. All Virtual Console releases, excluding the 3DS version, support saving custom level designs, which is not possible in the original NES version of the game.

In July 2019, Wrecking Crew was added to the Nintendo Switch Online service as part of the paid membership.[16]


Wrecking Crew '98
Director(s)Eiko Takahashi
Producer(s)Tatsuya Hishida
  • Eiko Takahashi
  • Noriyuki Enoki
  • Naoki Watanabe
  • Takashi Kouyama
  • Reiko Kajigaya
  • Narumi Nakashima
  • Taisuke Araki
  • Hirotaka Katoh
Platform(s)Super Famicom
ReleaseNintendo Power (SFC)[17]
  • JP: January 1, 1998
Super Famicom[17]
  • JP: May 23, 1998
Genre(s)Action, puzzle
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Wrecking Crew '98[c] is an action puzzle game released exclusively in Japan in 1998 for the Super Famicom's Nintendo Power download service, and later on cartridge. Unlike the original, in which the player's objective is to find ways to clear each level of all panels, Wrecking Crew '98 takes a more competitive approach: various blocks and colored panels appear on each player's side of the screen, and the player must attempt to line up three or more panels of the same color to remove them. When a set of panels disappears, all blocks and panels above it will drop, potentially allowing the player to create chain combos. Clearing four or more panels of the same color will trigger an attack that hinders the opponent; each panel color will produce a different type of attack. The match ends when one player's screen becomes filled with panels, causing them to lose.

The game's story features Mario returning to the Mushroom Kingdom after a trip, only to discover that Bowser has started a constructing multiple new high-rise bases, depriving the surrounding flora of sunlight. To stop Bowser, Mario retrieves his magic hammer from his time on the Wrecking Crew and begins demolishing Bowser's bases. At each location, he encounters a member of Bowser's construction crew whom he must defeat to destroy the base, including his former rival Foreman Spike.

The main single player mode is Story mode, in which the player controls Mario and travels through an overworld, entering each of Bowser's construction sites and defeating a rival opponent. Completing each stage within a time limit will unlock several secret stages and an alternate ending. Clearing stages in Story mode will unlock up to 12 total playable characters for use in Versus mode, a competitive mode for one to two players. Clearing the Story also unlocks Tournament mode, in which eight characters compete in a single-elimination tournament until only one remains and is declared the champion. A playable port of the original Wrecking Crew is also accessible from the main menu.

The game was re-released on the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan on September 28, 2016,[18] and on the Nintendo Switch Online service on April 12, 2024, for the first time in the West.[19] A fanmade English translation patch for the game was released in October 2017.[20]



The Bonus Stage theme from Wrecking Crew was remixed for Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix (2005).[citation needed] The Golden Hammer appears as a usable item in the Super Smash Bros. series, beginning with Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008).[citation needed] A "Wrecking Crew" stage also appears in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (2014) and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018).[citation needed]

Spike appears in The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023), voiced by Sebastian Maniscalco. This version is the former boss of Mario and Luigi before they started their plumbing business.[21][22] After nearly 40 years, the name was standardized for future appearances as Spike also in Japan, where he was previously known as Blackie or Blacky due to his classically black beard and sunglasses, as it already was known in all regions before the release of the film.[11]

See also



  1. ^ Limited release on May 26, 1985.[4] Wide release on June 18, 1985.[5]
  2. ^ Japanese: レッキングクルー, Hepburn: Rekkingu Kurū
  3. ^ Japanese: レッキングクルー'98, Hepburn: Rekkingu Kurū Nainti Eito


  1. ^ Akagi, Masumi (October 13, 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 128. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  2. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Wrecking Crew (Japan, Flyer 1)". Archived from the original on July 20, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  3. ^ Kohler, Chris (October 18, 2010). "October 18, 1985: Nintendo Entertainment System Launches". Wired. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
  4. ^ "Wrecking Crew (Registration Number PA0000287352)". United States Copyright Office. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  5. ^ @Sora_Sakurai (June 18, 2021). "1985年のきょう『レッキングクルー』(Wrecking Crew)ファミコン版が発売!!" [Today in 1985, the Famicom version of "Wrecking Crew" was on sale!!] (Tweet). Retrieved June 18, 2021 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ a b "Wrecking Crew". NinDB. Archived from the original on December 25, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  7. ^ やればやるほどディスクシステムインタビュー(前編). Nintendo Dream (in Japanese). No. 118. Mainichi Communications Inc. August 6, 2004. pp. 96–103.
  8. ^ Kohler, Chris (April 7, 2010). "Q&A: Metroid Creator's Early 8-Bit Days at Nintendo". Wired: GameLife. Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
  9. ^ Famicom 20th Anniversary Original Sound Tracks Vol. 1 (Media notes). Scitron Digital Contents Inc. 2004.
  10. ^ "Vs. Wrecking Crew". iBomb. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Yarwood, Jack (April 20, 2023). "Nintendo Changes Japanese Name Of Spike For The Super Mario Bros. Movie". Time Extension. Hookshot Media. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  12. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 245. Amusement Press. October 1, 1984. p. 35.
  13. ^ Giffords, Kevin (January 1, 2000). "Wrecking Crew (Famicom Mini 14)". 1up.com. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012.
  14. ^ Thomas, Lucas M. (August 30, 2011). "Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors, Behold Your Final Five NES Rewards". Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  15. ^ Luke. "3DS Ambassador Games Impressions - Super Balloon Wrecking Bros". ForkThisLlama. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  16. ^ Good, Owen S. (July 10, 2019). "Donkey Kong 3, Wrecking Crew join NES library for Switch Online". Polygon. Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  17. ^ a b "Wrecking Crew '98". NinDB. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  18. ^ "レッキングクルー'98 - Wii U". 任天堂ホームページ (in Japanese). September 28, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  19. ^ Doolan, Liam (April 12, 2024). "Nintendo Expands Switch Online's SNES Library With Three More Titles". Nintendo Life. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  20. ^ Lopes, Gonçalo (October 4, 2017). "English Translation Released for Super Famicom Exclusive Wrecking Crew '98". Nintendo Life. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  21. ^ Ditchfield, Jaime (August 9, 2021). "Sebastian Maniscalco will voice 'Spike' in Illumination Super Mario movie". Archived from the original on August 24, 2021. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  22. ^ "Super Mario Bros. Plumbing". Retrieved February 12, 2023.
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