Super Mario Bros 2 Review

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Game Title: Super Mario Bros. 2
Developer: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: Virtual Console (NES)
Download Size: 62 Blocks
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download

The NES trilogy for the Super Mario Bros series is legendary in the eyes of many gamers. I recall the original Super Mario Bros as the first video game I ever played. So, of course the series has a special place in my heart. Though nostalgia certainly helped me to forget many of the little issues on the technical side that plagued the game. The original had a lot of graphical glitches that I don’t remember seeing until I went back on my 2DS via Virtual Console.

So, upon looking into and buying more of the classic games to play, I expected to see more things. Not only graphical glitches, but all around different parts of the games that I essentially am re-discovering in my replays of those games.

We don’t need me to keep droning on about nostalgia, though. Too much droning is something I personally dislike that keeps me from something I’m here for, so here we go. With the first game done, here’s my retro review of Super Mario Bros. 2!

Story

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This is just one way to not be as disappointed by the ending

The storyline of this game is something that really grinds the gears of the series fan base, but if you just take a look in the instruction booklet, you’ll understand why it is what it is.

One night, Mario has a dream and in this dream, his subconscious is taken to another world, known as Dream World (not to be confused with Dreamland from the Kirby series). A fiend known as Wart has taken over Dream World and imprisoned its inhabitants. What’s left asks Mario to travel through Dream World and defeat Wart. Then he, and his own subconscious’ version of his brother, Toad, and Princess Peach, move in to do just that.

The story of the game was wacky and a lot of people didn’t like it for the fact that it’s, well, a dream. However, it is understandable for any who go into the manual, or digital manual here, and read the story so you aren’t surprised and upset at the ending.

Gameplay

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A lot of people will admit this was a very creepy part of the game

Much like the first game, SMB2 is a side-scrolling plat former with combat elements. The main difference here is that there is a much bigger focus on combat in the game, with a lot of different bosses than just dodging Bowser like the original had. You’ll still have a lot of plat forming to do, but reaching the end won’t be nearly as easy.

Progressing through the game is much like the original, in that you complete a stage and are taken to the next, and continue the process until you’ve gone through all seven worlds the game has to offer. Pretty easy and in tune with how a lot of NES games work. Heck, I’ve even played more recent games that play like this.

When you start each world, you have four different characters to choose from: Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach. Each character has their own traits, like Luigi’s flutter kick that lets his jump travel further and Peach’s ability to hover across long distances. This helps you traverse levels, particularly with Luigi and Peach, allowing you to essentially skip over some sections and enemies to make it easier to do. Every level is doable with any of the 4 characters, though.

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Team Princess Peach, anyone?  Okay, I admit I used Luigi more

The main “gimmick” of the game is being able to jump on top of enemies and items and plucking them out of the ground and throwing them. There are grass items all over every map you can move over and pick up to pull up items or just vegetables being used to throw at enemies and bosses. You can also do this for most enemies and is crucial for getting the ability to traverse longer gaps (like plucking an enemy off their flying carpet to use said carpet to move further into the stage)

This is crucial for the many mini-bosses and major bosses you’ll be fighting in the game. There will always either be items to pick up and throw at enemies or enemy projectiles. The most common is fighting Birdo. She will fire eggs at you that you can jump on, pick up, and toss back at her to defeat her. Every boss will have something around you can toss at them.

Now, the main aspect that increases the difficulty are the puzzle elements thrown in. It won’t just be a straight stretch. You’ll come across many locked doors that require you to explore various paths for keys. Getting to these sections can be very tricky, with precise timing to be able to avoid certain enemies. There is also the element of a certain enemy following you between rooms so long as you’re holding a key, so it can be a bit of a race to the door.

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Birdo was the frequent mini-boss that taught you how to fight

This difficulty is balanced through the use of Virtual Console’s save-stat feature. At the start of a tricky section, just create a restore point so you can go back to it if you run into problems and get a Game Over. Without this, it’s a very difficult experience to go through without getting a Game Over.

So, how long is the game? There are seven worlds, and each stage is about, say…2 minutes on average. Without accounting for retries and Game Overs, I’d put the game around 2 hours, give or take. About the same amount of time it takes to beat the original game. This isn’t very long, but the game isn’t expensive, so that can be forgiven.

Controls

We are looking at a very simple game design so the controls are just as simple. Since this game doesn’t have a 2-player mode, you don’t need to worry yourself about switching controllers like you have to in the original game, for those of us that prefer playing as Luigi.

You can use the D-Pad or Circle Pad to move. The A button is used for jumping and for picking up and throwing objects, you can use the B and/or X button. Pretty simple, as it should be. Since the NES controller only had a D-Pad, Start, Select, A, and B thrown on it.

Presentation

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There is a lot more color here than in the previous game

The only issue I really have with the game is the graphical presentation. Visually, it looks a whole lot nicer than its predecessor. There was a lot more character and depth to the models. Granted, Peach looked alright in the original, but Mario and Luigi were kind of basic pixel-based renders. In this game, they look much more alive.

The problem is graphical glitching, much like the original game had. When you just up near the top of the screen, your character and the rest of the map will flicker and glitch out on you. It also does this in select other areas.

Outside of that, it runs and sounds very nice. The music glitches that plagued the original game are not in here at all, which is something I’m quite happy about, though fans may not be happy about when they see this game’s score versus the original.

 

Summary

Super Mario Bros. 2 is what many may call the “black sheep” of the original series because of fan reaction to the game’s story. But, minus a graphical glitching problem, this game is more difficult, more alive, and is all around a fun yet wacky little plat former for fans of the series.

9/10

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