When Nintendo released Super Mario All-Stars in 1993 on the SNES, it came with a game known as ‘Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels’. This was the original sequel to Super Mario Bros. but it was deemed too difficult and too similar to the original for the west. This was shelved in favour of what we now know as Super Mario Bros. 2 and boy did Nintendo make a bad move.
After Super Mario Bros. its sequel, based on a Japanese game Doki Doki Panic, is a slower paced game that allowed you to play as one of four characters Mario and Luigi and a now playable Princess Peach and Toad. All of the characters had their own special abilities such as Luigi’s ability to wiggle his legs for …erm… extra wiggle power?
Instead of all the bouncing around fun that we got from the original, it was decided to scrap all of this and instead every enemy you jump on you landed on their heads. Once on there, you could lift the character up and throw them at any other opponents. As innovative as this was, it was also pretty tricky and you had to time jumps just right removing one of the more fun aspects of the game.
As the game progresses, you encounter various bad guys who would later appear in the various Mario franchise games. The ability to change which player you could be was a helpful aspect at time with Peach able to levitate for a short time and making items or areas easier (or possible) to reach. However, as I said before, the actual benefits of the others is not too obvious and you will probably find you spend most of the game playing as Mario or Peach.
The problem with this is the original NES version had only three lives and no continues. This was the cause of many frustrated plays and ultimately abandoning of the game altogether. Though this was rectified in All-Stars and subsequent versions of the game including the one currently available on the Wii Home Console.
The graphics, as always are perfect with the classic Mario backgrounds and characters. Generally the game looks and feels a lot more like the Paper Mario series and maybe that is where the game fell down. Whereas we were all expecting another game worth of Super Mario bouncing around, what we got was something so radically different that it just didn’t sit right. It still doesn’t. Though fun at times, the game is hampered a little by its unique controls and by slowing the game down kit became a more cerebral experience and thus became slightly boring. However, the music is as iconic as ever and this is possibly the only point where the series improved on the original.
However, I do seem to be in the minority on this. It sold 10 Million copies and regularly featured in the top games polls, but compared to the original and its sequel no one can seriously tell me they enjoyed playing this game more. Super Mario Bros. 2 to me will always be an overrated disappointment, much like Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube. Though it sold many copies, people need to remember that Mario was so hot at this time that they could have released anything and the public had waited nearly three years for the sequel.(Remember how excited we all were for Phantom Menace?) For me when the list of top Mario games is created I doubt this game will be considered and if it is, it is for nostalgia rather than quality.