Mario Monday - Super Mario Bros. 2

Monday, May 04, 2009

It has been a while and this post has been waiting in draft mode for a long time (and a couple more are lined up in draft mode already so I'll keep them coming the next few weeks) so without further delay let us take a trip down memory lane with the latest installment of Mario Monday.

This week we take a look at the controversial sequel, Super Mario Brothers 2. Previously we took a look at the original Japanese sequel to Super Mario Brothers with what would commonly be referred to as The Lost Levels. In the United States Nintendo fans received quite a different sequel.

Why did Americans receive a different sequel than their Japanese counterparts? Simply because the Japanese version was believed to be too difficult for the American audience Nintendo was serving. Because Nintendo was already working on Super Mario Brothers 3, there was a rush to put together a SMB 2 for the American gamers. Rather than port the original sequel to the USA Nintendo decided to take an unreleased game in the States and replace the playable characters with Mario characters. That game was Doki Doki Panic. After a few graphical and audio modifications Super Mario Brothers 2 made its debut in the USA in 1988 just in time for the start of the Christmas rush.

For the first time gamers had a choice to play as Mario (all around average abilities), brother Luigi (who had superior jumping abilities), Princess Peach (who could float in the air for a few seconds) or loyal servant to the princess Toad (who was the quickest but lacked jumping skill). This was a result of replacing Doki Doki Panic's original cast with Mario characters. Those character traits and abilities would stick with the Mario gang in future games.

The plot of the game is vastly different from any other Mario game. Instead of saving the princess from Bowser, who is not in the game, the gang finds themselves in a dream world called Sub Con. A giant frog by the name of Wart has held the loyal Subcons captive and they have called for help, which the Mario gang has responded too. Along the way Mario finds a new world of enemies he has never seen before. He also can not kill them by jumping on them. Instead he must throw vegetables that can be plucked from the ground (or other enemies he encounters) at them. It is all very strange at first.

While most of the characters encountered in SMB 2 have never been heard from again (how have you been Tweeter, Beezo, and Panser?), some have become recurring characters in the series. Shy Guy is one of the more prominent baddies. The SMB2 equivalent of the Goomba, Shy Guy has appeared as a bad guy in the Yoshi series of games but has also been a part of spin off games like Mario Party, Mario Baseball and more. Only one character managed to find his way into Super Mario Brothers 3, Bob-Omb.

Super Mario Brothers 2 did present some classic bosses though, such as Mouser, the bomb utilizing mouse with sunglasses, Tryclyde the three headed snake that breaths fire, and of course Birdo, the stage ending mini boss. Birdo is a unique enemy in that has a bizarre history.

The pink dinosaur that would spit eggs at Mario and his friends was a male dinosaur that would think he is a girl. As such Birdo wore a bow and took on feminine characteristics. The drama behind the transsexual tendencies has since been lost in Nintendo world and Birdo today is recognized as a female counterpart to Yoshi.

Of course when Mario defeats Wart to end the game the controversy continues when you find out it was all just a dream. How silly. I remember beating this game for the first time and then I found out it was a dream. All of that hard work (I actually beat Super Mario Brothers 3 before ever beating SMB 2 - to be fair I did own SMB3 before SMB2) because of a dream? Not exactly my idea of a sweet dream but who am I to decide?

Super Mario Brothers 2 is a good game, despite the popular label of "black sheep" of the series. There are many secrets to discover, like the Warp Zones that are hidden better than the original, and the hidden mushrooms, and the chance to find as many coins as you can to play in the bonus slot machine game at the end of each stage.

Some fond moments in Super Mario Brothers 2 also include flying on a magic carpet (or an Albatoss) or riding on a Shy Guy over spikes, launching in a rocket, and jumping on top of whales and avoiding their spouts of water.

What are some of your thoughts about Super Mario Brothers 2? I have some follow up posts that will be posted as the week goes by but feel free to share your memories of the game in the comments section on this page!

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