Super Mario Bros. 2 (Japan)
If you ever wondered why Super Mario Bros. 2 was so freaking weird compared with the other SMB games, it’s because it wasn’t the true sequel to the original game, rather, a conversion of a non-Mario game due to decision makers rejecting the release of the much more difficult Mario 2 in North America.
The real sequel eventually found it’s way to the U.S. as part of the Super Nintendo collection “Super Mario All-Stars”. Branded as “The Lost Levels”, this version included revamped graphics and music, much like the other re-released games on the same cartridge.
I wanted to play this original version and not the “Lost Levels” remake. Fortunately, it was recently translated into English language markets via the Wii’s Virtual Console.
The Mario 2 as we know it may be an imposter, but it likely salvaged the franchise (and possibly the video game industry stateside) as this true successor to SMB was graphically and mechanically similar to the original game, but increasingly cheap and difficult in practice.
And I do mean difficult!
I highlighted many of these frustrating changes in the screen captures. Among them are wind (blows Mario off of platforms or makes it harder to jump), enemies in areas you wouldn’t expect (fire, Bloopers, Hammer Bros, Bullet Bills, you name it), gaps which required precise button taps and timing, and possibly the most famous addition, poisonous mushrooms which shrink/kill you!
It’s a great play to see what may have been, but I’m glad I didn’t own this as a child. Save states were necessary to get past many areas (some took me as many as 30 tries for a series of precise jumps). You could also get lost in areas where you’re looking for hidden blocks, warped to the start of the level, or worse, warped back SEVERAL worlds!
The payoff though is a special “fantasy” World 9, where Mario swims through the board as if it were a water level.
There are other secret levels, but I will address those in my review of the Lost Levels remake… as well as some other rare/little known Mario secrets in the near future!