Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh-duh” plays as you drop through a red door suspended in space, dropping you onto a tall green hill , towered by another.  You see a similar red door below you but must traverse your way down these hills.  To your surprise, when you drop down, you are unharmed but slow moving purple creatures that look like loaves of bread with eyes and mouths are moving towards you.  You pick one up and throw him into his friends, knocking them from your view.  Finally, you’ve made it to flat ground again; and the door stares at you, begging you to enter inside and discover an adventure completely unlike any you’ve faced before.  You accept because you are a bad ass plumber…….

….or his nervous brother with a penchant for green……

…..or his stout friend with a mushroom cap for a head and a thing for vests…….

…….or you’re a fairy-tale princess who can damn near fly…….

Welcome to Super Mario Bros. 2!~

At the time, this game didn’t seem as strange as it does now; it was only Mario’s second true foray into headlining his own game (not counting that mess with the pipes) so for it to be so vastly different from the original Mario was not as large a deal as it is looking back.  This game was truly unique; you picked up things instead of jumping into them or ontop of them.   The bosses found here were not King Koopa and were never to be seen again.  In fact, a lot of what is in this game was never to be seen again.  Sure, bits and pieces, certain enemies, character traits (more popularized by the Super Mario cartoon) were upheld, but once this game hit store shelves, the Mario team pretty much decided they would go back to formula and stick with it until well, forever.

Rumor is, this game engine, it’s levels, backgrounds and mechanics were made for a different hero altogether and Mario was slotted in at the last minute to get a new Mario game to the people; and this engine just so happened to feature 3 other characters to be able to use with diff. abilities (Mario was the all around best, Luigi could jump higher but was more unpredictable, Toad had the quickest pickup and Princess was just the balls!).   In hindsight, I”m glad a game like this exists; especially in the ever-expansive world of Mario as it shows you that Mario is not one to be put into a box; his games can be surprising, and of course challenging.   Picking up Mario 2 is literally like riding a bike; you just instinctively remember all the tricks to each world, just like any great game but gamers nowadays wouldn’t have a clue as to how this game works because it just works within itself.  There are no warp zones here but you can drop under the sand in world 5-2  I believe and hop to the very end of the world.   This game is fun, like all Mario titles are inherently, but playing the diff. characters provides certain challenges; anyone else hate using Luigi to fight Birdo?  Who, as I found out, was actually named Ostro in Super Mario Bros. 2- except the creature named Birdo was an ostrich and the names were switched.  Back on track.

The music is classic, the worlds and characters are etched in your memory; the game is plenty hard, but not as immersive as later Mario games would be but it’s still a damn fine game and plenty of fun for anyone and it still has appeal; my daughter watched me fight Wart at the end (took me a few tries to say the least) and was fully involved in his defeat.  Then, she watched as the Newhart-ian ending took place and Mario woke up from his long slumber and strange dream.  She looked at me with her eyes wide open and mouth agape and stated, matter of factly, in correct current lingo “now that’s what I would call a mic drop.”

Scores:

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Strider

Also wanted to dust this one off; so, i was getting this game confused with Bionic Commando, even though I remembered a lot of the sound effects and moves.  The NES version is much cleaner, graphics wise and jump wise than those Sega Master bullshit games.   His controls are still really clunky but the game is tons more exciting and better frame rate than those garbage games.

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