A Tale of Two Plumbers
Wearing my red overall I jumped off the descending platform over to the slimy sewer floor. What surprised me most wasn’t that Mrs. Applepie’s toilet had lead to this sewer, that had seemingly been unused for ages, but rather that there were green turtles emerging from the nearby sewer pipes. Where were they coming from? Were they hostile? While I pondered this another turtle appeared to my side. Having left my toolkit, my only means of defense against the monsters of the underworld, I skillfully dodged the oncoming turtle. It obviously had a brain similar to that of an orange, since it just trotted straight past me. A good kick in its rear sent the turtle flying, landing up-side down.
This obviously didn’t go down well for the other turtle. Maybe it was a close relative, but the turtle went absolutely pink with rage and started speeding towards me. I ran as fast as I could towards some nearby pipes, where I figured I could ditch the mad turtle. But as I got closer to the pipes a green flame appeared out of thin air. ‘What the hell?’ I thought, as I dashed to the side hoping neither the flames nor the insane turtle would match my speed. I just barely reached a hole in the ground only to discover, much to my dismay, that the turtle I had kicked earlier had just gotten to its feet. So, there I was right in the middle of one, fairly sane but brainless, turtle, one green ball of fire and an appropriately mad, pink turtle thinking ‘When will my life flash before my eyes, and end this eternal nightmare?’ when suddenly the ground shook.
I stood up from my fetal position, which is good for moments like these when you want to see as little as possible of what’s going on around you, looked around me and saw that each one of my foes was lying on their backs, completely defenseless. What had happened? I looked down, only to face my dear companion next to a big block-type thing marked with big letters. I couldn’t quite make out what they said, but it seemed to be ‘POW’. Whatever it was, and I truly didn’t care, it was obviously what had caused the earth to shake violently as my life began flashing before my eyes, starting with my first wrench as a kid. I was glad, to say the least.
So glad, in fact, that I put down my controller, looked at my friend, patted him on the shoulder and said ‘Thanks.’
What was the point of this whole story? Well, moments like these are daily bread when playing Mario Bros. with your mate. There’s almost no limit to how much fun can be had when you have your friend there to either help your or thwart your success. You can have some score-topping fun, playing with yourself, but the best memories will come from multiplayer. It doesn’t have a whole lot of depth, at its basics, but the player interaction will create a lot of depth. Stealing turtles, coins and whatnot from one another. Hopping on each other to gain more height. It’s all in your hand.
I would’ve liked some more music, than just the intro music to each level. It gets pretty dull if you haven’t completed the stage in less than two minutes. The constant sound of Mario walking really gets on your nerve after a while. The enemy variety is very miniscule. You’ve got the slow turtles, the pretty fast, and annoying, crabs and last but not least the flies. And lastly, a bit of control over Mario while in the air could possibly have made the game a bit too easy, but I doubt it. I think it would’ve just made it less annoying.
The Bottom Line
A real oldie gem, dating back to the great coin-op machines. Luckily, for us, it was also brought to the NES. It still reigns king over its many remakes (appearing, for example, in Super Mario Bros. 3) although I have yet to check out its appearance in the Super Mario Advance series. I would love to see a PC remake, one day, with a bigger battlefield and more players. Let the players go even more wild, with alliances and such. But to sum it up, the NES version’s multiplayer mode will keep you coming back. At least for a bit.