Pretty good for essentially a non-Mario game
Welcome to the sequel to Super Mario Bros.
This is a strange follow-up, since it looks nothing to its predecessor
, and this is because Nintendo of Japan only released the real SMB2 in their home country. Nintendo of America didn't want to take this version to the States on the basis that it was too difficult for kids. So rather than working on it from the ground up, what NoA did was take a game for the Famicom Disk System known as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic
, modify it so that it includes characters from the Mario universe, and release it in the US.
The game has an actual story besides the rescue-the-princess theme. Here, the four characters from the Mario universe (Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach) find themselves in a strange world - the same world Mario dreamed about the previous night. This world known as Subcon is ruled by Wart, a dinosaur that placed its inhabitants under an evil spell. Now Mario and the gang must defeat Wart and restore Subcon to its former glory.
Although SMB2 is totally different, the game is not bad. There are a few things I like, including the new gameplay mechanics. Throughout the game you can jump on enemies heads, pick them up, and hurl them into other enemies, and you can create a chain reaction. Also, you can ride something (maybe a bird) and use them to get through the parts of a level where there are virtually no platforms.
These mechanics are present in future SMB games, and they are worth trying out. Another feature worth mentioning is your character's high jump maneuver. You can squat down and wait for your character to charge up, then jump normally. This is ideal for reaching platforms if you aren't riding something.
Before the start of the game, you have the choice of selecting one of four characters from the Mario universe. Each character you select has different abilities, and you can switch between them so you're not restricted to the one character. You can play Mario in one level for example, and Luigi in another. I am not familiar with the two other characters, Toad and Princess Peach.
The animation in this game are excellent. The vegetables that you can pick up and also hurl at enemies start out as red tops that wave from side to side, giving an illusion that there is a bit of wind in the level. The characters move smoothly, and whenever there is a lot happening on screen, the game doesn't slow down. SMB2 has nice graphics. Although the background is bland like its predecessor, I was too focus on what was happening in the foreground. The waterfalls look impressive, and the rolling logs blend well with it.
The way that you can gamble for extra lives between levels is a nice touch, and this is useful for anyone running out of lives. The highlight of SMB2 is when you encounter Birdo, and the amazing way you can throw eggs back at him. As far as I know, not one video game before this one lets you do this.
Sound-wise, everything is the same as Doki Doki Panic
, except when you manage to enter a secret door, then the normal Mario theme song plays. You always known when you are about to encounter one of the bosses; a single melody is heard that is easy to remember.
Besides SMB2 being virtually a non-Mario game? I can't think of anything.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, this game is totally different to its predecessor. Due to the difficulty of the Japanese-only version, what Nintendo did was take a game called Doki Doki Panic
, which is a non-Mario game, and released it in the States as Super Mario Bros. 2
but changed the game a little bit to include Mario-esque characters. Other than that, the graphics and sound is essentially the same as DDP. If you do not like that this game is not Mario enough, you're welcome to hunt down a copy of the Japanese version.