Written by  :  Christina Nordlander (26)
Written on  :  Sep 13, 2005
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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Your princess is in another castle

The Good

It is the father of them all, little younger than I, and the first videogame I played. If I had to explain its appeal, I would put it down to colourful and tangible-looking graphics, catchy music (who *can't* hum the music of at least the first two levels?), great sound effects, but above all incredibly fast-paced and addictive gameplay. Whether you are climbing stairs, jumping to moving Meccano-like platforms in the underground, or swimming almost unrestricted in the underwater level, you will enjoy yourself. The mushrooms that make you grow and flowers that give you the power to shoot fireballs are nice touches.

The monsters are quite remarkable. Goombas, turtles (some with wings!), carnivorous plants... no wonder this game captivated me.

The castle levels are a treat in themselves. Bowser is pretty terrifying, there is lava, and, well, "Your princess is in another castle" has to be one of the most seminal videogame lines. Of course, everything about "Super Mario Bros." is seminal.

The learning curve is very good: the first level is simple, but in later levels, abysses and similar features increase the danger. Regularly timed platforms and monsters mean that the player needs strategic thinking as well as quick reflexes.

After winning, the player gets the option to play again from the start with slightly improved monsters, which is an excellent idea.

And of course, for me at least, this game has the indescribable glamour of being the first ever.

The Bad

Nothing is perfect, and the "Super Mario Bros." series had quite a few things to improve in subsequent issues. For example, the gameplay is very simple. The times when the player needs to think further than just "when is the right time to jump?" are thin on the ground.

The fact that you can't walk back is rather frustrating. Level design also gets a bit samey towards the end.

The Bottom Line

Chances are, if you started playing videogames in the late 1980s, you've played "Super Mario Bros." In that case, I don't need to convince you how good it is.

If you haven't, then what are you waiting for?