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SummarySorry, Sonic. Mario got here first
The GoodI had a Commodore 64, not a Nintendo Entertainment System, so I had no idea how good Super Mario Bros. was. The closest thing I had was The Great Giana Sisters, which had the look and feel of SMB. It was very similar in fact that Nintendo forced retailers to pull the game off shelves. Around the time, Nintendo wanted platform games all to themselves.
SMB was the game that revolutionized platform gaming on any system. It features a simple plot: You control Mario as he attempts to rescue the princess from the evil Bowser and fights anything that gets in his way. The game is split into eight worlds, and takes Mario up mountains, underground, underwater, and castles.
What sets SMB part is the way the central character can take two forms. You start the game as Little Mario, who is vulnerable and isn't able to do much damage apart from jumping on enemy's heads to kill them. Finding a mushroom not only transforms you into Big Mario, but you are given another chance if you are hit by an enemy. If you find a flower you can launch fireballs at enemies, and I think this is the way the game should be played.
In the castle, the player is forced to determine how he/she can get to Bowser. In some situations, running left to right simply won't work as stepping on the wrong platforms can cause some parts of the castle to loop, so it's a matter of trial-and-error. It is also a matter of memorizing this path so that you don't have trouble if you decide to play the game later. The amusing part of the game takes place here. You see, the player has to defeat more than one Bowser only to be told by Mushroom Man (I don't know what his name is) that the princess is actually held captive in another castle.
One thing that I admired was the fact that there are alternate ways you can get through the game. Don't want to risk getting killed by Bowser? Simple, just hurl a fireball at him. Don't want to go to the castle at all? Enter warp pipes that take you to a different world. Happen to be running out of lives? Just bump into those “?” blocks along the way or, better still, find a bonus room that has coins galore. It is alright for anyone to avoid these shortcuts if they are playing the game for the first time.
Although the graphics look bad compared to today's standard, they were great at the time. The graphics in SMB are crisp and even better than other earlier platform games that had blocky graphics. Mario is drawn nicely, and you can even see his little mustache. And it is easy to memorize the Mario theme song while you are playing the game. Also, I love the sound that is played whenever you transform into Big Mario.
The BadI agree with other reviewers here. There should be a password that you can enter so that you don't have to start at the first level every time you run out of lives.