Super Mario Bros. 2

aka: Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
Moby ID: 27861
NES Specs
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Description official descriptions

The Princess has been kidnapped by King Koopa (again) and it's up to Mario and Luigi to save her (again). Not to be confused with the western Super Mario Bros. 2, this sequel to Super Mario Bros. is very much an expansion to the original, with many reused graphics and concepts, though new ones are also present.

Instead of offering a two-player mode as in the original, this game allows you to choose between a Mario mode and a Luigi mode, with each character handling differently. Mario has tighter ground control, while Luigi has greater jumping capabilities.

Power-ups remain the same: Super Mushrooms grow a brother from small to Super size, Fire Flowers give them the ability to throw fireballs at enemies, Starman makes a character temporarily invincible, and a 1-Up Mushroom will give one more life. New to this game is a power-down, a Poison Mushroom which will harm you as if it were an enemy.

The goal is still to survive from the left side of the level to the right, avoiding perils and bopping enemies along the way, progressing through a series of 8 worlds with 4 levels each. That is, unless a warp zone is found allowing areas to be skipped. There are new tricks that work for and against the player, though. Some piranha plants will come out of their pipe even if you're standing right next to them, and bloobers now appear outside of the water. Wind can be present to alter how jumps will behave. Some warp zones will actually take the player to an earlier level instead of to a later one.


  • スーパーマリオブラザーズ2 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (NES version)

6 People

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Average score: 80% (based on 16 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 78 ratings with 1 reviews)

The real sequel to Super Mario denied to American audiences

The Good
Back in 1985, Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. (SMB) took the world by storm and its success meant that a sequel was inevitable. That came three years later, with the release of Super Mario Bros. 2, and it was totally different from the first game. That’s okay, though, sequels to other franchises were around that time different from their predecessors (Zelda and Castlevania come to mind). Mario fans believed picking vegetables from the ground and hurling them at enemies would become the norm after that, but then Super Mario Bros. 3 came out in the early Nineties, and it returned to the original mechanics that made the first game great. So what happened?

One of the playtesters for Nintendo of America thought that the actual sequel – released in Japan, and only for the Famicom Disk System – would be deemed too difficult for Western audiences. And so, what Nintendo did was take Yume Kōjō: Dokidoki Panic, which was an easier game, and replaced all four characters with those that already featured in the first Super Mario Bros.

The mechanics of Super Mario Bros. 2 are basically the same as SMB. You have three lives to get through the game, with more lives awarded for every one hundred coins you collect. There are both overworld and underworld stages, but only a handful of stages take place underwater. The background music that serves these stages is the same. But the similarities stop there.

The first difference is noticeable right from the title screen. Gone is the option of playing a two-player game. In its place is an option to play Luigi. NES owners who already played Super Mario Bros. know what Mario’s strengths and weaknesses are. Luigi, on the other hand, has the ability to jump higher than Mario but has poor traction; once he performs a dash, it’s a lot harder to get him to stop. It would have been nice to have a Luigi 2-player feature, where one player controls Mario while another controls Luigi, but I suppose that Nintendo was running out of disk space due to the many features they wanted to cram in.

The second difference is the rather difficult nature of the game; the stages are much longer, there are more Goombas and Koopas than ever before, and hazards such as wind and poisonous mushrooms make things even harder. There are still eight worlds with four stages to complete, but once you get through these, the ending is more than satisfying; and to prove that you got through it all, a star is added to the title screen. Get eight of these stars, and you will proceed to the hidden worlds (marked A to D). Although you may get sick of completing the game over and over again, you will know each stage by heart. The wind mentioned earlier can actually be used to help you get onto platforms that can’t normally be reached even if you perform a dash-jump.

On some levels, there are even warp pipes that actually take you back to previous areas rather than future ones. More often than not, they are found past the exit, but lookie-loos are discouraged from using these since it means you don’t go to the bonus world (World 9) if you make use of these warp pipes. And once you find these pipes, you cannot go back. Even if you do play through World 9, you only have one life to get through it, although it is possible to get a ton of extra lives. If you do lose that one life, you are treated with a special game over screen, telling you that you’re a “super hero”.

Nintendo knew there were some players out there that wanted to beat the game, even if it meant running out of lives on the first try. Having said that, they were generous enough to include a continue option on the game over screen. I don’t know how many continues you have or where you continue from, but I noticed there is a bit of disk activity after you conquer World 4, and again after having a star added to the title screen.

The Bad
There is nothing bad about this game.

The Bottom Line
Super Mario Bros. 2 (dubbed Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels) is essentially the same as its predecessor, but it was very difficult that this version was denied to Westerners for so many years, and the version included in Super Mario All-Stars is scaled down. It wasn't until the 2010's that the unedited form made its way to the Virtual Console. If you want the real deal, you should import the game from Japan and hunt down a Famicom Disk System.

NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43091) · 2021


1001 Video Games

The NES version of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Release history

Because the game is much harder than the original Super Mario Bros., Nintendo decided not to release this title in the US and Europe. Instead they changed the graphics of Yume Kōjō: Dokidoki Panic and released it as Super Mario Bros. 2 in the west.

Super Mario All-Stars version

The NES version was originally only released in Japan. However, this game was released in the US as part of Super Mario All-Stars.

Information also contributed by VVP


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Joshua J. Slone.

Nintendo 3DS, Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Wii added by gamewarrior.

Additional contributors: chirinea, Sciere, gamewarrior, LepricahnsGold, FatherJack.

Game added May 1, 2007. Last modified January 12, 2024.