Description official descriptions
Mario and Luigi, the best plumbers in the world, have a real job on their hands. A host of characters have taken over the sewers, and the brothers must clear them out of the pipes.
The platform puzzle which first introduced Luigi to the world has both single and multiplayer action with two differing game types, but with the same objective. Crabs, turtles and fighter flies must be cleared out by jumping underneath the platform they sit on, then kicking them away. Each level is cleared when a set number of coins is collected.
For the two player mode, the first to collect the set amount of coins wins.
- Mario Brothers - alternate spelling
- マリオブラザーズ - Japanese spelling
Credits (Arcade version)
Average score: 66% (based on 36 ratings)
Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 219 ratings with 3 reviews)
Many kids who owned their first Nintendo console back in the day grew up playing Super Mario Bros., a platform game that was revolutionary in many ways, aptly named because it starred an Italian plumber named Mario and his sidekick brother Luigi. What they probably didn't know that the duo already featured in another game two years earlier. It was called Mario Bros., and it was right up there with the other games that had a simplistic plot released at the time.
You must get rid of creatures that emerge from the two pipes located at the top of the screen, and make their way down toward the bottom of the screen. This is done by bumping the platform they are on to flip them over, and then kicking them down to the bottom of the screen.
Shellcreepers, the first creature you deal with, are easiest to get rid of; but various enemies after that are either more difficult to kill or pose more of a threat if they are not dispose of quickly. Slipice, for instance, has the ability to turn platforms into ice which may cause Mario or Luigi to skid on them, possibly right into creatures that happen to be on the same platform as you.
As you progress through the game, the number of creatures increase and complications will arise. Perhaps you just flipped over a Shellcreeper and a Sidestepper on one of the left platforms and you want to knock then down into the sewer, but then you have to run away from the green whirly thing that suddenly appears and stops you from doing this. Once it's gone, the creatures flip over again before you have a chance to reach them.
That's where the blue POW block comes in. One hit of the block and creatures that are already on the screen flip over, and the other hazards disappear. Even better is the simultaneous two-player option, which was new to games at the time. One player controls Mario, while the other controls Luigi. Not only do the players help each other, but the POW block is not wasted and the level is finished quickly. Alternately, one player can make it hard for the other to succeed
There are some nice touches to the game. The blue splash of water that appears whenever a creature is knocked down to the bottom of the screen gives the impression that the game is set inside a New York sewer. I like how the player can distort the appearance of the platform just by bumping into them. I also like the simplistic controls where one button on the joypad does it all.
Mario Bros. can also be used as a “score attack” game, in that you see how much you can score in one game without running out of all your lives, then try to beat that previous score in the next game. I managed to get over 100,000 points, which is the highest score I got so far, and I got up to Phase 20 on top of it. It must have been all the popcorn I ate that night!
After 20,000 points, you are awarded one extra life and that's it.
The Bottom Line
Some reviews compare this game to Joust and I can understand why. The layout is the same, as well as the feature where enemies are incapacitated if they are bumped, and you have to make contact with said enemies to kill them. I am not a big fan of the game, as you are required to hit the flap key as fast as you can to deal damage with the ostrich, resulting in RSI at times. Mario Bros. makes my job easier.
The Nintendo Entertainment System may have been bundled with Super Mario Bros. to introduce its owners to true platform gaming. But if they want pure simplicity, then they can just get this game.
NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2015
Oh yes, now I remember. Last time I saw this game, it was called “Joust.” An undeniable classic, Joust serves as a blueprint for Mario Bros. (MB) to follow. Don't get me wrong—that's actually a good thing!
MB borrows the 2D, one-screen, two-player simultaneous action of Joust, but the eponymous brothers do not ride giant birds into battle. Instead, plumbers Mario and Luigi run and jump all over the sewer in what I guess you would now have to call the standard, Super Mario-esque platforming style. The graphics and sound are certainly not of Super Mario quality, but here the NES port is merely reproducing faithfully the original arcade game.
The list of minor variations on the original theme goes on: Joust's shrieking pterodactyls are replaced by balls of fire (or whatever the heck they are supposed to be) that sweep across one level of the screen at a time; the grabbing troll hands from the fiery depths below are replaced with the "freezing" enemies from above; and so forth. It's a pretty well-balanced design, reasonably challenging but not overly frustrating.
As I've already said, Joust is one of my all-time favorites, and so the fact that MB was obviously, shall we say, "inspired" by that earlier hit is a plus, not a minus, in my book.
No, the main problem with MB is that it seems shallow and limited compared to its vaunted descendant, Super Mario Bros. (SMB). And consciously or unconsciously, you can't help but compare. The fact is that most people have played SMB and its sequels, and so they will come to MB later on expecting something similar. However, it is almost inevitable that MB will disappoint. SMB totally broke the mold and shattered expectations about video games. MB was from that old mold, as becomes all too apparent as you play it. SMB plays fast with tight control; by comparison, the Mario and Luigi of MB seem slow to move and respond to your commands. You can adapt to it, but it just somehow never feels quite right.
Really, the only thing MB has that SMB doesn't is the simultaneous two-player option. Many people like myself are almost exclusively solo gamers, though, which relegates MB to more of a collector's item than a game we'll actually play very often.
The Bottom Line
I would call Mario Bros. a "semi-classic." It's worth playing just for its historical importance as the missing link between Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. But unless this happens to have been the favorite game of your youth, I doubt you’ll play it very much.
NES · by PCGamer77 (3159) · 2004
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.
NES · by BigJKO (64) · 2005
|About the PC-88/ Apple ports||Trypticon (11013)||Apr 5th, 2011|
This game marks the first appearance of Mario's brother, Luigi.
Related Sites +
The Many Faces of . . . Mario Bros.
A little bit of Mario Bros history and comparative reviews of the game on different platforms.
- MobyGames ID: 7301
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Kartanym.
Wii U, Nintendo 3DS added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. Wii added by Guy Chapman. Atari 7800 added by RKL. PC-8000 added by Alaka. Arcade added by The cranky hermit. Amstrad CPC, Atari 2600, Commodore 64, Atari 5200, ZX Spectrum, Atari 8-bit added by Servo.
Game added September 28th, 2002. Last modified September 2nd, 2023.