Written by  :  Lisa Müller (111)
Written on  :  Apr 02, 2018
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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If you don't like vegetables then you can throw them at enemies

The Good

This game has a bit of a history to it. Super Mario Bros. 2 was originally released as Doki Doki Panic in Japan. The original Super Mario Bros. 2 was only released in Japan and is internationally known as Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels. Nintendo back then thought that this game is too difficult for players in Europe and the US, so they changed Doki Doki Panic and turned it into a Mario game. Let's take a look to see if this still holds up like the Mario games.

This game actually has somewhat of story, if you can believe it. One day, our Italian plumber Mario had a strange dream, where he finds a door that transports him into a dreamworld called Subcon. In this world, the people of Subcon ask Mario for his help because they got cursed by a gigantic villainous frog known as Ward. Mario, of course the good guy that he is, decides to help the people of Subcon. Meanwhile, Luigi, Toad and princess Peach have a picnic and suddenly discover a cave that leads to the world of Subcon. The group decide to help the people and defeat Ward once and for all. I have to say, i am impressed that a Mario game has a story, although the story is just there. It's a Mario game, so what do you expect? So let's talk about the gameplay.

Super Mario Bros. 2 plays a lot differently from the first SMB. You still have the same controls like in the first game, but there are new mechanics in this game. You don't defeat enemies by jumping on them like in the first game. Instead, you can pick up enemies and throw them at other enemies, which is very useful for killing multiple enemies at the same time. Another thing is that if you hold down d-pad, the character blinks and he or she can jump higher.
Mario, Luigi, Toad and princess Peach have their own unique strengths. Mario is the allrounder in this team, but he doesn't have anything unique to him. Luigi can jump higher but his traction is really weak. Toad is the fastest one in the group and he can pick up vegetables and plants much faster. He is actually my favourite character in the game. Princess Peach is the slowest one in the group and i generally don't like playing with her, but she has the best ability. She can hover for a short period of time and it sometimes breaks the game because it takes away the challenge, but to me it wasn't really an issue.
There are other things you can collect. If you see a heart floating in the air, pick it up and get back your health. Yes, this game has a health bar. You can take hits up to four times if you collect the mushrooms in the bonus levels. These bonus levels are only accessible through a bottle which you can pick up from plants. The world turns black and the remaining plants turn into coins. These coins are used for the slot machine at the end of every level. Sometimes if you throw the bottle at the right place, you can discover a warp pipe which leads you to another world. Also there are doors in this game which lead to another area. Those doors are locked sometimes, so you have to search for a key to unlock them. If you have found the key, a mask will chase you until you use the key.
I like these new mechanics but there are a few problems which i address later.

The level design is much better than in the first game. Every world has its own theme, for example a desert world or an ice world. The characters and enemies are much more detailed and everything in the backgrounds moves, which makes the level design more fluid. The general look of this game is more appealing to me than the first game.

The soundtrack is just as catchy as in the first game. I really like the overworld theme, but not quite as much as the first game theme. The other tracks are good too, but very short.

The Bad

There are a few problems i have. If you hold down the b-button you can run, but the acceleration is a tiny bit too fast for me. If you aren't careful, you can fall down a pit.

Another problem is that most of the enemies you encounter don't do anything but walk or jump, which makes you think, why should i defeat those guys in the first place? Because of this, these are just boring and i wished they would at least attack you. Even the mask that follows you if you have a key is easy to dodge if you throw the key away.
The boss battles are the best thing when it comes to the enemies. There are different enemies, such as a mouse, who throws bombs at you, a three headed dragon who spits fire and Birdo, a transgender enemy who shoots eggs and later fireballs. Nintendo actually included a transgender in a Mario game. Birdo appears in a handful of Mario spin off games such as Mario Kart. The boss battle, as i said, is the best thing about the enemies but they are not very challenging either. Even the final boss, Ward, isn't really a challenge. He is pretty easy to beat because the machine which cursed the people of Subcon actually helps, which is really weird. An evil machine helps you in defeating his own master. Won't say no to that but still, what an odd machine.

The Bottom Line

Despite these problems it has, i still love this game. It's very different from the first game and it's a real breath of fresh air if you played it all these years later. If you are new to Mario games, you can play this to start with because it's not so challenging, unlike the first game, and you can get a feeling of what Mario games are about.

That's it folks, see you later.