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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (40787)
Written on  :  Jul 11, 2010
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

6 out of 12 people found this review helpful

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The #1 game NES owners should play

The Good

I remember seeing Super Mario Bros. in a display store, and was amazed on how great it looked. When the game was released in 1985, the game sold 40,000 copies, making it the best selling game of all time. I knew that I couldn’t buy a copy myself since it was exclusive to the NES and I had a Commodore 64. Later on, I was able to buy a copy off someone carrying the same title, and I bragged about my finding in a grade five Show and Tell session, where one of my classmates debated me on the legitimacy of my purchase. Indeed, it was a carbon copy of The Great Giana Sisters with a Mario skin attached to it.

The story goes something like this: the Kingdom of the Mushroom People was invaded by the Koopa tribe led by Bowser who ordered that the people be turned into mere stones, bricks, and even field horse-hair plants, and soon after the Kingdom fell into ruin. Realizing that Princess Toadstool, the daughter of the Mushroom King, is the only one who can lift the curse, she is locked up inside one of Bowser’s fortresses, and it is up to Mario (or Luigi, if the game is set to two-player mode) to rescue her so that the Kingdom is restored to its former glory.

In Super Mario Bros., the object of each level is to run through all 32 levels in a limited amount of time, defeating Koopa’s henchman, while being careful not to fall down the screen. There are boxes with question marks on them, and hitting these boxes will award you with a coin. Collect 100 of these and you’ll receive an extra life. There are pipes you can go down that will lead to a bonus room, filled with coins that will help you reach that magic number. Touching a flagpole at the end of the level allows you to enter the next one.

What sets Super Mario Bros. apart is the way the central character can take three forms. You seem, 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. Not every box you see has a coin hidden inside, since there is a chance that you will find a mushroom. Getting this mushroom will transform into Big Mario. As Big Mario, you are given another chance if you are hit by an enemy. Assuming you are still Big Mario, you can find a flower that will turn you into Fire Mario, where you are given the ability to launch fireballs at enemies. This sets a precedence in Super Mario Bros. 3, where Mario can take many forms.

The settings for most of the levels varies. In the early levels, for instance, you climb up mountains. Later on, you go underground, and eventually, you get to swim underwater where you get to deal with underwater-based enemies, one of them the Super Mario Bros. equivalent of an octopus. In these underwater levels, having Fire Mario swim up to the surface and bounce a fireball onto an enemy on the other side of a wall is a stroke of genius. There is even a chance that some pipes scattered around each level lead you to another level with a different setting, and these are even worth going down if you are sick of the same setting.

The “real life” physics in the game are amazing. Run right for a long time and don’t expect to stop immediately. I have lost count on the number of times where I noticed the end of a platform while I was running. I slowed myself down, but I fell off anyway. In addition to this, if you want to perform a high jump, expect to get a running start first.

There are three soundtracks in the game, one for each setting. Of these, I enjoyed the underwater music as it is more relaxing than those you hear as you explore the mountains or venture underground, and the underwater music forms the basis for the theme in the US version of Super Mario Bros. 2. Regardless of the setting, each soundtrack increases in speed as you are running out of time.

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 100 times, 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.

Super Mario Bros. is more than just a platform game, and I say this because there are a little bit of thinking involved in working out how to complete the later levels. Case in point: the final two worlds where you need to make sure you step on the right platforms or go down specific pipes so that the level doesn’t loop. It is worth memorizing this path so that you don't have trouble if you decide to play the game later.

The Bad

I agree with other reviewers here. There is no password system, so Nintendo expects you to complete the game in one sitting

The Bottom Line

Super Mario Bros. served as a pack-in title for the NES, a smart move by Nintendo which contributed to its success. Pack-in titles are not possible today due to the high cost of putting machines together, and if companies included these pack-ins anyway, the machine would cost more than it should.

The game itself revolutionized platform gaming due to its crisp graphics, multiple paths, real-life physics, and support for two players. I agree that the game can be difficult since the player being forced to determine the correct path to take, especially in the later levels. So in conclusion, Super Mario Bros. is the game that NES owners should play, as it spawned a great series.