bshirk's Super Mario Bros. 2 (Nintendo Entertainment System) review

Is this really Mario?

Super Mario Bros. 2 is a simpler game than The Lost Levels (the true sequel to Super Mario Bros.)--but it takes the series in a completely different direction.  There's a reason for that, and it's not because Miyamoto was on acid.  Rather, Super Mario Bros. 2 was based on an entirely different game called, Doki Doki Panic.  Nintendo liked the concept behind the game, and decided to do a character swap.  Instead of the Lost Levels, we got this retooled version of Doki Doki Panic in the U.S.  Does it feel like Mario?  Not really, but it's a lot of fun.

In Super Mario Bros. 2, you don't jump on enemies--instead, you pick up vegetables and hurl them at your foes.  The whole adventure takes place in a dream world, and you're able to pick between four different characters that later became name stays of the Mario universe.  These characters are: Mario, Luigi, Princess, and Toad.  They all function a bit differently: Mario runs and jumps at an average speed and height, Luigi runs like Slippery Pete, but he can jump like Mike, Toad can out run Sonic, and Princess Toadstool can glide.  Each character performs better during different situations, but I found them all fun to control.

Mario 2 also introduces many new enemies that would appear in later Mario games, like Mario RPG.  Enemies like Shy Guy and gender-confused Birdo were first introduced in Mario 2.  You'll also notice that the usual culprit behind the kidnapping of Princess Toadstool is absent from this game.  Instead, you get to fight his amphibian buddy, Wart.  Wart doesn't seem to want anything from you other than vegetables, so it's nice that you don't have to surrender the princess for once.

So, is Super Mario Bros. 2 as fun as the other games in the series?  That's all a matter-of-opinion, but personally, I prefer the other Mario games.  Still, I'm glad that Nintendo tried something different, instead of simply giving us a harder Super Mario Bros.  Mario 2 is a bit challenging, but it's a platformer that still holds up well in this era of 10,000 BTU consoles.
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