Mario Bros. is the first in a long line of Mario Bros. titles, although its differences from the later games are significant.
Comparison to other Mario Games
Mario Bros. Firsts
Mario - initially called Jumpman - was introduced in Nintendo's first Donkey Kong video game. There, his only offensive ability was the hammer which, like Pac-Man's power pellets, were limited in number and duration. Here, Mario has an ongoing offensive power, one that he would use throughout the sequels, that of jumping under a thing that is standing on a ledge above. While this is usually an optional attack in the later games, for Mario Bros. it's vital for finishing a given stage. Punching underneath a monster flips it over or changes its color (in lieu of flipping it over). Only when upside down is a monster safe to touch. Should Mario touch a monster, he actually boots it into the water at the bottom of the screen, scoring points and defeating the enemy. Other firsts which would find their way into later Mario Bros. titles:
- This game was the first appearance of the iconic turtle enemy called the Shell Creeper, later dubbed the Koopa Troopa. Mario could not, however, jump on their backs as he could later, even though the Shell Creepers and Koopa Troopas look nearly identical.
- Shining sewer pipes, too, made their first appearance. This time they serve as monster dispensers, and reminders that game takes place in a sewer.
- Many things fall into the sewers, including baby turtles which grow up to be Shell Creepers, but another iconic thing that might get lost in a storm drain is a coin. Thus, coins are brought in as extra scoring items every time an enemy is killed. If Mario picks them up before they reach the bottom of the screen, the player gets extra points.
- The POW block, used to flip all the monsters over who are currently standing on a surface, is later employed in other Super Mario games (though its "zapper-like" abilities are changed).
- Fireballs also make an appearance, looking a bit more like the fireballs Mario and Luigi throw when they've picked up a flower in Super Mario Bros., but fireballs in this game are enemies.
- And last, but not least, the simultaneous two-player mode introduces Luigi, a swapped-palette Mario.
Elements Unique to Mario Bros.
Many elements in Mario Bros. did not get picked up for later installments of the Mario Bros. series. Other enemies, such as the hopping Fighter Flies, ice-patch creating Slipice blobs, and crabby Sidesteppers are seen nowhere else. Neither is the complex punching-under-then-hopping-up-to-kill-the-monster mechanic, although there are certain situations in later games where this is a viable tactic. Touching an enemy when it isn't supine brings instant death, and possibly the most notable difference is that the game is largely defensive. In Donkey Kong before it, and all Super Mario games after, Mario as a player character is largely the mover, moving the game from scene to scene. Here Mario and Luigi defend territory until they win - the scenery eventually changes, but only slightly.