With this game, I’ve completed every NES Mario platform…oh wait, there’s still that fake Super Mario World for NES out there…maybe someday I’ll take an eye on it…
Super Mario Bros. 2, later released in Japan as Super Mario USA, is a platform game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System as a sequel to the 1985 game Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2 initially started out as a demo for a vertically scrolling, two-player, cooperative-action game that was scrapped. The reasons included the technical limitations of the NES hardware making it difficult to produce a polished game featuring a vertical orientation and multiplayer features conceived for the project. It was decided to add more Mario-like elements, such as horizontal levels (though many vertically-oriented levels were retained in the final project). Since the game had gone through some development, Nintendo created the game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic for the Family Computer Disk System during its agreement with the Fuji Television company. The game was changed in order to fit with the theme of the mascots of the company and their adventure.
After Nintendo of America had concluded that the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was too difficult, Nintendo redeveloped Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic into Super Mario Bros. 2 for the international market outside of Japan. The game became a commercial success, and eventually the game became well received enough that it was also released in Japan as well. After performing successful sales, Super Mario Bros. 2 has since been considered a classic Super Mario Bros. game around the world (including Japan), and has since been released in many remakes including to being one of the Mario games featured in Super Mario All-Stars, and as well as having its own remake in Super Mario Advance.
Super Mario Bros. 2 is set in the dream-land known as Subcon. Mario’s task is to free Subcon from Wart, the game’s final boss.
The game is a side-scrolling platform game. At the beginning of each stage, the player is given a choice of four protagonists to control: Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool. Each character has different strengths: Mario runs faster; Luigi can jump the highest of the four; Toad can run and pluck vegetables the fastest but is the poorest jumper; and Peach can jump the farthest, due to her ability to hover for a short time, though she is the slowest runner and slowest at plucking items from the ground. All characters have the ability to increase the height of their jump by ducking briefly before they jump.
Unlike the previous and following Mario games, no enemies can be defeated by jumping on them. Instead, the player character must throw objects at enemies, such as vegetables plucked from the ground. Certain opponents can be picked up and thrown as well, and several levels feature blocks marked with the word “POW”, which when picked up and thrown kill all the enemies on screen at impact, similar to the one in Mario Bros.
The game features a life meter, a then-unusual feature in the series. The player begins each stage with two points of health, represented by red hexagons (in remakes, they are shaped like hearts), and can increase the number of health points in the meter by collecting mushrooms. Health can be replenished by floating hearts, which appear after a certain number of opponents have been defeated. The invincibility star from the previous game appears, with a player needing to collect five pairs of cherries to acquire it.
Each stage contains one or more hidden flasks of potion. When plucked and thrown, a potion creates a door to Sub-Space, an alternate world in which coins are collected instead of vegetables when plucked. The mushrooms used to increase the health meter can also be found here. The player automatically leaves Sub-Space after a short time. The coins collected are used in a slot machine mini-game played between stages. This mini-game is the chief means of obtaining additional lives. In addition to the mushrooms and slot machine coins, several Sub-Spaces are also used as warp zones; these involve the use of vases as pipes.
Super Mario Bros. 2 sold ten million copies, and was the third highest-selling game ever released on the Nintendo Entertainment System at that time. Nintendo Power listed Super Mario Bros. 2 as the eighth best Nintendo Entertainment System video game, mentioning that in spite of not being originally a Mario game, it was able to stand on its own merits and its unique takes on the series’ trademark format. Super Mario Bros. 2 was ranked 108th out of 200 of the “Greatest Games of Their Time” by Electronic Gaming Monthly.