plucking up

Super Mario Bros. 2

Super Mario Bros. 2 (SMB2) is a platforming video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System video game console. It was released in North America in October 1988, in Europe on April 28, 1989 and in Japan on July 14, 1992. Also, the game was remade as part of the Super Mario All-Stars collection for the Super Nintendo, released on August 1, 1993 in North America, and December 16, 1993 in Europe. It was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console in Europe, Australia and New Zealand on May 25 2007, and in North America on July 2, 2007.

SMB2 did not begin life as a Mario title; instead, it is a remake of the Japanese Famicom Disk System title Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (DDP). Nintendo's own sequel to Super Mario Bros. was released in Japan as "Super Mario Bros. 2" in 1986. However, because of that game's extreme difficulty and its close similarity to the original game, Nintendo decided not to release it to the western world at that time, instead releasing DDP with Mario characters under the "Super Mario Bros. 2" label. Japan later saw the western SMB2 release in 1992 under the title of . The Japanese version was released to the rest of the world as "Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels" as part of the Super Mario All-Stars collection for the Super NES in 1993.

Because it was not originally a Mario title, this game differs greatly from the original Super Mario Bros. However, despite its status as the black sheep of the series, many elements from SMB2 have become part of the Mario series canon and the repertoire of recurring elements. The game also sold well in its own right and was critically acclaimed at the time.


Players choose from one of the four characters each time they start or restart a level: Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach. SMB2 is the only original Mario game, besides Super Paper Mario for the Wii where Princess Peach is not the damsel-in-distress. She was also the first playable female character in a Mario game. A unique ability in this game is the "power squat"; by holding Down on the control pad for a few seconds, player characters build power for higher jumps.

One of the game's most defining aspects is the ability to pluck vegetables from the ground to throw at enemies. Unlike the other Mario games, simply jumping on enemies does not accomplish anything, outside of making the player character stand on the enemy. However, enemies can also be picked up and thrown, as well as be ridden across dangerous terrain. Enemies in SMB2 reappear even after being "killed"--this was changed in one of the remade versions of the game. Many enemies which first appeared in this game, such as Shy Guy, would also appear in later sequels and related games. Like most 8-bit video games, the game has its share of occasional glitches. One glitch occasionally causes an enemy to spontaneously drop dead for no reason at all.

This is the first Mario game to make use of a life meter, which allows Mario and his friends to be hit as many as four times before dying. New power-ups and items also appear in this game, and SMB2 introduces the concept of doors to other rooms to the Mario series. Potions, which are pulled up from the ground like vegetables, can be dropped to make a door appear. This door leads to a non-scrolling, enemy-free, and unlit "mirror-image" version of the current screen (called Sub-Space) in which the plants contain coins--used to play the slot machine-like Bonus Chance minigame at the end of each stage--rather than vegetables when uprooted. Coins can only be collected on two visits to Sub-Space per stage; on subsequent visits pulling the plants will simply yield vegetables again. The Super Mushrooms which add units to the player's life meter are also found in Sub-Space, and unlike in most Mario games, these super mushrooms are stationary. Rising hearts appear after a certain number of enemies are defeated which can quickly recover a unit of depleted health to the life meter. Some vases become "warp zones" in Sub-Space, allowing the player to advance to another world (equivalent to the warp pipes in first SMB.) Players can only be in Sub-Space for a limited amount of time; while in Sub-Space, the game's music changes to a reprise of the SMB theme. 1-up mushrooms may also be incidentally obtained in normal game play while plucking up vegetables, though here they appear red instead of the usual green, and "1-up" is written on their caps. Stopwatches may be plucked from the ground which leave all the enemies suspended in time for a brief period.

There is far more beanstalk climbing in this game than in SMB. Additionally, new challenges are added such digging in sand for keys (guarded by a pursuing mask called "Phanto"), and bombing puzzles in which the player must drop bombs of a limited supply against multiple concrete barriers in order to complete a level. One level forces the selected character to ascend vertically on a series of successive flying carpets which disappear after a certain amount of time. Another requires the player to fall through a slot and then successfully avoid a series of randomly placed spikes. Yet another relies on the player's ingenuity to ride a flying egg across the sea.

Players may obtain a Starman for brief invincibility as they could in SMB, but in this game they must first collect a series of five cherries (although by using a Sub-space door, it is possible a player to "collect the same cherry twice.") The fire-flower is not available, but the POW block from the arcade game Mario Bros which destroyed all on-screen enemies in contact with the ground makes a reappearance. However, like all other weapons in SMB2, here it must be thrown, as opposed to hitting it from underneath as was done in Mario Bros. Some surfaces are guarded by electric sparks with faces, which seem to be derived from Mario's first adventure against Donkey Kong.''

Another aspect that differentiated this game from other Mario games is that there is no time limit within the stages, and no running score for that matter. In addition, this was the first Mario game where players are allowed to backtrack--in the original SMB, once the player had passed an area on screen, it could not be returned to.


Various Nintendo of America employees personally disliked the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, which they found to be frustratingly difficult. Believing such a game would likely sell poorly in the United States, they wanted to release a different sequel they thought would be friendlier to western audiences. Although Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic was originally set in a storybook and had an Arabian theme completely unrelated to Mario, it would be modified to use sprites and music that would fit with the series.

Comparison with Doki Doki Panic

Most of the differences between DDP and SMB2 are small graphical changes, such as animation being added to the POW blocks, bomb fuses, cherries, and vegetables for the SMB2 version, Super Mushrooms replacing large hearts as life-meter increases, and the characters shrinking when reduced to only one unit of health. DDP 's save feature was also taken out of SMB2, due to the limitations of the NES compared to the Famicom Disk System (battery back-up was also very expensive at that time).

Enhanced remakes

Super Mario All-Stars

SMB2 received a graphical, audio, and gameplay upgrade when it was re-released in Super Mario All-Stars for the Super NES.

Notable changes between the original NES version and the Super Mario All-Stars version include: In the NES version of SMB2, after losing their last life, the player can only continue twice, while in the Super Mario All-Stars version, a player can continue any number of times, because it's possible to continue from a saved game. In Super Mario All-Stars, the screen splits into two after the Title, Player Select, Bonus Chance, and Warp screens. In the Super Mario All-Stars version of the Bonus Chance game, the icons are bigger and the player can get up to 10 extra lives (as opposed to 5 in the NES version). In the NES version of SMB2, after the player selects a character, they must play as that character until the end of that level, while in Super Mario All-Stars, the player can select a character at the beginning of each level and after losing a life. When you warp to another world in the NES version, the screen changes abruptly (due to graphical restrictions), but in Super Mario All-Stars, the door to exit Subspace disappears and the screen blurs, fades to the next screen, and then refocuses. Super Mario Bros. USA, together with Super Mario Bros. 2, and its Super Mario All Stars counterpart reverts Birdo as Ostro, and Ostro as Birdo (This can be evidenced in the ending, where all characters appears). However, this was corrected in future versions of the games, like Super Mario Advance.

BS Super Mario USA

There was also a remake similar to the Super Mario All-Stars version for the Satellaview in 1997 titled BS Super Mario USA. The game was released in five parts (or chapters). Like most other games released for this peripheral, this one uses a "Live Voice" feature, in which a narrator occasionally appears to give some comments and hints. This feature, as well as the game's music, could only be heard during the Satellaview's broadcasting hours.

While the game itself is largely the same, there were some new and arranged content. For instance, there is now a score. Also, at first, only Mario is playable, and depending on the time, some specific event will trigger, including the possibility to play with the other characters. Another feature is the inclusion of gold statues (ten in total for each chapter), which are hidden in several locations (including Sub-Space) that grant the player an extra life and refills the life meter. After clearing a level, the player could press "Select" to see some statistics, such as statues, coins, cherries and mushrooms collected, as well as display which bosses were defeated.

Super Mario Advance

SMB2 received another enhanced remake as Super Mario Advance, the first Mario title for the Game Boy Advance, which also contained a remake of Mario Bros. This version was developed by Nintendo R&D2. It included several graphic and sound enhancements in the form of enlarged sprites, multiple hit combos, and digital voice acting. For the first time ever on Nintendo's part was a system devised to score this game. Two notable additions are the new character, Robirdo, a robotic Birdo who acts as the boss of the third world, and the Yoshi Challenge, which encourages players to revisit stages and search for Yoshi eggs.

Nintendo's decision to choose it as the Game Boy Advance launch game was seen by some as misguided; GameSpot in particular thought that Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World would have been a far better choice for a launch title considering their popularity. (Both of those titles would eventually be remade as part of the Advance series.) However, IGN praised the choice, calling it "one of the most polished and creative platformers of the era." Nonetheless, it was a best-selling launch game, showing that the game still appealed to Nintendo fans. Recently, the game has become part of the Player's Choice lineup for Game Boy Advance as one of the system's first 3 Player's Choice games (along with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Super Mario Advance 3).


Upon release, the game was highly successful, and currently stands as the third highest selling game ever released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, with over 10 million copies sold. Only the original Super Mario Bros, at 40 million, and Super Mario Brothers 3, at 18 million, sold more on the original NES.

Because SMB2 differed so much in the game mechanics and overall feel of the Mario series, some gamers and professional critics have come to regard SMB2 as the black sheep of the Mario games.

See also


External links

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