Review by Psycho Penguin

"The most classic game ever, but is it fun?"

I had a difficult time rating this game at first. Should I rate it based on how it transformed the game industry, or should I rate it for what kind of game it is? I decided on the latter, which is why the game received only a 9. This is a good start to the classic series, but it is still flawed, easy, short, and has little replay value. But its still a classic game that you have to play, and if you haven't played it yet then what are you doing on a video games site?? Go to another non-gaming site, because you aren't a gamer if you haven't played the game that transformed the gaming industry from the rubbles of Atari and that huge video game crash in 1983.

I have played a lot of classic video games over the year, as evidenced by the extreme amount of reviews that I have done. Of all the classic video games that I have played in my lifetime, one really stands out as an all time great. This is the game that started the revolution of the video game industry from the ditzy days of the Atari 2600 (and its subsquent collapse) to the glory days of the early 90's.

In case you have not figured out what game I am referring to, the name of the game is Super Mario Brothers. Sound familar? It should. This is THE classic video game to end all classic video games. The game is rather simple, featuring standard side scrolling action that can be seen in a lot of other video games, but that is not the point. There would be no Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy 8 without this classic video game being released.

As you may expect, this game does not have much of a story, at all. If you follow the Mario series, you may know the basic story line to this game. You are Mario, a plumber. You have been thrsut into a magical world known as the Mushroom Kingdom, where you must save Princess Toadstool from the evil clutches of the evil Bowser. Yes, the story line has been done a million times over, but it was original for its time.

The graphics in the game are rather plain, but I am not one to complain about graphics to begin with. The first thing you have to remember is that this game was released in 1985, the year after a handsome young man named Steve McFadden was born. It was the first NES game released, so of course the graphics are going to be relatively simple. Of course, the graphics in the game are actually pretty good, as long as you don't start comparing it to the Super Nintendo update (featured in Super Mario All Stars)

I will talk about the backgrounds of the game first. The backgrounds in the game are not the best ever, but they are perfectly acceptable. The thing I like most about the backgrounds is the fact that they are so well varied. The backgrounds in the game consist of six basic designs: normal outside (blue screens with white clouds), outside with green platforms, outside with mushroom platforms (orange colored), the bridges, the dungeons (black with brue bricks), and Bowser's Dungeon (black with gray bricks)

The enemy designs in the game are solid, as I liked how there are a variety of enemies in the game. If you are a fan of the Mario series, you will recognize most of these enemies instantly. Enemies like Goombas and Koopas populate the world, although they do look rather plain. No big deal though, since they are so good. Character designs are solid and instantly recognizable. The whole look of the game is really good.

Overall, the graphics in the game are pretty good. Remember that this was the first NES game ever released, and you will like the graphics in this game. The backgrounds in the game are rather basic, but colorful and well varied. Enemy and character designs in the game are good, as well. This game was a good showcase for the power of the NES as a video game console.

The Atari 2600 was never exactly known to be a console capable of producing quality music, so one of the more important aspects of this game was the music. And the music in the game was pretty good. Most of the music from the other games in the series actually originated in the original game. For instance, the classic Mario stage theme has been remixed several times.

Speaking of the classic Mario theme, it is definitely one of the best and most recognized video game themes of all time, only rivaled by the likes of Zelda and Final Fantasy. It is a great theme that really sets the tone for the rest of the game. Speaking of the rest of the game, the music featured in this game is awesome and well varied. There are only a few main background themes in the game, but they all sound great.

The sound effects of the game could have been done a little bit better. They are definitely good considering this is the first game that featured ''real'' sound effects, however. The sounds that you will hear most are the sound of you gaining coins and items from the question mark boxes. Considering these are the only main sound effects you will hear during the game (besides the enemy dying), they are done really well.

Overall, the music and sound effects in the game are good, but they are certainly not perfect. The music in the game is classic and well done, as the music featured in the game seemed to fit the theme perfectly, which is always a good thing in my book. The sound effects are solid, although you will only hear a few.

Controlling Mario and Luigi during the game may seem easy and relatively uncomplicated at first, and for the most part it is. Not only is the game featured on a console with a controller with two buttons, it is also the FIRST game to be featured on the console. So, the game is bound to have simple controls, and it does. One button is jump, one button is to shoot your fireball, that’s it. Basic control like this is never a bad thing, so I like the control.

Now onto the actual portion of the game, the game play. When people say that Super Mario Brothers totally revitalized the video game market, they are 100 percent correct. Not only because the game sold well enough, but also because the actual game itself was very innovative and was far different from anything ever seen before when it was released.

Most of the video games released at the time (especially when it came to side scrolling action/adventure games) were relatively simple and basic games, featuring no stages or variety. Pitfall!, although being a true video game classic without a shadow of a doubt, is the perfect example of this. There had not been a game released featuring this much variety and depth before.

Then, along came Super Mario Brothers, the first game released on Nintendo’s first video game console. The game provided things that had never been seen before! First off, the game was divided into thirty-two stages, and eight worlds. Therefore, each world consisted of four stages. At the end of each stage, you had to scale this huge wall and land as high up on a flagpole as you possibly could. The higher you jump, the more points you get. Sadly, I have been able to completely jump over the flag, something my brother and I tried many times in our youth years.

The variety of stages in the game was outstanding. There were a few basic types of stages featured in the game. These ranged from running across a bridge while avoiding flying fish to swimming underwater while avoiding octopus-like creatures. I especially enjoyed Bowser’s mini dungeons (in the fourth and final stage of each world). Although they followed the same basic patterns, they were truly fun to play through.

Most of the game has you in this side scrolling action theme. The object of the game is to collect coins and items. You can collect items to gain special powers, and every 100 coins you earn you get an extra life. You can collect items from question mark boxes to gain special powers. Collecting a star enables you to become invincible and kill enemies by running through them, for example. Collecting mushrooms and fire flowers enable you to get hit without dying, and fire flowers allow you to kill your enemies by shooting fireballs at them.

There was one flawed aspect of the game that I did not like, and that was the fact that Bowser ended the world every time. Yes, at the end of each world you have to face Bowser and only Bowser, not one of his assistant friends or anything, just him, although you don’t kill him directly. Instead you have to find a way to get by him, jump on the axe, then watch as he falls in the lava. While it is cool that you have to find a different way to beat him every time, a little bit of variety would have been nice.

You will want to play this game a lot, especially if you have not already played it. The simple fact that this is the (arguably) most classic video game of all time would increase the replay value right there. But the game does not rely solely on the fact that it is classic, it just happens to be fun, as well. This is one of the better games released on the NES, in fact, so the replay value is high.

When you first turn on the game, you are probably expecting a relatively simple and unchallenging game, and for the most part it is somewhat easy. Throw in the warp zones and the game gets even easier. However, try to beat the game without using the various warp zones featured. You will notice that some of the stages can get to be quite challenging, especially later in the game.

This is THE classic game to end all classic games, but the game does not rest on its laurels as a classic game. In fact, the main reason you should play this game is because it is so much fun to play. If this game wasn’t so classic, I would have given it a 7 or 8, but since it revitalized the video game industry I am going to bump it up to a 9. This is simply a great game.

Good Points
-This game revolutionized the video game industry into the force it is today.
-The game was unique and unlike anything ever seen before.
-It is still fun as ever to play, even after all this time.
-Everything about the game is pretty good.

Bad Points
-The game is rather basic compared to some of the other games in the series.
-The graphics can appear plain at times.
-Disappointing ending, to say the least.
-You can probably beat it in five minutes using warp zones.

I Run Down the Ratings!
Story Line – 7.3/10
Graphics – 8.1/10
Music and Sound Effects – 9.2/10
Gameplay and Control – 8.8/10
Replay Value – A Little Above Average
Challenge – A Little Above Average
Overall – 9.3/10
The Last Line: Not quite good enough to get a 10, but it is simply classic gaming at its best.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/22/00, Updated 07/16/01


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