"A polished version of Super Mario Bros. 2 is now portable"

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe was the first Mario game to go portable. The GameBoy Advance is widely known for making old classics playable on the go. Super Mario Advance was the first but more would soon follow and not necessarily from Nintendo. Super Mario Bros. 2 was a good, but underrated game for the NES. Super Mario Bros. 2 is actually a good deal different from the original Super Mario Bros. I actually think Super Mario Bros. 2 was slightly more fun as Super Mario Bros. but it didn't quite have that classic Mario feel. It didn't matter a whole lot in the end because Super Mario Bros. 3 blows them both out of the water. The story of this game starts out as.. well not in Mushroom Kingdom. That's right, Mario is in a whole new world in this game! Mario is transported to this new world while he is taking a nap. I guess even heroes need their naps. Anyways, it turns out this new world is being plagued by a sinister new foe that isn't Bowser. His name is Wart and his main crony (Who actually becomes famous in later Mario games) is none other than Birdo. I will commend this game for adding a whole new unique atmosphere to Mario games. Alas, without Bowser, the game feels a little strange but this is compensated for quite nicely.

Mario is not alone in his quest. He's joined by Luigi, Toadstool and even Toad! That's right, you have the option of selecting from up to four different characters. I can assure you that this is certainly awesome. Mario is kind of the basic character with standard jumps and grabs. Luigi is a little more slippery in his movements but he can jump really high. Toad cannot jump that well but he can pull vegetables out very quickly. Lastly is Princess Peach Toadstool. She is, in my opinion, the best character. She has the unique and awesome ability to float in the air for several seconds. It really is quite cool. Super Mario Bros. 2 really destroys Super Mario Bros. in the level compartment. There is a much more diverse array of scenery to explore and in addition to this you can climb vines and pick up little green bushes sticking out of the ground. This feature actually proves to be quite valuable because there are many little goodies you can pull from these bushes. You can get items like the stopwatch which freeze all enemies for a short period of time or you can pick up a lot of vegetables which you can throw at the enemies to kill them. That's… certainly interesting. But be warned – you may also sometimes pick up enemies and they will hurt you. But on a brighter note, you can jump on enemies and pick them up.

Speaking of health, I'm sure you're wondering how health is determined in this game. Yeah, it is a little different from Super Mario Bros. Life in this game, like many other games, is determined by hearts. The more hearts you have, the more damage you can take. Not a particularly hard concept. Battling enemies, specifically bosses are quite intense in this game. For example, let's take Birdo. Birdo is some weird pink chicken thing that will shoot eggs at you from it's cannon-shaped snout. When this happens, you actually have to jump on the launched egg, pick it up and hurl it back at Birdo. This is certainly more fun than the combat in Super Mario Bros. This game unfortunately doesn't really feature mushrooms, fireflowers or capes. That's why this game has a different feel than many other Mario games. The items you get are what you pluck. You might pluck a POW block though and wipe out all the foes on the screen. That's always fun.

Graphically the game is quite nice although in the actual NES version it wasn't nearly as good as it is now. I suppose the reason why I gave SMB2 an 8/10 for the NES and a 9/10 for the GBA is the noticeable increase in graphical quality. However, despite the seemingly vast array of different sceneries, once you've seen one, you've really seen it all. All the caves look the same and all the dungeon areas looks the same. Also, the soundtrack is horrible. There is little classic Mario in it and it the soundtrack is extremely repetitive, irritating as hell clashes that sound like an orc playing the cymbals.

I do feel like Super Mario Bros. 2 is a good game. It often gets overlooked by Super Mario Bros. 3 because… well, it's Super Mario Bros. 3. The main problem is of course the soundtrack but thinking back, Mario games are never really known for outstanding soundtracks. I think the game play is nice because it's different but it isn't something I would want to see in future Mario games. Alas, I am glad that Super Mario Bros. 3 reverted to the original Super Mario Bros. Plucking vegetables is certainly a strange new idea but it worked even though it got old at the end. Between having the ability to choose between Mario, Luigi, Toadstool and Toad, having the treat of riding a magic carpet and being able to throw vegetables at enemies, this game is definitely one for the books. This game was the really the game on the GBA to jumpstart future remakes of many other NES/SNES games. This game should be commended for that.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/06/06

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