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Mario is Missing (NES, SNES, PC) - a once in a lifetime (hopefully) edutainment journey
- Written by Luke Hackett
Platform: Personal computer
Developed by The Software Toolworks
Published by Mindscape
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Developed by Mindscape
Published by Nintendo
Platform: Super Nintendo (SNES)
Developed by Software Toolworks
Published by Mindscape
on Buy Mario is Missing on
Quick links: Overview / Story / Gameplay / Locations / Videos: Trailers, Commercials & Gameplay / Reception & Sales / References to other Mario games / Trivia & Facts / Reference & Information / Media & Downloads
Mario is Missing! is an educational
video game developed and produced for multiple systems and platforms (PC,
and SNES). The PC and SNES versions of the game were released in 1992, and they
were made by Software Toolworks, while the NES version of the game was released
in 1993, and it was developed by
Radical Entertainment. A French software
Mindscape published the first two versions of the game and
the NES version was published by
Nintendo. It should also be noted that the PC
version of the game was released on a floppy disk, and that there was also a
CD-ROM Deluxe version, that came in a form of a CD (it was released the
This is a geography-learning game and also the first game where Luigi became a starring character (yay!). However, based on the overall reception from the players, the critics and the gaming community in general, this was a very bad debut for Mario’s brother and side-kick. Despite the fact that some elements from the widely popular installments (Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World) were present in this game, it failed to attract many players and its gameplay was widely slammed by both the gamers and the critics. The only things that stood out are the remixes of the popular themes from Super Mario World, and they received mostly positive comments from the whole community in general. However, it was not enough for this title to escape the label of a huge failure on almost every possible level.
A two page fold out advertising
the SNES version of Mario is Missing.
The usual antagonist Bowser returns
to this game as well and, again, he is up to no good! This time he wants to
flood the entire Earth by melting the Antarctica with hairdryers from Hafta
Havit Mail-Order. In order to buy the hairdryers, he sends his minions (Koopa
Troopas) to steal various notable landmarks scattered around the globe, so that
he could sell them and get the needed amount of money.
Mario, Luigi and Yoshi learn about his intentions and travel all the way to Antarctica to stop him, but then things start going in the wrong direction. Bowser manages to capture Mario! There are differences in the way the Mario is captured in each of the 3 versions of the game, and we will now describe each of them. In the PC version of the game, Luigi is too scared and refuses to go inside the castle, so Mario enters it alone. Luigi warns Mario and tells him that he shouldn’t take candies from strangers, but he doesn’t want to listen and takes the candy that is offered to him by a butler (Bowser in disguise), only to be scooped up in the net. In the SNES version, as soon as Mario, Luigi and Yoshi reach the castle, a pit opens beneath them and “swallows” Mario. In the NES version, Mario is captured in a bag that is thrown at him by the Koopa.
As his brother is captured, it is up to Luigi to recover the stolen artifacts and save Mario. Before the game begins, he enters the castle, leaving Yoshi behind him.
Check out the official story overview from the manual below:-
Oh no! Bowser and his bad boys are back to a life of crime. This time, it's not Mario World -- it's your world! From his Antarctic castle, Bowser hustles his cold-blooded crew of cantankerous Koopas into his powerful Passcode Operated Remote Transport And Larceny System (PORTALS). The twisted turtles transport themselves throughout the globe, where celebrated cities suffer shocking crime waves, as turtles trash landmarks and loot ancient artefacts. With dough from his slimy sales, Bowser hoards hair dryers from the Hafta- Havit Hotline. His plot? Melt Antarctica and flood the planet! Whoa!
Will the brave brothers from Brooklyn permit this abominable snow plan? The boys say "Not!" Mario, Luigi and Yoshi trek across ice and snow to shellac the shelled ones' schemes. But Bowser's slick; in one last trick, he takes the dearest thing of all.. Mario is Missing!
Luigi must stop the Koopas, foil Bowser's plan, and find Mario. Sneaking into each Portal, Luigi is transported to a city in trouble. There, Luigi needs to nab each Koopa, grab its loot, and return the artefact to its proper landmark. Along the way, Luigi explores the city, chats with the locals, reads the maps, and solves puzzles. Help him do this before time runs out! Once he figures out where he is on the globe, Luigi must use the "Globulator" to call Yoshi. Only after Yoshi scares Pokey away, can Luigi return to Bowser's castle and lock the Portal for that city.
The deluxe version of Mario's kidnap.
This game has a slightly different
gameplay than the usual games from the Mario franchise (well, it is an
educational game after all). In order to make your life easier, this section
will describe what kind of experience you may get while playing the game…
As it was already mentioned, Luigi is the lead character of the game so, obviously, he is the character you are controlling here. In order to beat the level, you need to retrieve several stolen artifacts in each of them, and return them to their rightful places. In order to do so, you will have to confront Bowser’s minions who stole them. You have to beat them in a standard way that is familiar and that is commonly used in the platform games of the franchise – you need to stomp on them. After you do so, and before the artifacts are properly put to their corresponding places, you need to take the quiz and answer several trivia questions about the landmarks themselves. Some people claim that a woman who asks you those questions, and who appears in the kiosks in the SNES version of the game is Princess Daisy herself. However, this is not a confirmed appearance.
The PC version of the game has a videophone aspect added to the gameplay, and you need to call the help number to be in touch with his friends, answer the questions, retrieve the artifact, and receive a money award. The mayor of the city contacts Luigi as soon as he arrives, and asks him to stop Bowser’s minions. He also contacts him when Luigi manages to save the city, in order to thank him and wish him good luck in finding his brother. Mario also phones Luigi, giving him various hints about his journey, the Koopas and his own status as well. The PC version also has a Taxi feature in it. You need to collect the taxi coins scattered across the city, and then exchange them for drive-troughs across the town. The SNES version doesn’t have a Taxi feature, but it has elevator-pipes as a method of faster transportation instead.
Retrieving the artifacts is not the only objective in the game. You also need to find out in which city you are located, in order to use the Globulator and call Yoshi to help you on your journey. You cannot beat the level without Yoshi, since the last elevator-pipe has a large Pokey who is guarding it. Yoshi goes to gobble him up in the PC version of the game, while he gets merely scared by Yoshi’s presence in the SNES version of the game.
The map as it appears when viewed
through the Globulator on the SNES version. Look familiar? It's in the exact
same style as the Super Mario World map!
As soon as you secure all the cities whose doors are located on a certain floor of the castle, you need to get a Fire Flower power-up, while in the SNES version of the game there is a small boss fight instead. The main thing, though, is that none of the bosses can hurt you, and you can easily beat them by stomping on them several times (this applies to both the NES and the SNES versions of the game). The console versions of the game are also different in a way that the Koopa Troopas are not beated when they are knocked out, but when they are soundly stomped on.
After the original PC version of the game, an enhanced version of the game (CD-Rom Deluxe) was also released. It had voice acting added on, just like the dialogues (not all of the text was synchronized with the audio though). There are voice actors as well, and they are: Kathy Fitzgerald, Bob Sorenson, Rob Wallace, David Giller and Nicholas Glaeser. It is not known which of these actors had which roles though. There are some graphical modifications in this version of the game as well, such as the loading screens when the screen is black and, also, the icons of Toad, Donkey Kong and Princess Peach replace a phone call NPC (although the dialogue from the previous version remain unscratched). Each of the historical spots in the game was originally recreated and shown in garish coloring mode. This version also replaces most of these pictures with real photographic images and even some video sequences that represent the landmarks (there are some exceptions carried over from the previous version of the game though).
As this is a game where the player
gets to learn some geography, it is only logical that there are various
real-life locations in it. On this place you can take a look at the list of all
the game’s locations and, as they are different in all 3 versions of it, this
section will be divided in 3 parts, covering the locations from each of them
Rome, Italy (Europe) 1 floor, 1st door
Nairobi, Kenya (Africa) 1 floor, 2nd door
Beijing, China (Asia) 1 floor, 3rd door
Moscow, Russia (Europe) 1 floor, 4th door
San Francisco, United States (North America) 1st floor, 5th door
Athens, Greece (Europe) 2nd floor, 1st door
Madrid, Spain (Europe) 2nd floor, 2nd door
Marrakech, Morocco (Africa) 2nd floor, 3rd door
Mexico City, Mexico (North America) 2nd floor, 4th door
Paris, France (Europe) 2nd floor, 5th door
Berlin, Germany (Europe) 3rd floor, 1st door
Buenos Aires, Argentina (South America) 3rd floor, 2nd door
Dublin, Ireland (Europe) 3rd floor, 3rd door
Kathmandu, Nepal (Asia) 3rd floor, 4th door
Sydney, Australia (Oceania) 3rd floor, 5th door
Amsterdam, Netherlands (Europe) 4th floor, 1st door
Bombay, India (Asia) 4th floor, 2nd door
Cairo, Egypt (Africa) 4th floor, 3rd door
Tokyo, Japan (Asia) 4th Floor, 4th door
Toronto, Canada (North America) 4th floor, 5th door
Istanbul, Turkey (Europe), 5th floor, 1st door
Jerusalem, Israel (Asia) 5th floor, 2nd door
London, United Kingdom (Europe) 5th floor, 3rd door
New York City, United States (North America) 5th floor, 4th door
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (South America) 5th floor, 5th door
San Francisco, California, USA (North America)
Moscow, Russia (Europe)
Nairobi, Kenya (Africa)
Beijing, China (Asia)
Rome, Italy (Europe)
Paris, France (Europe)
Mexico City, Mexico (North America)
Sydney, Australia (Oceania)
Buenos Aires, Argentina (South America)
Athens, Greece (Europe)
London, United Kingdom (Europe)
Cairo, Egypt (Africa)
Tokyo, Japan (Asia)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (South America)
New York City, New York, USA (North America)
New York City, New York (United States)
San Francisco, California (United States)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Mexico City, Mexico
Our full playthrough of the SNES version, starting with the intro cinematic.
The ending for the PC version *spoiler alert* ;-)
As we already mentioned, the game has
received mostly negative reception from the entire gaming community and it is
considered as one of the worst Mario games of all time (it can be found on
almost every top-list of worst Mario games ever, no matter if they are made by
the critics or the players). Most people’s comments were that the game was “not
fun”, “confusing”, “unbalanced”, “pointless” and “awful”. The gameplay suffered
the worst critics and many authors, in general, stated that, while being
educational doesn’t mean it is not fun, this game fails to deliver any
entertainment whatsoever. They also generally state that it has confusing
mechanics, that the gameplay is completely bland and that players (hardcore
Mario fans included) should avoid the game. They praise the music though - the
remixes of music themes from Super Mario World, that were used in this game, got
high credits for the most part, and they were considered as the best aspect of
the whole game.
Many popular gaming websites didn’t even bother to write a full review about this game. IGN doesn’t have any actual review, although the game was rated with 5,9/10 from the readers of the website. The same applies to GameSpot. No editor from the particular website wrote a review about this game, however users’ reviews are accessible. Even though one could find some positive reviews as well, extremely negative ones are much more likely to be found. An editor from Classic Game Room was throwing various sarcastic remarks during the video review of the game, such as: “Mario is Missing………man, good for him” and “Sometimes you can guess where you are just by listening to the horrible renditions of Mario music adapted to each location ”. He also added that “this game is sooooo boring” and that “it just might eat your soul”. His conclusion was: “Mario is missing because this game is awful…..man, poor Luigi”.
Meanwhile our own user reviews were equally punishing with Javeman scoring the NES version 1/10 and quoting "The Mario saga hit rock bottom with this game", whilst David Guzman called it "simple and dull" with small redemption coming from the classic Mario series control style and final score of 4/10. And the SNES version didn't get off any better landing a 3 out of 10 from Mike Spags and 4 out of 10 from XCommander.
In its August 1993 press release,
Software Toolworks announced that the sales of the console versions of the game
(both the NES and the SNES versions) exceeded $ 7 000 000 for the fiscal quarter
and that the game was an important factor in boosting the company’s revenues.
Even though it is a very unpopular title, it still has some references to other games in the franchise. Namely…….
Super Mario Bros. – Koopa Troopas from the PC version of this game are very similar to the Koopa Troopas in the original game. The only difference is the way they move (in the original game they just walk around back and forth, and in this game they use various methods of transportation, like skateboarding and parachuting for example
Super Mario Bros. 3 – Similar sprites of the game appear in this title
Super Mario World – Almost identical sprites from this game appear in this release and some musical themes are mutual for both games.
One of the first educational or "Edutainment" titles
Intended to teach basic Geography
In a rare turn of events Mario is captured by Bowser!
Impossible to die
Set in the real world instead of the Mushroom Kingdom etc
This game was released on the NES, SNES and PC for MS-DOS.
Throughout all the three released versions of the game each Koopa Kid is featured somewhere with the exception of Morton and Lemmy.
Throughout the version of the game for MS-DOS Mario is referred to as "M" by Luigi