Super Mario Brothers 2 isn’t the “real” Super Mario Brothers 2- technically; it’s really a derived game from the little-known Japanese game Doki Doki Panic.
If my sources are correct, Doki Doki Panic actually was a game with little Arabian Nights dudes going through the worlds to defeat the evil Dream King, or something of that sort. SMB 2 in Japan is our Lost Levels. Yes, SMB 2 US is like the half brother of the rest of the series- it isn’t the same type of game as the rest of the series, but it features the same characters.
I’ll get a little more into the whole DDP/SMB 2 conflict later. So will I ever get to the review? Who does Luigi remind you of? Is Toad really Mini-Me wearing a mushroom hat? ONTO THE REVIEW!!!
GRAPHICS: Much improved over the original Mario game. The colors are much more lively, and the characters and enemies have much more movement. Each stage has a lot of variation with brand new enemies and bosses, all of them never-before-seen. The main baddies in the game, known as Shy Guys, make many cameos in later Mario games, like SMRPG and SM64. There is slowdown, just like the first game. You can be multiple characters now, so you’ll get a fresh face whenever you want. None of the characters look as “blocky” as in the original. There is a small attempt at backgrounds, but they’re still either bright blue or black. There are many different kinds off stages in this game, and you can tell the difference. Overall, everything is much better than in the original, and all of these scores are based on standards back in 1988, so… (9.5/10)
STORY: This is much different than that of SMB, but it basically leads to the same premise of saving the kingdom. Mario has a dream one night where he climbs a set of stairs to a red doorway. He opens the door, and below sees a vast world. He hears a faint voice calling to him, saying the world is called Sub-Con- the world of dreams. An evil force, the hideous Wart, had caused nightmares to appear using his Dream Machine. Unless Wart is stopped, everyone would be plagued with bad dreams forever. The next day Mario awakens and goes on a picnic with Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool. After they eat, they go exploring only to find a cave. In the cave is a set of stairs and a red door. They open the door, and their adventure to end bad dreams begins… I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the story for Doki Doki Panic, but all in the same, it’s an OK story that still leads to saving the world. (8/10)
GAMEPLAY/CONTROL: The game isn’t all that hard, knowing that extra lives and warps are found easily. Each stage presents a new challenge, though, keeping the game fresh throughout. Each character can play the game differently. Mario is average, Toad is quick but a sucky jumper, Luigi is a bit slow but jumps quite well, and the Princess slugs along, picks veggies slow, but has the ultimate ability- floating while jumping! Yes, if you hold down the jump button, she will float for a short amount of time. All of the bosses will present a challenge to each character, even the loser-ish Birdo. You must use new strategies for each ending boss. The stages are very long compared to those of SMB, especially Wart’s Sky Palace.
All of the enemies have certain weaknesses too; forcing you to use that thing you call your brain. You might get frustrated with stages, though, especially with those pesky flying masks following you around when you find a key. The timer is thankfully gone so you can actually complete the harder stages. A new addition in its place is a life meter. In order to extend your life meter to four diamonds in each stage, you must pull potions from the ground, usually in the spots where you pick veggies to whack the baddies with. If you throw the potion on the ground, a door will pop up. Entering it will send you to the “other side” of the 2-D screen, where you might find a mushroom.
There are no fire flowers this time, but the stars make an appearance. There are little bonuses for you in the potion doors, which are coins found in the other side weeds. At the end of each stage is a slot machine that you play to win lives. It’s practically impossible to lose! The control is much improved, since jumping is much easier. The characters can move faster and easier than before, which is helpful now that the enemies are more diverse and harder to defeat. (9/10)
SOUND/MUSIC: The tunes are happy and peppy- you’ll probably end up humming them to yourself. The only letdown is there are a measly three basic songs in the game- the stage, caverns and palaces, and bosses. There is barely anything else available. The sounds are basically the same as those from the original game. (8/10)
-Players: 1. Yes, two player is gone…
-Fun Factor: 9. It’s really fun to play, but it doesn’t have the Mario charm.
-Replay Value: 5. Less than the original, only in that there is barely anything you can miss in the game. The characters don’t offer much variety.
-Rent or Buy: If you don’t already own it, it’s long gone, bucko.
So here is the rest of the problem, all condensed into an easy little summary: Doki Doki Panic is released in Japan, only to be barely recognized. Super Mario Bros. 2 over there is a hit. The Americans believe the Japanese SMB 2 to be too hard, so we take Doki Doki Panic and revamp it to make it a Mario game. Seeing how our game was different, Japan took our version of SMB 2 and made it Super Mario USA over there. You get the picture? This game is decent, but lacks the Mario finesse, so I’ll keep it at a decent score…