Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday Night’s Afterparty/Bar Video Game – Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

Take one of the greatest games of all time and make it real, real hard and you get Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. I have to admit I didn't get around to playing this one until recently and the rumors of how hard it is are accurate. Now, don't get me wrong - it isn't impossible or even unbeatable, probably a night's worth of gaming for an average to above-average gamer. But if you are used to the challenge of the original SMB or its pitiful attempt at a sequel (the American Super Mario Bros. 2) then this will definitely keep you on your toes (think SMB3's world 8, but for the whole game).

A little history. Super Mario Bros. 2 was originally released for the Famicom disk system. However, Nintendo felt that the game was too hard for us poor Americans so it was never released in the US until the Super Nintendo version brought it as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in the early '90s. It was packaged as Super Mario All-Stars and came with SMB1, SMB2, SMB3, and the Lost Levels. The SNES version had upgraded graphics - sort of. It is a mesh of graphics from the original Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World for the SNES. In the end, it was like George Lucas going back in and adding things to the original Star Wars movies - it didn't really work, they should have kept them the way they were. That is what the Wii did. It took the original game and simply ported it. That would be my recommendation but if the SNES version is all you have, it is better than nothing.

Since Americans were not given the original Mario in all of its glory, we were given the American version of Super Mario Bros. 2 which took the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic, stripped out the characters and inserted Mario characters. That is why that game plays completely different than every other Mario game - it wasn't a Mario game. Not to say it was a bad game, it was ok - nothing that I would go out of my way to play necessarily but nothing I wouldn't recommend either. But, it surely wasn't worthy of calling itself a Mario game. That didn't stop it from being the third best selling game on the NES (behind Mario 1 and Mario 3 - both superior games). Happily, Nintendo scrapped most of the new features of American Mario 2 when it made Mario 3. I would hate to imagine Luigi jumping in Mario 3 with his legs stupidly spinning or being able to be the princess and float across entire levels or, even worst yet, being Toad (was anyone ever Toad in the American SMB2?)

There are three different versions of the real SMB2 that are acceptable to play for the Saturday night afterparty/bar game. There is a version for the Wii (actually Virtual Console), which is just the unreleased version for the NES ported over. It is available for 600 points (why it is one of the few games that costs 100 points more than all the other Wii games is beyond me). As I stated, my first choice would be the Wii version. However, if you don't have a Wii, the SNES version will work as well. Lastly, they do have a version for GameBoy Color.

What makes this game so much harder than the original? It is painfully unforgiving. The jumps have to be perfect, the timing has to be perfect, fake bowsers, and there is a bastard blue mushroom that kills you and makes you think, 'hey, I need a mushroom, great there's one. And, now I'm dead. Damn!' Forget about warping, if you warp you can't get the hidden levels. But most warps that I found took you backwards anyway. We were sitting around laughing last night at the lack of flowers in the game and my reasoning was not a lack of flowers but a lack of staying super Mario long enough to get firepower.

Is it the hardest NES game I have ever played? Not even close. If you review 'My Top 10 Hardest Old School Nintendo Games' here this would never make that list. Word of caution: I read on 1up and on GameFAQs about Super Mario themed drinking games and would not recommend this be one of those games, unless you have a lot of booze and absolutely nothing to do tomorrow because it will have you drinking to the point that your buddies may need to call 911. See you in the emergency room.

No comments:

Post a Comment