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Super Mario Bros. USA
(This article is about the Super Mario Bros. 2 version released outside of Japan. For the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, see Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels)
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Super Mario Bros. 2 (SMB2) (or, as it was known in Japan, Super Mario Bros. USA) is a platforming video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System video game console. It was released in North America in October 1988, in Europe on April 28, 1989 and in Japan on July 14, 1992. It was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console in Europe, Australia and New Zealand on May 25, 2007; and in North America on July 2, 2007.
The plot for SMB2, according to the game's manual:
One evening, Mario had a strange dream. He dreamed of a long, long stairway leading up to a door. As soon as the door opened, he was confronted with a world he had never seen before, spreading out as far as his eyes could see. When he strained his ears to listen, he heard a faint voice saying "Welcome to Sub-Con, the land of dreams. We have been cursed by Wart and we are completely under his evil spell. We have been awaiting your arrival. Please defeat Wart and return Sub-Con to its natural state. The curse Wart has put on you in the real world will not have any effect upon you here. Remember, Wart hates vegetables. Please help us!"
At the same time this was heard, a bolt of lightning flashed before Mario's eyes. Stunned, Mario lost his footing and tumbled upside down. He awoke with a start to find himself sitting up in his bed. To clear his head, Mario talked to Luigi, Toad and the Princess about the strange dream he had. They decide to go to a nearby mountain for a picnic. After arriving at the picnic area and looking at the scenery, they see a small cave nearby. When they enter this cave, to their great surprise, there's a stairway leading up, up and up. It is exactly like the one Mario saw in his dream. They all walk together up the stairs and at the top, find a door just like the one in Mario's dream. When Mario and his friends, in fear, open the door, to their surprise, the world that he saw in his dream spreads out before them!
There are four playable characters in the game, each with varying abilities. In the Game Boy Advance remake, Super Mario Advance, all the characters were given a score of 1-5 stars for speed, jump, and power.
- Mario - Mario is the balanced character, and thus the most user friendly of the four characters. All three stats (jump, speed, and power) are at four stars.
- Luigi - Luigi has the best jump of the lot, with a five in that category, while his speed and power are only a three. The movement control of Luigi is also very touchy.
- Toad - Toad's speed and power are higher than anyone's, with a five in both categories. However, he is the worst jumper of the four, with only a two in that category. Toad can also pick things up faster than anyone.
- Princess - The Princess does not excel in speed or power, with a two for both, while her jump is only a three. However, her long dress gives her the ability to float in the air for a couple of seconds (by holding the A button), making her jumping skills superior for horizontal jumps.
The character of Princess causes some confusion. In the Super Mario Advance remake, she is called "Peach" in the character selection screen and in the credits. However, according to a recent Nintendo magazine, the character was actually named "Princess Toadstool". The original game referred to her as simply "Princess", so it is uncertain who she actually is.
It is commonly believed that various Nintendo of America employees personally disliked the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, and it is commonly believed that is was due to its intense difficulty, overt similarity to the original Super Mario Bros., or just a general feeling that the game lacked quality. (Nintendo have not, however, even given an official reason for the decision not to release the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 elsewhere)
Whatever the case, Nintendo decided that they wanted to release a different sequel they thought would be friendlier to western audiences. So they decided to modify another popular Famicom game by Fugi Television, known as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic. Although Yume Kōjō was originally set in a storybook and had an Arabian theme completely unrelated to Mario, it would be modified to use sprites and music that would fit with the series.
Comparison with Doki Doki Panic
Most of the differences between DDP and SMB2 are small graphical changes, such as animation being added to the POW blocks, bomb fuses, cherries, and vegetables for the SMB2 version, Super Mushrooms replacing large hearts as life-meter increases, and the characters shrinking when reduced to only one unit of health. DDP 's save feature was also taken out of SMB2, due to the limitations of the NES compared to the Famicom Disk System (battery back-up was also very expensive at that time).
Main character switches:
- Mario → Imajin, the fearless son.
- Luigi → Mama. When depicted from the side, she almost appears to be pregnant. Her stomach is large, and whether she is walking or jumping, she is seen with one or both arms holding and protecting her stomach. She doesn't, however, kick her feet when jumping as Luigi does.
- Toad → Papa.
- Princess → Lina, the little sister.
All abilities of the characters remain the same.
Other changes include:
- In DDP, one must beat the entire game once with each character (i.e. four times total) to view the ending.
- The areas of the games referred to as Worlds in SMB2 are called "Chapters" in DDP.
- In DDP, players cannot change characters until they defeat an end boss of a chapter. Even if they warp to a new chapter, they remain the same character until an end boss is defeated.
- Phanto (the head that chases the player's character around when holding a key) was a passive, expressionless mask in DDP, whereas in SMB2, he has slanted eyes with an evil, mischievous grin. Furthermore, Phanto begins his pursuit only after the player character leaves Phanto's chamber in DDP, while in SMB2 he chases the character as soon as the character retrieves the key from the chamber. The "shuddering to life" sound and animation is also unique to SMB2.
- Waterfalls, especially the enormous one in level 3-1, move much more quickly in DDP. The animation was slowed down in SMB2 to reduce the risk of seizures.
- Extra lives were originally representations of the character's face in DDP as 1-Up Mushrooms are a feature specific to the Mario series. Also, in DDP, a victory jingle played when an extra life was obtained, while the "1-Up" sound was played in SMB2.
- The large hawk head at level entrances and exits in SMB2 was a large African tribal mask in DDP.
- The mushroom blocks in SMB2 were small tribal masks in DDP.
- The character select and overworld music is much shorter in DDP. SMB2 has a new section added to where the music would originally loop. The invincibility and Sub-Space music is different, and there are some minor differences in other songs (the DDP songs give an Arabian feel).
- Most sounds featured in SMB2 use the NES' synthesizer, and a number of PCM audio samples, rather than the Famicom Disk System's synthesizer used prominently in DDP. The changed audio includes the sound effects for picking up and throwing objects, grabbing hearts, receiving damage, defeating enemies, bombs exploding, the ticking of the stop watch, damaging a boss, Birdo shooting eggs, and the rocket.
- The potions in SMB2 were Arabian lamps in DDP. The unused sprites for the lamp were not completely removed during the conversion and can still be found in the SMB2 cartridge's memory.
- In DDP, the boss of level 5-3 is a third Mouser, who requires 7 hits to defeat. In SMB2, he is replaced by the rock throwing Clawgrip (whose name, incidentally, is misspelled as Clawglip in the game's credits).
- Albatoss's animation has seven frames in SMB2, but only two frames--making his flight appear much jerkier--in DDP.
- As holding down the "B" button to run is a feature specific to the Mario series, there is no running in DDP.
- When a bomb or rocket explodes, it says "BOM" in DDP, as opposed to "BOMB" in SMB2 (Many people feel that "BOOM" would have been more appropriate).
- The Bonus Chance minigame is similar in both versions, but has a much plainer green background in DDP.
- The Koopa Troopa shell used in SMB2 to kill enemies was a decapitated head in DDP.
- In SMB2, Wart requires 6 hits to defeat instead of the 4 required in DDP.
- One of the vegetables in World 7 is different. In DDP, it's a long, slender, grouchy vegetable, while on SMB2, it's a heart-shaped feminine vegetable.
- Birdo has more color variations in DDP.
Upon release, the game was highly successful, and currently stands as the third highest selling game ever released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, with over 10 million copies sold. Only the original Super Mario Bros, at 40 million, and Super Mario Brothers 3, at 18 million, sold more on the original NES.