Since the West was one Mario game missing, they had to give us something, so they got a Mario game that was a palette-swap of a Famicom Disk System game called Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and before I screw it up, this game was originally a prototype for a Mario sequel anyway and reverse engineering it back to a Mario game was probably much easier. But we accepted it since we were none the wiser about this conundrum until the internet was a thing to the public.
Mario dreams of walking up a staircase with a voice telling him of the people of Subcon being cursed by frog villain Wart. Mario tells Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach about it and whilst on a picnic, find a cave with a staircase, teleporting them to Subcon, so they go on an adventure to defeat Wart.
The game is somewhat like a Mario game, you can run and jump like you would in the previous games, but you can’t jump on enemies…well you can, but they can’t be killed, instead, you need to grab them and throw them, either at other enemies or grab vegetables to chuck at enemies for the same effect. There’s much more things to grab and throw and you’ll have to use this mechanic throughout the entire game.
You beat two levels in each world before going to the third level of a world where you beat a random boss. But during the first and second levels, you’ll battle against Birdo…who may be a man or a woman, making Birdo the first transgender character. But I think Birdo was meant to be a woman but because of Nintendo of America’s policy of not having women being attacked, they changed her gender to pretty much make her transgender…meaning that attacking transgender people is A-OK! Oh dear!
Back to the game, you can play as one of four of the characters, Mario being well-rounded, Luigi can jump high but is very slippery, Peach can float and Toad is the strongest and fastest character. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses but can benefit you in specific levels, though Peach is near enough your easy mode due to her floating ability.
But more characters means more replay value as the game is still fun to play and still manages to have that essence of Mario we’ve come to know, in fact, many enemies from this game would make future appearances in other Mario titles, so that’s cool, whilst still being quite challenging but fair…unless you’re playing as Peach.
The gameplay sure is different, considering everyone’s speed has increased but the controls feel smoother nonetheless, though this could lead to missing a platform sometimes, though this could be human error but I like the controls here. The graphics look very nice and have much more detail that let it have some themes that the developers couldn’t do for the first game. The music is cheery, upbeat and feels like an upgrade from what we got from Mario, but it’s nowhere near a classic as the first Mario game.
Super Mario Bros. 2 is a great NES game but I wouldn’t call it the best in the series as future games do a much better job…like the sequel, but not now.
By the way, our version of this game was released in Japan as Super Mario USA, meaning that some Japanese folks brought another version of the game they played on the Famicom Disk System…now isn’t that a kick in the teeth.