Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Super Mario Bros. NES Trilogy

John B. Marine | 10/18/2016 09:41:00 PM | | | |
Super Mario Bros was established in 1985. What many don't realize is that Mario and Luigi have been around since 1983 before Super Mario Bros. came along. The rest is history once 1985 and Super Mario Bros. came along. This blog post looks at all three titles that took these two plumbers to superstar status.

Super Mario Bros. NES Trilogy at a Glance

Mario and Luigi today are icons of the gaming world. Though they reached these levels of superstar status in 30+ years of existence, they debuted in "Mario Bros." back in 1983. Two years later, they basically provided the modern definition of a platformer. The Super Mario Bros. series would define platforming from battling enemies to jumping all around the place. Even if people today think of Nintendo as a shadow of its former self, at least one of its most successful franchises ever help set the tone for what would evolve as a successful franchise. Future Super Mario games would showcase the further expansion and growth of the Super Mario franchise, such as the Mario Kart games and the Smash Bros. games. The Nintendo Entertainment System (and the Famicom in Japan) would help set the tone for the franchise with three games. For this blog post, I will only focus on the NES/Famicom games in the Super Mario Bros. series.

These games would get a 16-bit makeover with the 1993 game "Super Mario All-Stars." They even would find their way with more makeovers with the Game Boy Advance among other systems.

Super Mario Bros. (1985)

If you just DON'T know about gaming at all, then read this section carefully to understand what games I am talking about. The plot will be a reoccurring theme through many of the major Super Mario games- Princess Toadstool (nowadays Princess Peach) was kidnapped by the evil Bowser/Koopa. It is up to Mario [and/or Luigi] to rescue her. A total of 32 levels await you spanning eight worlds, each with four stages. Every first stage is an outdoor level. The second stage to each world may be an outdoor level, or you may have to go into an underground or water level. The third level is an outdoor stage with more challenging obstacles than the first or even second stages. The final stage to each world takes you into a castle. From this castle, it may be a straightforward path to Bowser, or you may have to solve some puzzles to reach Bowser. Regardless, you are going to have your hands full trying to clear each level.

To clear each stage, you must try to go from the starting point to the flag at the end of of the first three stages. . The higher above the flag you grasp when pulling down the flag, the more points you earn. A maximum of 5K points is on offer. You earn bonus points if you can pull down the flag with the time at certain numbers. The bonus comes if you pull down the flag with the end number on the Time being either 1, 3, or 6. The bonuses come in the form of fireworks offering 5000 points. There are two ways to clear the castle stages. You can either touch the axe at the end of the bridge, or with your Fire Flower power, pelt Bowser with fireballs until he's defeated and then touch the axe. You must touch the axe at the end of the bridge regardless to end the castle stages.

If you want to breeze through the game, try to find the Warp Zones to take you to different levels. You will start on the first level of whatever world you want to warp to. There is a way to gain multiple extra lives (I'm not sharing! Find that out on your own!). However, you need to be careful not to get too many extra lives, because the game will be over. This game pretty much teaches a life lesson that you CAN have too much of a good thing. People who played this may also have two other life lessons- one being the determination to stay with trying to rescue the Princess. And for some of us guys, some guys would say, "women... can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em." Either way, this is one of the most classic platformers of all time. If you clear this game for the first time, you will be granted a second quest that is a good bit tougher.

TRUE STORY... One of my proudest accomplishments in gaming is going from Stage 1-1 to 5-2 without warps and without dying. I think I had about 4.2M points during this stretch.

Video Preview: Super Mario Bros.

If you have absolutely know idea what Super Mario Bros. is like, let this video do the talking:

^ "Super Mario Bros. - NES Gameplay"

So now you know. And knowing is half the battle. "G.I. JOE!" :)

Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988).

Super Mario Bros. 2 offered a much different experience from the long heralded experience the first Super Mario provided. Rather than rescue Princess Toadstool from the clutches of Bowser/Koopa, you are instead on a mission to free the dream world from a spell cast by King Wart. This game features seven worlds each with three levels, excluding the seventh world, which has only two levels. Of each of the NES Super Mario games, this is the only one where there is a health system as well as the first Mario where you could play as Luigi, Toad, or Princess Peach.

Each character was unique in their own physics. Mario is generally all-around average. Luigi is able to jump high and has low gravity. Toad is pretty basic also. Princess Toadstool is able to jump into the air and float into the air for about 1.5 seconds. So whomever you choose can play a big impact on how you get through the levels. Some characters can be the best to use for a certain level. Be sure to experiment using certain characters and take advantage of their strengths (and weaknesses).

Unlike the first game, rather than platform jumping, you are pulling out weeds and throwing them at enemies to defeat them. You may also have to pull out items that will allow you to use on the level. One such item are bombs. Just remember to throw them before they explode! You may also have to dig your way through sand to delve deeper into some levels. Every fifth Vegetable thrown will stop time. Collecting enough Cherries will grant you either a Heart or a Star. If you find a Potion, a door will be created at the spot where you throw the Potion at. If you find the right location using the Potion, you can find a Mushroom which will extend your health to up to four units for that level. It is also possible to find coins to use for the Bonus Game when a level is complete. Also possible is the ability to warp ahead to higher levels. There is no time limit to the levels, so there is no need to try to complete levels as quickly as possible. Take your time, but be efficient.

Super Mario Bros. 2 offered an experience much different from what the classic Super Mario Bros. offered. The action still remains fun despite trying some new things.

Video Preview: Super Mario Bros. 2.

Here is a look at Super Mario Bros. 2:

^ Super Mario Bros 2 NES 1/7!!!

And there's your look at Super Mario Bros. 2.

About Birdo...
The primary boss of levels in Super Mario Bros. 2 is the pink dinosaur Birdo. While not much of a big deal was made about Birdo, some question if Birdo is transgender or genderless or whatever. I can't really comment here simply because I don't know. It is just something I wanted to share.

Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)

Considered by many to be the greatest Super Mario Bros. game of all time, Super Mario Bros. 3 offered one of the most engaging and challenging experiences of all the NES Mario games. Princess Toadstool has been kidnapped [again] by Bowser. Not only is Bowser's wrath on the eight different worlds, they are also on the rulers of each world. Go through the eight worlds and restore order to each land. For its time, Super Mario Bros. 3 was revolutionary in a number of platforming aspects. Among new features were the ability to fly as well automatically scrolling levels. SMB3 was the game changer for not only platformers, but for most modern games.

Super Mario Bros. 3 will keep you busy with so many levels. There are a number of basic levels to take part in offering their own challenges. You can gain items to use before each level by getting them from Toad's house or by winning battles on the overworld. Enter fortresses to eliminate evil and to unlock certain passages. The main thing you want to do is go to the main castle to help out the rulers of each world. From there, you will board on some of Bowser's airships trying to find the Magic Wands to bring the rulers back to their original form. This means fighting against Bowser's kids on the airships. All of Bowser's/Koopa's kids made their debut in this game. If you fail to defeat the Airship stage for that world, you must chase down wherever the airship is and play again! Once you catch up with the airship, you will automatically return to the airship level. One aspect of this game is that if you take damage, you will not go straight to regular Mario if you have anything higher than Super Mario status.

While the main levels are there, the game has MANY surprises. You may see cards on the overworld that will allow you to play bonus games. One game has you trying to line up individual tiles to create something. The other has you playing a match game where you get only two chances to try to win items by matching different cards together. There may also be a ship level that just has a bunch of items available for you. There are also enemies scouring the world where you can engage in battle. Defeating the enemy or enemies in these battle stages will reward you with items you can use while in the world.

Speaking of items, there are MANY of them! This is the first Super Mario game where you can fly. Picking up a leaf will turn you into Racoon Mario. From there, you can use your tail to whack enemies in close quarters or take flight. Get a running start and when at full power, you can fly! There are also other items along the way including a Hammer Bros. suit, stars, a Frog suit, and even the infamous Tanooki suit. While there are no Warp Zones, you can find whistles that will allow you to enter different lands. If you collect enough whistles, it is possible you can go all the way to the final world.

Here is a brief look at the eight worlds. There are proper names to these worlds, but these are just a description of each:
• World 1: a basic grasslands world.
• World 2: this world takes you through a desert.
• World 3: a world dominated by water. Prepare to swim a lot here.
• World 4: a world full of giant items and enemies!
• World 5: a two-part world that takes you into the skies.
• World 6: this world is very icy and slippery.
• World 7: in this world, there are lots of pipes to travel through and deal with.
• World 8: this is Bowser's/Koopa's world, and where Princess Toadstool is held captive. This world is difficult and dangerous.

This game will keep you busy.

Video Preview: Super Mario Bros. 3.

I said this game will keep you busy. How much so? This video may give you some insight:

^ "Super Mario Bros. 3 - NES Gameplay"

Imagine what the rest of the game is like if you enjoyed this video...

That's the bulk of this blog post. But despite this, allow me to offer a bonus section.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (Japan; Bonus Section!)

Unless you've played Super Mario All-Stars, you may not know about the Japanese version of the first Super Mario Bros. This section takes a look at the Super Mario Bros most of the rest of the world didn't get at the height of its time. The Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was featured in a game known as "Super Mario: The Lost Levels" in "Super Mario All-Stars." And since we're talking about the Japan NES, we are more than likely discussing the Famicom and not the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Funny enough, while most of the rest of the world got Super Mario Bros. 2 of Japan, there was also a "Super Mario Bros." of the USA in the Japanese version of "Super Mario All-Stars." In my research of this topic, I learned that the SMB2 in the United States was a modified version of Japan's "Doki Doki Panic!" The real Super Mario Bros. 2 from Japan was deemed "too hard for Americans (or Western audiences)," so we got this modified "Doki Doki Panic!" as our SMB2.

Insight: Super Mario Bros. 2 (Japan).

This individual can explain this game better (and funnier) than I can:

LGR - Super Mario Bros 2 Japan - NES Game Review

Either embedding was disabled, or I couldn't get to embed the video in the initial creation of this blog post. Anyhow, there is your insight.

Super Mario Bros. NES Trilogy: Final Thoughts

The Super Mario Bros. series has been a game changer in a number of aspects. There is a reason people still play these games and follow this series, and at least these games helped set the tone for years to come. Even people who make their own fan-made games or practice making programs in the vein of Super Mario games all do so in love and appreciation for what this game provided. Even in the future when Mario would face the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog, it was still the Super Mario Bros. games that helped pave the way for a lot of future platforming stars including those making their own basic platformer titles. Even in this day of ruthless assassins, macho men, faceless heroes, femme fatales, and other heroes and heroines; there are still no other heroes or heroines quite like Mario and Luigi along with the games that helped define the legacy of these two brothers.

Even these days, the platforming action created by the likes of Mario and Luigi can be enjoyed these days with "Super Mario Maker" on the Nintendo Wii U. Just remember the next time you are enjoying a platform type game, pay respect to Mario and Luigi. They probably played a role in making any future platforming title to it being successful in its own right.

I haven't been blogging too much lately. However, it doesn't mean I have given up on it. I am actually trying to develop material outside of blogging to keep me busy and maybe gain me some revenue. That is why it has taken me so long to try to develop material. Be sure to check out my material across social media and even on my Weebly site to learn more. For now, I hope you enjoyed my blog post here. Here is a question for you if you want to make a discussion out of this topic...

What are some of your biggest memories of the NES Super Mario Bros. games? How much different would gaming be (to you) without these Super Mario Bros. titles of old?

One last note... from my latest "John's Corner" post, I mentioned something along the lines of donations. If you want to show your support of my work financially, you can do so through PayPal; or you may also follow my Patreon profile to help inspire me to make better creative material. Remember- this is voluntary. I am not forcing anyone to pay money for my content. But of course, I wouldn't mind the kindness of you to show your support of my work financially. I appreciate the support of everyone and the various forms of support. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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