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Reviewing every Mario game I own in chronological order: Mario Bros

Gamingtodaynews1g - Reviewing every Mario game I own in chronological order: Mario Bros
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It took 3 games in order for Mario to finally get a game title based off of him, and personally, I'd say it was a strong one. While the previous titles were successful enough, Id say that this was the one that really made the Mario series take the world by storm. However sometime you have to ask, is there really any reason to replay this in 2021? This is my review of Mario Bros.

But before I begin, as the title says, I'm reviewing every mario game that I own. While this definitely doesn't include all of them, it still includes a fair chunk of them. Ever since i was young I've always enjoyed Mario games and I always felt a certain sense of nostalgia when playing them. So i'll just say don't worry, i'm still gonna talk about a pretty big chunk of them. And also, sorry if your favorite doesn't get talked about. Also just warning you, there are some parts of my reviews where I talk about my nostalgic connection to some of these games. If you're not into that, skip maybe the first paragraph or two.

Nostalgia:

I honestly have no idea where I first found this game or when I first started playing it. Im guessing a lot of people have that opinion and quite frankly, who can blame them? This is a game thats really quite timeless and given how old it is, youd have to have a pretty good memory or a really fond one in particular to remember where you were when you first played this game. The only nostalgic memory I have of this game is when I was younger and my parents signed me up for this weeklong summer school thing. It was only to briefly refresh my memory of some things, but the only part I really remember is a part of the day where we were allowed into the computer lab. Because nearly everything was blocked, the only fun website we were allowed to access was the one game website that I forget the name of. On it was, you guessed it, Mario Bros. Im pretty sure the most fond memory of that program was playing this game for ten minutes each day.

Story:

Like most Mario games, this game doesn't exactly have a solid story to it. The most that I could find online was that it centers around Mario and Luigi's day job as plumbers. This includes cleaning the sewers of all sorts of baddies and maybe a few coins in the process. The player takes on the role of Mario or Luigi.

The only thing to note here is how it specifically states that this game takes place in New York, not in the mushroom kingdom. Of course, the mushroom kingdom hasnt been invented yet, but its still plenty interesting to see a Mario game in 2021 take place in the real world.

Gameplay:

Every level (or phase as their called in this game) takes place on a single stage. This stage consists of two platforms on top, broken up by a hole in the middle, 3 platforms underneath it broken up by two holes on either end, and two platforms underneath that one, broken up by a hole on the top platforms with a POW block in between them. Ill talk more about the POW block later. The stage layout is both really convenient, easy to get used to, and provides just enough challenge. Personally, I really like it.

In each of the four corners there are pipes that enemies can either spawn out of or warp from place to place from. This is mainly how you can expect to see certain enemies emerge in the game. Once an enemy emerges the player has to jump underneath them and knock them over. After that, the player has to physically touch them in order for them to be defeated. If the player does not touch them fast enough, they will get back up and be a lot more aggressive than before. Once all of the enemies are defeated, the phase is beaten and the next one begins. The phases also get harder as more are beaten. I think that beating enemies this way is a lot more fun than just jumping on them like in later games. I'm not trying to say that jumping on them is a bad system, i'm just saying that in the context of this game, I like this a lot better. I also like how the enemies don't just lie there forever, pushing the player to decide when they want to take out an enemy.

The enemies in question follow one of three possible types. The first one is the shellcreeper (further known as koopas) theise don't do anything interesting in particular, they just wander around the stage waiting to be destroyed. The second is the sidestepper. These are crab-like enemies that need to be jumped under twice in order to knock them over, with the second time being more aggressive than the first time. The last is the Fighter Fly, instead of just walking along the beams, theise jump from side to side on the stage, so the player cant just hit them on any old spot that they would like. Some phases use just one kind, some use two, and some get a mix of all 3. I really like how they chose the perfect amount of enemies to add in. 4 would have been a bit too much, 3 really was the perfect number. The last enemy of each phase gets a considerably larger speed boost to add some extra challenge to the end. While personally I don't really think the game absolutely needed this it's still a nice touch. It also adds some strategy as to what the player chooses to take out last.

There is technically a 4th enemy in the game and that's the slipice. The slipice comes around like the other enemies do and while it doesnt need to be destroyed, it will make the game a bit harder if it isn't by making one of the platforms icey for the rest of the phase. This makes it so that the player will slide more when trying to turn on that platform. This adds just a tiny bit of challenge to the game in that the player now has to decide if it's worth getting rid of. Personally I like that kind of challenge and I think it adds just a bit more fun to the game.

Along with everything mentioned above there are also fireballs that occasionally move throughout the platforms. The green ones are much faster but can be jumped over a lot easier, the red ones however are much slower however they cover a variety of space that the green ones don't. I believe that this was mainly added so that the player doesn't stand in one space for too long. It's not a bad concept, it's just kinda a cheap way to get the player moving. Also I believe that they can be defeated the same way a normal enemy can but I don't know.

Remember earlier I mentioned that there are four pipes on each corner of the screen? Well once an enemy is at the bottom of the screen, it can warp back up to the top through these pipes. I guess they had to include a way to get them back up there some way, and this one by no means is a bad one. I also think its interesting how this was the beginning of the warp pipe concept throughout the Mario series. However the more interesting part come when the player stands behind the pipe they can avoid both the enemies and the fireballs in some situations. This safe haven is definitely more helpful at the bottom two pipes than the first two mainly because of the room you have to defeat the enemies. I just think this was an interesting way to help the player out a little.

Throughout the phases, there are coins sprinkled throughout the course that come in through pipes and act much like enemies, except they only last for a little while. The difference between these and enemies are that the coins don't do anything particularly harmful and rather just serve to give the player something to collect for a higher score. Relatively harmless, and provide a fun challenge in the rare circumstance that nothings going on. However in the later phases, this rarely happens.

Every couple of phases, you'll get a “test your skills” phase. These consist of no enemies, but include 8 coins stationed in place that you have 20 seconds to collect. The more coins you collect, the better your bonus will be at the end of the 20 seconds. There is also a split second timer to give you an even better idea as to when the stage will be over. Theise stages also get a bit more challenging later on as later each of the beams will be made of ice. I think that the spit second timer is a good way to let the player know when their time is up. A lesser game would've just put a regular second timer and kept it at that. I really applaud this game for not doing that.

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I mentioned earlier that theres a POW block in the middle of the last set of beams on the stage. This POW block can be hit approximately 3 times over the course of the game. Hitting it causes all enemies currently on the ground to be knocked over at once, significantly reducing the effort the player uses to knock them all over. It can only be used 3 times however, this motivates the player to only use it in a pinch. Personally I think that as iconic as it is, there were better ways this could have been implemented. What if instead of after the 3rd use it went away, the player could use it once per every 3 phases? This would give the player a better window to help determine when they want to use it. Or what if it worked like a coin, where it came out of the pipe and touching it had the same affect? If the game was shorter and not a game that could last as long the player could make it this wouldn't be a problem. I guess at the same time there could've been worse ways it could be implemented, and I like how it shrinks every time it's used so that the player knows that this won't last forever. But if I had to pick one reason why this game wont get a 5/5, it would be because of this.

The only thing about the game physics itself I'd like to note here is the fact that once the player gets to the edge of the screen, they wrap around to the other side. This gives the player a lot more freedom to move around and makes it so that turning and jumping-especially turning-aren't unnecessary but aren't 100% required as much as they would be otherwise. That's really good, because turning itself in this game isn't very smooth, however this feature balances it out pretty nicely by making it so that turning is almost a punishment for not reacting fast enough.

The last thing worth noting here is the two player mode. In this mode, two players can play together, one as mario and one as Luigi. They both play at the same time as opposed to Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr where they alternate turns. The two could either divide and conquer or compete for the better score. Either way, it makes for some really hectic fun and I'm very glad that they included it in this way. However I think I would have appreciated an option to switch between the two versions. But if they had to pick one, im glad that it was this one.

Graphics:

The graphics of this game consist of a black background along with the sprites of all the characters. While the black background doesn't quite give it the glow that Donkey Kong does, its definitely not as ugly as Donkey Kong Jr. This might be because of how they do stick to only certain colors for each stage as opposed to meshing them all together like Donkey Kong Jr does.

I do like how they will occasionally change the sprites for the platforms, keeping it from getting too stale. Honestly now that I think about it, I kinda wish pacman did the same thing. Oh well, guess that'll be an argument for another day then.

Another thing that I like is how smooth the animation is for when the slipice turn a platform into ice. It always just looks so smooth and clean. Nothing much more to add there

I guess the last thing that I have to say about the sprite work is specifically that of the pipe sprites. Those are particularly well done, especially with the shading. It must've taken a lot of trial and error to get that just right. However now I have to ask where that light is coming from, considering that this game takes place in a sewer.

Music:

In Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr, there was a subtle problem of the sound effects completely overshadowing the music. However in Mario Bros, this problem is fixed. How? You may ask, simple!

By not including any music at all!

All jokes aside though, I think this was possibly the best decision music wise, as each individual event includes a sound effect to show what's coming. I don't have any that I particularly have a not on, but like Donkey Kong, there is an opening jingle here. Only here as each stage is the same, there really is no need for this opening jingle.

But still, I would really like it if there was something at the beginning levels to fill that awkward silence with. Yes it still includes a fair bit of sound effects, but it just doesnt fill the music shaped hole in my music shaped heart.

Overall:

So what do I think of this game overall?

Mario Bros is still an excellent game that holds up really well today as an “lets see how long I can go for” game. As a matter of fact, I would even argue that it does this better than Donkey Kong or Donkey Kong Jr for that matter. Because in this game at least there is more room for throwing in crazier stuff down the line. The game makes sure that there is just the right amount of challenge in the game with just the right blend of predictability and unpredictability. The only 3 things holding this game back from its true potential is the whole POW block issue, the lack of music in the first couple of levels, and not being able to switch between the 2 types of multiplayer. So taken all things into account, i'm gonna give Mario Bros a ⅘

Remakes:

The only remake of this game that I own is the one included with Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga. Here are the main differences:

The shellcreepers are replaced with spikes. This is probably done to dispel newer players from jumping on them. Neat way to fix a problem that a lot of players wont even realize exist.

The whole screen isnt immediately present, this kinda takes away from the experience a little bit, and is probably this remakes biggest downfall.

There are two pow blocks this time around, which kinda fixes one of my issues but not quite.

There is music now and its actually decent and keeps with the fast paced nature of the game. Yay.

Mario is noticeably faster also keeping with the fast paced nature of this game. More yay.

There is background art. Triple yay.

Overall the remake feels like a more fast paced version of the original, allegedly you can also play with 4 people in this version compared to the original 2, which might be why the screen is just a little bigger, but don't quote me on that. Im pretty sure its included with every entry of the Super Mario Advance series and Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga. If you have a gameboy advance and an original cartridge of this game you can play it, but if not, all of them are available on the wiiu eshop. However I wouldnt buy it for just the remake alone, if you are looking for specifically this game, just buy the original. Though ill admit, I might prefer the remake just a little more because it lightly fixes some of my issues, but not enough to spend 8 more dollars after buying the original.

There is also a parody of this game called Luigi bros included in Super Mario 3D World as well as the switch port, but since it’s just a reskinned version of this game, I’m not even considering it as a remake. Please don’t but it for that alone.

Ways to play this game today:

Before I begin. I want to address something I forgot in the last two reviews:

Yes, you could find Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, and this game on Arcade Archives on the nintendo switch for around 7.99 plus tax each. While you could experience the game that way, I mainly left those out because Im focusing on the original N.E.S. version, and that has to do with the arcade version.

So anyways, there are a couple of ways you can find this game today:

.If you have an original N.E.S. and an original cartridge, but assuming you don't have that, I'm gonna rule this one out. .If you downloaded it on wiishop you can play it that way, but wiishop is closed in 2021. So you'd have to have already downloaded it. .If you have a wiiu or 3ds its available for 4.99$ plus tax, which I think is a little too much for this game but its the best youre gonna get. .It's one of the 30 games on the N.E.S. classic addition, but I wouldn't buy it just for this game alone, although if you don't have an N.E.S. It's probably the closest you can get to playing this game the way it's intended (this is mainly the way I played it for this review). .If you have N.E.S. Online, it's one of the games available. But like the N.E.S. classic I really wouldn't buy it for this game alone. (While I didnt use this way as much, I still used it a fair bit.) If you have inexperienced little ones looking to play this game however, this might be one of the better options because of the rewind feature, which can help fix stupid mistakes.

So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear what you think, so don't be afraid to tell me. Anyways that's all for this review, and happy gaming.

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