The game that started it all. The Super Mario Bros. are probably more recognizable than Mr. Clean and Frankenberry combined. But what made the game so popular? The catchy tunes? The vegetarian diet? Or, perhaps, the strict anti-reptilian policy the plumbers had?
Being an NES game, the controls are pretty simple. The jumping in this game was always a bit weird to me. The Marios could get some serious air time, hang there for a bit, and then Earth’s gravitational field seems to go in to overdrive and hurl them back to Mushroom Kingdom.
The run button is critical for hauling ass, especially when invincible. It’s nice to dash through the level like a red-headed step child on Christmas morn’, trying to get to the Christmas tree, or in this case, the sore-thumb staircase that allows you to mount the flag.
While on the topic of flags, did you ever notice that the flag that Mario takes down has the peace symbol? The one that goes up is a bright red star. If you’re thinking that Mario is a big Communist, you’re probably right. He’s always wearing red. It’s a bit more implicit then say… Tetris, where you see the Kremlin right on the cover of the game.
Nothing amazing with the d-pad controls except for the DOWN button. I know, you’re thinking: “Big deal. He ducks.” Wrong! This is an all-out SQUAT. Most Nintendo heroes don’t have the pixels to do an all-out squat. They’ll just duck their head a bit to avoid peril. Mario’s been working out though, and he’s not afraid. If you really want to shine on the Koopa Pack, execute a nice squat jump and then bounce of the enemy straight in to a pipe while still squatting. Enter those pipes in style!
There are a few other WTCs in this game. I never got why the goombas had different colors depending on if they were above ground, underground or in a Bowser castle. Rather than bring biology in to this, let’s just assume Bowser was an ass and couldn’t afford uniforms to distinguish his troops; but he did, however, have a lot of extra paint.
Another is green turtles vs. red turtles. Red turtles are bi-directional, and rather than walking off a cliff at the edge, they turn around and continue… walking like an idiot. But honestly, as I kid, I just thought that the green ones were stupid. And well, maybe they are. What the crap?
Probably the biggest WTC of all in this game is the fire rods that can be found underwater. I think some of the water stages had this, but I distinctly remember this in level 8-4, the final showdown with Bowser. Fire inside of water? What you say?
In conclusion, this game rocks. It still rocks by today’s standards. You can get remakes in Super Mario All-Stars or on a Game Boy re-release, but I prefer the original release on the NES, whether it be solo, coupled with Duck Hunt, or with Duck Hunt AND Track and Field (that silly running game with the DDR pad. Ahh, let’s run in place like a mad man!)