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Title: Super Mario Bros. 2 (3rd Review)
Rom Player: NESten
Reviewer: TheBlueLeavesSR

Synopsis: I have much love for the Super Mario series, starting with the original Mario Brothers game. Until I played it, I never knew two Italian plumber siblings could work together to fight a large dragon-turtle hybrid creature. I had no idea that saving a physically (and possibly emotionally) distant woman in a pretty dress could be so rewarding and, yet, so frustrating. I believe that pretty much the entire Mario series provides social commentary about men, women, and relationships. It's the best observation about living since Pong brought up the question "Is there life beyond these paddles?".

Fast forward to Super Mario The Second. In case you didn't know, the cover of the video game box depicted Mario Mario (I'm sure his name is really Mario Gutierrez and he changed it as he has Hollywood aspirations) carrying a large turnip. Once again, I'm noting this for I'm sure there is more social commentary there. Most games on the NES and subsequent systems were basically entertainment tools for learning. Learntainment was the term I never used until this very review that I just made up in my head. It's so awesome, I think I'll never use it again.

The sequel, derived from the Japanese game called "Dream Factory: Doki Doki Panic", is slightly different from the rest of the Mario series for that exact reason. If you have Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES, the difficult "Lost Levels" could also be considered Super Mario Brothers 2 and therefore...Super Mario Brothers 2 2 which will confuse the people of Mensa and make them question their very essence. How do people get so smart? According to Dr. Mario, they eat a lot of Smarties. He's a plumber, a doctor, a kart driver, and possibly a liar. Sonic can't do that.

With SMB2, instead of fighting the main villain Bowser (the creature mentioned in the first paragraph), you battle a green toad that wears a blue/white robe and a crown. It appears that he's the king of something and I'm guessing it's of less important, smaller amphibians with no royal bloodline. Also, instead of attempting to save the Princess, she is now one of four playable characters with varying attributes:

Princess Toadstool:
+ She can hover momentarily (If she had this ability in SMB1, I would have told her to hover herself out of trouble so I could stay at home and get into crazy hijinx as Lou Albano).
+ She has a pink dress, a crown, and her hair seems fairly manageable
- She is the weakest of the four
- No matter how many times you save her in later Mario games, she'll get captured again

+ Is the fastest and the strongest
+ Appears to be a walking mushroom with a diaper on its person
- Is the smallest and doesn't jump as high as the others
- Appears to be a walking mushroom with a diaper on its person

+ The farthest jumper with the use of his flailing legs
+ "He's freaking Luigi, man." says Gandhi
- The hardest to control
- One day will probably attack Mario out of jealously and spite

+ Solid jumper with respectable strength and quickness
+ Most likely the easiest for beginners to control
- The least exciting of the bunch
- Can't get enough of your love, babe

The game contains seven "dream produced" stages involving everything from deserts to lands of ice to rounded off, rectangular green structures that are mountains/hills/lime jello confections on steroids. One of the game's strengths is that its colourful and vibrant as well as creative in its level design and interaction (the slot machine game at the end of stages, for instance). Furthermore, the game has some of the most interesting baddies and bosses ever put into cartridge format. The fact that you can throw an ostrich at another ostrich in one of the worlds is something I never asked for, yet I'm glad it's there. The same can be said with battling a giant toad using vegetables consisting of various facial expressions that you throw into his mouth. This sequel is chock full of those and other wonderful ideas. Just yesterday, I threw a man at a woman; now they're getting Super Marry-o. That pun was my shining moment. There is nowhere else to go but down.

Honestly, this is a fun game. Everybody raves about Super Mario Brothers 3, which is excellent in its own right with its frog suits and oversized boots, but #2 is worth checking out. There is a reason why this game and others like it are still talked about today. Yes, they're for nostalgia sake and can bring you back to a more simpler time and place. Then again, they're quality games that influenced a whole slew of other original titles and knock-offs. Not only that, but an influence on individuals who did, now, or will work in the video game industry. Although I'm not a boy, not yet a man who understands that some things are subjective, I highly recommend this even if you're not a fan. It's good for at least one try.

Best Cheats:

Game Play: 9
Graphics: 8
Music/Sound: 7
Originality: 9
Overall Rating: 8


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