Video Game Review: Super Mario Bros. 2 – Japanese Version (NES)

This is the original version of Super Mario Bros. 2, that unfortunately only got released in Japan, as it was deemed “too hard for Americans.”

Well, I take offense to that, as I played this fucker and kicked its ass!

Okay, it kicked my ass a whole lot but I beat this game and proved that full grown American men with thirty-plus years of Mario experience can hang with some Japanese kids in the ’80s!

While I would’ve really loved playing this game in my youth, as frustrating as it is, I understand why Nintendo of America thought that it wouldn’t work in the States. And fortunately, for us, we got our own version of Super Mario Bros. 2, which was simply a game called Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic. While not an actual Mario game in Japan, it had its playable character sprites redesigned to look like Mario characters. And frankly, even if I’m in the minority, it was my favorite Super Mario game of the original NES trilogy in the U.S.

This game did get released later with enhanced 16-bit graphics as part of the Super Nintendo game, Super Mario All-Stars. On that game, this was re-titled Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.

I really like this game though. While it uses all the sprites and design style of the original game, it is too difficult to not feel fresh and like a real challenge. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve mastered the original game, you will find this one to be tougher than boiled show leather.

And while you’ll spend a lot of time getting pretty frustrated, the game is still a lot of fun and beating it does give you a sense of accomplishment much greater than its predecessor.

However, I think it is a step down from the original, as some of the level design is tough just to be tough and isn’t really an improvement. In fact, I think this is a bit less imaginative, as there are some maps you can get stuck on if you miss a vine or some other route change that you can’t backtrack from.

Also, due to the game’s complexity, the timer is much more of a bitch in this installment, especially in the fortresses.

All that being said, this is definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the original game.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: pretty much all Super Mario Bros. games.

Video Game Review: Super Mario Bros. (NES)

Here we are, looking at the very first Mario game! Well, not the first, as there was Mario Bros. before Super Mario Bros. but this was the first of the Super series and the game that laid the groundwork of what this long-running franchise should be.

Out of the original trilogy of games for the original Nintendo in the United States, this is my least favorite installment. Still, it is a bonafide classic deserving of its admiration and praise. However, Super Mario 2 and 3, both took this formula and found ways to expand on it, greatly.

On a side note: yes, I know that Super Mario 2 in the U.S. isn’t the real version of Super Mario 2 but I discuss that in my review of it. Also, I am going to review the actual real Super Mario 2 in the very near future, as I finally played it in its original 8-bit form and not the U.S. version where it was released as a 16-bit remaster as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels on the Super Nintendo’s Super Mario All-Stars, seven years after it’s Japanese release.

This game is still a lot of fun and it’s aged remarkably well, as despite how many times I’ve played through it and have the levels memorized, it still provides a good challenge.

But I feel like there isn’t much I can say about the game that everyone doesn’t already know. I’m assuming that just about everyone and their mothers have played the first Super Mario Bros. It’s the sixth best-selling video game of all-time with over 48 million sold and the only game from its era that surpassed it was Tetris.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: pretty much all Super Mario Bros. games.

Video Game Review: Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

Super Mario Bros. 3 is considered the perfect Mario game by some of the old school Nintendo Entertainment System purists. They’re wrong though, as I’m that asshole that prefer Mario 2 but yes, this is still a damn fine game that is one of the best of its era.

What makes this entry into the series special is that it evolves the mechanics greatly.

Now you don’t just have a flaming power flower to make you a badass, you can now turn into a flying raccoon thing, a frog, a friggin’ boot and a bunch of other shit!

Additionally, this has some of the best level design out of all the Mario games in history.

Playing through it this time, I didn’t warp, instead, I went through every single level in order to relish in the game’s design and to properly review it.

As much as I love Super Mario 2, I have to say, that this game has better level design, overall. Granted, a few of them were kind of infuriating and took me some time to figure out. But I still had a blast replaying this.

But yes, even though it’s been a long time since I fired this up, I still prefer the second game. But I can appreciate both, as well as the original too.

Rating: 9.25/10
Pairs well with: pretty much all Super Mario Bros. games.

Video Game Review: Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

Most people think that Super Mario Bros. 3 is the best game of the original Nintendo Super Mario trilogy. They’re wrong. This is the best game, period.

Now I know that my opinion is a controversial one and I also know that this wasn’t originally a Super Mario game and that it was retrofitted to include Mario because the original Japanese sequel was deemed too hard for American players. I don’t care though, as this is the game that I played the most out of the three American games and I thought it was the most imaginative and cool.

Because this wasn’t a “real” Mario game it is vastly different than the other two in the series. It has a completely different looking world, different types of enemies and the gameplay style is pretty unique, even if it is a simple side scroller like the other games in the series.

This was the first game that allowed you to pick up objects and use them as weapons. This mechanic would then become a regular feature of all the major Super Mario games after this one.

Overall, I think that the visual style of the game appeals to me. It takes place in a dream world and the game successfully captures a dreamlike aesthetic.

I think the thing I like most about the game is its mechanics though. The controls are superb, the movement and motion of the sprites is perfection for the 8-bit era and it just feels like a game that exists on another level for the time of its existence.

Yes, the other Super Mario games for the NES are also classics. But this is the one that speaks to me the loudest and that I find myself revisiting the most.

Rating: 9.5/10
Pairs well with: pretty much all Super Mario Bros. games.

Video Game Review: Super Mario Land (Gameboy)

Super Mario Land was released in 1989 as one of the launch titles for Nintendo’s first hand held console, the original Gameboy. I think it was the first game I actually played on the platform.

It’s pretty much a standard side scrolling Super Mario Bros. game. It’s similar to the original Nintendo trilogy of games, being closest to the first one in the series.

What I like about it is that it’s really unique in that you don’t fight Bowser but instead, fight a alien dude in a spaceship. You also fight giant flame breathing sphinxes and a lot of other new types of enemies. Plus, everything either has an ancient Egypt or a UFO theme.

While this also has some of the old baddies in it, the koopas in this game are more like a cross between koopas and bob-ombs. Instead of their shells bouncing around as weapons, they now fall and explode.

Ultimately, this was a pretty imaginative Mario game with a lot of cool things that set it apart from the others before it without diverting away from the gameplay style that made the games popular.

It’s a smooth running, energetic game with cool levels, neat monsters and a final boss that was unlike anything else in a Mario game before this.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: the other Super Mario games for Gameboy and the original Nintendo.

Vids I Dig 117: Whang!: Who Did Glass Joe Beat? – Gaming Mysteries

Taken from Justin Whang’s YouTube description: Glass Joe is famous for being a terrible boxer and the first opponent in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! for NES. One of the biggest mysteries around Glass Joe is that despite being an awful boxer, he has one victory on his record. Who could he have possibly beaten?

Video Game Review: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (NES)

I think that Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is still my favorite sports video game of all-time. Sure, it’s not realistic but it didn’t just give me hours of fun, it gave me decades of fun.

Hell, I still play through the game every couple of months and about a dozen years ago a friend and I made a short film where this game was the centerpiece of the plot.

Someone once asked what my favorite Mario game was and I answered, “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

But let me reel it back in.

This game is one of the greatest time wasters ever invented. That’s not hyperbole, that’s how I really feel.

You see, it’s pretty limited. You just do one thing in the game, you box. However, each boxer you face has a different style and it’s really a game about timing and pattern recognition. Now you may think that’s easy when a boxer you’ve beat shows up a second time but the patterns you familiarized yourself with change and get more difficult later in the game.

The way this was designed was pretty brilliant. It is also addictive as even in 2019, 32 years later, it’s hard to put down once you fire up a game.

I still play through this game in its entirety a few times per year. That’s staying power.

My only real complaint about the game is that Mike Tyson is ungodly hard. Yes, I can beat him on a regular basis but, as a kid, it took me a long ass time to finally take him out. Truthfully, even if you’ve beaten him dozens of times, as I now have, he’s still a beast and one mistake is pretty much your defeat.

A few years later, Mike Tyson got into some trouble, so he was removed from the game and replaced with a fictional boxer named Mr. Dream. Honestly, Mr. Dream was just a whitewashed Mike Tyson. Play both versions of the game and you’ll see what I mean.

In the end, both NES Punch-Out!! games are the same game. Just one has Mike Tyson and the other has whitewashed Mike Tyson.

Rating: 9.75/10
Pairs well with: all other games in the Punch-Out!! franchise.