Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels is the game that Japan got as a sequel to Super Mario Bros. in 1986. Nintendo of America thought it was too hard for American players, so they changed the graphics of a game called Doki Doki Panic! to use Mario characters and powerups, and released it in the United States as Super Mario Bros. 2.

The US first got the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 as part of the Super Mario All-Stars compilation for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. I first played Super Mario All-Stars when I was a little girl. I have always been a big fan of Mario, ever since our family first got a Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. I played all of the Super Mario games over and over, learned all of the warp zones, and got to know the games like the back of my hand.

I saw this for rent at Video King, so I had to pick it up. It had all of the Super Mario NES games for the Super Nintendo with updated visuals, sound, and music, but it also had a game I never heard of before – “Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels”. That was first game that I played when I got home, but after dying a dozen or so times, I chose to save and quit and beat the other three Super Mario games that I knew so well.

I finally came back to The Lost Levels today. I have completed all of the Super Mario games, except for the Gameboy games and Super Mario Galaxy, so The Lost Levels seemed like a lost piece in my gaming history. It was just as hard as I remember it, but luckily my reflexes have gotten a bit better, and I’ve gotten a lot more patience since then (YouTube videos showing game play-throughs don’t hurt either :P). I found it to be much more enjoyable this time around. It was fun to see things in this game that would later make it into Super Mario Bros. 3, such as the piranha plants that pop up even if you stand on their pots, and upside down piranha plants.

The poison mushroom was also a lot less menacing now than I remembered it being. It was quite easy to avoid them, since it was easy to spot due to being purple. Super Mario Bros. was inspired by Alice in Wonderland, with Mario entering a strange world and especially with him eating mushrooms that made him grow large. The poison mushrooms here answer something that I always thought odd about Mario, and by association Alice in Wonderland. The characters go to a strange land where everything is different than anything they’ve seen before, and they has no problem putting foreign objects in their mouth. It’s just lucky Mario is given multiple lives, I doubt Alice would have had it so good.

All four games were well worth the playtime. I love the Super Mario games we got over here in the USA on the NES to death, and it was great to play them with updated visuals. The sound and music sounded great coming from my surround sound speakers. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was fun to play to see the direction the series was headed, and to experience the world of the first Super Mario Bros. game with different level layouts and gameplay twists. It’s great that Super Mario All-Stars has unlimited continues and let you start at the beginning of the last level you died on after a Game Over, I doubt I would have been able to complete The Lost Levels otherwise.

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