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Level 1
Super Mario Bros. 2 (Level 1)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 05, 2010   |   Episode 12 (Show Archive)  

   

Welcome to Level 1. Every week we look at a random game's very first level. It doesn't matter what kind of game it is or what system it's for, we're here to dissect the game's first level and see what it tells us about the rest of the game. I promise you an eye-opening experience in each episode! It's time to put away your mushrooms, fire plants and stars, because Mario isn't going to need them where he's going. This is Super Mario Bros. 2, the loopy follow-up to one of the greatest games of all time. Find out what we discover when we dig deep into Mario's second Level 1!

Super Mario Bros. 2 (Nintendo)
[ Release: 1987 - Console: Nintendo Entertainment System ]
Super Mario Bros. 2 (Nintendo)
Super Mario Bros. 2 (Nintendo)
Six months ago I had a dream. I knew that I wanted to say inane things about the first part of classic video games. And because of persistence, I'm still doing it all these months later. We started with a genuine masterpiece, the original Super Mario Bros. To celebrate this anniversary, Defunct Games would like to go back to the franchise that started it all and look at Super Mario Bros. 2 (Level 1)!

Despite its name, this Nintendo game did not start out as Super Mario Bros. 2. Instead this was a Japanese platformer known as Doki Doki Panic, a likeable platformer starring a colorful cast of brand new characters. While it didn't have much to do with the original Super Mario Bros., this brand new game was retrofitted to include Mario, Luigi, the Princess and even Toad. We've decided to push start and literally drop Mario into the action. Let's see what happens ...

Level 1-1: I wake up. My eyes have barely adjusted to the darkness when I discover that I'm falling. I don't have time to piece it all together; I need to find someplace to land before my small
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 1
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 1
Italian body is flush with the ground below. Apparently I have time to make a plumbing joke but not figure out a way to save myself, which is probably how I got into this situation in the first place. I'm such a goomba.

Alright, it's time to focus. I seriously do need a plan of action here. Just below me is a large mountain, perhaps I can ride it down and minimize my injuries. And I'm sure that when I walk through that mysterious door in the middle
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 1
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 1
of nowhere everything will be back to normal. I'll just chow down on some mushrooms, grab a little of that fire grass and dream about the good old days when I wasn't falling to my death.

As I walk through the mysterious door I get an unsettling feeling that something bad is about to happen. And sure enough, the door leads me to disaster. Where is the Mushroom Kingdom? This new world it's lush, green and full of fruits and vegetables. There are
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 1
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 1
tall trees off in the distance and gorgeous waterfalls to sit by. In other words, this is the worst case scenario! Who wants to live here? I don't stop to answer my own question because I know that I have a more important mission -- I need to get the heck out of this dump.

Despite my misgivings about this new world, I'm finding it extremely easy to navigate. It doesn't take me long to find a shortcut and avoid a hour of useless climbing. Instead used some dynamite to blow up a cavern wall and walked right
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 1
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 1
through to the first mini-boss. As I approach Birdo I'm not sure what to think. Here is a pink creature throwing eggs at me, yet there's something about his swagger that intrigues me. I can't put my finger on it, but I vow to figure it out ... once I've made my way back to the Mushroom Kingdom, of course.

Level 1-2: I make my way through a door that was once a large bird. On the other side is a large cavern. I look around, but I don't see any paths or bridges that will take me to the other side. As I'm about to give up, my eyes get
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 2
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 2
caught on what looks like a flying carpet. I turn my head around and discover that it IS a flying carpet, and I could easily hijack that for my own business. I rip the original passenger off the carpet and throw him to his death below; I'm a man on a mission.

As I cross the long divide between these two mountains, I start to think about the original occupant of this magic carpet. Who was that guy? How did he come across a magic carpet? Does he have a wife and kids? And if he does, did I just rob them of a caring
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 2
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 2
husband and father? I break down at the thought of my actions. All I can do to keep it together is to think about how horrible he could have been. Who knows, by day he could have been a regular guy and by night he turns into a serial puppy killer. The thought of those adorable little puppies getting stabbed and stomped by that guy makes me angry. He got what he had coming.

Level 1 - 3: After making my way to the other mountain, I'm met with a brand new set of enemies. Gone are the masked rabbits. In their place are slithery snakes and large clay pots. I investigate one of these clay bowls and discover a larger world below. I jump in and
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 3
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 3
explore. There's a surprising amount of room in one of these jars, I wonder how it's done. Just like that carpet, it must be magic. Up ahead is a door in the side of a mountain, which looks like my safest bed with all these snakes around.

As I enter the mountain I'm floored when I discover just how intricate the inner workings of this mountainside are. I'm talking about moving platforms, rope bridges and even a bridge or two. And even though no light could get inside, the path was marked
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 3
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 3
with vegetables to harvest. My only options are a locked door below me and a long climb above. I choose to climb, even though that goes against all of my better judgments. At the top sits a large key and five scary masks that aren't happy to see me.

I grab the key and freeze. I hear a rumbling coming from the masks and know that I've been spotted. I don't have time to cautiously climb down this mountain; this is a time to be daring. I decide to leap down, avoiding enemies and hoping for the best. The last time I was in this situation I came out without a scratch, I'm hoping that lady luck will
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 3
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 1 - 3
bless me a second time. Just above me I see one of those masks speeding towards me. If I did my calculations right I should make it to the ground before ... bah, who am I kidding? There's no time for me to calculate this thing, I barely have enough time to make plumber jokes.

The Boss - Mouser: Just as before, I land without feeling a thing. Right in front of me is a door that leads someplace mysterious. I snoop around for some clues, but the light shining from the door is simply too
Super Mario Bros. 2 - Boss - Mouser
Super Mario Bros. 2 - Boss - Mouser
bright to see anything. As I walk through the door I'm met with explosions everywhere. Above me, below me, all around me, there are explosions EVERYWHERE!!

As I duck for cover I catch a glimpse of a large rat throwing bombs. He's too big to stomp on and too heavy to throw, so I'm going to need to come up with a better strategy. Perhaps I can go back outside, convince everybody to work as a team and we can use numbers to defeat him. They'll be reluctant, but I can offer them a better world. I can take them outside and show
Super Mario Bros. 2 - Character Select
Super Mario Bros. 2 - Character Select
them what freedom tastes like. Just as I'm getting ready to enact this master plan, this giant rat throws a bomb right at me. Choosing not to go out in a cartoon explosion, I throw the bomb back and hit him square in the jaw. I'll never forget that look he gave me right before he exploded into a million little pieces.

What Have We Learned Today? Thanks to Super Mario Bros. 2 I learned that because the Princess has a dress on, she can float in the air. And Luigi may hate his life and have no game with the ladies, but
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 2 - 1
Super Mario Bros. 2: Level 2 - 1
he can jump really high. And Toad's super fast. Everybody has their own unique ability. Wait ... we didn't learn that at all. I played this entire game as Mario, so the Princess, Luigi and Toad never saw any action. I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned in here somewhere, but I don't see it.

What Did We Miss? By not moving on to Level 2 we missed out on going to the desert. That's right, the desert, where there's sand and the hot sun. Where you can go miles without seeing another person or drinking water. The
Super Mario Bros. 2 - Are you are loser!
Are you are loser!
desert does nasty things to your body, and that's where we're headed next. Wait, where are you going? Don't leave me here. I don't want to do the desert by myself! You'll be sorry you didn't come along when I get to the ice cream world. Mmmmm, ice cream. You guys suck.

What Wario Says: "It's a Wii, Wario ... ha ha ha ha ha. Hey! You're not laughing! What, you don't find my puns hilarious? Is it that you're sick of my superior wit? I know it's been four years, but you can't make up a catch-phrase like that. But maybe you're right. Perhaps I should mix it up a bit; go with something that isn't punny. "It's a me Wario, the guy Mario is constantly ignoring for Toad." Hmm, that sounded less bitter in my head. Maybe this is the perfect time for me to go dark. Something like, "It's a me, the dark figure that haunts your dreams and makes it impossible for you to live a normal life or find a nurturing relationship. How are you doing today?" That's a bit much, isn't it? See, this is why Mario never invites me to be in his games."
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