When I first got my NES when I was 6, I didn’t realize the Super Mario Bro’s wasn’t the first game with Mario in it. In fact, there had been a couple of games released like the arcade classic Donkey Kong that starred Mario. Today I am goin to talk to you guys about another that not only starred Mario, but introduced the world to many stables of the Mario franchise like turtles, green pipes, and Mario’s awesome brother Luigi! Mario Bros was released in 1983 in arcades – a full two years before it saw a release on the NES in 1985.
The story of the game is simple, but sets the stage for all future Mario games! Mario and his brother Luigi are plumbers living in New York City. Strange creatures have begun to emerge from the sewers, so they head down to the sewers to figure out what is going and to get rid of them!
At its core, Mario is a 2D platforming game. His goal is to dispatch all of the creatures coming out from the sewers. To do this, he must knock them from below a platform to knock them on their back, and then kick them by touching them! After all enemies are destroyed, the player goes onto the next stage. It sounds simple – and early stages are, but as the game progresses, more complex enemies are introduced that move quicker and are more difficult to knock over. When things get to complicated, Mario also has the option of using the “POW” block which knocks all the enemies on their backs, but be careful because after a short amount of time, enemies flip back over and become way more difficult to destroy.
A fun addition I did not initially play was the multiplayer mode. This is basically the one-player mode, but with another player – Luigi! While the game can be played cooperatively, I found that more fun was to be had playing against the other player! It is fun to knock the POW block just as the other player is about to kick a flipped over turtle for points. It reminded me of the good times my bro and I played Mario 3 on NES.
The real question that must be considered however is whether I had fun – and the answer is yes – but for only for a little while. The game is quite repetitive, and although skill does play a part in how far you get, I just didn’t get the feeling to push me to get to the next level. There was also the nagging issue that you cant actually jump on bad guys heads until after they have been flipped over. This game isn’t a SUPER Mario game – it is just a Mario game, and it feels like it.
In terms of graphics, the game is as basic as it gets on the NES with black backgrounds and a couple of sprites on-screen at a time. The sprites really pop against the black background though and look quite crisp. The game doesn’t look bad – it just looks really old – but in a good kind of way. The music on the other hand is very limited and sounds pretty bad when it does play. The sound effects are a quite annoying too – especially when Mario runs and stops. The game does get it right with the POW sound effect though.
In summary, this is a challenging Mario game that while fun, just isn’t as good as all the rest that followed. It’s true that it added a ton to the Mario story including green pipes, and turtles, and the iconic Luigi, but it just isn’t as engaging as the rest. A redeeming quality is the fun multiplayer, but you can get that game with every Super Mario 3. I give this game a final score of 6/10.
Final Score: 6/10
3 thoughts on “NES Review – Mario Bros”
I can’t believe I almost forgot about this game! In SMB3 if you challenge the second player over something, the battle screen is so similar to this. I used to play this with my brother and we’d promise not to hit the POW block, but that vow was rarely kept lol.
Great memories! Never owned a NES myself, but when I was a child, we lived near a big department store with a big toy section. They had an NES on display there, and were running Mario Bros on it all the time. Not hard to guess: I spent a lot of time in this store, trying to master this game 😉
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