Super Mario Bros. Deluxe
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy Color
  • Developer:
    • Nintendo
  • Publisher:
    • Nintendo
  • Released:
    • US 05/01/1999
    • UK 07/01/1999
    • JP 03/01/2000
Score: 75%

This review was published on 12/15/2015.

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is a side-scrolling platform video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Color. It was initially released in North America on May 1, 1999, and Europe on July 1, 1999. The game was later released in Japan on March 1, 2000, using the Nintendo Power service, which was a thing that allowed Japanese consumers to download games onto special flash memory cartridges. In any case, this game is nothing more than an enhanced port of the first two Super Mario Bros. games for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom, originally released in 1985 and 1986. Only the first Super Mario Bros. is advertised on the box, however, as the second one is supposed to be a slightly secretive unlockable. The many enhancements make this a worthy set of ports to check out, even if you have already played the originals. Plus, it's portable!

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Bowser, the evil King of the turtle-like Koopas, has kidnapped Princess Toadstool from the Mushroom Kingdom. It's now up to the titular Mario brothers, Mario and Luigi, to rescue the fair dame. To do this, they must run, jump, and swim through eight worlds filled with Bowser's minions and bottomless pits. The game play, graphics, and music of the original game have all been faithfully preserved here, though there are a few tweaks, some good and some bad. For one, the size of the screen is much smaller, preventing you from seeing some of the action. This can lead to some unfair deaths, as enemies and platforms are sometimes obscured by the reduced viewing area. You can somewhat offset this problem by using the d-pad to pan the camera around, but it's still an annoyance. On the other hand, the controls have been improved to allow for more flexible maneuverability, and you can now save your game. There's also a cute little map screen to show your progress, plus you get a level select after the game has been beaten. Also, you can switch to Luigi while on the map by pressing select. Small screens suck, but the additional features make up for it.

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After gathering over 300,000 points in the normal game, you'll unlock the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2, which is known as The Lost Levels outside of Japan. In Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, the game is referred to as "Super Mario Bros. for Super Players," implying that it's the same as the first game, only much harder. That's honestly not too far off from the truth. In the likely event that you haven't played The Lost Levels, it has the same graphics, music, and enemies as the first Super Mario Bros. game, but all the levels have been redesigned to be substantially more difficult. This is completely different from the Super Mario Bros. 2 that North America and Europe got on the NES, which was originally a Japanese game called Doki Doki Panic, but was altered to contain Mario characters. Anyway, Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is technically two games in one, even if it doesn't quite feel that way. Two games are better than one, son.

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Challenge mode is a feature unique to Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. In challenge mode, your mission is to search the many levels of the first Super Mario Bros. for red coins and Yoshi eggs, in addition to achieving high scores. None of these things existed in the original game, but they were added in this mode to create more of a challenge. There are five red coins and one Yoshi egg per level. The Yoshi eggs are hidden inside invisible blocks, whereas the red coins can either be hidden in plain sight or inside of visible blocks. Basically, this is one big scavenger hunt. If you want more things to do after you beat both games, then this is where you do it. It does come off as a cheap way to lengthen the game, though, as the levels themselves are exactly the same outside of the inclusion of additional collectibles. While it may change the way you play the game, this is just needless busywork for restless busybodies.

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"You VS Boo" is another mode exclusive to Super Mario Bros. Deluxe; it's unlocked after getting 100,000 points in the main game. In this mode, you go on a one-on-one race against Boo, the ghost enemy first introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES. Obviously, there were no Boos in the original Super Mario Bros. game, but Super Mario Bros. Deluxe elects to change that with this mode. The way this mode works is that you, playing as Mario, run and jump through a level filled with blocks in order to reach the flag pole at the end before Boo does. However, due to Boo's ghostly attributes, the environment does not hinder him at all, making him kind of a cheater. The main gimmick is that there are obstacles Boo will activate every so often to impede your progress, and you must deactivate them yourself by bashing your skull into special blocks. It's pretty annoying, and this mode isn't terribly entertaining. You can, however, race a friend instead of Boo by linking up two Game Boy Colors, which is a bit more fun, but still nothing to write home about.

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Outside of the game play, there are a lot of little baubles you can play around with in the menus. The first thing you've got is the toy box, which has things like a calendar and fortune telling cards. Most of these things are useless novelties, such as the fortune telling, but some can be marginally useful, like a roulette that randomly reveals the location of a Yoshi egg. Perhaps the most intriguing of all these trifles is the photo album. The pictures in the album are sort of like achievements, as you get them for completing certain tasks in the main game. These things don't change the game play at all, but they give you additional goals to shoot for. It's possible to print many of these images using the Game Boy Printer, which was a tiny printer device that would hook up to the Game Boy to print pictures from special games that supported it. You can use this to print out physical evidence of your accomplishments, so your friends can't accuse you of lying when you brag about finding all the red coins. They certainly can accuse you of other things, though.

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Ports are normally a symbol of laziness, but that's not the case with Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. You can tell that a lot of care was put into this package, what with all the little extras, bonuses, and secrets that were added. There's enough here to keep achievement hunters busy for a good while, and the games sound and play fairly well. The only real issue is the small screen, which is the main disadvantage these ports have over their console counterparts. If you desire portability and don't mind the small screen, then this isn't a bad way to play the first two Super Mario Bros. games. Otherwise, stick to the originals.

Word Count: 1,192

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