Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Super Mario Bros. 2: A Cover-up...REVEALED!

In case you didn't notice when you were 7 years old, Super Mario Bros. 2 kinda sucks. The game deviated entirely from the original's formula of enemies, attacks, movement, health, and even level design. Instead of Koopa Troopas, we get Shy Guys, which look like psychotic Ewoks wearing Jason masks (fortunately these nightmarish chimeras can be injured by a thrown turnip or sundry other veggies). Instead of your Seattle hippie-style mushroom-based health regeneration scheme have to collect cherries seemingly nailed to thin air. And instead of Bowzer, the inimical lizard-tyrant at the end of the first SMB, you get Wart, a bloated, effete, burping frog that's deathly allergic to thrown vegetables as the final boss. And oh yeah, the whole game is a fucking dream. Snooze.

(LEFT) Super Mario Bros. 2. (RIGHT) Doki Doki Panic. Fuck you, Nintendo.

As it turns out, there's a reason for this: SMB2 isn't actually a Mario game. Wait what? Indeed, the U.S. Super Mario Bros. 2 game we were all playing was, in fact, a very slightly doctored version of a Japanese game called Dream Factory: Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic. The levels are identical, the enemies are identical, and the playable characters are identical, except for the graphical sprites themselves. So while the Japanese were all enjoying their actual SMB sequel (now titled Super Mario Bros. All-Stars in the U.S.), we were gullibly swallowing some cheap Japanese knock-off. Seriously, did they think we'd never figure this out? Well, it took 20 years, I suppose.

The thing on the right is the effeminate final boss to SMB2, Wart. I guess that's an Asian crab on the left.

Truth be told, I didn't figure this out. Some guy in search of YouTube glory put together a whole exposé which I'm just summarizing here. Oh, you want to watch it---and I strongly suggest you do---well then here's the video. Credit goes to NJB '08 for this find.


Space Cadet 'R' said...

Waaaay back in the day, the local Mom and Pop Video store in my neighborhood held a coveted rental: a true Japanese import Super Mario 2 cartridge with a Famicon adapter. They rented this bad boy out for three times the normal rental rate and demanded a $100 deposit.

I can safely say I was one of the few American children who was actually frustrated by the original NES version of the "Lost Levels". I can also see why Nintendo never released it to the US: It was freakin' hard. Japan has a tendency to pass up American desire for challenge, instead favoring our tendency for expecting mediocrity to be lavishly rewarded.

Brice Lord said...

No way, what pre-Blockbusterian video store had the presence of mind to import Japanese games, and good ones at that? I'm guessing you lived in LA or the West Coast or something.

Space Cadet 'R' said...

Grand Rapids, MI, baby.

Brice Lord said...

So the West Coast of Michigan, I knew I was right. I did some time in Michigan myself. Lovely winters.