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Video Game / Super Mario Bros. 2

Mario and his friends have the dream adventure. Note that Bowser isn't there.

If you're looking for the game titled Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan, see Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.

Describe Doki Doki Panic, uh...Super Mario USA, um...Super Mario Bros. 2 here.

After playtesting by Howard Phillips of Nintendo of America, it was decided that Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels just wouldn't work for American gamers, since it was both basically a retread of the first game and just too Nintendo Hard.

Meanwhile, Doki Doki Panic started life as a Mario prototype, but when Nintendo needed to meet a licensing agreement with FujiTV, it was rebranded with Fuji's Yume Koujou ("Dream Factory") characters. Then, when Nintendo of America rejected the Japanese SMB2 and needed a new sequel for the US and European markets in a hurry, they re-rebranded Doki Doki Panic to match the Super Mario Bros. 1 characters and gave the game a few additional nips and tucks.

This game introduced many of the Mario series' iconic enemies (such as Shy Guys, Bob-ombs, Birdo and others) and abilities (such as picking up and carrying items and enemies), and it further developed and differentiated the four main characters (providing Luigi with a taller, lankier appearance, giving Princess Peach Toadstool her ability to float, and actually codifying Mario as the Jack-of-All-Stats for the first time).

Eventually, this version was released in Japan as Super Mario USA. So, by changing sprites, Nintendo made three titles out of one, and sold the same game to the Japanese twice.

Super Mario Bros. 2 was later remade with SNES graphics as part of the Super Mario All-Stars Compilation Re-release, and then with further updates as the first of the Super Mario Advance remakes. The concept of Mario, Luigi, the Princess, and Toad all being playable characters with differing stats and abilities in a Platform Game would resurface in Super Mario 3D World.

Provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: Wart hates vegetables.
  • Action Bomb: This is Bob-omb's debut.
  • Adipose Rex: Wart, the usurper of Subcon.
  • All Just a Dream: Double subverted The instruction manual implies that Mario first dreams up Subcon, then sees it for real on a picnic with his friends. But the game's ending explicitly shows that he dreamed it all. But the game's semi-sequel, BS Super Mario USA, implies that the events of the game did happen, and that Mario was actually within a dream world.
  • All There in the Manual: The manual gives more detail on the story, and subtly drops Wart's weaknessnote . It also adds a touch of personality and backstory to almost all the enemies, such as Snifits making their bullets out of nightmares, Ninjis being lesser demons who invade the dreams of boys who play Nintendo, Tryclyde being a loner until Wart came in the picture, etc.
  • Always Night: Worlds 2 and 5, though the latter has daytime levels in the All-Stars remake.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Birdo's sex was originally male but was later described as female and then "indeterminate gender" depending on the source. However, Birdo was eventually shown to be an entire species on occasion, so it could be that all previous descriptions are correct.
  • Animated Adaptation: The Super Mario Bros. Super Show adapts elements of both this and Super Mario Bros..
  • Antepiece: The very first screens of the game establish right off the bat that the game mechanics are different from the original Mario game in three visual ways:
    • First, you drop down from a high vertical height down and scroll through several screens, unlike the original game, which only had horizontal scrolling.
    • Second, you find out immediately that you can't hurt enemies by jumping on them, and since a player will be familiar with the run button (which worked as the Fireball button in the previous game), they will likely find out right away that you can pick up an enemy when you're moving or running on them, and since a second enemy is nearby, the player may realize he can attack him by throwing the Shy Guy they're holding. Naturally, this new discovery may encourage the player to see if he can grab other objects, such as the nearest patch of grass, which gives you a throwable vegetable.
    • Third, moving left to right on the screen will loop you around to the other side, immediately tipping off the player that the Ratchet Scrolling of the original game has been dropped, and alerts the player that the only way to exit the screen is by figuring out how to use the nearby door.
  • Asteroids Monster: Fryguy. After being hit three times (which would normally indicate the defeat of a boss in most Mario games), it'll be fragmented into four living parts. The battle will only end after none of them remain.
  • Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: Mario is balanced, Luigi has jump height on his side, Toad has movement speed and lifting power on his side, and the Princess is different from all three in that she can hover for a short period of time. They use the same set up in Super Mario 3D World, but lifting power is standardized (and instantaneous) since its no longer a core game mechanic.
  • Big Bad: Wart.
  • Big Fancy Castle: 7-2, the final level. A literal dream factory with two branching pathways, filled with Spikes of Doom and conveyor belts, and four different boss fights, including a final confrontation with Wart.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Certain vases have large insides, including one that has sand, making its innards much taller than its outer size.
  • Big "NO!": In the Advance version: Tryclyde when you hit him the first two times, Wart when you defeat him.
  • Bootstrapped Theme:
    • The Subspace theme is the Super Mario Bros. main overworld theme, minus the recognizable seven-note intro.
    • Also, the title screen theme is a remix of the "underwater" theme from Super Mario Bros. Super Mario All-Stars took this and ran with it, remixing said underwater theme for the title screen of all of their games save Super Mario World, and the Super Mario Advance series continued the tradition for its own games.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Wart keeps the Dream Machine in his throne room. Which constantly sprouts vegetables. His Weaksauce Weakness? Vegetables.
  • Boss Bonanza: The game has the player facing Birdo (twice, if a certain route is chosen), then the mask gate brought to life and finally Wart in the last level.
  • Bubbly Clouds: World 7, as well as the last parts of levels 5-3 and 6-3. In them, there are enemies that can attack Mario and company from their positions, which makes jumping between clouds more difficult than usual.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: Mario and crew have to venture inside a pyramid in 2-1 and 2-3.
  • Canon Immigrant: Being from a different series, everything in the game counts as an immigrant, save for the characters and objects that had their sprites changed. Most of the enemies have also appeared in other games in the series, most notably Pokeys and Shy Guys. Bob-ombs are the lone exception, however; they were in both Doki Doki Panic and Super Mario Bros. 3 in Japan before this game came out.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Mouser throws these and you can occasionally throw them too.
  • Collision Damage: Lampshaded with the game's Stop Watch item, which freezes all the action when you pick it up. Yes, you take damage from enemies, even when they're not moving.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Shy Guys, similar to the Koopa Troopas from the first game. Pinknote  Shy Guys patrol a specific area, while red Shy Guys come straight at you.
  • Competitive Balance: All of the characters have different jump strengths, pickup animation speeds, and running speed while holding an item (without holding an item, all of them run at the same speed).
  • Continuing Is Painful: Getting a Game Over sends you all the way back to the start of the world you're in. It's steadily alleviated between the different versions. In the NES version you can only continue twice before the game kicks you all the way back to the beginning. In the SNES version, you have infinite continues, but keeps the "Start the World Over" penalty. Completely averted in the GBA version, where you have infinite continues and you can start back on the stage you game overed on.
  • Cosmetic Award: In the GBA version, there are changes to the title screen when you beat the game, collect all the red coins, and clear Yoshi's Challenge.
  • Cranium Ride: Since this is the one game in the series that lacks the Goomba Stomp, you could do this on most of the Mooks. Several areas required you to do this. note 
  • Death by Gluttony: The way the player kills Wart by stuffing him with vegetables.
  • Death Throws: It just wouldn't be a Mario game without it! The bosses do this too.
  • Degraded Boss: The pink Birdo becomes a standard enemy in level 4-3. Its real purpose is to shoot eggs to let Mario and crew ride across a stretch of water they can't cross on their own, also rendering it a Helpful Mook.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: Quite a few. Surprisingly, sand is an example too.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: This is the first game to depict Luigi as taller and thinner than Mario and the first to depict Luigi fluttering his legs while jumping; however, the first game to feature Luigi jumping higher than Mario was Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In the ending, after the Subcons are released, their immediate first action is to crowd-surf a bruised Wart off while the Heroes are being heralded and then (implied by the symbols to the right side of the screen shortly after he disappears off-screen) is given an off-screen No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The game actually started life as a Mario sequel game, until Fuji TV asked Nintendo for a game with Yume Koujou characters in it, and it got divorced from Mario and dolled-up into Doki Doki Panic. After The Lost Levels was rejected for international release, Doki Doki Panic got readapted into Super Mario Bros 2.
  • Dream Land: Subcon may or may not really exist. According to BS Super Mario USA, it does.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The two red dots on the Ninji sprites are depicted in both the game's official artwork and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show as red fangs, but later Ninji portrayals reinterpret those dots as big buttons.
  • Edible Ammunition: Various vegetables that can be unearthed and thrown. This is required in the final boss battle.
  • Enemy Roll Call: The credits do this. Interestingly, the names "Birdo" and "Ostro" are switched around (this was fixed in the Super Mario Advance localization, though).
  • Eternal Engine: The castles in Levels 1-3, 3-3, and 4-3 give off this vibe. Especially in the remakes, seemingly taking place inside of factory warehouses.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Anything that moves in Subcon is not your friend. Aside from Wart's goons, there's homicidal cactus creatures in the desert, fireball-spewing flowers, and surly porcupines. Even the passive, non-threatening whales in World 4 are dangerous, as the geysers of water they spew out hurts Mario and crew on contact.
  • Evolving Title Screen: In the GBA port, a Yoshi egg is added to the title screen after Wart has been defeated.
  • Extended Gameplay: In the Advance version, after beating the game you can go through "Yoshi's Challenge", which challenges you to locate two Yoshi eggs in Subspace in each stage. The tough part is that you lose your collected eggs when you die.
  • Flash of Pain: Bosses when damaged.
  • Flip-Screen Scrolling: In the vertical areas.
  • Floating Mask: Phantos.
  • Game Over Man: Birdo in the SNES remake.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The bullet-spitting Snifits.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Clawgrip, the boss of World 5.
  • Giant Mook: In the Advance remake, you can find giant Shy Guys and Ninjis. Picking one up will cause them to drop a heart, effectively turning them into infinite sources of Hit Points.
  • Green Hill Zone: The game has three of them in the first, third, and fifth worlds. It's played more straight with the first world as you may expect, but the third and especially the fifth world are much more challenging.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Throwing enemies at other enemies is the main method of attack, along with throwing vegetables (and keys, and bombs, and almost everything else you can get your hands on) at them.
  • Hearts Are Health: In the SNES and GBA remakes. In the original game your hit points are Hexagons instead. In all versions, though, grabbing hearts restore your hit points.
  • Heart Container: Grab Mushrooms in Subspace in increase your hit points. The health extension isn't permanent though, it resets when you enter a new level.
  • Helpful Mook: The Pink Birdo in Level 4-3 is the Genuinely Gentle type. You may be tempted to clobber it, but that does no good since you can't complete the level without it's help.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The player characters have life energy, but in order to connect the game to the rest of the series, they shrink when they only have one hit point left. But this does not actually reduce the hitbox.
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • World 7-2 has the mask gate attack you when you pick up the crystal ball. Three whacks with the Mushroom Blocks will neutralize it and allow you to proceed afterwards (but if you take too long, you'll have to repeat the battle).
    • Fryguy in World 4-3 splits up into smaller fireballs after you hit him a few times, which can catch first time players off guard after being used to bosses being defeated after a few hits.
    • Unlike most defeated bosses, the final boss Wart doesn't lose his hitbox and can still damage careless players should they touch him during his "defeat" animation. Better hope you're not down to your last hit point, or you'll lose a life and have to repeat the battle.
  • King Koopa Copy: The Final Boss is not Bowser, but a grumpy, tyrannic toad named Wart. This is because the game was originally conceived as Doki Doki Panic, which happens to have borrowed many Mario elements beforehand.
  • Knock Back: A very unique example in the Mario series. How your character reacts to taking a hit depends on how many hit points he or she has. Four or three hit points, they get knockback. Only two hit points, they just shrink, with no knockback.
  • Koosh Bomb: All the explosions look like this, with "BOMB" written in the center.
  • Life Meter: One of the earliest uses of one in a Mario game. The meter initially starts at 2 units, but it can be extended up to 4 (or 5 in the GBA port) units. The extended health doesn't carry over to the next level.
  • Market-Based Title: Super Mario USA in Japan. See the game's complicated history in the description.
  • Meaningful Name: Subconscious.
  • Mechanical Monster: Robirdo in the GBA remake. A huge, robotic version of Birdo that spits giant eggs, creates earthquakes by jumping, and tries to run Mario and his Friends over by charging at them.
  • Mercy Invincibility: What happens every time you get hit, along with knockback. However, the invincibility frames still tick down as the screen scrolls vertically, which means it can run out during scrolling and you can get blindsided without anyway to recover.
  • Nightmare Face: Phantos, in contrast to their counterparts from Doki Doki Panic.
  • Oddball in the Series: One of the first video game examples. However, it was well enough received that many of the gameplay elements and enemies were incorporated into following games.
  • Parachute Petticoat: Princess Toadstool, enabling long jumps.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Toad is a rather short guy, but he can pick up things with lightning speed, making him the strongest playable character. (But the worst jumper, unfortunately.)
  • Poison Mushroom: Some Grass patches in Subcon are booby-trapped and contain Bob-Ombs. These Bob-Ombs have a short fuse and will blow up in your face if you don't throw it away on time.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: The debut of Princess Toadstool's pink dress in an actual game (she's always had a pink dress in official artwork).
  • Promoted to Playable: The Princess and Toad, NPCs in Mario 1 and in Lost Levels, are now playable characters.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Desert levels have two types; the first takes about 7-10 seconds to completely suck you in and is quite easy to jump out of, the second (sand waterfalls) takes half as long as the first and renders attempting to jump out a hopeless endeavor, though fortunately the first type is typically near it.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • Birdo is fought sixteen times through the game (it makes seventeen appearances, but in one of them it's a Helpful Mook). Justified since Birdo is a Mini-Boss, and subsequent 2D Mario games would repeat this trend with Boom Boom, Reznor and Bowser Jr.
    • Mouser, who appears at the end of Worlds 1 and 3. In Doki Doki Panic, Mouser also appears as the boss of World 5, but was replaced in this instance by Clawgrip for Super Mario Bros. 2.
    • Tryclyde is the boss of World 2 and World 6. In the Game Boy Advance remake, Tryclyde's second appearance was replaced with the second Mouser appearance, whose place was taken by the new boss Robirdo, leaving Mouser as the only recurring boss.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: In the end credits, "Hoopster" is misspelled "Hoopstar", "Tryclyde" is spelled "Tricylde" (which actually makes more sense), "Clawgrip" is misspelled "Clawglip", and both "Birdo" and "Ostro" have their names switched around. All of these mistakes are fixed in the GBA remake.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: This was the first game in which the Princess is a playable character, and she's quite useful.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Game Grumps illustrate a good example here: sure, you can get all those coins, but if you expect there to be bombs in any of that row of five plants, you're wrong.
  • Scoring Points: Not present until the GBA version, which added in a scoring system similar to that of other Mario games (in which beating several enemies with the same attack earns progressively more points).
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The game is less difficult than the first Super Mario Bros, in contrast to The Lost Levels which is far harder than both. This also applies for the remake: The SNES version is a lot easier compared to the NES version as you can save, and you have infinite continues. The Game Boy Advance version is even easier due to the floating hearts, random large enemies that drop hearts when you throw them, and you can still save. The levels themselves aren't any easier, though.
  • She's a Man in Japan: The beginning of the bizarre saga of Birdo, though its appearance in this game is actually an aversion.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The second and sixth worlds, with the former featuring more basic elements (quicksand, desert-dwelling enemies, the need to dig through sand in the dungeons) and the latter focusing on more complex concepts. This also makes the game the first in the Mario series to have a desert-type world.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: World 4. In all levels, Mario and company have to walk through very slippy ice platforms, which increases the difficulty of dodging enemies as well as avoiding falling into the cold water.
  • Smart Bomb: The old POW Block is back, and now you can carry it around and deploy it at will. And it was in DDP. Shigeru Miyamoto did make DDP, after all.
  • Spikes of Doom: Here, they make appearances. Not the insta-kill kind, but bad to touch anyway.
  • Suddenly Harmful Harmless Object: At the end of World 7-2, the mask gate, which had up until now been your gateway between levels, now comes to life and attacks you.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The GBA version. Not only do Mario and friends talk, but so do the bosses.
  • Super Drowning Skills: There are no swimming stages in this game unlike it's predecessors, and falling into the drink costs a life. Somewhat justified, as the water you run into is in World 4. Not exactly smart swimming in water in an ice world.
  • The Spiny: Porcupo is the standard spiny, but the game also introduces Sparks as well as Pansers, spiny enemies that shoot. Also, unlike Birdo, trying to jump on any of the other bosses' heads hurts you.
  • Spiritual Successor: Averted with New Super Mario Bros. 2 in terms of similar titles. Super Mario 3D World, on the other hand, is this trope, minus any vegetables.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Wart's Boss Arena Idiocy isn't bad enough, he has to keep opening his mouth to spit bubbles on top of it. Take a guess on what his weak spot is.
  • Take Your Time: Unlike the other 2D Mario platformers, there's no time limit here.
  • Tech Demo Game: The GBA version was a launch title for that system, so it does a lot to show off the capabilities of the GBA. Even the game's intro is part of this, as it starts out with a shaded box framing the older Game Boy resolution that fades away to show the larger screen.
  • Tennis Boss: Birdo spits eggs that you have to jump on and throw back. Mouser and Clawgrip are also defeated by catching their ammunition and throwing it back.
  • This Cannot Be!: Mouser, Tryclyde, Robirdo, and Wart when defeated in the GBA version.
  • Time Stands Still: The Stop Watch item (after uprooting five ripe vegetables) stops all the action around you. Collision Damage still applies, so be careful.
  • Trash Talk: The bosses deliver a one-liner before engaging Mario and co. in combat in the GBA version.
  • Unique Enemy: There's exactly one red Snifit in the entire game. Not counting the ones on the title screen artwork and in the slot machine bonus game.
  • Unsound Effect: "BOMB!"
  • Video Game Remake:
    • On the Super Mario All-Stars compilation for the SNES, with graphic and sound upgrades, and a save feature.
    • The first in the Super Mario Advance series of remakes for the GBA. With all the upgrades from the SNES version, plus a point system, collectible special coins, voice samples, giant enemies and vegetables, and a Yoshi Egg Challenge after completing the game.
  • Warp Zone: There are a few pipes that can warp you ahead a few worlds, but you have to use said pipes in the subspace areas (assuming you threw the potion in the right spots).
  • Weaksauce Weakness: If Wart eats vegetables, he'll eventually croak.
  • Weaponized Offspring: Birdo has this trademark move of shooting eggs from the mouth as projectiles.
  • Womb Level: World 5-3. Your character has to make his or her way up a giant tree.
  • Wrap Around: A few of the vertical sequences in the game.
  • Zerg Rush: Beezos are all about this when attacking Mario and friends. Either coming after them by swooping down from the top of the screen and attacking when they get in range or flying in swarms head-on. When you see a Beezo, chances are he's bringing many friends with it, too.

Alternative Title(s): Super Mario USA, Super Mario Brothers 2, Super Mario Bros 2