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Video Game / New Super Mario Bros.

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Out of the way! Giant plumber coming through!

New Power-Ups. New Moves. New Bosses.
Welcome to the new Mushroom Kingdom.
Official website for the DS game

New Super Mario Bros. is a platform game released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS and the first game in the New Super Mario Bros. series, deliberately modeled after the side-scrolling games in Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. series, but featuring polygonal renderings of some characters and objects to give it a 2.5D look. It's also the first original side-scroller in the series since 1995's Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, and the first to star Mario as the playable character since 1992's Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.

The plot, as usual in 2D Mario games, is rather simple. Bowser Jr. kidnaps Princess Peach, and Mario gives chase through eight worlds, each with at least one fortress and one castle. Each fortress ends with a battle with Bowser Jr., who retreats to either another fortress or a castle when defeated; meanwhile, the castles end with a unique boss fight. Before Mario can rescue Peach, Bowser Jr. nabs her and runs off to the next world, which is gonna happen a few more times.

The Wall Jump, Triple Jump, and Ground Pound make their first appearance in a 2D Mario game here since being introduced to 3D Mario games in Super Mario 64. In addition to the series' usual power ups of the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Starman, NSMB introduced some new ones. The Mega Mushroom turns Mario into a giant à la Super Mario 64 DS, allowing for some massive property damage. The Mini Mushroom shrinks Mario to the size of a mouse, enabling him to get through very small passageways, have a floatier jump, and run on water at the expense of death in one hit. The Blue Koopa Shell allows Mario to protect himself while crouching; when running, he can knock enemies away just like the Koopa shells he kicks. Finally, Shell Mario can swim better underwater.

This game provides examples of:

  • Andean Music: The World 6 Map theme is inspired by Andean music.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Mario can grow bigger than a freaking castle using the Mega Mushroom. The boss of the World 4 castle, Mega Goomba, is a giant Goomba the same size as Mega Mario. Bowser also grows to the same size for the final battle.
  • Avenging the Villain: Bowser is dealt with in the very first world, making Bowser Jr. the main antagonist for the rest of the game.
  • Back from the Dead: Bowser is dropped into a pool of lava in the game's first world and reduced to a skeleton. He only recovers in World 8, when Bowser Jr. throws his skeleton into a cauldron to bring him back to life.
  • Bad with the Bone: Instead of throwing hammers, Dry Bowser throws bones at Mario or Luigi during battle.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: In the opening cutscene, Mario takes a short beating from Bowser Jr. offscreen. If you waited long enough on the title screen, a modified version of the cutscene shows that Mario was hit by a Koopa shell, and sometimes Luigi is dragged into the mix.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Ghost Houses are labyrinthine areas filled with Boo enemies.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Closing the DS without turning the game off will result in Mario saying "Ba-bye." Opening it back up will cause Mario to greet you with "It's-a me, Mario!"
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The second world is themed heavily after the Egyptian desert, and prominently features pyramids and ancient Egyptian structures throughout.
  • The Chase: The entire plot of the game revolves around Mario pursuing Bowser Jr. to rescue Peach from his grasp. Go to a world, fight Bowser Jr., watch as he escapes and drags Peach to another world, rinse and repeat until World 8.
  • Cheat Code:
    • Beating the game reveals a minor one: selecting a file while holding down the L and R buttons allows the player to play as Luigi. However, beating the game is not required to use this code, and it can be performed at the start of a brand new save file as well as on an already-completed one; there's even a version of the opening cutscene with Luigi instead of Mario (though the credits still show images of Mario regardless of which brother you beat the game as).
    • A more obscure one that the game doesn't give away requires the player to press L, R, L, R, X, Y, X, Y in that order while paused on the map screen; doing so unlocks Challenge Mode, which simply replicates the Ratchet Scrolling of the original Super Mario Bros..
      Message upon activating Challenge Mode: Welcome to the secret Challenge mode. Think you can reach the goal? If you get stuck, press START and choose Return to Map.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: The minigame mode assigns each player with a color and one protagonist from Super Mario 64 DS. The player order is red (Mario), green (Luigi), yellow (Wario), and blue (Yoshi).
  • Creative Closing Credits: The ending credits feature a montage of every single level that had been played in the game. If you play a level that you hadn't before beating the game, it will be added to the credits the next time you see them. The player can also use the stylus to tap the letters in the names that appear in the credits; each letter plays a different sound effect.
  • Credits Montage: The top screen shows all the levels you've cleared (even the cannons that you used). In the cases of the towers and castles, it will show the level itself first before the boss, while the final castle shows the level, the boss, and the princess being rescued.
  • Damsel in Distress: Peach. You get the idea.
  • Deader than Dead: Subverted. Technically already-dead Dry Bowser is nevertheless beaten a second time... but, given his Joker Immunity, still comes back as Bowser for the Final Battle.
  • Death Mountain: World 6, in which Mario has to venture through gray-colored spiral mountains. Some of the levels bring back elements from other worlds (namely desert, lake, jungle and ice), making it also an example of Hailfire Peaks. The spiral mountains return in World 8.
  • Dem Bones: Dry Bones are skeletal Koopas that reassemble their bodies after being jumped on and are immune to fire. Dry Bowser shares these same characteristics.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If you mess around with the Mega Mushroom in the first level to the point where you don’t completely flatten the staircase to the flag pole, there are some Hidden Blocks in front of the seemingly impassable wall you can use as a staircase to prevent a softlock.
    • For the most part, the developers fully expected players to try playing the game front to back as Luigi after learning the code to use him: every cutscene in the game has a variant with Luigi instead of Mario, Luigi has unique lines and voice clips provided by Charles Martinet, and most assets that are themed after Mario change to reflect Luigi's presence (such as the "Mario Clear" banner being changed to say "Luigi Clear" and being green instead of red, Mario's icons and iris-out silhouettes being replaced with ones of Luigi, etc). The only places that were really overlooked were the credits sequence and wallpapers, which still use imagery and iconography of Mario regardless of which brother the player is using.
  • Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation: The "Table" category of minigames features digital versions of card and board games like Blackjack (Luigi-Jack), Texas Hold-'em (Luigi's Thrilling Cards), and Reversi (Bob-Omb Reverse). Some of them were carried over from Super Mario 64 DS, and some were new additions.
  • Dual Boss: The final boss is Bowser Jr. and an enlarged Bowser.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This game feels so different compared to its follow-ups.
    • This game reuses the engine and a number of assets from Super Mario 64 DS two years prior, making it feel more closely connected to that game than to any of its successors. Among other things, the models for Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Bowser are all directly taken from 64 DS, the minigame mode returns with nearly every minigame from 64 DS either intact or remade in this game's artstyle along with brand new additions, and the game reuses the "Buh bye!" and "It's-a me, Mario!" voice clips when closing and opening the DS while the game is running. Furthering the connection is that pre-release footage of this game sees Mario and Luigi utilizing elements of their 64 DS movesets that were ultimately cut out, though the game still introduced Wall Jumps and Triple Jumps from the 3D moveset nonetheless.
    • This is the only game in the New subseries to not have the Koopalings as the main bosses, but unique opponents like Mega Goomba and Petey Piranha. Bowser also appears as early as the end of World 1. In the other games, he doesn't appear until the final boss battle, and in this game he doesn't have a second phase where he turns into a giant. Bowser Jr. appears as every tower's boss, and also lacks his Koopa Clown Car, acting more like Boom Boom from Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • This is also the only game which has a new powerup that hasn't reappeared in any of its sequels in the Blue Shell.
    • Ground pounding bosses would do double damage to them in this game. Later games would have ground pounds do normal damage to bosses to prevent cheesing. Also, ground pounding a Koopa Troopa or other shelled enemy will not instantly defeat them, but instead immediately sends them sliding.
    • Unlike later NSMB games, Bowser was voiced by Peter Cullen, via archival audio taken from a sound library; his roars had already been recorded and used decades earlier in films such as King Kong (1976) and Jaws 2. This was actually the standard for Bowser since Super Mario 64 ten years prior, and all of Bowser's voice clips in this game were ones previously used throughout the N64 era. Following this game, Bowser's voice would instead be provided by a variety of in-house voice actors, each of whom would give Bowser a more human-like voice a-la his portrayal in Super Mario Sunshine, rather than Cullen's more overtly animal-like roars. Additionally, the "power-up loss" and "coin" sounds are reused from Super Mario Bros. rather than Super Mario World.
    • The first game also uses a different soundtrack from the one that debuted in the Wii game and was reused to varying degrees in the 3DS and Wii U entries. Despite the Koopalings’ absence in the first game, a remix of their boss fight from Super Mario Bros. 3 is used for the end bosses, whereas the Wii and Wii U games use another remix of the SMB3 fight for the mid-bosses instead. The 3DS game, meanwhile, features a remix of the Koopaling fight from Super Mario World for its mid-bosses.
    • The game lacks a post-finale Special World, instead opting for bonus lettered levels within the existing worlds that can be unlocked pre-finale (although NSMB2 has both the lettered levels and bonus worlds). In fact, Worlds 4 and 7 are completely optional, only being accessible through secrets; the former by beating the World 2 boss as Mini Mario, and the latter by either beating the World 5 boss as Mini Mario or using the Warp Cannon in World 4.
    • Unlike the later three games, there is no multiplayer for the main campaign. Instead, the only multiplayer is for the "Mario vs. Luigi" mode, which uses exclusive courses. There are also minigames instead of alternate game modes.
    • On a related note, Blue and Yellow Toad are not playable in this game, only Mario and Luigi (and even then the latter brother is locked behind a Cheat Code).
    • Compared to the later games. The levels that feature warp cannons show elements of the World you're about to warp to (World 1's and 2's Warp Cannons having a snowy mountain background from World 5, World 3 having World 6's mountain background, World 4 having the Sky background commonly seen in World 7, and World 5 having World 8's ominous background)
    • There is no quicksave feature, so you'll have to replay a tower/castle level or take advantage of Sleep Mode if you want to save before you beat the game.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The apparent demise of Bowser in World 1 might be a little unnerving for some, which has him boiled alive in a pit of magma and reduced to a skeleton. He doesn't stay dead, however, as he shows up in skeletal form in World 8, and Bowser Jr. revives him properly for the final battle.
  • Ghost Leg Lottery: A slightly edited minigame taken from Super Mario 64 DS has you drawing the horizontal lines as a face of Mario descends towards Stars (good) and Piranha Plants (bad). However, the lines you draw are only cleared after you win 5 rounds, quickly forcing you to contend with drawing new lines to make sure the ones you already have don't cause you to lose.
  • Gimmick Level: Bowser's Castle is filled with switches that turn the room upside down.
  • Green Hill Zone: World 1, as per the series' norm, is a lush, grassy area.
  • Grimy Water: The forest levels contain purple water, which is an instant death on contact.
  • Ground Pound: This is the first 2D Mario game since Yoshi's Island to implement this move. Note that Mario and Luigi can only crush blocks when they're at least on Super level. When they're small, the pound is too weak to do so.
  • Halloween Town: The first half of World 8, which consist of a decrepit valley overrun by Crowbers and Scuttle Bugs.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Can happen to Mario in certain levels if the Mega Mushroom is not used with care. One level is made up of nothing but pipes and the majority of them can be broken with the Mega Mushroom. Break too many of them and you'll fall into the Bottomless Pit you've created.
  • Homage: Several, to Super Mario Bros.. For instance, many sound effects from the original game are intact, such as coin collecting, enemy squishing, and block bumping. In addition, the Mega Mushroom Power-Up is colored just like the Super Mushroom from the first game. Also, one of World 7's levels from NSMB is extremely similar to 7-1 from Super Mario Bros. 3.
  • Infinite 1-Ups: In homage to the original Super Mario Bros., the "Koopa Shell Bounce" trick was shamelessly recreated.
  • Interface Screw: In all ghost houses, the level progress bar on the touch screen is replaced by two ghost silhouettes staring at you.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: The point of the tower levels.
  • Jungle Japes: World 4. The water is highly toxic, requiring Mario to ride Dorrie to avoid touching it, and the levels are overrun by Scuttle Bugs, Wigglers and Paratroopas. This setting makes its first appearance in a platform Mario game since Super Mario World 2.
  • King Mook: The boss at the end of the Castle in every World except 1 and 8 is a boss version of a common enemy.
  • Lava Pit: Very frequent, especially in the castle levels. Making contact with it is a One-Hit Kill.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The second half of World 8, only accessible after defeating Dry Bowser in what appeared to be the final level. One level has lava gradually rising, while another has spiral mountains erupting and launching melting rocks into Mario's whereabouts.
  • Level in the Clouds: World 7, which houses several sky-themed levels where the only safe platforms are the clouds and the top of the green and red mushroom trees. Some of the other worlds also have specific levels set in the sky.
  • Loves Me Not: The game makes an actual challenge out of the Loves Me minigame from Super Mario 64 DS by involving two players trying to either get "Loves me", or stick the other guy with "Loves me not" by plucking 1-3 petals per turn.
  • Magical Mystery Doors: There's a section of the game where you're perplexed by a series of doors. The only way to discover where they lead is to test each and every one of them. Fortunately, it's much shorter than most Magical Mystery Doors segments tend to be in NES games.
  • Mickey Mousing: Whenever there's a vocalization in the main game track, the enemies will dance along with it, specifically Goombas will do a small jump and Koopa Troopas will look at the screen and shake their fists. When underwater, Cheep Cheeps will spin when a windchime is heard.
  • Mini-Dungeon: As usual for 2D Mario games, the mid-world Tower levels, as well as the Ghost Houses.
  • Mordor: World 8, which hosts a bleak and decrepit scenery with haunted valleys, dark underwater levels, volcanoes and the final castle.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The game starts with a homage to World 1-1 from the first Super Mario Bros., and there is a Bowser battle that can be defeated simply by breaking the bridge and dropping Bowser in the lava (or down a pit ala Super Mario Bros. 3), replacing the axe with a button.
    • Petey Piranha is sleeping before his boss fight and attacks when woken up. His very first appearance was Super Mario Sunshine, and the second fight with him was triggered by waking him up. Both instances of Petey sleeping may in turn be throwbacks to Super Mario 64, where all the Piranha Plants were sleeping and had to be snuck up on.
    • Then there's challenge mode, which is available after you beat the game, and enables Ratchet Scrolling like the original game.
  • The New Adventures: It's all there in the title. This is the game that started a new generation of Mario 2D platformers.
  • No Ending: Unlike the other New Super Mario Bros. games, Mario and Peach are never shown actually leaving Bowser's castle.
  • Nostalgia Level: The overworld-based level from the Mario vs. Luigi mode is an abridged version of the first Super Mario Bros.' World 1-1.
  • Painting the Medium: Underground shortcuts are represented by moving the top screen to the bottom, and vice versa. This also prevents you from using stored items.
  • Palmtree Panic: World 3, which is set in a tropical island. Enemies like Cheep Cheeps and Skeeters are plentiful, and there's a Mega Cheep Cheep capable of eating Mario, killing him.
  • Papa Wolf: Should you defeat his son first in the final battle, Bowser will Turn Red and barrage the boss lair with a spiral of fireballs.
  • Pumpkin Person: Splunkins are basically waddling pumpkins that take 2 stomps to defeat.
  • Recurring Boss: Bowser Jr. is the boss of every tower in the game, and is also one of the Final Bosses.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The Starman theme is the exact same as the Wing Cap/Invisibility Cap theme from Super Mario 64 with extra percussion added.
  • Save the Princess: It's a Mario game, saving Peach is pretty much the whole plot.
  • Shifting Sand Land: World 2 is a desert, and as such there are quicksands, Pokeys and an oasis.
  • Shout-Out: Bowser's defeat is very similar to Crocomire's.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: World 5, a snowy grove. There are parts in which the snow is so dense that it makes traction more difficult, as well as parts where the ice has to be taken advantage of to slide through narrow corridors.
  • Snowball Fight: One of the new minigames, Snowball Slam, has the players control different colored Yoshis in a snowball fight.
  • Snowy Sleigh Bells: The icy World 5's theme makes very heavy use of sleigh bells to instill a wintery feel to the track.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: When either player is only one Big Star away from winning a round in the Mario vs. Luigi mode, the music kicks up in tempo.
  • Space-Filling Path: That block train in the second World 8 tower goes an extremely long way around the room in a ping pong path fashion...
  • Springy Spores: A lot of levels, beginning with 1-5.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Many of the basic items and enemies with simple behaviors (Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Boos) are rendered as 2D sprites. Mario, Luigi, the bosses, and other enemies with more complex patterns are rendered as 3D models.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Present, despite being absent in the 3D Marios that separated NSMB and its 2D predecessors and the one that separated the Wii version and the DS one.
  • Suspend Save: You can only save at castles or by using star coins, though you have the ability to save anywhere on the map after you finish the final boss.
  • The Reveal: The boss of World 7, Lakithunder was the storm cloud that attacked Peach's castle.
  • Toggling Setpiece Puzzle: The first castle of World 8 features rails whose platforms (lifts) can have their positions switched with red-and-yellow switches. For example, if a lift is placed on an upper rail, pressing a switch will teleport it to the lower rail. Therefore, before you stand onto a lift (which will make it move forward), you have to decide its position (and potentially grab the castle's Star Coins, including the last one which requires a not-very-obvious way to spawn a lift into the rail right below the Boss Room's door).
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Using a cannon on the map.
  • Under the Sea:
    • The first underwater level is World 1-A but World 3 has most of them.
    • World 8 has an odd example: an underwater level with a cavern-like background and the underground music playing rather than the underwater music.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • Whomps only appear in world 3-Castle. Most of them stand in the background and wait for Mario to appear, and there is only one single Big Whomp, who walks across a platform instead.
    • World 4-4 contains the only five Balloon Boos in not only the game, but the entire franchise. They are like regular boos, except they will inflate themselves until they reach maximum size when Mario looks at them, and deflate as they chase him when he looks away.
    • Snow Spikes only appear in World 5-1.
    • World 6-6 contains the only three Chain Chomps in the entire game.
    • Small Wigglers known as Squigglers only appear in the pipe maze of World 7-A.
    • World 8-7 is the only course where Fire Bros and Sledge Bros appear.
    • There are twenty-one Kab-ombs, and they all appear in World 8-8.
    • The icy level from the Mario vs. Luigi mode contains the only blue-shelled Koopa in the game. Stomping it lets you obtain the Blue Shell powerup, making it the only way to 100% reliably get this item.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The giant-sized Bowser castle at the end of World 8.
  • Walk on Water: Mini Mario is light enough to do this.