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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 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.


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 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:

  • 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.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: In the opening cutscene, Mario takes a short beating from Bowser Jr. offscreen.
  • 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!"
  • Bubbly 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.
  • 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..
  • 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.
  • Developers' 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.
  • 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 intact, 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.
    • This is the only game in the New subseries to not have the Koopalings as the main bosses, but unique opponents like Giant 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 boss, and also lacks his Koopa Clown Car, acting more as an expy of Boom Boom from Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Snowy Sleigh Bells: The icy World 5's theme makes very heavy use of sleigh bells to instill a wintery feel to the track.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


How well does it match the trope?

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