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Video Game / Super Mario Bros. 2

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You may be looking for Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, the original Japanese sequel to Super Mario Bros. which is known as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan.
Mario and his friends have the dream adventure. Note that Bowser isn't there.

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

Super Mario Bros. 2, originally released in 1988 in North America, 1989 in Europe and Australia, and 1992 in Japan, is the third installment in the Super Mario Bros. series. It revolves about Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach (known in the West as Princess Toadstool back in the day) travelling to the land of Subcon to save it from the tyranny of Wart, which has turned it into a land of nightmares. In a literal sense, because he gained his power by corrupting the Dream Machine. Interestingly, this mission was entrusted to Mario by way of a strange dream, in which one of the land's inhabitants begged the famed plumber for his help. This means that Subcon is a Dream Land, to which Mario and company access through a gateway identical to the one seen in the aforementioned dream; hence why many of the events and situations they'll experience, as well as the enemies they'll face (especially how they're faced, since Goomba Stomp no longer works), differ greatly from what Mario and his friends were used to until that point.


Of course, if you've been into the history of video games, you'll know the bigger reason why this dream has come into Mario's mind all of a sudden.

In Japan as well as the United States, Super Mario Bros. turned out to be a blockbuster hit, and the Killer App that Nintendo needed to get the Nintendo Entertainment System (and the Famicom, the Japanese version) into the homes of game players. Nintendo of Japan decided to strike while the iron was hot, and push out a sequel as quickly as possible, using both newly designed levels and levels originally created for the arcade version, VS. Super Mario Bros. - the result was titled Super Mario Bros. 2 (and later released internationally as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels). But while the designers and Japanese videogame fans thought it was fun for being even harder than Nintendo Hard, Howard Phillips of Nintendo of America playtested the game and just found it punishing to play, not fun at all. It was decided that the original Super Mario Bros. 2 just wouldn't work for American gamers, since it was both basically a retread of the first game and just too Nintendo Hard.


Meanwhile, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Panic) started life as a prototype based on Mario, having a primary focus on vertical levels and co-op multiplayer; but when Nintendo netted a licensing agreement with Fuji TV, it was revived and rebranded with the mascot characters of Fuji's Yume Kōjō ("Dream Factory" or "Dream Machine") promotional event. When Nintendo of America rejected the Japanese sequel and needed a new one for western markets in a hurry (especially since Super Mario Bros. 3 was already on the way), they re-rebranded Doki Doki Panic to match the Super Mario Bros. characters, ported it from the Family Computer Disk System to the Nintendo Entertainment System, and gave the game a few additional visual upgrades (mostly redone animation), as well as quality-of-life features like adding a run button, improved music and a new boss character. As a result, Nintendo of America unintentionally fulfilled their Japanese sister branch's original intentions regarding the prototype, albeit without the co-op multiplayer; that wouldn't be introduced in its intended form until New Super Mario Bros. Wii, 21 years later.

This game introduced many of the 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 an in-game taller, lankier appearance, giving Princess Peach her ability to float, and actually codifying Mario as the Jack-of-All-Stats for the first time). The game also received a Recursive Import to Japan in 1992 as Super Mario USA, thus fully completing the canonization process (the only difference is that, in that country, the game is officially listed as the fifth console game and sixth overall, due to the release order). So it may have been a dream, but one that marked an important addition to the series (a limited-time Satellaview follow-up confirmed that the game's events are indeed real, as in that follow-up the characters return to Subcon to protect it once again from Wart).

Super Mario Bros. 2 was later remade for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as part of the Super Mario All-Stars Compilation Re-release, and then with further updates as the first of the individual Super Mario Advance line for Game Boy Advance. 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. Lastly, despite not having a dedicated game style in Super Mario Maker or its sequel, the former added several Mystery Mushroom costumes based on enemies and characters from this game, while the latter added assets from it via updates (Pokeynote , a game mode involving Ninjis, a powerup allowing Mario to grab and throw enemies, and keys guarded by Phanto).

This game provides examples of:

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  • Absentee Actor: One of the few Mario platform games to not have Bowser as the Big Bad, and one of the very few in the whole franchise where he doesn't appear at all.
  • Achilles' Heel: Wart hates vegetables.
  • Action Bomb: This game marks Bob-omb's debut. They're usually thrown away by Albatosses from the sky to harm Mario and company; some castle levels also have vases that unleash them with the same purpose in mind. Unlike in future games, Bob-Ombs will explode after a few seconds even if they're not being attacked.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In Doki Doki Panic, twins Poki and Piki fought over the book the story takes place in and accidentally ripped out the last page in which Mamu (Wart) was defeated, explaining why World 7 only has two levels when all other worlds have three.
  • All Just a Dream: Zig-zagged. 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. However, the instruction manual also explicitly says that Wart terrorizes dreams. Then the game's semi-sequel, BS Super Mario USA, implies that the events of the game did happen, just 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: Unlike the rest of the worlds which are in broad daylight, Worlds 2 and 5 are set at night, though the latter has daytime levels in All-Stars and Advance.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Birdo's sex was originally male (according to the instruction manual, "He thinks he is a girl" and would rather be called "birdetta"), but was later described as female and then "indeterminate gender", depending on the source. However, Birdo was also shown to be an entire species on occasion, so it could be that all previous descriptions are correct.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Why does the nightmare-producing machine spit out vegetables in the final battle with Wart? Was there a malfunction? A glitch? Or did it somehow grow sentience and rebel against Wart with his own worst fear?
  • 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 first 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.
    • The game also visually demonstrates how its Boss Battles work. At the end of the first level, they face their first encounter with the Pink Birdo. There are no items or even enemies to grab in her boss room. After being taught that enemies can be defeated by grabbing and throwing things at them, the player has to figure out how to defeat Birdo without nearby things to throw. They will discover that they can only defeat Birdo by grabbing the eggs she spits at them and throwing them back at her, which showcases the very different and dynamic boss battles the game offers. And each level will gradually increase the complexity of the Birdo fights so the player needs to hone their combat skills: The fight in World 1-2 reduces the space of the battlefield (thus requiring quicker reflexes to grab the eggs), the fight in 2-1 takes place in a perilous area where both end sides have Bottomless Pits, the fight in 2-2 pits you against Red Birdo (who is now red and will shoot both eggs and fireballs, hence why the use of Mushroom Blocks to attack her is advised), the fight in 3-1 has Birdo and a bottomless pit, 4-2 removes the Mushroom Blocks and brings back the pit while also adding slippery ice, 5-1 has Green Birdo (shoots fireballs only) and only one Mushroom Block, etc.
  • 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 it's no longer a core game mechanic.
  • Betting Mini Game: The Bonus Chance after completing a level through a Mask Gate and not by warping. In Advance, the player can wager multiple coins at once to earn a multiplied amount of lives.
  • Big Bad: Wart. He has conquered the world of dreams and is filling it with monsters created by the dream machine. It's up to Mario and friends to stop him.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Hoopsters are giant labybugs that constantly clamber up and down trees and vines. They're especially prevalent in 5-2 and 6-3, where they impede the quartets' attempts to climb up vines. They're generally harmless when they are below the player, but cause damage when they climb down from above. They move quicker when Mario and friends are nearby, who have to jump to another vine to avoid the Hoopster.
  • 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.
  • Bombardier Mook: Albatosses are large birds that carry bombs in their talons, dropping them when they pass above a player.
  • 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 Birdface brought to life and finally Wart in the last level.
  • Bowdlerise: The Mushroom Blocks used in the game, as well as the Mask Gates that serve as Level Goals, were originally African-inspired masks in Doki Doki Panic, while the Koopa Shells were actual black faces.
  • Bubble Gun: This is Wart's weapon of choice. Spitting bubbles that fly outward before falling rapidly. The character has to weave between where they fall to avoid getting struck.
  • Bubbly Clouds: World 7, as well as the last parts of Worlds 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, Bob-Ombs and Shy Guys. The exception is Sparks, because they already appeared in a Mario-related game beforehand (Donkey Kong Jr.), being one of the elements from the series that were already in Doki Doki Panic (alongside the Starman powerup and the POW Blocks).note 
  • Cartoon Bomb: Mouser throws these and you can occasionally throw them too.
  • Catchphrase: In the GBA port, which like the other GBA ports of the Super Mario Bros. series was enhanced with voice acting. For example:
    Mario/Luigi: [when defeated] Oh! Mama Mia!
    Peach: Leave it to me!
    Any character: [when collecting a cherry] Lucky!
    Any character: [when picking up a heart] Thank you!
  • 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.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The groups of enemies in Subcon come in many different colours, some more threatening than others.
    • Shy Guys: Similar to the Koopa Troopas from the first game. Pink Shy Guys patrol back-and-forth on the same platform, while red Shy Guys walk off ledges and will turn in the direction of the player upon landing, making them particularly troublesome in the sand-digging segments. The All-Stars and Advance remakes of the game change the pink Shy Guys to blue.
    • Snifits: Like their Shy Guy relatives, pink Snifits patrol platforms and the red Snifit (yes, the red one) will walk off platforms. Gray and green Snifits will stay in one spot and jump up and down, continually shooting bullets. The All-Stars and Advance remakes change pink Snifits to blue, and green Snifits to gray.
    • Beezos: Red Beezos swoop down from the top of the screen, while gray and green ones fly in head-on swarms. The remakes change red Beezos to gold, while gray and green ones become red.
    • Pansers: Gray and green Pansers (or just green in the remakes) sit in one spot and shoot fireballs straight up, red Pansers sit in one spot and shoot fireballs in an arc to the left or right depending on where the player is, and pink Pansers (blue in the remakes) move around and chase the player while shooting fire in an arc.
    • Birdos: Pink Birdos shoot one egg at a time. Red Birdos shoot a few projectiles in a row, most of them eggs, but with some fireballs mixed in. Gray and green Birdos (or just green in the remakes) shoot a few fireballs in a row, requiring the use of Mushroom Blocks to defeat them.
  • 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 original, you can only continue twice before the game kicks you all the way back to the beginning. In All-Stars, you have infinite continues, but keeps the "Restart the World" penalty. Completely averted in Advance, where you have infinite continues and you can start back on the stage where you got the Game Over.
  • Cosmetic Award: In Advance, there are changes to the title screen when you beat the game, collect all the red Ace Coins, and clear Yoshi's Challenge.
  • Cranium Ride: Since this is the one game in the series that lacks the Goomba Stomp, you can do this on most of the Mooks. Several areas require you to do this. note 
  • Cutting the Knot: It's very easy to short circuit the fight against Wart. Just grab a vegetable, then jump behind Wart to get behind him, then throw it when he opens his mouth. Rinse and repeat. It's much easier to do with Luigi or the Princess of course.
  • Death by Gluttony: The way the player defeats Wart by stuffing him with vegetables.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In sharp contrast to the original and All-Stars versions, lives are complete non-issue in Advance. Even if you do get a Game Over, you can continue from the very same level you left off at.
  • 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 World 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.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Toad's a crappy jumper in a Platform Game. That said, his Super Strength and Super Speed made him a favorite for speedrunners.
    • Peach is the slowest runner and her pickup speed is also the lowest, which can make things hairy in situations where enemies are swarming and during boss fights, where her delay can potentially cost you a hit point. However, her floating ability more than makes up for it. Making her a favorite among beginners and veterans.
  • Difficulty Spike: Depending on whether or not 3-3 is difficult for you, this either happens there or in 4-2, a level with a very hard to find fourth mushroom, Zerg Rush Beezos BEFORE you get to the third mushroom, and some annoying platforming involving an Autobomb, not to mention fighting Birdo on ice. The difficulty spikes again in 5-3 with an area overflowing with enemies plus a tough climb up inside a tree. Then you have to fight Clawgrip, who is one of the tougher bosses.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: Quite a few, and they change thematically according to the current world's setting (grassy green in World 1, 3 and 5; arid red in 2 and 6; snowy white in 4; and white with a mushroom-like cap like those seen in Super Mario Bros. and Lost Levels in 7. 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 the other Super Mario Bros. 2, and Luigi was given a different physical appearance in The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach!.
  • 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) give him an off-screen No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The game actually started life as a Mario-style tech demo that couldn't get off the ground, until Fuji TV asked Nintendo for a game with Yume Kōjō characters in it, reviving interest in the project but separating it from its Mario-inspired roots. After the real Super Mario Bros. 2 was rejected for international release, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic got re-adapted into a Super Mario Bros. 2 for western players.
  • Dream Land: Subcon may or may not really exist. According to BS Super Mario USA, it does.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The majority of Stage 4-3 has you climbing up one giant tower, crossing over to another, then climbing back down. If you happen to know this in advance and are playing as Peach or Luigi, you can easily jump the gap from the base of one tower to the other, thereby skipping 90% of the stage in seconds.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The game marked the debut of several enemies that would become regulars in the Mario series, but some of them are portrayed here differently. For example, 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 or cheek-blushes. Bob-Ombs have arms and lack the familiar windup keys from their backs (from Super Mario Bros. 3 onwards, it's the other way around, with some exceptions). Pokeys are colored green instead of yellow, and can be mounted safely (in Super Mario World, the only way to ride them safely is with the Spin Jump). Lastly, Shy Guys have a slightly shorter height, looking more like Waddling Heads; later games made their torsos look more visible.
    • This game is the first in the series to have worlds themed around different biomes, including a more visually specific Green Hill Zone (though Nintendo's original plan was to hold over this novelty until Super Mario Bros. 3, given the relatively homogeneous design of the worlds in the original game and Lost Levels). However, one of these worlds, the one set in Bubbly Clouds, stands out for being the last (most later games opt to end with a Mordor or Lethal Lava Land world, though the sky setting would be kept as the seventh in almost all New Super Mario Bros. games, in a nod to this one).
    • Both the English manual and the end credits refer to Birdo as "Ostro", and vice versa. The Nintendo Power guide, released at the same time as the game, does use the name "Birdo" for the pink egg-spitting character, so the manual and credits were likely a mistake. Oddly, the All-Stars version still mistakenly calls Birdo "Ostro" in the credits, though its manual does get it right. Additionally, all contemporary materials, including the manual, refer to Birdo exclusively with male pronouns.
  • Early Installment Character Design Difference: In this game, Birdo opens her snout only when firing an egg. In all future appearances, Birdo's snout is open at all times.
  • Easter Egg: Landing a Cherry-7-7 in the Bonus Chance gives the player three extra coins alongside a 1-up. This "3 Coin Service" occurs once per play session. This only happens in All-Stars and Advance.
  • 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 Worlds 1-3, 3-3, and 4-3 give off this vibe, especially in All-Stars and Advance where they seemingly take place inside of factory warehouses.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Princess Peach does this in official artwork.
  • 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.
  • Evil Living Flames: Fryguy, the flaming entity that serves as the boss of World 4. It attacks Mario and company by spewing fireballs from its own body while hovering around the boss room. It doubles as an Asteroids Monster as, after receiving three hits, it splits into four smaller (but still sentient) flames that have to be defeated as well for true victory in the battle.
  • Evolving Title Screen: In Advance, a red sky and a Yoshi egg are added to the title screen after Wart has been defeated. Completing the "Yoshi's Challenge" hatches the egg to a full-grown Yoshi. Depending when all Ace Coins are collected, the egg or Yoshi turn red.
  • Extended Gameplay: In Advance, "Yoshi's Challenge" opens up after beating the game, which challenges the player 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. The sound effect is sligthly different from Doki doki Panic, due to the more primitive sound chip of the NES compared to that of the Famicon Disk System. The flash rapidly varies through shades of white, green and pink.
  • Flip-Screen Scrolling: In the vertical areas, as back then the NES was unable to provide a fluid vertical transition (Super Mario Bros. 3 made it possible with its enhanced chip).
  • Floating Mask: Phantos. They gain life when you attempt to take a key and carry it to open a locked door.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Level 5-3, the initial outside at the beginning of the level has three distinctively large trees in the background as you run by. Would you guess those trees actually have some measure of importance later and are not actually background objects? Well, they do.
    • Those Hawk masks look kind of disgusted about having to open for you, don't they? One of them eventually does something about it.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Clawgrip, the boss of World 5. It throws large, heavy rocks at Mario and his friends, who have to carefully grab the rocks from above and throw threm back at it (their weight means that trying to grab them from below only results in taking damage).
  • Giant Mook: In Advance, 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.
  • The Goomba: Shy Guys, though the Tweeters are just as weak and non threatening.
  • 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.
  • Guide Dang It!: While official materials indicate Toad is the fastest, they do not indicate that Toad can't get his full speed unless he's carrying something.
  • Hearts Are Health: In All-Stars and Advance. In the original, your hit points are hexagons instead. In all versions, though, grabbing a small heart restores one hit point.
  • 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 stage.
  • Helpful Mook: Two of them, both of the accidentally assisting type.
    • Trouters aren't actively dangerous and just jump out of the water repeatedly. Thanks to the Cranium Ride, they make very useful platforms to jump on to cross long pits. They still inflict Collision Damage however, and riding one back into the water kills you.
    • The pink Birdo in World 4-3. The eggs it spits can still hurt Mario and co., but need to be ridden over a large bottomless pit to Fryguy’s fortress. You may be tempted to clobber it, but that does no good since you can't complete the level without its 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.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Ostros are fast-moving ostriches. They are first seen ridden by Shy Guys to give them extra speed in an attempt to run down Mario and crew. Dislodging the Shy Guy pilot causes the Ostros to run off on their own, or players can jump on them to use them as transportation themselves.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: World 7-2, the final level, has conveyor belts almost as its entire gimmick. Both boss fights against Birdo in the level are also over conveyor belts. Naturally, the conveyor belts increase the difficulty of maneuvering and dodging enemies and obstacles. Also, enemies are not affected by them, though those which don't turn back upon reaching the belts' ledges will drop onto a bed of spikes.
  • Irony: Fry Guy, a living flame entity, is the boss of an ice world.
  • Journey to the Sky: The last level of World 6 has Mario and his friends climb a series of tall beanstalks that take them well above the usual Shifting Sand Land of that world, and reach a pyramid in the sky where the boss (Tryclyde) awaits. This part of the game is not only important for the conclusion of the world, but also because it leads to the next world, set in Bubbly Clouds, as it's there where Big Bad Wart lies.
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • World 7-2 has Birdface 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. Super Mario Advance does away with this trap.
  • King Koopa Copy: The Final Boss is not Bowser, but a grumpy, tyrannic toad named Wart. But since the game's precursor (Doki Doki Panic) was also created by the Mario staff and already had elements and aspects shared from its then-future step-parent franchise, Wart (known there as Mamu) was conceived as an Expy of the Koopa King. Both villains are green-colored, enlarged animals capable of shooting projectiles periodically, and are responsible for the wrongdoings seen in their respective kingdoms.
  • Knockback: A 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 Advance) units. The extended health doesn't carry over to the next stage.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": Several of the enemies, including Mouser the mouse, Ostro the ostrich, Porcupo the porcupine, and Clawgrip the crab (after its claws). Some sources also suggest that Birdo is a type of bird (despite her feather-less, reptilian appearance).
  • Locked Door: This is the first Mario game to implement doors, including locked ones and the keys that open them. The majority of the locked doors are in the dungeon levels (the ones housing the worlds' bosses). They can be opened by taking the keys to them, but during the process Phanto will continuously chase the characters.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The subspace music is a short version of the ground level theme from Super Mario Bros.. Because the timer in subspace is extremely short, you won't get to hear the whole song unless you exploit a glitch that lets the song continue playing after you leave subspace.
  • Meaningful Name: Subconscious.
  • Mechanical Monster: Robirdo in Advance. A huge, robotic version of Birdo that spits giant eggs, creates earthquakes by jumping, and tries to run Mario and 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.
  • Mook Maker: Certain vases throughout the game spit out a constant and endless stream of Shy Guys or Bob-Ombs. Placing a Mushroom block on top of the vase stops the stream, or it can can destroyed with a explosion.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: World 4-1 is unique in the aspect that Birdo does not appear at all. Instead, Mario and friends have to get past a brief obstacle course while avoiding Shy Guys riding Autobombs and Flurries. The crystal ball is waiting out in the open for them at the very end.
  • Musical Spoiler: When it's not otherwise obvious, the change to the boss theme can let the player know that a boss is coming up.
  • Mythology Gag: The end credits play the title screen music from Doki Doki Panic
  • Nightmare Face: Phantos, in contrast to their counterparts from Doki Doki Panic.
  • Ninja Prop: Toward the end of the game, the Birdface which serves as your exit gate will animate and attack you.
  • 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.
  • Off-Model: The actual game gives Mario his distinct red sweater and blue overalls, but this is not reflected in either the Western or the Japanese cover art.
  • Parachute Petticoat: Princess Peach, enabling long jumps.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Toad is a rather short guy, but he can pick up things (and then run with them) with lightning speed, making him the strongest playable character (but unfortunately the worst jumper).
  • Point of No Continues: Your game will be over with no more possibility to continue if you lose all your lives after continuing twice in the original NES version! Averted in the All-Stars and Advance remakes, which offer infinite continues.
  • 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.
  • Press X to Die: The suicide code for use in Unwinnable situations, such as the Fryguy glitch where the exit door fails to spawn.
  • Prickly Porcupine: Porcupos. Their spiky skin prevents the playable characters from standing on them. In the dark areas, their sprite is blue instead of black so they can be seen more easily.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: The debut of Princess Peach's pink dress in an actual game (she's always had a pink dress in official artwork).
  • Pre-Final Boss: After collecting the orb to open the hawk head that leads to the final boss... it starts flashing and becomes hostile, flying around the room in an attempt to ram you.
  • Proj-egg-tile: Birdo's only form of attack (at least until you meet the fireball-spitting variants). Picking up the eggs in mid-air and throwing them back at Birdo is also how you defeat her.
  • Promoted to Playable: The Princess and Toad, NPCs in Super Mario Bros. and The 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. There's even a shortcut late in the game that involves going in almost to your cranium.
  • 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 Advance, 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.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the SNES and GBA versions, World 1-3 has a room with not only Phantos, but a giant Phanto in the background. When you take the key, the background Phanto's eyes glow red while the normal ones start to chase you.
  • Respawning Enemies: Enemies respawn after leaving screens in the NES and All-Stars versions, which can catch careless players off guard as they can get smacked by an enemy in a place they previously were. Downplayed in Advance, where you have to move to a new room to get enemies to respawn.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Mouser, the giant, bomb-tossing mouse who appears as the boss of World 1 and World 3.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: In the end credits, "Hoopster" is misspelled "Hoopstar", "Tryclyde" is spelled "Tricylde", "Clawgrip" is misspelled "Clawglip", and both "Birdo" and "Ostro" have their names switched around. All of these mistakes are fixed in the localizations of All-Stars and Advance.
  • 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 Advance, 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).
  • 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.
  • Shock and Awe: Beware of the Sparks, whose spiny status is justified due them being electrical beings that constantly race around platforms in the towers and castles. In the Advance version, actually touching the Sparks causes the entire screen to flash briefly to indicate your character being shocked as they take damage.
  • Silent Antagonist: Whereas the bosses get plenty of Trash Talk in the GBA remake, the Hawkmouth guarding Wart's throne room doesn't say anything.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: World 4. In all stages, 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" power block is back, and now you can carry it around and deploy it at will. This isn't an addition to the game - it was in Doki Doki Panic.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Cobrats lurk in the desert sand and inside vases, hopping out of their hiding places to attack Mario and company when they get close. Tryclyde, one of the major bosses, is a three-headed snake.
  • Snowlems: Flurries are snowy enemies that slide on icy floors, always heading towards the player.
  • Spikes of Doom: A frequent hazard in castles and other areas. Not the insta-kill kind, but bad to touch anyway. In World 4, you have to rely on enemies via Cranium Ride to cross spiky corridors without touching them.
  • 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.
  • Steam Vent Obstacle: The geysers of water spouted by the Whales in World 4 hurts upon contact. It's still safe to stand on, however.
  • Suddenly Harmful Harmless Object: At the end of World 7-2, Birdface, which had up until now been your gateway between stages, now comes to life and attacks you.
  • Suddenly Voiced: In Advance (and BS Super Mario USA). Not only do Mario and friends talk, but so do the bosses.
  • Super Drowning Skills: There are no swimming stages in this game unlike its predecessors, and falling into the drink costs a life. It's justified, as the water you run into is in World 4. Not exactly smart swimming in water in an ice world.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Phanto springs to life whenever Mario or his friends grab the key it's guarding, and will relentlessly hunt them down between rooms, and it cannot be stopped unless they drop the key.
  • 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: Super Mario Advance was a launch title for that system, so it does a lot to show off the capabilities of the Game Boy Advance. Even the game's intro is part of this, as it starts out with a shaded box framing the older Game Boy (Game Boy Color Color) 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!: Birdo, Mouser, Tryclyde, Robirdo, and Wart when defeated in Advance.
    Mouser: "No Way!"
    Tryclyde: "IM-POSSIBLE!"
    Birdo/Robirdo: "How could you?"
    Wart: NO! Ribbit! NOOOOOO!
  • Throw the Mook at Them: Aside from grabbing vegetables, the characters can also grab enemies and throw them at other enemies and bosses. Tryclyde in particular has a Tweeter that hangs out with him in his room. It poses no threat whatsoever, but it does make a very effective weapon to use against him if you don't want to use Mushroom Blocks.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The first instance in the series where Princess Peach and Toad are Promoted to Playable and break from their usual NPC or Damsel in Distress roles.
  • Trash Talk: The bosses deliver a one-liner before engaging Mario and co. in combat in Advance.
  • Tree Trunk Tour: The last level of World 5 eventually takes Mario and his friends into an underground area that provides access to the interior of a large tree, which is explored similarly to a Tower or Castle. It's overrun by Sparks, Bob-Ombs and Pansers.
  • Underground Level: Several levels have sections that take Mario and Crew inside caves or underground. The bigger examples include Levels 3-2 (and underground maze) and 6-3 (an underground sandy cavern).
  • Unending End Card: The NES version sticks to Mario sleeping in his bed after the Enemy Roll Call ends and the words "The End" are written. The All-Stars remake does allow you to save and quit, though.
  • 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!" Doubles as Accidentally Correct Writing, since "bomb" comes from Ancient Greek onomotopoeia referring to a booming
  • Updated Re-release: The first in the Super Mario Advance series, making it a quasi-sequel to Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. With all the upgrades from All-Stars, plus a point system, collectible special coins, voice samples, giant enemies and vegetables, improved graphical effects, and Yoshi's Challenge after completing the game. It also came with Mario Bros. and a multiplayer mode!
  • Video Game Remake: In the Super Mario All-Stars compilation, with graphic and sound upgrades, and a save feature.
  • Vocal Evolution: Luigi's modern voice actually debuted in Advance.
  • 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 the insides of a giant tree.
  • Wrap Around: A few of the vertical sequences in the game, making it the first case in the main platformer Mario series (the arcade Mario Bros. featured it first for having only one-screen stages).
  • 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


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