Quick! What game is this?
You’re both right and wrong. The screen shot is from a game only released in Japan by the name of Doki Doki Panic. After Super Mario Bros. 2 came out in Japan, they felt the game was too hard for American gamers so they decided to retool Doki Doki Panic into a Mario game. It is exactly the same game, just with a few things taken from earlier Mario games. The characters were turned into characters from the Mario series, turtle shells replaced creepy things with a face, life hearts were turned into mushrooms, etc. The one change I don’t get, they changed a lamp into a beaker with strange red liquid. The beaker isn’t anything from Mario games.
I won’t turn this article into a comparison like so many people before me. Because it’s the exact same game with some graphical changes, I’m going to review both versions of the game. At the same time.
Before I got my own NES in the early 90s, my friend had an NES and Mario 1 and 3. I was at his house almost every day playing them. I became a huge fan. I always wondered why he never had Mario 2. I asked him a few times, each time he said it was dumb. When I got my NES for one of my birthdays, my mom took me to a movie rental place to rent games for my new toy. The first game I picked up was Mario 2. I understand why my friend didn’t like the game. It was so different from the other Mario games I almost didn’t recognize it. While it’s my least favorite Mario game, it’s still a game I love to play.
Almost every enemy can be picked up and thrown. Every character has their own strengths. Mario/Imajin is average in everything. Luigi/Mama is the highest jumper. Princess Toadstool/Lina can float for a short time when jumping. Toad/Papa can pick things up or dig the fastest. The red potions open doors to a negative world where vegetables are coins. You can go inside vases to get things like keys.
Some things I love about the game are the shortcuts. In one place you can bypass about half the level to get to Birdo by jumping a waterfall and going left instead of right. Another level you can go under some quicksand and skip the whole level. Of course there are the warps. There are places where you use a beaker and go inside a vase and it skips levels.
If you can find either Doki Doki Panic (you will need the Famicom Disk System for this one) or Mario 2, you will have an entertaining and different style of playing from any other Mario game out there. You will want to keep playing until you beat Wart at the end. Plus, Princess Peach doesn’t get to kick some bad guy butt again until Super Princess Peach on the Nintendo DS. It’s worth playing even if it’s just for that reason.
Oh, and one more thing about Birdo… He’s confused. He thinks he’s a girl.
About the author
Scott Hough has been playing games since 1986. His parents bought him a used Atari 7800 for his 6th birthday. He was hooked. He loves RPGs, RTS, and Flight Sim games. He is a big fan of the Dragon Quest franchise.