Mario has come a long way since the NES era but that time is still worth reminiscing about. Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is a portable version of the original Super Mario game with a load of extras that will keep you entertained for hours of Goomba-stomping fun.
If you're familiar with the Mario franchise then you probably already know what to expect when it comes to plot. Princess Toadstool gets kidnapped by Bowser and it's up to Mario to finally rescue her by travelling through eight arduous worlds. Every world (besides the last one) ends with the classic scene of Toad informing you that the princess is in another castle. I guess Mario should have bought a map.
The main game is an almost exact port of the original Super Mario Bros. with all of the solid platforming gameplay intact. Levels take place in a few environments such as outside with blue skies and greenery, deep in the dark-blue underground, Bowser's various castles, and under the sea. Classic Mario tunes play in each distinct environment with every song being as catchy as a cold on the subway. All of the sights and sounds are familiar and probably engraved into your consciousness whether you've played the game before or not.
There are a few differences between the original and this port; the most notable of which being that the Game Boy Color's screen is much smaller than your average television. This sounds like a no-brainer but having the camera pan left and right and up and down when you push the corresponding direction can get quite frustrating. The space between Mario and the edge of the screen behind him is too narrow a lot of the time, so don't be surprised when a Bullet Bill or Cheep-Cheep comes out of nowhere and takes one of your lives. Also, you may fall down a hole when jumping in enemy-infested areas since you'll be too busy to stop and pan the camera down to see the ground below. To help make up for the frustration, you get five lives instead of three and you can actually save your progress.
Other differences include a world map that is purely cosmetic but interesting to see and the ability to switch between Mario and Luigi. However, the best improvement is the fact that you can now hear when Lakitus toss Spinies and when Cheep-Cheeps jump at you. These new audio cues (along with the fact that you're now alerted if you're taking the correct path or not in certain castle levels) are a great addition as they clearly notify you of the impending danger and help you get on the path to success.
What makes Super Mario Bros. Deluxe as deluxe as the title states is all of the bells and whistles. Besides the original game, you can play: the entire game again with certain objectives in Challenge mode, The Lost Levels (also known as the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 and titled Super Mario Bros. For Super Players in this game), and a versus mode either against a friend or a computer-controlled Boo. Challenge mode will have you trying to obtain a high score and find five red coins and a Yoshi egg within every single level of the original game. This adds hours of fun for dedicated fans and perfectionists since the collectables can be quite cleverly hidden and the high scores are not easily obtained. The Lost Levels is basically a much more difficult Mario game that is very similar to the original. This mode adds a great deal of value considering it's an entire game of its own. The versus mode will have players race to see who can reach the goal first. Along the way, you and your opponent will hit switches that toggle coloured bricks in order to try to sabotage each other. It's not as fun solo but if you can find someone with another copy of the game then it can be quite an exhilarating multiplayer experience.
Believe it or not, there is plenty of extra content besides these modes. An album contains pages of unlockable stickers that behave like the game's achievements and are a great visual representation of how much you've accomplished so far. You can also mark dates on an interactive calendar, play a fortune telling mini-game, get hints on where Yoshi eggs are hidden, and view a different image collection for every world that you've completed. Do you want to hear the best part? You can print almost all of these extras with your Game Boy Printer! Oh, wait... You don't have one? I didn't think so. I don't either.
Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is the best way to enjoy the original Super Mario game on the go. Although it does have one major flaw, the various ways to play and tons of extra content will be more than enough to satisfy your portable retro Mario needs.
- + You can play the original Super Mario Bros. and The Lost Levels on the go
- + New audio cues are a welcome inclusion
- + A treasure trove of rewarding unlockables
- - The small screen adds a lot of frustration to an already challenging game