(GBC / Game Boy Color)

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (GBC / Game Boy Color)

Game Review

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Super Small Screen Bros.

Especially in recent years, we've seen Super Mario Bros. re-released a ton, but back in 1999 it had been a number of years since the last release, Super Mario All-Stars. As such, Nintendo decided to port the original game to Game Boy Color and add some interesting new features at the same time.

Naturally, at its core, this is pretty much still exactly the same ground-breaking game as it always was. You run and jump through 32 different levels, stomping Goombas, pelting Koopa Troopas with fireballs, swimming around Bloopers and dodging Lakitu's Spinies. If there's still somebody out there who hasn't played one of the most influential games of all time — what are you waiting for?

Unlike the preceding All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros., this version of the game doesn't feature any updated graphics and sound during gameplay — it's all there in its original 8-bit glory. However, some small adjustments have been made; several glitches (Including the famous World -1 glitch) have been removed, the surface of water and lava is animated, Luigi's colours are adjusted and a map screen has been added between levels, among others.

However, one change has been made that is actually very dramatic — the game was too big to fully fit on the Game Boy Color's screen, so instead of shrinking the game and losing detail, Nintendo decided to simply make the visible portion of the screen much smaller. It's not just a "bit" smaller, either — both the height and width were reduced by about 33%, making it a lot harder to react to enemies in time and making certain jumps over large pits a real problem. As you might imagine, this makes the game a lot harder and can result in many frustrating deaths.

Thankfully, to make up for this downgrade, Nintendo decided to include some bonus features. It's possible to unlock "Super Mario Bros. for Super Players", which is actually a renamed The Lost Levels, making this the first western release of Lost Levels with 8-bit graphics. However, don't get too excited, as this is a long way from being a definitive version; all of the "extra" world — that is, 9 and A through D — are missing, and certain features (such as wind) have been completely removed.

Also new are Challenge Mode and You Vs. Boo. In Challenge, you run through the original game's levels in search of newly added red coins and Yoshi eggs, attempting to get as high a score as possible. You Vs. Boo is a time attack mode in which you race a Nintendo developer ghost character (represented by a Boo) through completely new levels featuring completely new gimmicks. These two modes are quite fun, but unfortunately they are still held back a little by the smaller screen. On top of these, there's also a whole bunch of collectables and other features, like a fortune telling minigame, a toy box and unlockable medals and images.


All in all, Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is both a hit and a miss. The newly added features and included edition of Lost Levels give you some bang for your buck, but the decreased field of vision — a throwback to the Game Boy Color's small screen — hinders enjoyment of all modes quite a lot. To those who have played the original game and are interested in Deluxe's bonuses — or to those who got the game as a freebie — this is quite a nice little experience, but to anybody simply looking to get a portable version of Super Mario Bros., the already available original NES version is probably the smarter option.

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User Comments (77)



Dave24 said:

It's not so bad with SMB, but it gets a turn for worse with SMB2 - not only cheap, but smaller screen doesn't make it easier.

I've got it as freebie, and I'm glad I did. Otherwise, in my opinion, it's not worth the money, although the controls doesn't feel as floaty as in SMB3 or SMB2 US on 3DS.

As reviewer said it, if you want SMB, you are better off with NES version



CrazyOtto said:

I actually have the Game Boy Color cartridge for Super Mario Bros Deluxe but I prefer the NES and SNES versions, especially with the GBC version of Lost Levels not having Worlds 9-D.



alLabouTandroiD said:

You run and jump through 32 different levels

I've only counted eight.

But seriously while it would've been great to get wireless multiplayer and the option to save the images you unlocked on the SD card and maybe even to use 'em in Miiverse i can't complain about this as a freebie.
I don't mind the different ratio, i actually prefer it to playing the NES game on the 3DS and the Challenge Mode's really fun. It's a nice little love letter to this masterpiece that reminds me of the Game & Watch Gallery games which i'd wish were more of on the 3DS VC already.
I don't think i'll touch this version's "The Lost Levels" before i give it a serious attempt on the Wii or Wii U though.



Beechbone said:

As always nothing beats free, so I can't complain. I've been playing this version on 3DS for past couple of days and the contrained screen gets a little in a way of moving around some areas but all in all it's still Mario and it's still awesome.



Phantom_R said:

My dad downloaded this on an emulator when I was, like, six, along with a South Park reskin of the NES original (like he knew). So actually I got my start in video games with Mario without ever being aware of it.

Even if it's just a silly port of a game I've already got on the same system, I'd buy it again for the nostalgia and to correct my father's past wrongs. (Also the art stealing thing. Gotta make up for that too.)



2Sang said:

My first mario game. PLEASE come to the US. It was so awesome.



Genesaur said:

I love this game. It's easily my most-played version of Super Mario Bros.



DreamyViridi said:

Something to note is that both the port and the NES game are the same price, well Deluxe is 1p cheaper if you care to split hairs. With Extras like Challenge Mode, Vs. Boo races, Lost Levels, and a technical 'achievements' system; I feel Deluxe makes up for the 'small screen' problem as you get more from it. If you can call it a problem anyway, I had little issue with it as a kid (you can manually look up and down after all) and Deluxe is how I first played SMB.

On that note, the review is solid and holds true but the score (and this might be bias talking...) seems a bit harsh. If you can get the game free from the Miiverse promotion, you've no reason NOT to give this game a shot.



iamnotpatrick said:

I could have sworn this game was already reviewed, and given a 10/10 no less. Am I losing my mind?



Awesoman said:

I thought this was a pretty cool conversion of the game at the time. The Boo races in particular were a blast. All the bonus features were quite well done.



Barbiegurl777 said:

When does this game (Super Mario Bros Deluxe - GBC) come to North America in the 3ds e-shop?

Happy Gaming! (^_^)



manu0 said:

So there's no way to unlock every picture in the gallery in this version? Nintendo should put more care in their VC ports...



retro_player_22 said:

I got this game for very cheap when I first bought my Game Boy Color back in 1999. I was very surprise how good it was and the extra features makes it worth the playthrough though I was kinda disappointed that Lost Levels got some of its levels cut off but hey you had to remember the GBC had limitations so the fact that it was able to almost crammed two games in there makes it a must-buy to me. Not a lot of GBC games even offered you over 64 levels (32 levels from original and 32 more levels from LL) of awesomeness like this one.



Swiket said:

I'd rather have an updated 3DS Classics version that had the original game's resolution instead of this.



GeminiSaint said:

I'm gonna say this: the Challenge Mode was a lot of fun for me. I want this game just for that. Also, the sticker collection was pretty fun too (they were like "achievements", sort of).



Capt_N said:

Minus the lack of worlds 9-D, this is actually a really good GBC title. The sad thing is that the Game Boy Printer will not be supported, & that unless the rom is tweaked, there is a glitch where you can not get, I believe, just 1 photo, (Edit #2: if you accidentally do a precise thing in the game unintentionally). I'm interested to see if NA gets it soon. Edit #1: The banners/photos had a little feature, where you could make music, too.

Also, speaking of peripherals, Nintendo could totally modify the GB Camera rom, & release it for free, or with a price on the e-Shop, since the 3ds obviously has a built-in camera. Nintendo really should tackle emulation of peripherals, in both their VC systems; consoles, & handhelds respectively.



Goginho said:

I prefer this version over the original. The small screen doesn't bother me much at all. It provides an extra bit of challenge and if you've got the levels mastered, then this is the ideal test of level memorization, in a way



MegaAdam said:

I think the criticism of the small screen is overblown. SMB Deluxe had a ton of new content, which was the real meat of the package and greatly increased the replayability. I raced those Boos for hours; if I recall, once you beat one, you get a new, faster Boo that's a different color to race.

8/10, easy, if not 9.



SSBMarioFan said:

NoA's actually doing the right thing. They think another version of SMB is unnecessary, and they're right. Europe needs more love and attention than NA, so we definitely don't need another version on the 3DS. Besides, I have the cartridge for it.



bofis said:

This is so stupid, the 3DS runs high enough resolution to display full NES games, and this game is already out in it's original form on the eshop, so really no one should touch this with a 10 foot pole. Same goes for them putting GBA version of SNES games on WiiU VC, just put the full SNES game instead with superior graphics or I won't spend money for it again.



unrandomsam said:

@bofis Having never played this before I prefer it to the NES ones. The extra modes are great I wish they put that amount of effort into the NSMB games. I knew the levels pretty well for both the original and the lost levels. Really enjoyed the challenge levels and the boo racing levels. (Of course ideally they would have just fixed up the field of view on this one but Nintendo doesn't put in effort like Sega is willing to).



unrandomsam said:

@retro_player_22 I think it was a good amount of content. All Stars for the SNES / This were a very fair deal. Same with Gameboy - Donkey Kong. Wish they put this amount of effort into modern games instead of just adding star coins which is no fun at all.



Melkac said:

@Scarhino89 Hell no. This game is a terrible port of the original two Mario games. In fact, a 6 is way too high considering we already have SMBNES available on the 3DS VC.



DreamyViridi said:

Coming back, there is one thing about the Virtual Console release that's not mentioned in the review. The Vs. Mode option doesn't work. This is because that mode is a Mario vs. Luigi multiplayer thing which is similar to the Vs. Boo races but you're racing against another human player instead. While I don't mind it, when I was a child I always imagined how fun it would've been to race someone in SMB Deluxe. Does it have any functionality here?



electrolite77 said:

6 is very generous. I remember enjoying it on the GBC but now....well, let's just say I'm glad it was free.



MeWario said:

Man, I've been dreading this review for weeks. It's a brilliant game and a 6 is an insult. I've poured about 20 hours into it in the last few weeks and I just can't stop. So many extra levels and challenges and I never had a problem with smaller screen size. Back in 1999 this game was a 10 all day long, I'd give it a 9 now.



unrandomsam said:

@ueI Yes I also remember 10/10 (Which I wouldn't have given because of the field of view). Either 8 or 9 I think would have been a fair score. The extra modes are brilliant fun.



unrandomsam said:

@MeWario It is bad because if I didn't get it for free and wasn't aware of the much closer to the mark 10/10 review then I probably wouldn't have got it because of this one. The 3D Classics Ecco the Dolphin review is another bad one because it implies it a bad version compared to the Wii VC one but it the circle pad works wonderfully on it. (It is bad - the conclusions that just looking at the released games list and scores imply are totally incorrect).



HawkeyeWii said:

I still pop this into my Gameboy Color from time to time. Next to the first 2 gen Pokémon games, this was my most played game back in the day.



MAB said:

How many times will Nintendites keep buying Mario over and over and over again? I suppose you have to because that's the only thing Nintendo seem to release on their VC... My 3DS VC cash will be saved for the next batch of SEGA classics loaded with more options and full screen



Obito_Sigma said:

@LeasTwanteD Yeah, you also run through 28 other repetitive levels. The repetition must have got to you. (no insult, just the facts from the first "AAA" platformer in the world)



Kid_A said:

This isn't out in the US yet, so I'm glad I read this before I plopped down more cash on SMB. I must have had nostalgia clouding my memory. I remembered this being perhaps the definitive version of the game. Totally did not remember it having the zoomed-in screen! Obviously that would be a huge problem. It's a shame that the All Stars version's physics differ from the NES original, otherwise it would be the best version of the game.



HandheldGuru97 said:

I have the original on my 3DS already, but I might pick this up in cart form for the Gameboy Color. The price has steady been ticking up though...(like everything else) I better jump on it soon then!!!!!!!



_Octoling_ said:

GBC version: You gave a 10
3DS version: You gave a 6
Is the smaller screen and lack of versus worth almost half the score?



Bass_X0 said:

I think its mainly because NES Super Mario Bros. and The Lost Levels are also on the Virtual Console service.

You remember right; this game has been reviewed before. What happened to the other review?

Its been removed to hide the hypocrisy. How can a 10/10 game be later given a 6/10? Would NintendoLife restore the rating to 10/10 if Nintendo restored the multiplayer? I don't think so.

Minus the lack of worlds 9-D,

That very very few people would ever see...



ueI said:

I don't remember who wrote the other review, but I assume it was not Drake. I wish the other review were still here so we could compare and contrast the 2 views. Both versions are very well written, despite the difference in score.



Gridatttack said:

Lame port. One is better off getting the lost levels and SMB1 on the NES.

The only good thing about this is the you vs boo challenge.



unrandomsam said:

@Gridatttack Controls are miles better on this. If you know the levels pretty well already it doesn't make much difference. The extra content is worth it.



Venks said:

I missed out on getting this title for free so I'll probably just let it pass me by.



Bass_X0 said:

Lame port.

Its only a lame port if the console its being ported to is capable of being more accurate than the game that was actually released. Porting a NES game to the Game Boy Color was obviously going to run into some problems. But thankfully it wasn't a straight port and they gave us some extras to make up for it. And the only problem is a zoomed-in screen which adds a challenge where there wasn't previously one but thats all. It would have been worse if they tried to have the GBC give us a full screen display like on the NES.



retro_player_22 said:


I don't get how it's a lame port though, as a GBC game it had more features than both the NES games. You get 64 levels instead of 32 (SMB) or 52 (LL). You got a challenging You VS Boo and an original multiplayer mode. You got an art gallery as well as some album collection challenge and Game Boy Printer support as well as a better ending than what was seen on the NES games plus all the game bugs, flickery, and glitches from the NES games were fix.



Klobb said:

The small screen isn't really a huge issue in the main game until world 8, where you make a couple of leaps of faith. The game is still playable thanks to the merciful number of lives to make up for cheap deaths.
In Lost Levels, however, thanks to the small screen you have to be psychic to make some of its jumps the first try. The koopas also bounce you nowhere near as high as they do in the famicom version of lost levels, making some jumps nearly impossible.

Everyone is better off buying the NES version of each game separately than buying this. Although, as a freebie it's alright. Doesn't deserve any higher than a 6.



Gridatttack said:

@retro_player_22 The small screen doesn't do justice. And by lame port, i mean they couldn't get it right with the lost level part (its missing 5 worlds entirely)
And I know the extra features. They are nice and all, but that isn't the main meat of the game. The main thing fails and the extra content isn't enough to justify it.



retro_player_22 said:


But they did get it right, they had squeezed every bits of the Lost Levels in there on that little 8-bit cart, sure it's not like the Famicom Disk System port (which had a much bigger memory than a GBC and NES cart anyday) but it's close. Had they used a more expensive cart with bigger size both games will be perfectly complete then again it would cost more. The thing is the game still works and play intact. Beside the Lost Levels ain't meant to be the main meat there either, it's just an unlockable extra for those who beat SMB1 and want a bit more challenge on the go otherwise it wouldn't be included as a deluxe package for this game. You people are just complaining about free stuffs in a game. Fortunately I would had bought this game even if the Lost Levels wasn't included, the fact that it was is just the icing on the cake.



Gridatttack said:

@retro_player_22 Lies. Sounds like a rushed release. because you know, the game HAS the missing 5 worlds of lost levels, but they aren't accessible (because some aren't complete) So that portion of the 'bigger cart' has nothing to do here
And based on the end of your reply, sure lest count SMB1 only as the main meat. Then, why buy this if you can get the good scaled original NES version for less than the GBC (based on the prices of the other GBC games, this would be 6$, while the good NEs version is 1$ less)
The other 4$ are worth to get the original lost levels, because original graphics, and all the worlds



Dr_Salvador said:

I hate not being able to run with the Y button and jump with the B button.
Yes I know that button didn't exist on the Gameboy, but how hard could it be to ad the option?



retro_player_22 said:


1. It is not a rush release, the game took advantage of the GBC cart and expand it with lots of features. The Lost Levels are simply a bonus, like a challenge, not a full game.

2. The game was scaled down because of the Game Boy's small screen and the game itself was meant to be play portable, not suppose to be like the NES original.

3. If you play the original Deluxe version, you would understand that this is re-release for gamer who once enjoy that game. There are people (like my little bro) who had grew up playing SMB Deluxe but never play the NES game. So this game had a reason to exist. Just because it didn't had the full Lost Levels doesn't mean anybody will care. Seems the only people who complain about these not being here are the ones who grew up with NES which is sad since I consider those are mature now and it doesn't seem like they are.



Gridatttack said:

@retro_player_22 It doesn't explain why they left the 5 worlds incomplete, and sure, it served its purpose back in the days.

Nowadays, this is useless other than nostalgia factor, because the original games are up in the eshop without the limitations of the GBC



TimeGuy said:

Deluxe was how I originally experienced Super Mario Bros. I'm definitely looking forward to being able to experience it once again.



primeris said:

I had this on GBC. I remember I hit a glitch while unlocking some achievement and I had to send in my cartridge to have all my achievements show.

I had a lot of fun with this title, and I'd buy it instantly if I didn't already have SMB and Lost Levels.



MeloMan said:

I always wanted to play this back in the day, but I think this will end up being an eternal pass for me from now on. IIRC, the biggest draw I liked was seeing both bros on the screen at once running through a level so I assumed 2P simultaneous play, if that is in fact, true about the game.

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