Game Review

Super Mario Bros. Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Darren Calvert

A timeless classic

This game needs no introduction, this was really where it all began with our favourite Italian plumber. Having been originally bundled free with the NES console in 1985 Super Mario Bros. Proved to be a killer app at the time helping to shift millions of consoles. There have since been many imitators but none have quite captured the original Mario magic except perhaps the excellent sequels of course!

Players negotiate 8 challenging worlds, stomping on enemies as they pass through, and battling Bowser at the end of each. It was so frustrating on my first run through the game when that silly little Princess never seemed to be able to stay put in one place. She was always one step ahead…

Reaching the end of each level is a pleasurable experience, as the controls are extremely tight and rarely let the player down. In the second stage it is imperative to be absolutely pixel-perfect in jumping from one narrow ledge to another - and with the proper skill, this is easily accomplished. While there may be several times where Mario ends up in a bottomless pit, for the most part, the controls do as they're told and are dead-on.

The graphics are unavoidably outdated, as over the course of 22 years graphics have undergone tremendous improvements. Yet at the time, it was beautiful. The colors were bright and crisp, there was never any slowdown, and the animations were quirky and inspired. The sound effects are absolutely unforgettable, from the stomping on Goombas' heads to the sweet tune of coins being pumped out of bricks. And how can we forget one of the game's greatest legacies - the Super Mario theme? The game immersed the player more than ever before, and really demonstrated what games are supposed to be; original, and fun.


Dozens if not hundreds of imitators have tried to improve or revolutionize the formula that Nintendo spawned back in 1985; some have failed, while others have come close. Even with the most successful of these attempts, coming back to play Super Mario Bros. is still just as much fun as ever, and truly makes you appreciate how games were designed in the past – and how they should always be made in the future. 500 Wii points is an absolute no-brainer. This adventure is an absolute must for any gamer’s Virtual Console collection.

Note for PAL users: It seems that this version of Super Mario Bros runs faster than the original PAL version. It is mostly likely the "Speed Corrected" version found on the Duck Hunt cart.

From the web

Game Trailer

Subscribe to Nintendo Life on YouTube

User Comments (23)



blackknight77 said:

I recently played through this game again on the Virtual console. It's still a blast to play!



The_Indigo_Effect said:

For some reason I always end up playing this game more than its sequels; it is the first video game I ever played.



Knux said:

Awesome game! Unlike the original Legend of Zelda [which has aged somewhat], and the original Metroid [which has aged HORRIBLY], Super Mario Bros's gameplay has not aged one bit [excpet for the graphics]. I still need to beat it, though.



Deviant_Mugen said:

Ah, classic Mario. It's been much too long since I played through this game; I want it so bad...

Great review, Dazza...



SuperMarioFan1995 said:

Note for PAL users: It seems that this version of Super Mario Bros runs faster than the original PAL version. It is mostly likely the "Speed Corrected" version found on the Duck Hunt cart.

There are still the borders on the top and bottom, and the music runs too fast. They really should bring out a 60Hz option. Here's my idea: press the minus button (-) to bring up a 50Hz/60Hz option menu.



jamesslater said:

I had some Nintendo points so I decided to buy this on a whim (it's only about £3.50), having never played it before in my life. I was very pleased to find out that it was released in 1985, which was the year I was born.

This is (still) a very entertaining game, even by today's standards. Mario controls like a dream; the difficulty progression is excellent; there are new tricks and secrets to discover in every level. One of the joys of this game is discovering the origins of common plaforming tropes.

Some of the art direction falls flat, particularly in the background (those hills look iffy). If I'm going to nitpick, the inability to move left and the inability to save your progress might also count against it. But these are small potatoes.

Two things testify to this game's greatness: firstly, that it is still entertaining people over 20 years later; secondly, that later Mario games only really managed to refine the formula.



HanuKwanzMasBif said:

Wow, I didn't realize this: For us jolly Americans, this was released on Christmas. YAAAAAY
And I believe while this might not be the best NES game, it's definitely the most important NES game and second most important video game in history.



MeloMan said:

I plan to download it and find out. As far as "important" videogames go, I put this at about 3rd. My list is:

1) Pong
2) Pac-Man
3) Super Mario Bros.

They each paved a new wave with their respective generations, and to this day, they are all easily recognizable and easy to pick up and play.



grumblegrumble said:

Can't wait to play this on 3DS Virtual Console this coming Thursday as part of the Ambassador Games that are released!



atariman said:

My favrite Mario title ever! my score is 136,420 on Super Mario Bros NES.
Try to beat it!



BrickRockwell said:

My favorite Mario title of all time. I hated it when I was younger; because this game came out the year I was born so my earliest gaming memories centered on Super Mario Bros. 3. But the older I get, this is the Mario game that I find myself playing over and over again. It's just... timeless. Everything about this game fits together so perfectly. 10/10, 5/5, this game ROCKS

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...