Super Mario Brothers 2
Released: October 1988
Players choose from four characters each time they start or restart a level: Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool (Later renamed Princess Peach), and Toad. Each has a special ability: Luigi can jump very high, the Princess can remain temporarily suspended in the air (levitate), Toad can pick up things quickly and is very agile, and Mario is a balanced version of all these. In future Mario games in which multiple characters were playable (except for Mario Golf), Mario would always be the most balanced character. A unique ability in this game is the "power squat", by holding Down on the control pad for a few seconds, players could build power for higher jumps. One of the game's most defining aspect is the ability to pluck vegetables from the ground to throw at enemies: these vegetables reappear in Super Smash Bros. Melee as Peach's special attack.
Most enemies are defeated by throwing vegetables and other items which the character plucks from the ground. Unlike other Mario games, simply jumping on enemies does not accomplish anything. In fact jumping on an enemy may do more harm than good. Most enemies may also be picked up and thrown. Many enemies which first appeared in this game (such as Shy Guys ) would reappear in later sequels and related games. This is the first time that Princess Peach and Toad appear as playable characters.
This is the first Mario game to make use of a life meter, which initially has two segments but can be extended to four through the collection of special items. (In Super Mario Advance , the limit was upped to five.) This allows Mario and his friends to be hit more than two times before dying.
Many power-ups and items from the original game make appearances here, often serving similar functions in slightly different ways. For example, mushroom collected add segments to the life meter, and coins are used to play a slot machine minigame at the ends of levels that grants the player up to five extra lives at a time based on different combinations of symbols. (Later ports of the game increased this number.)
New power-ups and items also appear in this game. Potions, which are pulled up from the ground like vegetables, can be dropped to make a door appear. This door leads to a non-scrolling, enemy-free, un-lit "mirror-image" version of the current screen in which any remaining vegetables are replaced by coins when uprooted. (Coins can only be collected on two visits to Sub-Space per stage, after which plants will simply yield vegetables.) In addition, if the door is created in the specific areas within a level, the player will discover mushrooms. Some jars (this game's equivalent to the original's pipes) also become "warp zones" in the negative plane, allowing the player to skip to another world. For each coin collected while in these "door levels", the player will get a chance at the bonus slot machine at the end of each level. The player can only enter these areas for a limited time (time can be extended a bit after picking up a Yoshi egg in Super Mario Advance). These areas are referred to as Sub-Space in the first issue of Nintendo Power.
Another aspect that differentiates this game from other contemporary Mario games is the fact that there is no time limit within the stages. In addition to this, players are allowed to back track. The frame will move left and right to follow the player. In previous Super Mario Bros. , once the player had passed an object he or she could not return to it.
At the end of each level, the player is presented with a slot machine-type game, in which the player is given one chance for each coin collected. Depending on what symbols come up, the player can get anywhere from 0 to 5 extra lives for each try. (More extra lives could be gained from the game in the SNES and GBA remakes.)
The plot for Super Mario Bros. 2 , according to the game's manual:
One evening, Mario had a strange dream. He dreamt of a long, long stairway leading up to a door. As soon as the door opened, he was confronted with a world he had never seen before, spreading out as far as his eyes could see. When he strained his ears to listen, he heard a faint voice saying "Welcome to 'Subcon', the land of dreams. We have been cursed by Wart and we are completely under his evil spell. We have been awaiting your arrival. Please defeat Wart and return Subcon to its natural state. The curse Wart has put on you in the real world will not have any effect upon you here. Remember, Wart hates vegetables. Please help us!"
At the same time this was heard, a bolt of lightning flashed before Mario's eyes. Stunned, Mario lost his footing and tumbled upside down. He awoke with a start to find himself sitting up in his bed. To clear his head, Mario talked to Luigi, Toad and the Princess about the strange dream he had. They decide to go to a nearby mountain for a picnic. After arriving at the picnic area and looking at the scenery, they see a small cave nearby. When they enter this cave, to their great surprise, there's a stairway leading up, up and up. It is exactly like the one Mario saw in his dream. They all walk together up the stairs and at the top, find a door just like the one in Mario's dream. When Mario and his friends, in fear, open the door, to their surprise, the world that he saw in his dream spreads out before them!