Mario Bros. is an arcade game created by Nintendo and released on July 14, 1983, in North America and Japan. It is the third video game to feature Mario, who previously was known as "Jumpman". It comprises primarily of defeating an endless horde of enemies and fireballs in a screen-sized area in order to obtain points. The game was also released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, being part of the Arcade Classics Series, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, and Atari 7800, as well as a large range of home computer systems.
The game is also included as a separate minigame in the two-player mode of Super Mario Bros. 3, for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and all four titles in the Super Mario Advance series. It operates like the original game, but with updates in graphics.
The canonicity of the game is questionable, since it takes place in this setting.
While players are free to play individually, the game also features a two-player mode, in which one controls Mario while another player controls Luigi.
In order to advance to the next level, players must defeat a certain number of enemies, achieved by striking the platforms they walk along, or hitting either of the two POW Blocks (up to three times both), and then finally kicking them off the screen, thus rewarding them 800 points. However, if left alone for a long period of time, enemies will eventually regain their consciousness and continue moving. After an enemy is kicked away, a coin (or wafer in the Atari 2600 version) appears from the pipes. They can be collected for additional points. Enemies appear from the top pipes and make their way down to the bottom, where there are also pipes that take them back to the top. Newer enemies begin to appear in later levels.
There are a total of 99 phases in the game, and after completion of phase 99, it loops that phase from that point on. The highest possible score players can achieve is 999,990.
Every once in a while, players participate in a bonus level, which simply involves collecting all of the coins within a specific time limit. Collecting all coins rewards an extra point bonus, consisting anywhere between 3,000 - 5,000. As with regular phases, bonus phases also increase in difficulty.
Three different death sprites have been created for Mario and Luigi, a frozen sprite for colliding with Slipice and Icicles, a burnt one for touching Fireballs, and finally, a generic one for touching all other enemies.
|Mario||He is the older brother, who serves as the first player.|
|Luigi||He is the younger Mario brother, who serves as the second player.|
|GBA-exclusive players||These are Mario clones that appear only in the GBA releases. The yellow clone serves as the third player, and the blue clone serves as the fourth player. In the original version, they both wear light tan overalls, but in the Wii U ports, they wear purple and black overalls respectively.|
Each phase features target enemies that must be defeated to progress further. As for additional enemies, it is up to the player to defeat them or not. There are a total of six different types of target enemies, with each featuring one or two at a time.
|Shellcreeper||These are the first enemies to appear in the game. They are possible inspirations for Koopa Troopas. In remade versions, they are replaced by spinies.|
|Sidestepper||These are crabs that are more difficult to defeat, and are featured in various games.|
|Fighter Fly||These are airborne enemies that fly up and down.|
|Freezie (Slipice)||These enemies have the ability to "self-destruct" and cover whatever platform they are on in ice. They were named "Slipices" in earlier games.|
|Icicle||They first appear as water droplets, then form into a sharp icicle. They will eventually fall and deal damage to the player.|
|Fireball or Boo||These gigantic Fireballs come in two varieties: red and green. The green ones are replaced with Boos in the Super Mario All-Stars remake.|
|Koopa Troopa||These are enemies that appear randomly during the battle mode. They are the only enemies that can be stomped on.|
|Bowser||Bowser only appears in the GBA release, during the battle mode. He possesses his fire-breathing attack.|
|Coin (Wafer)||Coins appear each time an enemy is defeated, but not after the last enemy is defeated. They also appear in every bonus phase. They are referred to as "Wafers" in the Atari 2600 release.|
|POW Block||These items are used to knock over on-screen enemies. Each can only be used up to three times.|
Remakes and ports
A European-exclusive version of Mario Bros., known as the Classic Series version, was released by Nintendo in 1993. This version was one of only two ports that had intermissions, the other being the Atari XE version. This version was based on Kaettekita Mario Bros., and it retained all of its arcade features, along with the ability to change direction in mid-air.
Super Mario Bros. 3 remake
The game is included as a minigame in the NES release of Super Mario Bros. 3, called "Battle Mode." It is also included in the game's remake in Super Mario All-Stars. This version replaced Shellcreepers with Spinies. This applies to later remakes to avoid confusion with the Koopa Troopas of later games.
Two bonus levels are included:
- A fountain that sprays out coins
- A series of kickable Question Blocks
Players who choose to play in two-player mode can enter into a battle from the main game, on any world map, by opening the Ⓜ or Ⓛ that represents the inactive player. This allows players to trade the cards obtaining by completing normal courses, which also give one to five extra lives when three are obtained.
Game Boy Advance remakes
Mario Bros. was remade for every Super Mario Advance game, as well as the RPG Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (but not its 3DS remake). Each of these games can connect to each other, allowing four players to play Classic or Battle mode. Classic mode is based on the co-op mode from the original, while Battle is based on the Battle game from Super Mario All-Stars. Also included in the remake is the GBA's Single-Pak multiplayer feature. Players can connect it to other GBA systems and play without the game, although Battle is the only multiplayer mode that is playable in this manner.
In order to take advantage of the GBA's 32-bit capabilities, the GBA remake was given enhanced graphics, such as backgrounds in stages. There are also the additions to voice clips in single-player mode and music where originally absent. Improvements have been made to the jumping mechanic, as mid-air turning is now allowed, as opposed to the original, where players would stay stuck in one direction while jumping. Two POW Blocks also appear instead of just one, and they reset every few stages. A new move known as Power Squat Jump (from Super Mario Bros. 2) has been included, and the difficulty of the Bonus Stages has been noticeably improved.
Arcade Archives: Mario Bros.
On September 27, 2017, a Nintendo Switch port of Mario Bros. was also released as part of the Arcade Archives series by Hamster Corporation. It was released under the name Arcade Archives: Mario Bros.. The two-player mode can be utilized by the Joy-Con.
There are several direct ports of the game, running under emulation, that have been released for later consoles. The first was Mario Bros.-e, developed for the E-Reader, released on November 11, 2002 only in North America. This release has the two-player support removed. Japan then received, on May 21, 2004, an exclusive release in the Famicom Mini series for Game Boy Advance, which is not connected with the GBA remake described above.
The game was released again for Virtual Console for Wii for 500 Wii Points in November or December 2006, and a Japanese release for 3DS on May 8, 2013. A European and Australian release became available on January 9, 2014, and on January 30, 2014, a North American release became available for $4.99. It has been released on the Wii U for that exact price.
Included in the NES Classic Edition and Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer are the NES and Famicom versions, respectively. In September 2018, the Nintendo Switch Online subscription services launched, with Mario Bros. being made available as one of twenty titles at the time.
Luigi Bros. is an emulation of the game included as part of Super Mario 3D World as unlockable content. The only difference is the replacement of Mario with Luigi. Unlike Super Mario 3D World, which usually supports a 16:9 "Widescreen aspect ratio, Luigi Bros. supports only a 4:3 aspect ratio because it is utilized by the original Mario Bros. NES game.
Luigi Bros. is unlocked by defeating Meowser in The Great Tower of Bowser Land in World Bowser. The game can be played immediately, without the need to unlock it, if the player happens to have a saved game file from New Super Luigi U.
Three unclear sequels have been made for the game, which include two direct follow-ups known as Punch Ball Mario Bros. and Mario Bros. Special, made for Japanese home computers. The third one is Mario Clash, an entry for the Virtual Boy released in 1995.
The game was mostly given positive reviews. IGN rated Mario Bros. as 91st in its Top 100 NES Games list. In Japan, the NES release has sold more than 1.63 million copies, while the Famicom Mini re-release met a mark of at least 90,000 copies. Mario Bros. was released during the 1983 North American video game crash, though this had no effect on the arcade game nor the industry.
The NES release has received mostly mixed reviews, but positive reviews from gamers.
- It is also stated that Mario Bros. marks the first appearance of Luigi, and it was officially disclosed by Nintendo during the Year of Luigi event. This, however, was proven to be a mistake, as Luigi actually had his first appearance in Mario Bros. (Game & Watch).
- The music theme that plays when the player begins the first phase is from Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik. It is also heard in Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Mario's outfit on the Japanese cover would be used as an alternative costume for himself in the future games Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and an alternate costume for Wario in those same games, as well as Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- The outfit also made a minor appearance during Mario's transformation into Super Mario in the DIC cartoons. All of this applies to Luigi as well.