Mario Bros. was the first game to feature Mario’s brother Luigi and the first to feature the titular duo as the first and second player.
The game sees Mario shed his carpenter profession and join his brother Luigi in life as a plumber, heading into the sewers of New York City to eliminate all creatures that come through the pipes. The game has two-player cooperative play as both brothers try to take out the creatures together. Unlike the later Super Mario Bros. games, the creatures have to be knocked from below, which will flip them over. Trying to step on them while they aren’t flipped over will result in the loss of a life. The flipped over enemies have to be knocked off the playfield into the water below by kicking them before they flip back over.
The creatures start off easy, with the shellcreeper turtles, which require only one hit to flip them. The game gets progressively harder, as enemies that require multiple hits, enemies that fly, obstacles that cause ice to form on the ground making things slippery, and many more enemies and obstacles, try to stop the brothers from performing their task.
To ease things a little bit, there is also a POW block in the middle of the stage, which will automatically cause one hit of every enemy that is touching the ground. However, this POW block can only be used three times during a game before it is used up forever.
Like Donkey Kong before it, the game has been released on many different platforms, including Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Apple II, Commodore-64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo Entertainment System, Atari 7800, and Atari 8-bit computers.
The NES version was emulated on the Nintendo 64 (in Animal Forest), e-Reader, Game Boy Advance, GameCube (in Animal Crossing), Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Famicom Mini, and the NES Classic Edition. The gameplay was also included as a mini-game in Super Mario Bros. 3, and a “Super Mario All-Stars” style remake was released with the Super Mario Advance games for the Game Boy Advance.
The arcade original is the best version by far, and it was finally emulated in its entirety by Hamster as part of its Arcade Archives line on the Nintendo Switch on September 27, 2019. The Switch version is the way to go, as it also includes online multiplayer co-op gameplay.
4 out of 5