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januari 05, 2013

Trying to beat the Lost Levels, SMB 2


The last couple of days I have been playing the Japanese Super Mario Bros 2, aka Lost Levels.

Some people have misunderstood what the Lost Levels is about. It isn't so much of a new game, but a Super Mario Bros for Super Players. It really says just that on the cover, in the ribbon. Today it might have been called an expansion pack (or is it extension pack?). It was released for the disk system only, making it cheap to produce. You need to put things in context and respect them for what they are.

I took a break while playing 2 to play the first Super Mario Bros. I don't like Super Mario Bros because of the physics. Either you make a lame short jump, or a long superjump. I have played the levels many many times but keep on dying on 8-2 and other levels that require accurate jumping. I learnt about the continue trick recently so I decided it made the game acceptable, and finally played all the way to end.

In All Stars they have fixed the movement, I think, making the game more manageable. All Stars will also allow you to continue from the same level when you're game over, while the FDS version takes you back to the first level of the world. But I do prefer the original 8 bit graphic, it feels more genuine.

In Super Mario Bros 2, I planned to beat every level of the game and not just warp them, because I don't think it is fair to say you have beaten a game if you warp most levels. Also I want to play them because I think the game is quite fun. Thanks to the Game Center CX video, I got some help from the 1up trick right at the beginning and made it quite far with my extra lives. The 1up possibility was likely put there on purpose by Nintendo and doesn't feel like cheating.

As so often in these early games, the levels aren't super hard by themselves, but having to replay the earlier stages all the time takes a lot of time. Today, the lives ran out by 8-3. The levels aren't that hard, but it is the controls that have their ways. 7-4 cost me 25 lives, mostly because of the jumping between five platforms. It should be simple jumps in any other game. 7-3 also cost me 25 lives, and that level is just about making jumps...

I hope I can stack up lives again today and start from the beginning. I'll warp to 8-1 this time, since I have beaten all the earlier levels. If the game is completed without warps a world 9 is opened, but that's not my ambition for now.

In the FDS version I think you need to beat the game 8 times and then the world A is opened, followed by B-D, and then you get to the "real" ending. The question is then how to decide if the game has been completed. My copy already has been beaten 8 times, which you can tell because there is one star in the start menu for each time the game has been beaten. There is actually no direct way of deleting the stars. The only known way is to brutally remove the disk while it is saving.

I suppose that warping and completing the game shouldn't take very long for an experienced player anyways. The 8 completions can be accomplished in less than an hour, especially with 100 extra lives. 

Still, world A-D are said to be very difficult and I don't think I could beat them in any reasonable time period. Maybe I should just try to beat the first 8 worlds once, if possible. I read that 8-3 is the hardest level of the first 8 worlds, and therefor I might put the game aside for now...

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