Game News Nintendo: What is the hardest Mario game?
If today the Mario adventures have the image of accessible games for all audiences, this has not always been the case, especially at the start of the career of the famous mustachioed Italian plumber. To prove it to you, the editorial staff of JV therefore invites you to come back to THE most difficult Mario title, but also to broaden the question to other of its often less cited productions.
- The Lost Levels, the game too hard for the West
- Difficult Mario games, more numerous than you think?
Today, it’s obvious that games in the Mario series are seen as easy adventures that seek to reach the widest possible audience. As proof, we can cite the assisted mode of Super Mario Odyssey or the White Tanuki costume in Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury which are there so that everyone can enjoy the game without too much difficulty. However, this does not mean that the mustachioed Italian plumber was only entitled to health walks, quite the contrary, since these first titles were not accessible to all., in particular one that is still widely accepted today as THE most difficult Mario game: Super Mario Bros. : The Lost Levels.
The Lost Levels, the game too hard for the West
To fully understand why The Lost Levels is so difficult, we must first return to the context of the time. When Super Mario Bros. released in 1985, it was a huge success since the title reached 40 million copies sold across the globe. However, despite this popular success, we must not be mistaken, the first game in the Super Mario series is far from an easy experience, especially with its limited number of lives which quickly leads the player to Game Over. Indeed, you have to succeed through eight sometimes really complicated worlds with very intense stages, while the green mushrooms, the famous 1UP, are becoming rare.
Despite this obvious difficulty of the first Mario, this did not prevent Nintendo from raising the level a notch with the next episode. First of all, if today we used to call it The Lost Levels, the title is first under the name of Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan in 1986, but was renamed to Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels when it re-released in 1993 in the Super Mario All-Stars compilation on the Super NES. On the visual side, this second opus looks a lot like Super Mario Bros. with just a few minor graphical improvements. But controller in hand, this is where things get complicated. Very quickly, we understand that we have to deal with a much more vicious and punitive level design than before, with real passages of die and retry since it is impossible to avoid certain pitfalls without knowing them beforehand. For example, the game is full of invisible blocks that Mario can bump into while jumping, causing him to fall into a hole and thus lose a life. Conversely, sometimes you even have to jump on these invisible blocks, which requires great precision that is not always obvious.
Among the elements that made more than one rage, we can also mention the famous poisonous mushrooms which inflict damage on Mario if he touches them, an object that we will hardly find in the series anymore. Worse than that, those who have already played the title will surely remember the wind which is able to push back our plumber in full movement, even in full jump, which often ended in death. Ultimate proof of the sadism of this game, the latter also includes warp zones, like the first episode, but… which brings back to worlds already traveled before and therefore sends the player back.
The Lost Levels in the Super Mario All-Stars Compilation
If you’re familiar with video game history, you surely know the story around the Western release of The Lost Levels and why it doesn’t match Super Mario Bros. 2 that we had at home. But for those who have never heard of it, a little reminder of the facts. Faced with the difficulty of the title, Nintendo made the decision not to release the game in the rest of the world, particularly in North America and the West, because the experience was deemed too hard for Western audiences., which could have a negative impact on the image of the franchise. Instead, the decision was made to use an existing game called Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and replace characters, enemies, and other details with elements from the Mario universe, resulting in the Super Mario Bros. 2 that we know at home.
Difficult Mario games, more numerous than you think?
If The Lost Levels is qualified by the majority of players as the most difficult Mario game, we can still broaden the question to mention other titles as hard. Very recently, we could consider Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2 to be the hardest in the series. If the campaign of the second episode is rather easy to learn the basics at all, many levels created by the players are particularly noted. When we see the completion rate of certain internships which are below 1%, it is clear that we are faced with almost impossible internships. With this kind of levels, we find the spirit of Kaizo Mario, a series of Super Mario World hacks that have made a solid reputation on the internet because of their absurd and aberrant difficulty.
To complete this brief overview of difficult 2D Mario games, we can cite a particular case. If the first titles in the series were necessarily harder than the most recent, New Super Luigi U is an exception to the rule. Sort of stand-alone from New Super Mario Bros. U, the title offers a singular approach with shorter, but more treacherous levels, which the player must cross at full speed in less than 100 seconds. As its name suggests, we control Luigi who has a different gameplay from that of Mario, with jumps certainly higher, but also more floating and less precise, which sometimes complicates the task.
Go, as a bonus, we can also mention the Mario 3D game considered to be the most difficult by the majority of players: Super Mario Sunshine. In addition to being a particularly divisive episode, it is also a title with unique gameplay mechanics because of Mario’s jetpack/water pump, the famous JET, and all the movements to which it gives access. Almost twenty years after its release, it is very likely that certain levels still mark a majority of players, like that of the Pachinkos. In reality, where Sunshine is really difficult, it is especially to obtain its 100% since the blue and red pieces of many stages require great dexterity which is not within everyone’s reach. Like what, the name of Mario is not always synonymous with ease.
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