Super Mario Bros—The Lost Levels: The Real Mario Bros. 2

Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels
How lost is it?

This is probably the strangest history of any Super Mario game out there. As it was the official sequel to Super Mario Bros. (1985)…

It’s just most of the world didn’t realise that. Deemed way too difficult a successor, Nintendo decided to launch a different version in the west.

But first up, let’s have a quick trailer of the original version from 1986.

The Strange History of Super Mario Bros 2. (and the Lost Levels)

For the official sequel in Japan, that’s what NES gamers got to enjoy. And we use that term loosely as Nintendo really ramped the difficulty levels up on it.

Designer Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to provide a challenge for those who mastered the first game, so that’s why his team took that creative decision.

NES games are often tough as nails anyway (developers used to ramp it up to make games appear longer than they were), but this one was pushing it.

Realising that, Nintendo of America decided to change the release in North America and Europe.

So, Super Mario Bros 2. came out in England back in 1988 looking like this.

What Nintendo did is retrofit the game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, which was launched on a NES peripheral. Then they gave it a new lick of paint.

And that’s why Super Mario Bros. 2 from the west looked so wildly different to its predecessor. What of the real Mario Bros 2., then?

About Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

The game first launched on the Famicom Disk System, before shifting over to the NES.

Right, so straight up what’s noticeable is the game’s style is pretty much exactly the same as its predecessor.

With 32 levels it’s pretty hectic going. The sequel is more complex, with a wider variety of overall business on screen.

It’s also notable for the arrival of Luigi in his first playable form, decked out in familiar green.

But, as mentioned, the main difference is the steep increase in difficulty. Some of the jumps we came across on our Wii U playthrough, for example, were just astonishing requirements.

Ghost N’ Goblins is probably the most difficult NES game we’ve played, but this ons is intensely difficult in places as well. It can be maddening.

After a wait of a few years, the Japanese sequel appeared on Super Mario All-Stars (1993). A compendium of the NES’ best Mario moments retrofitted for the SNES.

It’s at that point it got its names as The Lost Levels in the west. And it’s since appeared on Nintendo’s virtual console and eShop on the likes of Nintendo Switch.

So, it’s there if you fancy a go at this one. Its legendary status makes it a must.

Just bloody well brace yourself. It’s tough.


  1. Ghosts ‘n Goblins is still one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played, though some of those “lost” Mario levels got pretty difficult too.

    I remember first playing the “real” Mario 2 on the SNES as part of Mario All-Stars, of course I didn’t know that was the intended sequel at the time…

    Liked by 2 people

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