Ah yes, Super Mario Bros 2. The Star Trek V of Mario. That weird game that was originally something different entirely: a non-Mario game called Doki Doki Panic. Those of you who have played it know what I’m talking about. Those of you who haven’t, well… it’s a game that involves going around throwing beets at things.
The really fascinating thing about this game, when I was a kid and first played it, is that it’s filled with little secrets. For example, you can throw a magical potion on the ground to make a door. This door takes you to an alternate version of your current location for a few seconds, where you usually do things like collect a couple of coins.
Here’s the catch – you can take the magical potion wherever you want (so long as you don’t drop it), and occasionally you’ll find some really unexpected stuff in that alternate universe. Like warps to levels much farther along than you are currently.
Anyways, this was all very fascinating to me. More so than any other classic Mario game, SMB 2 felt like the world was full of really weird hidden mysteries. Sure, the original SMB had the hidden warp pipes in 1-2 and SMB 3 had the whistles, but something about stumbling on warp vases in that dark alternate universe was really mysterious. It may be the weakest of the original NES Mario “trio”, but it sure made up for it with the hidden surprises factor.
Also you could play as Toad.
Which is awesome.