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 Disney Kingdom
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 cover  logo
 flag 9-1-1988  flag 9-16-1992 ps2 logo
 flag 4-28-1989  flag 5-1989

The Mario Brothers II that was released here in 1988, is in fact not really the TRUE Mario 2. This game is actually called Doki Doki Panic, and was redone with Mario characters, after the original was deemed too difficult for North American players. It was not until Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES that we got to see Mario 2 in the form of Lost Levels.
Mario 2 is perhaps the least favorite title of all the Mario series. This is perhaps due to the fact that there is little to no similarity between it and any other title. There is only the characters, the growth mushroom, Starman, and the 1-Up Mushroom that hold similarities with other games. That said many enemies and bosses have made it to other games, and Novelia from Mario.
Graphically, Mario 2 surpassed the original. There is great use of color in the backgrounds for NES, and it does have a great feel for the game. That said, the sprites for the characters, though better, are not any jump ahead graphically. They still are very flat looking, as are the enemy/boss sprites.
The game play was actually nothing like Mario games, but it was left the same from Doki Doki Panic. You go through various worlds, throwing vegetables at your enemies. If you can find them, you get 4 Mushrooms in each level, that give you an extra hit block. The similarity of you growing larger with the first Mushroom is the same, but the other three do not grant any power ups found in other titles. At the end of each of the 7 levels, you will face a boss, that has to be hit with objects to be defeated.
The musical score of Super Mario 2 was actually quite pleasing. The themes were more upbeat, with far more sound to them. You can easily find yourself humming the tunes of the game, even after shutting off the system.
Despite being the black sheep of the Mario family to many game fans and critics, Mario 2 still showed its popularity. It is the 3rd best selling title on the NES with 10 thousand units sold. And oddly enough it is behind its NES counter parts, Mario and Mario 3. A lot of critics gave it some positive reviews stating things like it is one of the best polished platforms of its time.
When the Mario series was re-released on the GBA, Mario 2 was the first to come out. Most thought this a poor choice, considering the popularity of 3, and Mario World would make better sellers. This however was not the case, as Mario 2 Advance became a top selling re-release on the system.
Overall, if you are a diehard fan of the other Mario games, you might not like this title. On its own though, saying it is a bad game is not accurate either. It is quite a good game, with a great balance of challenge. You should definitely give it a try, before joining the majority of the country in saying it is a bad title.