Nintendo really had this thing back in the NES days with taking a game that sold incredibly well, and then doing something almost totally different and risky with the sequel.
Well the actual real sequel to Super Mario Brothers was that Lost Levels game released in Japan. It's in Super Mario All Stars on the SNES and they had it on the Wii last month I think, but it was a limited time only thing to prey on the obsessive compulsives.
If you didn't get it don't worry, it's basically just Super Mario Bros. : Nightmare Mode
Yeah I think we actually ended up getting the better end of the deal outside of Japan for once, even if Mario 2 is probably the weakest of the main line of Mario games.
As you probably already know since it's been discussed to death for two decades, the Mario 2 we got in the English speaking world is actually a game called Doki Doki Panic, which I think was about a family of terrorists or something.
Dude that is not cool.
*shrug* Anyway, it's a game that Shigeru Miyamoto worked on so apparently he just swapped out the sprites with Mario characters and fiddled around with a few other things and presto, Mario 2 English Version.
You'll notice two main things about it -- it's more slidey than any other Mario game, and more puzzle-solvey.
Yeah the play control is kind of sloppy, especially when you are climbing up and down ladders and stuff, it's like everything's coated in grease. I mean, it's still better than like 90% of the platformers of the time, but as compared to other Mario games it just isn't as good.
It also forces you to stop and figure things out a lot in the levels, rather than being based mostly on reflexes and jumping like the other Mario games ... at least the 2D ones. So the pace is a little slower and more methodical ... no timer in this one and no auto-scrolling levels either.
It has some really annoying parts like those stupid sand levels where you have to repetitively dig over and over, but it also has a lot of nice touches.
I like the minor exploration element that using potions to go to Sub-Space adds, and that you can go back and forth through rooms to look for all the little secrets and shortcuts that are in the levels.
The graphics are also a little more fleshed out and colorful than even Mario 3's were.
And it gives you the four different characters with different abilities. I think they're all technically capable of finishing each level but some do way better than others at certain parts.
All in all it's pretty good, probably worth your time if you're a Mario fan. I wonder if they're going to release Super Mario All-Stars though ... that one had a really graphically superior version of this game that I thought was a little more fun to play.