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|Manufacturer:||Atari / Nintendo|
|Rating:||3 out of 5|
Mario and Luigi have had a long glorious history from the arcades of the early 80's to nearly every game console made. His career has spanned carpenter to plumber as developers suited him up for various games. Basically he's a blue-collar kind of guy. Unlike the 5200's blocky predecessor, the character graphics are nicely detailed as they move around.
In Mario Bros., exclusive to the Atari 5200, Mario is a carpenter on a quest to rid his house of pesky bugs with the help of his brother Luigi. The game is a single-screen game in which the enemies change as waves progress. His movements are articulated with the ill conceived game controller for the 5200 controller. Despite this, Mario Bros. delivers an entertaining game. It's worth having simply because it wasn't released to other systems as most games are. Arriving in arcades in 1983 - same year as the 5200 port - the Mario Bros. arcade controls were quite simple. Each player had a joystick and a "jump" button.
Luigi makes his appearance in 2-player games, so much of the effort is carried out by his bro who has to jump up to stun enemies on the floor above. Then he has to bolt up to that level to dispose of the enemy by knocking it off the platform to the water below. You'll discover that you can punch a pest slightly from one side or the other to control which direction it flips. This can be helpful one things get manic and the screen is full of pests and fireballs. Clearing all the pipe-pests from the room ends that wave and a new batch of pests descend.
The joystick guides Mario & Luigis direction of travel and the bottom fire button makes them jump.
The POW switch is used to deliver a wallop to all the pests on screen. Such a switch would be very handy in most office settings where the density of morons is at it's greatest. POW can only be used 3 times before disappearing. It returns after each coin round.
There's no overlay for the controller, so you only have to use the * button to choose 1 or 2 player mode. 2-player versions are pretty cool. They offer simultaneous play with player-1 being Mario and player-2 as Luigi. You can play cooperatively and try to score maximum points or you can go all-for-one. Just as you're about to kick a flipped pest, the other player can punch him back to an upright position which puts you in peril. Or you can bounce your opponent around until he's cooked by a fireball.
Shellcreepers are the easiest to defeat. One punch from below flips them onto their backs. Just get to them and boot 'em off the platform before they crawl out of their shells and rights itself.
Sidesteppers take 2 hits to flip over. The first punch from below just pisses him off. Next you need to kick him into the water below.
Fighterflys like to scuttle about, so you can only punch them when they are resting on a platform's floor. Once you punch one, run up and kick him off the edge.
Fireballs can be punched from the floor below and come in 2 colors. Orange ones traverse levels and gold one that stay on a single level. If you're not punching them, stay away! They will fry you in a most fatal manner.
Slipice is an iceman who can make the floors slippery as ice - hence the clever name. Punch him from the floor below, just like any random pest, to prevent his irritating slipperyness.
Each time a pest is kicked off a platform a coin comes out of the water pipe. There are also coin rounds in which you have 22 seconds to snatch all of the coins for a kick-ass bonus.
3 POWs seems like a lot, but you have to use them strategically when it will take out multiple pests. Don't waste it on a single pest. When you get down to the last pest, he will speed up and become harder to punch. Since Sidesteppers require 2 punches to flip, do so quickly, else he'll run away.
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