Super Mario Bros: The Movie: The Game – NES
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Developer: Warner Bros Gamehouse (development), Nintendo R&D1 (art and direction)
Release Date (NA): February 3, 1994
Nerd Rating: .5 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
Wow. Just wow. What an embarrassment for Nintendo fans everywhere. Forget E.T. for Atari. Super Mario Bros the Movie the Game for the original Nintendo should have been buried in a hole and then nuked to death to avoid any future “discovery” in a landfill in the desert. Where do I even begin? Do I start with the fact that this game draws its inspiration from a movie that bombed commercially and critically?? Or do I start with the fact that Nintendo released SMB the Movie the Game at a time when the Super Nintendo was abundantly strong, going blow-for-blow in a head-to-head battle against Sonic and the Sega Genesis? No matter where I start, I only have one piece of advice for you… Run. If you see this game anywhere… Shoot it with a gun and take the legal consequences like a man. You did the world a favor.
Recently my wife and I just bought our first home. Finally time to settle down and stop moving. For the last 12 years I’ve relocated myself every 12 months (once the lease ends and once the landlord decides they probably don’t want me back). So I feel like I’ve never fully unpacked, often carrying boxes from one attic to the next without ever opening them to see if I even need that crap anymore. But now that we’re in a place that we know we’ll be for many years to come, we decided to go through these old boxes. One box in particular housed an old PlayStation console, some weird transparent Game Boy case, a slew of Atari games and knockoff Atari systems, and one hideous, devilish, ugly NES cart… Super Mario Bros the Movie the Game. Ugh. Feel free to stop reading at any point.
Truth be told, I’d never actually played the game until now. Naturally I’ve tortured myself with John Leguizamo’s performance many times, but never did I suffer through the game. There was a time in high school where I worked for one purpose; to have money to buy games. I would scour the local Goodwill stores for anything video game related on a near-daily basis, typically coming up with exceptional finds. But on one ill-fated day, Super Mario Bros the Movie the Game fell into my possession, somehow managing to remain buried in a box for centuries like The Book of the Dead in the city of Hamunaptra, as discovered by Brendan Frasier (true story). Now, a decade and change later, we read from Mario’s book of the dead, destined to disturb some Koopas in their slumber. Can we survive Dinohattan?
The plot here is supposed to follow the movie’s plot (according to some information I found online), but I can’t seem to get any clear indication of what’s going on in the game. Instead of starting off in your traditional Mario universe, such as the Mushroom Kingdom, you start off on the streets of New York. This is a vast departure from the previous Mario games, and something that was never used again. Dennis Hopper, I mean, um, King Koopa, kidnaps Princess Daisy and takes her to another dimension. The two moustachio’d plumbers follow in an effort to save her. Boom. A plot.
The story is different, sure, but the presentation and layout of the stages are insane and horrifying. Instead of your traditional Mario-esque colors and animation, we are now experiencing Mario and Luigi on the streets of Brooklyn (Yes. Brooklyn, New York City). Level 1 has the look of Bad Dudes or Streets of Rage, but instead of 2 beefcakey dudes destroying people, we have a fat Italian plumber and his wuss of a brother taking a dump on your soul in an city alley. Fortunately this odd moment doesn’t last long, and by level 2 we find our way to [what I believe is supposed to be] the Mushroom Kingdom. There’s a brief fight with Dennis Hopper, damnit, I did it again, I mean, um King Koopa, in the castle, and then we move on to…. yes… that’s right… A shitshow of a real-world / animated-world layout a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit, except without the direction of Robert Zemeckis (although we do still have Bob Hoskins on the case). Whoever thought it was a good idea to put traditional Mario platforms over a still from the movie (see image below) should be shot! WHAT IS THIIIIIIS??
Controls are a complete and utter nightmare, making you wonder how involved Nintendo really was despite their top billing. The gravity is about double what it was in previous Mario games, making the characters feel heavy and clumsy. Essentially, you will have to relearn the entire game, making Super Mario Bros the Movie the Game feel like, well, not a Mario game at all. And if the controls don’t destroy you, then the music will. The soundtrack sounds more like it was composed by a drunk Robin Williams in an old lady suit than John Williams getting a handjob from Carrie Fisher. Meaning it’s shit. John Williams wouldn’t touch this with a 10 foot clarinet. It’s disorganized, awkward, and very un-Nintendo-ish. I can’t help but feel embarrassed for everyone involved in this “program.”
There’s not a whole lot more I can say about this game. I don’t have a single positive note for the game that’s based off the movie that’s based off a game. Yes, you read that right. This whole “thing” is just painful and awkward. This game was destined to fail before it ever released. It was 4 months late to shelves, it released only one day after Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and it released almost a full year after the movie (which was a complete flop!). Honestly, Super Mario Bros the Movie the Game should have been scrapped after the movie tanked. But anyway… The one thing Nintendo got right? They have done a decent job removing this from folks’ memory, delivering smash hit games almost immediately after this. And then we had the Virtual Boy……. But we’ll save that for a different article.
Super Mario Bros the Movie the Game was the first, and last, foray into video game development for Warner Bros.’ failed attempt at the video game industry. Warner Bros. Gamehouse development team would disband 2 months before the game’s release as financial issues and infighting resulted in the entire department being shut down and all assets liquidated. This wacky-ass concept is the result of some serious mishandling of the Mario brand. But Warner Bros. isn’t as much to blame for this turd-pile as Nintendo. Nintendo should have never given the Rolls Royce keys to an inexperienced toddler. Even so, the game is an unplayable, unthinkable, and utter disgrace of a “game.” I’m very disappointed in you Nintendo. Bad Nintendo! Bad! And a message to you, Mr. Bob Hoskins… You’re better than this.
Nerd Rating: .5 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
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