A while back, I took a look at Volume 52 of Nintendo Power, an issue which covered this game in-depth. There I learned that the game has a secret World 9 if you get through all eight standard worlds without using a warp zone. I'd never played the game without using warp zones, so World 9 was news to me and I had to check it out for myself.
Man, Super Mario All-Stars is one of the greatest compilations of all time. I can't think of a better one right now.
The Lost Levels was called Super Mario Bros 2 in Japan. However, it was so astronomically difficult that they didn't even release it in the U.S., giving us a completely different game instead as Super Mario Bros 2. Thus, the "real" SMB2 didn't see the light of day here until this 1993 compilation. I'm going to be checking out the original Famicom version very soon, so say tuned.
Make no mistake, this game is HARD. Luckily, it's also fun. It's interesting to see some of the things they came up with using the SMB1 engine. This is basically an expansion pack to that game.
Here's (the only instance I know of) Mario above the ceiling in a castle level. What's up here? A lot of nothing, really. For a minute I thought I'd be able to skip a fair amount of this level, but the joke's on me...
...it's a dead-end. Dayyyyyyyyam. Gotta sit up there and wait for time to expire, giving Bowser a chance to realize that maybe putting a giant axe next to his bridge isn't the best idea.
Onward. After an epic struggle, I finally beat the game. I've beaten this game many times with warp zones, but this trip through all eight worlds is definitely a first. After all of that, Mario gets a peck on the cheek from The Princess and proceeds to lose his mind from the sexual frustration.
TIME FOR WORLD 9.
Surprisingly, 9-1 is an underwater level. I did not see that coming. It's pretty straightforward and easy.
A flagpole underwater? Wow, that's new. Got to the end with no problem, and it's safe to say that so far World 9 is a MASSIVE step down from...well...every other world in this game in terms of difficulty.
World 9-2 is more of the same, only now there's at least a little bit of challenge in the form of Lakitu. He's quite the pest in an underwater stage, but I managed to hang onto a fire flower and that dusts him off quick.
9-3 is the most interesting level in this game. It's a castle level, but it's outdoors at the same time. The stones are a different, redder color than they usually are in these levels, and the empty sky in the background is a great contrast.
BUT WAIT! Quick detour into the clouds to grab coins! Har, this game is so good.
I bet this pipe would drop me into the lava. I'M WISE TO YOU, GAME!
This is the kind of inventiveness that shows up a lot in the Mario series.
The big boss of World 9 isn't in 9-4, he's right here. It's Bowser in hammer-throwing form (no fire-spitting) and it looks like he's nearly impossible to get past if you're stuck being small Mario at this point.
I blast away with fireballs, and since he lacks fire of his own to retaliate with, I'm pretty safe on the left side. Since he spends a lot of time hiding behind those bricks - where fireballs don't reach - it takes a bit of time to take him down.
9-4 is back underwater, where Mario must face the insurmountable challenge that is... UNDERWATER GOOMBA.
Somehow get past him, and... there are a bunch of odd block formations that seem to spell something out. Can't tell what it is, though. Let's see if I can get a panoramic shot...
Yep, this is World 9-4. It's basically no challenge at all, and seems like a reward for getting through 9-3. Now I can see why I couldn't read the formations in-game... the word is Japanese.
If anyone can shed some light on what this says, let me know.
With this huge castle at the end of the level, I was hoping for a World 9-5 that would delight and astonish the way 9-3 did, but instead...
...World A-1 is next. These go up to D-4, as I recall. Four additional worlds after the original eight that appear regardless of whether or not you warp. I played through these back in the day. Surprised that World 9 is the big secret of the game given how short and simple it is... and the way it just leads into these levels.
So...ah...yeah. That's World 9. Two fairly medium water levels, a difficult and awesome-looking outdoor castle, and a super-easy final water level with a message in it. It's like the genesis of the Special World in Super Mario World.
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