Welcome back to Warped Pipes, the series where I over-analyze the heck out of the Mario franchise and try to come up with an unofficial timeline of events. This time around I’m taking a look at...
Although it might at first seem that this just another adaptation of the NES game of the same title, it should soon become clear that this game represents a different event deserving of its own place in the timeline.
This handheld game, which came in a few shapes that all shared the same gameplay, once again sees Mario on an adventure through the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Toadstool. The manual gives a good introduction to the story:
With this intro in mind, let’s move onto...
Throughout this game, Mario only ever encounters two enemy types: Lakitu and Bullet Bills. Interestingly, the Lakitu throw hammers instead of the usual Spinies here.
The manual also describes each level, so I will let it do the talking for this part:
Having followed the illusory Princess at the end of each world, Mario seems to finally reach her true form and rescue her.
This is clearly a new series of events separate from the previous game of the same title. Unlike in the NES Super Mario Bros., where Mario came across a Kingdom under siege and heard of the Princess’s plight secondhand, here Princess Toadstool is aware of Mario and contacts him directly through a letter to ask him to rescue her once again from Bowser. Seemingly Luigi was not present because Mario goes on this particular adventure alone.
It’s unclear if the 8 worlds that Mario travels through here are the same ones from the NES game, but nothing about the levels would make them unusual for those provinces. The “choice” section seems to be a warp zone from the previous game.
We also learn that Bowser is still alive, although his absence of Bowser here is interesting. He is alleged as the Princess’s kidnapper but seems to have taken a very hands-off approach this time around, perhaps out of fear of another beat down from Mario. This is also a much weaker show of force in terms of troops, with no ground presence at all.
Based on all of this, I believe that this game takes place after the NES Super Mario Bros. during the same Koopa Wars Era. Although he has lost his grip on the Kingdom and much of his forces, Bowser once again kidnaps the Princess in a ploy to take over.
The primary addition to the series’ world building here is the extent of Princess Toadstool’s magic powers. Her ability to project an illusory form across space to guide Mario is a powerful skill.
In the next article, I’ll tackle the odd game out of the NES trilogy: Super Mario Bros. 2. Expect a lot of new world building and story from that one!
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