Arcade Archives Vs. Super Mario Bros. is not the same game as the one you grew up with on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Arriving in arcades the year after that version sent shockwaves throughout the video game industry, this version of the game will challenge Super Mario Bros. fans in a way they’ve never been challenged before — and that includes having played Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.
That may sound unusual, given that the levels which comprise Vs. Super Mario Bros. are taken from both the original game and The Lost Levels; in the cases where levels are taken from the former, which often reused level designs in easier and harder variants, players will find that it’s the more difficult versions used, often earlier than they would expect to see them. What’s more, even levels as familiar as 1-1 are reworked to some degree so that things aren’t quite as you might remember them. For instance, the placement of the first Fire Flower in that opening stage is slightly different.
These aren’t the only changes that will keep you on your toes, either. 1UPs are in seriously short supply, with only four of that type of mushroom found throughout the game. Various dipswitch settings from the arcade can allow players to increase the challenge even further, such as having players start with two lives instead of three, how many lives they’ll continue with following a Game Over, or even how quickly the timer runs down. Oh, and don’t think you can outsmart the game by using the old 1UP trick in World 3-1 — the Koopa Troopas essential to the trick are replaced there by a trio of Little Goombas.
For those who insist on some sort of saving grace, however, the Arcade Archives edition does allow you to create a Save State, albeit one that’s a slight hassle to initiate, as you have to restart the game program from the menu screen to load it. Other amenities, such as customizable button mapping, screen filters, and Hi-Score and Caravan modes seen in other Arcade Archives releases.
The price may seem a little steep for Arcade Archives Vs. Super Mario Bros., but to get a version of the game that’s never seen a home release before and put your Super Mario Bros. skills to the ultimate challenge, it’s still worth every penny.