I am not the best at completing games. But most platformers I get though eventually. But one always thwarted me: Super Mario 2 for the NES.
I am referring to the USA variant of Doki Doki Panic. A game made into a Super Mario game by Nintendo, because the real Super Mario 2, known to USA as “The Lost Levels” was deemed too difficult for American audiences.
In my opinion, what they gave use was not all too easy either. As a kid I never saw Super Mario 2 beaten without the use of a Game Genie. I just could get though the game. I would still play it often, and enjoy it, but never beat it.
Recently, I picked up Super Mario Advance, for the Gameboy Advance. I loved it instantly. For those who have not played it, Super Mario Advance is a port of Super Mario 2. The graphics look like the version of the game included on Super Mario All-stars on the Super NES, but shined up a bit more. However, among its updates, there is one more crucial thing it adds: more hearts.
Hearts work into the unique game mechanic of Mario 2 versus other Mario games. In Mario 2, your chosen character has a sort of lifebar. A lifebar in the form of white dots filled in red when full. You start each level with two dots, and each mushroom pickup adds a dot. Most levels have 2 or maybe 3 mushrooms hidden. Each hit you take from a baddie causes loss of one dot. As far as replenishing dots, that is what the hearts for. Now, in the NES version, these hearts are very few and far between. But, in the Gameboy Advanced edition, they are a bit more plentiful, and that made all the difference. You still need to find the hidden mushrooms to take advantage of the extras though.
In my opinion, the addition of more available hearts gives you just the edge needed to complete the game. But, still be a challenge. So, I finally beat Super Mario 2. At least, without a Game Genie!