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Mario in this game has changed from a plucky plumber to a determined doctor who has to destroy all of the viruses (red, yellow and blue ones). He uses a series of capsules to eliminate them (when four capsule pieces/viruses of the same color line up in a row).
Dr. Mario proved just as addictive as its puzzle game parent. "Fever" and "Chill", the game's two main themes, are almost as iconic as "Korobeiniki". Two other tunes, "Cough" and "Sneeze", have also been present since the N64 iteration.
The game made an appearance as a minigame in both Wario Ware Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Brain Age. Dr. Mario himself has showed up in Super Smash Bros Melee, and the viruses appear as enemies in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
This game has been on the following systems:
- Nintendo Entertainment System
- Game Boy
- Super Nintendo Entertainment System (in a double pack with Tetris)
- Nintendo 64 (Dr. Mario 64, which for some reason featured characters from Wario Land 3 as opponents)
- Game Boy Advance (in a double pack with Puzzle League)
- Nintendo Gamecube (Dr. Mario 64, as part of the Japan-only Nintendo Puzzle Collection)
- Wii Ware (Dr. Mario Online Rx, an online-capable version)
- Nintendo DSiWare (Dr. Mario Express on the DSi's Virtual Console)
- An Ice Person: Chill, the Blue virus.
- Ascended Extra: In most media outside the game, the Viruses are given their own powers and personalities relating to the sickness they instill. Two of them are also named after the tunes in the game, the other one being "Weird", the Yellow Virus. In the games, they're simply obstacles.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: It's a color-match puzzler, so...
- Comic Book Adaptation: "The Doctor Is In... Over His Head" from the Nintendo Comics System explains to us how Mario got to be a doctor.
- Dressed to Heal
- Easy Mode Mockery: In Dr. Mario 64, when playing Round 7 in Easy Mode, it's just you and the Hammer-Bot from Wario Land 3. But in higher difficulties, it's a free-for-all between the aforementioned, your rival, and Mad Scientists. You also can't face the Perfect Run Final Bosses in Easy Mode. Interestingly, Easy Mode also creates a case of What Happened to the Mouse? when playing as Wario — in the opening for the final round, Dr. Mario is seen entering the castle after Wario, but doesn't show up again after that. In the higher difficulties, however, Dr. Mario just sits there dazed from the free-for-all battle as Wario enters the castle without him.
- Falling Blocks: Well, falling pills.
- Nintendo Hard: Good luck.
- No Ending: The "Fever Clear," "Chill Clear," and "Game Over" songs go on for several seconds before abruptly cutting off.
- Perfect Run Final Boss: Dr. Mario 64 has two. If you beat the game as either character, you face his rival, who has just ingested the megavitamins, resulting in either Metal (Dr.) Mario or Vampire Wario.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: "Fever" for "Lady Madonna" by The Beatles.