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Mario's feeling a little crabby today (arcade screenshot).


Something's gumming up the plumbing, poor Luigi's in a bind

Giant turtles out to get him, creepy crabs are right behind

Fighter flies, jeepers, yipes!

They're all comin' out the pipes!
—The commercial for the Atari port of the game

Can you kick off all the pests?

For the page about the series as a whole, see Super Mario Bros. For the Super Mario Bros game specifically, click here.

Mario and Luigi, the Mario Brothers, must try to get rid of Shellcreepers (turtles), Sidesteppers (crabs, which need to be hit twice), and Fighterflies (flies, which can be defeated only while they touch the platform) that come pouring out of the waterworks. Hit the floor beneath them to flip them over, then kick them into the water. Collect coins for bonus.

Later, the Slipice (renamed Freezies in the NES version) will come out and freeze the platforms, making your traction very poor. As the game progresses, water drops hang below the platforms and freeze into deadly icicles, which fall soon after.[1]

Keep track of the green fireballs as they will appear more frequently. The red fireball can also be a menace. If need be, you can hit the fireballs from below when they touch the platform. Beware of hitting the red fireball. It rapidly reappears and moves much faster.

Hit the POW platform to knock over your enemies and destroy fireballs. Be wise, because you only get three, and it doesn't come back until after the bonus round. Each difficulty level begins with three POWs and a bonus wave in which 10 coins are available to be collected.

The game introduced many elements used in later Mario games, like turtles, pipes, collecting coins, and Mario's brother Luigi.


  • Bonus Level: One where the only goal was to collect all the coins before time ran out.
  • Character Title
  • Early Installment Weirdness: No Goomba Stomp, and the turtles kill you when you try to jump on them.
  • Endless Game: As with most golden age games.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Sidesteppers. You even have to flip them over, on their backs.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The red fireballs, especially if you stay in a level too long.
  • I Have Many Names: The Slipice and Sidesteppers were later renamed Freezies and Crabs.
  • Multi Mook Melee
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The game is famous for opening with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
  • Scoring Points: This was the last Super Mario game whose goal was to score as many points as possible. Future games would follow the Super Mario Bros. "campaign" model.
  • Shout-Out: Inverted. In the original and Super NES versions of Super Mario Bros 3, if you enter the same space as the other player, you get to play a New Game+ version of this game. You must kill five enemies, like in the original, and if you hit the other player from below, you get to steal their cards. So, if you have two Stars, and the other guy has one, you can steal that card, and you'll get five extra lives, just like in the main game! You won't get the fanfare, though. The players' status (Super, Fire, Raccoon, etc.) have no effect in this game; both players are small.
    • There are also a couple of extra games that load every four battles.
      • The first game has five coins in the room, and whoever gets the most wins.
      • The second game has a single pipe in the center of an open room from which coins and fireballs spew out. Players aim to get best three out of five coins while avoiding the fireballs.
      • The third game has ? boxes on three floors with ladders at the center. Players must kick open the boxes with the run button and find best three out of five coins.
    • The Super NES version also has a "battle mode" which consists exclusively of this game. However, the objective here is to get five coins, not kill five enemies. Both players start out in Super form (take two hits to kill), and Super Mushrooms are provided occasionally. Whoever wins five games wins. Curiously, Mercy Invincibility when hit once lasts forever if the player doesn't move (at least in the SNES version). Also, in this mode only, the fireballs are replaced with Boos, Koopa Troopas occasionally appear (and can be stomped on in order to use their shell like in other Mario games), and a new type of mushroom with a question mark on it will appear, either swapping the bros' places or inverting their powered-up states.
    • And finally... There's no battle mode in the Super Mario Bros 3 portion of Super Mario Advance 4, but a remake of Mario Bros. is in, and the multiplayer mode brings back the SNES version's "best 5 out of 9" format.
  • Smart Bomb: The POW block.
  • Wrap Around
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In all remakes of this game except for the Super Smash Bros Brawl level, Shellcreepers are replaced with Spinies. Justified; being turtles, Shellcreepers were the predecessors of the later Koopas, and that would cause confusion.

 "Why did that Koopa kill me even though I stepped on its head!?!"


  1. This doesn't happen in the NES version, though.