Mario Party Legacy

Super Mario Bros. 2: The Taboo of the Mario series

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Every game series has a black sheep. For Sonic, it was Sonic Unleashed. For Zelda, it was Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Most people tend to consider that Super Mario Bros. 2 is the black sheep of the Mario series. I beg to differ. Stereotypical Mario fanboys tend to say things like this:

  • It was a rip off of Doki Doki Panic
  • It had the same game engine as DD Panic
  • Bowser wasn’t the main enemy or featured in the game at all
  • Vegetables were the main power-up
  • Mario had HEARTS, not lives
  • You could play as Peach AND Toad

There are many other reasons, but those are the ones that people tend to consider the worst.

I disagree with all of them! Sure, it was different, but it doesn’t mean it was really bad. It has its flaws like all games but they’re certainly not something that would destroy the whole game.


  • It was a rip off of Doki Doki Panic

I believe that Doki Doki Panic was more like a test. The game got recognition because of the hardcore difficulty of the Lost Leves, and the U.S and EU were looking for a new Mario game. They took the idea, and instead of copying it, they enhanced it. They added Mario enemies, power-ups and artwork to make it a proper Mario game. While still keeping a small part of Doki Doki Panic, they had properly changed it into a real Mario game.

  • It had the same game engine as DD Panic

Similar to above, however, the vegetables mechanic was the same. Nintendo added their logic and Mario physics to create a completely unique style of gameplay. This means it was similar to Doki Doki Panic, but nowhere near the same game engine. I consider Doki Doki Panic to be a beta version of this game, with Super Mario Bros. 2 being the final, edited version.

  • Bowser wasn’t the main enemy or featured in the game at all

I find this to be a good thing, as it created a fresh start with a different storyline. When I play this game, I think “Oh, Bowser isn’t kidnapping Peach, now I really don’t know what will happen…” This is similar to the Mario and Luigi games, having a completely different plot when compared to the usual Mario games. This is another reason why I enjoyed this game more the the regular games, similar to adding ‘suspense’ to the game. Thankfully, he wasn’t in the game at all, so Wart got some screen time.

  • Vegetables were the main power-up

Again, this is similar to being a rip-off. There were cherries in Doki Doki Panic which were obviously not transferred, meaning yet another part of gameplay was unique. Fruits would provide extra health units, while the vegetables were used as weapons to throw at enemies that you just can’t normally jump on.

  • Mario had HEARTS, not lives

Mario started a level with 3 Health Units, and when hitting an enemy, instead of losing your powerup, he lost a heart. This paid a reference to The Legend of Zelda, because after losing every heart, Mario would lose a life, as per usual. This also made it easier for people who never power-up in the other games.

  • You could play as Peach AND Toad 

How could this be a bad thing!? Now, this was the first playable appearance of Toad and for Peach. If this game was never created, all those Toad fans would also never exist. Which also means that Toadette wouldn’t have been created at all. Nobody knows what could’ve happened to Peach too.


For the reasons above, I recommend that you replay Super Mario Bros. 2 and understand why I thought it was a great game. Who knows what would’ve happened to the Mario series without this game? The answer remains shrouded in mystery…


I am a hardcore Mario fan that has been playing Mario Party since the age of 3. Not only do I work for MPL, I also get involved in Pokémon sites! Contact me on Skype @daantiguy. Any questions, PM me on the forum.

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  • guy

    the real blacksheep is probaly luigis mansion

    • j-man

      Why that?

  • DryBowser1000

    or Mario is Missing

  • HoneyQueenWiggler7

    I Hope there would be a Mario Platformer with 9 Playable Characters:
    Mario, Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Toad, Toadette, Peach, Daisy and Rosalina.
    And Ridable Yoshis and Birdos.

    • galloots

      good luck with that man….

    • Dry Bowser rules!

      Rideable Brdos? Ughhh…:0

  • I think marios time machine is the true black sheep of nintendo man i hated that game. Didn’t know what to do at all.

  • Yosher

    I personally do consider Super Mario Bros. 2 the black sheep of the franchise, but for me that certainly doesn’t mean that I think the game is bad whatsoever. I think this game is one great game and always have a great time playing it, so in fact, thinking of this game as a black sheep just says how much I like the Mario series in general!

  • BakerBoyScout

    Sonic Unleashed being the black sheep of the Sonic series?
    Sonic 2006 says “B****, please.”

    Also, that’s why I wished that New Super Mario Bros 2 was a 3DS-graphics remake of this SMB2… Peach and Toad deserve more playable apparences.

  • gallo

    I still don’t like this game, it just doesn’t get to me like the others do, i don’t have as much fun playing it.

  • guy

    actually its a tie beetween marios missing and marios time machine i forgot about the horrible ones that evereyone hatees. i still don’t like mario bros 2 its hard and it dosen’t have a storylien. at least the fir st mario is obvious. your goa; is to save a princess from bowser

  • guy

    whats a blacksheep anyway

    • TheAntiGuy

      A black sheep is a game in a series that people think is the worst in said series.

  • guy

    whats the blacksheep of kirby

  • I agree with all the points made in the article and think Super Mario Bros 2 is a perfectly good Mario game. Better than the Lost Levels to say the least.

    Not to mention, I find it funny people complain about all the differences and no Bowser, but ignore them in say Super Mario Land.

  • guy

    ok what does taboo mean

    • Dry Bowser rules!

      In this context, a game that is not well known.

  • HoneyQueenWiggler7

    Super Princess Peach can’t be the Black Sheep because Many enemies were taken from Super Mario World.