It uses the same basic game engine as Super Mario Bros., with different level designs and a handful of new concepts. Rather than having one or two player modes, there are Mario and Luigi modes (only being a single player mode). In this case, Luigi jumps higher and farther than Mario, but has less traction and is slightly slower. The game was never seen in North America until Super Mario All-Stars was released in 1993, which included a remake under the title Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.
Following Super Mario Bros., Bowser, the evil king koopa, and all of his tribe of Koopa Troopas, along with a gang of other enemies, returned and invaded the peaceful Mushroom Kingdom and turned all of the residents, or Toads into stones, mushrooms, and blocks. The only one that was able to stop the magic spell and return them to normal is Princess Peach, who was also captured again by Bowser.
Mario and his brother, Luigi, two plumbers, hear about this, and plan a quest to save the Princess, and the Toads from the evil Bowser. Mario and Luigi then go out, only to be encountered by a huge gang of enemies including Goombas and Koopa Troopas.
They hit a block and find a Super Mushroom that makes them much bigger, and stronger, and also have more health. They use this ability to crash through blocks, and more. After this, they find a Fire Flower, which gives them the ability to shoot fireballs from there hand. The dangerous item is the Poison Mushroom that can hurt the small Mario and Luigi, or turn Super or Fiery Mario and Luigi into normal.
Now, with these new items, and their powers, they will have to go through 8 worlds to help save the princess and the Toads. At the end of the last world, you will encounter Bowser, whom will start shooting fire balls as well as throwing hammers. You will have to get under him and hit the switch to make him fall inside a lava pit, or hit him with fireballs.
After Mario defeats Bowser, he will go into a room where the princess is waiting. She kisses him on the cheek (only in the Super Mario Collection/All-Stars version) and thanks him for saving the Mushroom Kingdom.
After all of the eight worlds are cleared without warping, World 9 is added as a fantasy world.
- Mario - After Mario learns that the Princess has been captured by Bowser, he goes straight off to save her. In the game, he will be able to jump very high, throw fire balls, run fast, and face tons of enemies.
- Luigi - Luigi is almost the same as Mario, except he jumps about a block higher and slides much farther.
- Princess Peach - In the game, Princess Peach will get kidnapped by Bowser, and taken into his castle. Mario will then have to go through 8 worlds to save her.
- Toad - Different Toads will be captured and taken into the first 7 castles waiting for Mario to come and save them. They explain that Princess Peach is in another castle, which led to a long-running joke throughout the series.
- Bowser - Bowser has taken control of the Mushroom Kingdom, and kidnapped all of the residents other than Mario and Luigi. Now the brothers will have to defeat Bowser to bring back peace to the land.
- Fake Bowser - Fake Bowser's will appear at the end of every world other than 8, 9, and D. They are regular enemies with Bowser disguises on are to fool you.
- Koopa Troopa - A turtle-like enemy that can be a projectile if jumped on first. There are two types of them, a green one and a red one. The green ones will run off the edge while the red will stay put on the platform he is on. If you jump on them and then leave them like that, they will come back out of their shell.
- Koopa Paratroopa - A flying Koopa Troopa that will jump up and down. Like the regular Koopas, these are either red or green. The green ones will jump off the edge while the red ones will jump back and forth on the platform he's on.
- Goomba - The most common enemy that will only try to run into you. They will sometimes attack in groups, where you will be able to kill them all while jumping once.
- Lakitu - Lakitu's are Koopas that sit atop clouds throwing Spinies at you.
- Spiny - Spinies are the enemy that Lakitus throw at you. They are red Koopas that have spines on their back, meaning that you can't kill them by jumping on them. In fact, they'll harm you if you jump on them! They can be defeated by a Koopa or buzzy beetle shell, fireball, or running into them while invincible.
- Buzzy Beetle - A fire-proof beetle that is like a Koopa Troopa, except the only way to kill it is to knock it off an edge, hit it with a shell, or to ram into it while in possession of a Starman.
- Piranha Plant - A carnivorous plant that will pop out of pipes trying to bite you. There are red kinds, and green kinds. The green ones will stay in their pipe if you're right next to it, while the red ones will still come in and out. Red Piranha Plants will come in and out after the start of World 4.
- Bullet Bill - A bullet that will be shot out of a cannon toward you.
- Hammer Bros. - A pair of Koopa brothers that will throw hammers. Even though you will usually find them in pairs, they will also sometimes fight solo.
- Cheep Cheep - A fish that will try to swim into you, or just swim on a certain path.
- Blooper - A squid that will try to swim into you, or try to fly into you.
- Podoboo - A fire ball that will pop out of lava.
- 1-Up Mushroom - Once you find a 1-Up Mushroom, you will have one extra life.
- Coin - Coins are scattered through out almost every level. Once you find and collect one hundred of these, you will have an extra life.
- Fire Flower - Once your Super Mario, you will be able to find Fire Flowers inside blocks. Once you do, you will be able to shoot fire balls out of your hand.
- Normal Block - These are brick blocks that can be crashed through if your Super Mario.
- Poison Mushroom - A mushroom that is poisonous will kill small Mario or turn Fire Mario or Super Mario into small Mario.
- Starman - Once you find a Starman, you will become invincible for a short amount of time.
- Super Mushroom - Once you find a Super Mushroom, you will be able to crash through blocks, you will also have more energy as well.
- Warp Pipe - Warp Pipes lead you to other areas.
Types of Levels
Note: These are the types of levels that were in the original game, and not the remakes. Some of the remakes include a snow world, and others.
- Overworld/Grassy - The main types of levels are the grassy ones, or overworld. The sky is blue, the main platform are brick blocks and grass, and there are trees. The common enemies here are Goombas, Paragoombas, Koopa Troopas, Hammer Bros, Lakitus, Spinies, Bullet Bills, Piranha Plants, Buzzy Beetles, and Koopa Paratroopas.
- Underground - Underground areas are dark, and feature many secrets such as getting above the ceiling, and the warp zones. Every sprite in here has a blue or other darker color, including Mario. There are tons of blocks, which means its a good idea to be Super Mario in here. Common enemies include Buzzy Beetles, Koopa Troopas, Goombas and Piranha Plants.
- Underwater - Underwater areas are very blue, and have a lot of coral and water plants. This is the only area where the gameplay increasingly changes. Instead of running and jumping, Mario will now swim. Common enemies are Bloopers and Cheep Cheeps. Other enemies included are Koopa Troopas and Paratroopas.
- Lava/Castle - Castles, or lava areas, will be the last type of level in each world. In these areas, there will be many lava pits, and castle bricks surrounding you. Common enemies include Podoboos, Bowser, and Fake Bowsers. Enemies included are Goombas, Koopa Troopas, Hammer Bros, and Buzzy Beetles.
- Bridge - The bridge levels feature a huge outside bridge, with occasional grassy platforms. Common enemies include Cheep Cheeps, Koopas, and Goombas.
- Mushroom Platforms - These types of levels take place on many different types of huge mushrooms. The common enemies include Goombas, Koopa Troopas, Hammer Bros, Lakitus, Spinies, Bullet Bills and Paratroopas. Other enemies included are Bloopers.
- Dark Overworld - Sometimes, the grassy/overworld will be nighttime. This does not effect the gameplay in anyway. The common enemies include Goombas, Koopa Troopas, Hammer Bros, Lakitus, Spinies, Bullet Bills, Piranha Plants, Buzzy Beetles, and Koopa Paratroopas.
- Clouds - Sometimes, you will be able to go to a cloud area, which is on clouds. Here, there are many coins, and absolutely no enemies whatsoever except one last Koopa at the end of the level.
The warp zones are included as follows:
Positive Warp Zones
- World 1-2 - Going above the ceiling to warp to World 3, going past the exit and the two pipes to warp to World 2, and entering the pipe past the goal and going past the last pipe to warp to World 4.
- World 5-1 - Climbing a vine and entering the bonus stage by the clouds or going past the goal to warp to World 6.
- World 5-2 - Going above the ceiling to warp to world 8 and going past the exit to warp to World 7.
- World A-2 - Going past the exit to warp to World B.
- World A-3 - Going past the goal to warp to World C.
- World B-4 - Entering the last pipe to warp to World D.
Negative Warp Zones
- World 3-1 - Entering the first pipe to the bonus level and exiting the level or going past the goal to warp back to World 1.
- World 8-1 - Entering the underwater area and exiting to warp back to World 5.
Remakes and Re-releases
The game was originally going to be released as Super Mario Bros. 2 on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Though, after a test audience deemed it "impossible", Nintendo decided to scrap the game's North American release, followed by the European release. Later, Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. 2 to the international audience, based on Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic for an easier game to suit the international audience more.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was eventually released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the compilation game pak, Super Mario All-Stars. The graphics and sound were updated, using Super Mario World's graphics engine. This version was slightly edited, replacing all Goombas in worlds A-D with Buzzy Beetles, similar to the worlds in Super Mario Bros. after completing world 8-4. Worlds A-D can be accessed after clearing world 8-4 only once, rather than eight times as in the original. This version also allowed the player to save, and would start over at the beginning of whichever world the game was last saved on.
The Lost Levels also was released on the Game Boy Color as an unlockable game in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, under the title Super Mario Bros.: For Super Players. Like Super Mario Bros., the game is based on the original. To unlock this game, the player has to score 300,000 points or more in Super Mario Bros. Also, the player is allowed to save at any time, like in Super Mario All-Stars. This version had more notable changes, the winds are omitted, with the gaps shortened to allow Mario to cross them without needing the wind, and Luigi does not jump higher than Mario. Also, worlds 9 and A-D are omitted from this version.
The game was finally released as a part of the Famicom Mini, the Japanese equivalent of the Classic NES series for the Game Boy Advance under the title Famicom Mini: Super Mario Bros. 2. It was nearly identical, though the graphics were compressed for the widescreen format, and the sound quality was less clear, as the emulator for the game was less than perfect. However, no intentional changes were made and it plays virtually the same as the original.
- On the Wii Menu, It was listed as SMB: The Lost Levels.