Everyone’s played Super Mario Bros 1. Heck, at this point most people have done a speed run of it. So is there any way that we can breathe life into this, one of the oldest platformers of all time? The guys over at Exploding Rabbit say yes! Enter, Super Mario Crossover, a game that brings together all of your favorite 8-bit heroes in one platformer.
Super Mario Crossover was originally released back in 2010 and was a simple concept. It allowed you to play through classic Super Mario Bros. stages with other Nintendo heroes. You could choose to play as characters like Mega Man, Simon Belmont, Samus Aran, Link, and Bill Rizer from Contra. Though the stages and enemies would continue to be the same ones from Mario 1 that we all knew, every character had his or her own abilities from their game of origin. Samus could roll into a ball and lay bombs, Mega Man could slide and charge his Mega Buster, Bill could get the incredibly overpowered spread shot, so on so forth. When collecting classic Mario power-ups, characters would also get upgrades of their own. For example, the Fire Flower would give Simon Belmont his fire-whip.
This alone was fun, but the Exploding Rabbit team decided to take it one step further. Over the years they have continued to update the game and add even more characters. Now you can play as Luigi (with his Mario 2 physics), Bass (from Mega Man 7 and onward), Ryu Hayabusa, and Sophia III from Blaster Master, once again with their own unique abilities. From there, the Exploding Rabbit team added in a “cheats” menu that allowed you to tweak the way certain characters controlled. Simon Belmont could change his direction mid-jump, for example, something he could not do in Castlevania games.
The game started to take on a life of its own from there. Soon the simple linear progression of Mushroom and Fire-Flower was replaced with an in-depth power-up system. Now, characters would get power-ups from their original game. Mega Man and Bass could fill out eight weapon slots with weapons from assorted robot masters, and could even utilize rush to make hard jumps. Simon could get secondary weapons, Samus could get beams, Link could get a variety of Zelda items and more. Getting a mushroom would give you access to these upgrades while getting hit would make you lose them all.
Then there were brand new stage skins to choose from. Players could now make the game look like Super Mario 1, 2, 3, even the Game Boy Marios! Heck, they could even make it look like Castlevania if they really wanted. There is even a completely invisible tile-set for people who have players Mario 1 so much that they have literally memorized where everything is.
Then there were character skins that let you customize what your characters looked like. Don’t like Ryu Hayabusa? Play as Shadow from Final Fantasy 6. Don’t like Link? Play as one of the main characters from Dragon Warrior. Soon, even these skins started to get their own abilities. Protoman gained his shield and extra knockback mechanics from Mega Man 9 while Ice Man and Quick Man used their weapons instead of the basic Mega Buster.
The most recent updates to the game have included an entirely new map set based on Super Mario Bros. Special. This was actually a game developed by Hudson Soft for the NEC-PC8801 and Sharp X1 series of Japanese PCs. It included new Mario power-ups like the hammer and stopwatch, which most American audiences had never seen before. In fact, this was the first time most American audiences saw these levels at all. This update also included “easy” and “hard” remixes of both the Super Mario Bros. 1 and Super Mario Bros. special levels.
You can head on over to the Exploding Rabbit website to play this amazing take on a Nintendo classic, and while you are there, consider donating to Super Action Squad, the latest Exploding Rabbit project. Super Action Squad is the new name for Super Retro Squad, which itself was going to be a game with completely new levels and multiple playable characters, each mirroring one of the characters from Super Mario Crossover. Super Action Squad is planned to be even bigger than Retro Squad was, with more characters, more levels, and even more customizable options. So if you want to be a bigger and better Super Mario Crossover, definitely consider throwing a few bucks their way.