Bits & Pieces of Eight

Exploring Lesser Known Secrets of Super Mario Bros

Written by DetErest

The original "Super Mario Bros" for the Nintendo Entertainment System was the first game that I really played inside and out. As a kid, conquering the game took the better part of an afternoon... A quarter century later, I pick up the game, and discover I can beat it in 15 minutes... But all the hidden stuff that I never knew existed was enough to keep me digging into the game to see it all for myself... Some of theses things I've known of for years, but there are things I've learned only recently...


 "Minus World"
 Although not a useful glitch, still incredibly cool.
Dubbed the "Minus World" by fans, because it's displayed as "World -1" when played.

The "Minus World" can only be accessed via World 1-2 (the very second level) as Super Mario or Fire Mario. Instead of accessing Warp Zone by going up and over the wall, the glitch involves a well-timed jump through a wall, which sends Mario sliding sideways, entering Warp-Zone by passing through the wall.There's no "Welcome to Warp-Zone" message, and the Piranha plants are still active... It's possible to perform the jump from standing or crouching, but the trajectory of the jump must be altered accordingly...
The warp pipe sends Mario to an underwater "-1" world, that's virtually identical to the one found in world 2-2. The catch, is that it's an ever-looping level, and Mario proceeds to start back at the start of the same level, stuck in the same, ever-looping hell of Cheep Cheeps and Blooper jellyfish. Although there's no way to access any additional worlds from here, other Minus Worlds have since been discovered by altering the ROM.
Watch a YouTube Video showing Mario passing through the wall to the "Minus World"

Unmask Phantom Bowser!
This is such a hidden detail in Super Mario Bros that I had no idea it existed until recently...
Each of the Bowsers in Worlds 1 to 7 are essentially "fake". They maintain Bowser Koopa's form, without Mario seeing through their disguise. But Fire Mario can burn off the Bowser Koopa costume, and reveal another foe hidden within. The only trick is to actually reach Bowser as Fire Mario without getting hit. This becomes especially difficult in the later stages, as powerups become few and far between.

Various enemies can be exposed posing as "Bowser"
World 1 - Goomba
World 2 - Koopa Troopa
World 3 - Buzzy Beetle
World 4 - Spiny
World 5 - Lakitu
World 6 - Blooper
World 7 - Hammer Brother
(View all screenshots in Phantom Bowser Photo Album)

Fireworks Show
Sometimes when completing a level, Mario is rewarded with a quick Fireworks show...
There can be up to six explosions, sometimes only three or one.

A common misconception is that the fireworks are connected to your flagpole score, and/or a combination of other things that Mario did while completing the level... 

The simple truth behind the fireworks, is that they appear based on the last digit in the remaining time, with fireworks appearing if the last digit is 1, 3 or 6. The timer stops as soon as Mario grabs the flagpole. And by stopping it at 226 for example, would give 6 fireworks. Stopping the timer at 301 would result in one lone firework. I'm glad I found the explanation, but it's not as magical as I hoped it would be...


Secret 1UP Mushrooms
Extra lives are hard to come by, and there are so many treachorous places for Mario to meet his doom. There are only ten 1UP mushrooms available in the entire Kingdom, and the first level in each World contains a hidden 1-up block.

Some of these blocks containing 1UP mushrooms seem conditional - The one in world 2-1 only seems to appear if you've warped to level 2, or have collected most of the coins in world 1-3, unless you warped directly to world 2. In world 8-1, the hidden 1-up block only tends appear if it's your first attempt through the level, as long as Mario doesn't get hit.

Worlds 1-2 and 8-2 each have a 1up Mushroom hidden inside a regular looking bricks.

Watch a YouTube Video highlighting the secret 1ups in Super Mario Bros:


Additional Ways to Score 1UPs
Aside from collecting 100 coins, there are additional ways to score 1 ups...
World 3-2 and 5-1 both begin with a long stretch of open area with enemies that are lined up in a row. Take out seven foes with a Koopa shell, and score an extra life.

Consecutively stomping enemies without allowing Mario's feet to touch the ground will eventually result in being awarded with 1ups... The easiest way found to accomplish the feat, is to get a Koopa Troopa or Buzzy Beetle on a solid stairstep, stand on the edge, and proceed to kick and stop the shell, repeatedly landing on it before kicking it again. Points will increase, eventually producing 1ups for the trick. You can many 1Ups if you can keep your timing and balance going!

Check out these YouTube videos featuring the Multiple1Up Trick:

Super Mario Bros. 1UP Trick Tutorial
by Thule000

Super Mario Bros. - Classic 1-up Trick Locations
by SomeGuy712x

Covering the various places that the trick can be performed, level by level.

Two Warp Zones, One World
Not really a major secret, but still kinda interesting that two different Warp Zones were hidden in World 4-2.

Most of us found the lone Warp Pipe that leads to World 5, because it's accessed the same way as the first Warp zone (found in World 1-2). But the Warp Zone that offers direct pipes to Worlds 6,7 & 8 is tucked up and above world 4-2, accessed only by revealing hidden coin blocks to eventually find a beanstalk.
Finding one Warp Zone would tend to steer a player away from thinking that a second one would be hidden in the same level. When accessing the better hidden of the two Warp Zones, it's possible to go directly to level 8 after only setting foot in only four different levels beforehand. Of course, playing through the game allows the player to develop the necessary skill to complete the 8th World, but it's nice to have a handy shortcut.


Mario's Second Quest
Not a guarded secret or anything, but after rescuing the Princess from Bowser's clutches in World 8-4, Mario can do it all over again, with the difficulty cranked up a couple of notches... All Goombas have been replaced by Buzzy Beetles, and Koopa Troopas wander around at super speed, making things a bit more interesting for Mario.


Mini Fire Mario
Probably the most difficult Super Mario Bros glitch to perform, because it requires more precise timing than the "Minus World" glitch. Super Mario veterans will recall that Fire Mario is reduced immediately to mini-Mario if he gets hit... 

If Fire Mario jumps in the air, and cuts the drawbridge in Bowser's Castle at the exact same time as touching Bowser, the Koopa King will fall into the lava, and Super Mario will flicker and flash as the level ends...

When starting the next level, Super Mario actually SHRINKS to mini Mario after touching a Super Mushroom... Not fair! But as soon as he finds a Fire Flower, mini Mario is armed with fireballs!.

Check this YouTube video to see it for yourself, and get an idea of the timing required to become Mini Fire Mario:

Sidenote: As an alternative glitch, while trying to do the Mini Fire Mario glitch for the first time, if I didn't make it to Bowser as Fire Mario, I'd practice the timing of cutting the bridge anyway... I actually managed to get touched by Bowser while cutting the drawbridge - Bowser and Mario both died, the Mushroom Retainer gets rescued by nobody, and the next level begins!

No comments:

Post a Comment