Wrecking Crew is one of the first Mario games, originally released for the arcade in 1984 as VS. Wrecking Crew, then released in 1985 for the Family Computer in Japan and later that year for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America, eventually making it to Europe in 1987. Wrecking Crew was released on the Wii's, Nintendo 3DS's, and Wii U's Virtual Console. In the game, the player controls Mario (Player 2 as Luigi) working on a demolition site. The goal is to break down all of the stone walls on each stage.
The game also features a custom level maker, where players can make their own Wrecking Crew levels. The game had the ability to save those custom levels. However, only in Japan where the required peripherals released to make it happen. The peripherals are only available in the Family BASIC accessory. They are the keyboard and Data Recorder accessories. The games Excitebike and Mach Rider share the same frustrations as Wrecking Crew. This functionality was fully utilized in the Virtual Console rereleases of these games as they emulate the peripherals behind-the-scenes.
As the player tries to break all the blocks with his hammer, he is attacked by various enemies. Defeating the enemies is not easy, as the regular hammer deals them no damage. If an enemy wanders underneath a drum, the player can trap it by causing the drum to fall. Sometimes Foreman Spike appears in the background and smashes blocks himself. He can also try to push the player off the platforms, but if he can hit Foreman Spike with his hammer, Foreman Spike will fall down instead.
If the player breaks down the walls in a particular order, he may find the letters "M-A-R-I-O" (or "L-U-I-G-I" for player two). Finding all of these will give the player an extra life. In any level with three or more bombs, hitting three bombs in a specific order will make a Golden Hammer appear. Much more powerful than his regular hammer, the Golden Hammer allows the player to knock down walls much faster, and, if he times it right, he can knock enemies down to the bottom floor.
As well as brick walls, there are also girder stands that can be knocked out, stone ladders that can be used until they are destroyed (Foreman Spike can also destroy these), and bombs that will damage any bricks lined up with it (as well as knocking whoever is nearby off the platform if they do not move away fast enough).
Each level has various enemies that will attempt to stop Mario:
The game originally had no tie to the Mario series, the protagonist being an unnamed overalls-wearing man with no mustache. During development, Shigeru Miyamoto was shown the game and suggested Mario to be the player character as "he’s really easy to draw, and people recognize him."
References to other games
References in later games
VS. Wrecking Crew is a 1984 arcade game for the Nintendo VS. System, predating the 1985 console game Wrecking Crew. The game was less puzzle oriented, did not contain the level editor, and featured a simultaneous two-player mode in which the opposing player is seen on the other side of the construction wall. In 1998, Wrecking Crew '98 was released as a Japan-only game for the Super Famicom. Wrecking Crew '98 is competitive, giving each player their own side to clean up.