Dr. Mario (game)

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Split-arrows.svg It has been suggested that this article be split into the following: Dr. Mario (game), VS. Dr. Mario. (discuss)
This article is about the game. For other uses, see Dr. Mario (disambiguation).
Dr. Mario
The NES front cover version of the game Dr. Mario
NES box art
Game Boy box art
For alternate box art, see the game's gallery.
Developer Nintendo R&D 1
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) Famicom/NES, Game Boy, Nintendo PlayChoice-10, VS. System, Game Boy Advance, Satellaview, SNES/Super Famicom, Virtual Console (Nintendo 3DS, Wii U), NES Classic Edition/Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer, Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online
Release date Famicom/NES:
Japan July 27, 1990
USA October 14, 1990
Europe June 27, 1991
Australia June 27, 1991
VS. System:
USA 1990
Australia 1990
Europe 1990
Nintendo PlayChoice-10:
USA 1990
Europe 1990
Australia 1990
Game Boy:
Japan July 27, 1990
USA December 1, 1990[1]
Europe April 30, 1991
Japan March 30, 1997
Super Famicom (NP):
Japan June 1, 1998[2]
Game Boy (NP):
Japan March 1, 2000
Game Boy Advance:
Japan May 21, 2004
USA October 25, 2004
Europe January 7, 2005
Virtual Console (3DS):
Japan July 27, 2011
Europe March 22, 2012
Australia March 22, 2012
USA October 4, 2012
South Korea May 18, 2016
Virtual Console (Wii U):
Europe February 13, 2014
Australia February 14, 2014
Japan February 26, 2014
USA March 27, 2014
NES Classic Edition/Famicom Mini:
Japan November 10, 2016
Australia November 10, 2016
USA November 11, 2016
Europe November 11, 2016
Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online:
USA September 18, 2018
Japan September 19, 2018
Europe September 19, 2018
Australia September 19, 2018
HK April 23, 2019
South Korea April 23, 2019
The UFO cover-up.:
USA December 12, 2018
Japan December 12, 2018
Europe December 12, 2018
Australia December 12, 2018
Genre Puzzle
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
CERO:CERO rating A - All ages
ACB:ACB G.svg - General
Mode(s) 1-2 players
Nintendo Entertainment System icon for use in {{media}}. Game Pak
SNES icon for use in templates. Game Pak
Digital download icon for use in templates. Satellaview soundlink
Wii U:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Nintendo Switch:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Game Boy:
Game Boy icon for use in templates. Game Pak
Game Boy Advance:
Game Boy Advance icon for use in templates. Game Pak
Nintendo 3DS:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
NES Classic Edition:
Wii U:
Wiimote Sideways.png Wii Remote (Sideways)
Nintendo Switch:
Game Boy:
Game Boy Advance:
Nintendo 3DS:
NES Classic Edition:

Dr. Mario (stylized as "D℞. MARIO" on the western logo) is an arcade-style puzzle video game created by Nintendo, and was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy in 1990. The gameplay is very similar to that of Tetris, although in Dr. Mario, the object is to line up pills to destroy viruses.


The following text is taken directly from the instruction manual.

Hi everybody! I'm Mario. How's it going? Over the last few years, I've been involved in some pretty wild adventures. Now, believe it or not, I work in the virus research lab at the Mushroom Kingdom Hospital. Today I'm about to begin my research as usual.

"Dr. Mario, something terrible has happened!"
"What's wrong, nurse Toadstool?" "One of the experiments has gone out of control. The viruses are spreading quickly!"
"Oh No! We've got to do something! I have just developed a new vitamin that should be able to take care of it. I sure hope this stuff works!"

Dr. Mario works in a virus research lab at the Mushroom Kingdom Hospital, alongside Nurse Toadstool. When one of the experiments goes wrong, the hospital is flooded with tri-color viruses. Armed with Megavitamins–a medicine of his own invention–Dr. Mario sets out to neutralize the outbreak.


Title screen on the Game Boy version

All the Dr. Mario games feature a large grid as the main game interface. This grid (in the shape of a large pill bottle) starts out partially filled with three types of viruses, Chill (blue), Fever (red), and Weird (yellow). The main objective of the game is to clear the grid of the viruses. This objective can be fulfilled with the help of multi-colored pills called Megavitamins. These pills are two-blocks wide and come in the same color as the viruses. Usually, they are sectioned off into two random colors, but occasionally contain only one random color. These pills are guided down the grid by using left and right on the +Control Pad Control Pad, and they can be pulled to the bottom of the screen more quickly by holding down on the Control Pad. They can be rotated clockwise by A Button and counter-clockwise by B Button. To eliminate a virus, four blocks of a color (pill or virus) must be piled up. The stack will then disappear. If a virus was contained in the stack, the virus will be eliminated as well.

If the stacks of pills or viruses reach the top of the grid, the player receives a Game Over.


Game modes[edit]

1-Player Game[edit]

Single player mode.

When a 1-Player game is started, the player can choose one of 21 levels (from 0 to 20). The number of viruses at the beginning is equal to four times the level number plus four, all the way up to level 20 (although the level number can go up to 24 in the NES version, there will always be 84 viruses at the beginning of levels 20 and above[3]). The speed of the pills as they fall can also be selected: low, medium, or high. As the game level progresses, though, the speed will gradually increase.

2-Player Game[edit]

2-Player mode in action.

A 2-Player Vs. game mode is also available for selection. In this mode, two players battle to either clear their grid first, or cause their opponent to get a Game Over. The game ends after one of the players wins three rounds. The Level and Speed options are chosen independently by each player before the game begins.

During a two-player battle, whenever a row or column is cleared with one Megavitamin, a corresponding number (two, three, or the maximum, four) of randomized pill halves drops on to the opponent's grid. The player who is given the pill halves must wait for the random colors to drop onto their screen before they can drop a Megavitamin. As time passes, pills fall faster, just like in one-player mode.

For the Game Boy version, a Game Link cable is required to play the 2-player Vs. game mode. On the 3DS Virtual Console version, 2-player mode is not supported.


The Game Boy version of the game was placed 45th in the 100th issue of Nintendo Power's "100 best Nintendo games of all time" in 1997.[4] The NES version placed 69th in the 200th Issue of GameInformer's "Top 200 Games of All Times". The game placed 51st in IGN's Top 100 NES Games list.[5]

Reviews for the game were generally positive, although there has been some criticism from parents about the medicine in a children's game. ACE in particular was more negative, giving the Game Boy version 510/1000, criticizing the repetitive gameplay and uninspired graphics. They also stated that the game "reeks of plagarism", stating that it was worse than the original games it was modeled after.[6] GameRankings gave the game 69.25%, while review aggregator Metacritic gave it a 66 out of 100 based on 10 reviews.

Remakes and ports[edit]

VS. Dr. Mario[edit]

VS. Dr. Mario

The game was later released on the VS. System under the name VS. Dr. Mario. Players can only spend 20 seconds on the settings menu. This version drops the Slow speed and renames the Medium speed to Normal. Normal speed has a grey background while High is now purple. There is no option to turn off the music.

The scoring system is also less generous. In the NES version, the first virus killed by a vitamin yields 200 points (on Medium speed), the second 400, the third 800, the fourth 1600, so each virus is worth twice as much as the last. In the VS. version, the first virus is worth 200, then 400, then 600, then 800, so a virus is worth only 200 points more, and not twice as many points, as the previous virus.


A slightly altered version of Dr. Mario known as Dr. Mario BS Version 「Dr.マリオBS版」 was broadcast for the Satellaview system between March 1997 and June 2000. It has the same graphics and music that was used in the remake from Tetris & Dr. Mario which was not released in Japan. It should also be mentioned that the complete game is still in the ROM, just locked out.[7]

List of re-releases and ports[edit]


WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! featured a microgame version of Dr. Mario. There is also an unlockable mini game version entitled Dr. Wario.

Another microgame based on this game appeared in WarioWare Gold.


Dr. Mario was originally under the title "Virus", which had similar gameplay, but the goal was to cure viruses in a sick animal. What appears to be Nurse Toadstool is also visible in the game.[9]


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Dr. Mario (game).



Audio.svg Title
File infoMedia:DM NES Title.oga
Audio.svg Select
File infoMedia:DM NES Select.oga
Audio.svg Fever
File infoMedia:DM NES Fever.oga
Audio.svg Fever Clear
File infoMedia:DM NES Fever Clear.oga
Audio.svg Chill
File infoMedia:DM NES Chill.oga
Audio.svg Chill Clear
File infoMedia:DM NES Chill Clear.oga
Audio.svg Game Over
File infoMedia:DM NES Game Over.oga
Audio.svg VS Game Over
File infoMedia:DM NES VS Game Over.oga
Audio.svg Level 20 Clear
File infoMedia:DM NES Level 20 Clear.oga
Audio.svg Ending
File infoMedia:DM NES Ending.oga
Help:MediaHaving trouble playing?

Game Boy[edit]

Audio.svg Select
File infoMedia:DM GB Select.oga
Audio.svg Fever
File infoMedia:DM GB Fever.oga
Audio.svg Chill
File infoMedia:DM GB Chill.oga
Audio.svg Level Clear
File infoMedia:DM GB Level Clear.oga
Audio.svg VS Win
File infoMedia:DM GB VS Win.oga
Audio.svg Ending
File infoMedia:DM GB Ending.oga
Audio.svg 2x Chain / Player 1 Attack
File infoMedia:DM GB 2x Chain & Player 1 Attack.oga
Audio.svg 3x Chain / Player 2 Attack
File infoMedia:DM GB 3x Chain & Player 2 Attack.oga
Audio.svg 4x Chain
File infoMedia:DM GB 4x Chain.oga
Help:MediaHaving trouble playing?


Main article: List of Dr. Mario staff

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ドクターマリオ
Dokutā Mario
Chinese (Simplified) 马力欧医生
Mǎlì'ōu Yīshēng
Dr. Mario
Chinese (Traditional) 瑪利歐醫生
Mǎlì'ōu Yīshēng
Dr. Mario

Dr. Mario: The UFO cover-up.[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ドクターマリオ 知る人ぞ知るUFO直前バージョン
Dokutā Mario Shiru Hitozo Shiru Yūfō Chokuzen Bājon
Dr. MARIO: "Just Before the UFO Known to the Few" Version


External links[edit]