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Hotel Mario is a puzzle/platformer game released on the Philips CD-i. It was published by Royal Philips Electronics. Philips Media had acquired the rights to produce Mario and The Legend of Zelda games after initial plans to make a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo fell through. Released on April 5, 1994 in North America to little fanfare, the game had low sales partially due to a lack of interest in the CD-i system, and received mainly poor reviews.
In the game's plot, Bowser and his seven Koopaling children (Morton, Roy, Larry, Lemmy, Ludwig, Wendy, and Iggy) have taken over the Mushroom Kingdom, where they've claimed seven Koopa hotels and have kidnapped the princess, hiding her in one of them. After Mario and Luigi are informed of this, they set out to rescue her.The general goal in each stage is to close all the doors on every floor. However, various enemies will interfere and reopen them at times. Elevators are needed to travel between floors. The first six hotels have ten stages, whilst the seventh has fifteen.
Mario and Luigi head to the Mushroom Kingdom after being invited to a picnic by the princess. However, soon after arriving, Mario finds a letter on the front door to a gate, which has a board with the words "Klub Koopa Resort" on it. The letter is from Bowser, who claims that he and the Koopalings have turned the Mushroom Kingdom into their personal resort and have each taken over a hotel. It also states that the princess is being held hostage in one of them, and challenges them to find her.
The brothers come across the first hotel, the Wood Door Hysteria Hotel. With Luigi's help, Mario is able to leap inside the hotel through a window. After conquering the hotel, Morton and the brothers leap out of the tree-hotel, which then sprouts fruit. Mario notices the princess on one of the branches, but it snaps underneath her. She lands in Roy's open arms, and he takes her to his hotel, the HardBrick Hotel. However, the lights continuously flicker on and off inside. Luigi is concerned as to how they will find her, but Mario assumes that there may be a switch somewhere. Inside the hotel itself, Mario finds the cause of the hotel's light problem: a room with several toasters plugged in. He unplugs all the toasters, which returns the hotel's electricity to normal.
After defeating Roy, the Mario Brothers condemn the hotel. The princess is standing on a Warp Pipe, but she is sucked down into it. Mario wonders where she is, but Luigi points out the cave in the distance. This cave turns out to be the Chillton Hotel. It is dark inside, and they do not have a light. Nevertheless, they journey inside.
After Larry is conquered, the cave explodes, with the princess flying out of it. Mario and Luigi prepare to catch her, but find that she is not falling. Mario realizes that she is in the clouds, and the High-ate Regency Hotel is revealed. Luigi kicks a nearby Exclamation Mark Block, which causes a vine to sprout out of it and into the sky above. In the hotel, there is a cloud which diverts Mario. He finds a room where he turns on a fan which blows the cloud away. Once Lemmy is defeated, Mario, Luigi, and the princess escape. Lemmy also tries to flee, but a massive fan blows both him and the hotel away before he can reach them. However, the princess suddenly magically vanishes. Back on the ground, Mario and Luigi take sight of another one of the Koopalings' hotels, this time the Thump Castle Hotel. Just as they are about to enter, the entrance disappears, but reappears near instantly after. In the hotel, there are vanishing doors. Mario finds a room with a liquid that stops the doors vanishing.
After Ludwig is beaten, the Mario Brothers escape as the entire hotel crumbles, leaving only a frame. However, the princess is nowhere in sight. Luigi then points out the location of Wendy's hotel, the Blitz Snarlton Hotel. When they conquer the hotel, the brothers escape and the hotel vanishes. The princess runs over and greets them, but vanishes once again as well, with Bowser's laughter heard in the background. Mario then takes notice of a plume of smoke heading their direction, and find the Seizures Palace Hotel. When Iggy (who works at Bowser's hotel as opposed to running his own) and Bowser are defeated, Mario, Luigi, and the princess flee as the hotel falls to rubble, the landscape transforming back to its previous form. The princess thanks the Mario Brothers for defeating Bowser and freeing the kingdom from the Koopaling clan, giving them both a kiss, and they all thank the player for his or her contributions.
The player controls Mario through a number of stages in order to rescue Princess Toadstool from the clutches of Bowser and the Koopalings. The goal of each stage is for Mario to close each door using elevators to reach each floor (though the purpose of closing the doors is left unexplained), within a fixed time limit of 200 seconds. Enemies may interfere with the progress, opening doors that may have been closed already and even opening doors from inside the room of which they have been closed. Touching an enemy or other hazard will cause Mario to lose a life, though he can also lose a life by running out of time, falling off the edge of a floor, or by allowing all of the doors to open.
By opening a few doors, Mario can find coins in the rooms; he obtains an extra life one he obtains thirty coins. He may also obtain a Super Mushroom to become Super Mario and take an extra hit, a Fire Flower to become Fire Mario and use fireballs to take out practically all enemies within range, and a Toad that grants him an extra life. On rare occasions, Star Men may also exit open doors, which turn Mario invincible.
The game also has a two player mode, allowing a second player to control Luigi. As with previous titles, Mario and Luigi take turns playing during a two-player game.
Hotel startup screen text
The "HERE WE GO!" screen when loading a game or starting a new one will vary if played in a specific region and on a specific day.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY
Displays on February 14, the date for Valentine's Day.
DO NOT FORGET MOTHERS DAY
Displays on a certain Sunday of May depending on the region, alluding to Mother's Day.
SCHOOLS ALMOST OUT
Displays on May 31, the date in which most schools let out for summer vacation at the time.
HAPPY FATHERS DAY
Displays on a certain Sunday of June depending on the region, alluding to Father's Day.
READY TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL
Displays on August 31, the date in which most schools went back into session at the time.
Displays at a certain time in December depending on the region, and alludes to the holiday season.
ITS HOLLIES BIRTHDAY
Displays sometime between New Year's Day and Valentine's Day, though the exact day has faded into obscurity. Likely refers to Hollie S. Lohff, the game's play consultant.
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY
Displays on July 4, and alludes to American Independence Day.
Displays on October 31, and alludes to Halloween.
HAPPY TURKEY DAY GOBBLE GOBBLE
Displays on the fourth Thursday of November, and alludes to Thanksgiving.
ALLONS CHERCHER LA FEVE
Displays in late January, and alludes to king cake, which is sold in most French bakeries during said month. The text roughly translates to, "LET'S GO FIND THE BEANS".
ON SE DEGUISERA POUR LE MARDI GRAS
OU SOT CACHES LES OEUFS
Displays sometime in April, and alludes to Easter. The text roughly translates to, "WHERE ARE THE EGGS HIDDEN".
ALLONS ENFANT DE LA PATRIIIIEEE
There are seven hotels, and a total of 75 stages. Each hotel, save Morton's Wood Door Hysteria Hotel and Bowser's Seizures Palace Hotel, introduces a gimmick as described in the cutscenes that acquaints the player through the duration of said hotel, and can be mitigated if one of the rooms is entered. Each hotel has a total of ten stages except for Bowser's Seizures Palace Hotel, which has fifteen instead. The last stage of each hotel features a boss fight against a Koopaling.
Much of the new enemies in the game are simply modified versions of others, while most enemies that return from previous games receive different names.
Hotel Mario has been mostly met with negative reception. Monthly gaming magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly, while otherwise praising of Mario, listed Hotel Mario as being Mario's "most embarrassing moment."
Despite the game's negative reception, Hotel Mario has amassed a cult following over time for the alleged "so bad it's good" nature of its animation and voice acting; Marc Graue, the voice actor for Mario, Luigi and Bowser, has been known to actively encourage and participate in the game's ironic fandom.
Pre-release and unused content
Several unused audio files are stored in the game, including dialogue from a placeholder voice actor exaplaining how to play, suggesting that the game was planned to have a tutorial. Additionally, the way the game's files are set up suggests that Iggy was going to have his own hotel, rather than appearing in Bowser's.