Punch Ball Mario Bros.

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Punch Ball Mario Bros.
PBMB Boxart.jpg
The game's artwork, in which Mario is holding a Punch Ball.
Developer Hudson Soft
Publisher Hudson Soft
Platforms PC-6001mkII/PC-6601, PC-8801, FM-7, Sharp X1, Sharp MZ-1500, Hitachi S1, IBM JX
Release date Japan October 5, 1984
Genre Retro/Platform
Mode(s) Up to two players simultaneously
Media 5.25-inch floppy, Cassette

Punch Ball Mario Bros. (パンチボールマリオブラザーズ) is a game developed and released by Hudson Soft in 1984. The game was available for the PC-6001mkII/PC-6601, PC-8801, FM-7, Sharp X1, Sharp MZ-1500,[1] and IBM-JX,[2] most of which had noticeable differences between each other (palette, sound, flow of gameplay, etc.). It is very similar to Mario Bros., but with new objects called Punch Balls that could now be thrown to stun enemies. Once stunned, the hit enemy could be hit like normal. The details of the licensing of this game are not clear, but Punch Ball Mario Bros. is probably one of the earliest licensed Mario games. It is unknown why Hudson Soft was permitted the rights to and chose to make the game. Hudson also produced two other Mario games for Japanese home computers: Mario Bros. Special and Super Mario Bros. Special.

The title screen music is the opening melody from the 19th-century American song Dixie.

Story[edit]

The story page in the instruction manual explains that while humanity has evolved throughout the ages, mastering fire and developing advanced technology, some people such as Mario and Luigi are primitive men who do not know of modern society and must use "stone balls" and their jumping abilities to defend themselves from outsiders.

The story, from the instruction booklet:

 いつの頃だろうか、人類が道具を持つようになったのは……。初めは動物

の骨、石のかけらを利用した単純なものであった。人類は英知をふるい、道 具を改良していった。それが、火を使い、風を利用し、そして今では原子力 をも駆使し、高度な文明を築き始めたのである。  だが、ある一方ではまだ石を利用しているだけの人々もいるのである。彼 らはどのようにして獲物をとり、外敵から身を守るのであろうか。彼らは強 力なジャンプ力と石の玉を持っているだけである。それをうまく利用し、彼 らの身を守って欲しい。  ここに、そういった人々のうちの2人を紹介しよう。そう、彼らの名前は マリオとルイージ。彼らが高度な文明を身につけるのはいつになるのだろうか。

At some point, humans gained the ability to use tools... At first, they were simple things using the bones of animals and fragments of rock. Using their wisdom, humans improved their tools. Harnessing fire, wind, and nowadays even atomic energy, they began to build up a sophisticated culture.
On the other hand, however, there are people who still only use stone. How do they catch game and defend themselves from outsiders? Using only their strong jumping power and stone spheres. They use those skillfully to defend themselves.
Here, we introduce two such people. It seems their names are Mario and Luigi. Will they ever learn about sophisticated culture?

Gameplay[edit]

There are two difficulty modes, A and B, but the latter is only slightly harder than A.

Like in the original, Mario and Luigi are playable. Unlike the original, the floor-level design is almost the exact opposite of the original Mario Bros. For instance, the first platform (above the floor) in the original extends from the edges, with a gap in the middle. In this game, the platform is in the middle, with gaps around the edges. The pipe at the bottom where enemies exit is essentially a pit. Footholds are sturdier and do not trip the enemy if hit from underneath like the first Mario Bros. - either the Punch Ball or the POW Block must be used to achieve this. The button for throwing the Punch Ball is the same as jumping, so the brothers must remain still to throw the Punch Ball rather than jump. Once thrown, the Punch Ball stays on the ground until collected by one of the plumbers. The POW Block can be used thrice per phase. If a brother loses a life, he will respawn on a temporary platform above the POW Block with Mario slightly to the left and Luigi to the right. This is also the same spot where the Punch Ball respawns if it falls into the bottom pipe.

As the game progresses, the stage design becomes more difficult with moving platforms, frozen platforms, and frozen moving platforms. Some phases are bonus stages where Mario has to grab 10 coins before the time runs out. If there are two players, it is a competition to get the most coins.

Enemies[edit]

Like the original game, target enemies must be flipped over and kicked to be defeated. The only method to flip them over is with the Punch Ball or the POW Block. In this game, enemies only have two forms with them turning into their fast form if they right themselves up or become the last enemy on screen. After an enemy is defeated, a coin will appear on the top platform. However, only one coin can exist at a time.

  • Shellcreeper - acts like in the original game, its second form is red. They debut in Phase 1.
  • Sidestepper - acts identically to Shellcreepers, its second form is green with an angry face. They're introduced in Phase 4.
  • Fighter Fly - hopping enemy that are difficult to stun, its second form is green. They make their first appearance in Phase 6.
  • Fireball - it is red but acts more like the green fireballs from the original game. They are invincible and first appear in Phase 4.

Staff[edit]

Main programmer[edit]

  • Kikuta Masaaki

Images[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]