Super Mario Bros. Special
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Super Mario Bros. Special (スーパーマリオブラザーズ スペシャル) was developed by Hudson Soft and released in 1986 for the NEC PC-8801 and Sharp X1 series of Japanese computers, and around 1987 for the Samsung SPC-1500 in South Korea. Special was the second Nintendo-licensed follow-up to Super Mario Bros., released around two months after Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Two years earlier, Hudson Soft had released Punch Ball Mario Bros. and Mario Bros. Special, which were both based on the original Mario Bros.
While superficially very similar to the original Super Mario Bros., the game features original new levels and has a screen-by-screen scrolling mechanism. The latter is implemented more smoothly in the Sharp X1 version, which features Zelda-style scrolling, where the screen visually slides to the next lock point (with some overlap between screens), whereas the PC-88 version simply turns blank for a moment while loading the next screen.
Jumping and dashing physics also differ from the original NES, providing a more challenging experience than Super Mario Bros. Adding difficulty is the fact that the stage time is slightly faster than in the original NES game. Mario's Hammer from Donkey Kong makes a re-appearance as a rare item, alongside a variety of past foes from earlier arcade Mario titles and new exclusive items.
Due to the PC-88 and Sharp X1's technology being inferior to that of the NES/Famicom, the graphics and audio differ slightly from the original game as well, although they are closely replicated. Additionally, the game does not include Luigi nor does it contain a multiplayer mode. The Sharp X1 version contains partial scrolling and slightly more colorful graphics, featuring all eight colors possible with 100% and 0% RGB, including lime-green, cyan, magneta and white. While the PC-88 is able to produce eight colors, Special only uses half of the PC-88's hardware palette, restricted to only black, red, yellow, and blue, including dithered results with those four colors. Further, sprites exclude the use of blue to allow transparency in the sprites.
The Warp Zones from the original were changed in such a way that Special has no true Warp Zone. In World 1-2, reaching the area over the pipe instead leads to the single bonus room that could be accessed normally in the stage, but with a pipe that still leads to the overworld, thus to the end of the level. In World 4-2, a room that more resembles a true Warp Zone can be found, however the only pipe it holds does not have any destinations defined, likely due to an oversight by the developers. The pipe can still be entered, but the player will remain stuck there indefinitely, forcing the player to be killed by the timer.
Hudson's staff took these enemies from earlier Mario games, none of which can be stomped, and provided them with new names:
The object of the game is to get to the goal flag to advance to the next level. While on Mario's way to the goal, he must encounter many enemies and collect power-ups and use items to help solve puzzles and destroy enemies.
Due to both the PC-88 and Sharp X1 technology being inferior compared to the NES/Famicom, some glitches and tricks that were previously not present in the original appear here.
When moving, Mario and some other sprites flicker. Due to the hardware Super Mario Bros. Special is built on, sprites do not have as fluid and smooth of a movement as they did in NES game Super Mario Bros. and Sharp X1 version. This "glitch" is more present in the PC-88 version.
Infinite-1 Up trick
Like in the original Super Mario Bros., jumping continuously on a Koopa Troopa or a Buzzy Beetle when it's about three blocks away from an edge or wall won't make it move, thus allowing the player to remain hopping on the shell and gain infinite 1-Ups. Unlike the original, the trick is much easier to perform due to the game's different collision physics launching the player higher after a stomp, and can be done in virtually any area with both a Koopa Troopa and an edge/wall.
When a sliding Koopa shell is stomped and stops moving, the timer before the Koopa gets back up does not reset, continuing from where it left off when the shell was kicked. Because of this, it is possible for a Koopa to break itself out of the trick, requiring Mario to re-set it up.
The player can accumulate a maximum of 255 lives, with the number of current lives remaining represented in hexadecimal numbers (such as "85" for 173 lives and "DE" for 222 lives). Collecting any more will round the counter back to 0 lives.
Sometimes, hitting the most external part of a Fire Bar won't deliver any damage, likely because of the game's limits in hardware and registering hitboxes with moving obstacles.
Lagging Fire Bars
In World 8-4, in the room with five Fire Bars, the game will lag, probably due to technical limitations with the number of sprites that can be projected on-screen exceeding the normal limit.
Trap or Glitch?
In World 4-3, there is a Beanstalk that leads to a Coin Heaven. When trying to leave, sometimes Mario will be unable to enter the exit pipe. It is assumed to be an overlooked program error, as the entrance back to the main level from this bonus area is present underneath the Mushroom stairs leading to the flagpole. A similar error appears in 4-2, where a hidden pipe placed beyond the exit pipe can be entered, but it lacks a destination to take the player, thus causing Mario to be stuck inside the pipe until time runs out.
Out Of Service Springboard
Compared to the original Super Mario Bros., the Jumping Board present in 2-1 is much more difficult to perform a higher Jump off of due to poor collision detection, sometimes being stuck in its animation frames when Mario jumps off. Sometimes holding the Jump key while landing on the Spring will guarantee success in jumping off, and in the event that a player would have trouble, the set of invisible ? Blocks placed around the Spring allows players to bypass it.
Some copies of the PC-88 version of Super Mario Bros. Special (notably ROM dumps that are run on computer emulators) are missing the data necessary to trigger the IPL switch needed to load World 8-4, and thus will load a blank screen reading "DISK ERROR! PLEASE RESTART GAME PUSH IPL SWITCH", after clearing World 8-3. This glitch is very likely not present in an authentic copy of the game.
Due to bad pipe entering detection, if Mario gets too close to a horizontal pipe that can be entered and quickly turn around, the player will hear the pipe entering sound, and the music will stop until Mario actually enters the pipe. The player can do this multiple times in the same room, but all that will happen is that they will hear the pipe entering sound again.
Sound Effected By