VS. Wrecking Crew

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VS. Wrecking Crew
A screenshot of the game in action.
A screenshot from VS. Wrecking Crew
Developer Nintendo R&D 1
Publisher Nintendo
Hamster (Arcade Archives)
Platforms Arcade
Nintendo Switch (Arcade Archives)
Release date Arcade:
Japan July 1984
USA 1984
Nintendo Switch (Arcade Archives):
Japan May 1, 2020
USA May 1, 2020
Europe May 1, 2020
Australia May 1, 2020
Genre Puzzle/Platformer
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 Switch:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Nintendo Switch:

VS. Wrecking Crew is a 1984 arcade game for the VS. System. Unlike its 1985 console version Wrecking Crew, this game is focused more on competitive play and is less puzzle oriented. It features a simultaneous two-player mode in which the opposing player is seen on the other side of the construction wall.

A port of VS. Wrecking Crew for the Arcade Archives series was released for Nintendo Switch on May 1, 2020.[1]


Gameplay takes place on a single wraparound screen split into five floors. In the single player mode, Luigi is an opponent that hinders Mario. In the two-player mode, both players compete against each other.

The game was designed specifically for the VS. DualSystem, and thus featured mechanics that were only possible with multiple screens. On each screen, each player will see the enemies that can harm them in the foreground, while the ones dangerous to their opponent are blue silhouettes. If an enemy walks into a door (which are opened by swinging at them with hammers), they will switch the side of the playfield that they are on. This allows both players to compete by luring enemies on their opponent's side, while simultaneously competing for score by demolishing as much of the building as possible before the time runs out. If both players are at the same wall piece, whichever swings first will knock the other down to the bottom of the playfield, as can be done with enemies that are on the other side compared to where the player is. In addition, they will have to dodge Fireballs that spawn from the edge of their platform.

While a lot of this is possible in single player, Luigi is much less aggressive than an actual second player would most likely be and thus a lot of what can happen in multiplayer may not happen in single player.




  • Gotchawrench - a dinosaur wrench that chases Mario around the stage. Red ones move slowly while the faster purple ones make their first appearance in Phase 3.
  • Unnamed hatchet monsters that behave identically to the red Gotchawrenches which they replace starting in Phase 11.
  • Fireball - Spend too long in a particular area and a fireball will appear.
  • Luigi - In one player mode, the CPU-controlled Luigi will constantly try to stop Mario from completing his job by hitting him off the beams.


VS. Wrecking Crew was Yoshio Sakamoto's first job as a game designer following a brief stint as a pixel artist. The idea was to create a "puzzle action game" centered around breaking walls.[2]

The game originally had no tie to the Mario series, the protagonist being an unnamed overalls-wearing man with no mustache as seen in earlier Japanese flyers and ads.[3] The early screenshots in both sets of flyers also have differences compared to the released version. Notably, the HUD has the text "I UP" and "IIUP" instead of "MARIO" and "LUIGI". Additionally, the second player is green or blue-clothed, whereas Luigi wears a lighter shade of Mario's red in the final. 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."[2]

References to other games[edit]

  • Donkey Kong: Mario cannot jump because of the weight of his hammer, but he can now climb ladders with it.
  • Mario Bros.: The fireball appears in levels if the player takes too long to complete the level.