VS. Wrecking Crew

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It has been requested that this article be rewritten and expanded to include more information. Reason: Confirm or deny whether the US version was ever given an official release and document its differences with the Japanese version. Also, determine if an international version existed for countries other than the US and Japan.

VS. Wrecking Crew
Later VS. Wrecking Crew Japanese flyer.
Front of Japanese flyer
Developer Nintendo R&D 1
Publisher Nintendo
Hamster (Arcade Archives)
Platform(s) VS. System
Nintendo Switch (Arcade Archives)
Release date VS. System:
Japan August 1984[1]
USA 1986
Nintendo Switch (Arcade Archives):
Japan May 1, 2020
USA May 1, 2020
Europe May 1, 2020
Australia May 1, 2020
Genre Puzzle/Platformer
ESRB:E - Everyone
PEGI:3 - Three years and older
CERO:A - All ages
ACB:G - General
Mode(s) Up to two players simultaneously
Nintendo Switch:
Digital download
Cabinet VS. Table
Nintendo Switch:

VS. Wrecking Crew is a 1984 arcade game for the VS. System and is the first game of the Wrecking Crew series. Unlike its 1985 console sequel 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.

The Japanese version[2] of VS. Wrecking Crew for the Arcade Archives series was released for Nintendo Switch on May 1, 2020.[3]


A screenshot of the game in action.
Phase 3

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 themselves in the foreground and their opponent in the background; likewise the enemies that can harm them are in the foreground, while the ones dangerous to their opponent are blue silhouettes in the background. 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.

After every even numbered phase, there will be a bonus level. In a single player game, Mario has to find a coin hidden behind a row of walls before the time runs out. With two players, both compete against each other for the coin. There are 10,000 bonus points for finding the coin in the first wall that is smashed.



Character Name Information
Sprite of Mario in VS. Wrecking Crew Mario The first player character, he is the only character playable in single-player mode.
Sprite of Luigi in VS. Wrecking Crew Luigi The second player character, he is only playable in two-player mode.


Enemy Name Information
Sprite of the first type of Gotchawrench in VS. Wrecking Crew Sprite of the second type of Gotchawrench in VS. Wrecking Crew Sprite of the third type of Gotchawrench in VS. Wrecking Crew Gotchawrench A dinosaur wrench that moves around the stage. Red ones move slowly while the faster purple ones make their first appearance in Phase 3. Starting in Phase 11, the red ones are replaced by hatchet-like versions.
Sprite of a fireball in VS. Wrecking Crew Fireball Spend too long in a particular area and a fireball will appear.
Sprite of Luigi in VS. Wrecking Crew 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.[4]

The game originally had no tie to the Super Mario franchise, the protagonist being an unnamed overalls-wearing man with no mustache as seen in earlier Japanese flyers and ads.[5] The early screenshots in both sets of flyers also have differences compared to the released version. The doors use different sprites which had a more complicated opening animation. 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."[4]

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.



  1. ^ Game Machine August 15, 1984 issue, page 21.
  2. ^ Hamster Corporation. Arcade Archives: VS. Wrecking Crew. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  3. ^ Brian. (April 28, 2020). Arcade Archives VS. Wrecking Crew out on Switch this week, more games confirmed. Nintendo Everything. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Q&A: Metroid Creator’s Early 8-Bit Days at Nintendo (accessed July 15th, 2014)
  5. ^ Game Machine August 1, 1984 issue