VS. Super Mario Bros.
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The plot is the same as the original Super Mario Bros., featuring Mario and Luigi (second player only) setting out on a quest to free Princess Toadstool from the evil Bowser and restore the fallen kingdom of the Mushroom People.
This game is harder than the original Super Mario Bros., with fewer warp zones and power-ups, and more enemies. Six new levels were created for the game, all of which were reused in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.
Detailed set of level differences
The original NES version of Super Mario Bros. has some levels repeat, with an easier version with some obstacles removed (fire bars in the castle, fewer enemies, etc) earlier on, and then a later "full" version, e.g. 1-3 is the easier version of 5-3; 1-4 is the easier version of 6-4; 2-2/2-3 are the easier version(s) of 7-2/7-3; and 2-4 is the easier version of 5-4.
In the arcade version, most of the "easier versions" (all except 1-3) are replaced by the "harder version" to make way for new levels.
The Warp Zone in level 4-2 has been modified from the NES version to remove the warps to Worlds 7 and 8, allowing warping only to world 6; there is no way around the extremely difficult levels imported into Worlds 6 and 7.
Various ? Blocks, especially those that contain power-ups, are often either moved to much harder-to-reach places, or even removed altogether, or the power-ups are replaced with coins.
Depending on operator settings, the player may now start with two lives instead of three and the timer may be set to run faster than the NES version's timer did. The coin counter now has three digits instead of two, meaning that Mario/Luigi may have to collect more than 100 coins (can be set to 100, 150, 200, or 250 by the operator) to earn an extra life. After a game over, depending on operator settings, the player may continue with four lives instead of three.
Many of the 1-Up mushrooms are removed, with only invisible ones remaining. The remaining ones are:
The ending music had a slightly different variation: It uses the original Super Mario Bros.'s instrumentation but with Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels' second section. The second verse was removed to make for a looping song.
At some point in the North American localization of VS. Super Mario Bros., the game was to be called VS. Mario's Adventure. The only remnant of this earlier title is an arcade flyer with a trademarked name.
Arcade Archives port
In the September 2017 Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced a port of VS. Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Switch as part of Hamster Corporation's Arcade Archives series. This time, two detached Joy-Con are used to play with two players. It will be released on the Nintendo Switch on December 22, 2017.