A new, unofficial recreation of the original "Super Mario Brothers" video game now allows gamers to play as characters from other iconic titles, including Mega Man and Link from "The Legend of Zelda."
The roster of playable mashup characters also includes Samus Aran from "Metroid," the commando Bill from "Contra," and Simon Belmont from "Castlevania." Or players can stick to regular old Mario.
Designer Jay Pavlina, who said this is the first game he has ever made, posted Super Mario Bros. Crossover this week on Newgrounds, a Web site dedicated to Flash games and animations.
"This is my tribute to classic NES games, and anyone who grew up playing Nintendo should enjoy it," Pavlina wrote on Newgrounds.
Down to the tiniest detail
Pavlina took over a year to capture the looks and unique game play of each of the other NES archetypes and adapted them into the bricks and pipe-filled landscape of the Mushroom Kingdom of "Super Mario Brothers."
"Each character plays just like they do in their original games with a few modifications to make the experience better," Pavlina said.
For example, when playing as Mega Man – the ordinarily blue-colored robot that has appeared in over 50 games across consoles since 1987 – the hang-time of his jumps matches the physics of early Mega Man games rather than following the "Super Mario Brothers" standards. Bill from "Contra," for his part, does his usual, exaggerated, ninja-meets-Rambo flips.
The original musical score and distinctive sound effects from the individual characters' games make a virtual migration, too.
This attention to detail also extends to weapons. Players can still jump on and squash bad guys, the same as Mario and Luigi, but the other NES characters also get to tote their signature guns, swords and fighting abilities into battle.
Mega Man, for instance, can shoot classic baddies such as the mushroom-like Goombas and turtle-esque Koopa Troopas. So the game is not too easy, the villains have to be shot a few times before being terminated.
When rampaging as Link (who can now jump, as befitting Super Mario Brothers' side-scrolling perspective), NES fans can sword-swipe and throw a boomerang. Samus can roll into a ball and drop bombs, Simon throws axes and Bill's gun blasts red, bubbly bullets. (Extra) lives and death
Power-ups get a character-appropriate makeover as well.
If Mega Man grabs a Fire Flower – which gives Mario and Luigi the ability to throw fireballs – he turns red and his gun's energy blasts change shape and color as well, just like they would when the robot assumed alter egos after taking out level bosses in his universe.
And when Link scores a red-and-yellow mushroom that transformed Mario into a bigger on-screen character able to take a hit without dying, "The Legend of Zelda" hero's green tunic turns gray and he too can weather an initial run-in with a Hammer Brother.
Even when characters die, their original death animations and sound effects are retained: Mega Man explodes into glowing blue blobs, while Link flashes and does a few three-sixty spins before winking out of existence.
Pavlina has been surprised at how instantly popular his creation has become, perhaps indicating a great deal of nostalgia for the simpler video game systems of yesteryear. He encourages people to "enjoy the hell out of this game and experience Super Mario Bros. in a whole new way!"