Review: Mario Brothers (Atari 5200)

By Drew Wilson

In this review, we check out another port of this classic Mario action game. This time, we check out Mario Brothers for the Atari 5200. Does this port power it’s way into being a good addition to the Mario collection? We find out.

This particular port was released in 1983. That’s four years earlier than the Atari 7800 version. It is basically the same game, only for a different system when it comes to the basic mechanics of it. If you want a rundown of the basic mechanics, check out our review of the Atari 7800 version of this game. In this review, we’ll tear into the differences between these two versions.

The differences lie primarily in the graphics and sound portion of this game.

In terms of audio, there are different versions of the jingles found in this game (to my knowledge, they seem longer in nature). The sounds are also slightly different, but the the kind of differences would be what you’d expect when trying to port a game to older hardware. Overall, I thought the differences were interesting and, for some reason, I liked the audio better in this version then I did with the Atari 7800 version.

The graphics were actually better in this version than in the Atari 7800. This seems rather counter intuitive because you’d expect that a newer version on this game with newer hardware would mean better graphics. One example is the fact that when one of the turtles recovers from being flipped upside down, there’s actually a full blown animation involved where the turtle gets out of its shell, flips the shell around and then gets back in. The Atari 7800 merely has the turtle rock forward again. Another element that was brought in was the fact that when you touch one of the monsters and die, you actually fall off of the screen and splash into the water below (there really is a water splash animation involved). If you touch a fireball, then you actually turn orange to simulate you catching fire. The only thing that the Atari 7800 version improves on is the fact that after you die, you are actually standing on a platform. In the Atari 5600, you simply reappear floating in mid air at the top of the screen.

Overall, I don’t get why a version made earlier on older hardware is better than a newer version made on newer hardware. In any event, I found this game much more enjoyable than the Atari 7800 version, so, bonus points for outperforming the next version.


Furthest point in game: Fourth phase.

General gameplay: 17/25
Replay value: 6/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 68%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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