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Super Mario Bros. 1 and Lost Levels Pro Tips

Started by Princess Rescuer, December 04, 2021, 12:39:15 AM

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Princess Rescuer

The first two console 2D Mario games, 1 and 2 (Lost Levels) are very similar and challenging. It seems you are limited on options and can only run to the right and react to enemies. You have more options than that though- the game isn't exactly The Legend of Zelda, but it is more open than it seems. Despite being Baby's First Game, these old 2D titles are still too difficult for many people. These tactics will greatly leverage the games in your favor, giving you plenty of chances and benefits. Be patient in utilizing them to your favor, but don't hesitate to learn them- Peach is lonely and has nobody to kiss.

In any level with extra lives found in visible blocks, it's important to collect them, collect some coins in that attempt as well, and lose a life to repeat the level. The 1-Up will cancel out the death and you will have gained some coins to put towards your next life. As long as you're consistent and gaining faster than you're losing, you'll be slowly but surely gaining lives. This will also give you amazing practice as well.

In LL, backwards warp zones aren't the worst- you can use them to repeat easy early levels you've already mastered for numerous life gain. You will also have more opportunities to keep Fire Flowers as well.

Within the same level, some pipes might warp you backwards. You can use these to go into the bonus rooms over and over again. You can also go the wrong way in a looping castle and hit the invisible blocks over and over again for more coins.

You have a time limit, but not a strict one. Especially when visiting a level for the first time, you can take it slow. Levels are short and you have minutes to beat them. It's not as urgent as it seems.

In a level in the final worlds (8 or D) it's fine to forgo entering/completing them if you didn't keep the Fire Flower.

Be sure to study how scrolling things onto the screen at a certain time affects position and timing. Use this to your optimal advantage.


Super Mario Bros really is hard, I tried again not too long ago. I get to world 8-3 and fumble every time. I think once I got to the castle but then there were more hammer bros waiting for me. Still haven't beaten it, or tried Lost Levels because I feel like I SHOULD beat the original first.
Quotescrolling things onto the screen at a certain time affects position and timing
I am really interested in that and hadn't even considered the possibility but it makes sense. To think those assholes might even jump or throw at specific times too is crazy. I think this is the key I need to beat the hammer bros. I don't know when I will feel like trying again but I will keep this in mind, thanks


The one huge tip that I wish I'd had when picking up NES SMB1 for the first time is that you can press "A" and "Start" at Game Over to continue. Without that it's pretty brutal, you will be hurting for lives unless you really know the game inside out.

QuoteI am really interested in that and hadn't even considered the possibility but it makes sense.
You might be interested to watch SummoningSalt's video on the history of SMB1 speedrun records - as I recall he goes into some depth about controlling enemy spawns, frame rules, and so on. What appears quite random at first glance is actually all deterministic and predictable.