In last week’s article about the worlds of Subcon, discussion of what each world entailed brought up the fact that while each of the first six worlds of Super Mario Bros. 2 contain three areas, the seventh and final world only contains two.
But why is that? Did the developers get lazy? Was the final level so grand and challenging that it was worth two areas on its own? Or was there another explanation?
It’s the last one, in case you weren’t certain.
As one might expect, though, the truth doesn’t lie with Super Mario Bros. 2, but goes further back to the version that preceded it: The Japanese-exclusive licensed tie-in game for the Famicom Disk System, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic.
Despite being translated roughly as “Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Excitement,” Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic does not take place in a dream world, but rather inside a book that tells the tale of a land called Muu and its denizens’ battle against the evil Mamu (Wart, to us outside of Japan). Per Super Mario Wiki:
The book had found its way into an Arabian family. Their pet monkey, Rusa, gives the book to twins Poki and Piki. However, the twins quarrel and end up ripping out the last page of the book, causing its ending to be erased. Mamu, freed, reaches through the pages and grabs the twins, pulling them into the book. Rusa gets the twins’ parents, Mama and Papa, their brother, Imajin, and Imajin’s girlfriend, Lina, and they enter the book to rescue them.
You can even see said page flying off there in the image on the right.
As Drew Mackie points out at Back of the Cereal Box (where this all first came to my attention), “Yep, the final level is missing because the ending of the book got removed. You, the player, has to go through the game and beat the big bad, essentially re-writing the lost ending.”
Which also ties in to the World images shown before each level, such as the one above, designed to look like pages in a book.
And that’s really just about it. Not a whole lot more to be said — at least, on the Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic side of things. For Super Mario Bros. 2, I’ve still got plenty left to say, and who knows? We might come back to this Arabian family’s adventure somewhere down the line.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.