How did Mario come to be so popular? Apparently by the 90s more children knew who Mario was than Mickey Mouse, so what was it that made him so recognisable? Well, what Nintendo did was feature their world famous character in as many games as possible. Main games, like Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros., cameos, such as in Punch Out! and Tennis, and spin-offs, like Wrecking Crew. Mario equaled Nintendo and Nintendo equaled quality gaming, as far as consumers were concerned. So Mario became popular because of games like Wrecking Crew prevented Mario from leaving our living rooms for over 25 years.
The story is simple. Mario is part of a humongous one manned demolition crew and must destroy the interior of 100 different buildings. However there are walking enemies set on reducing Mario’s five lives to zero by walking into him, the fireballs aimed at Mario are also threatening, and a foreman called Spike has it in for Mario as well. So the buildings must be destroyed, with points on offer and bonus points for causing the maximum damage as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately Mario cannot jump, only climb ladders and swing his hammer. This increases the difficult because of the nature of the enemies. To compensate, Mario can open doors to move the walking enemies to the background and he can enter from the left if he exits the right and vice versa. Not dissimilar to Mario Bros. and Pac-man. The puzzle element is incredibly clever, as particular items and sections can only be destroyed in a particular order, otherwise you have to start again.
The best way to play? Grab a Luigi (second player) and play cooperatively (coming soon to Nintendo 3DS) and give that a go. This is definitely the most fun you can have destroying stuff, without actually destroying anything. Oh and by the way, there’s a level editor so you can create and save your own level designs (only available with Famicom Data Recorder, Wii and Nintendo 3DS) to test on your friends and family.