Before Dr. Luigi, Mario was the member of the family who had a medical practice. Dr. Mario is the classic NES game that has never been released on the Virtual Console, until now.
As this game is the original, it is somewhat light in content and just includes a single player mode and a multiplayer mode. The former runs akin to what you expect from the various Dr. Mario games, where you have to line up coloured capsules with the viruses of the same colour to get four-in-a-row and to remove them. It’s as simple as that.
You have the ability to select between multiple levels of difficulty. This alters the amount of viruses you start off with, which increases as you get to higher levels. You can start at any point up to Level 20 depending on the level of challenge you want. In addition to that, you can also control the speed the capsules come down, being able to see which piece is coming next to plan accordingly.
Multiplayer is just simple two-player puzzle gaming. The task is to clear your bottle of all the viruses before your opponent does in order to win. The gameplay is the same as in single player, but it can get very competitive if a friendly rival is your sort of thing.
The soundtrack on this game is rather limited, with just two simple tracks able to be picked, but the music is classic, catchy and doesn’t distract you which is necessary for a puzzle game.
The graphics, on the other hand, are a bit dull, colour-wise. They haven’t really passed the test of time and, if you’re playing on the GamePad alone, the puzzle becomes somewhat tricky to properly see due to the images of the virus not being light enough to have a clear contrast with the background. This can impede with playing the game successfully.
Dr. Mario is a decent enough game if you like puzzle games. It is addictive and you’ll always want to beat that elusive high score. If you’re not really feeling the price of Dr. Luigi, but want the puzzle style, then it’s definitely a decent enough game. However, Dr. Mario doesn’t provide too much of a definitive experience, although that’s quite often the conundrum faced by the original in a game series.