Blast from the Past: Dr Mario (Game Boy)

Retro Review


Welcome to the Mushroom Kingdom Hospital. The doctor will now see you. The classic puzzle title Dr Mario puts players in the shoes of..well Doctor Mario. Players are tasked with one simple task and that is to eradicate all viruses. How? Simple really, by throwing antibiotics at the viruses.

The game itself is played out similarly to the infamous puzzle block title Tetris. Tetris throws in a single block of different shapes and sizes and expects players to fit the blocks in each turn into each other in a type of jigsaw puzzle. The catch of course is to try and arrange the block into position before it reaches the bottom of the play field. However unlike Tetris, in Dr Mario players are given capsule like blocks that actually resemble medicine capsules that get thrown into a medicine bottle – the playing field – to combat the viruses. The medicine capsules themselves are colored differently to match the virus colors. Once a player lines up three halves of the same color of capsule above a virus the virus disappears. Of course the Game Boy version being black and white includes different patterned capsules to differentiate between them instead of colored capsules.

Adjusting anxiety

Players will also be able to choose from different virus levels and speed. Increasing the virus level populates more viruses within the medicine jar. Increasing the speed basically increases the speed the capsule falls at once Dr Mario throws a capsule in the jar. I often found that both an increase in the virus level and speed increased my anxiety levels as well, with me making more mistakes with every capsule being thrown into the jar. The game really forces the player to think fast and forces you to formulate a strategy within seconds as a capsule dropped on a virus that doesn’t match the virus pattern creates a chain reaction of disaster.

The game really forces the player to think fast and forces you to formulate a strategy within seconds.

Before beginning a level alongside selecting the virus level and speed players are also offered a choice of two tracks that can be selected whilst playing. The music options include two different soundtracks filled with nostalgic fever and chill. On a serious note the two soundtracks are titled “fever” and “chill”. Soundtracks that brought nostalgic pleasure to my ears. Mario is a man of many talents including plumbing, being a boxing referee and of course being a doctor. All in all Dr Mario is definitely a blast from the past and fighting the flu has never been so much fun. Who needs a med-lemon when doctor Mario has you covered?


  • Catchy soundtrack
  • Adjustable virus levels


  • Warning: mistakes made during gameplay can lead to frustration & damage to console


Dr Mario takes the elements that made Tetris timeless and applies a viral theme that makes mistakes more punishing.


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