Dr. Mario [Model HVC-VU]

Nintendo Famicom cart. published 33 years ago by Nintendo

Listed in MAME

Dr. Mario [Model HVC-VU] screenshot

Dr. Mario © 1990 Nintendo.

A playable and addictive Tetris-inspired puzzle in which players must match and rotate coloured pills (thrown in the play - shown as a bottle - by Nintendo's legendary plumber, 'Mario') with the aim of killing all of the germs that litter the play area.

Each germ is either yellow, red, or blue in colour and each of the pill capsules Mario throws are made up of one or two of these colours. Players must manipulate the coloured pills to a germ of the same colour and try to form a chain. One or more squares of the same colour will remove both the pills and any adjacent like-coloured germ.

Four like-coloured pill sections stacked on the same color germ will rid your bottle of that germ. The number of germs and speed of Mario increases with each level.

Goodies for Dr. Mario [Model HVC-VU]
Click to enlarge
(members only)



Dr. Mario was released on July 27, 1990 in Japan. It was the first non-action 'Mario game' in which the Mario character was neither controllable nor playable. Today the game is widely remembered by many people for the 'Fever' music. Initially some fans called the game 'Mario 4', as it was the first Mario game to be released after "Super Mario Bros. 3". The resulting debate over 'what counts as a Mario game' may have resulted in the decision to name the next Mario action game simply "Super Mario World".

U.S. Patent 5,265,888 covers Dr. Mario, here is the abstract of this Patent : A player initially sets the degree of difficulty of a display type game, and if desired, more than one player may participate with each player selecting an associated level of difficulty. First and second objects having different shapes, e.g. capsules and viruses, and different characteristics, e.g. different colors or shadings, are displayed in a predefined display area. First objects are generated based on random number data stored in a ROM and displayed as 'falling' in a vertical direction across the predefined display area. Coordinate positions of the first objects on the display are changed by a player operating a controller. Second objects are displayed at arbitrary positions in the display area based on random number data. If a prescribed number of at least a portion of first objects and/or second objects having the same type characteristics are detected as being continuously aligned in a vertical or lateral direction, those continuously aligned objects are erased. Remaining portions of first objects (or remaining first objects) previously supported by erased objects are displayed as falling in the vertical direction to the lower region of the prescribed displayed area. When all second objects are erased, the game is successfully completed.

The famous Capsule from Dr. Mario appears as an item in Super Smash Bros.

Dr. Mario (as in Mario himself, not the game mind you) appears as an unlockable character in the Nintendo GameCube sequel to Super Smash Bros. called Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Known export releases:
"Dr. Mario [Model NES-VU-USA]"
"Dr. Mario [Model NES-VU-NOE]"
"Dr. Mario [Model NES-VU-ESP]"
"Dr. Mario [Model NES-VU-SCN]"

Goodies for Dr. Mario [Model HVC-VU]
Click to see more
(members only)

At normal speed:
One bug knocked out with pill: 200 points
Second bug knocked out with pill: 400 points (600 total)
Third bug knocked out with pill: 600 points (1200 total)
Fourth bug knocked out with pill: 800 points (2000 total)
Fifth bug knocked out with pill: 1000 points (3000 total)
and so on...

At high speed :
One bug knocked out with pill : 300 points
Second bug knocked out with pill : 600 points (900 total)
Third bug knocked out with pill : 900 points (1800 total)
Fourth bug knocked out with pill : 1200 points (3000 total)
Fifth bug knocked out with pill : 1500 points (4500 total)
and so on...


* Reset: During the game, press Select+Start+A+B to reset the game.

* Bonus objects: Play virus levels 5, 10, or 15 at medium or high speeds. Wait at the intermission screen that features three viruses in a tree. A bonus object will appear at the top of the screen. A different object will appear depending on which level and speed is currently being played.


1. Dr. Mario [Model HVC-VU] (1990)
2. Tetris & Dr. Mario (1994, Nintendo SNES)
3. Dr. Mario 64 (2001, Nintendo 64)
4. Nintendo Puzzle Collection (2003, Nintendo Gamecube)
5. Dr. Mario Online RX (2008, Nintendo Wii - WiiWare)
6. Dr. Luigi (2013, Nintendo Wii U - eShop)


Created by: Gunpei Yokoi
Music by: Hirokazu Tanaka


Nintendo Super Famicom (1997, "Satellaview (BS-X)"): downloaded via satellite broadcasting station in Japan called St.Giga to a BS-X cassette. Only in Japan.
Nintendo Super Famicom (1998) : remake only in Japan .
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2003, "Wario Ware, Inc - Mega Microgame$") : the original Dr Mario game is an unlockable extra.
Nintendo GameCube (2003, "GameCube Preview Disc"): uploaded to a Nintendo Game Boy Advance via GBA/GCN Link Cable)
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2004, Famicom Mini Series)
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2005, "Dr. Mario & Panel de Pon")
Nintendo Wii [Virtual Console] (2007)


Game's ROM.