With New Super Mario Bros. 2 in stores for the Nintendo 3DS, we have to take a trip down memory lane. The character once known as “Jumpman,” in Donkey Kong, has played the hero role in many a game before landing his platformer title, Super Mario Bros. in 1985. Since then, Mario has made cameos as referee in Punch Out!!, sat in the audience during Megaton Punch in Kirby Super Star, and played a couple of 3-on-3 pickup games against NBA stars in NBA Street V3. We all know that is not where Mario is at his best. When Mario is stomping goombas, kicking koopa shells, snagging fire flowers, and flying through stages you see why he's referred to as “super.”

For over 25 years, Mario has saved Princess Peach with finesse and, at times, quickness and ease. Think I’m playing? Catch any speed run of Super Mario 64. Better yet, toss him two whistles and watch him save the Mushroom Kingdom in less than 20 minutes. Sit through fan-made Mario games like Kaizo Mario and Mario Must Die and witness how the man just cannot lose. Sure there is a player controlling Mario, but we can’t help but believe that he saves the kingdom and the world all by himself.

We’re the first to admit that we haven’t given Mario his super-heroism justice. We’ve fallen into lava and pits more times than we can count. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for the countless times we’ve betrayed Yoshi to save our own asses (only to lose our power-up.) Mario stages are notorious for being challenging and downright cruel. The latter levels are the most difficult, as we expect them to be, but the middle stages are what test our patience and keep us on our toes (and wide awake during our late night gaming sessions.) We’ve comprised a list of our most favorite, challenging, unique, and all around fun Super Mario levels, so before you freshen up your skills before snagging New SMB 2 remember what you’ll be stepping into. Check out our list of 50 Craziest Super Mario Bros. Stages.