Super Meat Boy's retro reference guide

World 6

The final levels are some of the toughest in the game (at least until you unlock their Dark World counterparts), though it begins by referencing one the cuddliest games around. It’s also the most recent reference, because instead of reaching back to a NES or arcade classic, this one refers to the opening to Pokemon Red/Blue/Green in all its black and white glory. Though the more famous battle from the Poke start screen is Gengar vs Nidorino, we think SMB is specifically channeling the less remembered Gengar vs Jigglypuff opening. This is mostly because Dr. Fetus imitates Jigglypuff’s dance in a slightly less cute way, though Dr. Fetus leaves the head butting to an unsuspecting Bandage Girl. What a jerk!

World 7

If you were a bad enough dude to complete the Light World with Meat Boy, you open up World 7, Cotton Alley. This time around the genders get bent and it’s up to Bandage Girl to save Meat Boy, and even if the soundtrack and color palette have a more girly feel, the levels certainly don’t take it easy on you. The intro reflects both the gender switch and the obscene difficulty by imitating Ghost ‘n’ Goblins, which is notoriously one of the most difficult franchises ever, mainly by being unpredictably cheap. But all Bandage Girl needs to be prepared is a flower on her head, not a full suit of armor like Arthur. Who’s the badass now?

World 0

Collect 20 of the bandages strewn across each level and you’ll unlock the XBLA exclusive World 0, Teh Internets, though you must be online for it to work. The continually updated set of levels is introduced first by a humorously crude clip of Dr. Fetus pleasuring himself. That’s followed by the final retro intro and the most lo-fi of the group, which is a tribute to Bubble Bobble. We hope Meat Boy and Bandage Girl are remembered by future gaming historians as well as Bub and Bob are now.

The title Super Meat Boy could be referring to several things. The series began as a flash game title Meat Boy, so it could be reflecting the same expansion Mario went through from Mario Bros to Super Mario Bros. Still the font on the “Super” reminds us of some classic SNES game titles, mainly the Super Star Wars series and Super Double Dragon. We’re going to say it’s a little of both.

Though the idea of a Warp Zone is a reference that we’ll get to later, the intros to the levels they unlock may trick you into thinking that they must be referring to something you’re not remembering. But after stumping all the GR editors and a couple guys at our sister magazines, we asked the creators to reveal what those screens mean. The answer? That they were the work of indie artists that were expressing their love for Meat Boy and weren’t specifically referencing anything.

Maybe, but the how do you explain this?!?!

But maybe that one is an anomaly. Can any of you identify what games, if any, these reference?

Henry Gilbert

Henry Gilbert is a former GamesRadar+ Editor, having spent seven years at the site helping to navigate our readers through the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation. Henry is now following another passion of his besides video games, working as the producer and podcast cohost of the popular Talking Simpsons and What a Cartoon podcasts.