I'm not sure which game they started with, but I have also noticed so many games copying the same cliched formula. There always has seems to be:
Desert level (Sometimes also a Pyramid level)
Slippery Ice/Snow level
Some early games I remember having nearly all of these were Wonderboy in Monsterland, maybe Alex Kidd. Perhaps later games designers could only rip off earlier games with their levels, maybe all forest levels originate from Pitfall for example.
I guess cliches like this are often taken as design rules by developers. They feel they need to include one of each type of level to make it more "complete", so it'll have everything the previous platformer had, but with hopefully something more to offer, but nothing less.
Have a look at this game for Playstation called "The Adventures of Little Ralph", it's more of a modern 2D platformer yet it still falls into all the same cliches for the levels, starting with the city and moving on to the sewer, the desert, the forest...
Sometimes when making your own game, it's hard NOT to let it become a little cliched. I mean, in real life I run through the city and forest all the time, so it's not unrealistic.