View Full Version : He knows about timed hits! Let's play Super Mario RPG!

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10-19-2008, 06:54 PM
Welcome to Let’s Play Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars!


I’m going to talk a bit about what I hope to accomplish with this LP, so if you don’t want to listen to my navel-gazing and would like to go straight to the game, Ctrl+F “Mushroom” to go to it.

This is Let’s Play Number Two for me. For those of you who read my first LP, Fire Emblem (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?t=4733), this one is going to be a little different. For one thing, I expect this LP to have fewer updates, but longer actual writeups. My current update plan (subject to change) is as follows:

1. First star
2. Second star
--Kero Sewers, Midas River, Tadpole Pond (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?t=6301&page=3)
--Rose Way, Rose Town, Forest Maze (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=312200#post312200)
3. Third star
--Pipe Vault, Yo'ster Island, Moleville (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=314891#post314891)
--Cole Mines (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=320861#post320861)
4. Fourth star
--Booster Pass, Booster Tower, Booster Hill (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=328846#post328846)
--Marrymore, Star Hill (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=339481#post339481)
5. Fifth star
--Seaside Town, The Sea (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=341898#post341898)
--Sunken Ship, Seaside Town Revisited (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=350818#post350818)
6. Sixth star
--Land's End, Belome's Temple (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=354686#post354686)
--Monstro Town, Grate Guy's Casino, Bean Valley (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=369722#post369722)
--Nimbus Land, Nimbus Palace (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=376482#post376482)
--Barrel Volcano (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=381890#post381890)
7. Seventh star
--Bowser's Keep (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=386573#post386573)
--Weapons Factory (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=391522#post391522)
--Culex and other weirdness (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=396244#post396244)
--Smithy, ending (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=399360#post399360)

The second main difference is that I expect the writeups to be much more interesting. FE was a strategy-RPG, and I felt compelled to walk the audience through my strategy every time. However, this resulted in (I feel) the mission writeups being pretty weak. They were boring to write and I can’t imagine they were too thrilling to read. This time, I hope to cut out all the boring filler and show just the bits of the game that are interesting enough to write about, resulting (hopefully) in a shorter but overall more fulfilling experience.

Three, this game is much better-known than FE. As much as I love it, FE has mostly a niche market, and I wrote the LP under the assumption that most people wouldn’t know the ins and outs of the series. I don’t believe that’s the case with this game, so this time it will be less “Here’s how to play Mario RPG” and more “Here are the cool parts of Mario RPG”. This also means I won’t be dwelling on the story (such as it is) too much as I did with FE. Think the Suikoden LPs, Brickroad’s original FF1 LP, or TheSL’s Shiny Gold LP for the kind of tone I hope to have.

Finally, I know more about this game than FE, and indeed any game. I was honestly stunned when people complimented me for my play in the FE LP, because in my heart I know that I’m not that great of an FE player. With Mario RPG, however, I bow to no man in my knowledge of its intricacies. It was my very first RPG, my very first game of any genre other than platformer, and I’ve played it to death over the years.

I’m not kidding at all here. I got it when it first came out, when I was eight years old, and played basically nothing else for all of 1996 and 1997 – I would play through it, watch the ending, then immediately start up another file and play again. For me, new video games were strictly a birthday, Christmas, and maybe end-of-school-year-if-I-got-good-grades-and-didn’t-get-into-trouble treat, so I played the hell out of the ones I had, a practice I maintain to this day. Even after I got an N64, I would revert back to Mario RPG whenever I finished a new game. Even now, I play through the game at least once a year, and usually two or three times. Therefore, my hope is that the LP can be an entertaining combination of dumb-kid stories, secrets and strategies, and thoughtful essays about the effect the game has had on me personally and video games as a whole.

No pressure, right? That said, let’s get to it!

Got a Mushroom!


How thorough is my knowledge of and affection for Super Mario RPG? I even have a story about the file select screen.

My first file was named after me, my real name. My second was actually my sister’s – she started a file, couldn’t get past the Hammer Brothers, gave it up – and I finished it. From there, I worked through the names of all my friends and family members – couldn’t reuse names, right? How would you ever tell them apart? Then, having tapped the names of everyone I knew in real life at that point, I began to use fictional character names. I had a file for every named character in the game, then I moved on to other games – Street Fighter II, Donkey Kong Country, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct. (Shut up, it was cool at the time.) I fondly remember some of these files – “Guile”, for example, was the first file in which I was able to do 30 Super Jumps and get the Attack Scarf. “Glacius” was my first no-Princess run.

It was about 2000 or so when I adopted the Tanto handle, and began using that name for all my video game save files and main characters. It was about this time that I began to realize that I had been playing Mario RPG a lot. I was a confirmed nerd by this point, and was talking to other gamers, people who only played their games once or twice, or even (and this was the height of decadence for me) didn’t even play them at all, just bought them and chucked them into a backlog. Conveniently, my previous saves had been wiped at this point, so I began to keep a count of how often I played through the game, dubbing files Tanto2, or Tanto10, or whatever. I checked my cartridge before beginning this LP, and I’m up to Tanto28 by this count.

So what do I name this very special playthrough of Mario RPG?


It feels right.


Like all Mario games, this one begins with a kidnapping.

10-19-2008, 06:56 PM

Mario follows in hot pursuit!


After, presumably, charging through eight differently-themed worlds, liberating a bunch of mushroom retainers, and killing off all of Bowser’s offspring, Mario arrives at the dread Bowser’s Keep and bangs on the door.


Bowser’s Keep is a straightforward beginner’s dungeon, only three rooms, no tricks or traps. There are enemies here, but they don’t give you anything for beating them, so it’s usually best to avoid them unless you just want to brush up on your timed hits.


There’s one forced fight, however, against a quartet of Terrapins. These guys are a joke, though, and go down with no real trouble.


Eventually, Mario makes his way to the end and finds that Bowser is holding the Princess hostage on a chandelier, for some reason.

10-19-2008, 06:57 PM

Attacking Bowser here is futile. He doesn’t do much damage, but attacking him will eventually cause your attacks to do no damage. Instead, we have to pound Kinklink, the chain, with our Jump special until it gives way…


I remember thinking this was the height of humor as a kid. I sure was dumb.


Bowser’s chandelier begins to tumble, but he’s not going down without a fight. He throws a couple hammers to break Mario’s own chain, and after a bit of stumbling around by our hero it breaks, as well.


In utter defiance of the laws of gravity, Mario’s chandelier quickly catches up with Bowser’s, and they jaw at each other for a while. Mario, however, is able to jump back up to the Princess in a single bound.

10-19-2008, 06:58 PM

Their joyful reunion, however, is cut short when the castle begins to shake…


Um. Yikes. This isn’t your father’s Mario game, I guess.


The impact of the giant sword crashing into Bowser’s Keep sends Mario flying, conveniently towards his own house.

10-19-2008, 06:59 PM

As if losing the Princess wasn’t bad enough, Mario also has to put up with Toad’s withering snark.

Mario’s Pad has a remix of 1-1 as its music, which I thought was just as cool as all hell back in the day. Yes, referring back to earlier games in a series was once novel!


Toad lampshades Mario’s silent protagonist status, then admonishes him to head right back to Bowser’s Keep and find the Princess. We save, and then head out to do so…


When I grew a little older, it always bugged me that Mario’s Pad was right next to Bowser’s Keep. They’re practically neighbors. Either there’s enough room for eight worlds in between screens here, or Mario just likes to take the long way around during his Princess-saving excursions.


The giant sword (known as Exor, although we won’t officially learn that until much later) informs us that getting in the second time won’t be as easy as it was the first. He’s apparently a member of the “Smithy Gang”, which plans to Take Over The World™. And…


Exor literally talks down the bridge, leaving us stranded outside the gates. It will be a long while before Bowser’s Keep is accessible again.

10-19-2008, 07:00 PM

Yup, he sure does.

Toad gives us a further three Mushrooms for the road and tells us to meet him in Mushroom Kingdom. Before we leave, however, there’s still the problem of Mario’s HP…


So we head into the house and flick the lamp to take a (free) night’s rest.

Technically, since Mario’s Pad is never more than a quick jaunt across the map away, you should never have to pay for an inn, but that’s awfully inconvenient. Actually, I rarely pay for an inn anyway…


On to Mushroom Way…


Mushroom Way is a short, three-“room” intermediary area positioned between Mario’s Pad and the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s crawling with Goombas, Paratroopas (inexplicably called “Sky Troopas” in this game), and Spikeys (presumably Spinies). There’s no real danger here, so we proceed leisurely forward, slaughtering everything in our path.


Mario RPG’s battle system is pretty simplistic… A is normal attacks, Y is special attacks (magic), X is items, and B is “Other” (blocking and running, both of which are mostly useless). All regular attacks and most special attacks can be “timed” for additional damage or an extra effect. Unlike Paper Mario, which has a wide variety of Mario Party-esque motions for its attacks, Mario RPG has only three: press button, hold button and release, and circle the control pad rapidly.

10-19-2008, 07:02 PM

Occasionally, beating an enemy will cause it to release a flower which gives a bonus. This one raises the recipient’s HP to max. The plentitude of these flowers is what makes Mushroom Way virtually impossible to lose.


At level 1, Sky Troopas can’t be killed with a single regular attack, so it’s time to break out Jump. Jump actually increases in power the more you use it… I didn’t learn this until much later, once I started watching speedruns, because I usually drop Jump once Fire Orb and Super Jump become available.


Hey, look, Toad’s being harassed by a Goomba. I bet he regrets that “door” crack he made earlier, huh? Well, I guess we can just leave.


You actually can, which stunned me at first. If you do, Toad shows up at Mushroom Kingdom a little worse for the wear but otherwise unharmed, so all’s well that ends well. However, passing up on saving Toad means passing up on the sweet rewards you get for saving him, so I guess we have no choice.


Mario makes it up to level 2 during the fight. He’s able to crush most of the Mushroom Way enemies with ease, now.


In addition, whenever you level up you get to select one category to raise even more. One of the three always grants a better bonus than the other two, and the dirty little secret is that the one to select always goes in the same order. If your level is a multiple of three, pick Special. Multiple of three plus one, go HP. And if it’s a multiple of three minus one, select Attack.

Of course, this goes only for the “balanced” characters, Mario, Mallow, and Geno. Bowser really has no use for special and should be selecting either HP or Attack every time, and the Princess should go with Special every time so her magic is still functional under the Lazy Shell. More on this much later, though.

For saving his worthless hide, Toad gives us a Honey Syrup and scurries on.

10-19-2008, 07:03 PM

Mario can now strike down Sky Troopas in a single timed blow…


Mario can use these twirling flower things to jump up to higher levels. There’s a flower (permanently raises FP) on one of the plateaus, and on another…


Toad needs our help again.


For saving him this time, Toad coughs up a Flower Tab. These items (and their companion items Flower Jars and Flower Boxes) permanently raise FP and completely refill your FP.

10-19-2008, 07:05 PM

The final area of Mushroom Way contains a Lakitu throwing down an endless stream of Spikeys for us to fight.

I think one of the reasons people don’t perceive Mario RPG as a “real” Mario game is because its enemies are so bizarre. This first area tries hard to be a regular Mario level, only in RPG form – Goombas, Koopas, Lakitu – but later ones have some strange enemies. Masked jesters. Gremlins who live inside clusters of diamonds. Samurai ants. The game will occasionally toss in a classic Mario enemy like a Bob-Omb or a Blooper, but the later areas contain monsters almost completely divorced from the classic Mario bestiary. Mario 3 contains 60 distinct enemies, and Mario World contains about 40 more – you’d figure that between those and the usual underground monkeys, you could completely populate a Mario RPG without having to break out the weird stuff.

(Yes, I am aware that “weird” is relative when you’re dealing with Mario.)


Another classic Mario enemy is the Hammer Brother, who waits for us at the end of this area.


Sometimes I think that video games have grown easier as I’ve gotten older. I have this vision from my childhood of new games being these epic adventures that take me weeks upon weeks to master, and I’m always a little disappointed when I find myself at the end of a new one after three days. The latter levels of Super Mario Bros. were like a myth to me – without warping, I couldn’t even sniff them, and if I did warp, I died about ten seconds in every time. It took me a year, on and off, to beat the original Donkey Kong Country. The Arena in Kirby Super Star, weeks. Even later on, Ocarina of Time took me a solid month to finish.

But then I realize that I basically just sucked at video games as a kid. I can do Mario 1 in twenty minutes, these days. DKC, an hour. If it takes me more than ten minutes to do the Arena I consider it a failure. And Ocarina of Time only needs a weekend or so.

But the most telling piece of evidence here is that I lost to the Hammer Bros. as a kid. And to this day, I still don’t know how I did it. Yes, it was my first RPG, but you could knock over the Hammer Bros. with a strong wind.


Anyway… Defeating the Hammer Bros. with a minimum of fuss requires that you jump each one once each, then punch one. This will kill it at any level. (At level 3, a single Jump can kill one.)


The survivor will then use Valor Up, raising its defenses. This is why it’s important to Jump on it before killing the first. If you’ve jumped once, a second Jump should finish off the second.

The Hammer Bros. have an attack called "Hammer Time" but they didn't use it against me this playthrough. More's the pity.

10-19-2008, 07:07 PM

Bringing down the Bros. nets you a fair chunk of coinage, a Flower Jar, and…


One of the Hammer Bros.’s hammers, Mario’s first weapon.


On to the Mushroom Kingdom!


Mario RPG has had less of an influence on the series than most Mario games, I think most people would agree. Because of Nintendo and Square’s dispute, we’re not likely to see Geno, or Boshi, or Jonathan Jones ever again. It has still had some influence, however.

For example: Towns. It seems almost inconceivable now, but Mario RPG is pretty much the first Mario game to show any of the Mushroom Kingdom aside from the parts that Mario was currently smashing, stomping, or scorching. The Mushroom Kingdom of the modern day is a kind of whimsical, ironic place that doesn’t take itself too seriously – and that depiction began with Mario RPG. You’ve got practical jokers, little kids with big dreams, and castle staff – more, in other words, than a collection of Toads saying “Our princess is in another castle”. Mario’s original setting was vague enough that it could have gone in any direction – it could have gone the way of Sonic, trying to use modern technology to tell a “serious” story that doesn’t really fit in with the series’ roots. Mario avoided that, and Mario RPG’s sillier take on Mario’s world is a big reason for that, I think.

10-19-2008, 07:08 PM

For example, part two: Mario as a celebrity.

Mario RPG was the first Mario game that extended his celebrity in the real world to the game world. All of the people in the Mushroom Kingdom recognize Mario on sight, as they should. To them, he’s basically a superhero. The Paper Mario games run with this, using the fact that people don’t recognize Mario to demonstrate how senile or out-of-touch they are.


That’s me, the crusher of dreams…

10-19-2008, 07:10 PM

Hidden treasure chest count: 01/39

Yeah, we’re finding ‘em all. You expected anything less?


Hidden treasure chest count: 02/39

Conveniently, there’s another right here in the room.


The Mushroom Kingdom’s shopkeeper is kind of an asshole… I guess the designers wanted to create NPCs that reacted to your actions, but they couldn’t make every shopkeeper in the game do it, so this is the only one who whines if you climb all over his furniture or talk to him from behind the counter.

10-19-2008, 07:13 PM

Maybe he’s doing it to compensate for his crappy inventory! There’s basically nothing of note here.


Flower Jars are extremely valuable, but I usually sell the first one to give me some walking-around money. As in most RPGs, money is useless late but scarce early, and with the 300 coins we snag from this sale, we can purchase armor for both Mario and Mallow and stock up on Mushrooms, Honey Syrups, and Pick Me Ups, with enough left over to do it again at the next town we come to. This should last us until at least Moleville, and by then we’ll have more efficient ways to earn money. Besides, it’s not like flowers are in short supply.


Indeed it is. It’s the Shirtiest Shirt I’ve ever seen. It is, in fact, the platonic ideal of Shirt-ness. Sure, other Shirts will be better, but none can match this one for pure Shirt flavor.


Mario meets a GameFAQs poster!


Meet Bush!

To most people, this guy is a simple Easter egg, hidden behind a building by the game’s perspective. (There are a few more in Rose Town, in fact.) To me, though, Bush was hope. (Is that the first time those words have ever been written?)

I lost my internet cherry on Nintendo’s official message boards, must’ve been around 1997. Nintendo was in the middle of its N64 hyping phase during this time, but I did not have one, so I spent most of my time skulking around the old SNES boards. During this time, the Super Mario RPG boards were awash with rumors of secret characters. Sure, there were a ton of rumors claiming to get Link or Samus out of bed and into the party, but I don’t believe any character received more bogus rumors than this guy, dubbed Bush. Supposedly, he was some kind of plant-man who used nature magic, and he could be yours if you strummed out a particular tune in Tadpole Pond, or went through a particular sequence of paths in the Forest Maze, or entered a particular code in every building in the game.

Every time someone popped up with a new rumor, I would immediately rush to my maxed-out file and try it out. (People lying? On the internet?) And each time, of course, I would prove that rumor false. After a while, people realized that “codes” that only “worked” in particular windows of time were more difficult to disprove, so they moved to that, and I would start new files just to try their methods. But I kept trying, each time hoping that this would be the real code, the one that worked. This could be because I was/am extremely stupid and gullible. (You decide!) But I like to think that it was because Mario RPG had been such a mind-blowing game to me, so packed with awesome secrets, that I wanted to believe that there was still something out there that I hadn’t yet seen. Grate Guy’s Casino amazed me. Culex shocked me. Why not hidden characters?

I kind of miss those days, when I was so filled with wonder. It’s tough to surprise me these days, and I yearn for the time when even the most basic RPG tropes were cool and new to me. That’s what Bush was to me – the promise that there was something beyond heaven and earth than was dreamt of in my philosophies.

10-19-2008, 07:15 PM

Toad is waiting for us in the lobby of the castle.


Hidden treasure chest count: 03/39

By far the most-missed hidden treasure chest in the game, this one is just bad game design. It can only be gotten right now, at this very moment, by jumping on Toad’s head as he runs to the door, then jumping from there to an invisible platform where you can get the chest. This is completely unintuitive, is never hinted at in any way, and you never get another chance at it. Bah.


What is the Princess’s “???”? Lingerie? Dirty pornographic magazines? Plans to depose the Chancellor in a violent coup? We’ll never know, because her chambermaid bribes us with a Mushroom to keep it quiet.


The Chancellor and a collection of superfluous Toads await us in the throne room.

10-19-2008, 07:16 PM

Fascist Toads, who try to make us go up the middle.


I, however, can break through their oppression and jump up to the throne! Ha ha ha!

…Actually, though, there’s nothing to do up here. Onwards:


The Chancellor, of course, is completely clueless regarding the giant sword which split the sky.

I like to think that “drop my spores” is a mushroom euphemism for “defecated myself”.


What’s that, boy? Trouble at the old mill?

Anyway, Mario eventually explains about the kidnapping, and the sword, and the destruction of the bridge. The Chancellor, being completely impotent, sends Mario to do the princess-saving thing once again.

10-19-2008, 07:17 PM

The Chancellor gives us a (completely useless, as it’s not like we can ever get lost) Map, as well as permission to loot the vault.


The Vault Guard gives us a lecture straight out of Things What Live In Boxes 101.

Loaded down with new stuff, we head outside, and find that…


A robbery is in progress!

Mallow takes it like a man, though:


Mallow’s ability to control the weather via his emotions was a big deal in the advertising runup for the game, but it doesn’t actually show up that much in-game. It’s basically just here, and another throwaway gag later in the game…

10-19-2008, 07:18 PM

Mallow explains the situation: He was in town to buy some things for his grandfather, but Croco, that purple, top-hatted crocodile we spotted earlier, made off with the old man’s rare coin. Mallow recruits us to help him win it back.



Mallow is probably the second-weakest party member with everything taken all together, but bad help is better than no help. His strength is magic, but he’s really slow and will be obsoleted by Geno before too much longer. We mustn’t forget to equip Mallow with the Pants and Antidote Pin we bought earlier, though.


If you talk to the shopkeep with Mallow in your party, he gives you a Pick Me Up pro-bono to assist in the “get back Mallow’s coin” effort.


On our way out, we spot Croco again. Seems he’s headed for Bandit’s Way, so we follow in hot pursuit.


Croco tries to warn us off chasing him, but we’re not so easily deterred.

10-19-2008, 07:20 PM

With his new Hammer, Mario is now a physical-attacking machine. Mallow can help out with his stretchy unarmed punches, but his real strength is magic.


This is the optimal enemy group in Bandit’s Way, offering the best experience and coins gain, but still weak enough that we can kill it in one turn.


Attack the giant reptilian Frogog with the Hammer, then wipe out the rest of the group with Mallow’s hit-all spell, a timed Thunderbolt.

10-19-2008, 07:21 PM

A few fights into Bandit’s Way and Mario levels up. He also learns his first new move, Fire Orb. All of Mario’s special moves are variations on either Jump or Fire Orb.


Couldn’t jump? Good sir, have you ever played a Mario game before?


Hidden treasure chest count: 04/39

By jumping straight right from a spinning flower, we reveal a hidden treasure box containing a Kerokerocola, which completely refills all HP and FP for all characters. Since I’m generally not a fan of the Princess, Colas take care of most of my healing needs in the late game.


These dog-like enemies, K-9s, are the strongest enemies in Bandit’s Way. (The Frogogs look big and tough, but are fairly weak.) Even these, however, are pretty easy to dispatch.

10-19-2008, 07:22 PM

Mallow reaches level 3 and learns the healing spell HP Rain. HP Rain is useful in exactly one fight, but besides that? Eh.


I beg to differ!


This treasure chest contains a Star, which allows us to beat enemies (and gain experience!) without fighting for as long as it lasts. It’s not broken or anything, but it’s a major time-saver.


I don’t usually go out of my way to get to level 4 before Croco, but it’s certainly helpful.

10-19-2008, 07:23 PM

Our first status effect! Mario is currently “scared”, which halves his offensive and defensive abilities. Mario and Mallow are both wearing Antidote Pins, which prevents poison. We’ll run into Pins which do the same for all status effects later on.


It turns out that you actually have to sneak up on him. If you approach Croco from the back, you get this…


But if he spots you, you get this:


It took me several playthroughs before I realized this. Before, I just charged Croco endlessly until he deigned to fight me. After sneaking up on him three times, however:

10-19-2008, 07:24 PM

This came completely out of nowhere.


Croco is extremely weak to fire, so the best way to bring him down is to spam Fire Orb. Tapping Y allows you to throw more fireballs.


Mallow is almost completely useless, however. His regular attack, seen here, is weak, and Thunderbolt competes with Fire Orb for FP. His best use is to use Honey Syrups to make sure Mario can Fire Orb without missing a beat.

Fire Orbing Croco results in him skipping his first turn as he “douses a tail fire”. Mack, the next boss, does this as well.

10-19-2008, 07:26 PM

Croco has a weak regular attack and a stronger bomb attack. The bomb can beat Mallow easily if you forgot to equip him with armor.


You’ll know Croco’s almost done when he uses the Weird Mushroom spell to heal himself. At that point, he’s about two Fire Orbs away from going down.


Mission accomplished!


Croco spoils include a Flower Tab and a Wallet that the crocodile presumably swiped from someone else. Finders keepers!


Mallow announces that he’s heading back to the Mushroom Kingdom to finish his errand. Conveniently, a Warp Spring appears, allowing us to instantly warp back to the entrance of this area.

10-19-2008, 07:27 PM

However, things are not as we left them in the Mushroom Kingdom. The place has been overrun with Shyguys on springs, known as Shysters.


Shysters have a regular attack and the Drain spell, neither of which is much of a threat. Mallow’s Thunderbolt can wipe out a Shyster group of any size in one shot, provided that he has either a) reached level 4 or better, or b) given at least one level-up bonus to Special.


Yeah, an invasion of spring-loaded evildoers’ll do that.


The guard also gives us ten coins. Gee, and all we had to do to save the price of a Honey Syrup is save his miserable life.


Heh. Looks like Mallow’s errand will have to wait.

10-19-2008, 07:28 PM

It’s possible (and easy) to rush straight to Mack, the boss of the Shysters, and finish him off right away. However, doing so forces us to pass up on some of the treasures that saving the citizens brings in. Saving this guy and returning his Wallet, for example, nets us a Flower Tab.




I pray for Shyster trios, because they give more experience than the normal duo without any extra effort to dispatch.


You heard the man.

Clearing the house of Shysters earns us another Flower Tab.

10-19-2008, 07:29 PM

The Shysters have also invaded the castle, but they’re no more dangerous in there.


Soon after entering, Mario and Mallow both hit level 5.


By defeating the Shysters chasing Toad and then escorting him to the Princess’s bedroom, we can uncover a save point and a heal spot.


We can also pick up a third Flower Tab. Score!

10-19-2008, 07:30 PM

Thanks for the contribution, dude.


We make our way back down to the guest bedroom, where the Vault Guard pauses in his tale of good fortune only to give us a Wake Up Pin, which prevents Sleep and Silence. It also raises defense more than the Antidote Pins we’re currently wearing, so on to Mallow it goes.


Except me!

10-19-2008, 07:32 PM

We’re out of treasure to find and people to save, so there’s no help for it – I’m going to have to grind out a level against the endless stream of Shysters pouring in from the throne room. The difference between facing down Mack at level 5 and doing it at level 6 is like night and day, so I always make sure I’m there before I fight him. Level 6 is where Mario picks up Super Jump, the predecessor to the Power Bounce skills from the Paper Mario games. If you get a timed hit with Super Jump, Mario bounces and gets another hit; you can do this endlessly if your timing is good enough.

Grinding leaves kind of a bad taste in my mouth, but I promise not to gain another level until after we get Geno to make up for it. Deal?


Mack and the Shysters in the throne room seem quite content with their conquest. Time to break it up!


Mack is your classic flunky boss – he surrounds himself with four Shysters and replenishes them periodically. They’re slightly stronger than the normal Shysters we fought outside, but at level 5 Mallow can still one-shot them with Thunderbolt.


Wiping out Mack’s minions “stuns” him, evidently.

10-19-2008, 07:33 PM

Mack is the first “real” boss in the game, using fire-themed spells and wave after wave of Shysters to attack. Irritatingly, I also encountered another hurdle: The emulator I’m using has just enough lag to throw off my Super Jump timing, and I was unable to get more than about ten bounces at a time. This lengthens the fight considerably.


I love this. Raging wall of flame, one damage. Behold the power of Shirt.


Super Jump, even at its reduced bouncing capabilities, is still stronger than regular Jump or Fire Orb, and we have little trouble bringing down the first Smithy Gang member.


The experience from the fight is enough to get Mallow up to level 6. Mallow learns “Psychopath”, which allows him to see the remaining HP of enemies, as well as (if timed) read their thoughts.

10-19-2008, 07:34 PM

Floating behind the throne is a Star Piece. We don’t know what it’s for yet, but it sure is shiny, huh?


Two of Mack’s surviving flunkies quickly bail, mentioning something about informing the boss. Dun dun dun.


Now that the invasion thing is cleared up, Chancellor sends us in search of the Princess again. Mallow suggests meeting with his grandfather, Frogfucius, for advice on what to do next. We don’t have any better ideas, so that’s our next destination.


Next time: Beware the forest’s mushrooms

10-19-2008, 07:42 PM
I would urge you to slow this down a lot, and also break it up into smaller chunks. As it is, it's awkward for your audience to comment on specific scenes, and you're coasting past a lot of the game's charming humor (the Toad guard lamenting that he left his bazooka at home; Croco saying you'd never catch him in a hundred years, then fifty years, then running out of excuses; the Shyster jumping on the Toad kid's bed with him; Mack's guards dressing down Mario; etc).

It's cool that you can beat the game in an evening, but this is a Let's Play. It won't kill us to savor it.

10-19-2008, 08:08 PM
I would urge you to slow this down a lot, and also break it up into smaller chunks. As it is, it's awkward for your audience to comment on specific scenes, and you're coasting past a lot of the game's charming humor (the Toad guard lamenting that he left his bazooka at home; Croco saying you'd never catch him in a hundred years, then fifty years, then running out of excuses; the Shyster jumping on the Toad kid's bed with him; Mack's guards dressing down Mario; etc).

Thanks for pointing this out, because it's something I've been stewing over.

Thing is, you can't just point out these things and say "Look at this, isn't this awesome?". You have to have something to add, and I'm not sure I do. One thing I've been trying to cut down on is just repeating what's on the screen; it's redundant and lengthens the LP. I'm trying to find a balance between showing all these little gags and secrets while still keeping the LP a reasonable length...

Suggestions and ideas are welcome.

Dynastic Bird
10-19-2008, 08:10 PM
I agree; this is going way too fast. The fact that this is supposed to be once a week really reccomends you just slow it down.

Besides, I love this game. I played this through so many times it's not even funny, though I never did more than 10 times...

So much to comment on...Jesus Christ...My memories of having problems with Croco, when I didn't know about the resistance? Playing through this endlessly? Geno? Annoyed at the stupid Castle Chest? Loving the hell out of the characters and wishing that, one day, we'd get Mack in another game or something?

How about the Princess thing? FF1 made you rescue her first, and DQ1 made it optional; here you do it twice.

Or that it really led to PM's and Super Star Saga's weirdnesses (In retrospect, PM2 and it's outer space segment and the Punies were really weird; and Pirate ghosts?)?

Finding out just how easy the final boss is when you use Mallow and play with his weaknesses?

Frogfucius? The secret guy...Jeeze, there was a lot...

Edit: Actually, this feels as drawn out as FE was. Each chapter was like ten posts in that LP; now it's 30 a chapter. And now I see your post. How about limiting it to a area or two a day? I know I would dedicate a chapter to the next dungeon; it's your first real dungeon and there's a lot to see that can be easily skipped over. Besides, it has a logical breaking point. Heavens knows that there's a severe difference between the first half of the "world" and the second Rose Town half.

10-19-2008, 08:39 PM
Yeah, slowing it down would really improve on things, methinks - you left us with a lot to digest all in one go. The game itself is more structured around the individual events themselves rather than around the stars, so splitting them up that way would probably lead to a more natural flow. This update, for example, probably would've worked better split up into "Bowser's Keep", "Tutorial & Mallow's Coin", and "Vs. Mack" - each part feels like its own distinct chapter, and breaking it up that way would give the audience more room to breathe while still finishing with an acceptable cadence between each part.

That aside, commentary doesn't seem to be a problem - your technical knowledge of the game is astounding and I'm learning things that I didn't know before (the pattern in the level up bonuses, for example - I didn't even know it existed). I'd like to see more of the game's humour, though; a large part of the game's charm comes from the writing and characters, and focusing in more on that while keeping the top-notch technical information would round it out a bit more. You wouldn't necessarily have to comment on it all; sometimes a screenshot is all you really need.

So... yeah. Smaller updates and more Woolsey-humour plz.

10-19-2008, 09:03 PM
Yeah, there's a lot in these. Almost too much! The technical details though? Absolutely fantastic. I never knew Mario RPG had the kind of mechanics it apparently does. Color me impressed.

I kind of miss those days, when I was so filled with wonder. It’s tough to surprise me these days, and I yearn for the time when even the most basic RPG tropes were cool and new to me. That’s what Bush was to me – the promise that there was something beyond heaven and earth than was dreamt of in my philosophies.

Also, this, so very very hard. I'm not sure what it is, but I've developed an incredibly cynical and critical eye towards games. So while I do feel that games are genuinely better these days, few of them enthrall me as much as exploring SR-388 did back in Metroid 2. I don't think I've ever run through a game as many times as I have Final Fantasy Adventure, and still come out enjoying it anyway. I really do miss the old days.

10-19-2008, 09:03 PM
I always thought the sword's name was Smithy... o_o I kinda doubt I ever beat this game.

I can't play this game on an emulator. The platformer bits are too hard to do with a keyboard and I don't remember where my PC-controller went. I might try it on the Wii sometime. (It's on there now, isn't it?)

I'm gonna have to go with the "smaller updates" vote just because I usually don't have the time to read super long updates whenever I randomly check the board.

10-19-2008, 09:19 PM
I always thought the sword's name was Smithy... o_o

Very common misconception, but nope!

It surprised me when Croco used the word "bugger." I don't know its status in the US, but it's a really bad word in Commonwealth countries. Like, "Go to your room!" bad. It's not as bad as "fucker" (which, of course, is what it means), but it's not far down on the tier of swears, either.

10-19-2008, 09:25 PM
It surprised me when Croco used the word "bugger." I don't know its status in the US, but it's a really bad word in Commonwealth countries. Like, "Go to your room!" bad. It's not as bad as "fucker" (which, of course, is what it means), but it's not far down on the tier of swears, either.

I don't remember what show it was, but there was some US TV show or movie or something that used the word "bugger" and when it was aired that way in the UK a bunch of people got upset over it. In the US, as far as I know, it's just a funny word and right up there with "darn". When I first heard it, I thought it was something to do with bugs. ^_^

10-19-2008, 09:41 PM
the first time I played this game, I was all the way to Nimbus Land before I figured out I could block enemy attacks with the right timing.

the second time through the game was a lot easier!

10-19-2008, 09:51 PM
the first time I played this game, I was all the way to Nimbus Land before I figured out I could block enemy attacks with the right timing.

the second time through the game was a lot easier!

You can block attacks!? D:

10-19-2008, 10:00 PM
You can block attacks!? D:

Yeah! Just like how you hit the button when you attack and do extra damage if you time it right, all enemy attacks have the same thing for defending against them. It's awesome. Ever since that game, I find myself hitting buttons at appropriate-looking/sounding times in the hope it'll boost my offense or defense. :(

10-19-2008, 10:16 PM
I say shorter updates as well. This update was a lot to read and they're only going to get longer if you choose to make each update revolve around a star each. Plus it would a downright shame to rush through Booster's Tower and Marrymore in one update.

I didn't know about the level up bonuses either so thanks for pointing that out.

10-20-2008, 01:59 AM
Very common misconception, but nope!

It surprised me when Croco used the word "bugger." I don't know its status in the US, but it's a really bad word in Commonwealth countries. Like, "Go to your room!" bad. It's not as bad as "fucker" (which, of course, is what it means), but it's not far down on the tier of swears, either.

In the US, it's just regarded as fanciful Brit-slang, the same as "poppycock" or "cherrio." Most people don't even know what it means.

Octopus Prime
10-20-2008, 12:27 PM
In the US, it's just regarded as fanciful Brit-slang, the same as "poppycock" or "cherrio." Most people don't even know what it means.

Which is precisely why I do all my cussing in the British tongue. I can spin a cuss enough to make a sailor blush, and still the old granny I just spoke to will still smile and laugh and compliment what a polite young man I am.

10-20-2008, 02:11 PM
Hidden treasure chest count: 03/39

By far the most-missed hidden treasure chest in the game, this one is just bad game design. It can only be gotten right now, at this very moment, by jumping on Toad’s head as he runs to the door, then jumping from there to an invisible platform where you can get the chest. This is completely unintuitive, is never hinted at in any way, and you never get another chance at it. Bah.
I really hated that one stupid treasure chest. I must have jumped randomly around the world for hours trying to find it, only to feel cheated when I found out where it was.

Dynastic Bird
10-20-2008, 02:31 PM
Which is precisely why I do all my cussing in the British tongue. I can spin a cuss enough to make a sailor blush, and still the old granny I just spoke to will still smile and laugh and compliment what a polite young man I am.

You're bloody well right, you're bloody well right...how does it go?

And yeah- chalk me up for loving the technical stuff! And missing the old days of wonder...

Wait, the third star has at least 3 distinct areas. THAT'S INSANE! Not to mention that Star 3 will be sort of short, as well as #5...

Uh, anyone here fine with spoilers pre-Tanto says it?

10-20-2008, 03:47 PM
This is a very good LP but yeah, smaller updates please.

10-21-2008, 08:20 AM
Also, as long as we're slowing things down, I also vote for showing some of the more entertaining Mallow enemy mind-reading shots. I have vague memories of some of them being pretty great.

10-21-2008, 09:41 AM
I have nothing to add to what's already been said, except for my own cheers! I actually have a cart for this at home still... (gathering dust with the Dreamcast, NES, SNES, the two Xboxes...)

10-21-2008, 11:21 PM
I'd like to see an update explaining Geno to me. Everyone who's ever played this game LOVES Geno. Everyone who's ever played this game bitches about how it sucks that Geno will never be in any other game. I don't get it. Geno is lame. Can you explain why the hell he's so damn popular?

10-21-2008, 11:53 PM
I'd like to see an update explaining Geno to me. Everyone who's ever played this game LOVES Geno. Everyone who's ever played this game bitches about how it sucks that Geno will never be in any other game. I don't get it. Geno is lame. Can you explain why the hell he's so damn popular?

Short answer: Geno is the only character in the game who does useful shit. Maybe this Let's Play will prove me wrong!

10-21-2008, 11:58 PM
Short answer: Geno is the only character in the game who does useful shit. Maybe this Let's Play will prove me wrong!

I really hope there's more to it than that. Shit, blue magic is useful but Strago is an old man with a bad haircut. It takes more than usefulness to impress me.

Dynastic Bird
10-22-2008, 05:19 AM
I really hope there's more to it than that. Shit, blue magic is useful but Strago is an old man with a bad haircut. It takes more than usefulness to impress me.

...I think I just realized why. It might be best to wait until you actually see him.

10-22-2008, 12:38 PM
I'm gonna go with the gun. Am I misremembering, or wasn't the little wooden boy packin' some heat?

10-22-2008, 12:42 PM
He doesn't carry a gun; he shoots bullets directly out of his fingertips (and later, his entire arm). Which is even better.

10-22-2008, 12:44 PM
He doesn't carry a gun; he shoots bullets directly out of his fingertips (and later, his entire arm). Which is even better.And he shoots his whole hand(s) into enemies too.

10-22-2008, 12:46 PM
Don't forget that he eventually starts shooting cannon shells and stars, too! Dude's a one-man army with those arms of his.

10-22-2008, 12:47 PM
I think his appeal is partly that he's not Mallow.

10-22-2008, 12:53 PM
Speaking of which, Tanto said Mallow was the second-weakest character, right? I wonder... who does that make the weakest then?

10-22-2008, 01:15 PM
I'm guessing Toadstool. She doesn't exactly have much as far as offense goes.

10-22-2008, 02:59 PM
I'd like to see an update explaining Geno to me. Everyone who's ever played this game LOVES Geno. Everyone who's ever played this game bitches about how it sucks that Geno will never be in any other game. I don't get it. Geno is lame. Can you explain why the hell he's so damn popular?

Geno is awesome. He is the strongest character in the game by far, and is useful in almost every situation. Add that to his arsenal of cool weapons, his flashy star magic, and his stylin’ blue cape, and it’s no wonder he’s a fan favorite. If there were any justice in the world he’d have his own spinoff by now.

No Geno this update (check out the updated schedule in the first post), but once we do get him, get used to seeing him.

Speaking of which, Tanto said Mallow was the second-weakest character, right? I wonder... who does that make the weakest then?

I find that the Princess is actually the weakest character overall. It’s not that she’s bad, it’s that she’s highly specialized – in the fights where you need her, she’s indispensable, but the rest of the time, she’s deadweight. And the fights where you need her number maybe a half-dozen in total. She’s a dedicated healer with no uses outside that narrow field, for better or worse.

When we last left off, we had saved the Mushroom Kingdom from an army of marauding Shysters. Now, we head to Mallow’s home of Tadpole Pond, and to get there, we need to negotiate the dank Kero Sewers. First things first, though…


Mallow forgot why he even came to the Mushroom Kingdom in the first place, but we didn’t. At the shop, we trade the Rare Frog Coin we won back from Croco for the Cricket Pie, evidently some kind of frog delicacy.


Onwards. A new path has opened to the south, leading us into a new submap.


Mallow must be an old hand at traveling through the Sewers at this point, so he takes the lead into the Mushroom Kingdom’s dark underbelly, stopping only to warn us of the dread “Belome”.


Kero Sewers is a network of water and pipes, the first real dungeon in the game. It’s the first place in the game with any real non-linearity. You can rush through this dungeon in a minute or so if you’re so inclined, but we’ll head off the beaten path first to search for treasure.

10-22-2008, 03:01 PM

After heading through the first pipe, we drop down a few steps and enter this one.


After rushing through an empty hallway, we find ourselves atop some ruins. This place is visible from the main path, but can only be reached through the pipes. We climb to the top, snagging a flower from a chest along the way.


After entering the pipe at the top, we emerge in this room, containing a Star and six enemies. I don’t like fighting in the Kero Sewers for reasons I’ll explain in a bit, but Stars are rare and precious and represent free experience, so we grab it and go crazy.


After it wears off, we return the way we came and drop down to the bottom of the room we were previously in. There’s a chest here as well, but it contains a monster, Pandorite.


There are four different species of chest monster in the game, but all of them are completely invulnerable to fire, ice, and lightning. They’re extremely weak to jump, however, so Mario takes the lead against them. Mallow, however, is forced to hunker down in defense.

10-22-2008, 03:02 PM

Pandorite has most of the same attacks as Mack, and is a little more powerful than the big knife. He’s weak on defense, though, and a few Super Jumps bring him down with a minimum of damage.


The real reason we came this way is to beat Pandorite. Not only do we snag a Flower Jar as spoils, but we also pick up a Trueform Pin. The Pin, which protects the wearer against the transformative status effects (“Mushroom” and “Scarecrow”), will be critical once we confront Belome.


Our treasure hunting complete, we head to the exit and swim through this canal to get back on the main path.


We end up in a large room filled with water, with a submerged pipe at the bottom. As Mario can’t dive in this area, there’s no entering it yet – we’ll have to drain the water before we can proceed. To that end, we make our way to the southeast pipe, dodging Rat Funks as we go.


I kind of dislike fighting enemies in the Kero Sewers. They take a while to beat, especially with only two characters, and they love to throw status effects like poison and fear at you. It’s not that they’re difficult so much as they’re annoying… I do most of my fighting in areas where the enemy groups go down in a round or two. If you’ve gotten to level 6 before Mack, that should hold you over until after you’re done with the Forest Maze, so I tend to ignore fights in this area.

10-22-2008, 03:04 PM

Of course, sometimes the game will randomly prevent you from running. There’s an item which will allow you to run away 100% of the time, but this is the only dungeon in the game where I flee very often.


Eventually, we make our way to a green switch. When tripped, this drains the water from the large room we were in before, allowing us to access the underwater pipe we saw earlier.


Like so.


This treasure box is tantalizingly out of reach… What happens is that much later in the game, we’ll uncover a secret path which leads back to this area. We’ll reenter from a pipe in the north which will allow us to jump to the box.


However, some manipulation of the engine allows us to get up there now. There are a bunch of Boos in this area, and when you flee from a fight, the enemy flashes for a few seconds to give you time to get away. The enemy will not engage a fight in this state, but it’s still solid, so you can bait an enemy in, flee from the fight, then use it as a stepping stone to these inaccessible areas.

Sadly, someone at Square must have anticipated this exploit, as the chest contains only a flower rather than the much rarer item it has if you pick it up legitimately. And the path is a dead end when entered from this direction, so no sequence breaking for us. Phooey.

10-22-2008, 03:07 PM

Back on track, we grab a mushroom from the chest, save our game, and drop into the room beyond…


…Which contains a giant door, as Mallow helpfully points out…


…And what can only be Belome.


Belome is definitely where this game takes a turn for the strange. The dungeon is filled with rats and Boos and Cheep-Cheeps… but the boss is a giant four-eyed monster with tentacles growing out of his forehead and a tremendous appetite. Not your normal Mario fare.


Belome has lots of HP and a collection of weird tricks, but he doesn’t do much actual damage, so we can easily outlast him. Both Super Jump and Thunderbolt work well against him, so we go on the attack.

10-22-2008, 03:08 PM

About halfway through the fight, Belome starts using his Scarecrow Funk spell on you. As you might expect, this turns the target into a scarecrow, in which state they can only defend and use magic. It never wears off, either, so if Mario gets s’crowed and you run out of FP, you have to punch away Belome’s 500 HP with Mallow’s dinky regular attack. Not fun times.

(Can you figure out that this happened to me my first time through the game?)


Thankfully, Belome will only target Mario with this spell, so if you equip him with a Trueform Pin, it does nothing. Belome has something scarier in store for Mallow, as we’ll soon see…


Sweet, a freebie. Sometimes when you use an item, you’ll get a freebie, which causes the item to be returned to your inventory instead of disappearing when you use it. These can evidently be influenced, but I’m not that good at it…


Yikes! Yes, you saw right: Belome ate Mallow alive. Thankfully, he forgot to chew, so we can get him back by pounding on Belome with Mario for a while. This doesn’t even do any damage.


I’ll bet.

10-22-2008, 03:09 PM

Well, I guess we’ll never see him again!


After defeating him, Belome vanishes, leaving behind a green switch and a warning to “Beware the flood!”


How unexpected!

(I have to say that the square water here cracks me up every time. I know it’s just an artifact of perspective, but it looks so dumb.)


We’re released from the sewers into the Midas Waterfall and River, a two-part minigame. In the waterfall part, we drift down the falls, collecting as many floating coins as we can. The path splits twice, and for maximum coinage, you’ll want to take the left fork first, then the right.


I feel that the best way to play this section is to tap the button once a half-second or so. Pounding on the button will cause Mario to move up a bit, but he drops down immediately afterwards and won’t respond to your commands for a second or so. If you wait a beat in between presses, however, you maintain control, and can move more or less horizontally without losing much vertically. You can’t fight the current, so don’t try to; just move with it.

There are also a few caves in the stream… More on this in a bit…

10-22-2008, 03:11 PM

During the River portion, Mario rides barrels, jumping between them to collect coins. There are two “streams” here, and you can switch between them by bumping the barrel you’re riding into another barrel, which will knock you into the opposite stream. The coins are always in the same place, however, so to ensure the best score you’ll want to bump twice, then jump twice. Repeat that pattern over and over until the course ends and you’ll end up with a good score.

This sounds easier than it is; even now I pull off perfect Midas River runs only rarely. It requires slightly more precise timing than the rest of the game, and it speeds up as you go.


You also have to watch out for these little fish, who will knock coins loose if they hit you.


An old man at the bottom keeps track of your score (waterfall and river combined), and will trade you a Frog Coin for your earnings if you meet his price. The better you do, the lower his asking price for a Frog Coin – in other words, if you can do, say, a ninety-coin run, he drops his price to sixty coins for the rest of the game. It’s a risk-free way of winning Coins, but it sure does take a while…


The first time you talk to him, the man also gives you a NokNok Shell, Mario’s next weapon. He’ll also let you use the spring to shoot right back to the top of Midas Waterfall, but that’s kind of a waste of ten coins, as you can do the same by simply rushing through Kero Sewers again – entering what was Belome’s chamber will take you to the beginning of the course.


…Which I go ahead and do right now. I always do the Waterfall twice; once for the Frog Coins, and once for the flowers which appear in two of the caverns. (These are mutually exclusive – you can only get one for each time you do the Waterfall.) The first flower is found in this cavern, the first one encountered after the first fork.

10-22-2008, 03:12 PM

The cool thing about the caves is that there are these little Splash Mountain-esque scenes that play out while you’re traveling through them. In this one, a Bandit and a Sky Troopa fight over a flower, only to accidentally knock it into the water at the end. Suckers!


All the caves have little scenes like this, even the ones that don’t give you flowers.


I pulled off a much better River run this time, as well (the first time I was a little rusty and got nailed by the fish a couple times), and even picked up another Frog Coin.

On to the Pond!


Tadpole Pond is deserted at first. The music is distinctly more low-key, and no one talks to you. Even Melody Bay is empty. To liven things up, we’ll have to have a pow-wow with Frogfucius, so we step on the gray stone.

10-22-2008, 03:14 PM

Mallow steps in and sets the record straight.


Frogfucius, we’ll discover later, is supposed to be our go-to guy when we’re lost and don’t know what to do next. He knows everything, so he can point us in the right direction.


Attracted by Mario’s celebrity, a whole school(?) of tadpoles appear. They beg for a jump, so Mario, of course…


…gives them one of those ridiculously showy jumps he won’t do in the actual game. Where was that when I was using flashing ghosts as platforms, huh?

10-22-2008, 03:15 PM

At this point, a wizened voice begins floating over the pond…


Frogfucius shows off his knowledge of recent weather conditions. Truly, he is a savant.


I’ve always found this joke to be a little incongruent with Frogfucius’s character. He’s supposed to be our wise, respected mentor, but he’s paying a Lakitu to carry him around so that he can scam people into thinking he’s got psychic powers. What a fraud.


Frogfucius invites us to his island to discuss matters of the gravest importance.


From now on, whenever we step on the gray stone, the tadpoles will form up, allowing us to cross over to Frogfucius. That’s gotta be a degrading existence…

10-22-2008, 03:16 PM

Exposition time!


Frogfucius settles in to explain the plot to us.


Frogfucius goes on to explain the truth of what happened when Exor slammed into Bowser’s Keep, complete with jumping on his desk to reenact the actual slamming. The Princess and Bowser both were sent flying, lost to parts unknown. Meanwhile, Smithy’s goons have been infiltrating Mario’s world.


Somehow I think that the two may end up being one and the same!


Mallow asks for Frogfucius’s opinion on the Star Piece we picked up after crushing Mack. Frogfucius, obviously not wanting to lose his reputation for omniscience, dodges the question by saying something to the effect of “looks important; hang on to ‘em”.

10-22-2008, 03:17 PM

Mallow seems all too willing to kick Mario to the curb, but Frogfucius puts his webbed flipper down.


(Enter dramatic silence.)


Spoiler alert!


Dun dun dun!


It seems improbable that everyone in the pond would be stunned by this revelation. You have to figure that someone said “Well, he’s a fluffy guy with weather magic and none of the characteristics normally associated with frogs. I’m not surprised that he’s not a tadpole. Everything makes total sense to me now!”

10-22-2008, 03:18 PM

Frogfucius tells the origin story -- Mallow floated down the falls in a basket as a baby, and Frogfucius took him in -- and gives Mallow new purpose. He’ll head to Metropolis, become a reporter, and fight crime on the side – er, travel with Mario.


He also gives us our next mission.


Rather than let the old man sink into depression, we cheer him up with the crickety delights of Cricket Pie. Don’t think I’ve gone soft, though – I’m only in it for the reward.


Frogfucius hands over the Froggie Stick, Mallow’s first weapon. Mallow’s regular attack is no longer completely useless. Huzzah!

We could move on to Rose Town at this point, but we’ve still got things to do here.


Not in the least of which is disgusting Frogfucius.

10-22-2008, 03:20 PM

First, we introduce ourselves to this little guy, near Melody Bay. Whenever Toadofsky, the composer, is hanging around, this tadpole will give us exactly the song he wants to hear, so he’s a good friend to have on our side.


Conveniently, Toadofsky himself is currently at Melody Bay, banging his head endlessly against the iron wall of composer’s block. It’s up to us to “inspire” him, by giving him sources from which to plagiarize!


The first song Toadofsky wants is Frogfucius’s Suite #18. (In addition to the tadpole outside, it can be found hanging on a tapestry on Frogfucius’s island.) To play music on Melody Bay, you wait until a tadpole has positioned itself at the proper note position, then jump on it to fix it to that note. Repeat until you’ve played the full melody, seen here.


Toadofsky hands over the Alto Card. Score!

You see what I did there? “Score”, like a musical score, right? Right?


So what’s the Alto Card for? Well, if we take it over to the other end of Tadpole Pond, it gets us in the metaphorical door of the trendy Juice Bar. Here, we can purchase heal-all items found nowhere else in the game. Elixirs (+80 HP for all) are as good as Kerokero Colas for quite a while, so we purchase a few for the road…

10-22-2008, 03:21 PM

And pawn Mario’s old, obsoleted Hammer.


The other shop in this area is the Frog Coin Emporium, and isn’t quite as useful. It sells Sleepy Bombs, which are useless for the same reason things that cause sleep are always useless, and various temporary stat boost items. Bracers and Energizers (one person, defense and one person, offense, respectively) are completely useless because we’ll eventually have a spell that duplicates the effects of both spells and doesn’t take up an item slot. Power Blast and Crystalline (offense up for everyone and defense up for everyone, respectively), are more intriguing, but ultimately not worth the slot. Items don’t stack in this game, and you only have 29 slots worth of space, so specialized items like this are not quite as useful. It doesn’t help that both of the bosses these items would be most useful against can negate them.

Bowing to the requests for shorter updates, I’ll wrap it up here for today. When we pick it up, we’ll move into Rose Way, Rose Town, and the Forest Maze. Plus: Geno.

Next time: Okay, now beware the forest’s mushrooms

10-22-2008, 03:34 PM
I find that the Princess is actually the weakest character overall. It’s not that she’s bad, it’s that she’s highly specialized – in the fights where you need her, she’s indispensable, but the rest of the time, she’s deadweight. And the fights where you need her number maybe a half-dozen in total. She’s a dedicated healer with no uses outside that narrow field, for better or worse.

Ahh, I figured that's what you meant. Yeah, I guess in terms of versatility Toadstool's outdone, but often I find she makes for a good safety net for the first time through. Her healing is really something out of this world, and for someone playing through the first time it's really a lifesaver.


Belome is definitely where this game takes a turn for the strange. The dungeon is filled with rats and Boos and Cheep-Cheeps… but the boss is a giant four-eyed monster with tentacles growing out of his forehead and a tremendous appetite. Not your normal Mario fare.

Belome was where SMRPG really picked up for me when I played through the first time. Square's and Woolsey's strange, strange sense of humour are really something unique, and I honestly can't get enough of it when I see it.

Loving the new update format, by the way. Lots o' things to talk about without it being overwhelming, and you covered a lot of the humour we all know and love. Keep 'em coming!

10-22-2008, 03:38 PM
Okay, at first I didn't really mind the long updates, but I dunno. I'm still going to read it, it's just that I don't feel like reading it right now because it's so intimidating. I know this is hypocritical considering that some of my updates for Ogre Battle spanned six or seven posts, but you've got sixteen posts here.

I think that you're trying to show too many details. I understand that with a game like this, part of the reason why people like it is because of the details. And I understand that you are a complete master of this game. But this is a bit much I feel. We don't need to see the shop screen detailing you selling Mario's Hammer for instance. Just tell us. And we don't need a dedicated screenshot/text blurb to explain that there are fish in the river. Just tell us and move on. I think small changes like that would make it 100% less intimidating.

So...he's a puppet with a cape and gun hands and he's strong. Yeah...I still don't get it.

10-22-2008, 03:52 PM
I think that you're trying to show too many details. I understand that with a game like this, part of the reason why people like it is because of the details. And I understand that you are a complete master of this game. But this is a bit much I feel. We don't need to see the shop screen detailing you selling Mario's Hammer for instance. Just tell us. And we don't need a dedicated screenshot/text blurb to explain that there are fish in the river. Just tell us and move on. I think small changes like that would make it 100% less intimidating.

I respectfully disagree. The attention to detail and in-depth presentation are part of the reasons why I'm enjoying this LP. It's more fun to see someone doing something than it is to read about it, I feel, and seeing images of the actions-in-question make it easier to understand what's going on regardless. Besides, text-only descriptions are bo-ring, and I don't really mind the image-increase if it's there to supplement the text - what I found intimidating was that Tanto was initially skimming over so much at once, and now that he's slowed things down a bit I'm really enjoying it.

TK Flash
10-22-2008, 05:57 PM
I agree with PapillonReel. I very much like the in-depth coverage of the game's events - I haven't played this game in a decade, and this LP really brings it all back home.

Dynastic Bird
10-22-2008, 06:20 PM
3rd'd Papillion. This is great! And I have to agree with how you split this up too. It's easy to forget just how much there is in this game.

And I think a lot of you missed why Geno is so awesome. It's not that he's one of the few gunners in this game, though it helps. I think it's in his intro...

10-22-2008, 06:46 PM
I like large quantities of colorful screenshots. I approve fully of this level of detail! :3

10-22-2008, 09:34 PM
I like the new update format as well. I don't mind more pictures since they're usually arranged so sequential scenes are right next to each other and don't require actual scrolling. I also feel like I'm playing along as well. I could hear the subdued Tadpole Pond theme when Mario first enters the area and when it morphs into the full theme remember and hear the sound effect accompanying the say what!? and dramatic sad music for all the relevant screen shots.

Thanks for doing this, Tanto.

10-22-2008, 10:28 PM
In celebration of this awesome LP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvB-lIcHHPQ

(I guess there are spoilers there if you're worried about that sort of thing for a 12 year old game.)

10-26-2008, 08:28 AM
So...he's a puppet with a cape and gun hands and he's strong. Yeah...I still don't get it.

Geno is a Mary Sue. Granted, he's a Mary Sue I've always liked, but he's of divine origin, he's more powerful than Mario and his friends (which he outright admits), he's mysterious and his design barely contains a trace of Nintendo.

Basically (and I ranted about this elsewhere), I find Mario RPG to be a lot of fun and God knows it's influential, but watching it being played through on the VC made me realise that Squaresoft didn't think much of the Nintendo mythos. With Paper Mario, especially Paper Mario TTYD, the enemies, bosses and characters looked and acted like pure Mario series denziens, even if they hadn't appeared in previous games. Mario RPG throws some bad guys that seem like they just belong in a Final Fantasy title. Culex aside.

But that doesn't stop my fond, fond memories of this game, so I'll shift to a new controversy: wasn't there a mild stink over the name "NokNok Shell" because omg Woolsey didn't translate it right? And it was supposed to be "NokoNoko Shell," as in the Japanese name for a Koopa?

Didn't something similar happen with the name "Lazy Shell?"

Panic! Time for a re-translation patch!

TK Flash
10-26-2008, 04:47 PM
Oh hell yeah, fan re-translation time! All the characters say "I'm foolish, but pease take care of me!" when they join and "Okay then, I'll humbly recieve this" when they get something! The whole experience will be much more immersive.

10-26-2008, 05:41 PM
With Paper Mario, especially Paper Mario TTYD, the enemies, bosses and characters looked and acted like pure Mario series denziens, even if they hadn't appeared in previous games.

On a side note, I think that's a part of why I didn't really care for Super Paper Mario. Well, that and the mediocre gameplay ...

10-26-2008, 05:51 PM
Basically (and I ranted about this elsewhere), I find Mario RPG to be a lot of fun and God knows it's influential, but watching it being played through on the VC made me realise that Squaresoft didn't think much of the Nintendo mythos.

Sup (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=261230#post261230)?

7. Mario wields hammers for weapons, and his special attacks are jumps and fireballs. His ability to leap several times his own height, treated as a matter of fact in previous games, is made the focus of his celebrity in the Mushroom Kingdom.

With Paper Mario, especially Paper Mario TTYD, the enemies, bosses and characters looked and acted like pure Mario series denziens, even if they hadn't appeared in previous games.

Nothing in this game (excepting Culex) looks more foreign to Mario than, say, the X-Nauts.

Dynastic Bird
10-26-2008, 06:03 PM
Sup (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?p=261230#post261230)?

7. Mario wields hammers for weapons, and his special attacks are jumps and fireballs. His ability to leap several times his own height, treated as a matter of fact in previous games, is made the focus of his celebrity in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Nothing in this game (excepting Culex) looks more foreign to Mario than, say, the X-Nauts.

Have you ever played M&L: Partners in Time? They seemed malicious. And alien. At least Grodus and the gang had the silliness typical of PM1 and even Bowyer and the rest of the Smithy Gang.

10-26-2008, 06:32 PM
I'd ... kind of like a Mario RPG where the Koopa Kids (NOT FREAKING BOWSER JR.! (sorry)) are the sub bosses as Mario fights his way to Bowser's castle and saves the princess ... is that weird?

10-28-2008, 07:55 PM
When last we left off at Let’s Play Super Mario RPG, we had made our way through the waterways to Tadpole Pond, and received our next task: To save Rose Town. Onwards, then…


To get to Rose Town, we have to pass through another of these short intermediary stages, Rose Way.


Most of Rose Way is a giant lake that can only be crossed via these yellow platforms. Mario hops on the first and begins making his way northwest.


Mario can’t move while the platforms are blue (not that he’d want to), but he can jump. The Starslaps in the lake will occasionally rise up an attack, but they can be avoided without much trouble.


At two points, we have to make detours through exits to the northwest and northeast. Although these rooms are a dead end and a loop, respectively, they’re required in order to proceed, as reentering the lake area from them remixes the directions the platforms move in, allowing forward progress.


It also allows us to briefly backtrack in order to pick up items, like this flower.

10-28-2008, 07:56 PM

Shy Guys are the most common type of enemy in Rose Way. As awesome as Shy Guys are, they’re weak, and they give so little in terms of spoils that it’s not even worth the pain in my thumb it takes to kill them.

Come to think of it, Shy Guys haven’t had much of a role in the Mario RPGs, compared to other species. They had their own chapter in Paper Mario, of course, but they didn’t appear at all in Thousand-Year Door, and they’re only minor enemies here. The next Paper Mario game needs to feature a Shy Guy party member to rectify this egregious oversight.


Occasionally you’ll run across weirder enemy types as well, like Bandits, Starslaps, and spider-like Arachnes.


The second-to-last area in Rose Way contains five chests, one with a Mushroom, and four containing five coins each. These chests regenerate endlessly when you reenter, making this one of the easiest (if tedious) places to earn money in the early game. Towards the end we’ll have more money than we can possibly use, so this place loses what usefulness it has, but we’ll be going on a shopping spree in Rose Town, so we need to spend a bit of time here.

In the last area of Rose Way…


Yikes! It’s Bowser!

He’s not paying too much attention to us, though…

10-28-2008, 07:58 PM

…He’s too busy marshalling his Koopa Troops for an assault on Smithy’s goons.

Seems unlikely they’ll be able to take back the Keep with fifteen guys, though.


That little sideshow taken care of, time to move on to Rose Town.


Rose Town has… a problem. Seems that arrows have been flying out of the forest, paralyzing whoever they happen to hit.

(You can actually get hit by the arrows yourself, although they’re programmed to avoid you. It doesn’t do anything, though.)


Well, gang, looks like we’ve got another mystery on our hands.

10-28-2008, 07:59 PM

Over at the shop, we enter through the chimney in order to get at an out-of-reach chest inside.


Hidden treasure chest count: 05/39

Also in the shop is a hidden treasure chest. And to think, if these shopkeepers were as anal as the Mushroom Kingdom’s, we never would have gotten it!


The armor shop, in addition to offering armor upgrades in the form of the Thick line, is the first (and, for quite a while, only) place to sell the status effect prevention pins. For that reason, I like to grab a full set of each type before leaving. This costs a fair chunk of money (especially the Fearlesses), but you can always head back to Rose Way if you need a refill, and these Pins will be useful for almost the entire game. Most bosses only use status effects from a particular school, so we can completely cut them off with proper Pin selection.


I can’t even begin to discuss how nonsensical this plot is… This guy is stuck outside because he rigged his stairs to disappear at the flip of a switch. This seems like asking for it, in my opinion.

What we’re supposed to do is use the guy’s head as a stepping stone to get up to his house, then flip the switch to let him back in. We’re not going to, though, not yet. (I’ll leave you in suspense as to why.)


We are going to head up there, though, if only to ransack the guy’s treasure chests.

10-28-2008, 08:00 PM

No, I think he’s gone because you turned off the stairs.


Hidden treasure chest count: 06/39

There’s also another hidden treasure chest floating over the bed…


There’s also another of these weird “behind house” guys up here.

No place else to go except the inn…


…Where, inside, a little kid is using his imagination. Unlike in real life, “Mario” is completely ineffectual, and “Bowser” gets away scot-free…


At least until Gaz (the kid) realizes he’s got a legend in his midst.

10-28-2008, 08:01 PM

Gaz is quite skeptical at first, and Mario is forced to jump for the kid to establish his plumber credentials.

You can actually deny being Mario, and the story continues normally…


Gaz wastes no time in drafting Mario to participate in his little power trip, casting Mario as Bowser and whipping out his spiffy new Buzz Lightyear-esque action figure, Geno.


They tussle for a while…


And Gaz is forced to produce his secret weapon.


Hey, watch it, kid. You’ll put your eye out. Our somebody else’s…

Mario has survived bombs and walls of flame to this point, but a plastic fist is enough to render him bedridden.

10-28-2008, 08:02 PM

That night…


A small, glowing star enters the inn and surveys the dolls. Realizing that all but one of them have already been signed on as PCs in this game, the spirit possesses the last remaining one – Geno – and grows to life size, ready to confront the evil in the woods.


…But, uh, not without a false start or two. Hey, if you were experiencing corporeality for the first time, you’d bang your head on low-hanging stairwells, too.


Seems Gaz somehow spotted the doll making off during the night. Mom doesn’t buy it, though, and takes her son aside to administer a savage beating. Mario steps outside, content that the cycle of domestic violence has been extended another generation.


After giving them a few minutes, we step back inside. The mother, perhaps hoping to keep us quiet, offers us free use of the inn for life. Never happened, lady.

10-28-2008, 08:03 PM

If you stay at the inn before heading into the woods, Toad greets you with a Flower Tab.


Appears to be some conflicting reports on the whole “doll walking into the forest” story.


Still, we have no place else to go, so into the forest we go!


Despite its name, the Forest Maze is a fairly linear area, without much in the way of deviations from the main path. There are a few places where we have to go underground to continue, but even these are straight shots.


Hidden treasure chest count: 07/39

The first room also contains a hidden treasure chest containing a Kerokero Cola, the first of six sequestered somewhere in the forest.

10-28-2008, 08:05 PM

Occasionally, you’ll find a Wiggler crawling out of the stumps. If you can bounce off one ten times in a row, you’ll snag a Frog Coin (shades of the old “infinite points” trick from Mario World), but this is pretty hard.


There are a bunch of Mushrooms just off the path in the Forest Maze. These are the same as regular Mushrooms, but some of them are actually Amanita enemies in disguise. Also, we’re just about to replace all our Mushroom with superior equivalents, so there’s not a lot of profit in collecting them at the moment.


Hidden treasure chest count: 08/39



The Forest Maze is another place where I’m not fond of fighting. Status effects, fast enemies, enemies that take more than one hit to defeat… it’s the trifecta. Once we get three characters, we’ll begin fighting in earnest.


Hidden treasure chest count: 09/39
Hidden treasure chest count: 10/39
Hidden treasure chest count: 11/39

Once you encounter a field with seven stumps, explore each of them in turn. Inside, you’ll find three hidden treasure chests (one of which is empty), and a Wiggler which, when disturbed, will open a path to the north.

10-28-2008, 08:06 PM

Hidden treasure chest count: 12/39

At the end of the long area with a Save Block, you can find a chest containing a Red Essence. The Red Essence, which can render one character completely invincible for the duration of three turns, is one of those items that would be much better if the item system was different. If items stacked, or if we had some kind of storage to hold things, the Essence might have a use. But they don’t, and we’re so far away from enemies that justify the Essence that we can’t see them with a telescope, so I can’t really feature wasting one of our precious item slots on it. This one will probably get sold.


Now for the actual maze part. The Forest Maze is your pretty typical “identical screen with four exits” maze, but the solution is pretty easy. You just have to watch for Geno, and follow him. In the only screen where he doesn’t appear, head right (bottom right), and you’ll make it to the end with no trouble.

First things first, though.


It took me forever to find this. I literally stumbled into it the first time, when looking for weird stuff in the forest. What happens is that the guy in the Rose Town with the stair problem will give us directions to it when we help him – but his directions blow chunks. They are completely unhelpful. I’ve heard that they’re intended to be read from Mario’s perspective, but that doesn’t work either, as I recall. Write it down: The path to the bonus room is up, left, down, down, left, and don’t let any stupid NPCs tell you different.


Onwards… After pushing through the brush (and equipping Wake Up Pins), Mario and Mallow happen upon a weird fellow who talks like Yoda…


Thank you, Captain Obvious.

10-28-2008, 08:07 PM

The archer (named Bowyer) is having quite a good time, but Mario and Mallow want to crash his party.


When in doubt, Mario defaults back to reckless, indiscriminate violence. Before they can come up with an actual plan, events begin to move forward without them.


One of Bowyer’s Aeros enters bearing a Star Piece. Enter Geno!


Geno demands that Bowyer put his hands up and surrender the Star Piece, uh, peaceably, but Bowyer, being completely nuts, isn’t about to take this lying down.


Dialogue can be displayed only a single line at a time in battle screens, so this scene takes forever.

10-28-2008, 08:08 PM

Bowyer grabs his Aeros and begins shooting wildly into the air. Yeah, that’ll show him.


Mario and Mallow, for their parts, have decided to join the fight at last on the side of the little blue guy. With arrows beginning to hit the dirt around them, they have no choice but to…




Geno eventually gets fed up and fights back, but this only makes Bowyer mad. Things aren’t looking good…


…until you-know-who steps in.

10-28-2008, 08:09 PM

We are quickly joined by Mallow. Gentlemen, I think we have… a party.


Bowyer, insulted at being ignored, finally begins the fight for real.


Geno brings with him a new type of Timed Hit: Charging. With his Geno Beam spell, the idea is to hold Y until three stars appear on the bottom-right of the screen, then release for massive damage.


Mallow also breaks out the Froggie Stick for the first time.


After a round, Bowyer bemoans the team for ganging up on him, and summons three buttons to even the odds.

10-28-2008, 08:11 PM

Occasionally, Bowyer will shoot an arrow at one of the buttons, turning it “off”. This means that you can’t use any commands that require that button until Bowyer switches. I used to think that Bowyer always picked the button you’d used the most since the last time he changed the button, but the last several times I’ve played the game it’s been virtually random.

Obviously, you’ll want to attack with specials when he turns off A, and regular attacks when he turns off Y. If he turns off X (items)… you either need to use Mallow’s HP Rain for healing, or, if you’re out of FP, hope he switches it again in a hurry.


Mack was fire, but Bowyer is lightning. Bowyer’s most dangerous spell, by far, is this “Static E!” move. Geno comes with no armor or accessories, so “Static E!” wipes out more than half his HP.


Bowyer also has the single-target lightning spell, Bolt, and a single-target sleep spell called G’Night. Mario and Mallow are immune to the latter’s effects, but Geno again has no defense against it. (Fortunately, Bowyer didn’t use it against me this time around.)


Oops: Geno has bitten the dust. Thankfully we have a few Pick Me Ups lying around to revive him with.


Bowyer takes a lot of damage from Geno Beam and Super Jump, so as long as the Y button is free, you can pound on him. Mallow helps out with healing when necessary.

10-28-2008, 08:12 PM

After a hard-fought battle, Bowyer finally goes down, and we pick up a ton of coins and a Flower Box – +5 to FP!


Mario also gets up to level 7 from the fight.


Now that things have finally calmed down, Geno has a chance to explain himself.


Mario and Mallow indicate that they don’t, which is odd, because Mario has been there before.

10-28-2008, 08:13 PM

You know, this place.


Apparently the Star Road has other functions, besides letting Mario speedrun Super Mario World. It’s in charge of granting wishes.


Sadly, Smithy’s invasion has stopped the normal wish-granting operations – when Exor fell, it broke the Road into seven pieces. Things are starting to make sense.


The powers that be sent a celestial troubleshooter to chase down the broken pieces.


Now that the game’s subtitle has been explained, we know what we have to do. Two stars down, and five stars to go.

10-28-2008, 08:14 PM

Whatever you say, chief.


Aren’t they pretty?


Geno joins the party permanently, as well.

You know how people in games usually have a specialty? Mario RPG has that too. Mallow is the caster. Bowser is the brute physical guy. The Princess is the healing person. And Geno…

Geno’s specialty is being better at everything than everybody. He is by far the fastest party member, almost always going first. He is by far the strongest offensive spellcaster, with the two most useful spells in the game. He has the only buff spell. His regular attacks are as good or better than Mario’s, second only to Bowser’s, until the very end of the game. His “weakness” is that he’s supposed to be a glass cannon, weaker on defense, but in practice he’s about as tough as Mario, who’s the definition of average. He has no weaknesses.

I love Geno. Yeah, he’s a shallow character, but so is everyone in this game, and his weapons and spells are supercool. If he’s not a playable character in the next Smash Bros. game I will be forced to begin crushing the skulls of babies. Kitten babies. Get on the horn, Sakurai. Yes I am one of those people leave me alone.


Once again, however, a flunky has eavesdropped on our conversations and is rushing back to Smithy to tattle. Maybe Mario’s total annihilation strategy has some merit.


Next time: From inside the earthen pipe

TK Flash
10-29-2008, 04:36 AM
Absolutely fantastic update. You forgot to mention that if you were 11 when you first fought him, Bowyer is like the hardest boss ever, ever. until you get to Yaridovich

10-29-2008, 04:47 AM

Meet our next Suikoden hero!

10-29-2008, 04:56 AM
Speaking of Rosetown residents who "ask for it," they all have bullseyes on their "hats."

It always kind of bothered me when Mallow broke out the Bruce Lee line. Isn't Bruce Lee better known for his kicks and not his punches?

10-29-2008, 05:48 AM
Speaking of Rosetown residents who "ask for it," they all have bullseyes on their "hats."

Now that's just racist. They can't help being from the "bullseye" ethnic group of the Mushroom Kingdom. I, for one, am impressed they have developed such a healthy community despite their long history of arrow-related oppression.

10-29-2008, 05:57 AM
I think I need mushroom sensitivity training. :(

10-29-2008, 02:46 PM
I think one of the best things about Geno is that his attacks come from the idea that he is a toy with spring loaded toy weapons. He shoots pellets from his fingers/elbow, or shoots his fists like we saw the toy do when the kid took out Mario.

It's like a soldier lugging around a giant, plastic missile-launcher and shooting an enemy soldier who's skull gets crushed by the giant, plastic, spring-loaded missile.

10-29-2008, 05:34 PM

There’s also another of these weird “behind house” guys up here.

my mind is blown that there is more than one of these guys. I only ever knew about the Mushroom Kingdom guy!

10-29-2008, 05:47 PM
What's weird is that one of the guys will pipe up as soon as you run into him, but the other you need to prompt like anyone else, making him harder to find.

I always figured the one in the Mushroom Kingdom was Luigi, since it would explain what he was doing before he decided to show up for the ending.

10-29-2008, 11:50 PM
I haven't much to say about your latest update except:

a) Great work and

b) I love the Forest Maze Theme (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkailb3xcTI) so much!

Also, this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVD3fCbMX7Q&feature=related).

10-30-2008, 12:04 AM

How do you pronounce that anyway? Heartotexclaquest?

Sky Render
10-30-2008, 11:46 AM
I think Geno's real name is pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove", actually. And I'm pretty sure that nose is a fake polystyrene one.

10-31-2008, 05:07 AM
I think Geno's real name is pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove", actually. And I'm pretty sure that nose is a fake polystyrene one.
That would have been far too silly to be on a game.

10-31-2008, 07:26 AM
How do you pronounce that anyway? Heartotexclaquest?

Now try the Japanese version (http://themushroomkingdom.net/smrpg_j-e.shtml#geno).

10-31-2008, 07:54 AM
Now try the Japanese version (http://themushroomkingdom.net/smrpg_j-e.shtml#geno).The first character looks like it could be the precursor to the character for sun/day and the second the one for water. After that, I got nothing.

10-31-2008, 02:12 PM
You forgot to mention that if you were 11 when you first fought him, Bowyer is like the hardest boss ever, ever.

Well, see... I believe I mentioned that I was kind of the worst player ever when I first played this game. I would usually die at least once or twice to every new boss I encountered just as a matter of course. Mario RPG is one of those games were you get to keep experience when you die, so frequently I would charge, lemming-like, into a boss over and over until I'd finally accumulated enough experience to defeat him. And it was so sweet when I finally did.

This had two results, one of which I'll discuss later in the LP. The other is that I haven't the slightest idea how difficult this game is for an "average" player. When I first played it I was so terrible it's a wonder I didn't hold the controller upside down, and now I've played it so much that I can beat Culex standing on my head, so I've kind of lost my perspective on how difficult the bosses are in absolute terms...

When last we left off here at Let’s Play Super Mario RPG, we had kicked Bowyer’s ass all over the forest and released the humble burg of Rose Town from his dark shadow. Now we return there, to be greeted as liberators.


It’s all nice and cheerful there, too. The sun is shining, the people are mobile, the empty void is blue… clearly our work here is done.


Our first stop is the inn, to vindicate Gaz.


Bleh, Mom makes Scully look like a believer.


Geno tries to explain why he can’t stick around, but trails off once he begins to realize how absolutely ridiculous he’s sounding.

He has only one option: Improv!


With Mario and Mallow’s help, Geno gives the art-house-movie version of the Star Road’s normal function.

10-31-2008, 02:14 PM

Then they demonstrate how things are now. Their performance is mesmerizing. Visionary. A tour de force!


Bleh, this audience just doesn’t “get it”. Maybe we’ll have a better reception at Sundance.


You’d think he could have just started out with this instead of forcing us to go through the Whose Line Is It Anyway bullshit.


In case you’re having trouble telling what’s going on here, Mallow is physically restraining Mario from cleaning the clock of this defenseless little kid. And you thought I was joking when I mentioned that Mario promotes violence against children.


Anyway, the real reason we came here is so that we could pick up Geno’s first weapon, the Finger Shot, from Gaz. You can buy this in Moleville, and we’re about to come into enough riches that we could swim around in them Scrooge McDuck-style, but I’ve never been one to waste money frivolously.

10-31-2008, 02:15 PM

There’s only one way to answer this question, I think. And I don’t even drink coffee.


Also, upstairs, Link from The Legend of Zelda is a-snoozing. He won’t say anything or get up, but he will play the “puzzle solved” music from Zelda if you talk to him.

Back in my Nintendo board days, there was a guy who swore up and down that if you played the Zelda melody on Tadpole Pond, Link would get up and join your party. He steadfastly refused to reveal what the song actually constituted, though.


Finally, we help this poor bastard get back into his house. He begins to give us his bogus treasure room directions, but upon (somehow) realizing that we’d already found it, he gives us a Frog Coin for being better at his chosen profession than he could ever hope to be. He then goes back inside to try and put back together the shattered pieces of his life.


While in Rose Town, I go ahead and pawn all my soon-to-be-obsolete Mushrooms and Honey Syrups. We won’t need them for the Pipe Vault, and we can upgrade them to superior versions after that.


Speaking of the Pipe Vault, it’s our next destination. Pipe Vault is technically optional, but it’s a very easy area and you’d have to be a fool to pass up on the mountain of treasure we can find here and just beyond, at Yo’ster Isle.

10-31-2008, 02:19 PM

Into the pipes we go…


The cool thing about the Pipe Vault is that it’s only one space wide, it’s filled with a ton of classic Mario enemies like Goombas, Thwomps, and Piranha Plants, and it’s got the classic 1-2 music. It’s a homage to classic 2-D Mario, remade in Mario RPG’s 3-D isometric splendor.

Note that the lava here is harmless… If you fall into it, you get sent back to the entrance of the area, but there’s no permanent damage.


Here we see Geno testing out his spiffy new Finger Shot. It’s hard to see against the background, but Geno is releasing a swarm of tiny bullets from his fingertips. Those bullets are dealing about 30 more damage than Mario and Mallow’s regular attacks, even though Geno’s a level behind.


While dealing with the Sparkies, Mallow makes it up to level 7.


I find it disappointing that you can’t actually fight Thwomps. If you’re anywhere nearby when this one hits the pavement, you’ll be knocked back to the bottom level.

10-31-2008, 02:20 PM

You can fight Piranha Plants, though. The Plants have about 150 HP, and generally go down in two timed regular attacks. They use status effects and can sometimes appear in annoyingly high numbers, though, so they’re the most dangerous part of the Pipe Vault.


We were smart enough to suit up with Trueform Pins before entering the vault, so spells like the Plant’s Scarecrow Dust are harmless against us.


In a room filled with pipes, we discover this hidden room, which contains a hidden yellow platform. Atop it…


Hidden treasure chest count: 13/39

We find a hidden treasure chest.


Hidden treasure chest count: 14/39

A few paces away, we discover another hidden treasure chest. Combined with the visible treasure chest, that’s a pretty decent haul for a hidden room.

10-31-2008, 02:21 PM

We then drop back down and use the classic “duck while running” trick to scoot under a narrow opening, picking up a Frog Coin. This is the only place in the game you can do this.


Another hidden room contains this mole entrepreneur, who’s running a “Goomba thumping” minigame. For ten coins, the goal is to try and pound as many Goombas as you can as they emerge from those four pipes.


Regular Goombas are worth one point. The gold ones are worth three. And hitting a Spikey deducts a point. I have trouble judging distance correctly for the north and south pipes, so I usually just stand in the middle and hop left or right depending on which one is currently offering the best point gain. The less time is remaining, the faster the enemies appear and disappear.


The trick here is to get exactly the amount of points you need to win a prize, then stop. When you win, the mole sets the bar for the next prize at your high score plus two, so if you go crazy and get 31 points or so on your first try, you’ll be hard-pressed to beat that score and win another prize. Stop at 21 instead, assured that you can easily beat it on your next try.


The first two prizes are a Flower Tab and a Flower Jar. After that, I think it’s just Frog Coins, although I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Flower Box or a Red Essence or something somewhere down the line. I don’t have enough patience with this minigame to play it more than two or three times, so I usually just get the Tab and the Jar and move on.

10-31-2008, 02:22 PM

We continue on, avoiding the worthless Goomba fights…


We get enough experience from actual fights to put Geno up to level 7 somewhere in there, though.


Occasionally, you’ll run into this enemy group, containing a foe called a Shy Ranger. The Ranger is far faster than any of our characters and always runs on its first turn, so we can’t engage it yet. Look for a rematch in the penultimate “random weirdness” update.


These Nippers are not enemies, but stage obstacles. If you hit them, they knock lose a few of your coins. If you ever have to make a choice between jumping on a Nipper and jumping on a Piranha Plant, take the Plant.


Eventually we reach the end…

10-31-2008, 02:23 PM

Hidden treasure chest count: 15/39

And make our way to beautiful Yo’ster Isle, where a hidden treasure chest awaits.


Yoshis, like all dinosaurs, have a taste for cookies, an addiction to gambling, and a need to run. Combine those three things and you get Yo’ster Isle, where the dinos bet their confections on Yoshi races.




The Yoshis don’t speak our language, but the Yoshi does, so we seek him out and saddle up.


Don’t worry, though, as we can feed him some yummy berries to keep him going strong!

10-31-2008, 02:24 PM

It seems that in recent days, a heavyweight known as Boshi has come to dominate the Yoshi racing scene, but he won’t race just any amateur. He only races one-on-one, and only if his challenger can bring him a batch of cookies to bet.


Thankfully, Yoshi’s friends are a giving bunch, and we have little trouble finding the cookies we need to convince Boshi to accept our challenge.


Which, uh, he does.

Check out the shades and the studs…


The Mushroom Derby is one of the few minigames I always do the tutorial for. It takes me a few minutes to get into a groove for the races.

The Yoshi races are a rhythm game; you’re supposed to alternate the A and B buttons in time with the beat. This is pretty easy to do once you get the hang of it, but…

…Unfortunately, I had not anticipated the dreaded emulator lag. I’ve played this game enough that I can win the Yoshi races basically on command, but playing on an emulator rendered my well-honed timing absolutely worthless. Having Super Jump be made weaker because the timing is screwed up is one thing—it just makes the battles last longer. But here, there is no recourse.


This was actually one of my closer races. If you’re not doing the timing right, Yoshi just hops in place, which is immensely frustrating. Consider my hat thrown firmly into Parish’s ring on the emulation issue.

Eventually, though, via a stint of Herculean button mashing and a heavy dollop of luck, I managed to eke out a win. Thank god you only have to do it once.

10-31-2008, 02:26 PM

Yoshi graciously gives up ultimate power in order to begin the races in earnest again. Even Boshi gives in.


As thanks, Yoshi gives us some Yoshi Cookies. These unassuming Cookies are actually our ticket to infinite wealth—more on this in a bit.

So how do they work?


Use a Cookie in battle to summon Yoshi and have him (try to) eat an enemy. If he succeeds, he’ll leave behind an item, some of them very rare. Some enemies have a higher chance of being eaten than others—these Sparkies, for example, are hardly ever eaten, but when they are, we snag a powerful Fire Bomb, a single-use attack item than bathes the entire battlefield in flame. We’ll be using this to make mincemeat of a certain boss in our future.


If Yoshi fails, though, he leaves behind a Yoshi Candy, seen here. The Candies restore 100 HP, making them the most powerful single-target healing item available until the Max Mushrooms become available at the very end. On top of that, each one sells for a whopping 70 coins.


You see where I’m going with this. Collect an ass-load of Cookies, convert them into Candies, and sell them for cash. By doing this until my inventory is filled with Candies, I will basically never have to worry about money again.

This is easier to do if you can consistently win the races. Unlike the first race, later races allow you to bet up to ten Cookies on a race, and will pay out multiples of that depending on the odds if you win. With a bit of practice, you can be pulling down 20 or 30 Cookies on a single race.

I currently can’t do this, though… So I have to perform the trick the slow way, by begging this Yoshi for more Cookies every time I run out. He’ll give you three free of charge as long as you don’t have any in your inventory or in the Cookie “bank” (where your Cookie winnings in excess of empty space in your inventory are sent), but that means you have to go convert three Cookies, come back, go convert three Cookies…

You can also choose to hop off Yoshi and have the computer run the race for you, but that’s basically a crapshoot and I don’t recommend it.

10-31-2008, 02:30 PM

Next stop: Moleville.


Moleville, unsurprisingly, is a rocky mining town inhabited by working-class moles. The place is pretty much deserted to start with, though…


Our first stop is the shop, where we sell off our excess Candies for profit, then go to town on the shop’s inventory. The Punch Glove and Cymbals are upgrades on Mario and Mallow’s weapons, respectively, so that’s one each. We replace our Honey Syrups with Maple, which restore 40 FP a pop. And finally, we suit up with three pairs of the almighty Work Pants.

Work Pants are awesome. All five characters can wear them, and in addition to the usual defense boosts they also raise speed and attack slightly. They render the Mega line completely irrelevant, as well as the Happy line found in the next town. Work Pants are Bowser’s best armor until the very end of the game. We’ll get more value out of Work Pants than we will any other armor in the game, with perhaps the exception of the Lazy Shell. Bow before Work Pants.

Hello, what’s this?


Evidently while we were introducing Bowyer to our fists, Bowser was getting his ass handed to him over at Bowser’s Keep. His army is significantly smaller than it was the last time we saw him, and the big guy is more than a little shaken.

If you think about it, Bowser’s modern characterization was invented basically whole cloth for Mario RPG. Before this game, Bowser was just generically evil—he had no personality whatsoever, but was never portrayed as being any less evil than, say, Ganon, who has never been anything other than a serious villain.

After Mario RPG, though, we get Bowser as we know him today, a blustering, bumbling villain who worries about his image and is more concerned with evil for its own sake than doing anything that could actually be considered evil, and who wouldn’t know what to do with the Princess if he got her. Even in post-Mario RPG games where Bowser is the actual villain (as opposed to teaming up with Mario as he does in this game, Super Paper Mario, etc), he’s still never been taken quite as seriously as he once was, and I don’t think you’ll find anyone who’ll argue that this is not a good thing. Modern Bowser is quite a bit more loveable than he once was, and he fits much better into the tone of the Mario world that way than he does as the only truly evil force in a land of humor and whimsy.

Also, if you’re careful you can inch right up to where Bowser is positioned before this scene triggers, causing him to rant about how he can’t let Mario hear about his plight… then walking right by Mario as he goes to leave.

Enough about that, what’s going on in Moleville?


Ho-hum, another star, another town in peril…

Moleville, as it turns out, is a very small and boring place until you’ve solved their problem du jour. We’ll see a few more interesting things once we get our hands on the third Star Piece.

10-31-2008, 02:31 PM

At least this time the Smithy Gang isn’t involved. Seems that when the Star Piece fell into the mountain, it caused a cave-in, trapping a few kids and workers inside. And you know what that means:

We’ll have to venture into the Coal Mines and save them. (Of course.) Look for that in the next update.

Next time: The dungeon is full of monsters

10-31-2008, 02:46 PM
Oh man, I completely forgot about Mole Town!

hmmm, I seem to remember that some swanky mode 7 graphics are coming up.

10-31-2008, 02:53 PM


…Unfortunately, I had not anticipated the dreaded emulator lag. I’ve played this game enough that I can win the Yoshi races basically on command, but playing on an emulator rendered my well-honed timing absolutely worthless. Having Super Jump be made weaker because the timing is screwed up is one thing—it just makes the battles last longer. But here, there is no recourse.

There's a way to get around the lag, actually - since it's a delay, you can just time it so you press the buttons *just* before the beat lands, aiming more for a b-DUMP b-DUMP b-DUMP b-DUMP. Once you get it down, you can earn Yoshi's cookies just as quickly as you used to (at least, it works for me most of the time).

10-31-2008, 03:06 PM
I've never noticed this emulator lag everybody's talking about lately... I always just assumed I sucked.

Sky Render
10-31-2008, 03:13 PM
hmmm, I seem to remember that some swanky mode 7 graphics are coming up.

Mode7? I thought they had to invent Mode8 just for this game.

Oh wait, that was SBCG4AP. I guess the awesome factor of this game made me mix the two up.

10-31-2008, 04:42 PM
I always felt modern Bowser's personality was driven from the US cartoons. The character of King Koopa from Super Show to Mario World was always sort of the same narcissist and bumbling boss as SMRPG's Bowser.

It's been a lot easier of a transition than Robotnik had, starting out as Generic Boss and then either being a good guy gone bad, an idiot, or an evil genius depending on which spinoff fiction you liked best. Then voice clips became possible and Sega decided to compile all those personalities together along with some Japanese only elements that confused the hell out of people.

I actually prefer Ganon as Generic Evil, though. Link is literally a guy who wanders into a cave and is handed a sword and told to save the world. Why shouldn't his bad guy just be a big ugly thing taking up twice as much screen space as anything else (except for the hydra)?

Octopus Prime
10-31-2008, 04:53 PM
Never, not once, in all the times I played Mario RPG have I ever, ever beaten the Yoshi Races.

I could beat Culex so fast your head would spin, but Boshi would always humiliate me.

10-31-2008, 05:05 PM
Never, not once, in all the times I played Mario RPG have I ever, ever beaten the Yoshi Races.

I could beat Culex so fast your head would spin, but Boshi would always humiliate me.

This. This so much.

I suck at rhythm based puzzles.

10-31-2008, 05:06 PM
Also in the Japanese version, Boshi's name is "Washi," in the style of Wario. Makes me wish his color scheme were yellow and purple.

11-03-2008, 11:32 PM
I always felt a bit bad for Bowser. Everyone deserted him.

Moleville and the seaside/sunken ship are, at least for me, the least excitiing parts of the game. It will be nice to see someone get through that damn 3D puzzle, though.

11-03-2008, 11:59 PM
How do you pronounce that anyway? Heartotexclaquest?

The next time someone starts an LP we have a name for the protagonist.

11-06-2008, 05:12 PM
Sorry this took so long… I’ve actually had this next part played for several days now, but whenever I sat down to sort the pictures and do the writeup something would come up, including, but not limited to, schoolwork, election results, and amazing laziness.

That said, into the mines!


Last time on Let’s Play Super Mario RPG, Moleville was up in arms due to the cave-in in the mine, trapping a few kids within the dark depths. Inside, Ma’ Mole is in a panic, and the menfolk are at a loss.


The miners speculate as to a possible solution, but are all too willing to pass the buck to Mario.


Mario agrees to enter the mines and head up the extraction.


With a boost from the miners, we’re able to jump to the entrance.


The Coal Mines are one of the first really good leveling places in the game. Most of the enemy groups here go down in a round or two, so I usually fight as often as I can here, until all the enemies are cleared out. The crystalline Clusters, for example, go down in one regular attack…

11-06-2008, 05:13 PM

…while Mallow can use Thunderbolt to clear out the high-defense Magmites.


Mallow can also use his spiffy new Cymbals to attack enemies… somehow.


In one of the early rooms of the mine we encounter this guy, who’s searching for a treasure rumored to be hidden somewhere. Keep an eye out for this guy once we’ve got the third star.


Once we enter the mine proper, we encounter a spring placed right out in the open for no apparent reason, just begging us to jump on it.

…This thing has “schmuck bait” written all over it. Screw this; there’s gotta be a better way. Maybe we could go find that treasure the other guy was nattering on about — he seems content to wander around in circles, so he’ll hardly miss it.


With treasure on the brain, we take the left fork instead, defeating enemies as we go.

11-06-2008, 05:14 PM

Somewhere along the line our whole party reaches level 8.


In addition, Geno picks up his second spell, Geno Boost. Geno Boost raises an ally’s attack power by 50%, and if you time it correctly, it raises defensive power by the same amount. Geno is at his least awesome in single-enemy boss fights, but even there Geno Boost alone is enough to secure his worth.


We also run into another classic Mario enemy, Bob-Ombs. These guys don’t attack, but occasionally they’ll blow themselves up for a bit of damage.


At the end of the line we find not treasure, but Pa’ Mole and a dead end. Pa’ Mole suggests using a bomb to blow open a passageway, but all the explosives are missing from the storeroom…


We return the way we came. The spring sits there, taunting us.

11-06-2008, 05:15 PM

How about the right passage, then?


No dice; the right passage, as well, ends in a dead end. Now what do we do?


Oh, come on, Mario. This is crazy. What do you think you can possibly—


Hey, I warned him.


Mario comes to just in time to spot a familiar face picking his pocket. See, if he’d just listened to me this never would have happened.

11-06-2008, 05:16 PM

He really did, too: When Croco is through with us we find ourselves without a coin to our names. After him!


Croco also finds himself stymied by the dead end, but not for long… seems he’s got a few high explosives.


Hm. See also: “two birds”, “one stone”.


Oh, he pursued and I withdrew…


And I pursued and he withdrew…

11-06-2008, 05:18 PM

Catching Croco triggers a boss fight, but we don’t want to engage him yet. Instead, we hunt down the three members of his gang, who have hidden themselves in various places around the mine. They have a tendency to run often, but…


…defeating each of them grants us a Flower Tab.


Yeah, right, kid. Take a good look: You’re not “getting” this any time soon.


Tabs collected, we chase down Croco and engage him…


This version of Croco absolutely kicked the shit out of me on my first playthrough, and several times thereafter.

This was my first RPG, and I hadn’t the slightest idea how you were supposed to play RPGs back then. “Level grinding” wasn’t even a gleam in my eye at this point, so I would basically run from as many random battles as I could. This obviously didn’t serve me very well when I ran into bosses, but as I’ve mentioned, Mario RPG lets you keep your experience when you die. So, against most bosses I’d just charge them over and over until I’d finally generated enough experience to beat them, which kept me more or less properly leveled for most of the game. In subsequent playthroughs, however, I became familiar enough with the bosses and the battle system to beat them without the numerous false starts — but I still wasn’t fighting any random battles, so I was consistently three or four levels underleveled for most of the game. I was basically doing low-level runs before I realized such things were possible.

I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong: I vaguely remembered being at much higher levels on my first playthrough, but I couldn’t figure out what I was doing differently to make me so much weaker. I’m not sure at what point the light bulb came on and I thought “Hey, asshole, why not fight your battles for a change?”, but if I had to take a guess I would probably say it was 1998 (Pokemon, my second RPG, where low-level runs are basically not a option for unskilled players). This version of Croco isn't very forgiving for underleveled players or players who don't know their way around the battle system...

…Anyway. Croco starts out using the same tactics as he did back in Bandit’s Way — bombs, regular attacks — except that Fire Orb is now too weak to be much more than an annoyance to him, so regular attacks are better. (Nintendo Power recommended using Super Flame, but I shudder at the amount of naked grinding it would take to get to level 10 before this fight.)

11-06-2008, 05:20 PM

Once you’ve depleted about half his HP, however, Croco does the unthinkable and steals your items. Bastard! You can only take my crap for so long, Croco — before you take it all, and I say “Enough!”


With no items to fall back on, you have to be extremely cautious with your hit points.


It does not help that Croco also starts using his “Chomp” attack, in which he pulls an enemy out of his bag and tosses at you. This can be blocked, but if you don’t, it deals nutty damage, and without items your HP will drop like a stone.


If necessary, use Mallow’s HP Rain to restore your HP. (This is why it’s important not to use any other specials during the fight – you have to conserve your FP.) Croco doesn’t have a whole lot of stamina, so if you’re at level 8 and use regular attacks every turn, he won’t last too long…


Eventually, Croco surrenders our stuff and bails.

11-06-2008, 05:21 PM

He’s even nice enough to leave us a bomb so that we can proceed.


Combine the coins we had with the coins we won from Croco and you’ll see that we’ve maxed coins for the first (but certainly not the last) time.

Note also that we’re up to 50 FP – we’re halfway home on that front.


With Croco taken care of, we rush back to where Pa’ Mole is waiting and present him with the bomb. He helpfully sets it off for us, opening a path further into the mine.


Pa’ Mole offers to go with, but we politely decline.


In the next room, if you follow the minecart tracks, you’ll run into a Shy Guy piloting a mine cart. This pushes us back into the previous room and blocks off the lower passage, but we get a Frog Coin for our troubles.

11-06-2008, 05:22 PM

On the upper path, we find a star. We grab it and go nuts, clearing out three whole rooms of enemies before our invincibility runs out.


The resulting experience gets Mario and Mallow up to level 9.


We end up in this room. This treasure chest contains 100 coins, but we’re already maxed out, so we mise well pass it up.


The Enigma’s Echofinder spell can silence unprotected characters. It’s always struck me as a little odd that this game uses silence as a status effect… It’s clearly a holdover from the older fantasy RPGs, but Mario RPG clearly doesn’t use the old “speak words of power” trope.


After crushing some Bob-Ombs in the next room, Geno rises to level 9 as well. Level 9 is a nice solid level for taking on the boss of this area, so we equip our Fearless Pins and move onwards…

11-06-2008, 05:23 PM

…but not before leaping from some crates to grab a chest.


Well, there’s our Star Piece. And our boss, apparently… Punchinello seems content to toss around bombs and ignore us, but the game won’t let us rig up a rudimentary pulley system to haul down the Star, so I suppose we’ll have to throw down.


Punchinello isn’t a Smithy Gang member, nor is he an arc villain like Croco, Booster, or Johnny Jones. He seems to have no interest in the Star and just wants to fight us for kicks.


Mallow isn’t impressed.


I played this game dozens of times before it was pointed out to me that Punchinello is actually a parody of “giant space flea”-type bosses that come out of nowhere and don’t play any role in the plot. None of the party members recognize him, and he thinks that beating us is his ticket to fame and fortune, but he’s just a speed bump.

11-06-2008, 05:24 PM

Punchinello’s gimmick is that he tosses out wave after wave of bombs to attack us. Every guide I’ve ever read recommends attacking these bombs with Thunderbolt, but I have to say I don’t see the point. The bombs, even at the largest size, don’t deal that much damage, and the biggest two sizes require more than one blast of Thunderbolt to finish off. On top of that, Punchinello instantly calls more when they’re all dead. Ignore the bombs and focus regular attacks on Punchinello himself until he goes down.


After some of his HP is depleted, Punchinello destroys all outstanding bombs and begins summoning larger ones.


And again, when he’s near death.


Punchinello has only his weak regular attack and the Sand Storm spells as attacks of his own. Sand Storm scares all unprotected characters, and is a devastating attack if you’re susceptible to fear. Thankfully, though, we’re suited up in Fearless Pins.

11-06-2008, 05:25 PM

After bringing down Punchinello for good, he begins ranting.


Mallow still isn’t impressed.


Punchinello seems hesitant to bring out his biggest gun.


Mario and Geno begin taunting Punchinello…


…Who finally loses it, and vows to end us for good.

11-06-2008, 05:26 PM

After a false start, Punchinello finally summons the King Bomb… but his aim is a little off, and it squashes him flat.


Thank you once again, Captain Obvious.


The team tries to come up with a plan, but before they can act…


The bomb is triggered, and it goes off!

(Note also that Punchinello didn’t even give us any experience or other spoils. He truly is the essence of filler.)


The King Bomb is surprisingly ineffective, as our heroes emerge covered in soot but otherwise no worse for the wear.

11-06-2008, 05:27 PM

Geno still has his eyes on the prize, though.


The Star Piece finally drops.


The Star Piece is nice enough to give us a good scrubbing…


…Before we shove it into hammerspace with the others.

Mission accomplished, we proceed into the next room…


Where Dyna, the kid we’ve been searching for this whole time, is waiting with our ticket out of this dump: A minecart.

11-06-2008, 05:29 PM

The minecart escape is divided into four segments: Two behind-the-shoulder Mode 7 sections that features Mario negotiating the rails, and two 2-D autoscrolling sections. Mario can jump off the track to collect mushrooms, which allow him a brief speed boost.


The cart turns automatically most of the time, but on tight turns like this you have to hit the brakes in order to avoid wiping out. Wiping out doesn’t actually do anything except make the section last longer, but it’s still annoying.


The 2-D sections are pretty easy. There are multiple levels, as well as coins and mushrooms to collect, but we hardly need either — I usually just blaze through the 2-D segments by spamming the mushrooms collected during the Mode 7 segments. In fact, since there are few straightaways long enough to use mushrooms on during the Mode 7 segments, this is basically the only use of mushrooms.


There’s one big shortcut on the track, seen (barely) here. During the third segment, keep an eye out for a left turn on the horizon. This allows you to cut out a big section of the track.


Eventually we emerge into the open air for the last section. We continue to spam mushrooms…

11-06-2008, 05:30 PM

…Until we run out of track.


Back in Moleville, Ma’ and Pa’ Mole are awaiting Mario’s return.


Ah, irony.


This is the second time in the game that Mario has entered a building through the roof.


Yeah, but you didn’t get robbed and blown up.

11-06-2008, 05:31 PM

The cheap-o moles don’t give us anything for saving them, but at least we got a Star Piece out of it.


Somehow I think we’ll find out shortly!


Outside, Mario finds himself in the middle of a bug hunt.


I think it goes without saying that Snifit #3 is by far the coolest of the Snifits.

11-06-2008, 05:32 PM

I’m sure you — wait, princess from where?


Help yourself.


The beetle seems to know what’s good for it, though, and takes off.


Now that normalcy has returned to Moleville, a few new shops and minigames have become available. First is the point swap shop, which allows you to trade in your items for points, then trade in those points for a Bomb: Fright, Fire, or Ice. Bombs are great and all, but they’re prohibitively expensive when acquired this way, so this place is more of a curiosity than anything.


One of the mole women tried to dig her way to Dyna and Mite during the crisis, and the tunnel she burrowed conveniently drops right to the beginning of the minecart course. Her husband has turned it into a tourist attraction, and is offering 30 coins to anyone who can beat the best time. It costs ten coins to play, however, so this is among the least efficient ways to make money. The only point to this place is if you get the urge to do the minecart event again.

11-06-2008, 05:33 PM

The treasure hunter from the mine has evidently struck it rich, and has opened a companion shop to the main store. He sells a few unique items, with his inventory expanding as you proceed through the game. He doesn’t sell anything particularly interesting yet (unless you’re doing a low-level run), but we’ll be back here much later.


The “pur-tend store” is offering Shiny Stones for Fireworks. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal, but…


A guy in a nearby house is selling Fireworks for a whopping 500 coins. The Fireworks are actually the beginning of a fairly lengthy trading chain… File this under “M” for “much later”.


Finally, the innkeeper informs us that Toadofsky has been spotted skulking around, looking for more tunes to copy. And you know what that means…


Our buddy at Tadpole Pond confirms that Toadofsky is indeed nearby, and that he’s looking for the Moleville Miners’ Song. (The Miners in question will sing it for you if you seek them out in the Coal Mines.)

11-06-2008, 05:34 PM

Wii Play Music…


And swap out our Alto Card for the superior Tenor.


The Tenor Card reduces the prices for all of the Juice Bar’s previous items, and unlocks a new one: Megalixirs, which restore 150 HP to all. By the time our characters’ HP reaches that stratosphere, however, we’ll have access to unlimited Kerokero Colas…

So. This Booster fellow sounds reasonable enough. We shouldn’t have any trouble negotiating for the Princess’s release. Let’s go call on him, shall we? …Next time, on Let’s Play Super Mario RPG.

Next time: And my name’s Booster

11-06-2008, 05:39 PM
I used to assume that Punchinello WAS a part of Smithy's gang, since he's a weapon like the others (Knife, Bomb, Spear, Axe, Sword). But, as he's the only one that can't be actually made my a blacksmith (and since he doesn't show up in the Factory like the others), you are clearly right.

11-06-2008, 05:41 PM
The Mamon Mine in Dragon Quest IV totally reminded me of Moleville (even though the former came first, obviously).

I played this game dozens of times before it was pointed out to me that Punchinello is actually a parody of “giant space flea”-type bosses that come out of nowhere and don’t play any role in the plot. None of the party members recognize him, and he thinks that beating us is his ticket to fame and fortune, but he’s just a speed bump.

At least in the localization they made his name a theater reference (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulcinella).

11-06-2008, 05:48 PM
I used to assume that Punchinello WAS a part of Smithy's gang, since he's a weapon like the others (Knife, Bomb, Spear, Axe, Sword). But, as he's the only one that can't be actually made my a blacksmith (and since he doesn't show up in the Factory like the others), you are clearly right.

He also doesn't have the "Fight Against an Armed Boss" music that all the Smithy Gang members have.

11-06-2008, 06:36 PM
Punchinello was actually my favorite boss in the game. I really liked how the fight ended.

Also, the music for the mine cart ride is wondeful! It still cannot compete with Booster Tower though.

11-06-2008, 09:51 PM
When I was a kid I thought that Booster was the height of humor.

11-07-2008, 07:05 AM
I never realized that Punchinello wasn't one of the Smithy weapons. MIND = BLOWN.

When I was a kid I thought that Booster was the height of humor.

Well he is.

11-08-2008, 02:11 PM
“Level grinding” wasn’t even a gleam in my eye at this point, so I would basically run from as many random battles as I could.

I had this problem too, which made Final Fantasy IV a considerably difficult game.

11-08-2008, 04:41 PM
I had this problem too, which made Final Fantasy IV a considerably difficult game.
Yeah, me too. I played FF4 like it was an action game. At least ATB made that a somewhat plausible approach to the game. Getting to the end was a bit of a rude awakening.

11-09-2008, 11:02 AM
Yeah, me too. I played FF4 like it was an action game. At least ATB made that a somewhat plausible approach to the game. Getting to the end was a bit of a rude awakening.

I actually got to the moon before everything just started destroying me.

It's strange because I distinctly remember playing and finishing Final Fantasy VI before playing Final Fantasy IV. Then again, running away from battles is far easier in IV than VI. I think VI was the only game to use the "one runaway at a time" shit, and I'm glad for that (did a Brainpan cast Stop on the last remaining member? Sucks to be you).

Getting back to Mario RPG, the game's really not my favourite RPG gameplay-wise, but it was definitely one of Woolsey's best examples of localisation. Final Fantasy VII wasn't far behind and boy were we all in for a ride down the Kawaii Fun Happy Slide.

11-09-2008, 11:45 AM
I am excited for Booster times.

11-15-2008, 01:42 PM
Last time here at Let’s Play Super Mario RPG, we saved Moleville and got a lead as to the whereabouts of the Princess. Our next stop is the domains of Booster.


To get to Booster Tower, we first have to travel through Booster Pass.


Booster Pass is one of the smallest, most boring areas in the game: Only two “rooms”. Sure, there a few things hidden here…


Hidden treasure chest count: 15/39

…Like this hidden treasure chest…


But mostly it’s just rocks, and a Lakitu spitting out Spikey repaints known as Spikesters.


The nightmare-inducing Carroboscis enemies also appear around here with some regularity. They’re mostly harmless, but their freaky grins sent a shiver down eight-year-old Tanto’s spine.

11-15-2008, 01:44 PM

These bush-like enemies called Artichokes disguise themselves as normal overworld bushes in this area. They’re powerful and durable, but are extremely weak to jump, so we let Mario take them. Since they don’t move at all, they’re also good enemies to practice your Super Jump timing on.

They also drop Fright Bombs. I actually picked up two in this area; I have no idea what I’m going to use them against. Jonathan Jones, maybe.


Hidden treasure chest count: 16/39

There’s also a second hidden treasure chest in this area, containing Rock Candy. Rock Candies are a one-use item that deal 200 (300 if Geno Boosted) damage to every enemy on the field, making them extremely valuable against some of the tougher bosses.


Unlike in the other areas where Lakitus appear, here you can jump off the cliffs to attack them directly. There’s not much point to doing this, but, um, hey.


In the second area, you can find a rare overworld flower by examining the bottom level.


Also in the bottom level is a hidden device which fills in all the pits in this area, killing the Spikesters for us and making for an easy stroll to the exit.

11-15-2008, 01:45 PM

On to Booster Tower!


Outside the Tower, we find that Bowser has beaten us to it. He’s not here to fight, though. He’s here… to angst.


Bowser dreams of simpler times, two-dimensional times. Times when he could grab a Princess and hide in a castle, waiting for his nemesis to come for him. Those days are long gone, however.

Bowser breaks off his brooding when he realizes he has an audience:


His resolve thus strengthened, Bowser tries again:



11-15-2008, 01:46 PM

How about that? Looks like the rumors were true.


The Princess calls down the Tower for Mario to get on with the rescue, tout suite.


Yeah, right. You’re not fooling anybody, big guy.


Bowser takes off long enough for us to examine the door. It’s locked, though, and no key appears to be forthcoming.


Bowser immediately rushes back once he senses an opportunity to make fun of us.

11-15-2008, 01:48 PM

Who needs a key when you’ve got a spiky, lava-hardened shell to fall back on?


Bowser takes a moment to toot his own horn, and seems to come to a conclusion…


I’ve always liked this little gag. Bowser isn’t joining our party; we’re joining his. And it’s not just a throwaway gag, either; Bowser tries to get Mario to honor his obligations later in the game.

Bowser is a pretty typical brute force guy; his magic sucks, but he’s got a strong regular attack and the best defenses in the game.


Now that we’ve got more than three characters, we gain access to switch in the ones we like on this screen. Mario always has to be in the party, though.

Meet the best party in the game, incidentally. The addition of Bowser to our group allows us to hold back Mallow (and, eventually, the Princess) for only the battles in which they’re most helpful. Mario, Geno, and Bowser is the best party for dealing with random fights, as well as most bosses.

If you’re expecting an in-depth technical explanation as to why this is the best party in the game, you’re going to be disappointed. My favorite strategy for dealing with enemies in this game is Geno magic backed up by regular attacks, and Mario, Geno, and Bowser have the best ones. Mallow and the Princess are specialty characters, useful only against certain bosses (for hitting elemental weaknesses and healing, respectively); Mario/Geno/Bowser is the most generally useful team.



Booster Tower is one of the longer and more interesting dungeons in the game. It’s even got a receptionist, presumably to get visitors to sign the waiver.

11-15-2008, 01:50 PM

He’ll also challenge you if you talk to him, though.


This is one of my favorite bits in the game. You’ve got these two Spookums having a nice little conversation over here, and if you attack one…


The other, realizing that he’s got a psychopathic plumber in his midst, rushes to the corner and hides, shaking. I love this game.


Before proceeding, take a moment to admire the portraits of Booster’s ancestors on the wall there. There’ll be a quiz later. (No, seriously.)


Hidden treasure chest count: 17/39

After climbing a short staircase we find a hidden treasure chest amidst the unending wave of Spookums. If you’ve got a turbo controller (or a heavy book) and some Trueform Pins you can level up endlessly here (the automatic HP restoration you get when you level up should be enough to keep you going). That’s too cheesy for me, though, so I simply dodge the Spookums on my way to the next room.

11-15-2008, 01:51 PM

Wherein, the man of the hour makes his entrance…


…On a toy train.


Booster welcomes visitors normally, but he’s got other things on his mind at the moment. Namely, the Princess.


He invites us to find the top if we can, and bails. The real Booster Tower music (“And My Name’s Booster”) starts up at this point.


Ah, the lowly Rob-Omb. This has to be the shortest “original enemy to underground monkey” transition in the history of video games: One dungeon. Rob-Ombs are weaker and less durable than their older counterparts, but they always blow if you let them survive into their turn.

He’s also the only minor enemy to star in his own Mario World romhack (http://www.smwcentral.net/?p=showhack&id=1162), as near as I can tell.

11-15-2008, 01:52 PM

We continue to chase Booster through the Tower… but first, a detour.


It wasn’t until I received the Nintendo Power Player’s Guide that I learned how to get to this chest. I had figured out the gist of it—you have to jump from the high ledge onto the seesaw, launching yourself up to the chest—but if you don’t hit the seesaw just right, it doesn’t work, and it’s hard to hit it in the first place. I figured there had to be some kind of trick to it, but I was just overthinking it.


Anyway, the chest contains a Masher.

The Masher is a pretty interesting weapon… It’s more powerful than both Mario’s current Punch Glove and the next weapon available to him in shops, but it has some quirk of programming that makes it a high-risk, high-reward type weapon. Sometimes it’ll “critical” and do 100 damage, but others it’ll whiff and do 20. It’s still strong enough to be a worthwhile weapon, but its unreliability is irritating. Later in the game, in fact, we’ll buy a weapon that has the exact same attack power as the Masher, but deals its damage more consistently.


After climbing back up to where we were, we find a room containing a switch. Jumping on it prompts the game to tell us of momentous events in Booster Pass, which we’ll check out when we get a chance.


The next room contains this infamous curtain, which temporarily transforms Mario into his 8-bit counterpart, complete with 1-1 music. Both Paper Mario and Thousand-Year Door retained this tradition… Thousand-Year Door’s even transformed Mario’s allies.

11-15-2008, 01:53 PM

If you try to leave the room, though, Mario will rush back and change himself back, looking quite disturbed at the whole experience.


After a bit of platforming and Spookum-smashing, we encounter Snifit #3 firing Bullet Bills at us. We reach the end and challenge him.

If you leave this room without fighting and come back, Snifit #3 will discuss the weather with you. I told you he was the best.


The experience from the fight, though, gets Bowser up to level 9 and Mario to level 10, at which point he learns Super Flame, the pumped-up Fire Orb.


Remember this spot… We’ll be back here much later…


A few fights later, Mallow joins Mario at level 10, learning the single-target lightning spell Shocker in the process.

11-15-2008, 01:54 PM

Remember when I told you to pay attention to Booster’s portraits? Here’s why. It’s hard to tell if you haven’t been paying attention, but these portraits are actually out of order—you have to look at them in the correct order to get the key to the locked door down the hall.


If you mess up, you have to fight, and the portraits reset.


Anyway, the correct order is 6-5-3-1-2-4, where 1 is the portrait on the far left. Doing it correctly causes Booster himself to hand over the Elder Key.


Inside the locked door, we find a trapped Chain Chomp. She’s not too friendly with Mario, but we spot a gleam of recognition when she sees Bowser.



11-15-2008, 01:55 PM

It turns out that the Chomp is none too friendly with Booster, and she’s willing to help us out as Bowser’s first weapon.


I don’t think it gets any better than this.


Hidden treasure chest count: 18/39

With the help of a Thwomp-seesaw combination, we jump to the higher levels of the tower, where we’re greeted by parachuting Spookums. A bit of exploration nets us a hidden treasure chest. (There’s also a hidden Frog Coin in this room, but I forgot to grab a shot of it.)


The enemies just get weirder and weirder… Sure, Spookums are just Snifit repaints, but you’ve also got the bizarre animate staffs known as Orb Users, and the deranged puppet Remo Con.


Geno makes it up to level 10 as a result of our fights on this level.

11-15-2008, 01:57 PM

Another weird room… This room looks normal, but coins scatter the surface…


…As do trap tiles, which send you into battle against these annoying guys, known as Fireballs. They have an extremely high dodge rate and always go first. They do drop “Lucky!” bonuses at a fairly high rate, however.

Anyway, the way to negotiate this room without getting into any fights is to stay close to the Frog Coins, as they’re never near trap tiles.


Speaking of Frog Coins, I’ll like to pause and take a moment to point out that we currently have all we’ll ever need. Not that this will stop the game from throwing them at us, but still.


There’s also another key in this room, the Room Key, which unlocks the door to the north. Inside are the Zoom Shoes, an accessory which raises the wearer’s speed.


In the next room, we find a few Chain Chomps who are evidently a bit more loyal to the master of the Tower than the one we saw earlier. They’re fairly unremarkable enemies, all told—the only reason I’m mentioning them is to point out the Chomp-on-Chomp action we’ve got going here.

11-15-2008, 01:58 PM

Continuing on, in the next room Booster stops us again. This time, though, he’s got a question.




Booster isn’t too happy with this new revelation, and begins chucking bombs at us. We’re not required to stand and fight, though, so we take off, resulting in…


You guys are so right to love Booster.


“You can find the top / That’s what I tell ‘em / I think I’m insane in the cerebellum…”

11-15-2008, 01:59 PM

Hidden treasure chest count: 19/39

The penultimate room of the Tower contains a Save Point, a mushroom, and an easy-to-find hidden treasure chest.


Hidden treasure chest count: 20/39

It also contains a not-so-easy-to-find treasure chest, on top of one of the visible ones. This one contains a unique item called the Goodie Bag, which grants you one coin when used, and never runs out. It also sells for 555 coins, so I think we’ll go for the easy money instead of thinking long-term. Hey, if it screws up the Mushroom Kingdom economy, they can just petition the Princess for a bailout, right?


We’ve finally happened upon Booster’s inner sanctum. It’s not as insane as I had been anticipating.


The Princess is thrilled to see us, but we’ve still got a problem: The door is locked.


The Princess realizes that we’re going to need Booster to open the door.

11-15-2008, 02:00 PM

Conveniently, Booster takes this moment to appear.


Mario takes to the curtains, guessing that Booster and his cronies won’t bother to look there. Foolproof plan, right?

As for this next part… Well, it speaks for itself, I think. I should just get out of the way and let it take over.


11-15-2008, 02:01 PM

The Snifits only make it one sentence into rehearsal before another crazy thought enters Booster’s head…

11-15-2008, 02:02 PM

You see, this kind of foresight is why Booster is in charge. Of… whatever he’s in charge of. You know, that thing.

After scurrying around the room for a few seconds, the Snifits dutifully report that the Mario doll is nowhere to be found.


Booster isn’t having any of that, however, and turns his attention to the curtains.

In this minigame, Booster sends first one, then two, then all three Snifits to check behind the curtains, and it’s your job to dodge. At first it’s fairly simple, but as more Snifits are added, their strategies become more devious, switching curtains at the last second to try and catch you off guard.

There are two ways this minigame can go. Thankfully, due to the magic of savestates, we’re able to bring you both legs of the Trousers of Time. First, the “dodge the Snifits” ending…


The Big B gets more and more frustrated as the Mario doll continues to make itself elusive. Eventually…


…The idea of checking all four curtains at once finally arrives in Booster’s mind.

11-15-2008, 02:03 PM

Booster finds Mario, but he’s more interested in the Mario doll, which is situated on the top shelf.




Mario, kind soul that he is, knocks the doll back down to the floor. Booster is so thrilled that he forgets his animosity for the plumber.

So, um, how did the Mario doll get up there in the first place?


As a reward, Booster gives us an Amulet. It’s a pretty solid accessory, but I can’t think of a situation where I would ever actually wear it, you know?


Booster cancels rehearsal and decides to head straight for the main event. This is where the timelines merge.

11-15-2008, 02:04 PM

…But not before Snifit #3 doubles back to take a second look, a suspicion faintly playing at his mind. The best one, I say.

Enough of this. Noticeably F.A.T., rewind the state!


The Snifits always check the same curtains in the same order — apparently OCD is one of the myriad of psychological disorders to be found in the House of Booster — so if they trip you up with one of their fake-outs, you can dodge it the next time.


You’ve got three chances to hide from the Snifits.


If they catch you all three times, however…


We go straight into battle!

Booster is a little unusual in that even though he’s on the field, we can’t attack him until we’ve dealt with his Snifits.

11-15-2008, 02:05 PM

The Snifits are much more dangerous as a group than they are singly, but we can still take them.


Occasionally you can get a “Lucky!” bonus from defeating them as well. More on this in a bit.


Once all three Snifits are gone, Booster deigns to fight us himself.

He’s not that tough, though — only 500 HP and weak defenses. A barrage of regular attacks should be sufficient to bring him down in no time.


Watch out for his powerful Loco Express attack, however.


I like to fight Booster not just for the experience, but because he’ll occasionally leave behind a Flower Box instead of that Mushroom. This time it was not to be, however.

11-15-2008, 02:06 PM

Because we got a “Lucky!” bonus during the fight, we’re also given the option to play this shell game, in which we can bet our experience or coins from the fight. You’ve got a 66% chance of coming out at least even, so play if you dare…


Sadly, beating the crap out of Booster isn’t enough to stop his mad rampage. He uses his strangely derivative-sounding password to open the door, grab the Princess, and make for Marrymore.

I just noticed that Booster leaves via the top floor of the Tower. Does he always do that, I wonder?


When we try to follow (pausing, of course, to save our game in the previous room and equip Wake Up Pins), we’re ambushed by Booster’s clown guy enforcers, Knife Guy and Grate Guy.


The Guys are a pretty tough boss. Knife Guy doesn’t do much except juggle and throw knives for a little physical damage…


But Grate Guy is more dangerous, tossing these sleep bubbles, Echofinder, and the powerful Meteor Blast spell at us.

Octopus Prime
11-15-2008, 02:07 PM
You know, given the music, and the high amounts of Booster, Booster Tower is easily the best part of the game.

11-15-2008, 02:07 PM

Both Guys have an Achilles Heel, however. Remember when I said that Bowser’s spells are useless?

Well, I lied. Certain bosses, like the Guys, are weak to status effects, so scaring them with Bowser’s Terrorize spell makes this battle a snap.


Knife Guy is weak to fire, and Grate Guy to lightning. If they’re scared, Mario’s Super Flame can do 500+ damage to Knife Guy.


Occasionally the brothers will jump on one another’s shoulders, which, in the art of clown assassination in which they were trained, gives them access to a wider array of attacks. The Guys were near death when they tried this on me, though, so they didn’t much profit from it.


Winning the battle pushes Bowser up to level 10 and nets us a Flower Jar.


The Guys out of the way, Mario jumps back down to the entrance and follows Booster and his goons to Booster Hill, the pathway to Marrymore…

11-15-2008, 02:09 PM

The happy couple evidently isn’t making very much forward progress, because we catch up with them easily.


Booster invites us to catch him if we can, and the Booster Hill barrel jumping event begins.


Booster Hill is a bit of an odd one. We’re chasing Booster and the Princess up the Hill, but we can’t move vertically or speed up. We can only move horizontally or jump. If we land on a barrel or a charging Snifit, we bounce ahead, but if we run into one, we fall back by a roughly equal amount.

You can’t win the race, and it ends after a predetermined amount of time anyway. The object is to hit the target (in this case, Booster/Princess) as many times as you can before time runs out.


The course starts by rolling one barrel at you, then two, then three. Then the Snifits join in. Jumping on a Snifit launches you further than a barrel, but colliding with one knocks you back further, as well, so good timing is required. You’re constantly drifting back to the default position, so you need to keep jumping if you want to stay ahead.


If you hit the Princess, she gives you a flower.

11-15-2008, 02:10 PM

Later in the track, the barrels stop coming and the Snifits begin moving horizontally as well as vertically.


This is a pretty difficult event. There’s a lot of moving pieces and it can be hard to keep your eyes on everything at once. I’m happy to report that I played excellently, however, smashing my previous Booster Hill record by three flowers.


Once the event is over, we automatically enter Marrymore, the matrimonial capital of the world. Booster has already reached the wedding hall, so in our next update, we’ll have to put an end to his plans to get his game on once and for all.

Next time: The merry marry bell rings

11-15-2008, 02:21 PM
All told, Booster's Tower is easily my favourite part of the game. Best gags, strangest situations, and good ol' lovable Booster. The only sticking points I have are the trap floors and the Booster chase, but otherwise? A+++, would play again.


We go straight into battle!

Wait, what? You can fight Booster!? Why didn't I know that? Why didn't I ever try that?

Octopus Prime
11-15-2008, 02:32 PM
I love how the Snifits lift their "skirts" when they run.

11-15-2008, 02:38 PM
Wait, what? You can fight Booster!? Why didn't I know that? Why didn't I ever try that?

This was a major revelation for me, too.

Excellent work on the LP, Tanto.

11-15-2008, 02:52 PM

If you hit the Princess, she gives you a flower.

Who knew that domestic abuse could be so useful?

Sky Render
11-15-2008, 09:34 PM
Who knew that domestic abuse could be so useful?

Obviously Bowser believes in that. I mean, look at how often he kidnaps the princess, frequently tying her up in a very uncomfortable fashion. Mario has clearly been taking lessons from him at least since he joined the party.

11-15-2008, 10:08 PM

He invites us to find the top if we can, and bails. The real Booster Tower music (“And My Name’s Booster”) starts up at this point.

My favorite part of Booster's introduction is how he just leaves his Cookie Monster-like mouth hanging wide open as he rides away. Combined with his ever-vacant stare, it makes for quite a first impression.

I much prefer the music on the lower floors of the tower, though. I hum it all the time when I think about this game.


We’ve finally happened upon Booster’s inner sanctum. It’s not as insane as I had been anticipating.

Note the creepy birdhouse shaped like Mario's Pad, though.

Also, the Samus action figure, which is insanely awesome.


11-15-2008, 10:24 PM
You will be spending time as a bellhop, yes?

11-15-2008, 10:26 PM
You will be spending time as a bellhop, yes?

Yes, but not in the next update. I'm saving it for the second-to-last update, where I'll be running around the world to show off all the weird stuff the game has to offer. The bellhop thing is one of the better ones, but you have to spend all your money to do it, so I'm going to hold off on it until later.

11-16-2008, 05:42 AM
Booster is exactly as fantastic as I remember. I wish they could get past all the legal nonsense associated with this game so they could bring him back. can you imagine him in Mario Kart, riding a kart shaped like his little train? can you imagine it?


11-16-2008, 04:11 PM
I love how the Snifits lift their "skirts" when they run.

I don't know why, but I only just noticed that when I re-played the game on VC. It's an adorable detail.

Note the creepy birdhouse shaped like Mario's Pad, though.

I always felt bad for that bird. I wouldn't want to be owned by Booster.

11-18-2008, 12:34 AM

Nice, I didn't notice that. But what's the pair of eyes between Samus and Toadstool?

Ample Vigour
11-18-2008, 12:55 AM
Nice, I didn't notice that. But what's the pair of eyes between Samus and Toadstool?

Looks like a Goomba to me.

EDIT: ladies and gentlemen, my first video game related post in, what, three years?

11-18-2008, 06:45 AM
Nice, I didn't notice that. But what's the pair of eyes between Samus and Toadstool?


Octopus Prime
11-18-2008, 01:29 PM

I thought that to.

11-20-2008, 08:43 AM
What is the Princess’s “???”? Lingerie? Dirty pornographic magazines? Plans to depose the Chancellor in a violent coup? We’ll never know, because her chambermaid bribes us with a Mushroom to keep it quiet.

Her *ahem* Frog Stick?


Damn, I need to check in here more often, even if doing so reminds me of the shame that was my X-Com LP that was forgotten in the midst of changing jobs over the summer. This is great, great stuff.

11-28-2008, 12:23 PM
The update is again late because Real Life has been kicking my ass as of late. Does anyone have any hints for dealing with Real Life? I just can’t beat Real Life; it’s just too hardcore. They should really consider banning Real Life in order to stabilize the metagame.

When we last left off at Super Mario RPG, Booster had spirited away the Princess to the wedding halls of Marrymore to subject her to a fate worse than death. The ceremony will begin any second now, so it’s up to us to—


…Did someone say four-star hotels? Screw you, Princess, I was born to live a life of luxury!


The inn here at Marrymore has bought out the shop in a hostile takeover, so they’re both in the same place. The inn is more interesting than your usual “Pay X coins to sleep” joint, but we’ll get to that after checking out the wares the shop has on hand.


…Which is to say, not too much. The Super Hammer and the Chomp Shell are both weaker than the weapons we found in Booster Tower, and the Happy line doesn’t stand a chance against the Work Pants, so the only things we really need to buy here are the Hand Gun and the Whomp Glove, new weapons for Geno and Mallow respectively. (And we may not ever even use the latter.)

The B’Tub Ring is a Princess-exclusive accessory that is used to unlock a special item later on. Look for it in the random weirdness update.


The Marrymore Hotel has two room options: A standard bed for ten coins, and the luxurious suite for a whopping 200. The suite is surprisingly boring for having such an exorbitant price, but management is spicing it up by giving Flower Tabs to anyone looking to splurge on it. (If you stay three times, you snag a Flower Jar; five times, a Flower Box.) After making a reservation, a bellhop leads us up to the top floor.


Hidden treasure chest count: 21/39

On the way, we stop in the regular room to laugh at the plebians and uncover a hidden treasure chest.


One of the myriad of things I cut from the first update was this guy, an NPC first encountered in the inn at Mushroom Kingdom. During Mack’s invasion, he announced big plans to make a wad, but instead of going to, say, Rose Way, he’s opted instead to seek out the legendary Grate Guy’s Casino, the only hidden area in the game. As we can plainly see, he’s not having much luck. The Casino is a massive disappointment, but it contains one extremely valuable item, so we’ll be looking it up when the time comes.


The suite has a ton of cute little touches, like a shower, room service, and a complimentary bathrobe. Still not worth the 200 coins, but hey.


Whenever you summon a bellhop to your room, even if it’s just to mess with them, they ask (tastefully, of course) for a tip of ten coins. You should always pay them, not just because Zarathustra will come in and yell at you if you don’t, but for other reasons as well, as we’ll soon see.


You guys can’t hear it, but whenever Mario uses the shower, he whistles the theme to 1-1. (This was called back to in Thousand-Year Door.) In addition, when he emerges he’s all red-faced. Sadly, the bathrobe is evidently the wrong size.


The real reason to stay in the suite, besides the complimentary Flower items, is room service. It’s selling Pick Me Ups at twice the normal price, but Kerokero Colas at a 75% discount. Still, we’d have to buy at least five to see any overall savings, considering it cost us 200 coins just to get in the door. I mostly just use the suite so that I can sell the Goodie Bag right away and free up that item slot.


After a good night’s sleep, we head downstairs and compliment the bellhop on his service. If you’ve been tipping diligently, the bellhop will usually give you an additional complimentary item like a Max Mushroom or a Red Essence as a reward, so be generous.


One more thing before saving the Princess: We head back to Booster Pass. The “loud noise” we heard when we flipped that switch was evidently this new area opening up, which contains a Frog Coin, a Flower, a Kerokero Cola, and a Snifit Apprentice. (More on him later.)


Talk to any of the people clustered around outside the chapel to set off the next event. Raz and Raini (another casualty of my first update cuts) are kicked out mid-vow and the door sealed. We’ll have to find another way in.


Yeah, well, not if we have anything to say about it.


The Snifits are guarding the main door, but their lax approach to security has created a hole in the perimeter. We head around back and enter through the basement.

11-28-2008, 12:26 PM

…Where a pair of chefs are putting the finishing touches on Booster’s wedding cake.

Hm, that cake looks so tasty; I can’t stop myself…




Our fun with the chefs complete, we head into the lobby, which is currently deserted but for an overly-suspicious Snifit. Even the fireplace is cold.


Snifit #1 is a little slow on the uptake and warns us not to get involved.


He has no idea who he’s dealing with!


Good ol’ Number One resolves to go warn Booster, but #2 is doing just as good a job blocking the second door as 1 was doing with the first. Thus stymied, #1 takes the only sensible option: Enlist the intruder’s help to bash the door down.


In this event, you have run towards the door, timing yourself so as to reach it at the same time the Snifit does. Snifit #1 runs at the same speed you do, so as long as you start moving at the right time, you shouldn’t have any problems. Snifit #1 jumps (in his dainty, floaty Snifit way) right before he’s about to charge.


We bash through the door with no problem, and send the Snifits flying through the third door as well.


The good news is that we’ve got Booster and Co. cornered in the main hall. The bad news is that they’ve locked the door again. Before proceeding, we save and suit up our team in the proper equipment.


The boss that lies beyond uses both fear and sleep. Fear (in the form of the Sand Storm spell) is far more common, but sleep is more debilitating, so we need both Fearless and Wake Up Pins. I used to take all Fearless, but the boss put all my characters to sleep once and I’ve been paranoid about him ever since. Geno Boost cancels out fear anyway, so even if Bowser is scared, we shouldn’t have anything to worry about.


Listening at the door reveals that the Snifits don’t consider Mario much of a threat, but Bowser seems like another story.


Bowser, flattered by the compliment, offers to batter down this door as well. Well, this is why we brought him, I suppose…


Evidently the church’s lock is more substantial than the one at Booster Tower, because Bowser is unable to break it down alone. Eventually he swallows his pride and asks Mario for help… in his own way.

This is a repeat of the door-breaking event from before, with the difference that you have less space in which to run. Bowser snaps his fingers twice before charging.

11-28-2008, 12:27 PM

The concerted effort of Mario and Bowser allows us to break into the main hall, sending the Snifits, Booster, and the Princess flying.


It also causes the Princess to lose her various accessories.

This next part… Well, the problem with scenes that contain large quantities of Booster, as this next one does, is that there isn’t a lot that I, your intrepid LPer, can say about them. I just have to get out of the way and let them move forward, and so I shall.


11-28-2008, 12:28 PM


The Snifits go scurrying around the hall, eventually picking up all of the Princess’s fallen gear, save one.


This next part is severely irritating. You have to run around and talk to the Snifits to get the accessories back, but they move erratically and at extremely high speeds, even jumping over the pews, so it’s difficult to pin them down. On top of that, you have very little time to collect all four objects and still get the “something good” the voiceover promises you.


My advice is to mostly stay in the middle and wait for the Snifits to come out. The Snifits usually don’t spend a whole lot of time amidst the pews without returning to the center, but they do seem more likely to jump to another row if you try to corner them there. Instead of wasting a lot of time chasing them all over the room, stay calm, remain patient, and wait for one of them to pass near you. Then intercept him and grab his accessory.


The Crown, at least, is always easy to get, resting serenely on Booster’s head once you’ve picked up the other three.


You got it, big guy. Hand over the dame, or we’re going at it.


The Princess is thrilled to see us, but is less than enthused to see our new friend.


The Princess begins to offer us a little sugar, but…


Bowser and Booster want in on it as well.


This is actually the reward you get for collecting the accessories quickly. As time passes during that event, the candles light. Depending on how many candles are lit when you collect the Crown, a different person kisses Mario, like so:

1-2 candles: Princess
3-4 candles: Bowser
5-6 candles: Booster
7-8 candles: Bowser and Booster

Mario RPG remains the only game in the series where you can make Mario and Bowser kiss.


We played the accessory-collecting event well, so Bowser and Booster find themselves in an awkward situation.


The Princess shows no mercy.

11-28-2008, 12:30 PM
We’re just about to leave, when…


The chefs we ran into earlier arrive with the completed cake.


They’re a little distressed to find the hall empty, though.


They seem to be taking this surprisingly hard.


Look, buddy, I’ll have a slice if that’s all—


Crap, they’re fighting us!

The battle against the cake begins with the two chefs attacking you. They’re weak, but completely invulnerable to damage, so focus your attacks on the cake instead.


This is also a good time to do your Geno Boosting, while it’s safe to do.


After pounding on the cake for a while, it shakes ominously. The apprentice takes notice and tries to warn Torte. The master chef pays him no heed, however.


One attack later…


And the apprentice tries again.


Hard to argue with that logic, I guess…


This time, however, the cake begins moving in earnest, and the chefs take off, leaving us to deal with their horrible mutant creation. Imagine if the military got their hands on this deadly confectionary technology?


The cake is actually two enemies, Bundt and Raspberry. They can both attack, but we can’t attack Raspberry (the base) until we’ve dealt with Bundt (the face). To destroy Bundt, you must attack it while all its candles are out. An attack, regardless of strength, will blow out one of Bundt’s five candles, but Bundt re-lights one of them every turn, so this takes a while. Meanwhile, both halves of the cake are spamming powerful magic at you.


Magic such as Sand Storm, which causes fear, and Elegy, which induces sleep.


Finally chomping down on Bundt allows us to attack Raspberry directly. Raspberry’s a more conventional foe, with 900-ish HP. Regular attacks are the best method of disposing of him.


Raspberry has most of the powerful spells, so you have to be cautious and keep your health up.

Eventually, we battle the cake to a stalemate, and the Snifits arrive on the scene.

11-28-2008, 12:32 PM

The Snifits’ cute little rhyme is interrupted by the arrival of their boss.


The concept of cutting the cake into slices has evidently never occurred to these morons, so the Snifits begin to debate the best way to eat it. Snifit #1 suggests boiling it, which I don’t understand at all, but #2 has a better idea:


Eventually the Snifits toss the struggling cake into the air…


And Booster chows down. Um.


And thus ends the Great Booster Wedding.

11-28-2008, 12:34 PM

The experience from the food fight pushes Mario up to level 11.


Evidently in Booster’s neck of the woods you only need a girl to stand there while you eat cake, as he’s happy to leave her to us once the party’s over.


The Princess joins us for the brief trek back to the Mushroom Kingdom.


Once we step outside the hall, we find Raz and Raini and the other wedding guests. They’re anxious to get back to their own wedding, so we leave them to it.


But not without blessing their union. I think it goes without saying that Mario is an ordained minister.


Note also this asshole in the corner, pretending to be Toadofsky. Look, buddy, I know Toadofsky. He’s got a weird haircut and bobs his head a lot, and you, my friend, are no Toadofsky.


I feel compelled to ruin his little show here.


Outside we have a nice little commemorative portrait.

This next bit is one of my favorites. Most areas with two exits have an “entrance” and an “exit”. Even though the two are functionally identical (both lead back to the map), one technically leads “away” from the area you’re in, and the other leads “back”. We’re required by the plot to go “back” at this point, but if we try to leave Marrymore by the “exit”, we get this scene:


Note that this is the only time Mallow or Geno have anything at all to say about the Princess-rescuing plot. Annoyed that their blatant attempts at but thou must-ing didn’t work…


…They simply block off the offending exit.


Leaving Marrymore by its “entrance” will automatically drop us off at Mushroom Kingdom.


There, the guy we returned the wallet to so long ago has found a Flower Jar in it (?), which he returns to us. Hey, whatever.


That’s me, the crusher of dreams…


In the castle, Toad is quick to welcome us back.

11-28-2008, 12:37 PM

He is of course stunned to find that we have rescued the Princess. It only stands to reason, I guess; the Princess spends so little time here that her subjects probably forget what she looks like…


When I was a kid I was utterly baffled as to why the Princess made her grandma work as a chambermaid. I figure that this is actually a translation quirk; the Princess probably called this woman by some kind of affectionate honorific, which was translated more or less literally…


The Princess also gets very offended if you examine her “???”.


We finally head into the throne room for a long bout of exposition.




The Princess finally asks the million-dollar question.


The other members of Mario’s party finally make an appearance.


Bowser’s presence understandably unnerves the mushroom retainers. This is very entertaining; can we get on with this?


The Princess demands an explanation, but Bowser is too embarrassed to give one.


Mallow steps in and offers a brief summation of the Story So Far, explaining the events at Bowser’s Keep, the destruction of the Star Road, and the machinations of Smithy.

11-28-2008, 12:38 PM

I think this speaks for itself.

The Princess then asks Mallow and Geno what their deal is. Mallow gives her the sob story about his parents, and Geno explains about the Star Road. Or at least he thinks he does…



Geno tries to clarify, but then Bowser jumps in.


11-28-2008, 12:40 PM
Character-driven wackiness out of the way, the Princess has made up her mind:


But the Chancellor isn’t having any of it.


Rather than get into a fight over it, the Princess has a sudden spell of exhaustion and takes her leave.


After the Princess leaves, the Chancellor finally puts two and two together and realizes that Mack and Co. were Smithy’s underlings. With this bit of intelligence, he orders us to go take out Smithy. Thanks for that, but…

Also note that we never have to talk to the Chancellor again. Huzzah!


Yeah, right. Because as soon as we step outside…


The Princess floats down and demands to go with us.


Seeing as how we don’t have any leads, Mallow suggests heading over to Tadpole Pond and asking Frogfucius.


The Princess is a dedicated healer character with no uses outside that. Her Therapy, Group Hug, and Come Back spells are extremely powerful, but she has no offensive potential to speak of. Take a good look at those last several shots, because we won’t be seeing her again for quite a while.


Stopping by Tadpole Pond reveals that Frogfucius does indeed have a tip for us: The next star’s in a place called Star Hill. (You do have to go ask Frogfucius — Star Hill doesn’t open up otherwise.)

11-28-2008, 12:42 PM

As you can see, Star Hill is big and blue and littered with stars…


To get anywhere in Star Hill, you have to “talk” to these little flowers, lighting them. Only then do the doors to the next area open.


Geno offers us a little exposition as soon as we enter Star Hill proper, revealing that this is where wishes go after they’re granted. A wish retirement home, of sorts. Except, now that the Star Road is shattered, some wishes are ending up here even though they haven’t been granted yet, as we’ll soon see.


The cool thing about Star Hill is that if you see a star with a face on it, you can talk to it and hear its wish. Almost all the wishes are from people we’ve met in our quest. Some of them are just for fun, but others, like this one, give hints. This is Frogfucius’s wish, telling us to keep an eye out for Cricket Jam for him.


Of course, you have to figure that people aren't too thrilled to hear about you eavesdropping on their wishes.


The Star Hill is a weird place. The enemies here are weak, but strange—like these Crook repaints, Sackets, as well as mastodon skeletons and burrowing gophers. In addition, the terrain is difficult to negotiate in some places, since you can’t cross certain craters. Also, the area is entirely one-way; you can’t backtrack, nor can you exit without finding the star. There are no items and no boss. Like I said, weird.




Mallow eventually shakes off his depression and resolves to hurry on.

11-28-2008, 12:44 PM

This is the only reference to Luigi in the whole game. He appears in the ending and in the manual, but this is the only mention of him in the game itself.

If you think about it, Luigi as we know him today was developed during this period. You might remember that there was a long stretch of games in the mid-90s — this game, Yoshi’s Island, Mario 64 — where Luigi appeared in cameo roles at best. There was a real concern at the time that Luigi was slipping away and being forgotten — I remember reading a lot of letters to the editor in Nintendo Power asking why Luigi wasn’t in more games.

In retrospect, we can see that the Mario series (and by that I mean the main series, not the Kart/Party/Sports games) was in a transitional phase. They were moving from being all things to all people to being more single-player/adventure oriented, a trend that continues to this day. Before this change, Luigi was basically Mario 2 — he was there so that we could have two-player. The removal of focus from cooperative play, however, allowed Luigi to transition from being “Player 2” to his own character. And this real-word sense of underdog-ness was added into Luigi’s character, as he began to develop a second-banana complex, becoming jealous of his more famous brother. It’s an interesting transition to examine.


I’m not sure whose wish this is. My intuition is that it’s Gaz, but I’m not sure.


If you try to leave without collecting the Star Piece, Geno will yell at you.


Of course, it’s not like the Star is that hard to find. It’s just sitting there.


I’ve always found this Star Piece to be a bit odd. It’s so underdeveloped — almost as if the designers wanted to throw us a bone after the whole Booster/Princess scenario.


Next time: Here’s some weapons

11-28-2008, 10:02 PM
I think "I hope I become famous" is Toadofsky's. You should show off all the wishes, though; the way they call back to bit characters is very interesting.

And don't forget to go back to the castle and see how Peach is keeping anyone from missing her.

11-28-2008, 11:27 PM


11-28-2008, 11:34 PM
I remember the part about Booster thinking the Princess was leaking, but I had forgotten that he tasted her tears. How creepy!

11-29-2008, 10:43 AM
I think "I hope I become famous" is Toadofsky's. You should show off all the wishes, though; the way they call back to bit characters is very interesting.

Well, see, Toadofsky already has another wish that can basically only be his, so I don't think it's him. Here it is:


And the rest:

Raz and Raini



Stair guy in Rose Town


I think that's all of them...

And don't forget to go back to the castle and see how Peach is keeping anyone from missing her.

Don't worry; it's on tap for the end.

11-29-2008, 10:46 AM
Well, see, Toadofsky already has another wish that can basically only be his, so I don't think it's him. Here it is:


Ah, I'd forgotten that one.

And the rest:


11-29-2008, 08:56 PM
I always thought that the more candles that were lit, the better you could see in the chapel. Thus, you would be more likely to be kissed by Princess Toadstool. I have gotten every kind of configuration, but I was never sure how I got them. Thanks for clearing up how the game works!

12-01-2008, 02:11 PM
Short update today, with not a lot of action, but I couldn’t justify mashing it together with either the previous update or the next one, so it gets its own day in the sun. On the other hand, we take our first steps towards breaking the game wide open in this update, so maybe it’s more important than it seems?


After snagging the fourth Star Piece at Star Hill, we climb down to the seashore, where the happy Seaside Town awaits us.


Sadly, Seaside Town is playing the “The Smithy Gang is attacking this town” music, so we know something’s up.


Seaside Town is full of shops, but most of them aren’t open for business at the moment. The people inside are…


Well, let’s just say they’re a little odd. Yeah, standing on the bookshelves is real normal.


I sense something is afoot.


The inn here is free, but…


…You have to put up with the innkeeper’s freaky voyeurism as part of the deal.


My finely tuned investigative senses lead me to a suspicious-looking building on the west side of town, but it’s blocked by two goons, and locked besides.


The town’s famous seashore is deserted, but… It’s deserted normally, too, so no help there.


The only shop here is weird, as well. It’s the only place in the game where you can just flat-out buy Bombs instead of screwing around with point-swapping or Yoshi Cookies or whatever. It also sells the prophetically-named Bad Mushroom (poisons one foe; exactly as useful as it sounds) and the odd Muku Cookie item, which summons the Mukumuku monster from Star Hill to… restore your HP, I think? It’s been forever since I used it. It must not be very exciting because I don’t remember anything about it, aside from its animation.


One of the definitely-not-evil townsfolk directs us to the Elder, who lives in a house in the north part of town. Onwards, then.

12-01-2008, 02:15 PM

The Elder is plainly evil and an imposter, but at least he can form a coherent sentence. He tells us that the fifth Star has fallen into the sea, and claims that a pirate by the name of Jonathan Jones has gotten his mitts on it. The Elder needs it for a “certain purpose” (which is surely not grabbing it and running back to Smithy, we can only assume) and tells us to go fetch. Alright, chief, whatever you say.


Upstairs awaits the only friendly face in Seaside Town at the moment, a former tadpole who we evidently met back in Tadpole Pond, though damned if I remember him. It seems his philosophy degree isn’t much help in finding a job in this economy, so he’s pawning unique items for Frog Coins in order to make ends meet.


Of these five items, three — See Ya, Earlier Times, and Coin Trick — are virtually useless. See Ya allows you to run away from any battle that doesn’t have the “Can’t run!” status (read: bosses), and as enemies prevent you from running more and more frequently as the game progresses, it’s a necessity if you run away a lot. However, we’re basically past the point where you should be running for any reason whatsoever, so it’s worthless. See Ya used to be one of my first purchases in every playthrough, but I can’t see myself ever using it these days.

Coin Trick is an accessory that can only be equipped on Mario. It doubles the amount of coins you earn from battle, but coins are so plentiful in this game that I can’t really justify sacrificing Mario’s accessory slot for it.

Earlier Times, meanwhile, starts the battle over… but it doesn’t heal you, revive fallen party members, or give you back any of your spent items. In other words, it’s like a Kerokero Cola for your opponents. I honestly wonder if some tired programmer forgot to carry the one on that one, because it’s completely useless. I sometimes wonder if Intelligent Systems included the Trial Stew in Thousand-Year Door just so that Earlier Times would no longer have the distinction of being the most worthless item in the Mario RPGs.


The real treasures here are the Experience Booster and the Scrooge Ring. The Experience Booster is as broken as it gets; it doubles the experience gained by the equipped character, turning them into an unstoppable machine of destruction in no time at all. I like to equip it on Geno so that I can get my hands on the two most useful spells in the game as soon as possible. The Experience Booster turns the rest of the game into a snap.

Its only weakness is that it has no defensive abilities whatsoever, and we’re about to move into one of the most dangerous combat areas in the game. But that’s a small price to pay for completely destroying the game’s balance.

As for the Scrooge Ring, it halves the FP cost of the equipped character’s special moves. Sounds great, but to use it you have to sacrifice the accessory slot and FP refills are plentiful, so even I, who would like to give Geno Whirl and Geno Blast a big smooch on the cheek, don’t have much of a use for it. You can grind out 50 Frog Coins on Land’s End if you really have your heart set on it, but I don’t think it’s worth it.

Note also that for all the Frog Coins the game throws at us — they’re the prize in almost every minigame, hidden in almost every hidden treasure chest, and there’re a few additional ways to collect them besides — this place and the Frog Coin Emporium back at Tadpole Pond are the only places where you can actually spend them. (Oh, and you can bet them at the Casino, but you just win more Frog Coins, so it’s kind of pointless.) And once you’ve got your hands on the Experience Booster (which only costs 22) the other prizes you can buy pale in comparison. You’d think there’d be an extra shop where we could buy Rock Candies or Kerokero Colas or something, but no: This is it.

Ah, well.


We’ve done everything we can do here for the moment, so to the Sea.


Note that despite the name, the Sea is mostly just a short network of flooded caverns.


The first room, however, contains a Shaman who’s set up shop. He has a more well-rounded selection than the fake shop in Seaside Town, so we take a look at what he’s got to offer.

Most of his inventory is recycled from the Marrymore shop, but he has a few interesting things on hand. What we need here is the coolest weapon in the game, the Hurly Gloves, the Sailor Shirt, and the Sailor Pants. The Sailor Cape has only the slightest of defensive boosts on the Work Pants and lacks its boosts to attack and speed, so Geno keeps his pair for the moment. As for the Nautica(l) Dress, by the time we actually need to use the Princess we’ll have access to better armor (a few times over, actually), so we save our money and pass up the new Dress.


As thanks for our patronage, the Shaman gives us dire warning about the giant squid who brought down the Sunken Ship, and the grisly fates of those who meant to explore it. Uh, thanks, I guess.

12-01-2008, 02:17 PM

The next room is swarming with Zeostars, but it also has a Star, so we grab it and wipe out every enemy in the room. The Experience Booster is going overtime…


…Pushing Geno up to level 11, at which point he gains the awesome Geno Whirl spell. The sheer amount of awesomeness that Geno Whirl brings us cannot be summed up in mere words; you have to experience it.


Geno Whirl is a bit of an odd spell. Untimed, it’s very weak, worse certainly than a fully-charged Geno Beam, and it doesn’t have any special properties. Moreover, it costs a relatively expensive 8 FP. I couldn’t figure this spell out as a kid; there had to be more to it.

There was. And when I learned what it was, it changed the game for me.

You see, if you time Geno Whirl correctly, it does 9999 damage. To everything. (Okay, not bosses.) But once you’ve mastered the timing for Geno Whirl, you can cut down literally everything in your path in one shot, no problems. If I run into an enemy in the field that takes more than two regular attacks to bring down, I’ll usually just Whirl it and save myself some trouble. And the way the screen flashes and those nines pop up? Exhilarating. Geno Whirl is the second-best spell in the game; it’s useless against bosses, but I usually end up casting it probably more times than any other spell in the game. Major time-saver. (Except maybe the best spell in the game, but I’ll get to that next time.)


Oh, and the Princess got to level 10 or whatever.


Also, the Hurly Gloves we bought for Bowser earlier? Coolest weapon in the game. He picks up Mario bodily and throws him at the enemy. I don’t have to explain how awesome that is, I think.

(If Mario has some kind of status effect, Bowser throws the Mario doll instead. Which is hugely disappointing.)


We take a brief detour off the beaten path to grab these treasure boxes…


Recall that in the Kero Sewers, Mario couldn’t dive, so we had to go out of our way to drain the sewers so that we could proceed. The Sea, however, is dotted with these little whirlpools…


…Which pull Mario to the bottom and allow him to walk on the ocean floor.


There’s actually a hidden exit here; if you head over to the corner and jump in the room beyond…


You’ll end up in the top of this chamber, where a Max Mushroom awaits.


We finally exit the Sea caves to more water, whirlpools, and Bloopers.

12-01-2008, 02:18 PM

Underwater, we head west to the Sunken Ship and enter through the crow’s nest, launching us into the deadliest dungeon in all of Super Mario RPG. A dungeon that we’ll explore… in our next installment.

Next time: Fight against a somewhat stronger monster

12-01-2008, 03:15 PM
Mallow may be useless most of the time, but my most recent playthrough, I found that the Sea and the Sunken Ship are a place where he really shines. Thunderbolt can wipe out most of the enemies - indeed, a nice portion of the encounters - in those areas with a single hit. It's about the last point in the game where he's worth picking.

12-01-2008, 03:51 PM
This is roughly the point I got in my Fun Club playthrough before I got distracted. By the way, does Geno Whirl work against Hidon, by any chance? :3c

12-01-2008, 04:30 PM
Mallow may be useless most of the time, but my most recent playthrough, I found that the Sea and the Sunken Ship are a place where he really shines. Thunderbolt can wipe out most of the enemies - indeed, a nice portion of the encounters - in those areas with a single hit. It's about the last point in the game where he's worth picking.

Yeah, I always liked that he was kind of brought back to the forefront for this bit, since Bowser's appearance (and kill power) means he got pushed well into the background.

Dynastic Bird
12-01-2008, 06:49 PM

In retrospect, the whole cake thing was kind of...awesome, but...why was it alive? i mean, I love it, but it was kind of random to be attacked, and the revelation of the killer cake scene...


Well, Booster is awesome! When food attacks, EAT IT!

And what about the secret character Justin Bailey? She can only be around during a certain section of the game- and I think you passed it >_>.

12-01-2008, 07:31 PM
And what about the secret character Justin Bailey? She can only be around during a certain section of the game- and I think you passed it >_>.

Not quite. She appears randomly in between the end of the Princess-rescuing sequence and the collection of the sixth star. I'll be checking back every time I go to the map between now and then.

12-01-2008, 08:48 PM
Are you going to wait to get the Lazy Shell and the Frying Pan until later? I guess you're strong enough that you really don't need them.

12-02-2008, 09:55 AM
That Shaman looks just like the fortune tellers from the Paper Mario games.

Tanto, you seem to know about weird things like this: is this game where the design originated? Since it seems most of the other original monster/characters created for this game didn't make it out, that would make it something to note.

12-02-2008, 11:53 AM
I'm not Tanto, but I play one on TV. I recall that Nintendo worked with Square on an early version of the sequel to this, and it was during that time that they decided on the paper aesthetic. Nintendo and Square then fell out, leaving it to Intelligent Systems to finish the game.

It seems likely that a lot of these enemies would have made it into the Paper games, but instead fell into the same copyright limbo that Geno and Mallow are in.

The shaman's resemblance to Merlon isn't that close in the first Paper Mario, but each subsequent iteration of his design has been a bit closer to it. It's fairly generic, though.

12-10-2008, 05:56 PM
…And we’re back. I recently finished my schoolwork for the semester, so I can begin giving this oft-neglected LP my full attention* once again. I have to admit that juggling school, LPing, and other stuff has been more complicated that I expected, but I’m back in the saddle — we’re finishing this fucker before the end of the year, come hell or high water.

*Warning: Author may not actually give LP his full attention

So where were we? Oh, yes, the Sunken Ship.


You see, the thing about the Sunken Ship is that it is arguably the most challenging dungeon in the game. It has dangerous combat, puzzles, and platforming where most dungeons in the game have only one of the three. Once we’re out of here the game’s challenge takes a nosedive (for reasons I will explain in a bit), but we’ve got to get through it first. Onwards, then.

The first section of the ship is littered with notes from it’s long-since lost crew, telling you of the history of the ship.


Seems the ship was carrying an extensive treasure horde when suddenly it was set upon by a giant squid and dragged to the bottom of the ocean. Fascinating… I suppose it doesn’t matter to us, though!


Meet the Greaper, the most dangerous minor enemy in the game.

Greapers are extremely fast – only Geno acts before them under normal circumstances – and they attack with powerful magic and they can use Fear. On top of that, they show up as part of nearly every single enemy group in this area, often in pairs, so you’re guaranteed to face a bunch of them before you’re through. The most irritating part of them, however, is that unlike most of these fast-but-fragile enemies, Greapers have enough HP to survive two regular attacks before going down, meaning they’ll almost always get a chance to rip you a new one. Barring Pure Water (which OHKOs ghosts) or some lucksackery with the Masher, you have no options except to weather the storm.


Literally — Lightning Orb and Blizzard do nutty damage for this stage in the game. The Sunken Ship is basically the only area of the game where you can’t get by on the healing the game provides you — you’re almost required to dip into your items or healing spells to make it through unscathed.


Oh, and they dodge with irritating regularity as well.


Weeding our way through the first few ghoul-filled rooms gets Geno up to level 12 and Bowser to level 11. Pretty boring levels, all told, but we’re one step closer to gamebreakery.


The drowning pirates somehow had enough time to lock the door to the cellar with a password, then scatter a bunch of vague clues around the ship before the waves finally took it. What is this, the Andrea Doria?

(I think that’s my third Seinfeld reference this week. Score!)


There are a lot of enemies in this area. Note the Dry Bones — they can’t be killed permanently. Beating them in battle just causes them to fall apart, but they reassemble after a few seconds, so hoof it once you’ve won.

12-10-2008, 05:58 PM

Speaking of Dry Bones, in this game they can take infinite amounts of damage from regular attacks. You have to use magic to dispatch them permanently, but any amount of magical damage will do…


…Which makes Mallow’s increasingly-useless Thunderbolt handy for stopping them.


The sailors… want the giant squid what destroyed their ship to be released back into the world? They’re surprisingly charitable.


Clearing out another room of ghosts (however temporarily) moves Mario up to level 12.


There’s a flower hidden between this “M”-shaped stack of crates and the wall.

Note also that this room is filled with Alley Rats. The Rats are quick and can poison you with astonishing regularity, but…


They drop “Once Again!” bonuses, which allow you to attack twice, quite often, speeding up battles significantly.


We continue down the stairs, passing up on the treasure box. It contains nothing but coins, and we’re full up.


The Experience Booster is doing good work — Geno is already up to level 13; one away from facesmashing time. It helps that there are a lot of enemies in this area, but the Experience Booster really jump-starts a character’s development.


The next room is filled with Greapers, each of which blocks a door leading to a puzzle room. Solving the puzzles therein is completely optional, but doing so grants us the six hints mentioned earlier (as well as a few extra prizes) allowing us to piece together the password to the cellar.


The first room contains a Paratroopa, a cannonball perched precariously on a pillar of crates, and an airborne switch. The Paratroopa follows Mario wherever he moves in this room, so the trick is to get it to push the cannonball onto the switch…


…Like so…


…Granting us a mushroom and the first hint, courtesy of Magellan.


The second puzzle room requires you to use the three blocks to stop these rapidly-moving springs in just the right position so that a falling cannonball will bounce to another floating switch.


Here’s the solution, for the record…

12-10-2008, 06:01 PM

Magellan offers us a clue that is… surprisingly irrelevant, given that an NPC will give us virtually the same clue for free a few minutes from now.


Beating the guard to the next puzzle room pushes the Princess to the precarious position of power proofed level 11. Penguin. Pie.

It also teaches her the fine art of Sleepy Time, a spell which is, well… completely useless. A surprising number of foes (including a few bosses) are vulnerable to it, but that would require actually bringing the Princess, so never mind.

Her other status effect spell is much more useful… More on that much later, though.



…Ahem. Sorry. The next puzzle room is evidently where some programmer decided to take out a lifetime of frustration on the player, as it is a three-dimensional maze. Given that you can’t see Mario, this “maze” basically amounts to rotating the Control Pad a lot and jumping randomly, hoping to fall ass-backwards into the correct path. There’s no real advice for it either — the best I can give you is walk, don’t run, as running makes it more likely that you’ll miss a slight variation in the path.


If you get to this place, you’ll know you’re on the right track, as it’s just a hop, a skip, and a jump from here to the switch.


For all that, the prize here is… Well, not anything too exciting. The Royal Syrup completely restores FP, but we can swim in it later on if we so desire, so it’s not really worth the frustration. The clue is worthless in that it is merely the logical extension of another, easier-to-get clue. And thank god – if the clue had actually been necessary for something, I would have long since been driven mad by this room. Let us never speak of it again.


The next room is a break room, featuring a treasure box (which is just bait — all it contains is coins, and you’ll likely have to fight the Dry Bones twice to get to the chest and back) and the Shaman we ran into earlier in the Sea. He’s still got the same stock of items for sale if we need anything, and he also offers us a clue as to the password (although why he won’t just tell us is beyond me).


I can only assume that “deduce” is in quotes because it’s code for “brute-force”.


The fourth puzzle room, in the hallway beyond, is reminiscent of the coin snakes from Mario World. You have to tail the lead coin around the room while collecting the coins it leaves in its wake. If you miss one, or collect the lead coin prematurely, you have to start over. It’s not too difficult (although a few of the later jumps can be difficult to do on command, and there’s no margin for error), though. Winning nets you the total value of the collected coins (if you mess up, the coins don’t count) and another clue:


Boo 3-D Maze!


Beating more Greapers in the main hallway pushes Bowser up to level 12, where he learns his second spell, Poison Gas. It’s about as useful as you’d expect: I can’t even remember the last time I cast it. (I have vague memories of it working well on the Axem Rangers?) But at least it’s better than Bowser’s last two spells.


The fifth puzzle room is pretty simple. Hit a block to cause the first cannon to fire, then bonk the cannonball at the right time so that it hits the next block, repeat. You only have to do it a few times, and the cannonballs move slowly.

12-10-2008, 06:03 PM

Winning here nets us a Mushroom (the regular, restore-30-HP kind, not the completely-restore-all-members’-HP-and-FP kid) and another clue.


Geno Blast time! Geno Blast time!

Geno Blast is the best spell in the game by an enormous, crazy, unbelievable amount. More on it after the impending boss fight.


The final puzzle room, occurring right before the password room, is a little tricky. It contains two switches, but they don’t stay pressed when you step on them.


So, instead, you have to knock lose a barrel from a nearby pile, roll it over to one switch, then step on the other yourself.


Doing so nets a mushroom (the good kind) and the final clue. Note that unlike all the other puzzle room prizes, this mushroom regenerates if you leave the room and come back, allowing you to collect it as often as you wish. Good for leveling in this area, if you feel compelled to do so. If you’re hurting when you first enter the hall of puzzles, you might want to rush forward to this room, collect the mushroom, then go back and do the puzzles.


Each of the boxes in the password room has five or six letters, and you have to select the correct ones to open the door and move forward…

I’ve only called the Nintendo Help Line (Remember those? Ha, and what about Pogs, weren’t those wacky?) twice in my life. One was to find the location of the Wing power-up in Milky Way Wishes in Kirby Super Star — the thought of checking all those doors never occurred to me.

The other was for this password. Remember, eight-year-old Tanto was very bad at video games, and he lacked both the dexterity to solve the puzzles and the patience to brute-force all the available options, so he caved and begged his parents for the five dollars (or whatever it was) to ask a professional for help. It does not help that the password blocks contain two red herrings (“corals” and “oyster”), that seemed like they could be it, and made me feel like a genius when I first spotted them, only to have my self-esteem crushed under the game’s scathing mockery.

So what is the password?


The giant squid, King Calamari, which is evidently still alive, beckons us forward to challenge him.


(Check out this weird shot I got while trying to capture Geno Boost.)

King Calamari used to scare me. He’s an epic, three-part battle in which you have to destroy all eight of the King’s tentacles, while being bombarded all the while with poison, fear, and powerful magic.

However, slowly, over a few years, I began to put together a really awesome strategy for fighting him. First, I learned that he was weak to fire. Then, I stumbled across the Yoshi Candy trick, and in the course of implementing it I discovered that it was an easy way to farm Fire Bombs, which can destroy the tentacles in a single hit and take a big chunk out of the King’s HP. Entering this fight with three Fire Bombs turns King Calamari into a joke.


First wave down in a single round!

12-10-2008, 06:05 PM

I used to break out the Princess for the first time in this fight, because the tentacles have an annoying ability that causes fear even if you’ve got Fearless Badges equipped, and the Princess’s Therapy and Group Hug abilities can cure it. Using Fire Bombs, however, destroys them so quickly that they don’t have time to use it, mostly obviating the need to use her. Not that the third character is of much use in this fight anyway…


A third Fire Bomb wipes out the final two tentacles and puts King Calamari himself within striking distance.


We keep the fire assault going with Mario’s Super Flame, putting an end to the squid’s dastardly ship-wrecking operation.

I skipped virtually nothing of that fight, by the way. I Geno Boosted both Mario and Bowser, but that’s about it.


The next room is filled with cannons firing Bullet Bills every which way. The Bullet Bills don’t damage you, but they do force you down into this little depression, forcing you to try again. However, from down here you can hit the Bills from below, knocking their respective cannons out of commission. Not that this is that useful, since I usually fight my way through, but it can help if you’re looking to avoid combat.


Here’s the version of the Hurly Gloves that plays if Mario has a status effect. It doesn’t change the damage at all, but half the fun of this weapon is watching Mario’s shocked expression whenever Bowser uses it.


Mario and Mallow both reach level 13 as a result of fighting in this room. Now that we’ve got Geno Blast, I like to pass the Experience Booster around between Mario, Geno, and Bowser to keep their overall fighting strength high.

And speaking of Geno Blast…


Best. Spell. Ever.

Geno Blast is another one of those charge spells, but it hits all enemies for heavy damage. So heavy, in fact, that it kills virtually everything that isn’t a boss in a single hit, and unlike spells like Thunderbolt it retains its power for the majority of the game. Geno Blast turns random fights into a breeze — since Geno usually goes first, you can wipe out all the enemies on the first turn except the very toughest, which you can then finish off with regular attacks or Whirl at your leisure.

I can’t emphasize this enough. It kills absolutely everything. Even elemental resistances don’t stop it, because Geno’s magic is non-elemental. It’s worth buying the Experience Booster just to get this as soon as possible.

It’s a little expensive, at 12 HP, but mushrooms are plentiful for the latter half of the game and Maple Syrups are cheap, so you can usually power your way through any given dungeon with no trouble.

Geno’s final spell, Geno Flash, is similar to Blast, but it’s more expensive and deals more damage. However, it’s not as useful because most of the things Geno Blast can’t kill, Flash can’t either. That’s not to say it’s useless — it’s awesome in multi-part boss battles like the Axem Rangers or Culex — but Blast is just better.

Put it this way: Remember all that griping about Greapers I did back at the beginning of this update? Geno Blast wipes them out (as well as everything else in this dungeon) in one hit, on the first turn. If you’re not Blasting every chance you get, you’re not really living.

12-10-2008, 06:06 PM

We Blast our way through the next few rooms with no trouble, getting Bowser and the Princess up to speed in the process.


These chests just contain coins, but they can be tough to get to. You have to make a running jump off that pile of barrels in the corner.


In the next room, a clone of Mario appears, mirroring our every movement.


Hidden treasure chest count: 23/39

Jumping here reveals a hidden treasure chest, but to open it…


…We have to manipulate the Mario duplicate so that we can jump on its head.


Talking to the fake reveals its secret: It’s actually a Greaper. One with a fairly rare enemy set, as well, although Geno Blast clears it out well enough.


This enemy group is the most common one you encounter when you fight Dry Bones. Pre-Blast, this can be a drawn-out fight, but Blast again clears the room.


Anyway, the reason we were fighting that Dry Bones was to get to this hidden room, behind a wall of crates, which contains a Frog Coin.


A few fights later, Geno and Bowser rise another level.


In this room, the second chest monster, Hidon, pops out.


Hidon is supertough for an enemy who isn’t a boss. His Carni-Kiss attack deals heavy unblockable damage, and he’s invulnerable to all elements except jump. That would be easy enough to deal with if that was all there was, but Hidon can also…

12-10-2008, 06:09 PM

…Summon a swarm of Goombettes to aid him. Do not be fooled by their small size and cute appearance: These guys are absolute bastards, dealing heavy damage with their normal attack, and if you kill them off, Hidon will just summon more.


To beat Hidon without sustaining heavy damage, you really need Geno Blast, which is why I made such a huge deal of getting it before now.


You always want to beat Hidon, though. He coughs up a Safety Badge when defeated. The Safety Badge is like all of the status effect badges combined into one: It has the defensive bonuses of a Fearless Pin but protects the wearer from all status effects instead of just one or two. It’s a mainstay of my team, equipping either Mario or Bowser, until the very end.

Warning: Wankery about my approach to video games follows. If you don’t want to read it, skip to the next picture, where I’ll be back on track.

I actually learned of the magic of the Experience Booster and Geno Blast as a direct result of Hidon. After I had beaten the game several times, I began looking for ways to improve my game—cutting out time doing side-trips, less level-grinding, that kind of thing. Before, I would always pass on Hidon during my first pass through the Sunken Ship, then come back once I’d picked up Geno Blast to kill him and get the Safety Badge. I began to wonder if there was any way to cut out that extra side-trip and beat Hidon on the first trip without resorting to naked grinding. This led me to the Experience Booster, an item that I had previously overlooked: You could probably get Geno up to level 14 by the end of the Sunken Ship naturally with a little bit of luck or grinding, but the Experience Booster makes it much more reliable and saves a ton of time.

This is actually consistent with the way I play games in general. Kishi (among other people) has scolded me for this tendency before: After I’ve beaten a game a few times, I always begin to look for more efficient ways to play the game: beat it quicker, figure out the best equipment or party setups, do the sidequests more economically, spend less overall time blundering around or backtracking, etc. A number of years ago, I actually wrote out a checklist of what I believe to be the most efficient way to complete Ocarina of Time while still getting 100% completion, but I lost it when I switched computers. (I could probably reproduce it if anyone cared, though. I believe it was in preparation for writing a walkthrough of the game, but then I decided that the world had enough Ocarina walkthroughs already and switched my focus to something that was, we can only assume, much less productive.)

It’s a bit of an odd place to be, because I don’t know anyone else who shares my approach. I’m not really a dedicated speedrunner — I don’t time myself (unless the game does it for me), I don’t like sequence breaking, and I hate using glitches — but I do get a tiny little visceral thrill out of doing a “normal” run that’s just a tiny bit improved in some way from the last time I tried. What I normally do is figure out everything I want to do in a game, then work out some kind of a route that lets me do all that in the best way possible. I hate backtracking. I hate wandering around aimlessly trying to figure out what I should be doing. I hate putting the main quest on hold to do sidequests; so when I replay a game, I try to integrate those things as tightly into the main playthrough as possible.

I may have developed this attitude because I replay my old games more than I buy new ones; I don’t know. It’s just a quirk of mine. Tangent over.


The room that contains Hidon also contains a mushroom. You’ll probably need it after getting mauled by the box guy.


The next several rooms in the ship are submerged, with fish, Zeostars, and Bloopers replacing the undead brigade from previously in the ship. You can kill these guys with Geno Blast no problem, but…


…Watch out for these guys, Leukos. If you hit these enemies with a magic attack that doesn’t kill them outright, they counter with the powerful Solidify spell, so don’t go too crazy with your newfound Blast powers.


Backtracking a room from the whirlpool area reveals four Frog Coins.


Clearing out the underwater foes earns us a whole gaggle of level ups. First, Mario makes it to level 14, at which point he learns Ultra Jump, the final stage of the Jump line. Ultra Jumps are easier to time, but after the first every target it selects is random, so it may not deal the damage you need to the enemy you need.


Mallow makes it to level 14 as well, and learns Snowy, a thumb-killing ice attack that hits all enemies.


Finally, the Princess hits level 13 and learns Come Back. Alone, this spell is a Pick Me Up; timed, it’s a Pick Me Up that restores all HP. Obviously a very handy spell for tough fights.


It’s hard to see behind the Mario 3-esque Blooper Babies, but there’s actually a door underneath that pile of barrels in the corner. Investigating reveals…


The Safety Ring, the most kickass accessory in the game. Like the Safety Badge, the Ring prevents all status effects… and it prevents instant death, and it completely nullifies fire, ice, and lightning magic! Slap it on Geno when he’s not using the Experience Booster and forget about it; it’ll serve you well.