At the end of Part 2, we had Bowser fattened up by his own minions hypnotized by Fawful, then stuck in the floor. And now Mario and Luigi need to go into Bowser’s Flab Zone to save him. Time to go into Lipids Land!
|There is something oddly pathetic and adorable all at once|
in Bowser being stuck in the floor of his castle.
|Apparently Bowser has a queen of his own fat inside|
him, and that queen owns badges. I've stopped looking
for sense in that franchise.
Further away in the Flab Zone, Mario and Luigi encounter zones with tornadoes. This reminds them of their Superstar Saga adventure, where Mario could jump on Luigi’s head and the two would play Helicopter across a room, often getting a boost from a miniature tornado. Yup, we get another tutorial! And, of course, we can’t skip this part, so we have to learn (or re-learn, if it’s your second or third or fourth of fifth time playing) how to Helicopter.
|I would show the top screen more often, but right now|
it's either an empty space or Bowser still being stuck
in his own floor.
|Headcanon, it's a rogue Ztar that transcended the|
Mario Party series and became a deity-like
being of evil.
...........................Hm, nah, scratch that.
Ah, there we go! Give me a second to cross off that point on my list… “Obligatory endgame trinket that the bad guy is looking for, the whole reason there’s a plot to begin with, something of immense power”. Check! I knew this was goddamn coming. It’s in every single goddamn Mario RPG. Cue some bullshit mythology that has never been seen before in the Mario series and will never be seen again, and then we find out that Peach is the only one able to break the seal keeping the Dark Star hidden under Toad Town. Mario and Luigi keep looking for a way out, Peach follows them… and is subsequently taken out of Bowser’s body by Fawful. Nice, even in the most improbable place where Peach may be, somehow somebody’s gonna kidnap her. Chronic Kidnappee Syndrome, that’s what her problem is. Stamp her card again. That makes seven, I think she gets a free coffee now.
|Much help you turn out to be, Midbus.|
Art by BrokenTeapot on DeviantArt.
|The Mario & Luigi series rarely misses an|
occasion to delve into good ol' cartoony slapstick.
Kaboom in 3... 2... 1...
Venturing into the tunnel, Bowser finds Monty Moles trying to dig with a machine. Bowser accepts to help them after hearing the tunnel would have been used to connect Peach and Bowser’s castles, making it easier to kidnap her (Ha! As if it wasn‘t already easy enough! By this point, it can’t actually get any easier!). Bowser uses his legs to give the machine a boost, opening up that region inside him to the Mario brothers, and the two give Bowser enough power to push the machine for 90 seconds, tearing a very long underground path that goes all the way from the cave to the tunnels under Toad Town. Yay? There, Bowser explores around, and when he walks into the room that keeps the Dark Star sealed, he gets zapped and faints. Well, that was anticlimactic.
|Mario and Luigi could normally run around while|
wearing blue shells in New Super Mario Bros., but
let's conveniently ignore that for this game's puzzles.
Unfortunately, Fawful is already ahead, and gets his little toady green hands on the Dark Star before flying off. The Toad there explains that Fawful wants to take over Peach’s Castle. We have no choice, Mario and Luigi have to leave the caves and find their way to Toad Town. We would like to visit the town, too, but all the paths are blocked – railroading, my old enemy, you strike again! Not like going to Peach’s Castle helps in any way, since Fawful quickly summons large Dark Star blockades. Thankfully, then Toad Town opens. See? This game blocks all the paths before plot-relevant scenes happen. It’s an extremely annoying trend. Heading into the town, we see bloated Toads… Oh right, the Blorbs, we were forgetting about that.
We can visit Toad Town a bit. Many stores are reserved to better heroes… even though Mario and Luigi are the only heroes around. See, all three characters have ranks. Mario and Luigi have Mushroom, Shell, Fire Flower, Shine and Star Rank, with a bonus Rainbow Rank earned at Level 40. Bowser also has ranks: Bronze Boss, Silver Boss, Gold Boss, and the last one, Final Boss, is also gained at Level 40. Each rank gives perks, but it mostly allows Mario and Luigi to shop at fancier, richer shops. Basically another way to slow down your progression by not letting the Bros. get into the shops with the best equipment, which require either the Shine or the Star rank to enter. The first three ranks unlock an equipment slot for the brothers or Bowser, though, so you can equip up to three items at once.
|Ah, Dr. Toadley, such a medical show drama king.|
Then again, most medical drama series have the
sense toi not feature fertune teller doctors.
|Ah, pollen allergies, my old enemy.|
Christ, I’m so tired of tutorials. And many of them cannot be skipped, either, so you have to slog through each of them, just wishing Starlow (or the current tutor) would just shut up already so you could move on! Oh, and of course, this mini-game is annoying as shit. Helicopter Mario and Luigi are controlled by the stylus, when they would be a LOT simpler to control with the directional pad. And of course, you have to do it THRICE. The third time, it allows Bowser to save a submerged tower by blowing enough air on its propeller to raise it.
Only problem, that tower ends up attacking Bowser, so we need to trigger Giant Bowser once more. You know what that means: We have to go play in Bowser’s ass once more. Christ, there was no way to not make this sound dirty. Yep, mini-game time again. Urgh. The Giant Bowser battle (mostly) makes up for it, thankfully. Yes, giant Bowser is awesome. I will never deny that. However, as cool as they may be, they sacrifice much of the RPG strategy, leaving only punches and fire breath to be used. When defeated, the opponent, known as the Tower of Yikk, lands nearby while Bowser shrinks back to his normal size.
|Meanwhile, Bowser wished he had a sudoku book|
to pass the time.
While on this adventure, Mario and Luigi learn how to drill the ground; TUTORIAL! Luigi jumps on Mario, then the two jump into the ground while spinning. This also existed in Superstar Saga and was used to uproot Beans; here, the Beans make a comeback, but they’re only a little side-quest, mostly when the Bros. are visiting the Mushroom Kingdom. Hopefully this is the last tutorial we get in a while. Soon the star is assembled, a quest which can take anywhere from a half-hour – if you’re quick – to two hours (because it’s a freaking maze in there). Mario and Luigi use the star to open the door towards the boss.
Mario and Luigi have completed this part, but the dungeon is far from over! The next part sees them use everything they’ve learned so far, and they find their way to the end… They encounter the worm and after failing to catch it again, the brothers find out that the worm talks, and it tells them that it is, indeed, a Sage, but that it won’t give them the cure unless they can beat it in a battle. See, it wants toi know if they're strong enough, since the worm has no idea who they are. Because yes, that makes sense; a freaking SAGE of the MUSHROOM KINGDOM has never heard of the freaking MARIO BROTHERS who have saved it maybe a HUNDRED TIMES!
So, here’s a boss battle with the creature, grown larger and able to use magic; and when the battle is over, the creature, known as Wisdurm, evolves into a pretty butterfly – her true form – after which she gives the brothers the first Star Cure. Following this, the Mario brothers find a room where they toy around in Bowser’s body again, giving him the ability to ground pound while in his shell. Oh great, another tutorial coming. Anyway, thanks to this, Bowser can now press giant pink switches around the Mushroom Kingdom, opening new paths! Bowser leaves the Tower of Yikk, and encounters a Goomba general (one of the three mooks he helped earlier on). After Bowser explains about the Star Cures, the Goomba says that he believes there’s one in the basement of Bowser’s Castle. Alright then, let’s go!
Well, I think this has been long enough, how about we continue this in Part 4?