So, in Part 3 we got the first Star Cure, and we learned that the second one is in Bowser’s Castle. Alright then! We fast-travel to Bowser’s past residence, now controlled by Fawful. Bowser can’t find a way into his castle’s basement, but we do find the buffet again – and Bowser can use it to fatten himself up and open the Flab Zone for Mario and Luigi again...
|Oh, there IS a way. But Bowser has to stand in one very|
particular place and stay there while Mario and Luigi
are visiting the area. It's kinda dumb. Also, it's
|Again: Thanks to this boss for immediately stating|
the strategy required to beat it. Goddammit, it's like
they don't want the players to think and try stuff!
Was this made with young kids in mind?
|I must say, there is something really funny about a being|
as little as Starlow bossing Bowser around. I don't get
those who see a pairing there, though.
|ven Mario and Luigi mimics are not safe from the real|
ones' superb attacks. Especially Mario falling
like an anvil on an unsuspecting Memory-L's head.
|"GET ME OUT! GET ME THE [CURSE WORDS REMOVED|
BECAUSE THIS GAME WAS CLEARLY MEANT WITH
YOUNG KIDS IN MIND] OUT OF THIS SAFE!"
|Meh. I prefer P-Balloons.|
Mario and Luigi go through Dimble Wood and Plack Beach. We find where the third Sage is located, but on the same screen we have access to the home of an old Koopa, who loves to make puzzles. Turns out, this guy used to have the second Star Cure, the one we found in Bowser’s Castle. Something about Bowser visiting the guy, getting angry at the puzzles, and wrecking the place. This opens a neat side-quest where you must go around Plack Beach to find packs of puzzles. But until Story Mode is over, we don't care; time to scale a mountain to find the last sage! I’ll fastforward.
We get to the sage, known as Chakron. Turns out, this is the
same guy who’s been warping Bowser to and from points on the map through
Chakroads. Long story short, this guy has the new-age belief that he’s
connected to the Universe in the pose he’s currently holding, and has been
holding for a thousand years. Chakron admits that he will give the Star Cure
only if they can break his pose. Luigi can try pushing and tickling all he
wants; this guy is rock-hard. Er… Goddammit, this game invites ALL the
innuendo! I mean that he’s more like a statue, unable to move. Either way,
Mario and Luigi have to collect the Attack Pieces of a new move to break
Chakron’s pose. So off we go.
|"Thousand Years Of Pain! Thousand Years Of Pain!"|
"Sir, I must ask you to quit poking your fingers there.
You do not have the chakra to perform this attack."
Meanwhile, Bowser, in his safe somewhere, um… I dunno, he hid a few Sudoku books and a couple pencils under his shell? Maybe he’ll work on the blueprints for his next plan for the takeover of the Mushroom Kingdom? Maybe he has hidden an oxygen tank up his… Oh wait, no, we would have seen it in there.
|That's not the heroics I was hoping for. *sigh* Join up,|
they said. It gets you kisses and cakes, they said.
Most Mario & Luigi games pride themselves in finally giving Luigi as much spotlight as Mario, since most other games out there, even those where Luigi is playable, won’t make Luigi an important guy; in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, as an example, Player 1 cannot pick Luigi; only one of the other three players can. He’s absent from most Paper Mario titles, only having a significant role in Super Paper Mario – a major role at that, but the focus was still on Mario in the end, and Luigi doesn’t appear much until the last parts. To make up for this, the Mario & Luigi games usually have a section where Luigi is alone against the odds. It usually provides a lot of comedy, and some surprisingly tense moments; in Superstar Saga, as an example, Luigi had to face a boss alone.
|Boom! Barriers gone!|
|Luigi is in one of those cans. Gotta save him if we want|
to be able to use Bros. Moves.
|Please stop talking about stimulation in this|
adventure. It keeps inviting more bawdy jokes.
No, I don’t mean a mini-game. I mean, you have to put down the DS for 3 minutes, because Mario and Luigi aren’t going anywhere until this thing is over. Hm, on one hand, I hate waiting, on the other, finally a zone in Bowser that doesn’t have a mini-game or a tutorial! As a bonus, when Bowser is healed, he learns to turn into a ball, thus rolling on his spikes, letting him go across dangerous terrain and climb sandy walls. More things that can be seen in other parts of this world, thus a player now has full freedom to explore the whole Mushroom Kingdom as Mario and Luigi, or as Bowser. This is it, guys. So much plot, dozens of tutorials… and we finally have freedom! Ah, glory, finally we’re not slowed down by stupid tutorials! Only took us four parts on Planned All Along! How could you, the player, enjoy that freedom? Will you go use Bowser’s attacks on a Broque Madame looking for a masseur? Will you visit the depths of Bowser’s Castle with Mario and Luigi, finding a bonus boss comprised of three Shroobs from the previous Mario & Luigi game? Will you go collect all Blitties? Will you visit every possible screen with Bowser in order to find every item and secret? You’re free now. But of course, this is far from the end of the game, we’re now into the final dungeon, we need to kick Fawful’s ass and stop that Dark Star.
And no, I am not wasting two more parts on this game. One more, at most. I’m not done for today.
|Whoa, that's like that time we|
battled a giant Piranha Plant...
...In a Mario Party game.
After this fight, Bowser finds his way to the main rooms of Peach’s Castle, and finds Fawful and Midbus. The two are using a machine to transfer the Princess’s energy to the Dark Star. Bowser is ready for a fight with Midbus, but Fawful first transforms Midbus into an ice champion. Sorry Fawful, you made a mistake here! Fire versus ice! Fire melts ice, I win! Check your Pokémon type charts!
…Oh, right, wrong series…
|Just in case Fawful's bug-eyed grin wasn't creepy enough,|
now it shows up on miniature snowmen. Weird.
On the way, the brothers find the Dark Star chewing on some of Bowser’s DNA. And it makes the Dark Star sick, too! Guess Bowser is the one who’s more rotten between the two! As we chase down the Dark Star, we see it gain more and more of Bowser’s attributes, gaining its abilities. Okay, the final boss is a Dark Star form of Bowser. Why do I say that? Well, first, I played the game. Second, ALL Mario & Luigi games end with a boss fight against Bowser or a variation on Bowser. ALL five of these games. Cackletta’s soul goes in Bowser in Superstar Saga, so we fight Bowletta, and then Cackletta’s soul. In Partners in Time, we fight the two Shroob Princesses, then later on we get a Shroob-powered Bowser. Here, the Dark Star creates a Bowser clone to fight. In Dream Team, Dream Bowser is the final boss, after Antasma, the original villain, gets mercilessly discarded like a joke. In Paper Jam, the last boss is a fusion of M&L Bowser and Paper Mario’s Bowser. Christ, the Mario and Luigi games have the best and funniest villains, yet we never get a final boss who isn’t Bowser in part or in totality? I’ll admit, Bowser IS a badass villain, but is it too much to ask that he doesn’t become always the final boss?
|Tactical suicide boss: One that would be indestructible were|
it not for its absolutely stupid strategic decisions.
I’ll say this much, the Dark Star has to be one of the most dead-serious villains in the entire Mario franchise. An entity evil beyond words, which doesn’t crack any jokes or mess around. It’s bent on destroying the universe, and that’s it! All it needs is enough power! Kind of a nice contrast from Fawful, the comical, chatty villain who makes overly complicated plans (that all nearly succeed) and whose silliness has been demonstrated numerous times. It makes the Dark Star far more generic as a villain, but also far more threatening. As they say, shit got real.
|Bowser, can you stop thinking this? The stakes have gotten higher than that!|
It's not time to get into a horn-measuring contest!
When the Dark Star is defeated, we’re first led to believe that this is the end, but then it escapes from Bowser and reforms outside, taking part of its Dark Bowser form. However, it’s still incomplete, so it inhales Peach believing that she has what it needs. Since that’s not the case, it goes out to seek Fawful, with Bowser hot on his eviler self’s tracks…
|Ah, Peach's Castle. So sad we must come to blows today.|
Remember when I invaded you and hid in your
paintings? Those were the days...
To Part 5!