We’re getting closer to the final battle by the minute. The Mushroom Kingdom still seems fairly safe right now, and only a select few are aware that the Dark Star is on its way to regain power and destroy the world. You still have all the time to do all the side-quests you want. I’ll cover the end of the story and then talk about those.
|No villain is too cool to use stars in battle!|
When Fawful is destroyed, the dark energy in him turns him into some kind of little black critter with his signature spiral glasses. This thing manages to escape, and finds the incomplete Dark Star Bowser. It gets inhaled, and thus Dark Bowser becomes complete. Oh, crap.
Bowser follows through the path opened by Dark Bowser and confronts it, first in a battle of fire breaths, and then in a spike ball battle – you control Bowser in spike ball form against Dark Bowser, and you must deal damage to it five times before it deals damage five times to Bowser. Dark Bowser then flees and Bowser follows, scaling a tower and then getting to his enemy.
|No, I won't make the joke "FUCKING BUBBLES".|
The Nostalgia Critic and his memes can go die in
a fire for all I care. (The character, not the actor,
though I don't care much for him either.)
Dark Bowser releases his dark energy all over the Kingdom, kidnapping most inhabitants into bubbles – oh no, not bubbles! Those things are impossible to pop! …said no one, ever. Starlow then tells Bowser that Mario and Luigi are inside him, and that they need to cooperate to defeat this new evil. And thus the final fight starts. OH GOD, THAT MUSIC IS AMAZING! And that boss is really hard!
Hey, is there a prog metal version of that son-
Oh good heavens, my life is complete!
|"Only I am allowed to have this face! I'll smash yours to bits!"|
I swear, if this keeps up they'll start calling each other a faker.
There are two parts to this boss, which alternate. First is Dark Bowser, which has 1000 HP and really powerful moves. When Dark Bowser’s HP is down to 0, the Fawful bug inside heals it, and makes it grow bigger – then Bowser has to use his flame breath to damage that bigger Dark Bowser once, which will resize it and cause the Fawful bug to come out to try and escape. Then Bowser must inhale the bug and let Mario and Luigi do their part of the fight.
|Yes, the Dark Star is on the top screen, AKA out of reach.|
This thing has the Tall Poppy Syndrome, it has to be
brought down to size!
Fawful bug is no slouch either, since unlike every other creature inhaled by Bowser, it keeps its size on the field, so the Mario brothers are battling a humongous black monster with spiral glasses. They must kill its three legs, but first they must hit its glasses – or else it’ll protect its legs. When the glasses are beaten, Mario and Lugii have to attack its three legs, and destroy them, letting them reach and harm the Dark Star at the top of the antenna. After a few turns, the Dark Star-powered Fawful Bug comes out of Bowser and we repeat these two parts until Mario and Luigi kill the Fawful Bug.
|[too epic for words]|
|Credit goes to KokinhoKokeiro of The Spriters Resource for ripping these.|
Poor Bowser, no matter how awesome he becomes by the end, he is
destined to lose to the heroes either way.
Hey, I understand Bowser. I’d be angry too if someone entered me without my permission. …Oh God, did I really have to phrase it that way! My body is not a party! Goddamn innuendo-inviting game! On the other hand I’d be surprised anyone would want me that badly…
Anyway, the ending credits show Mario and Luigi kicking Bowser’s ass, then the Toads and Bowser’s army repairing their respective castles. Toads, if I were you, I’d make sure to remove any trace of Fawful’s machines from that building. Princess Peach sends a gift towards Bowser’s castle. Meanwhile, as Bowser’s mooks also come back under his command and swear allegiance to him again, the gift arrives; it’s a cake she baked for Bowser, to thank him for his help in saving the Mushroom Kingdom. Oh, that’s so sweet! The only problem is that the cake features Mario and Luigi, but I guess Bowser will be perfectly happy to stomp those for now and then stuff himself with cake.
|It depends. Is it possible to massage|
the back of a block?
When it comes to visiting the Mushroom Kingdom, now that Bowser can turn into a ball of spikes, many new areas open for him, regions that can only be accessed with that ability. Therefore, it’s really worth it to revisit the entire Kingdom with Bowser. Same goes for the brothers, as there are many beans scattered around the many regions, and all beans will increase one of a brother’s stats by one point, so if you want to upgrade the brothers quickly, it’s your best bet. I mean, let’s not mince words, by the end of the game, the only good place for Mario and Luigi to level up is the Airway. It does give major EXP rewards, but it’s still pretty long, so having stat boosts won't hurt at all.
|At least, regular puzzles don't need much thought.|
Want to do more side-quests with Mario and Luigi? That’s good! We transport this into Bowser’s body again (where some more beans can be found, as well as whatever attack pieces you couldn’t gather), and we can enter the Challenge Node. Three distinct challenges await here:
-A block that must be hit 99 times, moving from a brother to the other and constantly speeding up;
-The Gauntlet: A Boss Battles Mode, in a way. Stronger versions of the bosses encountered by the Mario brothers inside Bowser and outside of him are met here, and each fight ends after a set number of turns. The brothers must defeat that boss in the required amount of turns. They’re almost in the same order, too: Durmite, Kretin, Wisdurm, Memory M and L, Junker and the Dark Star. Where’s Bowser? When you beat the six first bosses, you unlock the seventh challenge, which is all these six bosses in a row, with a stronger Bowser at the end. You have a limit of 50 turns to beat all of them, AND Bowser X will suck out of the brothers any Bros. Move they use, and this for many turns, forcing you to use each special move and excel at each of them. Good luck. You’ll need it!
As a last thing to do, you can bring all three characters to Level 40, which will unlock the final Badge for the brothers and allow Bowser to use even more powerful equipment that almost turns the rest of the game into a joke. Final Boss Bowser can wear equipment that allow him to attack twice in one turn! Imagine that!
And that’s about it for this game. Quite a long ride, isn’t it? Five parts. Seems about right for an RPG on this blog. Here’s the reason why reviewing an RPG is difficult for me: I have to replay through it entirely. These games have upwards of 10 hours of gameplay. That’s the point of an RPG. And if something in an RPG doesn't attract me, or worse, if it annoys me, it makes the task even more difficult.
The Mario & Luigi series has always been closer to an action RPG, as it features RPG-styled battles but the brothers (and Bowser, in this case) have a chance to avoid every single attack sent their way, given good timing and a knowledge of the game. Bowser’s Inside Story follows this trend, with all three character able to avoid about most of all the attacks. But no matter what new gimmick they put in place, these games are always awesome.
Bowser’s Inside Story is frequently regarded as the best one in the franchise, as it features none other than Bowser, and all gameplay mechanics around Bowser are awesome. All of the attacks he can use in battle, and all of his abilities on the field. Then there’s everything he’s able to do with the Mario brothers helping inside him, which somehow turn him into an even greater badass than he’s ever been. I mean, Bowser growing giant to fight off enemies the size of buildings? Where do I sign?
|Freaky. But funny.|
However, you already know my criticisms of this game, I have been repeating them and I will say them here again: As awesome as the regular gameplay might be, there are many elements that just feel tedious. You have to return to the same mini-games in the parts of Bowser that give him some kind of superpower. Kill the red and green bubbles in Bowser’s butt when he has to grow giant; smash muscles to give him super strength in his arms or legs. None of them can be skipped, since they are part of the entire plot.
|Arm Center: Useless until|
Bowser needs extra strength.
And it’s alright! It’s alright the first time you’re playing through the game. Or the second time, even. But it gets frankly tedious any following times. It’s great when you’re stepping into this adventure and you don’t know the controls yet, but it’s a burden every next time. And no matter how great it is to explore the entire game afterwards, you need to almost beat the entire game if you want to see everything.
|The battle against the Fawful Express is one of the worst|
examples of scripted battles in the game.
Oh, but Peach's Castle is even worse.
This ties into another problem: It feels as though this game was made for young children, as it seems to be a lot easier than other games. The huge amount of tutorials and hand-holding (as in, it feels like the game is holding your hand all the way through) lead me to believe this. There's something else that makes me think this: You will frequently receive during the game an item known as a Retry Clock, which you can use at any moment to restart a battle if you're losing. A good player, or one who's replaying through the game, won't ever need those, but a new player might use them and never, ever end up seeing the Game Over screen. The game asks whether you want to use one when either Bowser or the Mario brothers lose all their HP in a fight! Hell, the only way to make this game any diffficult is to get the Challenge Medal.
|Granted, it's a pretty weird star... but it's made of|
three things that were star-shaped.
However, in the end, what we have is a solid game, a worthy title in the Mario & Luigi series, an awesome game with Bowser not as a mere party member but as a main character all to himself – which is more than we can say of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, or even Super Paper Mario. The thought of playing as Bowser should be enough to encourage someone to play this game… although you might want to beat it only once or twice, at most.