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July 31, 2017

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Part 3)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

Part 2 ended with the team inside a ghastly sunken ship. What shall we find there? Ghosts. Lots and lots of ghosts. How ghastly!

...Sea pillows?
…No, I said ghastly, not Gastly. Allow me to recap what I explained in Part 2, because this ship is evil: The Star Piece is in the Treasure Room. That room also contains a giant squid. To get in there, you have to find a password. Said password’s clues can be found around the ship, one tiny clue at a time, each one behind a mini-puzzle. Do I smell padding? Oh yes, it smells a lot like padding! That’s some high-quality dungeon padding there, ma’am! You’ve got your money’s worth! The password turns out to be PEARLS but the clues, while helpful, tend to be redundant, so the word is harder to figure out than it should be. Kind of a prblem with the game, really. Though, as promised, it opens the way into the Treasure Room…

*crosses an item off the list*
Mandatory Blooper Boss. Yep, we got that.
Now we need a... mandatory Piranha Plant boss.
Ther's one in every damn Mario RPG.

…in which you immediately enter a battle against the giant squid! A weird-looking Blooper-like thing. Raise your hand if you were surprised that this beast was a Blooper. …Not a single hand raised, huh? Figured so. First is a match against a few tentacles, then we face the body of the beast.   It’s really not that hard to beat, really. Just get rid of the tentacles and all will be fine. Past this point, there are many more haunters-

Go Mario Go! Hammer 'im well!
Hey! Whatever. Past that point, more exploration, then we meet and fight little pirate sharks wearing red clothes. We reach Jonathan Jones’ cabin, and he won’t let go of the Star Piece without a fight. Thus, we get a fight. This one is special, since Johnny has four shark minions wearing blue bandanas on his side, and if they’re all defeated before him, he’ll then fight Mario one-on-one. A good old-fashioned duel! Oh, also, he gets stronger midway into the fight. Tricky battle, but a fun one nonetheless.

When beaten, Jonathan hands over the Star Piece. Yes, we can now bring it back to that weird gray Elder Toad from Seaside Town! And so we head back, with a very practical spring that leads back directly to the world map. How useful!

Wow, that Elder REALLY wanted that star. Wait, what? He’s a Smithy Gang member, his real name is Yaridovich, and he’s actually the entire population of the village? Like, he portrayed every role? Sheesh, and I thought the T-1000 was impressive… You can refuse to hand over the Star, in which case the inhabitants of the village will be tortured. The cruelest torture of them all… The feather tickling! Oh, the horror! And you can let this continue for a long while, too. But in the end, for the plot to continue, you have to hand over the Star Piece. Sure, let your sadism roam as long as you want... But you ain’t going anywhere till you decide to follow the beats of the plot. Yaridovich’s multiple bodies flee and go out to wait for a flying ship to pick them up, but who appears? Jonathan Jones! Cornered, Yaridovich reforms into his true self, and battles the team.

Okay, let's keep attacking! One of them is gonna go down

He’s probably the toughest boss so far! As you may have guessed, he has the ability to split himself, and while the clones aren’t as powerful, they can still be a threat – meaning that you could go and first defeat the doppelgangers.

Okay, that’s reaching! Stop it! This is NOT a Pokémon review!

It begs the question, if Belome has such a large temple
all to himself, why does he go into the SEWERS?
And of course, you can’t tell the doppelgangers apart from the original. Thankfully, Yaridovich is soon defeated, with Mario’s team getting its fifth Star Piece! There’s only two left, time to move on to the sixth one. Get ready, because this is gonna be very long. Past  Seaside Town is Land’s End, a large section that comprises grassy fields, a rocky mountain, a desert and even an underground section. It’s like a microcosm of video game locations! It’s a pretty long place to visit, and it leads to a temple. Yep! Another mini-dungeon! Lord know we haven't had enough of those yet! It’s not any temple, either: It’s Belome’s Temple.

Yeah, that Belome from earlier is back, and he’s angry.

Oh, and he makes a little comment about every
character's taste when he eats them. Ew.
Like, “will eat your party member and then make a clone of them to attack your party just to spite you” angry. Don’t ask me how that works. Somehow he can do that, and somehow he couldn’t in the first battle. He’s tougher than before, but still nothing that can’t be defeated with a high-leveled team. Still be careful though, as he has other nasty tricks… Oh, and he can also put your entire party to sleep. Have fun!

Past Belome Temple, we enter Monstro Town, a town inhabited by reformed monsters of all kinds. I just love that concept in fiction, a whole bunch of monsters going “So my destiny is to get stomped by a little plumber in red and, sometimes, in green? Screw that, I’m gonna settle down someplace and live away from villainy!” You know… I could go and try to obain the ultimate power and conquer the universe… and if I’m defeated, I can just become a farmer, I’m fine with that too. (I bet comic book fans loved this reference!)

This guy will not actually give any reward even if you manage
to find every single hidden treasure chest in the game.

Monstro Town is probably the best town in the game, featuring monsters telling their life stories, and the highest number of side-quests in a single place. One NPC will challenge Mario to do 100 Super Jumps on an enemy’s head in a row – that is, in a single special move. Yes, this gives one of the best items in the game, but damn if it’s hard! It’s all worth it, though. If you sleep at the inn, you’ll be told by ghosts to collect three flags that have been hidden in precise places around the world map; for his troubles he gets the Ghost Medal, which raises its wearer’s defense in battle.

Jinx is very, very tiny.
But big surprises in small packages, yadda yadda.

But if you know the game, you know what’s to be found here: The two most awesome bonus boss fights in this entire adventure. There’s a dojo in here led by the petite but powerful master Jinx. Battle his apprentices first, then take on the master. Jinx can actually be fought three times, each time being even stronger. His last stage is a memorable battle to be sure! But that’s not the only one. There’s also Culex.

There's 5 on their side, 3 on ours.
Why couldn't we be 5 too???
I mentioned Culex on this blog before, and for good reason. He is one of the most memorable bonus boss battles of all time. To find him, first you take part in a short chain of item trades. Get fireworks in Moleville, trade them for a Shiny Stone, bring the Stone to the locked door, enter… and you find this weird 2D thing in a world that is currently in 2.5D. It comes from another world… and it battles Mario and his team with the help of four elemental crystals. He’s tougher than this game’s actual final boss, and has more HP in total (if we include the crystals in the number). He looks straight out of some Final Fantasy title, which is a very clever element put in this Mario game by Square-Enix. They should team up with Nintendo again to make another RPG, instead of just sticking their most famous FF characters into Mario’s sports and Monopoly spin-offs! Culex really is one of the best parts of the game, but he’s too powerful at the moment. You should beat the game first, then come back to fight him. He really is a challenge, and you need a much higher level to even have a chance. The entire mythos around the character is fun; he hints at his home world, implies that he’s aware that he’s in a game. Although he’s tough, he just wants a fight against the best heroes of this world before returning home, and he gives an amazing reward if you beat him. Oh, also, his name is Latin for “gnat”. Not all that threatening now, is it? And yet, the name Culex sounds so… ominous!

Monstro Town is also important in that it’s a required stop to get further. The next part of the game is past a wall that Mario can’t climb, so we get a squad of Paratroopas helping him make his way to the top. The next area is Bean Valley, and it looks like autumn suddenly fell on the world. There’s an underground area here with one of the few treasure chest monsters, and of course there’s a boss in here – namely, a Piranha Plant boss, because every Mario RPG needs a Piranha Plant boss. It’s mandatory.

Mandatory Piranha Plant boss!
I told ya so!
It starts with one head, then gets two, then three, then two small and one big head, and then it’s killed and back to being soil to bring forth more Piranha Plants. Following this, we complete a short quest to create a magical beanstalk and climb towards the clouds. Yep, we’re going up to Sky Land! …World 5 of SMB3, not the Kid Icarus one. Or maybe it is, I’m not sure. We run on clouds and on the giant leaves of that beanstalk, and God I hope there isn’t an angry giant up there. On the other hand, a golden goose might be worth it…

Hey, we’re on clouds! Believe it or not, we’re walking on air! What do you think, Mallow, our dear closest-to-being-an-actual-cloud friend?

Oh? No opinion? Uh, okay.

Oh, and what’s up there? Why, an entire kingdom inhabited by cloud-people, of course! Any opinion on that, Mallow?

Hm, I guess not.

They're all Cloud Landers.
Let's hope they're not all cuckoos.

A group of people is agitated in front of the local cloudy castle’s entrance. A woman wearing a bird on her head comes out and announces that the King of Nimbus Land is sick – but that the population shall not fear, for she, Valentina, has found the Prince who shall take the throne in his father’s place! Yes, indeed, she has found that prince who looks like a cloud, like all of them, the one who has probably grown into a fine young man by now, with some slight weather-based powers! Yes indeed, she has found Prince Mallow!

That is NOT a cloudperson!
Come to think of it, neither is she.
Any opinion on that, Mallow? …Wait a minute… Mallow? Oh gee, I guess Mallow IS a prince after all! Hey, this means that after Bowser and Peach, we’ve had a third party member who’s technically royalty! Now that’s something I can get behind, royals who jump into action! Guess you are a prince after all – just like that Prince of Egypt movie! …Yeah, I still need to read that book. That’s okay, I heard it had too many extraneous stories and characters anyway. Who cares about that Noah guy? And that Jay-Soos guy, what a Gary Stu! Christ! And the book's craziest fans, man, they're just the worst.

Wait, didn’t that woman say she had found the Prince? But if we have the Prince… who’s her Prince? She reveals her friend the “Prince”… and it’s a big dodo bird. Sheesh, this looks nothing like a Nimbus Lander! Unless he’s dumb as rocks, in which case he IS a cloud cuckoo lander, but that’s beside the point. This seems to be all a plot so that she gets Dodo to become Prince, so that he can marry her, so she can become Queen. Oh, and just look at that woman mistreating the poor big bird.

Nope, not that one.

That’s more like it. Yes, this bird has gorged himself on everything good in the world, and hasn't learned to stop before checking if he could still fit through doorframes.

It’s time to visit Nimbus Land for a bit. For the record, where is the sixth Star Piece? It’s not here. Remember, since the fifth piece, we’ve been through a lot: We went through a temple, we fought Belome again, we made our way through an ultra-long part of the world, we visited a town, we went through another area, we fought a plant, we went in the clouds, now we have this whole thing about Prince Mallow to solve, like a kind of conspiracy, and there is MORE past this point! The Nimbus Land castle is a dungeon, then later we have a volcano that is also a dungeon, with THREE BOSS BATTLES IN A ROW AT THE END OF IT!

If you hadn’t figured it out yet, the kid gloves are off.

There’s still a lot to see in this game, so stay tuned for Part 4, and I will once again try to be just descriptive enough to avoid being a bore, and short enough not to alienate readers with overly-long paragraphs. Thankfully, we’re past the halfway point of this review. I should finish this in Part 5.

Okay, see you next Monday for Part 4!