Saturday, March 23, 2013

New Super Mario Bros. Fantasy

My mind flows thick with ideas! Too many ideas! So to satisfy my mind, I am creating another "Fantasy" series of posts, although this one will probably end considerably earlier than the Fantasy Smash Bros. series. This time the thoughtstorm is about how I would do an instalment in the ever-disappointing New Super Mario Bros. franchise. I might even cover all the ground in this one post, but let's not get ahead of ourselves!

To start us off, how about I set the mood with a little story?

One day not long after Mario and his friends rescued Princess Peach from the clutches of the evil King Koopa, Parakarry arrived with an urgent message. The letter was straight from Delfino Island! According to Delfino's Judge, Mario's evil cousin Wario had invaded the island and sought to profit from its natural resources! As a result, the beauty and sunshine which once made the island a beautiful paradise was all being sucked off and drowned out behind polluted smog. Shortly after the letter was received, Mario and his friends set off to clean up Wario's dastardly scheme.

So right away we can see that I'm breaking the mold! No Mushroom Kingdom, no rescuing the Princess, and I gave Parakarry a cameo. How much crazier am I going to get?

A lot.

The game will be built with single player in mind, as opposed to multiplayer. Although cooperative multiplayer will return as an option, it will not be the primary focus of the level design. As a result, we can afford to have the camera zoom in closer for much of the game, allowing a more detailed look at the characters and elements. The camera will adjust for more players, zooming out the further players are from each other.

Additionally, the game won't start out with scenic beauty. Instead of the typical shining sun and rolling hills of introduction stages usual for the Mario franchise, the plumber is dropped into a world of despair. Delfino Island is overcast and gray, and pulsing splots of pollution line the island. As the adventure progresses and more of Wario's factories are destroyed, more pollution will clear up. Because of this the game will get progressively cleaner and more beautiful, showing the player the actual results of their actions. Additionally, the early stages can be replayed in a "Clean" mode after the game has been cleared, showing off all the beauty that Delfino Island is typically known for.

Goombas and Koopas will find themselves replaced by their unusual Delfino counterparts. Struttin' Stus will replace Goombas as the primary grunt enemies, and the multiple pollution-based creatures, such as Polluted Piranha Plants, will make a return.

While the majority of the enemies are merely island inhabitants and not truly Wario's minions, the bosses whom lurk in each end-world factory are Wario's cohorts. And they aren't just random. We'll be seeing some combined efforts as characters from Super Mario Land 2, Wario's Woods, and WarioWare all return as the chiefs of their respective factories.

Waluigi also appears, taking a role very similar to that of Bowser Jr. Waluigi guards the Micro-Factories which mark the half-way point of each world. His battles will involved the power-up abilities available to Mario or his friends, and serve as an homage to the final confrontation with Wario at the end of Super Mario Land 2. Each world will showcase a different power-up, although the battles will all be about the same: stomp Waluigi three times to win. The only exception will be in the World One castle, where Waluigi is injured before the battle and attempts to stop the Marios while in a smaller form.

On the topic of Power-Ups, they're going to be a little different in this game. Of course the Super Mushroom, Mega Mushroom, and Mini Mushroom return, as do the Fire and Ice Flowers. However, a new power-up will appear in the form of FLUDD, who is found in special E. Gadd boxes. There are two FLUDD varieties available: spray FLUDD and hover FLUDD. Hover FLUDD will carry players high into the air on powerful jets of water, while spray FLUDD launches powerful blasts of water at enemies. Certain enemies can only be defeated by the FLUDD types, so using them is a strategic decision.

FLUDD is even more versatile than that, however. Unlike most items, which use the 1 button to perform their intended action, FLUDD controls differently. Because of this it's possible to use FLUDD simultaneously with other power-ups, and even while riding Yoshi (who can swim in this game.)

In addition to these power-ups and the Starman, the Metal Cap returns for the first time since Super Mario 64. Used primarily for exploration, the Metal Cap will transform Mario into Metal Mario, this time indefinitely. As compensation for this, Metal Mario can be damaged by polluted enemies and will revert back to his original form if damaged by them. Metal Mario is most useful under water, where he is resistant to the currents and ca explore areas that other forms would be unable to reach.

Aesthetically the game is a change from the shit-plastic look of recent New Super Mario Bros. titles, and a return to the sparkling physical design of Super Mario Sunshine. With bright colors and shimmering water, the game is sure to stand out from the crowd.

A change to the roster has also been made, for Adventure Mode, anyway. Mario and Luigi both return, of course, however the nameless Blue and Yellow Toads are being replaced by two more fleshed out characters. Toadette takes over the Player Three spot, showing off for the first time in ages, and rounding us off with player four will be the first three-dimesional appearance of Goombario, Mario's biggest fan! With no Goombas to confuse him with, I thought Goombario might be a cool character to show off for a change.

While these slots are all assigned at the beginning of the game, the ability for players to select whom they want to be can be unlocked after completing the game.

In addition to these characters, Blue Toad, Yellow Toad, Toad, and Toad's Player Two costume from Wario's Woods--Now using the name Bombino--are all unlockable bonus characters for the Bonus Mode of the game, a mode which features competitive multiplay minigames and races.

Yoshi returns as a helper character in much the same capacity as he has in the past, although this time he can swim and will accompany the player from one course to the next. However, Yoshi isn't the only helper to come along. This time Mario's old frenemy Donkey Kong has shown up to lend a helping hand. Donkey Kong's behavior is very similar to Yoshi, running off if he happens to take damage. Although bigger and worse at hopping than the dinosaur companion, Donkey Kong is the only character able to climb up vine walls and to swing from vine to vine without the need of jumping. Because of this, having DK on your side might work better for levels which require scaling cliffs. Donkey Kong is also able to carry large items which are too heavy for other characters to pick up, such as giant P-Switches. Neither DK or Yoshi can enter fortresses or ghost houses, however.

Waluigi Battles:

World One: Small Waluigi
World Two: Super Waluigi
World Three: Fire Waluigi
World Four: Ice Waluigi
World Five: Super Waluigi, but he can grab Starmen to become invincible.
World Six: Waluigi on a Purple Yoshi
World Seven: Metal Waluigi
World Eight: Mega Waluigi

World Bosses:

World One: The Three Little Pigheads
World Two: Sam Spook
World Three: Jimmy T.
World Four: Aqualea
World Five: Sven
World Six: Ashley & Red
World Seven: Mona
World Eight: Wario

Worlds:

World One: Delfino Plaza, takes place largely within the town across streets and rooftops.
World Two: This world is dark and spooky and takes place at night. Ghost enemies can be found outside.
World Three: This world takes place mostly in the scenic Bianco Hills.
World Four: The traditional water world. Shares elements with Ricco Harbor.
World Five: A mountainous region which is prone to mudslides!
World Six: A strange realm where Ashley brings the Marios into.
World Seven: An enormous submarine, headed by Mona.
World Eight: The most polluted of all the areas, completely covered in smog and with water too toxic to enter without the Metal Cap. Wario's Factor is hidden somewhere in the murk.

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