Mario’s 100 Coin Missions

We all remember the classic games in the Super Mario Bros. series right? Okay, maybe not necessarily remember but we probably all know a lot about the series regardless. One of the staples of the games was collecting 100 coins gave you an extra life. However, things changed once we moved into the 3D games. I talked about them to some extent at the beginning of last year. They are still fun games to this day, but there is one specific thing that every completionist dreads from them and that is the 100 coin missions. Before we get into that, I want to elaborate on the structure of the games themselves. The 3D titles have two different types of structures. The first is scavenger hunt based where you are given clues to find a star hidden somewhere in the level and it is up to you to explore where to find it. This is more indicative of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Odyssey. The second type is a mission based structure where you travel to select areas in order to retrieve a specific star with the area design usually undergoing some change based on the design. This is more indicative of Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. Granted there is some overlap in Super Mario 64 since they didn’t have a set formula at that point. Now time for a quiz. Of the two types I just mentioned, which do you think would be easier for allowing you to collect 100 coins? The answer is the first one. The reason is because since you have the whole map to move through to search for coins. You do not have that when dealing with a smaller section of the map geared only for a certain purpose. That is why Super Mario 64 is better for collecting coins than Super Mario Sunshine. Again, one day I will complete that game. Super Mario Galaxy at least makes them prankster comets after you beat the game, but things are a bit different from the previous two games in the series.

You see, unlike the previous two games the coins you collect are specific to that mission only and are guaranteed to be in a space where you can collect them. The problem lies in which type of mission you get. Each one of these missions gives you the ability to get purple coins to get the power star. There are two different types of missions. The first is when there are only 100 coins you have to get, sometimes with a time limit. The second is where you have 130 coins and you have to get 100 of them within the time limit provided to you. The first one is more manageable usually, unless it is on rails in which case I want to die. The second type though can be so brutal even with giving you extra coins. They don’t give you extra coins to be nice, but to make it actually possible. Fun, fun FUN. Now before I get even saltier, I want to talk about Super Mario Odyssey and how it approaches these coins. They are scattered throughout a world that you can freely explore and you do not need them all for completion. You just get them all if you want alternate costumes. Thank goodness. Although the game is still pretty difficult to fully complete even with that reprieve. After all there are 999 Power Moons (stars but different shape) to collect in the game. The closest thing to the 100 coin missions of old are those challenges that require you to do 100 of some task like volleyball returns. Now why did I bring this up? I’m getting to that, I hope.

You see, completion is starting to get a little bit crazy in more recent games. It is to the point where it stops being fun or feeling rewarding. That could just be me getting old, but I am going to stubbornly insist that is not the case. Besides, I’m 25 so I have plenty of time right? Please don’t answer that. Look it isn’t so much that I have a problem with games becoming more challenging. I have a problem if they become less fun in doing so. Now the hardest part of Super Mario 64 was collecting all of those 100 coin stars. That was especially true in the later levels where the platforming got a lot less forgiving. Then Super Mario Sunshine decided to make it so you did it less often, but you could only get the 100 coin Shine Sprite (see Power Moons in previous paragraph) in select missions as you couldn’t explore areas freely unless you were in certain missions. Then Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel decided to make it so the missions were always doable, but they bumped the difficulty up to an eleven. And before you ask, yes, that is out of ten. This is by Nintendo standards obviously. So I appreciate enjoying going through a scavenger hunt this time. I understand that what I am talking amount is a completionist thing and that is doesn’t apply to everyone. I just want to say that I want to feel something other than relief when I put my all into something. That’s all. Hopefully this post makes up for me from last year. I promise this is not a themed month this time. That was last year’s challenge.

Thoughts on Metroid Dread

We have finally reached the end of the year everybody. It’s potentially the start of a new one depending on when you read this/ when I put this out. Truth be told, I am amazed I was able to hold off this long in talking about this game. However, I wanted to do this properly so I waited to the end of the month to address this game. For those who do follow the series, they know this is a game that has been in the making for years and was one of, actually maybe the most anticipated title in the series since it was first teased. It would be such a shame it if didn’t turn out to be a good game after all of that waiting. Well, this isn’t like Duke Nukem Forever everybody, the game is actually really good. It isn’t perfect, but it is one of the most entertaining games I have played this year. I am sure it is a must have for anyone who was remotely a fan of the series before this game came out. I am not a huge Metroid fan myself, but I still find the games fun to play and do appreciate them coming out with new entries into the series. I do hope that there is at least a little less development time necessary if they plan to do a Metroid 6. This is more addressed to those who don’t really have this on their radar. This is a series that needs more attention from people, since otherwise Nintendo won’t give it any mention for the next five years. So I want people to understand why they should get it. I understand it has sold pretty well so far, but just in case people have still reserved judgment or somehow missed all of their promotions for it, I want to show the reasons why it should be added to part of your library.

First off you really don’t have to worry about not knowing about the overall plot. Even though the Metroid series has a more cohesive overall story, it gives you all the information you need before you start the game up proper by having Samus recount her previous missions leading up to this game. You should have to worry about getting lost too often because the game gives you easy access to maps and you will never be short of an ability you need to progress as long as you explore while going back to places every once in a while with new abilities. The game is challenging, but it isn’t terribly unfair with the exception of the E.M.M.I. sections. Those sections can be pretty anxiety inducing if you aren’t careful/lucky, but considering the game is built around the horror aspect all of that is to be expected to a certain extent. Like most games in the series, it is one where the more you play the better you get. Actually, that should be true of most games. The point is that you be rewarded with abilities as you go through and explore so that you can take on bigger and tougher enemies. It also has some really cool moments that I don’t want to spoil, even if you aren’t a longtime fan. The biggest reason though, is that the game is a lot of fun to play. What better reason could there be to play a game? It especially helps that Samus controls like an absolute dream in this game. Again, I understand that the game isn’t perfect, but I think that just about anyone into exploration and platformers can enjoy it so why not give it a shot. I will even give a few tips from my experience in playing the game.

The first is that you will die a decent amount. Don’t let that get you down and focus on the attack patterns of enemies and bosses. As an important note, most enemies and bosses are susceptible to Samus’ counter ability so try and master this so that you can deal serious damage to bosses and other enemies. If you get even better at it, you can even have an increased chance of countering the E.M.M.I. if they capture you. You do get two chances so make sure to time it well, even though it is pretty difficult to pull off. Also, do not be afraid to use missiles for extra damage. You get easily get missile expansions with minimal exploring so do not be afraid of using them when it counts. Another ability you may want to spend a lot of time getting to grips with is the speed booster since it allows you to rinse through most enemies and there are even some bosses that it can be used against to wipe out a significant portion of their health. If you are more into dodging though, I recommend getting used to the phase shifter ability as the midair dodge is insanely useful. It is probably my favorite new addition to Samus’ arsenal and I hope it make a return in future 2D games. Oh and even though you you get them extremely late, remember to use power bombs during the final boss. It makes things a lot easier. The last thing I want to mention is that most puzzles have alternate solutions so if you can’t complete it, that might mean there is an easier or more efficient way of doing it. I learned that one the hard way. That’s all the tips I am willing to share without spoiling too much so with all that said buy the game if you can. You won’t regret it. See you again in 2022 everybody!

Now Hear Me Out: Metroid Completion

Earlier this month we talked a little about how speedrunning Metroid games gave you different endings based on how fast you completed them. Today we are going to take things up a notch. You see, in 2002 when Metroid Fusion came out and we were given the fourth game in the series, we started to see a change in what was expected of a complete run. Metroid Fusion has multiple endings just like its predecessors, but it has more than before due to the inclusion of item completion into the mix. Previous games showed you your item completion, but having a perfect item completion did not effect the ending screen. Now item completion became a key component to the game in addition to being fast at completing the game. So not only does it matter how fast you go, but how efficient the route is when it comes to picking up items. After all, the game is now asking a lot more of you if you want to get the best ending. This means probably trying to experiment with the different routes you can take and trying to map out where all the items are hidden. At least, that would normally be the case for a Metroid game, however Metroid Fusion is a bit different from the typical Metroid game. You see, despite having never beaten Super Metroid, I know that I have already unlocked power bombs because the game is structured in a way that makes it easy to sequence break and try different routes. That is probably why I keep getting lost each time I play. In Metroid Fusion, not only does the game repeatedly give you a general idea of where to go, you are also locked into certain areas and can’t fully explore them until you reach a certain point in the story. This makes it one of the most linear entries in the series and they made completing it more complicated. Why? No idea. Anyway, let’s move on.

So, now the strategies are a lot more complicated. Now you have to figure out how to get all the items in the games while doing it quickly and being severely railroaded. Fun. Especially now that there is a brand new mechanic to shinesparks. You see, you can release the shinespark and store it again as long as you are going up a ramp. This leads to some very involved puzzles for certain items needed for full completion. Not to mention that they can be very precise. Which isn’t exactly want you want when you are on a time limit. So naturally, that can be a wee bit frustrating. The completion is made a lot easier on subsequent playthroughs, but that is only if you go for 100% item completion on a previous run. You are probably more likely to speedrun the game due to its linear nature. There are certain items that make collection easier, but you only really run into those in the late game. Going back a bit, maybe the reason they made item collecting harder is because they decided to start implementing different endings using collecting the items. I can’t be sure, but considering they decided to do that in so many more games after the fact I might be onto something here. I might be exaggerating the difficulty a bit, but collecting all the items was never even the biggest problem for me. The biggest problem is that it isn’t really worth it. Not to say that the items don’t help you get stronger. It’s just that in Metroid Fusion you get so many power bombs that you really don’t need and so you don’t even get that much stronger. Thankfully the game itself isn’t that hard, but at least give me a reason to want to explore.

You see, in certain games I feel less inclined to search for everything because there isn’t much reason to go out of my way to do so. If I don’t feel like it is worth my time, there isn’t much point in doing a bunch of precise technical challenges to just get some bonus art. In the Metroid Prime series they at least give you a teaser at the end for later games in the series. You don’t get much for 100% completion in Metroid Fusion. I would say the same for Metroid: Zero Mission as well. At least they give you the Robo Ridley fight in that game for full completion. The Omega Metroid never gets any harder. They are really not kind to completionists in the GBA titles are they? The truth is that when I try to complete a game, I hope that I am getting something worthwhile from it. I don’t want it to just be bragging rights. There is not a lot to be gained from doing exploration other than getting missiles, energy tanks and power bombs. Sure they are all useful items, but you can get by just fine by what you run into as you play through the game. At least in the Legend of Zelda series, I can usually get a useful item from exploration. I don’t need to get a million of the same item if the game’s difficulty doesn’t reflect that. So to just sum up how I feel, usually just playing through the game at your leisure is the best way to approach things. I would probably choose between picking getting items or speedrunning, but not both if the game isn’t designed around both being equally viable options. It is also possible that I am just trash at old school Metroid games. I won’t admit to that yet though. Well, that’s all I have for tonight. For those of you who celebrate, have a Merry Christmas! If not, have a good Saturday.

Hard Reset Cliché

You know what I am talking about here. Actually, maybe you don’t know. I can’t assume that everyone reading this is a fan of the Metroid series can I? That would be irresponsible and unprofessional of me. Does that mean I am responsible and professional? Not really, but it’s the thought that counts right. Anyway since we are still in the middle of Metroid month, it would be remiss of me to not bring up this particular cliché. For those who are not familiar with it, it is the scenario in which for whatever reason you start with basic equipment despite the fact that in previous game you ended with a lot more abilities and thus should still have them and the beginning of a new adventure. This happens with quite a number of videogames which this series being one of the more well known examples of this happening frequently. The main reason for this is typically because of the nature of the game. A lot of Metroid games are centered around building yourself back up so that you can contend with the enemies you are facing and complete the mission successfully. So, if you started the game with all of your abilities from previously, then there wouldn’t be able sort of growth curve for you to follow. That and you wouldn’t have any abilities you would need to look for to progress to different areas. At that point you might as well just make it an open world game. So, it essentially has become Metroid tradition that Samus will lose all of her powerups between each game. Frankly speaking, I wanted to address either this or the fact the Samus keeps blowing up each area she fights a final boss, but this one seemed easier to talk about for this game. Yes, I will still be talking about Super Metroid, I promise.

Now normally when one talks about Super Metroid, they would talk about the new features and mechanics such as shinesparks and stacking beam weapons. Or maybe they would talk about the controls allow you to pull off insane maneuvers that allow for intense speedruns and sequence breaking. Or maybe they would talk about how much bigger the game is compared to its predecessors which so many different enemies and environments. Well, you already know that I am not going to be doing any of that. Truth be told, other people could probably do it better than me considering I haven’t beat the game yet. Yes, I still have yet to complete it, mainly because I usually forget what I am doing every time I pick up the game. I could look up a walkthrough, but that would take away from the whole point of exploring on my own, so right now we are at a standstill. I will definitely beat it one day, but until that day comes I will find other things to talk about regarding this game. Truth be told, I didn’t just pick this topic for this game because I haven’t finished it. I’m not that hopeless. You see, the Metroid series has spent a good amount of time justifying why this happens to Samus at the start of each of her adventures. The first Metroid doesn’t really need an explanation. With the introduction of the Metroid Prime spinoffs, we know a considerable amount of time has passed between the first two mainline games so it understandable how she could have lost her upgrades in between games. Metroid Fusion starts with you undergoing surgery that causes your DNA to change and having most of your Power Suit stripped off, so it is reasonable to see that there were some changes that resulted from that. Maybe that is why Samus got the ability to climb ledges? The latest game has a similar reason for her loss of power suit functionality as well, although it feels a bit more contrived this time around. At least this time it wasn’t hitting an elevator wall. Super Metroid is the only game in the series where I can’t really think of an explanation for why you lose your abilities.

At the end of the Metroid II: Return of Samus when you kill all the Metroids, you actually find a baby Metroid that imprints on you and follows you back. You end up giving it to the Federation scientists to study and heading out after having completed your mission. However, later you get a distress call from the very same research and arrive to find out that Ridley has retrieved the baby Metroid and it manages to escape with it back to the Space Pirates’ home planet of Zebes. You arrive there with none of the upgrades you had from the previous game and the question is why? Not only is there not a clear explanation for it, but not a lot of time passed between the events of the second and third games so there is no reason she shouldn’t have access to her full powered suit. It shouldn’t have anything to do with the confrontation against Ridley since he didn’t really do anything to you in his escape sequence that would cause such malfunctions. So I do wonder if there is more to the story? Like maybe we are supposed to pretend that was considered to be an actual boss battle so we got wrecked and he taunted us by running away? That doesn’t make much sense when I say it out loud. Maybe there is just something about Samus’ power suit that causes it to lose functionality more easily since he isn’t full Chozo? I know I am just winging it here, but I hope you can see where I am going with this. The game itself is not very heavy on story as many of the older ones were and it hasn’t had any spinoffs to add to the lore surrounding the events leading up to that game. I wonder it maybe a remake of the game could help with that. You know, maybe add it some more details that weren’t in the original. Who knows? I am just saying that for a series that has embraced starting from scratch, it feels weird to leave this game as the outlier by not giving it much in the way of explanation. Then again, I will still take it over having all of my abilities and the start and not getting to use them. So maybe I should just such my mouth now. Abrupt ending in 3. 2.

Now Hear Me Out: Bounty Hunting

So today let’s talk about one of Samus’ other identities. In addition to being one of the most famous female characters in videogames, she is also known as a top bounty hunter. Truthfully this title isn’t as impactful as she pretty much only excepts bounties from the Galactic Federation. It concerns me how often she is called in since it gives the impression that the Federation isn’t equipped to deal with any unexpected situation. Seriously, why do they even bother sending troops or drones in the first place. They are going to lose them anyway so maybe they should call for help first. Maybe Samus keeps answering their calls because she knows how hopeless they are without her. That’s what I like to believe anyway. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter much anyway since they originally gave Samus that title is because it sounds cool. However, it isn’t like she hasn’t done any bounty hunting. It just hasn’t happened very often. The thing is, that is probably for the best. Just hear me out as I talk a bit about the second Metroid game in the series to highlight this point for you all.

Metroid II: Return of Samus is one of the more interesting titles in the series. Not necessarily to play mind you, but that is jumping the gun a little bit. No, it is because the premise of this game is specifically to kill Metroids and wipe them out form existence. Pretty drastic of a sequel to have you go so far as eliminate the very thing your entire series is named after with only two games to go on. However, I have once again digressed. Your main goal is different this time around as you are required to kill every single Metroid on the planet. You are no longer allowed to run from them as you are now being tasked with their elimination so you better find that ice beam as soon as possible. Yes you have lost your arsenal, but I feel this cliché is best saved for next time so I will give it a pass. Doesn’t mean you aren’t any less fragile at the start though. Not only that, but many of the Metroids have started undergoing mutations which have caused them to be harder to kill. So Samus has a lot of work to do so she can find the upgrades she needs on the planet to kill all these Metroids. Not this is a lot closer to how a bounty hunter would operate in the sense that the mission is not considered complete until all targets specified have been eliminated. The main problem with this setup is that it is very different from the normal setup of a Metroid game. A Metroid game consists of you scouring the areas, finding pickups and items to steadily get strong enough to take on foes and defeat whatever threats pop up in your wake and then usually cause something to explode. Is the explosion necessary? Yes. That’s the problem with the sequel to Metroid. There’s just not enough explosions. Also, you don’t really feel like you are getting stronger because the Metroids keep evolving and so you have to keep dishing out more punishment each time you come across one. You’re still making progress, but it doesn’t feel the same.

The main thing about bounty hunting is that while it might be fun in other games, it isn’t really that fun in a Metroid game because if handled poorly it can completely break the pace. That is something you definitely want to avoid, especially in a series that gives you different rewards based on completion times. This game has been remade thankfully into a game that at least controls better known as Metroid: Samus Returns. While the game controls a lot better, it doesn’t still have some pacing issues the game is unfortunately stuck with even if things can be more efficiently done. There are even some new issues with placing such as chasing Gamma Metroids, a mechanic that should be sent to life in prison for the crime of making me waste my time. As you can tell, I quite enjoyed these sections. I can still forgive the remake though for giving us better boss battles and controls at least. The main thing I want you to take away from this is that if you have played another game in the Metroid series and expect this game to be a similar experience, then I just want you to bring your hopes down a peg. It is a game all about Metroids, but I promise it doesn’t really work like a standard Metroid game. If you really want to see this game as it is, then definitely play the remake since it is better in just about every way. However, if you are a hardcore Metroid fan, there may be a fan game that may also do Metroid II: Return of Samus some justice. You might already know about it, but if you didn’t then you just have a little homework to do now it seems. Anyway, that’s it from me. Tune in next time… same site, potentially a similar time.

Metroid Completion Cliché?

I realize that the title is a bit confusing. Don’t worry, I’ll get to that soon enough. First let’s talk about the original impact when people first completed the original game Metroid. Well, it depended on the completion time, but those who completed the game under a certain time were given the surprise that the character they were playing as, Samus Aran, was actually a woman the whole time. Considering that this game came out in 1986, the fact that there was a cool female hero on the videogame scene was kind of a big deal. At the very least, it made the series feel unique. The original Metroid game mainly stands out to its unique gameplay style and the fact that you can speedrun to get different endings featuring Samus in different outfits. Going back to play the original game these days is honestly pretty rough though. Again, this was first released in 1986. Nothing feels like it plays smooth without an analog stick anymore, unless it’s an RPG with grid based movement. However, it is good to acknowledge the history of the series. That being said, there is only three bosses in the entire game which is kind of sad to think about. At least they added a few more in the remake to spice things up, although none of them are particularly difficult. They also add in the remake the ability to grab ledges, which is most appreciated, and some more post game content. Although the interesting thing about the post game content is that you send a good chunk of it as Zero Suit Samus as you end up in a random stealth section at the end of the game. And yet, the main reward for speedrunning the game is still artwork of Samus without her power suit. So, I will now address the title by asking is this reward becoming a cliché?

Now, let’s talk about words for a little bit here. My understanding of a cliché is when something is overdone and because of that loses the original intention behind it. So when it was first introduced that Samus was a woman, they were most likely trying to go for that shock and wow factor. You know, they wanted to mess with people’s expectations. Then what reason would there be for doing it after that first game? Let’s talk about another word now. Tradition is when certain ideas get passed down over a period of time right? So it probably has something to do with tradition right? Is there a point though when a tradition becomes a cliché? If I had to guess it would be when the meaning is lost. After all, there is not much point is preserving a tradition if there is no meaning behind it or if the meaning behind it doesn’t apply to new understandings or sensibilities. So that means there would have to still be meaning to it. The question then is does this reward still have meaning, even if it feels different from the original reveal? I realize I have asks a ton of questions today to the point where I am probably coming off as more annoying than interesting here. So I will step back from 20 Questions here and actually answer a question for a change. Yes, it does still have meaning. I know because I still get excited when I see that final time or completion rating and get that alternate ending that I worked so hard to unlock. I am definitely excited that there is a payoff and while there isn’t any wow factor, it is still a great reminder to see that this bounty hunter is a woman who can get the job done. Granted we now have more female protagonists since it is now longer the 80’s, but it fairness they are usually less fun to speedrun. So, it is a nice little tradition for sure, but is there any chance it could lose its meaning? Honestly, I don’t know.

Look, I never want to pretend that I have all of the answers. I don’t, and that’s okay. Every now and then though I am plagued with a question and I want to just role with it. to be honest, this isn’t the first time I have asked this question and it probably won’t be the last. I just wonder if this series will always carry the same meaning as it continues into the future. It has been shown very clearly in more recent games in the franchise that Samus is a woman and while there is nothing wrong with that, I wonder if maybe it might cause us to forget about the history of this series. Maybe we might not remember the first reveal way back when in 1986 when she first took that helmet off. I could just be unnecessarily worrying. I am fully aware of that. It also seems like the Metroid series is in a good place right now. And then I remember that it doesn’t matter with this series because the gap between main series games has been pretty brutal to say the least. There may come a day where no one actually cares about it. Maybe that is the case now. Do people still care? Does this matter to people when they play a Metroid game? It has become pretty normalized to see female protagonists now so maybe it wouldn’t matter to someone who just picked up the series. I guess I am fine with it being normalized, but I feel like something is being glossed over. At first it was that she was both cool and a woman. It hasn’t really changed since then, but we have had some close calls. Looking at you specifically, game that I swore not to mention this month. I guess I am just worried that Samus could one day become a cliché character. I love the acknowledgement that she is a woman, but I hope that the fact that she is a woman remains cool. I hope I conveyed what I wanted to say. I am honestly not sure if I did. Let’s hope so. See you next week.

The Mario is Missing Cliché

I like Luigi as a character. I’m just coming out and saying it. Not everyone gets their own month on my blog you know. I realize that doesn’t mean a lot right now, but later on it will hopefully mean a lot more. The point is I think that he deserves some attention and so I decided to give him some. Throughout all of the jokes I attempted and the ramblings I gave since nowadays I consider sleep to be optional, I was trying to look out for number two. So I tried to give some thoughts on the man in green to spread some awareness you see. However, there is one thing that I have been trying to avoid when talking about Luigi and that is his relationship with Mario. I am not talking about them being brothers; everybody should already be aware of that fact. I am referring to how that relationship ultimately affects Luigi in his appearances. Typically Mario is the one holding the spotlight and Luigi can hope for second fiddle at best. Heck, sometimes he doesn’t even get a mention at all. Where was he in Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Sunshine? Does it matter? Apparently not, so why even mention it? The only green that deserves to be there is the dinosaur that somehow gets even less respect than Luigi. Although even with all Yoshi does have something that Luigi does not have. Yoshi has a standalone game. In fact he has several different standalone games with the most recent being Yoshi’s Crafted World. Now you may be thinking that Luigi does have standalone games and that I should know this considering I spent the last blog post talking about the Luigi’s Mansion series. That’s fair. However what isn’t fair is the fact that Luigi can’t have one standalone title that has nothing to do with Mario.

The main problem with the relationship of the two being brothers is that the relationship doesn’t feel equal. With Mario he gets to do whatever and then someone will say that Luigi is also here. In fact my friend even showed me a meme where a Toad says “…Oh, Luigi came too, Super.” There’s being the butt of a joke and then there is just being insulting. As long as Mario is here the poor guy can’t seem to catch a break. Whereas when Luigi is in charge, things usually end up becoming about Mario. The first game to have Luigi in a starring role is a game called Mario is Missing! And I think that I don’t have to delve any deeper to relay that the main focus wasn’t on Luigi. It could have probably been any other character and the game would not have changed in any way. The only reason Luigi got the role is because he is Mario’s brother. They at least made him have a unique selling point in the Luigi’s Mansion series, but he still ends up having to rescue Mario each time. I’m starting to think that Mario games can’t get cleared for release unless there is at least one kidnapping in it. Maybe Nintendo should have a nice therapy session or something to work out some issues. Although at least it makes sense in Luigi’s Mansion and Luigi’s Mansion 3 since the whereabouts of Mario and the others are the only reason why Luigi doesn’t just peace out and take a better vacation. What boggles my mind is why is Mario captured in the second game? Your main goal for the game is to piece together the dark moon so that the ghosts don’t run rampant and take over the world. That works fine enough on its own as a story. We don’t even find out he was captured until the end of the game so why even bother? If you needed a kidnapping, you already had it with E. Gadd kidnapping Luigi from his house at the beginning of the game. Did King Boo do it as leverage or something? To this day I can’t figure it out. All I know it that it was entirely unnecessary to the overall story.

Look I am not trying to hate on Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. After all that game is really fun and it gives Luigi a dog at the end so you can’t be mad at it. The problem is that Luigi seems to not be able to have a solo adventure without Mario being involved. Well, that’s not entirely true. Back in 2013 during the Year of Luigi, Nintendo released a DLC for their game New Super Mario Bros. U. It was called New Super Luigi U. Basically all they did was replace Mario Bros. with Luigi and called it a new game. Of course there are some differences such as the shorter and more challenging levels and the arrival of Nabbit as a playable character. What is Nabbit you may ask? Truth be told I have no idea. I know he steal items and is good at running but that doesn’t really narrow things down for me. Also he seems to be a purple rabbit, but sometimes I wonder if that is really true. No matter what he is, he is the replacement for Mario as a playable character because Mario is not in the game due to Luigi having the player one spot. I wonder if he just decided not to be in the game because he didn’t get his usual spot. I hope he isn’t actually that petty. More likely he decided to take a vacation from saving Peach from Bowser every other Tuesday. And so we have it where Luigi is able to have a game where Mario is not in it, so long as it takes the same assets and story and shuffles things around a little. So there’s that I guess. I just think he could maybe get a fully-fleshed out game sometimes. And being honest, I don’t really mind Mario being in the Luigi’s Mansion series, so long as it means something. I just want Nintendo to be a little more aware of the cliché that I have noticed. That’s all. Not that they’ll read this, but at least I tried Luigi. I did my best. Now hopefully since I have talked about Luigi so much, then a new Luigi game should be in the works. That’s how it works right? Anyway, we have one more themed month of the year. I’ll see you next month for Metroid month. And for the record, I will only be covering Metroid main series games. Metroid: Other M will be a next year problem.

Thoughts on Luigi’s Mansions

Now let’s talk about the most famous game series Luigi has been a part of throughout the years. I say that knowing the series only has three games at the time of writing, but hopefully there may be more in the future. Let’s just talk about the games in the Luigi’s Mansion series that we have right now. As I already mentioned, there are three different games in the series. The first was originally released for the GameCube and was later remade for the 3Ds system and was simply called Luigi’s Mansion. It wasn’t until over ten years later that there would be a sequel as part of the Year of Luigi with the title Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Then about two years ago in 2019, we were given another sequel in Luigi’s Mansion 3. Now I personally really love this game series as it gives Luigi a chance to shine. However, for a game based around one of the Mario brothers, it has very little in the way of platforming. Instead the main gameplay loop involves sucking up different varieties of ghosts. Now Luigi is not the biggest fan of them going by how he shrieks in terror each time one gets the jump on him, but he still manages to hold his own. I guess I just respect the way he keeps trying his best to get the job done and save the day despite being absolutely terrified. I mentioned in my previous post that Luigi acted more light he wanted some spotlight in the Paper Mario games. In these games I am pretty sure Luigi would much rather just go home if he had the option. Poor guy can’t catch a break. So, I want to talk a little about the different games in the series and I want to start with the second game first. So, let’s discuss Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for a bit.

Now this game is in my opinion the weakest one in the series. The main reason is probably the mission based structure. You are only able to complete certain objectives each mission and then you are forced to exit the area after reaching a certain point. There are also areas that were previously accessible that get blocked off since they aren’t necessarily areas to complete your mission objective. So exploration is kind of limited. Not to mention that interacting with certain areas in one mission can give you completely different rewards in another mission so things can get a little repetitive. The other gripe with the game is that there isn’t much in the area of boss fights since you only get to do mostly hoard battles and only fight a boss during the final mission of an area. However, I do think the puzzles in this game can be very interesting, especially when the dark light comes into play and you can observe hidden objects and stuff. Also the game honestly just controls better than the first one did. And this is comparing the 3Ds to a GameCube so you know that has to mean something. Truth be told, I feel like the second one has a bunch of ideas, but they just really killed most of the exploration from the get-go so the game feels a bit weaker. The original game, perfect segue I know, focus on trying to find all the ghosts and finding as much money as you could fill your pockets with so you could achieve a higher rank. Since the original was one big area you fought ghosts to unlock new areas of the house and find what happened to Mario. All of the ghosts that you fight in this game are unique in design and have some sort of personality. The problem is that their capture is one of the components to getting a high rank and the controls for catching ghosts aren’t the best. In fact it can be very difficult to pull off getting platinum for each painting. The only other ghosts you fight are the boos who are hidden throughout the mansion with a certain amount being needed to reach the final area where Mario is being kept by King Boo. So exploration is very heavy is this game, especially once the element medallions are introduced so you have new ways of interacting with the environment. Although, usually this is only for money and what house Luigi gets at the end of the game. The thing is that every last bit counts if you want to get the best ranking so it can require a lot of trial and error to fully beat the game. It also involves a lot of different boss fights with each having their own unique puzzles. The combat itself is not nearly as complex as it would be in later games.

Now Luigi’s Mansion 3 feels like a balance between the two games where it spends time fleshing out the combat of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon while making it feel as though you are exploring a big open area like the original Luigi’s Mansion. Typically you spend most of your time solving puzzles and fighting waves of ghosts until you make it to the boss ghost and figure out it’s attack patterns so you can proceed on to the next area. Although most of their patterns tend to be pretty simple. Especially if Gooigi is a part of the battle because with the exception of one boss fight, there is no reason you need to switch between characters during the boss fights and so Gooigi is just regulated to puzzles for the most part. Also the gems have no other purpose except as collectibles and you don’t even get a cool Luigi trophy or anything. It is only for an achievement which is a little disheartening. Especially when some of them are so annoying to find. To the games credit they do give you easier ways to find Boos and gems but it does cost some amount of money. Although there is still more than enough coin to collect if you want to get the best ending so go nuts and feel free to spend irresponsibly. Of course that only applies to the game and definitely not in reality. I have never done anything irresponsible with money and my bank is secure enough so that you can’t find the statements to prove I’m lying. At least I hope it is because if not then I will be pretty embarrassed among other things. So back to the game, I do appreciate that a lot of the puzzles give you something to show for it even if they may not be very difficult. I also appreciate the boss ghosts each having unique personalities even if most of them aren’t very difficult. I also really enjoy the new combat of smacking enemies against each other until they drop. I just kind of hope that when they come up with a new game for the series there is more to wealth than just your overall rank or achievements. to be honest, I don’t have much more to say. I just wanted to talk a bit about this series. You should check these games out if you haven’t already just to give Luigi some love. Anyway, see you all next time.

Now Hear Me Out: Paper Luigi

Now about a year ago when I first started this blog, I spent some time talking about the Paper Mario series and how the games differ from each other. Now I want to spend some talking about a man who did not get very much screentime in those games. That’s right, it’s Paper Luigi. It is really a shame though since I find him to be one of the funniest characters in the series. You may not know this if you haven’t played these games, but Paper Luigi is a bit different from his normal 3D self. In fact, ironically his character is a lot less two dimensional in these games and has a lot more freedom to express his personality. If I were to sum up his personality from what I have seen, he is the kind of guy who shoots for the stars, only to be reminded each time that the higher you jump, the harder you fall. What I am saying is that his plans don’t really work out. For instance, in Super Paper Mario, he tries to interfere with Peach and Bowser’s absolute sham of a wedding, only to cause the Chaos Heart to go nuts and causes him to be trapped in Count Bleck’s castle. Later when trying to escape he gets captured and brainwashed into being his third-rate villain counterpart: Mr. L. Or we can look at how Paper Luigi dashed off to the rescue at the beginning of Paper Mario and the Origami King and immediately ends up being stuck in-between dimensions. The only Luigi I know that is this reckless is the one in Super Mario Galaxy who always manages to find himself in some trouble after nabbing a power star for you. Of course there is something else I should mention when it comes to Paper Luigi.

For those of you who are unaware of what I am about to reference here, thanks for hearing me out so far. As for those who are, I am going to spend a bit of time talking about a game that only exists in fairytales. That’s right, it is Paper Luigi and the Marvelous Compass. This game is a kind of running joke throughout the events of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door where Paper Luigi will occasionally show up in the hub area letting his brother know all about this exciting adventure he has been on without Paper Mario. He even has his own little groupies that are following him on his adventures that you get to meet him. The difference is that all of his followers think of him as a screw-up and all have their own little vendettas against him. The problem is that the green one has no idea what he has gotten himself into at all. Poor guy. He actually seems to think of himself as the hero in his own story. The two things that interest me the most about this little side story is that we could get a return to an older version of the Paper Mario adventure formula. The other is that we can’t really be sure what really happened in that adventure unless we see it for ourselves. Although I am more inclined to believe his followers since Paper Luigi is a bit of a klutz as I mentioned previously. He still means well though and that is what matters. At least I think so anyway. So what is the point of all this? Now hear me out for a moment. You knew I was going to say that at some point.

You see I would like to see Paper Luigi as a game. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the game they made as a running joke, but I would still like to see more of that Luigi personality. Luigi is fairly underutilized unless it is for the Luigi’s Mansion series. We see a lot of scared Luigi in situations where he seems to be in his element, which apparently is very uncomfortable and with a burning desire to go home. We don’t get to see as much of Luigi being a total dork. And if we do, it is usually because Mario also happens to be there. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Luigi’s Mansion series, but I feel that Luigi has more potential than just sucking up ghosts in a vacuum. He just has a certain charm to him and just wants to be recognized for his efforts and I say we give it to him. Not to mention the incredible amount of people who would love to actually see a version of Paper Luigi and the Marvelous Compass so long as it stays true to what they want. I am just leaving that as a possibility you know. Besides, this way Nintendo will have people hopefully embracing the life of the Paper Mario series once again. Maybe all you needed was just a new charismatic lead ready to steal the show and potentially save the day with a dash of flair. Or people could just keep playing Bug Fables instead to scratch their Paper Mario itch. I don’t really know for sure, but that is why I write these. I like to speculate on what could be even if it might never actually happen. It doesn’t hurt to dream a little right? I’m even issuing a compromise here so maybe there is some hope right? Anybody? No? Okay. See you next time.

Thoughts on Luigi Memes

You know how I made that random Luigi reference in that last post. Total coincidence if I’m being honest. But hey, it’s a Luigi month! Frankly speaking, the man in green doesn’t get the respect that he truly deserves. So this month we will be looking at some of his highlights. So I thought that we would first start out with some good memes the man has created just with his presence in games over the years. Even though he may seem like he is overshadowed by his brother, in reality he is just trying not to steal the spotlight. Seriously, what a nice guy. At least, most of the time. Let’s look at a great meme that showed up during Mario Kart 8 known as the Luigi Death stare. For those of you who have not played the game, Mario Kart 8 can be a brutal and unforgiving game just like most of Nintendo’s party and competitive games. Only Nintendo could make go-karting feel so violent while also making it super family friendly. There are a multitude of items you can use to put yourself in first place and take out the competition. And then you will get blue shelled because the game decided that your time is over. All I’m trying to say is that things can get chaotic. That means places change a lot. The funny thing was that someone realized that whenever Luigi passed someone he had taken out, he would give them this murderous stare as if he was warning them not to get back up. It was pretty funny and just kind of blew up. Now if you want to find it you can look it up on YouTube if you haven’t seen it already. Go on, I’ll wait. You back? Okay, now doesn’t he look so menacing? You have to wonder why Luigi has all that anger inside him. Oh wait, I just realized he is playing Mario Kart 8 so that totally makes sense.

The next meme I want to talk about for a bit is one that I find to be an absolute classic. It is one that has once again resurfaced after the latest released game in the Mario Party series: Mario Party Superstars. It is quite honestly not adding much new to the table, but it is honestly one of the most fun Mario Party games in years, so I’ll think we’ll just let that slide. For those of you who are unaware, Mario Party is in the same line as Mario Kart in that there is no clear winner until the end. The biggest difference between the two series is that the former has a much heavier emphasis on luck. The goal of the game is simple. You just have to have the highest star count at the end of the game. You purchase them by getting coins around the map with the best way being minigames. These games are usually based on a bit of skill as well as a bit of luck. However, skill goes out the window once the AI is on easy mode. Someone abused this and gave rise to the meme: Luigi wins by doing absolutely nothing. It is a series of videos showcasing Luigi not moving at all while the three AI scramble to win the minigames while failing miserably to a man staring blankly into the distance. To be fair, most minigames avoid this problem by requiring at least one button press, but for some of the others the possibilities are endless. To be perfectly honest I am not sure why they chose Luigi for this bit, but it is possibly because of his usual low key nature. That and the fact that Nintendo usually doesn’t give him much to do anyway so it’s a perfect fit.

The thing that I hope you take away from this, other than Luigi is definitely the more entertaining of the Mario Brothers, is that you don’t see these kind of memes about Mario. When is the last time something like this happened to him? And Chris Pratt as Mario doesn’t count because the whole cast of that movie is going to be legendary. We are in for a beautiful train wreck next holiday season and I look forward to watching it in theaters. Tangents aside, Mario never really had anything unique about him. The most controversial thing he has ever done was kidnap a monkey and attack it’s child. I know that is pretty messed up but that was years ago. Mario and more importantly Nintendo would never be caught doing anything like that anymore. Luigi luckily doesn’t have as much spotlight on him as his brother and so he gets to have more interesting interactions with other characters. It is a shame but it seems that Luigi’s lack of attention actually gives better potential for memes. Personally, I am all for more memes of Luigi, but it feels as if he is only being picked because there are no better options. Since he has the most amount of wiggle room with his personality, there is a lot more that he can get away with compared to everyone else. It also feels more fun to interpret things differently because it’s Luigi. The death stare could very well be Luigi’s serious racing face for all we know. I hope it isn’t though because things are more fun that way. So if Luigi is our best way of producing quality memes, then let’s keep them coming. Although it might be hard to top the Charlie Day Luigi memes at the moment.