Saturday, January 8, 2022

Super Mario World Pt 2 - March Forth


The thing about these two pages of Nintendo Power: Since Vanilla Dome beat me on my first run at this game back in the day, Twin Bridges had this certain mystique to me as the inaccessible next area that I could only glimpse at on these pages.



Two weeks after the last post, and there's a reason for that. It was two weeks after my first run at Super Mario World when the spring 1994 school semester finally came to a merciful end and I was back at it. Managed to finish the ghost house quickly this time, and it was onward to the next level... this skull raft and the dastardly fire-monster that haunts it.

I distinctly remember now having time on my side instead of against me and tons of free time to make my way through this game. Next up was this snazzy night-time world.

With BULLET BILL MAYHEM. My God!

Here's the debut of Magikoopa, the most powerful of Bowser's foot soldiers. Or maybe it's retconned Kamek, I don't know. You never see more than one on screen.

Lemmy Koopa is the oddball Koopaling, and pops out of pipes randomly along with his decoy goons.

The game gives you a fair warning that you better have found the switch palaces, or things are going to get tougher.

KOOPALING SPOTLIGHT: Lemmy Koopa is somewhat hindered by the fact that he looks exactly like Iggy. Bet you didn't remember he existed, out of all of the koopalings. I didn't.

I backtrack to Vanilla Dome 2 and get the secret key here, because...

...that leads to the VERY easy to miss third switch palace.

Unfortunately red blocks don't give up powerups like the earlier ones, they just function as platforms. There's one more switch to hit, but not until later.

Finally, time for the mystique that is Cheese Bridge and the twin mountains. This place STILL intrigues me, to this day. Though when it comes down to it, it's basically just a couple of levels. Super Mario World has much shorter worlds in general than Super Mario Bros 3, and it's missing its World 7 (goes right from 6 to 8, more on that later). So SMB3 has a lot more levels overall. However, one can argue that World has better levels. Plus all of the hidden passages and exits and keys. Do a normal playthrough and SMB3 is bigger, do a 100% playthrough and World is bigger.

This area is most notable for all of the saw blades that menace you while you ride platforms. OR you could just fly over all this with the cape, cackling maniacally.

These sumo guys aren't much of a threat, since you have to stand right under them and wait a while before they actually attack. Nintendo Power's monster page made them look awesome, at least.

After a mere two bridge levels, we're at the castle. Yep, already. SUPER short world. There's a hidden second bridge, though, and a few extra levels here for completionists to find. The fortress on the other mountain gives it away. I've noticed that the fortresses in this game seem to all be optional, all four of them.

Ludwig's Castle...is creepy.

It's full of these ball and chains, which are a big threat until you discover that the chain doesn't actually do damage.

There's also a SPIKED CEILING OF DOOM. This castle introduces some new concepts that seem challenging on paper. In practice, it isn't that bad at all. The real challenging castles don't start until the next world.

Ludwig has the distinction of being the only unique Koopaling in this game (meaning he doesn't share a moveset with another one). He jumps around and fires these big, Shang Tsung esque fireballs. Between him being a unique boss here and him being the World 7 boss in SMB3, it's safe to say Ludwig is probably the strongest of the Koopalings.

I defeat him and he blows up like the guy in Big Trouble in Little China. You know the drill

KOOPALING SPOTLIGHT: This guy is the oldest of the Koopalings, and as mentioned above, probably the strongest. At least until Bowser Junior got invented, but let's not even talk about that.

Roy is a burly brawler and might have the highest strength of the bunch, but Ludwig combines strength with speed. Yeah, I definitely think this guy is the top Koopaling. In this game he only gets to be the halfway-boss of the game, more or less, and the actual final Koopaling is the guy who was the World 1 boss in SMB3.

Forest of Illusion is something I don't have too much memory of from the 1994 run. Maybe by this point I had already formed most of my memories of the game? I don't know. This is a really cool zone, though, because it's so different from the rest of the game.

It also has this infamous glitch where you can get infinite 1-ups by bouncing around off of these caterpillars (preferably with a cape). Also we've got one of the easier secret exits to find in this game:

Just turn into Balloon Mario and float down there. This game really liked to blow people up like The Guy From Big Trouble In Little China.

Big Boo is such a cool antagonist and I wish the game did more with him. It's worth noting that one of the hidden ghost houses actually has a fight with Big Boo. It's one of the last things I found in this game back in 1994.

Much like Donut Plains 2 and Vanilla Dome 2 before it, Forest of Illusion 2 leads to a switch palace. Follow this hidden secret path through a wall, which leads to...

...the final switch palace, which is crucial for the Star Road and other optional levels later. Other than that, missing this one isn't the end of the world in a main game only run.

Blue blocks, like red blocks, don't do anything power-up wise.

Lakitu dangles a 1-Up. Is it a trap? IS HE TRYING TO CATCH MARIO LIKE A FISH?

Lakitu Two pops up. "I AM MANY" he says.

I defeat the airborne one and carjack his flying nimbus. Now I can sail around like Gokou...for an unfortunately very limited time.

A very interesting secret level is found on the west side ("Wess-syyde!") of the forest. This one has high-speed platforming while the forest flies by in the background. Very cool level here with a real sense of speed.

I decide to take a swing at one of the fortresses, even though they're entirely optional. Don't remember any of these, and I think they might have been the very last thing I did in this game. Well, I do remember that the fourth one, in Valley of Bowser, is the hardest level in the entire game. Maybe the idea here is that they're intended to be optional -challenge levels- for players who want a struggle that the main game doesn't provide often.

Indeed, this fortress is much tougher than the levels around it, with lots of spinny blades and traps.

The boss here is Reznor (no relation to Trent Reznor). This same fight happens in all four fortresses, like Boom-Boom before it. You gotta knock them off by hitting them from below, and if you're REALLY fast you can do this before the fight even gets underway. It takes them a moment to start breathing fireballs, plus the floor begins collapsing on a delay. Those couple seconds of peace at the beginning are the time to strike.

That gets us to a shortcut via the mysterious Star Road. This is one of the two hidden/optional worlds in the game, and functions kind of weirdly. The levels don't actually lead around to each other unless you find their hidden exits; otherwise they just bounce you back to the star warp you came from. However, find the hidden exits and you can access other warps and potentially skip a ton of the game. The earliest you can access this place is Donut Plains, but you need the switch palaces in order to finish this world so I'm not sure how far you can actually get that early.

The 1989 Denver Broncos go after Mario in this next level. GET OUTTA THAR!

Fully-completed Forest of Illusion. Not sure why, but I really like this world in particular. I think this might have been the point in my initial playthrough where I started to think victory over the game was within reach. Remember, at the time I thought Mario games were super-difficult if not near-impossible, based largely on friends and I completely failing to beat any of the Bros games on the NES.

Speaking of super-difficult, Roy's Castle contains the debut of the block snake, this platform that constantly shifts and forces you to move around to maintain your footing. Meanwhile fireballs are bouncing around. It's a major step up in difficulty and a real challenge, on par with the local fortress.

Roy Koopa is the next boss and almost a palette-swap of Morton.

Not really though, because he looks different enough and his attacks are more potent.

KOOPALING SPOTLIGHT: Roy Koopa is the big bruiser of the koopalings, and I always found him the toughest of the lot due to his stun-inducing earthquake attacks. By contrast, Morton's drop-downs didn't cause stunning earthquakes. So not only do you need to get out of the way, you also need to jump. The picture here actually shows you exactly what to do.

Worth Noting: He's got the raddest sunglasses, as we can see here.

We haven't seen Yoshi in a while, so here he is. World 6 is Chocolate Island, and it's home to most of the game's tougher levels. It's also the biggest world in terms of levels required for the main game. Not really into this world or the theme of it. The only real theme here is "it's brown", which is lacking compared to SMB3's very distinctive world themes.

I said it's the longest world, and that's true... unless you take a secret level shortcut that involves sprinting past the 1989 Denver Broncos.

Yeah, there we are, huge level skip. Going through this game normally, there's a lot more to see. I'm on a mission to beat the game, though.

More Nintendo Power, showing the full Chocolate Island map. At least I maxed out the Forest of Illusion.

Side note: Chocolate Island is also my least-favorite Super Mario Kart level theme, easily.

Wendy's Castle introduces these spiked death-traps and more saw blades. We're in the endgame now, and you can tell because all of the endgame tropes (mostly new kinds of spikes) start getting use here.

Wendy is a pallete-swap of Lemmy, except there are TWO of those annoying fireballs flying around instead of one.

World 6 is down. But wait! Players who expect 8 worlds are in for a surprise, because World 7 is the last one. Donkey Kong Country went even further with the expectation-subverting by having World 6 be the last one and "World 7" consist of...a boss fight.

KOOPALING SPOTLIGHT: The only female Koopaling. I'm not sure what her name is a reference to. A lot of the others are references to real people. Maybe hers is just a name, like Larry? I feel like it IS a reference though.

The Sunken Ghost Ship is the next level. A few things about this: I've always suspected that this ship was supposed to be World 7, and got cut for time into just a single level. I could be completely wrong. Also, it's heavily implied that this is a crashed Koopaling airship.

So...did Larry crash his airship, forcing him to move into Bowser's world since he was homeless?

The sunken ghost ship looks just like an SMB3 airship, only underwater. As Nintendo Power points out, this is the only haunted area that you can bring Yoshi to.

And haunted it is, with the spirits of all of the ship residents still haunting the aquatic depths. I wonder which one of them is Leonardo DiCaprio.

This part is tough because they fade in and out quickly, plus you're swimming.

Also WHY DID YOU LEAVE HIM BEHIND, ROSE? YOU'RE A MURDERER!

This is a very long level, maybe the longest one in the game, and goes through a bunch of "level themes" from room to room. It really does feel like a bunch of levels that had whatever was finished from them smashed together.

The last section is pretty cool and has you falling out of the sky with an invincibility star. Manage to clip enough enemies on the way down and you get extra lives. It's a fun and experimental idea.

Get to the bottom and the star wears off, and stuff is ready to LAND RIGHT ON YOUR HEAD. This stage is not easy at all, and there are no checkpoints.

Get to the end, and the actual World 7 rumbles up from the depths. This is the big challenge of the game. Well, besides the Special World which leaves the "main quest" in the dust when it comes to difficulty.

Still have the Valley of Bowser, plus the Star and Special Worlds, as the festive and wholesome Super Mario World fest continues.

TO BE CONCLUDED





1 comment:

  1. Wendy's name is indeed another reference to a musician, in this case Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendy_O._Williams

    ReplyDelete