Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Super Mario Bros. 3, Part II


Today on SMB3: How many worlds can I get through?

World 2 is the desert, complete with tons of pyramids in the scenery (and one of them is a level). This world is most notable for the map music, which is both funky and fresh.

I definitely prefer the Super NES remix of this tune. Check out what it can do with more audio channels.

If I had to pick a favorite world in this game, it MIGHT be this one. I love the desert vibe. However, World 4 is really cool/unique so I would probably go with that one. This is second-place however.

THWOMP debuts. These guys were really appealing to me as a kid because they worked really well in my notebook doodles of invented Mario levels. They have a very clear movement pattern so you know exactly what they're gonna do when looking at a level map on the page.

Boom Boom is now black and white. Still takes 3 hits, and as far as I can tell it like NEVER CHANGES for the entire game. First hit, it runs back and forth. Second hit, it flies around before diving to attack. And for the third hit, it dashes back and forth quick. The key is to stay on him and hit him again before he can launch into his next attack pattern.

These block-pyramids are home to dastardly fire chain enemies that hop around. I don't think you can beat these things (without an invincibility star) and they cause me a lot of grief.

The east side (EAS-SYYYDE) has some interesting level icons, like a pyramid and a sand pit.

The sand pit level has you running away from the world's angriest sun. This is probably what the happy Teletubbies baby turned out to be after he realized how much the real world can suck.


Use a hammer (dropped by Hammer's a key, not an ability, that'll be later) to get into the even further reaches of the desert. Not sure why there's a giant roman numeral III here, and that very last location (the oasis) doesn't actually go anywhere or have anything.

HOWEVER, defeating the Fire Hammer Bros (they throw fireballs) in this secret part of the map gets you another warp whistle. Again, I won't be needing this, but it's pretty rad to find. I imagine this one took players a while to uncover since the boulder you use the hammer on doesn't really stand out.

Finally, the actual pyramid level... just a regular cave level. I didn't even get any shots of the cave because it looked so ordinary. I was really hoping it'd be an actual pyramid-themed level (which it is in the SNES version).

CHAIN CHOMP debuts here. Best known for being one of Bowser's finest weapons in Mario RPG.

The king has been transformed into a spider. Time for another airship!

This one is green, but other than that I can barely tell the difference between this and the World 1 airship.

Morton Koopa Jr, the perennial World 2 boss, is the same as Larry except he can make the ground shake with his jumps. Supposedly this can stun/destabilize Mario, but it barely seemed to have any effect in my game. The shakes caused by Roy and Ludwig later on are much more impactful...or at least, it seemed that way.

Alright, now hold on a second. I know it's a reference to Morton Downey Jr, but still, Morton Koopa Jr's name indicates that he isn't Bowser's son, but some other guy's. He's also a completely different color from all the other children of Bowser.

What's going on here? Was Nintendo intentionally alluding to this guy only being a half-sibling to the others? And...who is their mom, anyway?

And yeah, as a kid I definitely thought Morton Koopa Sr. existed and would show up in these games sooner or later. I actually briefly thought Morton Sr. was the villain of Super Mario Bros 2 after being told that the villain was a guy named "Warton" and thinking my friend was getting the name wrong. Well, he WAS, but unfortunately not the way I was hoping.

World 3 is Virtual Boy classic WATERWORLD, starring Kevin Costner. This one has a bunch of water levels, which is a cool idea in theory. In practice it's one of the more annoying worlds, because of this giant fish that harasses you.

The Frog Suit debuts here and it's a really cool new powerup...with very limited uses. Increases your mobility in water drastically, while reducing land mobility. One thing it doesn't get enough credit for is that it also keeps you from sliding on ice.

Protip: Do NOT fight Hammer Bros on a tile that is in the water, because the room will be flooded making it about ten times harder to actually reach/hit these guys.

Flying Boom Boom continues to be a scourge, but I'm starting to really accumulate lives because I'm gaining them faster than I'm losing them. The game totally heaps lives on you and it isn't nearly as tough as I remember it being.

Some underwater action, with indestructible electric jellyfish blocking the way.

The two biggest menaces of the sea: Giant fish, and squids that bounce around erratically. This is definitely the first world that I consider to be difficult in this game, but it's mainly because of how wildly different the controls are underwater.

The giant fish is at his worst during land levels, where he jumps out of the water to attack. One chomp and you lose a life, no matter what your current state is. Luckily, fireballs make short work of him and are a must here.

The end of World 3 looks a lot like Japan, something I didn't notice until just now. Very cool easter egg here, but wait! What's that green bridge for? It's a bridge to nowhere, from the looks of things. Does World 3 have more secrets to discover?

Well, I did some research, and nope, there's no secret level here. However, the easter eggs continue because the bridge is meant to signify the real-world bridge that connects Shikoku Island and mainland Honshu Island. At first I thought the castle was positioned where Tokyo is, but it looks like it's actually in the location of Kyoto (aka where Nintendo's world HQ is).

Another world, another airship. This one goes CANNON-HAPPY and you aren't given much room to move. On top of that, the boss... the toughest one yet, maybe the toughest out of all of them. Wendy Koopa's rings don't just fly off the screen like most of the others, they ricochet off the walls.

Pretty soon there are multiple rings bouncing around the room, and you have to worry about that in addition to Wendy's normal attacks. I don't think any other koopaling in this game is on Wendy's difficulty level, except maybe Roy or Ludwig. They aren't bad if you stay in the air, while this fight makes the air a dangerous place to be.

This Mario? What the hell? A Mario clone? WHAT IS THIS

World 4 might be my favorite, as I said before. The only issue here is that it's pretty ordinary-looking on the surface, while all the other worlds have obvious gimmicks.

However, go into a level and you quickly see the gimmick here: Everything is gigantic. This is so much fun and I remember loving this world as a kid. It helps that we'd usually just warp to it right from World 1 with that first whistle and go from there, so the only worlds I really played a lot of in that timeframe were 1 and 4.


There's even Giant Hammer Bros, who have a ground shake/stun when they jump and hit the ground. This is deadly in conjunction with their hammer-throws. I'm more afraid of these guys than I am of most of the koopalings.

...I should probably have been capitalizing koopalings this entire time, as it's a title. Well, too late now! They'll take their small cases and like it!

Sentient candle flames attack in the fortress here. They function like Boos and only move when you aren't looking at them. It's like a Doctor Who monster.

Lakitu and water are another deadly combination. At least he isn't giant. A giant Lakitu would have been awesome though.

Behold, the debut of the legendary Tanooki Suit. It's basically a raccoon tail, only more stylish and with another bonus power:

You can turn invincible at will by becoming a statue. This is only a temporary state, but it's incredibly useful situationally.

I only wish there were more Tanooki Suits in the game. I think I saw maybe 3-4 of them in the entire playthrough. The only thing rarer is the Hammer Bros Suit, which is even cooler, but we'll get to that.

Another thing that would be cool to see in giant form: Bullet Bills. Surprised we never do. I think they came up with the concept for it and just didn't use it here for whatever reason, because the FIRST LEVEL of World has giant Bullet Bills.

We do get giant koopas, though. The winged, hopping ones are pretty dangerous because they can change directions very suddenly.

Get a running start and hit the end-level box with the P meter full and you almost always get a star. Get 3 of those and it's a 5-Up. This contributes to my gained lives WAY outpacing the speed that I'm losing them.

This king has been transformed into a tiny orange Godzilla.

Toad is angrily delivering his script, when what he should be doing is running. FLEE! GODZILLA!

World 4 airship isn't much to talk about, and is mostly notable for being packed with these flamethrowers. It's worth noting that the airships in this game don't actually follow the themes of their worlds, and as a result they aren't that memorable or unique individually. I do love the idea of these airship levels though.

Iggy Koopa is next, with his gigantic head. He's basically the same as Larry, no gimmicks, jumps around shooting rings. The floor is much more uneven here, which provides most of the challenge of this fight (what little there is).

I get another P-Wing for my World 8 Stash, as the Princess tells me a World 2 protip that she could have told me YESTERDAY. This is the biggest clue by far about the location of the whistle.

World just another normal grassland world? At first it does look that way. And unlike World 4, there aren't any real gimmicks once you get into the levels. It's the most generic area besides World 1...and also the last part of this game that I consider easy at all. That's right, things are about to take a sharp turn into difficulty-ville shortly.

Several generic levels follow, not much to see here. Though as I pointed out in my Super Mario land 2 post, generic was good for me as a kid. I don't think I ever actually got to see this world back then though. Friends and I saw 1, 2, 4, and when we had another whistle, 7 (because we wanted to jump as far as possible and try to beat the game). We didn't do too well in 7, to say the least.

This thwomp's placement is just evil. Was Miyamoto auditioning for From Software's team?

Regardless, a little bit of problem solving gets us through this. Do a running jump, and immediately bounce again off the platform.

At the end of this half-world is a Tower of Babel looking structure. It's actually a fortress, only it has several vertical floors that you ascend.

The roof of the tower is really cool and consists of block battlements.

At least, I find a blue vine that goes into the sky. Yeah, there's no way this world would be over THAT fast, and it's time for...

...Cloud World, the second half of World 5. THIS is where the game suddenly decides it's time to take the gloves off.

It's also a fun world with some new traps and a generally exciting look. Unless you're afraid of heights.

What's this waterfall doing here in the sky?

This next level has Mario using flying koopa shells as tiny platforms to climb through the clouds. This might be the first level in the game that I consider HARD. There's a certain mystique to all of this though. The game has officially entered the realm of the fantastical, and this sky world would inspire future Mario levels like Rainbow Ride and the Wing Cap Palace in Mario 64.

Lakitu: "UP HERE, I AM GOD!"

The fortress here isn't sky-themed at all. It's the reddest, most lava-filled fortress yet.

It even has lava on the ceiling. Is this because we're in low orbit and gravity is all weird?

The next king has been turned into a bird. I don't know, if I were him I'd just stay in that form. Large sea birds live the cushy good life, flying around and having few natural predators.

Another not-too-memorable airship, this one with a heaping amount of cannons. The sky fortress level was actually quite a bit harder than this though.

Roy Koopa has the raddest sunglasses...and earth-shaking jumps. He can definitely be a threat, but he's nothing compared to the second half of his world.

Fun Fact: As a kid, Roy Koopa was my favorite koopaling, and it wasn't even close.

The Princess gives me a level-skip cloud item that I don't need because WE'RE DOIN' ALL THE LEVELS.

And also...a warning. There are things beneath the ice, and warming them up will cause them to come to life. I think that's my cue to call it a night.

Thump. Thumpthump.

1 comment:

  1. That desert theme really is funky fresh.

    It's Mario III, baby!

    Forgot about the frog suit on ice. Hammer brothers in water is just wrong.

    Absolutely love giant world.

    Somehow Toadstool knows you have the power to start the game over. Crazy.

    Yeah, Roy is great.

    WATCH CLARK. You watch him!