The 'Shroom:Issue 103/Strategy Wing
Halloween... Vhat a vonderful month to be a medic! Zhere are alvays plenty of gruesome vounds to be seen...it's honestly obscene. And even better is zhe months aftervards vhen everyone's mouth's are filled vith cavities! Ya, I should have enough outgoing medical bills to cover my sveet little dove's expenses....and maybe enough left over to pay zhese writers...
Hoo boy, this has been a busy month for me. Finally got 'Shroom Mafia III off the ground, so most of my attention is going to be directed towards that over the upcoming weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds (and enjoying what already has).
For Strategy Wing news, this month, we have a special guest submission by GBAToad (talk). In his section, Super Mario Maker Showcase, he'll be presenting you with a variety of Super Mario Maker levels made by our community's own members. Be sure to check it out, because there's some really clever level designs in there!
As for Halloween, I don't really have anything too scary to say. My very existence is probably scary enough. I mean, just look at the way I opened my Director's Notes...
Most of our submissions this month are Halloween-themed. Yoshi876 (talk) has managed to theme each of his racing tips this month after spooky karts and courses, so anyone who regularly plays Mario Kart should definitely check it out. Crocodile Dippy (talk) has written a fitting column on ghost-pumpkin Pokémon, Gourgeist. It's one of my favorite Ghost-types, so I obviously recommend giving it a look as well. Paper Yoshi (talk) has written another entry of Mario Calendar that, while not necessarily spooky, has some important dates for our dear old friend, Mario — including the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.' release in North America. Finally, this month's edition of From the Mushroom Vaults will reveal the locations of some particularly desirable ghosts in Luigi's Mansion.
I hope you enjoy this month's Strategy Wing!
Section of the Month
Thanks so much to everyone who voted From the Mushroom Vaults last month! I'm glad you enjoyed that piece and I hope I can bring you more sections as informative as that one.
Tied for second, we have Strategy Wing staples Crocodile Dippy (talk) and Yoshi876 (talk), with their excellent entries in last month's Pocket Handbook and Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner, respectively. Congratulations to both of you!
Tips and Challenges
Stooben speeds through hidden ghosts in Luigi's Mansion.
876's advice could easily banish your poor driving skills.
Monsters that fit in your pocket! Dippy explains how Gourgeist squashes the competition.
From the Mushroom Vaults
Hello, 'Shroom readers, and welcome to another edition of From the Mushroom Vaults! I'm here to provide you with various tips, tricks, hints, cheats, guides, and secrets about as many Mario games as I can. This month, in honor of Halloween, I will be covering what is now an oldie, but always a goody: Luigi's Mansion!
Secrets: Luigi's Mansion (GCN)
One thing that this game is loaded with is secrets, especially considering how small the game really is. There aren't too many areas in the game, but there are many objects and ghosts hidden in every room, in all sorts of strange places. Among those many ghosts are some particularly valuable ones known as Speedy Spirits. They look like your standard fare Gold Ghosts, but are instead blue and come packing a huge sum of money for any clean plumber to claim as their own with one swift suck.
In case you aren't aware, Speedy Spirits only appear once in each location. If you fail to capture them on your first try (while the room is still dark), they will escape and you will never see them again. Getting a monstrous amount of money at the end of the game becomes much easier if you know when and where to find all of the Speedy Spirits — as long as you have quick reflexes and good positioning, the rest is a cinch.
Below I'll place a table with each of the game's 15 Speedy Spirits, their location, and how much loot they provide upon capture.
I see tales of getting a second chance to caught previously-missed Speedy Spirits during the blackout portion of the game, but I've never experienced that opportunity myself, so my advice is to try to capture every Speedy Spirit on the first go. Capturing all of the Speedy Spirits and all of the loot they provide will give you 12,300,000 G. That's quite a lot. While, admittedly, it's not enough on its own to get you those sweet, enormous mansion digs, it does leave quite a dent in the amount of money you need to get Rank A.
I know this section was pretty short this month, but I hope you can still find it useful! Luigi's Mansion is a fantastic game for as short and simple as it is. If, for whatever reason, you have yet to play it, you should definitely check it out when given the chance. It's a great game to play around this time of year too, if only because it oozes of Ghostbusters.
I guess that's it for this month. Be seeing you around!
Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner
Hello 'Shroom racers! And welcome to this Halloween themed Mario Kart Wheel Tips Corner, here I plan to give you just some extra tips to help you with your racing, or just some changes in a track that might catch you off guard if you aren't prepared for them. So the lights are out, let's start racing.
You can't race if you don't have a Kart to do it in, so in this section I'll give you some facts about a Kart, Bike or ATV that you can use hopefully for racing success.
This month's Kool Kart, the Banisher, breaks a traidition that I noticed with all the other Karts, this Kart does not begin with the letter "C", instead it begins with "B". The Banisher has its strengths in acceleration, handling and items and suffers in its speed and drift stats, much like the Cucumber from a couple of issues ago. Which unfortunately does mean that this Kart comes with much the same advice that I gave in that section. Make sure you get a good Rocket Start so you can outpace the competition to the first item box, and then if Lady Luck is smiling upon you, you'll get the Triple Bananas and the race should be in the bag for you. Just make sure you take the corners slow, and without drifiting otherwise you could find the win grabbed from your hands.
Retro tracks are now a huge portion of the Mario Kart games, typically amounting to half the courses in the game. But usually these courses change some things up, so in this section I'll help you find out "What's Changed" in the retro tracks.
It's Halloween, sort of, so I decided to go for this spooky looking course that was also remade as a retro track, and obviously Luigi's Mansion from Mario Kart DS was the obvious choice, seeing as it returned in Mario Kart 7. Just like every other track that's been remade this track now boasts better graphics, one instance of this is how the foyer has been redesigned to look more like the actual mansion's foyer. The track also now includes two glider ramps, one leading into Boo Woods, and the other as an added ramp to the right of the mud pools. There is now also a gap in the wall separating the mansion from Boo Woods that racers can dash through. There was a change that I disagreed with, however, all of the paintings that used to feature Portrait Ghosts have now been changed to just be Boos, which occasionally pop out of their painting.
In this small section I give you a way to shave a few seconds off your time, whether you know about it or not. Be warned, most of these shortcuts will require a Mushroom.
This issue I bring you a shortcut from the spooky Twisted Mansion. Directly after the first anti-gravity portion of the track there is a small library with dirt in it on the left of the track. Using a Mushroom you can boost through this and cut off the corner.
Do you know what I love? Pumpkins. I just adore Pumpkins. Not to eat, mind; they’re not my favourite flavour in the world, even if I’m not necessarily against eating them if they’re in my salad or being served with potatoes or something. But they’re so adorable and round and orange, and they can be turned into fantastic jack-o-lanterns, and I just love them! It’s the spooky season this issue with Halloween just around the bend, so to commemorate my adoration for pumpkins and this special occasion, I’ve deigned to cover the Pokémon Gourgeist!
The Gourgeist line was introduced in Generation VI alongside the Trevenant line, serving as counterparts to each other as they both introduced the unique dual-typing of Ghost/Grass and both require trading in order to evolve. Pumpkaboo is the base form, being an adorable rotund pumpkin baby, whom serve as envoys for lost spirits, carrying them onward to where they belong so they can move on to the next life, a stark contrast to its evolved form which happily curses all within earshot of its haunting song, and laughs sadistically as it savours the suffering of its prey. Hey man, that's just the name of the game when you're dealing with Ghost-type Pokémon, they're generally flaunted off as monstrous and evil little shits. Pumpkaboo and Gourgeist are unique, however, in that they have four different sizes they can be captured in; Small, Average, Large, and Super, which may seem like you're ordering a meal at McDonalds or something (I consider myself an Oporto gal, myself...), but actually has an impact on their HP, Attack, and Speed stats.
So as you can, the bigger they get, the more durable and hard-hitting they become, but they trade off their mobility for that tankability. Which one you choose to train really all depends on what you most want out of your Gourgeist, but for me, I prefer to run a Super Size one, and that's not just because they come with a much better, unique cry from the other variants. The pumpkins' strengths already lie naturally in its ability to take a lot of physical punishment, and honestly speed just doesn't do much for it without the damage to back it up, so it is far more fruitful in my eyes to go for a more durable build on Gourgeist, and anything worth doing is well worth overdoing, so SUPER SIZE ME, baby! Super Size Pumpkaboo are notably difficult to come across, being the rarest kind, but luckily they will take on the same size as their mother if you intend to breed them instead, so I can easily just breed one for anyone who is interested. The effort is well worth it, in my honest opinion - of course it is, why else would I be writing this? - since Gourgeist has a truly magnificent movepool to allow it a tremendous degree of unpredictability to throw your opponents off their game. Much like Mandibuzz, Gourgeist is plagued with only four moveslots when he desperately craves so much more room to flex its hair-like muscles, although my favoured build - on my affectionally nicknamed Gourgeist, Corgan, so named after Billy Corgan of the alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins - leans towards a stalled-out utility game.
As you can see, my focus is very much on residual damage with both Leech Seed and Will-o-Wisp, whittling down the opponent two-fold while debilitating them in very different ways. Leech Seed will recover Gourgeist for however much health it's dealt on the foe, granting the fat-bottomed vegetable reliable recovery, while Will-O-Wisp burns the foe which drastically reduces their physical damage output. In all honesty, most players will not be trying to pluck Gourgeist with physical damage due to its tremendous Defense stat, but adding insult to injury with a burn may at the very least encourage them to waste a turn switching out to a Pokémon that can properly respond to Gourgeist. This is then supplemented by Phantom Force, which is a two-turn move... which yes, is generally a very bad thing for any move since most two-turn moves are predictable, give the enemy a free turn to respond with a switch in or a move like Protect or Detect that allows them to dodge the move, and often just don't have enough utility or power to them to warrant the wasted turn, but Phantom Force is a very, very good skill, especially in Gourgeist's instance. It is a powerful move to begin with, boosted by STAB as a Ghost-type move on Gourgeist, but it is capable of going through protection moves like the aforementioned Protect and Detect, and even King's Shield and Spiky Shield without any repercussions, which are usually the bane of two-turn moves. It also punishes Minimize scumbags, ignoring their evasion bonus while hitting them for double damage. That's right, a whopping 180 base damage! The reason it works so well with Gourgeist in particular, however, is that it can't be seen as a wasted turn even if the move doesn't land; it's still a turn where the foe has been denied a chance to attack you, allowing the residual damage of Leech Seed and Will-O-Wisp to do their thing while your Gourgeist sips tea in their little shadow cubby hole. Last but not least, the giggle-inducing move Trick-or-Treat, which is unique to the Gourgeist line, is there mostly to increase the potency of Phantom Force's power by adding Ghost-type to the opponent, which allows you to whack 'em for super-effective damage on top of the chip damage, although it can also be useful in double battles to help minimise your allies weaknesses if Ghost's resistances are able to cover most of their weak spots; particularly good on Normal-type allies, since they'll be left with only a weakness to Dark-type attacks. If allowed to adequately set up, the only response is to switch out, a particularly gruesome affair for the foe if they've had to return a set-up sweeper whose hard work getting themselves all dolled up for the big fight is now rendered completely useless.
There are ways to build Gourgeist in more offensive ways, but most of its options are somewhat underwhelming since it's a physical attacker with a massive offensive movepool... most of which are Special moves. It's things like this that make me think Game Freak are just fucking with us, since this is a Grass-type Pokémon that can learn Fire Blast and Charge Beam, yet doesn't have the right attacking stat to make any use of them. Good game, well played, Game Freak. Anyway, it does have a decent-ish physical movepool to draw from, but a lot of it is situational. Shadow Sneak can be used in place of Phantom Force if you're concerned about Speed, since the move has increased priority which will often allow Gourgeist to attack first, but I still prefer Phantom Force to make the most of stalling out the residual damage. Seed Bomb is a good Grass-type STAB move without any strings attached, which is probably my primary problem with the move since it's just so boring, but more often than not you're going to want to win games rather than be showy, so this one is probably Gourgeist's best bet for Grass-type coverage to fight Water, Ground, and Rock Pokémon. For some reason, Gourgeist can learn Rock Slide, which actually has a surprising amount of practical uses in combating the very common Normal/Flying type combination of the likes of Staraptor and Braviary, as well as Pyroar, all of whom aren't really bothered by Gourgeist's STAB coverage. Foul Play has some practical usage in further punishing physical attackers that still think they can put an end to Gourgeist's sweet song, since it'll pool off the foe's Attack stat, although I personally don't find this as useful as running a Ghost-type move since you get the same super-effective coverage anyway, at least with Ghost moves you get STAB from it. In terms of support options, Synthesis can take the place of Trick-or-Treat if you want more reliable recovery than Leech Seed+Leftovers, and it's definitely one way to infuriate your opponent if they feel they've finally managed to break through Gourgeist's defenses. I also really like Pain Split to help deal with tanky foes, although be wary that it's very situational at best. You can also breed it with Destiny Bond if you want to be a real spiteful prick and take down a major threat with you if said threat is capable of putting an end to Gourgeist's trick or treating.
Gourgeist has a grand total of three abilities it can have, its two primary ones being Frisk, which allows it to check what item the opponent is holding, if any, when it first enters the battle; and Pick Up, which simply lets it find items in the overworld and thus has no practical application in-battle. It also has a hidden ability in Insomnia, which prevents it from being put to sleep by any means, even self-induced means like Rest. Frisk is my go-to ability for Gourgeist, since it's a very good utility ability that can give you that little bit of extra information about your opponent's build, although I can see practical applications from Insomnia if the enemy team is running a Sleep-disable or Dream Eater/Nightmare strategy. As for items, I would most definitely lean towards regenerative items such as Leftovers or Big Root, the latter of which will bolster the regeneration Gourgeist receives from Leech Seed, although that can potentially be a wasted slot if your unable to Leech Seed someone due to Taunt, Encore, or opposing Grass-type Pokémon. Leftovers is probably the safest option overall, honestly, especially given how many weaknesses this poor 'Mon has:
While there are definitely ways to cover its type weaknesses, there are still some patterns that either harm Gourgeist's ability to function as a disruptive utility Pokémon or outright render it useless. Among the most glaring counters are Pokémon with the moves Taunt or Encore, or with the ability Magic Bounce, all of which will render Gourgeist unable to make use of the wide array of Status moves that it so desperately relies on. Mega Sableye in particular is a dangerous one for Gourgeist in this regard, especially since it doesn't fear any of the offensive moves Gourgeist has at its disposal. Gourgeist also lacks cohesive answers to Fire-types, as while Rock Slide can give it some ability to cope with Fire-type Pokémon, they are immune to Burn status which allows physical-oriented Fire-types more leeway in burning down the ghastly wall, and most major Fire-type threats are Special attackers anyway, of which Gourgeist has very poor defense against. It's also, ironically, meek at fighting other Grass-type Pokémon, since while Will-O-Wisp will provide much-needed residual damage, they are immune to Leech Seed which forms a huge part of Gourgeist's ability to tank, and many Grass-types have access to Aromatherapy which can completely undo all of your Will-O-Wisp burns on their entire team. But take your opponents by surprise and you'll absolutely cripple them, leaving them in a precarious position of constant ticking damage and reduced damage output while Gourgeist merely sings at their suffering, healing up from the wounds it inflicts on its enemies. Spooky!
Super Mario Maker Showcase
Nintendo's latest foray into the level-editing genre, Super Mario Maker, is pretty much a dream-come-true for a UGC-avid Mario fan like me. Having experienced and loved another quality Nintendo game that allowed users to upload their creations for others to enjoy (alas, D.I.Y., you were ahead of your time), I find myself completely enamored with Super Mario Maker's premise: the ability to create your own levels and essentially build an endless Mario game. I say 'endless' because it's certainly a possibility, as there are already 2.2 million courses to play, and that number will exponentially increase given the simplicity of the level editor and the sheer popularity of Mario.
I might not be able to account for every single course, but Super Mario Maker's shared content is, for the most part, spectacular. Despite Nintendo's best efforts to limit my ability to search for courses (through 16-digit codes of all things, a regular feature of the Nintendo Online Experience™), finding a fun or challenging course to play isn't too difficult with so many dedicated Mario fans churning out levels almost by the second. I'm deliberately going to avoid dwelling on the abundant Kaizo-wannabes, automatic Marios and "hurr durr Lakitu" courses that plague the game's servers because like other games that rely on user submissions for replay value it's through the copious amounts of absolute crap that amazing user-created experiences can really stand out, and Super Mario Maker certainly has its share of great levels that deserve recognition. (Note: automatic Marios can be fun when done right, but once you've seen a spring bounce you onto another spring at least a dozen times, you've honestly seen it all.)
So, I'm here to do just that: promote a selection of courses that anyone can enjoy, whether you're searching for great levels to add to your Coursebot or just taking a break from the shitfest that is the Expert-level 100 Mario challenge, this section is for you.
As you'd expect from a group of people who fuss over the most intricate details of Mario's existence, Super Mario Maker has been a huge hit with the MarioWiki community. Already, there have been over one hundred unique Course IDs posted on the forums, which is very impressive given the currently small size of our active user-base. In this new section, I'm going to highlight some of the best levels the community has to offer by creating a typical 'World' of four courses for you to attempt and complete (or ignore and scroll past, it's your call, really). It's a pity Nintendo doesn't allow you to create world maps in-game — creating a map of courses that rely solely upon navigating ridiculous invisible block patterns would satisfy even the sickest of dreams I've had — but I digress. I might consider doing this on a regular basis a little later down the track, but for now, here are some of my favourite courses the community has created. Please note: creators may choose to remove their levels without any given notice, so these courses may not always be available in the future.
What better way to start the section than with the first course in a long line of great courses by M&SG (talk). It's a relatively simple level (as 1-1 courses tend to be), featuring easily overcome groups of enemies spread across the stage and power-ups aplenty, making it perfectly accessible for new Mario players. It also possesses a few optional areas that are a little more challenging to reach, providing some interest to veteran players who would otherwise breeze through the stage. It's the quintessential 1-1 course, and any interested players should certainly check out M&SG's other uploads.
Our second course is by Toa 95 (talk), and as the level's title suggests, at all points in the level, high and low, there are enemies for Yoshi to eat. The layout of the course is simple and features a hidden sub-area, but it's slightly challenging in the sense that reckless Brick Block smashing can suddenly overwhelm you with enemies. But, so long as you keep a Yoshi on-hand (or rather on your behind), the level is easily completed. 'High and Low' is a great level for players who enjoy having Yoshi take no survivors as he gobbles up everything in his path.
Let's face it, I'm not sure I would've really touched the original Super Mario Bros. style if it weren't for Nintendo adding Costume Mario as an exclusive power-up. With enough costumes to give Mario a traumatic existential crisis whenever he touches a Mystery Mushroom, there's bound to be some great levels that focus on a particular costume and build an entire level around it. That is the beauty of Nysic (talk)'s level, 'Bowser's Quest'. The premise of playing as Bowser to take back a castle previously stolen by Mario (which he does every time he slides down a flagpole, provided he isn't then assaulted by springs) is a great one, and the level is very easy to boot. The final encounter isn't quite a confrontation with Mario himself (spoiler: it's a Mario made out of blocks, as the preview image shows), but remains a creative use of the level editor that ends the level on a high. Take that, blocky Mario effigy. (Side note: Bowser's swimming animation is weirdly funny, he looks like a chubby duck or something.)
Our final course comes from Super-Yoshi (talk) (also known as tfp), who has created an excellent homage to the Pit of 100 Trials from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. While the level only possesses ten trials, rather than 100 (because of the level editor's limits, and I'm sure tfp actually wanted people to complete the level), every trial features a single, unique challenge that takes a bit of skill to complete. Doing so rewards the player with a way to progress to the next trial, mirroring the linear progression of the mode the level is based on. The trials include feats such as retrieving a Fire Flower from a room of Koopas, using Bullet Bills to cross a dangerous gap, and saving a POW Block from falling into lava by hitting a P Switch. The effort put into this level is clearly noticeable, and it's quite challenging to complete, though admittedly some trials can be entirely skipped if you're cunning enough. But, the enjoyment of the level comes from playing through and completing all ten trials and not cheating the game, which is certainly a reward in itself, right? All-in-all, 'The Pit of 100 Trials (Part 1)' is an excellent course for anyone looking for a challenge. I'm assuming the 'Part 1' implies tfp will eventually create trials 11-20, so if you enjoyed this level then be sure to keep an eye out for more!
And there you have it, four superb courses created by the MarioWiki community. I may return another time with some more levels to showcase, but anyone wanting to play more should definitely check out our forum thread, where new levels are regularly posted.
If you still can't get enough Mario Maker, then also be sure to swing by our Halloween Mario Maker Contest, where there'll be spooky and spoopy levels aplenty. If you still still can't get enough Mario Maker then please contact your local medical professional as your Mario Maker levels are reaching critical. See ya!
Hello, beloved readers, and welcome to yet another issue of Mario Calendar! Still no news 'round these parts, so let's once again check all the Mario-related games released sometime during this spooky month!
That concludes our list, folks! See you in November!!