The 'Shroom:Issue 143/Strategy Wing
We're over halfway through February already, shocking as that might be. This year is moving by quickly, and I hope it's been a strong start for all of you out there. If so, you still have ten months to enjoy it! If not, then take solace in the reality that we're getting ever closer to the start of this year's Awards Meetings and next year's Olympics in Tokyo. No matter how your year is going, hopefully, this month's Strategy Wing can offer you a moment of rest. Busy lives mean some sections are a little shorter than usual, but there's still plenty of content prepared for your reading pleasure.
Of course, being on the shorter side gives me good reason to once again encourage you to join the Strategy Wing team. Head over to the sign-up page, take a look at the kinds of sections we're interested in, and send in an application! If you want to talk video games, you're certainly welcome to. Perhaps Three Houses has rekindled your love for Fire Emblem and you want to share your battlefield tips or examine the history of your favorite Princes and tacticians? Maybe instead you've hit the competitive scene hard in Tetris 99 and want to give out your secrets to success? Both are great options, but feel free to dive into games both modern and classic. Your section need not even focus on video games. If you want to introduce your favorite tabletop RPG, teach us how to approach artistic projects, analyze level designs, or guide readers through just about anything that interests you, Strategy Wing is the team to join. So long as your section focuses on analysis, process, or a combination of the two, you can apply for the Strategy Wing Team.
That's enough of my talk for now. If you have any ideas you think you might want to turn into a section, feel free to reach out to me and I'll be glad to discuss it with you. Until then, read on and enjoy this Valentine's gift from our writers to you!
Section of the Month
Congratulations to Superchao (talk) for racing to first place with the Little Wyvern and James McCloud. Yoshi876 (talk) wasn't far behind at the finish line, though; he kicked it into high gear as he took us through the Star Cup with his Pokédex in hand. Keep working hard as we move forward!
Tips and Challenges
It takes more luck than skill to avoid being trapped "forever" in this Captain Toad Level.
History and Facts
Need a date this month? Don't worry, GPM1000 has plenty of them.
Learn about Mr. EAD in this Exciting, Analytical, and Detailed look at F-Zero's resident android.
PK144's Course Corner
Hey there! If you've read the title, you know what this issue is about. I'm gonna loop this series through the standard issues, but this is Part One of a retrospective of some of the worst stages in this series. For this one, we're going back to Captain Toad, for an eternity of pain and suffering. Yep. It's Mummy Me Maze Forever.
For those of you not in the know, ever since Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mario games have had these "Ultimate Final Super Stages" in them. The idea is that its a super challenging, and pretty lengthy recap on all the games mechanics, making it a great send off for the game, as they are only unlocked after 100& completion.
In Super Mario Galaxy 2 this was in the form of Grandmaster Galaxy, followed by CROWN-CROWN in Super Mario 3D Land, then Champion's Road in 3D World, before Odyssey's Darker Side. Also, no "Follow That Shell!" doesn't count.
But between 3D World and Odyssey. came Captain Toad, and with it, brought its own 100% Final stage, in the form of Mummy Me Maze Forever. It is one of the worst stages I've played in a game to date.
For those who haven't played Captain Toad, it's all about small little puzzle stages; Toad can't jump so everything is nice and small. It still abides by standard stage design principles, but with a different gameplay style. This being said, it would be hard to design a final stage for Captain Toad. It would likely be broken up into smaller chunks but it could still be done. Instead we got this absolute disaster of a stage.
Now usually we would take the stage step by step, but that's literally impossible as the stage's biggest issue has already reared its head. This level is auto-generated. What this means is that the game will use a whole load of variables to throw together a whole load of blocks and make stage, one that will be different each time you enter. This is a horrible idea, as there's not intuition, no craft to how this level was put together. It's a cold set of numbers. This also plays badly into the level's structure, as it works in floors; beat fifty floors and you're home free, sounds easy right? It would be if there were any checkpoints, and if memorization was an aspect but it's not. You have to run in there blind, pray you get enough dud floors to survive, and hold that B-button. Oh yeah, because the stage auto generates, you can get what I call dud floors, which are floors you can get that are just a straight walk to the exit. That will happen a lot.
Every ten floors, you get a break room, with coins and a Mushroom, until they decide to change to fifteen floors on floor thirty, just to mess with your head. There's a whole load of interval based occurrences, with certain numbers having certain enemies, and the reoccurring Kamek and Chargin' Chuck floors. I would bring more attention to the Mummy Me that follows you throughout the stage, but it's the least of your worries, you get used to him eventually.
This issue is so short because there's not a whole lot to say here. This level is a trainwreck. It's horrible. It's a dragged out, unfairly difficult, lazily made, mess of a maze. There's nothing good to say about this stage, I would say.
But hey, that's just one stage, Captain Toad has loads of stages, and they're for the most part, wonderfully designed stages, like the Tostarena one I covered a while back! If you have any stage suggestions, send them my way and I'll see you next month!
Racing Like the Staff
Hello readers and welcome to Racing like the Staff, a section where I do 150cc on different Mario Kart games, but the twist is, I take on the Grand Prix by using the combination that a staff and expert staff member used in that Cup. If you're still a little confused, by this I mean if the track is in the Mushroom Cup, then that's the Cup that I race in. Unfortunately, I don't have copies of the Mario Kart games before Mario Kart 7, so it's only that, 8 and Deluxe that will be getting this treatment.
So, I moved again and do not have a Wii U set up, so to inject variety into this section, we have gone back to Mario Kart 7, and we're continuing the trend of me doing courses that I don't like, as I take on doing Coconut Mall. I know quite a few people liked this course, but it never really did it for, although I will confess that the Mario Kart Wii version is better than the 3DS version.
The combination for normal staff for Coconut Mall is Honey Queen with the Standard, Slim tyres and Super Glider, and the stats are as follows:
Koopa Troopa Beach
My start felt better than it was, as I got a rush of speed, but only ended in fourth. Thankfully, I got Triple Mushrooms, and given the shortcut on this course, we all know how much of a blessing that meant. I was able to use the shortcut to get into first, but as we've got Mario Kart physics in play, the rest soon caught up. And on the second lap, it was Lakitu's turn to get the luck, as he was able to a Mushroom and use the shortcut. He held the lead for a little bit, but I overtook him around the rock formation and faced no other worries to the flag, other than Metal Mario gaining on me.
Mario Circuit 2
This was a pretty quiet race. Koopa Troopa challenged me for the lead, and because of a slipstream he briefly went into the lead, but a Mushroom meant I was able to corner cut my way back into the lead. Although Koopa stayed on my tail throughout the rest of the race, he was unable to get the lead back.
My start wasn't the greatest start ever, and I ended up falling down to fourth, and this wasn't helped by a Banana from Metal Mario. I eventually overtook Metal Mario after the second escalators, and past Koopa Troopa in the car section, but catching up to Lakitu was tricky. He was able to stay in the lead until I finally hit with a Red Shell, probably my third at that point. But after getting Lakitu, I was able to keep the lead.
Another boring race, I'm afraid guys. Although Lakitu and Koopa overtook me in the pinball mechanism, I overtook them both before the jump and sailed to victory.
Although it was a pretty boring set of races, I did enjoy this combination quite a lot, and I would recommend it to people. However, after I was hit with an item in Coconut Mall, I really felt the lack of acceleration when trying to get back to speed, and seeing Metal Mario approach on the minimap was a scary thing.
The expert staff combination is Honey Queen with the Koopa Clown, Sponge tyres and Parafoil (Paraglider). The stats are as follows:
Koopa Troopa Beach
If the first race was anything to go by, then we might be for another set of boring reports. I was down in fifth, by the first set of Item Boxes, but like the first time around I got some Triple Mushrooms, and used the shortcut. But unlike last time, I faced no challengers for the rest of the race.
Mario Circuit 2
I really wish there was something interesting to write to her, but I won, and that's all there is to say about what happened this race.
This was a bit of a minefield. I don't know how it happened, but I was down to fifth very early on. I managed to pass back up into third before a Green Shell got me back to square one. I then overtook on the gliding section and got third in the car section. I was then able to get first after using the shortcut, but a Blue Shell and big drop put me back into second. And despite it looking like I wasn't gaining on Yoshi, I somehow passed him. Near the end of the lap, there Green Shells in every which direction, but I managed to avoid them and claim my next win.
We got off to a terrible start after getting down to fifth and then a calamity of errors leaving me in seventh place before the end of the lap. And then as per Mario Kart physics, I managed to catch up fairly easily, and through a combination of speed and Green Shells has in first place at the end of the lap and went on to win.
It's strange, despite having nearly identical stats to the first combination, I didn't like this one much. Despite speed and acceleration being the same, there were plenty of times, especially in Waluigi Pinball that I just felt so incredibly sluggish, and I have no idea why. So top tip, use the first combination.
I hope you enjoyed this section, and I'll see you next month where I'll take a look at a combination from Mario Kart 8, probably. If you've got a combination you'd like me to review next, feel free to private message me on the forums.
Hey guys! Hope you all enjoyed the first month of the year, and I also hope you are all enjoying Piranha Plant! I know I am. Anyways, welcome to Mario Calendar, the section where I run down all of the Mario games that have come out in the month of February! Enjoy!
Well, there you have it! Hope you enjoyed, and see you in March! (Let's cross our fingers for a direct soon)
Mach Speed Mayhem
Hello, 'Shroom readers! Welcome to this month's edition of Mach Speed Mayhem, featuring the character that you, the readers, decided I should write about! And this month, that's #09: Mr. EAD! Created by the mysterious development group EAD to be a flawless android, the F-Zero Grand Prix is his last test. If he can win it, they'll be ready to put him into mass production!
Introduced as one of the 26 new racers in F-Zero X, Mr. EAD, as per usual, didn't get all that much description there. The manual was happy to confirm that he was created by the mysterious EAD group and that he was racing for the purpose of testing his IQ and debugging his programming, but outside of that? All we know is what we see on the racetrack. We'd have to wait for F-Zero GX to give some more detail on the android's history, which showed that they put him through his paces and then some. Combat training, spy activities, college exams, and many others - Mr. EAD had to complete every one at the top level of skill in order to be ready for this, his final challenge! They don't tell us much about the EAD group or anything, but we learn a little more from the interviews at the end of his victories in GX - he's personally very eager to start mass production, even ready to spend the prize money on it, and the EAD group is based somewhere in Kyoto. It's a secret beyond that, though. We also learn a couple of his hobbies, such as how he appreciates the human lifestyle and wants to wear overalls, and really enjoys eating Italian food. And his reason for winning? While his name and his stats may be EAD, according to him his judgment, reflexes, and power are AAA!
Mr. EAD appears in the F-Zero GX story mode, showing up first in Chapter 3 as one of the twelve competitors of the Bet Race, and in the cutscene after the chapter as one of the dejected losers of the race. Poor man looks so sad to have lost his money to Famicom. Beyond that, he naturally appears in Chapter 7, like the entire cast of F-Zero X. He doesn't really stand out like some of the other racers, though - he's just one of the field-fillers to make sure that Chapter 7 is a full 30 racers.
He also restyled his mustache from the Mario style to the Waluigi style between games. Why? We don't know. The plans of the EAD group run deeper than we could possibly imagine.
The Great Star is Mr. EAD's personal vehicle, and it even has the name written on the side along with the star logo. Self-promotion, much? Created by the rumored head of the EAD group, Shiggs Mapone, the Great Star was built to have an excellent booster but to ignore stability and vehicle strength as priorities. In Mapone's defense, he does know the pilot is a nearly-invincible android, so why bother overprotecting him? Mapone's goal is an F-Zero championship-tier car! As a reference to both Mr. EAD's name and the EAD group, the stats of the Great Star read E-A-D top to bottom, with an E body, an A boost, and a D grip. In X, this makes him... well, a joke character. Between bottom-tier body and bad grip, the Great Star is considered one of the weakest machines in the game. Surprisingly, though, the weird stats in GX and the way they don't match up with the vehicle performances actually works in favor of EAD and his machine for the sequel. The Great Star turns out to be one of the best machines in GX at high-level play, the right advanced techniques making it a top-tier vehicle on par with well-known fast machines like the Death Anchor and Black Bull. Perhaps Shiggs Mapone was onto something? The car itself has a bit of a morbid history, though... Mr. EAD's android brother was recycled into the car, presumably for not meeting standards. That's one way to stick together, I suppose?
Naturally, Mr. EAD would make his way into the anime as well. And while he was unaffiliated outside of the mysterious EAD group in the games, in the anime he's a member of the Mobile Task Force, our gang of heroes that constantly work against the evil machinations of Dark Million! Unfortunately, Mr. EAD is the first of the three "background" members, alongside Dr. Stewart and Dr. Clash, meaning that he spends most of his airtime providing another body, getting knocked around by the villains, or just being there in the background with the occasional mechanical comment. Luckily for EAD, though, this isn't completely true of his every appearance. There are two significant appearances he makes during the series, and the first is as early as episode 6! Mr. EAD is assigned to protect Kate Alen, the singer, and F-Zero racer, when she receives a threat from Zoda. He does his best to be a loyal and steadfast bodyguard for Kate, even after she tries to shake him, tells him to leave, and most of all tases him to remove his memory core and find out just who the Mobile Task Force actually are. Standing by her even after she sneaks out on her own and gets attacked by Zoda, Mr. EAD faces off against the Death Anchor and actually body-blocks the entire car to protect Kate! ...Unfortunately, the damage the Death Anchor causes results in Mr. EAD exploding. Not even his memory core survives, and although Mr. EAD is rebuilt, he's left with no memory of the events... but he still has an appreciation for Kate's music.
Mr. EAD gets to make one more important appearance in a much later episode when Rick Wheeler and Jack Levin have been arguing for most of the episode. In that episode's race, Rick and Jack get so distracted by their fight that they end up both crashing out of the race, and it seems like Dark Million will win the race for the forces of evil. However, Mr. EAD boosts at the last minute to push past Dark Million, winning the race for the good guys. He gets profiled in the anime's end-of-episode mini-infodump, where it's revealed that in the anime's timeline, he was designed as a replica of Dr. Shigeru Kyupon (nicknamed EAD). On top of that, he actually has jet boosters in his boots, which he uses onscreen in one of the last episodes to make a quick escape from a bomb. He even has a birthday - November 21st, 2201 (since the anime was set in the 2200s and not 2600s). Mark your calendars, everyone!
The Smash Bros. series has also given Mr. EAD a few minor appearances during the series run. In both Brawl and Wii U, there's a Mr. EAD trophy complete with the Great Star... and oddly enough, the Wii U trophy lists the EAD group as being an evil organization despite the fact that they've never been anything beyond just mysterious and shady during the F-Zero series. Bizarre. He also shows up as a Spirit in Smash Ultimate, complete with a spirit fight - and from this article on, I'll be describing Spirit fights, considering how well they reference the fighters! EAD's fight involves battling a Giant Wario (for the Mario aesthetic) and a ROB (for the android factor) both, facing off on Big Blue. They're able to damage you just by dashing, and have stronger dash moves, but they're still not that tough - beat them, and Mr. EAD's spirit will help you by powering up your dash moves.
So, if it's not been made obvious enough... just like James McCloud last month, Mr. EAD is one big wholesale reference to another franchise. In this case, he's packed full of shout-outs to the Mario series, as seen on this very wiki! His body shape and facial design are intentionally reminiscent of Mario in X, and while GX makes his mustache Waluigi-esque instead, it doesn't change his general Mario-style look. The star on his belt is very obviously a Super Star, and his name, creator, and stats are all referencing the Nintendo EAD division, creator of many, many Nintendo games - including quite a few Mario ones. His recycled android brother is a way to imply that Luigi became the Great Star (poor guy), the car is named for Mario's longtime association with stars, and Shiggs Mapone and Shigeru Kyupon are both references to Mario's creator Shigeru Miyamoto. His desire to wear overalls and eat Italian food are drawn from Mario's outfit and heritage, and, in the anime, he even shows up in one episode wearing a Princess Peach outfit from head to toe! He's not quite on the level of James, where every single possible aspect about him was a Star Fox shoutout, but he's very clearly built as a Mario reference first and foremost.
Mr. EAD's got one last unique aspect I don't have a better place to fit in - a special focus in F-Zero X Expansion Kit, only released for the ill-fated Japanese Nintendo64DD. In that version of X and that version alone, if you beat the Master class with any car on any cup, you get to watch Mr. EAD dance for you! Why? I dunno. There's also the famous video where Mr. EAD and his many copies all make their own cakes, for beating Master class with the Great Star in GX, but every one of the 41 racers has their own Master video in that game. They're weird. They're all weird. Beyond that, though, Mr. EAD is just like everyone else in F-Zero; he's here to win, and if you choose the Great Star, you can do just that! That wraps up what I've got for Mr. EAD, so if you've got the time, just wander over to the forum thread and place your vote for the next edition of Mach Speed Mayhem. I'll see you all in March with your pick!
Hello everyone, it's me, Yoshi876 again with a new edition of Pokédex Power, the section written by the person who has recently been training a Mamoswine, and enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Turns out my one is nothing like Dawn's and actually listens to me a lot. Well, all of the time really. Definitely a lot better than Piloswine. But as per usual, when I describe a Pokémon in this opening section, we're not actually looking at it. This month we're looking at Dragalge.
I love the concept for this Pokemon and its pre-evolution, and although I don't particularly buy into the Dragon-typing and think it should have remained a Water-type, looking at its origin on Bulbapedia and how it's based on something called the leafy seadragon, I can understand why it's typed the way that it is. Still would've preferred Water though.
Despite looking pretty cool, I haven't actually used it, nor its pre-evolution, and as I'm nearing the end of my Y playthrough (yes, I'm a little behind in Pokémon atm), I doubt I will. Plus, I don't often use either Dragon or Poison types, I love using Water-types though, so maybe do a type change for me? But I doubt you're interested in my playstyle, so let's just take a look at its entries.
The two entries we get here actually work quite well with one another. The Moon one adds an air of mystery surrounding the Pokémon, and also slightly reminds me of some of Victreebel's earlier Pokédex entries, but Sun gives a perfectly valid explanation as to why these ships are never seen again. That reason being the highly corrosive poison that Dragalge spits. However, because these entries work so well together, they do leave a couple of questions. The main, for me, being are Dragalge pack creatures, or do they live alone? From the entries, I would hazard a guess that they are pack creatures, but there's nothing really to support it. And if they are pack creatures, how is it decided which one is going to be the alpha?
Generation VI gave us a good enough insight into Dragalge, and Generation VII does build upon it. This generation confirms that Dragalge is a hunter, and given the shape of its mouth, I can believe that liquefying its prey is how it hunts, although it would be nice just to know what its prey is. I'm assuming something like a Remoraid or a Finneon. But what I really want to know is why is there this relationship between it and Dhelmise. Dhelmise's entries don't shine any light on this, as it mentions its bond with Skrelp, so unless there was a mistake in translations. Maybe it's where Dhelmise is made up of the souls of seaweed (no seriously), but that's the best explanation I've got, and I'll admit it's pretty shaky.
Conclusion I actually do like Dragalge's Pokédex entries, and I wouldn't say there's a single weak one in there. Yes, I would really like some explanation on its relationship with Dhelmise, but at the same time, that's not something that ruins the entry. And maybe a bit more on what it feeds on, and whether it's a pack or solitary creature wouldn't go amiss, but I've learnt a lot about the Pokémon, and even got some old tales of it in there. So, I can't really complain.