The 'Shroom:Issue 146/Strategy Wing
Hello, readers of The 'Shroom, and welcome to the May edition of Strategy Wing. Nintendo just dropped a Direct packed with details on Super Mario Maker 2. The game is a perfect fit for Strategy Wing, isn't it? A level editor to play around with is fun enough, but you can create stunningly beautiful and enjoyable levels if you take the time to break down the elements of a good level. You can plan out in detail the particular pieces of a level you'll need to include in order to make your vision work, both from an artistic perspective of theme and design and from a gameplay perspective. After all, it's important to ask how a player with no knowledge of your planning is likely to react to the elements included in your level. With the game coming out on June 28th, I hope you'll think about the kind of detailed, analytical thought that goes into designing a good level, the same thinking that underlies Strategy Wing.
You didn't come for me to ramble on about one Nintendo game, though. You came to see the work of our Strategy Wing writers, so it's on to announcements. Unfortunately, Strategy Wing is on the smaller end this month. Parakoopa144 had to take the month off, so there's no PK144's Course Corner. Don't worry, though, as it will return next month. Meta Knight's Dream Land Journal also encountered delays this month, but it will return next month and continue on a bi-monthly schedule from there. You'll also notice that GPM1000 and his Mario Calendar are no longer a part of the Strategy Wing team. He hasn't retired, though. Instead, you'll continue to find him dutifully cataloging the history of Mario releases over in Pipe Plaza now. I'd like to thank him for his time with the Strategy Wing team and wish him the best as he continues his work in Pipe Plaza.
Since we're down a few sections from last month, let me remind you that you can always apply to write a section that interests you in Strategy Wing! Any analytical or instructional sections are welcome. Just come up with an idea, write a demo, follow the instructions on sign-up page, and send your application to our Statistics Manager, LudwigVon. Don’t hesitate to contact myself or other members of The ‘Shroom Staff if you have any questions!
Section of the Month
Congratulate Parakoopa144 for his win with his examination of Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Meta Knight (talk) takes second with the conclusion of his search for the hidden switches throughout Kirby's Adventure, and Yoshi876 (talk) ties himself for third with a trial run with Wuhu Island Loop's staff kart and a look at Pidgey's Pokédex entries. All in all, it was another excellent month delivered by Strategy Wing's writers and readers. Please continue to vote!
Tips and Challenges
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.
I still haven't gotten an 8 section for you, but I can at least bring you this Mario Kart 8 Deluxe option that took me a while to choose. Initially, this was going to be a DK Jungle review, but I haven't unlocked the Varmint, then it was going to be a Moo Moo Meadow review but no Varmint, then we were going to do Baby Park but I have no Biddybuggy. So instead I've settled on the SNES Rainbow Road which appears so often
The combination for normal staff for SNES Rainbow Road is Cat Peach with the Cat Cruiser, Retro Off-road tyres, and Super Glider, and the stats are as follows:
Wario's Gold Mine
I've never been a massive fan of this track, and it turns out it's not my biggest fan either. My initial getaway was good, getting up to second place before the first set of Item Boxes, but even though I overtook Luigi for the lead just before the jump, some poor driving gave it back to him. I was then hit by a Red Shell at the exit of the mine allowing Breath of the Wild Link to overtake me. A Blue Shell came along, kindly hitting me in the process, and I was able to get past Luigi, and a Red Shell saw me past Breath of the Wild Link. I extended my lead to the point where when I got hit by a Blue Shell I stayed in first, but Luigi eventually caught up to me and slipstreamed for the lead. I was hit by a Banana and two shells at the exit of the mine on the final lap, allowing Breath of the Wild Link, Tanooki Mario, and Baby Luigi to pass me. I only got Baby Luigi at the end, finishing my first race down in fourth.
If the last race was frustrating, this one was a breeze. Luigi quickly took himself off on a Star Thwomp and I retained the lead for the rest of the race. The only main thing to report here is that I felt uncomfortable drifting on numerous occasions, so I slowed down a little. Oh, and I did fall off on the second lap.
Ice Ice Outpost
Tanooki Mario quickly overtook me for the lead, and Luigi decided to run into the end of my Banana. I can't explain this track too well, but I did eventually throw a Red Shell at Tanooki Mario and retook the lead. A lead I kept, despite a couple of instances of poor driving, and a Blue Shell hitting me just cms away from the finish line. Thankfully my lead was enough that Tanooki Mario could not retake it, but boy it was close.
Once again, Tanooki Mario beat me off the line, but I managed to activate the sword shortcut and overtake him there. I don't know how close they kept up, but once again I sailed to victory.
I came in expecting to hate this combination, but I actually thought it fit well together. However, I did feel that my drifting did veer off a little on certain occasions, especially when it came to Rainbow Road, but other than that this combination got me in the lead, and stuck me there so I can't complain. I can, however, and will, complain about Cat Peach being there, could we not get someone better?
The 200cc combination is Tanooki Mario with the GLA, GLA Wheels and Parachute. The stats are as follows:
Wario's Gold Mine
I quickly fought through to get back up to second place before the first set of Item Boxes, and I managed to overtake the Male Villager before the big jump. Unlike like last time, I managed to keep control of my car and cement my lead, so much so I was able to shake off a Blue Shell. Male Villager did eventually slipstream me to take the lead, but I quickly pulled the same tactic on him. However, after the second Blue Shell, he did take the lead, but near the exit, I managed to pull off an overtake and just win this race. A redemption from last time. I also feel sorry for Tanooki Mario, as the suspension on the GLA looked horrible, I can only imagine his poor back.
I thought I'd covered myself to keep the lead, but Princess Peach briefly overtook me, before ending up on the receiving end of a Green Shell. However, near the end of the first lap, I fell down to fourth after getting hit with a Red Shell and a Bob-omb. Thankfully, a Mushroom saw me pass Male Villager, Cat Peach and Princess Peach in one swift move. I kept the lead for the rest of the race.
Ice Ice Outpost
A very dull race this time, I'm afraid. Cat Peach took the lead at the start but was soon on the receiving end of a Red Shell. The only time I was challenged for the lead was on the final lap when Male Villager briefly got ahead after I was hit with a Red Shell. But it was only a brief moment, and I soon got ahead of him again.
Me and Male Villager traded places a lot on the opening lap. He initially took the lead, I overtook on the gliding section, he slipstreamed ahead of me, I got him on the sword shortcut, he hit me with Red Shell. Sadly he had the lead going into the second lap due to fireballs from Cat Peach, and she overtook me, but I slipstreamed ahead of her and got past Male Villager with the sword shortcut. I kept a good lead, but Cat Peach was able to use the sword shortcut to get ahead on the final lap, luckily she was hit immediately after by a Blue Shell and I sailed home to victory.
I didn't know what I'd make to this setup, as I'm not the biggest fan of the GLA DLC. However, it certainly proved its worth, and I definitely felt safer driving it than I did with the cat combination. But I can't get over that suspension on Wario's Gold Mine, I hoped Tanooki Mario saw a chiropractor because he definitely needed to.
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.
Mach Speed Mayhem
Hello, 'Shroom readers! Welcome to the latest edition of Mach Speed Mayhem, where the points don't matter! But the votes do. And it's because of those votes that we're covering #08: Octoman for this issue's edition! An octopus man from a planet of octopi, he's here to race... with a much different treatment in the main games and the anime. Does that even surprise you at this point?
In the main series, Octoman - like everyone else for the past five installments - made his debut in F-Zero X with a low level of biographical information. All we learned about him in that game was that he is the representative driver from the planet Takora, which is currently opposed to the main governing body of the galaxy. Apparently, the Takorans are quite smart, and they're ready to show this off to the rest of the galaxy via the F-Zero race! ...That's all we know, really. F-Zero GX, as usual, expanded quite a bit on that lore - not only is Takora an enemy of the Galactic Federation, but they've got plenty of other enemies around them. Because of this, their economy is in shambles, the confrontation with the Federation tense and making it harder and harder for Takora to survive. Octoman is no mere racer, he is a symbol of hope for the future of Takora, and he drives to earn prize money for his children's education and his government's restorative projects. All in all, he's a pretty good guy!
He's also got a few interesting tidbits in the interviews from GX as well. If he wins, he wants to provide a shot in the arm to Takora's economy by using his newfound fame to hold the next F-Zero Grand Prix on Takora. He's also got a bit of a grudge against Jody Summer for her anti-octopus feelings, he likes to sunbathe and take ice-cold showers, and he has strong feelings about people eating octopi. If he could, Octoman would rescue every octopus! Finally, he feels that he's discovered his spirit animal: the elephant. It's gentle, yet strong, just like Octoman. Unfortunately for Octoman's relevance, he has only one appearance in the F-Zero GX story mode, and that's as one of the 30 racers in Chapter 7. He doesn't even have anything special going on there, so we'll just have to talk about his car!
The Deep Claw is Octoman's personal ride... though it wasn't his ride, originally. Since Takora isn't a very scientifically-developed planet, they couldn't create their own machine, and since their economy is a wreck they couldn't buy a factory fresh new car either. Instead, the government purchased a used F-Zero machine originally from the Kurosuminov Universal Shipbuilders (about whom we know basically nothing) and began to overhaul it, creating a cockpit that would be easy for Octoman to operate. The machine itself is barely adjusted from the original, having standard stats... and according to the bio, serious adjustment is likely a requirement for winning a Grand Prix. Rude! In actual gameplay terms, it has a B body, B boost, and C grip listed. Gameplay-wise, the F-Zero X incarnation sticks closely to this, making it very average. A highly good starting machine, but one that most people leave behind for a more complex machine in higher-tier gameplay. In F-Zero GX... amazingly, it's very close to its listed stats! A rare thing for this game. Again, it means that it lends itself very well to being someone's starter machine - even more so than in X. Thanks to how the X unlocks for racers work, Octoman isn't received in that game until some solid progress has been made, but it's easy to buy him almost immediately in GX if that's what you want.
GP Legend series
In the F-Zero GP Legend anime, Octoman appears pretty regularly! ...Because he's a bad guy. He joins Bio Rex to form the two expendable Dark Million goons, the two of them getting humiliated and defeated every time that they show up. In fact, Octoman probably gets it worse in most cases, since he makes a couple of solo appearances without Bio Rex that invariably end in defeat. Even his last appearance in the entire show is an intentional mirror of his first appearance, where he and Bio Rex get tricked into KOing each other. The desire for the expendable pilots apparently overrode the chances for character development or exploration... However, Octoman does get one important difference from Bio Rex, and that is an actual positive focus episode!
The 24th episode, aptly titled Octoman's Dream, opens by showing a huge delegation from Takora arriving to Earth to watch Octoman race... and believing, thanks to Octoman's own comments, that he's won race after race and is incredibly successful. Of course, this means that when the race of the episode starts, they're all expecting Octoman to win - and for a change, he's completely determined to win. Even though his boss, Zoda, tells him to throw the race in exchange for the prize money, Octoman defies Zoda for probably the only time in the show and ignores his orders in an effort to win. He's even in the lead close to the end of the race! ...At which point he starts slowing down and getting passed because he forgot to recharge his machine's energy and he's run out now. Is it all over for our brave octopus hero? It seems like it is until John Tanaka gets tangled up with Bio Rex, and the resulting crash collects Rick Wheeler, Jody Summer, Zoda... in fact, it takes out every other machine in the race, allowing Octoman to coast across the finish line for a win. He even uses the prize money to pay off all the costs of the Takoran delegation's visit and gives them the leftover cash to use for souvenirs and the like. If there's one thing Octoman cares for, it's his people!
The GBA games based on the anime would use Octoman... to a small extent. In the F-Zero GP Legend game, Octoman appears in the first level of Rick Wheeler's story mode as the antagonist, Rick having to outrace him. That's about it for his relevance in that game except as a generic racer, though F-Zero Climax would expand on his backstory. Similar to the games and as proven by his focus episode, Octoman came into F-Zero with a used machine, ready to win race after race to support his people and his 100(!!!) kids. Unfortunately, he didn't have what it takes, and as the debt piled up, Zoda offered to pay them off, recruiting him into Dark Million that way. At least it wasn't all bad - Zoda's additional work means that the Deep Claw has been transformed into a top of the line vehicle! ...Which means his continuing losses are primarily from pilot error. Octopus suffers most.
Octoman has made a few appearances outside of F-Zero. While he was never a trophy in the Super Smash Bros. series (though he did get a minor showing as a sticker in Super Smash Bros. Brawl), he appears as a spirit battle in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, in the form of a red Mr. Game & Watch. This G&W gets instant final smashes and the ability to charge his final smash quickly, meaning that you'll be constantly fighting a red, two-dimensional octopus during the battle. An effective way of making him appear, really. A much larger appearance comes in Star Fox Command, Star Fox once again providing a cameo ground in return for James McCloud. In one of the game's branching paths, Octoman appears after brainwashing Slippy Toad, and battles Star Fox in a game of whack a mole. While Slippy fights the heroes, Octoman moves his personal ship through various jars and has to be tracked down and shot down. He later shows up in a regular starfighter for a final fight but gets blown away, the last we see of him in the Star Fox universe.
There's an interesting piece of trivia about the Deep Claw: In F-Zero X official art, certain depictions of Octoman and his machine (including ones still on official sites) have the Deep Claw with the number 26, which is the number for John Tanaka's Wonder Wasp in the final product. Conversely, the art of Tanaka and the Wonder Wasp gives that machine a number 8, yet by the final product, the 8 has gone to the Deep Claw. Why was it changed, in time for some art to show the correct number? Well, my personal theory is that they originally gave Octoman 26, but then realized how fitting the number 8 was for Octoman, so swapped them - but only after some art had already been sent out. Ultimately, though, like many odd things about F-Zero, we will probably never know. That about covers what I have on Octoman, though, so if you want to find out more about F-Zero that we DO know, just pick someone from the forum thread for next month!
Hello everyone, it's me, Yoshi876 again with a new edition of Pokédex Power, the section written by the person who at the time of writing is just one week away from his final exam, and who by the time this issue is released will likely have finished university. But fear not, even though my education will be finished, this section is far from over, I mean with the new main series coming out there's bound to be another at least 100 of these sections. Gulp.
However, in the Pokémon world, school is a bit of a weird thing. There only seems to be one in every region, which means unless it's a boarding school, you're in for a massive commute in some areas, and well they only teach about Pokémon-related things, which I don't think will last as long as our education systems. Perhaps this is why new mechanics keep being introduced, to keep the kids in schools longer.
Now, as I've yet to master a good segue, we're going to be looking at a Pokémon with no relation to education of any kind, instead we're going to look at Ampharos, a Pokémon that has appeared as the light for a lighthouse, and got a neat Dragon typing from its Mega Evolution. We haven't looked at a Pokémon with a Mega Evolution since Absol, which was over a year ago, so hopefully, our friendship bond hasn't weakened and we get some strong Pokédex entries.
I'm going to address the small elephant in the room here, but could we have mentioned lighthouse somewhere in the entry? Considering they made it Ampharos's job in the game, it could have been mentioned in the entries and would've been a neat real-world link. Obviously, it can be inferred from the fact that it acts as a beacon, but the note would've been nice. But there's not a whole lot to mention here, as every entry deals with how bright its tail can be and goes into the Pokémon's usefulness. Don't get me wrong, it works a treat and I think these are solid entries, but maybe we could've gotten a bit more information on it, like how does the tail work. Again, a bit of obviousness going on here as it's an Electric-type Pokémon, but a little bit of biology on this front wouldn't go amiss for me.
Okay, so Generation III uses two old entries and then rehashes the same entry for three separate games, but this has to be my favourite entry since writing this section. It gives a neat little fact about Ampharos, the fact that it can be seen from space, and it gives us some human interaction, with a neat little play on smoke signals. If we were going down that route, I would've assumed they would have gone with a Fire-type, but instead, we get a small twist on it for an Electric-type. And as for the space fact, I am in love with the thought of an astronaut floating around space and seeing an Ampharos walking around.
So it turns out that Generation III's entries were so amazing, that Generation IV decided to just take them, and slightly shorten them, because they give us absolutely no other information.
Hold the front page, Generation V actually gives us a new entry, but it's seriously poorly written. Ampharos is the beacon, so why would it need to send them, why not just use it as the beacon? How does it send these beacons if it's not the beacon itself? And what makes these foreign shores so distinct? Why not just say foreign shores? I would take an old entry over this poorly written mess.
When I'm writing my 500th Pokédex review, I'll still be finding new ways to write that Generation VI introduced no new entries.
Generation VII is nothing to write home about when it comes to the Pokédex entries. We already know it can be seen from space, and we already know its tail shines, however some additions have been tacked on. We finally get to hear it acting as some form of lighthouse for sailors, Crystal may have mentioned the ocean, but I feel like this is the first generation to truly highlight its use for lighthouses, even if it doesn't mention lighthouse again. And, the space one is interesting in the fact that Ampharos can turn its light off. I assume this was implied with it coming on in the dark in a previous generation, but here we learn that it does have control over this, although I'm still dying to know how exactly it can control this.
The entries for Mega Ampharos give me something that I never considered before. Why does Ampharos lose its wool when it evolves from Flaafy? Most entries that have a Pokémon shed something mention why, but Ampharos's entries don't. At least it grows back. But Ultra Moon is interesting in this sleeping dragon's blood. It's neat to have some explanation as to why it gains a Dragon-typing, but how did it get this blood in the first place, at which point did the genetics cross?