The 'Shroom:Issue 176/Strategy Wing
Hello, all of you readers of The 'Shroom, and welcome to the November 2021 edition of Strategy Wing! I don't have much to announce here in the way of news, but, unfortunately, I must note that a number of our regular sections weren't able to make it in this month. It seems November has been demanding of our writers, and, as a result, we don't have An Ogre Battle Section, I Choose You, Racing Like the Staff, or Turn Right to Go Left. In addition, SIMulation is going to go on a short hiatus, so we won't be seeing it again in 2021.
Don't fret, though! These sections aren't coming to an end yet. You can expect more of them in the coming months. In the meanwhile, we still have the rest of the sections you've come to expect in Strategy Wing, so be sure to go forth and enjoy a hefty On the Origin of Species, the first boss stage in To Infinity and Beyond, more progress in Koops, Your Emblem is on Fire (stick around to the end of the second video for a fun joke about a meme), and a comprehensive guide to Dr. Clash in Mach Speed Mayhem!
And should you want to join in the fun and write for Strategy Wing, take a look at our Sign-up page! We'd be happy to have you join us as a member of the Strategy Wing Team! Whether you want to tell us everything about a subject you like with your own version of Mach Speed Mayhem or you'd like to give us a guide to something you enjoy doing, like Waluigi Time and Zelen are doing, we have a place waiting for you!
Section of the Month
It seems all of you voters out there liked doctors and racing last month, seeing as how winstein's final edition of Dr. Mario World Check-Up took first place last month. He's done a great deal of work documenting the game on the Super Mario Wiki, so it's little wonder his reflections on the game are a worthwhile read! Coming in a joint second were Superchao, with his coverage of Michael Chain, and Long John Spaghetti, with his introduction to Cars: The Video Game. Keep on reading, and keep on casting your votes to support our writers!
|STRATEGY WING SECTION OF THE MONTH|
|1st||Dr. Mario World Check-Up||6||50.00%||winstein|
|2nd||Mach Speed Mayhem||2||16.67%||Superchao|
|2nd||Turn Right to Go Left||2||16.67%||Long John Spaghetti|
On the Origin of Species
Ya girl here, and we're continuing the Stabby species and their captain Lucks' spacefaring adventure in Spore! It's November, huh? I've got nothing to say about that; it's not a notable month for me! I did, however, get a new graphics card and extra RAM! Spore runs better now! Not that it was any bad before. It was very manageable even if not very smooth sometimes, but, y'know, still very very nice to have!
Space Stage (still)
Last we left off, we met and befriended some empires, we've done some adventures, we've terraformed some planets, and we've ranked up both the ship and the captain! I still don't know what my ultimate goal for the Space Stage is, but I guess we're just gonna have multiple little goals before really working towards something big, like reaching the center of the galaxy. For now, my little goal is to grind the Frequent Flyer badge more because I want to get an Interstellar Driver upgrade and travel between systems a little easier! At this point, I found out I can travel between systems seventy times before my energy runs out and my ship's health also does. I died. Not repeating the mistake with the health again! Out of curiosity, my ship currently has 2000 HP and loses 200 each system travel with no energy, so my current amount of energy is enough to travel between 60 systems before running out! Also I just realised if you die doing this you also lose your entire fleet, so I have to get the ships again...
I went down to an ally's solar system to pick up their ship for my fleet and also went down onto a planet that had a Rare in it. I noticed along the way that it's the planet that our empire requested we terraform, so I might as well do that! I didn't have the needed tool, though, and left the planet, and the game then, for some reason, told me I can ally this empire, even though I already did??? And the planet I was exiting wasn't even the one they had a colony on! They did, however, have an Atmosphere Generator, which is very convenient, so I got it and used it. There we go!
The zealots I allied were also losing interest in the alliance and so I got a task from them, and they asked me to pick up a guy from another spacefaring empire to see how to best teach them the ways of Spode or whatever... That empire I have to pick up a guy from are also zealots. They also talk about Spode and such. Hello??? Anyway, that was easy enough, but that put me SO close to getting that other empire to disliking them, but I hope they'll calm down with some money I hand them. I also finish the mission from our empire and then they suddenly demand to own seven solar systems, which I'll get done eventually, there's no rush. The dialogue is also hinting at something being at the center of the galaxy, and they tell us to place colonies closer to the galaxy center, but that's not required and is actually a bad idea. It's just gonna take much longer to get there, which you need in order to pick up spice, or heck, even defend it from something like an attack or an ecodisaster! I never noticed this dialogue was there!
Oh yeah! As the image shows, you can zoom out the galaxy all the way and it actually plays the title screen theme! The title screen also shows an overview of the galaxy. It, like, bookends... You start any playthrough by selecting a star on the title screen, which is the overview of the galaxy, so you see it at the very start, and then once you progress through all the stages and get this far, you can zoom out to see it once more... Anyway, I was abruptly and rudely cut off from my contemplating by some pirates plundering spice in one of my colonies!!! Oh no, they can't have a maximum of 5 red spice! Of course, they also aren't there as soon as I even get onto the planet and the game congratulates me on getting rid of them or something, even though I did nothing. This happens strangely often with pirates plundering my spice and I have no idea why.
I found a planet that was called Epick. This trader empire guy also just flirted with Lucks, I think. I also took a mission from one of my allies, and they asked me to pick up a plant species from some other planet. Sounds simple... As soon as I end the communication, I get the mission complete sound, because, as it turns out, I already had it in my inventory??? One of the plants my empire gave me for the terraforming mission happened to be just what they needed. Huh! I also found a planet named Sammy.
I asked for some more missions from empires, one of which asked me to do an adventure which I'm pretty sure I actually can't do (but you can terminate any of these sorts of missions so it's fine), and the other one asked for an adventure, which was just a "Gigantini apple". I'm pretty sure Gigantini is a word I made up because this apple is giant and it's actually just a spherical planet colored like an apple with a big lake on it that looks like it got a bite taken out of it. It's full of juice, too, apparently. This adventure has absolutely nothing to do, and it only appeared because I forgot to lock the captain on it. You can complete adventures like this by just beaming up immediately!
I finally scrounged up enough money for the Interstellar Drive 4, and now I'm gonna look for some artifacts. I found the Ancient Epic Boot Scraper! And another one. Getting two identical artifacts this soon after one another is not very frequent, I'd think, considering how many there are. I trade the few I got alongside one (1) red spice and get the title of "The Renowned" suddenly! I actually decide I want to terraform the purple spice colony I have, so I'm going to do exactly that! I had to do another mission for the allies that were losing interest in my alliance though, and they asked me to scan all life-forms on some planet. ...See image. I felt so sorry for the poor tribes of Zekrom that I gave their planet some extra plants and animals to live off of. How did this living situation even happen?
I took some plants and animals I needed off of my home planet and I think it's worth noting the starting city on the home planet is still called Stabby City! I put the spikiest decorations I could onto it for no reason. Yea that's a thing the City Planner can do, and I never use it. I go to my purple spice planet and apparently I didn't even have to use terraforming tools to get it to T2. I just had to get some plants and animals??? Anyway, that's done, the planet is now at T2 and can hold 10 spice. I'll need to get some money before I start putting more buildings onto its colonies, though! Time for artifacts then. I encountered another zealot empire, unfortunately. I also was ambushed by pirates a bunch, and sometimes defeated pirate ships will drop a very small amount of Sporebucks.
I unlocked the Collector 3 badge along the way, so I can upgrade my cargo hold soon! I found "The History of Spore", apparently, which has nothing to do with the game, and its description says it's a collection of tomes about the rise and fall of a civilization. Apparently it's also entirely pointless, besides "a chicken soup recipe scribbled in the margin. That's a keeper.". I decide to stop looking for artifacts after finding a binary star system (with a small red and a big blue star), as my energy was starting to run low. But I come back with a haul of eleven artifacts to sell off! My cargo space just ran out after collecting all the spice from my colonies too. I sell off a bunch of stuff to one of my allies and I now have over one million Sporebucks!!! That's enough to buy the cargo upgrade, and also some other things, and I'm back to around 400k so maybe that wasn't the best decision. Oh well! What matters is what I got was enough to place a bunch of buildings onto my purple spice colony!
I also decided to establish a colony on a pink spice planet, which was the only one orbiting this solar system, and terraform it. Of course, I had to run and get more terraforming tools because the two I used weren't enough!! I also had a transmission from one of my colonies about pirates, which was, once again, a fluke. I did notice the planet was missing a carnivorous animal species, though, so I put one there and put another city on the planet! I got the title of "The Great" after placing some buildings onto my pink spice colony after getting it to T1, and I can now add another ship to my fleet! I know whose ship to add, so I'm gonna go do that. Apparently their ship is exactly the same as one of my other allies, as in, it's Rainbow Dash poking out of a TV again. Really, RNG??? Also I noticed I only need to raise the T-score of one other planet to then not have to keep buying terraforming tools as much, as getting the Terra-Wrangler II badge will unlock some instruments that let you use your own energy to raise and lower the atmosphere on a planet. Fortunately, I didn't even have to go and buy extra tools, as the pink spice planet already got up to T2 from last time, so I got some plants and animals for it in advance!
Apparently I can buy Spice Storage now! It's a thing that you can place on one of your colonies, which will double its spice capacity. If you don't check your colonies all the time, which you probably will be, this will be quite helpful! I got one for my purple spice colony, and I'm too low on money for anything else. The colony can now hold twenty spice, and will be able to hold even more once I get its T-score to the highest number T3! I'm gonna see if I can establish a trade route with one of my allies, as their T2 blue spice planet is looking pretty appealing! While the trade route is up, what this will get me is additional spice from the colony I've established a trade route with (so I'm gonna get extra blue spice while collecting spice from one of my colonies closest to this one), and eventually I'll get to buy that colony for a bunch of money. That's later, though! It does look like I'll be able to get it to T3 fairly easily, as it only needs to be a bit colder and that's it! (Spoiler: it was sort of easy and sort of wasn't.)
I've done some work on my colonies with placing more Spice Storage, placing buildings where they need to be placed, putting a colony onto a yellow spice planet and getting it to T2, and just buying and selling spice. Some empire demanded money from me and I refused to give any to them! I think I can stop making colonies for now, since I'll be able to complete my empire's mission to colonize sevem solar systems when I purchase this colony. I'm also going to have a colony per each spice color! I also got alerted of an ecodisaster on my colony, so I have to zap five infected creatures on that planet to prevent the infection from spreading, which, if you don't stop it, eventually may lead to the T-score lowering, I think.
I decide to get some more money by doing missions for people! I get another pathetically easy adventure I made in 2013 or something where I just have to chase down One Creature (I cheesed it with a glitch), then I get another health upgrade too because evidently I'm bad at saving money, I get a mission to pick up a tribal member guy from a planet and then I had to experience the game glitching weirdly with the creatures on the planet until I reentered it, and I also earned the Zoologist 2 badge for filling in missing flora and fauna spots on this planet! I unlocked the Monolith! I'm not getting it yet, but it lets you place it on a certain planet and it uplifts some creature on it to a space empire eventually.
Apparently my homeworld was being plundered for spice, which is hilarious. I just picked up some spice from it like a minute ago, and, really? My homeworld? The one empire with the completely terrible and awful spice production? What are you going to find there? Of course, that doesn't matter, since the pirates weren't there when I got close to the planet anyways. Again. I flied around my colonies and did some other boring tasks and missions. After another pathetically easy adventure (but not AS easy and I also got to fly around a bit and see how much better the stars and planets in the sky look than they would if you weren't playing any adventure through the Space Stage), Lucks ranks up again, and I choose to get the Icy Band, another Shaman part, and it lets the captain use the Freeze Blast ability, which just freezes enemies in place temporarily.
Stuff is actually really uneventful right now. I go off in search of artifacts and more empires to discover. I found an empire of Shamans!!! Unexpectedly, I earned the title of "The Legendary" for selling them some things, but anyways, they gave us their mission, The Spirits Are Restless, where a village keeps being terrorized by "horrible" Shabbols. I put the Icy Band on Lucks but it actually completely fills the complexity meter, which isn't fun. We'll have to go without one of the later Shaman Parts, but I never use that one anyways, I suppose...
Lucks beams down onto the planet. "Last night the small down of Whaales was attacked by vicious Shabbols. Find out why the Shabbols are attacking and put an end to it." You see the villagers and the Town Leader acting scared, and blaming the Druid that has recently appeared around here on the incidents. The Old Druid up ahead says nothing about the claims, but says that we must walk the Spirit Path, while holding the Staff of Spirit that will keep us safe. They don't exactly say how exactly it'll help, though. The Spirit Path is lined with the Shabbols, which have been attacking the town. Avoiding them is actually really easy because I can fly and the range at which they detect you seems super low! Sneak would also make it a cakewalk, though, but that is not an ability Stabbies have. You can also find a Spoffit by walking through some cobweb.
At the end of the path is the Altar of Horror, with the sudden appearance of an Ancient Horror, which, apparently, has been disturbing the harmony of the forest and causing Shabbols to go nuts. We are instructed to use the Staff to destroy the altar and banish the Horror, which draws its power from the altar. This is as easy as clicking on the altar and watching your creature just kinda give the staff to it. The Horror just, strangely comically, poofs in a puff of smoke after a few seconds, and a few seconds after that, the altar blows up alongside a rock wall, opening a shortcut back to the Druid so you can talk to them to finish the adventure. The Shabbols, as a neat touch, don't attack you now that the Horror has been banished! The Shaman empire we received this mission from jumped from neutral to absolutely LOVING me for just this!
We're back to the boring stuff. I picked up an artifact from another empire's colony and then sold it back to the same exact colony immediately for a surprisingly large sum of money. I also found a wormhole! Which I can't go through yet, but it sure looks very funky! Though it's pricey so I won't get it yet, I've already unlocked the Wormhole Key, which lets you travel through wormholes. Each wormhole links with another wormhole in a random point in the galaxy, and those can be really interesting to go through because traveling there otherwise could take ages! An empire contacts me and it turns out I can buy the blue spice system now! I'd like to get a little more money for this first, though! Not hard to obtain with some Spice trading, and the planet is mine now, earning us a badge for having 7 stars and a badge for buying a system! And we finally complete our empire's mission, too. I take some other quests from them, why not!
I look around for more empires! They keep being of archetypes I've already discovered. Except I found some Scientists!!! Their species is even my recreation of the Masaari Statue, which appears in adventures. The adventure this scientist empire gives me is TX-5000 Super Weapon. They say this is not a combat mission, and I better be stealthy, but that may be a little hard as I don't have Sneak! Here, the C'Servoid are building the ultimate weapon, and you're told to infiltrate their research base and disable the reactors, with the assistance of the leader of the resistance, Bantuii, and fellow Oppraas't, who have been forced to work on the weapon. Some, including Bantuii, have been locked up. The first action is to talk to them.
Bantuii tells us to shut down the reactors. We have to locate two Reactor Control panels and shut them down. This is actually surprisingly manageable, and even fun, with my flight capabilities but no Sneak, and I haven't even had to fight people! Turning off the reactors unlocks the jail (or whatever it is) that Bantuii and a bunch of Oppraas't have been in, and also the Armory, where the resistance are led to pick up their weapons. The mission suggests you have to lead them there, but they go there on your own! The Oppraas't now have guns and they attack the C'Servoids, and also the TX-5000 itself, and you can help them out with this too. You need to destroy the superweapon to finish the mission. Also talk to Bantuii, too. They're happy that, now, the Oppraas't can rise up against their oppressors! The oppressed! This name is very on the nose!
That's done now. While we're trying to sell spice and generally trading here, I decided to buy an Uber Turret for each of my colonies. You can place this thingy on a planet that you have a colony on and it'll help protect it from pirates or other attackers. I also get more mean people demanding money from me! I have no idea why I keep finding zealot and warrior empires who are all mean to me and demand money from me! No thanks! If I have to fight them eventually due to refusing to give them funds enough times, then so be it. It'll at least be entertaining, since nothing much interesting is going on around here right now. Also I got some more ship upgrades, including the Wormhole Key! I also requested a mission from the one warrior empire I have a decent relationship with. As per their request, I retrieved a crown from a planet, in under a minute, and then, upon finishing, they start complaining that I apparently took ages and the crown is in bad condition, even though they also got to green face (very positive relationship) with me from the same quest. Okay then .
The Frequent Flyer 5 badge is here, and with that, also the title of "All-Powerful"! I also unlocked and then got the Interstellar Drive 5, maxing out the distance my spaceship can travel at a time. Oh, and I unlocked another fleet slot! I decided to ally an empire to add them to my fleet - the trader guys that keep flirting with my captain. Their mission was to find some grails and deliver them to an empire, which was one of the empires that kept demanding money from me. I entered the empire's territory on accident and they're now warring with me suddenly. Well great. I still have to complete that quest! Which I did, also receiving some significant damage to my fleet's ships. I allied the trader guys, though! Their ship also isn't a normal ship either, and is instead Atlas from Portal 2. I never get decent luck with what ships the game spawns.
We do a little terraforming! My purple spice colony is now at T3, which is the maximum terrascore. It allows you to place 3 cities on a planet, unlocks all building and turret spots on the cities, and the spice capacity of the planet is now up to 15 normally, and 30 with the Spice Storage thingamabob! Naturally, having more cities and buildings also increases the spice production too. I did more work on my colonies, and also got my green spice colony - my first colony! - to T3. Well, I had to pick up some flora and fauna first, and then my colony gets attacked by the guys I went in war with. Good thing I got those Uber Turrets, huh! If I gotta mention Angry Birds again, my enemy's ships are also a bunch of Chucks from Angry Birds Space. Why did the game have to pick pick something I care about and then have to destroy?
Got three other colonies to T3 in order to get the Terra-Wrangler III badge for upgrading the terrascore of some planets so I can get temperature tools to help me with terraforming! Had enough of running to empires to keep buying tools, let me just do it once and then use my own energy! I actually got all but one of my colonies to T3 in the process! I get the remaining one to T3 with the new tools easily, then have to do it again because it looped back over into T2 on accident (what a waste of money putting all those buildings there!), and then I have to fend off these mean guys off my pink spice colony again. I ask my allies to go attack one of the mean guys' systems and I'm also going to help them with that! I lose an ally's ship in the process, unfortunately, but the planet is now unclaimed, I guess! Also had to protect one of my allies from an ecodisaster. That was easy, at least!
Finally, after all this chaos, I then decide to work on this planet in my solar system. It's the one this other ship crashlanded on at the start of the Space Stage. I decided to get it to T3 and set up a sanctuary in it. It lets you place up to 30 separate animal species onto a planet! It doesn't really have a gameplay purpose, but it's nice to have! Feels nice to clear out my cargo space of all the flora and fauna I've had laying around for ages, too. That all was there for terraforming purposes. I'll just pillage more from a planet if I need it! Also I accidentally used Soothing Song, the consequence ability of the Bards, while on the sanctuary planet, and the game told me this mean empire stopped warring with me? Huh? The music was nice, at least? That empire decided to go to war with me again as soon as Soothing Song ended anyways, so that was pointless!
One of my allies (I think) is asking me to defend them from another one of my allies, which, as usual, I don't help them with because they're both my allies! I have no idea why this took this long to happen for the first time, it usually happens sooner? While picking up spice, I noticed that the blue spice's planet looping over to T2 also completely eradicated its spice production until I put some buildings in place in all its cities. Well! Whoops! The terraforming thingy also keeps trying to edge over to being too cold, but at least I can deal with that if I notice it in time and heat it back up a little. I don't know why this keeps happening. I have all necessary flora and fauna there! Thankfully, it should stay there as long as I don't get close to the planet.
..Y'know what? Wouldn't it be funny if I took over the home planet of these mean guys that keep trying to attack me? That'll just be some extra red spice, sure, but it'll be something! If you take over the home colony of an empire, either by war or trading, you get a T3 planet with a ton of cities, as home planets will always generate with more cities than you're gonna find on other colonies or place yourself. Unlike your own home planet, it also has good spice production! Oh, also I have this mission to set up a trade route still. Might as well do that. Got the "very exclusive title" of Ultimate Being too! That's actually the second to last title! Anyway, I wanted to complete this mission because my home empire has an optional mission to go to war to another empire. And, for some reason, they say it's not possible right now???? And then they go and tell me to find the Grox. Ok then!!!
I'll use the Wormhole Key I got, too, then. It put me only somewhat closer to the center of the galaxy. But there's another save game nearby! Every save game is actually located on the same galaxy, and you can find their solar systems in the Space Stage, and, if they're in Space Stage too, you can even ally that empire! Looks like this one was my perma-Tribal Stage save. There was another save game close by that is in Space Stage and is also one I haven't played in literal years, probably! I realized I'm a bit of a fool for going off so far away from my empire and not getting Return Ticket first. I'm hoping to find an empire of a philosophy I haven't yet encountered, so I can get an adventure from them, so I can get more captain points to finally unlock Return Ticket. And oh, here's the Grox.
So the Grox are the evilest empire in the galaxy. They occupy T0 (only T0!) planets across 24,000 systems near the center of the galaxy and they will always be super mean to you. There's a way to ally them, yes, but that also gets every other empire in the galaxy to hate you right then and there. It unlocks a secret badge, and so does destroying the Grox entirely. I've never done either, but the fact that both are things that you can do is really interesting! The Grox also have unique creature parts that are not accessible without modding, asymmetry (which was unique until a patch that let you hold A to make parts asymmetric), and a unique empire color. Every empire out there knows of the Grox and they all hate them, pretty much. As mentioned before, the Grox's ships have a chance of appearing in the Creature and Tribal Stages, and, in this stage, they also have a chance of attacking someone's empire for no reason. I usually... don't bother defending my allies from Grox encounters, because Grox ships are actually much, much tougher than other enemy ships tend to be.
...Immediately after chatting with the Grox, I head back and encounter... the "Anti-Grox Empire". They're ecologists, too. What a funny coincidence! Anyway, I ask them for an adventure. The ecologists' adventure is It Came From the Sky, where a mysterious spaceship has landed on a frozen planet near an Ecological Research Station, and all contact with it was lost. It is now in danger of an alien contagion. Your captain is called here to investigate. You beam down and soon find out that, while the ship has no signs of life near it, someone from it might have survived and ran off... Nearby is a body that died, but not from the crash landing. Claark, a researcher from the station, tells us that "most of the crew is sick right now... ...or dead.". This adventure immediately sets up a pretty sad atmosphere, which is not something you often see from the game, as it doesn't take itself very seriously generally.
Ben Ning, the meteorologist, says most people are missing, sick or dead, including the Commander, so he's in charge now. The disease does scary things to people... He also adds that "Palma had his daughter, Eftie, with him when he flew in. Now she's missing, too. Poor little Eftie...". Blaair also says Cooper, who could fix this Snow Mobile, also mysteriously disappeared. Everyone seems to be getting sick, too, as they're coughing and having strange thoughts. Pieces of fresh alien skin lead you to a graveyard and to a hidden spot beyond that. In here you find Eftie! And the infected alien, which says they're sorry for getting everyone sick with their sickness, and that Eftie helped them hide. Eftie seems to be completely immune and healthy. You're instructed by the alien to take Eftie off the planet back home, and on the way back, you find that everyone you encountered, except N'orris, is completely sick now, and they viciously attack you and Eftie. You have to get rid of them to protect her and yourself. With Eftie rescued, the adventure doesn't end on a nice note, besides the fact that Eftie's immunity might lead to a cure. I didn't think much of this adventure before, but it's like. Shockingly gloomy?
Anyway that wasn't enough to upgrade my captain rank or whatever. I've decided to just upgrade it externally from the Space Stage, as you can use Space Stage captains in the Quick Play selection from the title screen and get points! I decide to do Adventure Town, which no empire gives out in the Space Stage! It's a super silly adventure where it just tells you the basics of how adventures work, and all you do is talk to people. It's not notable in the gameplay side of things, but there are a bunch of funny gags, like how there's a Spoffit Shaver machine that actually teleports Spoffits onto an island and blows them up, or how you can give some honey pots to the Phyrus Farmers so they start passing it around themselves for some reason. There's also Ms Spoffit, who says her Spoffits got lost all over the town, which is, presumably, why they're found as easter eggs in most Maxis adventures too! I think you can lead some Spoffits around town back to her, but that doesn't give you anything. Just a neat little thing to do, I guess! This adventure mostly just has neat little things to do. It is neat.
The Return Ticket is here now! As soon as I get back into Space Stage, the game just informs us that we've "collected" Return Ticket. We have to go onto a planet to use it, and, several seconds later, it puts right into our home system. It's very useful! Oh right, I had that Grox quest, didn't I? Our empire tells us the Grox seem to be very defensive of something in the center of the galaxy, but just what...? Looks like the perfect time to cut the issue, though, I've rambled on for long enough!!! Tune in next time for EVEN MORE Space Stage!!!
To Infinity and Beyond
Greetings space rangers! Waluigi Time here again, back with more Toy Story 2. Last time, we completed Andy's Neighborhood, which brings us to the end of the game's first zone, and our first boss level, Bombs Away. It's unlocked after beating Andy's Neighborhood with at least 3 Pizza Planet Tokens. Unlike the main levels, which more or less correspond to different points in the movie, the boss levels don't really do that, with a few notable exceptions toward the end of the game. Instead, they pit you against an original boss in an arena building off the theme of the previous level.
The level takes place entirely within a single fenced-in yard, continuing the Andy's Neighborhood theme. The only thing to note is that all four corners each have a battery to refill your health, which is pretty generous since this is only the first boss level and it's not too difficult. I guess the developers wanted to ease players in here. The level is quiet at first, with only the ambient sounds of birds and the wind, but take a few steps forward and the boss music kicks in, accompanied by a brief cutscene of the level's boss, the Biplane, flying in for an attack! (For transparency's sake, I have to mention that unlike the bosses of the normal levels, most of the bosses of these levels don't have names that I know of, so I'll be going with conjectural ones again.) Speaking of boss music, in the Nintendo 64 version, the music here is swapped with the theme for Slime Time, a later boss level. Interestingly, in early development versions, Slime Time was actually the third level, so that might be how the swap happened.
Moving on to the boss battle itself, it's not all that complicated. The Biplane doesn't fire any projectiles, so all you have to worry about is dodging the Biplane itself, along with the dust trails that appear on the ground underneath it. The Biplane circles around the yard, occasionally flying up out of reach before coming back in and attempting to hit Buzz. When it does, attack it with either a laser shot or a spin (the latter of which being pretty easy to do considering it's actively trying to make physical contact with Buzz and is vulnerable while it does so). Like the previous bosses, if you charge your laser shots, it goes down in only three hits. As I said when I started this section, the boss levels don't give you any Pizza Planet Tokens, so once the boss is defeated the level automatically ends, with Buzz flying into the air with a triumphant "to infinity and beyond".
So, that's it. Since the section's so short this time around, I've decided to take some time to talk about something interesting in this game that doesn't really fit anywhere else. I was originally planning to cover this in a bonus section at the end, but honestly, I don't have a ton of stuff to cover there anyway, so why not do it now?
One of the most well-documented glitches in this game allows Buzz to become completely invincible. This works because of two specific game design choices. First, when you leave a level, your health doesn't get replenished, so when you start a level, you'll have the exact same amount of health as you did the last time you exited a level. Second, you can pause, and more importantly exit a level, during Buzz's death animation. If you do this, once you start another level you'll have no health whatsoever. In this state, Buzz becomes a ghost of sorts, being unable to take any damage and phasing through NPCs. You still lose a life if you do this though, and if you try to do it when you'd normally receive a game over, it won't work and you'll be sent back to the title screen.
For better or worse, this isn't just a free ticket to cheese your way through the entire game though, because it comes with some strange drawbacks. There's a reason I didn't just say Buzz phases through enemies - he phases through all NPCs. That means you can't talk to NPCs to start or finish missions, barring you from collecting three of the Pizza Planet Tokens in any given level, or returning Mr. Potato Head's lost parts. The lost characters, like Bo Peep's sheep and the army men, are also considered NPCs, and can't be collected (not that you could return them in this state anyway). Buzz's spin attack and stomp won't connect, making any enemies and bosses that can only be defeated by those moves, which we'll see later in the game, effectively invincible. There's even a point later in the game where you can become softlocked with this glitch. As for what's not messed up, Pizza Planet Tokens, coins, power-ups, and other items can still be collected as normal, boss battles are still able to be activated since you only need to be in a certain area to trigger them, rather than interacting directly with an NPC, and interestingly, you can still interact with hint blocks. Luckily, getting out of this state is as easy as collecting a battery to refill health.
So that's the first boss level down and one of the more interesting glitches in this game covered. Next time we'll be back to a more normal pace with the next level, see you then.
Gameplay screenshots were sourced from Nin's playthrough of this game on YouTube.
Mach Speed Mayhem
Hello, 'Shroom readers! Welcome once again to your favorite F-Zero section of the paper, Mach Speed Mayhem! Yaaaay! For today, we're doing #29: Dr. Clash, the genius engineer of the F-Zero circuit. And probably one of the most buried members of the circuit, for that matter...
Introduced along with his ride and his ridiculous gadgets in F-Zero X, Dr. Clash's bio doesn't give us that much, only confirming that he's an ex-engineer and he always wanted to be a pilot. So naturally, he designed and built his own machine, because how else do you get in on this? F-Zero GX didn't add that much to his bio, though it gives us an interesting line - apparently, the gadgets he wears compensate for his lack of athletic ability. Apparently it's not a coincidence that everyone is just absolutely shredded in F-Zero, but an actual, vital part of racing. You heard it here first, if you wanna be a racer, you gotta bulk up!
Clash's interviews give us a man with plenty of zest for life. He'll gleefully needle his rivals at every turn, calling them sore losers, talking about tightening the screws in their head, and saying their machines belong on a scrap heap. He's not always rude, though - he'll gladly offer his fans a chance to ride in one of those machines just once in their life! He also mentions that the Crazy Bear is designed for maximum comfort - he plans to install a massage chair, and we know that it has a microwave and a TV, though neither of those are working just yet. It's not maximum perfection until they do! As for why he's a mechanic in the first place, a dream of science and its capacity for the sky or the stars. Surprisingly poetic for this man... And then there's his secret plan for his money: to build a giant machine. In fact, in one of his Master-class questions, he has indeed completed said machine: the Big Bear!
It's like the Crazy Bear, but really big.
The F-Zero GX story mode gives us a bit of a day job for Dr. Clash. In Chapter 3, when Captain Falcon first shows up to the bar the BET race starts at, he meets Clash as the bartender, down to polishing the glasses. Clash gets a front row seat of Silver Neelsen dragging Falcon into his ridiculous scheme, and even falls over laughing when he sees the first appearance of the ridiculous Famicom. Not that he's content to just sit by and watch, though, as Clash joins the 12-man BET race. It's the thought that counts, right? Which is why he also comes back later for Chapter 7, like everyone else who made their debut in X. Unfortunately, there's no victory here, and thus the Big Bear will have to wait to be created.
Onto his machine! The Crazy Bear is one of the machines made directly by the pilot, Dr. Clash not satisfied with a ride that he didn't make himself from the ground up. Cobbling together something with function way over form in his garage, Clash gives us this brick, designed to be as safe and durable as possible. In fact, maybe a little too much, considering speed and control took a cut, and it actually leads to backlash from some of his fans. They'd rather he ditch some of the extra safety features to give him that race-winning edge. The listed stats are an A body, B boost, and E grip, and the lack of grip ends up the most defining feature in X. Unless you can find a way to make that lack work for you, don't expect to see Clash on the winner's podium any time soon. Interestingly, it's one of the machines where the listed stats match pretty well what it's like in GX, with the boost strong and powerful, the body durable and ready to tank hits, and the grip... nonexistent. But if you can overcome the lack of grip and low top speed to make use of the acceleration and boost, there's a good chance at victory!
Interestingly, we actually do have evidence beyond words of Clash's technical prowess! He's listed as the creator of Beastman's Hyper Speeder. They don't have a connection otherwise, so Clash might have been just hired to do some work for someone rather than needing any special reason.
GP Legend series
Oh boy. So, Clash in the anime. He's introduced as the engineer of the Mobile Task Force, the man who makes all the machines work! A confidant of the team's, always happy to sit down and talk about their problems. And very excited for better, strong, and faster machines!
And... that's about it.
This is normally where I'd sum up the general arc if they had a lot of episodes, or pull out a focus episode and talk in-depth about that. But. He doesn't have either of those. Clash just exists, there, as a background character through all 51 episodes of the show. He doesn't even get the occasional focus moments like the other also-rans of the Task Force, Stewart and EAD. He is simply There.
At least the Climax bio gives us something! Sure, he looks menacing, but he's a nice guy through and through. In fact, he races himself, but only for the sake of the others - the Crazy Bear is designed as a data-collecting machine, meant to simply complete the race. Clash has no desire to push himself to the limits to try and get the win when he's not that skilled; he is, however, ready to give all his data to Rick Wheeler and Jack Levin so they can take it and carry it to victory. Clash also gets to play a major role in the GP Legend GBA game's story mode! ...As the damsel, kidnapped by Zoda to drive the plot. Guy just can't win.
All of the vehicles got slight redesigns between F-Zero X and F-Zero GX. In most cases, this was just making use of the much higher polygon count, refining the shapes of the machines, adding details rather than making them geometric blocks, and otherwise upscaling. But the Crazy Bear, for some reason, actually lost a detail! The X version of the machine has a pair of angry eyes on the front, which are removed to only have a handwritten "Crazy Bear" note instead. Why? I couldn't tell you. But it's sure there.
Anyhow, that's it for this month! I'd tell you to go vote, but like December 2019 and December 2020, next issue is pre-chosen by me to give everyone a break from shilling. I hope you're ready for next year, though, as we move into the final push of shilling!
Koops, Your Emblem is on Fire
Slight warning: something happened to the mic and I only noticed after recording, so expect to not hear me very well (by which I mean probably at all). It shouldn't impact the experience too hard given that the gameplay is easy to follow, but it still kinda sucks but... when has life not flung a funky monthly gimmick right at me, eh?
Now to explain some things about this last chapter: It's the only way to piece Nergal's backstory together. If you don't go out of your way to grind Nils to level 7 in Lyn mode AND manage to defeat Kishuna in Chapter 18x/19x, you don't get to see chapter 19xx.
Enough said. I don't need to regurgitate shit for you guys to understand how dumb this is.
Anyway, hopefully I have a voice again next time. See you people then.
|The 'Shroom: Issue 176|
|Staff sections||Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight • Awards Director Election|
|Features||Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing|