The 'Shroom:Issue 179/Strategy Wing
Hello readers of The 'Shroom, and welcome to our February edition of Strategy Wing. We here at the Strategy Wing team have been making ourselves cozy during these waning months of winter in the northern hemisphere. It turns out that F-Zero vehicles put out enormous amounts of heat, so we've parked one in the office and have been revving the engine every once in a while while keeping it parked. Who would have guessed you could replace a heater with a hypersonic vehicle? Sure, Superchao has voiced some objections, but turning up the heat brought Shoey back into the office, so the risk of damaging the machine seems worth it to me.
Though... we may have turned the heat up a bit too much this month. Unfortunately, a few of our usual writers weren't able to get their sections in for February. Don't despair yet, though, as we still have a slate of great sections for you to read! Mach Speed Mayhem and To Infinity and Beyond are joined this month by a new one-off section by our resident obscure games guy, Shoey. Take a look at The Greatest Quest and find out more about Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom. Shoey is also providing a new edition of An Ogre Battle Section this month, so be sure to give that a read, as well.
Enjoy what we have this month, and look forward to more next month! I think this is the right time to run with an idea I've been sitting on, so I'll be joining the other members of our Strategy Wing team in writing a regular section starting next month, one on Pokémon. If you'd like to join me in writing a section in Strategy Wing next month and beyond, 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 is doing in To Infinity and Beyond, we have a place for you. If you want to write a one-off like Shoey, you can! If you want to break your section down into bite-size chunks, well, Shoey and Waluigi Time alike have sections this month showing that you can do just that! No matter what, we can find you a place in Strategy Wing, so don't hesitate to send in an application!
First, though, go on and read the sections that the rest of the Strategy Wing team has put together for you this month!
Section of the Month
It seems readers liked missions in space and wyvern riders alike last month! With a touch of sci-fi on one side and a touch of fantasy on the other, ZelenPixel (talk) and Koops (talk) took a joint first place last month. Thank you for supporting the Strategy Wing with your votes, and please continue to do so!
|STRATEGY WING SECTION OF THE MONTH|
|1st||On the Origin of Species||2||40.00%||Zelen|
|1st||Koops, Your Emblem is on Fire||2||40.00%||Koops|
|2nd||Mach Speed Mayhem||1||20.00%||Superchao|
An Ogre Battle Section
Welcome back to the front lines with An Ogre Battle Section, 'Shroom readers, where we look at units from the SNES game Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. We return after a multi-month absence, but, what can I say? War takes a long time to progress. Last time, we looked at three classes (Fighter, Pumpkinhead, and Ghost) that can help you overthrow the evil Empress Endora and return peace to the lands of Zetegenia. Well, this month, we're going to be doing something a little different and we're going to be looking at units that I think you should stay away from, lest they prove to be a hindrance to this noble quest.
The first unit we're going to be looking at is the Golem. Created out of clay, these mighty creatures pack a mighty wallop, with three strong attacks from the front row. They also have a fairly hearty amount of non-magical defense, allowing them to, in theory, absorb physical blows with ease. Why do I say "in theory," you ask? Well, it's because, much like the Pokémon Shuckle, the trade-off for having such high defense is that their HP is pitifully low. It's not uncommon to see Golems with less then one-hundred HP. That means that, even though in theory they should be able to shrug off attacks, they'll be constant threatened by a rapidly-approaching death due to their low HP. In addition, when it comes to magical defense Golems are a mixed bag; they have high defense against most types of magic except Fire and White, with Fire being especially low at a terrible thirty-eight.
Put that all together, and that basically means anything with a Fire spell will be able to one-hit kill them with ease. The fact that they get their best offense from the front row is also a negative, because that means they'll be the easiest target for your enemies to attack, which lowers their viability. In addition, Golems are a large creature, which means that, if you use one, you're only going to have a maximum of four creatures in that unit.
This unit basically doesn't fulfill its purpose; the idea is obviously that it's a beefy strong unit that can absorb hits and that'll work in the early levels. The problem is, as you get later in the game and the enemies hit harder, it just isn't worth it to use these. Now, there is one slight exception if you really want to use a Golem. There's a class called the Iron Golem that can only be found in the Sky Island Organa or found with the recruitable units led by Fenril (boss of Organa) and Yushi (an optional unit leader recruitable in Antalia). Iron Golems are the ultimate Golem unit, with higher resistances overall as well as better health. I still don't think they're worth it because I don't think the resistance that they have outweighs their low overall health, but, if you absolutely need a Golem, this is gonna be your best bet.
Our next unit to look at is the Octopus and Kraken units (at level twelve and with an alignment of fifty-five or higher, an Octopus can be turned into a Kraken). Octopi have pretty good stats, all things considered. Their bulk is honestly pretty similar to the bulky Golem, with one notable exception, and that's that their health is significantly higher. They also, being fish, have extremely low resistance to lightning spells. In addition, when in the front row, an Octopus has an astounding four attacks with their tentacles.
Krakens also have a special attack in the back row, where they create a whirlpool that attacks every enemy unit. All of this sounds great, right? Well here's the problem, Octopi and Krakens are water units, which means they do their best work in the water. What does that mean, you ask? Well, for starters, it means they will always try to take the best route through water. That means that, if you are on a map with a weird water layout (such as level four of the Pogrom Forest), they'll go for that route every time even if it's suboptimal for them to go that way.
In addition, if they have to move on land, then they are set to the slowest movement speed; on maps that aren't water heavy, it's extremely hard to get them into the fight. Also, that special move that Krakens have? It only works in the water, meaning that you'll never really form a unit around them being in the back row. There are definitely pros to these units, and, if you were going to form a unit that was water-based and captained by a Mermaid, these would be a great unit to choose. I just think that, for most of the game, because of their slow land movement speed and desire to seek out water, Octopi and Kraken units are a pass for me because of that limit to their utility.
The last unit we're going to look at is a special rare gimmick unit, the rarely-seen Werewolf unit. In March of the Black Queen, Werewolves can only be found in two ways. One way you can get a Werewolf is to have a fighter be killed by Sirius, boss of Lake Jannenia (level five), at night. You can also wander Lake Jannenia at night time until you encounter a werewolf randomly.
At nighttime, Werewolves are great. They have great stats, high offensive powers, and good HP. At nighttime, Werewolves are a fantastic unit, with their only weakness being White magic, which is a super low eleven. Here's the rub, though. During the daytime, Werewolves turn into the pathetic Beastmen, which are basically the base-level Fighter unit (their sprite is even a recolored fighter sprite). You know, the one that you use to advance into other better units? Except, unlike those units, Beastmen only get one attack no matter what row you put them in! There are ways to make this work if you put the Werewolf in the back row, where it gets three attacks. Place it behind a large unit and you could, in theory, create a unit with enough damage potential to make up for the fact that half the time your unit is going to be useless. I wouldn't do it though, as I think it's a total gimmick. There is one other option if you really want to use Werewolves. There's an item called the MOONBEAM that can be used to turn day into night. This item can be purchased for 4,000 goth in the following levels: Kalbian Peninsula, Tundra, Dalmuhd Desert, Ryhan Sea, and Shrine of Kulyn. If you really wanted to do a Werewolf, this is probably going to be your best bet, but it's going to end up pretty costly because 4,000 goth is a lot of money and you're going to need to use one every twelve in-game hours. Honestly, at that point, I don't know why you wouldn't be using the far superior Vampyre. Like I said, Werewolf is a gimmick. You can make it work, but I just don't think it's worth it unless you really want to use one.
Like I said, I don't really recommend trying to use these units. Each of them have positive traits, but I just feel like the positives don't outweigh the drawbacks. Each of those units either has a bad stat that kills it, depends on a certain type of terrain, or is just a straight-up gimmick. Like I said, you can make use of them and you can form units around their strengths. It's just that there are so many better units in this game that I just don't find it worth it. That's all for this month's An Ogre Battle Section. Tune in next month (hopefully), where we will look at more units.
The Greatest Quest
Hello, Strategy Wing readers, and welcome to THE GREATEST QUEST, a special (presumably one-off but potentially more) section about the game Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom for the NES. Now, you're probably not a weirdo, so you're probably asking "What the hell is Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom?" Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom is a text adventure game published by Hudson Soft (of Bomberman fame) where you play as the noble Sir Cucumber, who has been tasked with rescuing the titular Princess Tomato, who in turn has been kidnapped by the sinister Minister Pumpkin. The game is a silly and lighthearted affair that's a personal favorite of mine. For this section, we are going to be covering the very start of the game, in which the valiant Sir Cucumber attempts to sneak into the town of Saldoria and begin his quest.
As I said, Princess Tomato is a text adventure game. You are presented 14 options for interacting with the world. Those options are:
- Move: This allows you to move to the next screen.
- Look: This allows you to uncover certain hidden areas as well as some objects in rooms.
- Check: This allows you to find items, uncover secret areas, and check objects that you found by using look.
- Talk: This allows you to talk to people. Some say useful things and some don't (it's pretty self-explanatory).
- Take: This allows you to take certain items you find (however, you can't take things like tables, which I think is bullshit, but whatever).
- Use: This allows you to use items.
- Give: This allows you to give certain people items.
- Buy: This allows you to buy items from stores.
- Hit: This allows you to hit both people and things (sometimes it reveals hidden stuff and other times it just provokes a hilarious reaction from Percy).
- Fight: This rarely used option allows you to fight enemies using the traditional combat system known as Rock Paper Scissors.
- Praise: This allows you to compliment people, which is used a few times to solve puzzles.
- Dump: This allows you to get rid of items.
- Item: This allows you to check your items.
- Percy: Only available after you find Percy, this option lets you talk to Percy, who sometimes says useful things (but not always). The best part about this option is using it before you have Percy with you. If you click on it before having Percy the game responds like "Who is Percy?"
On our first screen, a winding road surrounded by long fields, we find a small red flower. Picking up the flower will add it to our inventory. Moving down the road with a warrior's haste, you'll come upon a baby sitting in a field.
Talking to the baby will reveal that he is dying of thirst, and, you, the great hero Sir Cucumber, cannot allow that to happen so you must find him some water. Continuing down the road will bring you to the intersection of the Spinach Heights, where you are presented with three options for the route you will take.
Going to the left takes you to the Melon Patch, going straight takes you to the Town Gate, and going to the right will take you to the beautiful Lake Quench. Because you need water for the baby, you take a right and head toward Lake Quench. Lake Quench is a beautiful lake filled with freshwater, the kind that's perfect for babies!
Thinking quickly, you decide to hit the "take" option and pour some water in a pot (enough for three whole drinks!). Hitting the "look" option will allow you to see the Fern Bird's nest and you will get yourself a sweet gold coin that's inside the nest. Moving forward, you will find a shrine with an Apple Statue. Noticing that is looks a little sad, you can decide to put the red flower on the shrine to give it some color. This doesn't do anything in terms of the gameplay, but Sir Cucumber is a godly man, so you do it anyways.
Realizing that you were supposed to be saving a baby, you return to where the baby was and give him a drink of the water. He reveals that his name is Percy and that he just escaped from the evil Farmies, but, he elaborates, his friends weren't so lucky.
He adds that the Farmies have stopped giving his friends in the Melon Patch water. Being the valiant and dashing hero that you are, you decide to make Percy your squire, and you and Percy set off to take save the melons at Melon Patch. Returning to the Spinach Heights intersection, you take a left this time, heading into the Melon Patch, where you are confronted by a large fence. Clicking on the "look" option brings the beautiful Cherry Birds out of the bushes, allowing you to examine them. Examining the bushes, you see somebody is hidden behind the bushes (the game won't allow you to see this until after you save Percy). The figure hidden behind the bushes is Prince Lettuce, brother of Princess Tomato, and he's unconscious! Giving him some water brings him back to life and he tells you that there's a hole in the fence that you can climb through to rescue the other vegetables. Thinking quickly, you then gallantly and valiantly punch the Lettuce Prince, because, uh, down with the monarchy and all that.
Before going under the hidden passage, you find the barely alive Melon family, and, in a noble sacrifice, you give them your last bit of water to save them from certain death. After this, you talk with the melon Cantlop, who gives you his pass to allow you to get by the town guard and get into Saldoria.
Once you go to the town gate, you first hit "talk" to talk to the guard, who tells you that you need a pass. You then go to the "use" icon and click on the town pass, and, with that, you're in the town , right? Well, unfortunately, it turns out using somebody else's town pass to get into town is, in fact, not a great plan. See, as it turns out, the Town Guard is, in fact, not an idiot and can, in fact, tell the difference between a Cucumber and a Melon, so he just tells you to get lost.
Checking in with Percy reveals that the Town Guard sometimes dozes off and, sure enough, if you return to the guard post, he is now asleep, allowing you to sneak into the city to end chapter one. At the end of each chapter, Percy accidentally loses any items you don't need and you get a password that allows you to start at the start of the next chapter if you have to turn the game off.
That is chapter one of Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom. Maybe someday I'll return to this section, but, in the meantime, I think you, the reader, should check the rest of the game out. It's a funny game with a lot of charm that just keeps piling on silliness.
To Infinity and Beyond
Greetings space rangers! It's me, Waluigi Time, once again taking you on an exciting journey through the world of tie-in video games based on animated films revolving around toys. That is to say we're covering more Toy Story 2 today, and I felt like being weird in the intro. This is going to be another short one because we're covering the sixth level and the second boss level of the game, Slime Time! It's unlocked once you collect 10 Pizza Planet Tokens, so it's a bit of a steep increase from what we've seen so far.
Interestingly, in prototype versions of the game, Slime Time was named Dark Alley, and was actually the third level. Whether it was intended to be the third level in the final game or was just slotted in as a placeholder for demo purposes is unknown. Whatever the case may be, there's no sign of Bombs Away in the prototypes.
The entire level consists of a single alleyway, continuing the theming of Alleys and Gullies. Like last time, the level starts in silence aside from the sounds of the thunderstorm and the howling wind. Once you walk forward, the camera centers on a trash can as the boss music starts playing, and out comes the (conjecturally named as always) Slime Monster. Also, like I mentioned back in Issue 176 when we covered Bombs Away, the music in these two levels are swapped in the Nintendo 64 version.
The Slime Monster's attack pattern is pretty simple. It'll jump around the stage to get within range of Buzz if necessary, and when it's close enough, it throws homing balls of slime at him. These can be deflected by using Buzz's spin attack.
In terms of defeating it, the Slime Monster is kind of an odd one out among the other bosses. Rather than outright taking damage from Buzz's laser, the Slime Monster shrinks a little bit when it gets hit. The spin attack is useless against it, you'll just take damage if you try. The method for defeating the Slime Monster is basically to just spam the laser button as fast as you can. If left alone, the Slime Monster will grow back to its original size, so charging your laser isn't going to be your friend here, since it'll grow faster than you can damage it. Once the Slime Monster shrinks enough, it'll lose a chunk of its health, retreat into the trash can, and re-emerge larger than before, naturally taking more laser hits to get back into the trash can again. After doing this four times, the green laser upgrade will appear, the only boss stage where this actually happens. You don't actually need it, but the free help is nice. Unleash everything you've got one more time and the Slime Monster will retreat into the trash can one final time, but this time it explodes, leaving behind only the lid, and the level is done!
So... yeah, that's about it. Pretty short section, but then again, it's a pretty short fight. Out of all the boss levels, Slime Time is probably the easiest one to brute force. The Slime Monster won't be able to get too many attacks off if you're fast enough anyway, so Buzz can just tank the damage and go ham with the laser. As for next month... well, it's about time we got to this level considering that 'Shroom issues do release on Saturdays, after all. See you then!
Gameplay images were taken from Nin's playthrough on YouTube.
Mach Speed Mayhem
Hello, 'Shroom readers! Welcome back to Mach Speed Mayhem, where the deadlines are made up and the times don't matter! Except they do. I hope you all enjoyed reading the rest of the 'Shroom. Either way, it's time to follow the votes once more and learn all about #14: Jack Levin, the ultimate pretty boy of the F-Zero Grand Prix!
Jack, like so many others, made his first appearance in F-Zero X, because when you go from 4 to 30 you really amp up the additions. His bio didn't say that much about him, but it did establish that he was one heck of a ladykiller, and that most people follow him and his career for his looks and charm. Unfortunately, his skill gets overshadowed in the process, even though it's pretty solid. F-Zero GX expands upon this by adding some more info - namely, he was originally a member of a popular boy band, who was already famous. But he decided that just wasn't doing it for him, and because of that, here he is in F-Zero! And if you make any sort of Jack Levin merchandise, you've got it made.
Jack's interviews in GX are, unfortunately, on the less-informative side. Most of his answers are intentional fanbait, such as saying that all of his fans are his girlfriends, that he has to sign a billion autographs, and that he keeps track of every autograph he signs (he's up to 1,745,233,248). The love of his fans is how he won, it's the only incentive he needs, he dedicates it to his fans... Jack really knows how to work the crowd, that's for sure. We do get a small bit of personal insight - he can't influence or affect his mom, so she has an iron grip on him. In the story mode, meanwhile, Jack makes a couple appearances! First off, he's one of the twelve people who wants to make money by winning the BET Race. Making a good appearance, Jack does pretty well... but not enough, as Captain Famicom is the one to grab all the loot thanks to a victory. He also, as always, puts in an appearance in Chapter 7's 30-man race, as well - gotta try his best to win the big race! Unfortunately, he's once again up against Captain Falcon, and that's that.
Jack's machine, the Astro Robin, is designed for the fans! It was built by the incredibly famous Team Lightning Bolt, one of the old guard of the F-Zero teams. Not only is it styled to Jack Levin's style of driving, but it's also styled to his fanbase! Outfitted with a whole fleet of tiny cameras, Jack is broadcasted from all angles during the race, meaning people can watch him on both the inside and the outside. And his storm of lady fans is all over that! Specs-wise, the machine's listed stats are a body of B, boost of D, and grip of A. In X, this makes it a pretty all-around machine, good to really start with but not a standout in any particular area. F-Zero GX changes it to focus on incredible acceleration, once again making the Astro Robin fantastic as you learn courses and routes. After all, it'll shrug off any bump with getting back up to speed almost immediately, and nothing's better when you're first handling a course!
GP Legend series
In the F-Zero: GP Legend anime, Jack ends up being a surprisingly major character! Namely, not only is he a member of the Mobile Task Force, but after Rick and Jody, he's easily the most significant member of the whole thing. He's Rick's best friend, and also his fiercest rival on the side of the heroes! Heck, in the first episode, Jack is the one to drag Rick around, pull him to various future clubs, and try to hook him up with dates. At least he's being a good friend? The second episode shows another side of him, Jack claiming to have sabotaged Rick's machine in order to do him in when Rick fails one of his early races... only for Jody to call Jack out on lying to motivate Rick. And so, from there, Jack's dynamic is pretty well established.
As the episodes continue, he chases behind Rick, actually taking to the track much more often than Dr. Stewart or EAD or Clash's rare appearances. Unfortunately, he can't ever catch up, always one step behind Rick or Falcon. With a few rare exceptions, where he actually gets some major focus! Like the episode with Silver Neelsen, where he trains Jack in the ways of the racetrack, inspiring Jack to claim his first victory over Rick in the entire series. Of course, Jack's still kind of a dumbass, as seen when he falls for a trick by Lisa Brilliant that lets her grab his machine for a ride. And even repaint it to be pink. Truly a garish fate. Beyond that, Jack's main roles in the series are really either backup, or jobbing. It's the biggest problem with being the also-ran, he just can't match up to Falcon or Rick or the bad guys. In fact, Jack's probably the one who takes a loss most often, just due to being there so much by comparison.
We get a deep dive into his backstory, though! Late in the series, Michael Chain starts to run around as a legendary biker known as the Shinigami. Jack gets touchy and techy about it during the course of the episode, every time someone in the Mobile Task Force bringing it up causing him to get angry, and Chain confronting about it enough to piss him off to run alone. Eventually, he even quits the Task Force, only to challenge Chain directly, and reveal the truth - before he was a pop idol, before he was a racer, Jack Levin was a biker gang member - and the most dangerous and most famous of them all, the Shinigami! But one day, Jody Summer ran him down while she was still on the regular force, and she offered him a chance to turn his life around rather than just cool his heels in jail. Jack took her up on it, and that's how he was placed on his current life trajectory.
Now, though, the ghosts of his past come to haunt him, and he's gotta fight back. So Jack takes up the mantle one more time, and uses it to challenge Michael Chain to one more showdown. The two of them first have a race of chicken to the end of an unfinished road, and then a fist fight at the end of said road - and Jack nearly ends up punching Chain right off the edge of the road in the process! Before he can get out of hand and kill a man, though, Jody and Rick show up and rope him back into reality. With his new resolve, Jack fights alongside the Mobile Task Force once more, devoting himself to it for the rest of the series! Where he mostly just gets outclassed by the main heroes and villains. Ah well.
In the anime-based games, Jack gets some real focus! First off, the F-Zero: GP Legend GBA game gives him one of the story modes! Considering there's only the eight, that's still pretty impressive. His story mode is about realizing that he's falling behind, and deciding to reclaim his fighting spirit. By the end of the short mode, he's managed to overcome both Rick and Zoda in a race, giving him the confidence for the future! F-Zero Climax, meanwhile, adds in a bit more info. First, it mentions that while Jack is a womanizer, part of him is interested in Jody specifically - for what reasons, we don't entirely know. As for his machine, the GP Legend timeline version of the Astro Robin was actually Jack's machine from when he was a rogue biker. Clash graciously upgraded and outfitted it for the racetrack, and Jack puts his all into it!
Jack actually gets to appear as one of the spirits in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Wow, it's been a long time since we talked about those! He's portrayed by Ken, another high-profile man with a lot of lady fans. And they even make an appearance, because Jack is backed up by three female Wii Fit Trainers, all ready to help him! There's also the rule where he'll suddenly get a final smash, allowing him to perform his ultimate dance move, the spinning hurricane kick. Smash move. Whatever.
Beyond that, I don't have that much about Jack. So, if you bothered to read this late addition, go ahead and tell me March's vote! I'll try to have it up before the issue drops this time.
|The 'Shroom: Issue 179|
|Staff sections||Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight|
|Features||Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing|