The 'Shroom:Issue 200/Palette Swap
Happy 200, everyone!! Congratulations to The 'Shroom and all our writers!
200 is a huge milestone! We've been kicking this long and I think The 'Shroom has just gotten better and better. With all the creativity of our community plus the WAHOO! of Mario, I think we can easily go another 200 issues. Thank YOU for reading with us all these years and contributing, whether's that's submitting your own original section or voting in a Section of the Month poll, we couldn't do it without our amazing community!
The last wave of DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe dropped this month, and I've truly found joy in my life again playing as Funky Kong. I can forgive (some) of the issues of MK8DX and focus on the fact that I can surf a wave on top of a motorbike with the guy who's having the MOST fun out of anybody. Keep bringing Funky back, Nintendo!!
There are a LOT of good sections down there, so I won't keep you up here too long. The only announcement I have for you is a sad one- issue 200 is Lakituthequick (talk)'s last Site Seeing. We've loved looking at Nintendo's websites with you, LTQ, from games to watches to amusement parks and eerything in between. Best of luck on all your new projects- we'll miss you!
Section of the Month
The last Section of the Month results are in, and this month, the top slot goes to winstein (talk)'s The ? Panel! Following up, we have Shmaluigi, Private Investigator by Waluigi Time (talk), and then our volunteer Random Image of the Month by Shoey (talk). Thanks for voting one last time, everyone, we've been happy to tally everything up and recognize some great sections!
|PALETTE SWAP SECTION OF THE MONTH|
|1st||The ? Panel||13||33.33%||winstein (talk)|
|2nd||Shmaluigi, Private Investigator||11||28.21%||Waluigi Time (talk)|
|3rd||Random Image of the Month||9||23.08%||Shoey (talk)|
What's on the Box?
Hello there, 'Shroom readers, and welcome to a special guest edition of What's on the Box?! No, I'm not surprised, there's just a question mark in the section title. Traditionally, this section has almost always featured boxart from Super Mario games and its related franchises, but I'm doing something a little different from that. Back in Issue 174 when I was first starting out To Infinity and Beyond over in Strategy Wing, I joked that the boxart for Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue! would make good material for this section, so... let's do it!
So this game was released on basically every platform that existed at the time, and the boxart was more or less the same for all of them (except the Game Boy Color version, but that was a completely separate game made by different developers anyway). The only difference was the game logo placement and the usual extra logos for the developers and hardware. But hey, it's the same key artwork, and that's all that really matters. It's not like anyone's going into this section expecting discussions about ESRB logos, after all.
Buzz Lightyear himself is front and center, as he should be, since you spend the entire game playing as him! He's in a cool action pose and firing his laser off the edge of the box with a determined look on his face. His arch-nemesis Emperor Zurg looms behind him, partially obscured by what I assume is steam. He's armed with his signature ion blaster and has his hand outstretched in a Darth Vader-esque fashion. While this illustration of Buzz was specifically made for the game as far as I know, Zurg just uses stock promotional artwork for the film here. The setting is the elevator shaft from the film where Buzz and Zurg have their encounter, which is also depicted in one of the game's levels. If I were awarding any sort of points, it would score some here for accurately depicting the game, but I'm not, so I just have to give the artists a kudos here.
The game's logo is just the standard one for the film, in case you forgot what this was promoting. Like I said, this changes placement and size depending on the platform, but it's always here in some form. Underneath it is the subtitle, "Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue!", in a very standard font. It would've been cool if they actually designed a logo for it, and they actually did, but it only appears in-game on the main menu, and that one probably wouldn't have fit well with everything else going on here. The computer versions drop the subtitle entirely, and are in general just worse because Mickey Mouse got his gloves all over it and covered up a lot of the background to put Buzz and Zurg inside of a Mickey head silhouette. Then again, it's also the only version where Zurg isn't partially blocked by the Toy Story 2 logo at all.
But I have to wonder, Zurg is behind Buzz, so what's he firing at? Are there Zurgbots just offscreen serving as a distraction while their emperor gets the drop on Buzz? Is there a mirror hanging in the elevator shaft and Buzz is firing at Zurg's reflection, or perhaps trying to reflect his laser shot off of it and back at Zurg? Maybe there's no threat whatsoever and he's just making sure his laser button still works! Neither the game or movie provide any clues, so I doubt we'll ever find out. It probably would've made more sense to have Buzz firing at Zurg, but I can see why they didn't do that. They would've either had to show Buzz from the back, or Zurg would've taken up more space on the boxart than Buzz. This was really the only way to have Buzz shown clearly while keeping him as the most prominent character.
This is a pretty cool boxart that does its job well. It looks good and most importantly, it gets you hyped to play the game! Right away from looking at this boxart, you can see that you get to run around as Buzz Lightyear in an action-packed adventure and even face off against Zurg at some point. Of course, I may be biased since I really like this game.
Hello dear readers and welcome to Site Seeing, in which I'll go over some of the websites Nintendo releases to inform the public about their games and series!
A bittersweet edition today, as this is the last Site Seeing I will be writing for the foreseeable future. I've been writing it for just over three years now, and the 200th issue is a high note to end on.
Today, I will look back at the sections I've written, and see if, and how much, sites have changed after I covered it. Let's go!
Super Mario (NOA)
The first site I reviewed, in October 2020, was the North American Super Mario website. Overall, this site didn't change that much. It was updated with games that released in the meantime, such as Super Mario Bros. Wonder, while at the time the focus was the 35th anniversary of the series.
A new item was added to the menu though: a character page, listing the likes of Mario, Luigi, Bowser, a bunch of supporting characters, and Boo for some reason. Each of these has artwork that swaps out when their collapsed box is opened and a blurb is revealed.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
The fifth site, in July 2021, was Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope's website. The game was only just announced, so it speaks for itself that the contents have expanded afterwards. For one, the character carousel has been completed, from three to nine. There is also more news, which now has its own separate page for a complete archive. And of course, the DLC is now listed.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
In January of this year, 2023, I covered site number 13, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's. A neat site, which has extra longevity because the Booster Course Pass has only recently been released completely. That is the first obvious update: at the start of the year, only three waves had been released, and now it's all six. The second thing I noticed, which is rather a lack of update, is a bug that displays some images stretched all over the page if you happen to refresh while you're scrolled halfway down. Yep, this also happened in January.
A month later, The Super Mario Bros. Movie received a website disguised as one for SMB Plumbing. The site was fairly new at the time, so included just a few teasing elements. After the movie was released, it was updated with more information and more references.
Unfortunately, the site has since been replaced with a simple landing page linking to various streaming services and three behind-the-scenes videos.
The sites above are still up, more or less, as well as ten other sites that don't have any relevant changes. There are also two sites that went down, the ones for Paper Mario: The Origami King and the TAG Heuer Connected × Super Mario site. The former redirects to a generic game page, the latter to a general collaboration page where the smartwatch is not listed.
Lastly, the site for Super Mario Party was already down when I reviewed it, though the Wayback Machine.
Well, this is it, Luigi. I greatly enjoyed writing this section for a few years, but as with everything, you have to stop while you still enjoy it. I've seen many a great site, as well as many a so-so site, and I hope I could take you, the reader, along with some facets of web design that you wouldn't otherwise have thought about.
The 'Shroom, essentially, is something of a website too, with its own design, theming, and, as of late, interactivity. Issue 200 is a great testament to that. I hope you enjoy it, and I'm happy to be part of it.
Until next time, have a good one!
The following poem you're about to read was created during Roserade's (talk) Poemtober 2022. For those unaware, during the month of October, every day you feel like, you create a poem! Each day had a prompt that was a singular word and you could write about however you interpreted it. This poem was written for the theme Streak. If you wish to know more about the creative process, or anything like that, you're welcome to read my commentary as well.
A silent moment disturbed by the spark of artistry,
Neurons firing across the roads of imagination.
A brush swims through hues to fly onto a void canvas,
Painting abstract hypotheticals into the physical plane.
Fingers glide across the strings to grace eardrums with harmony,
Composing a catchy sequence of notes along an embellished melody.
A typewriter clicks away stamping furiously through the page,
Inking a manuscript to furnish a crowning narrative.
The fiery passion that rides within the mind of creativity
Brings a blessing of the arts to share throughout a community.
Sometimes it's difficult finding time out of the mundane work schedule to slot in more artistic activities, but I still enjoy it when I can. What's really interesting is that everyone has a different reasoning behind what makes them tick, and for wanting to make stuff. I tried showcasing a variety of creative avenues, so hopefully there's someone that can relate out there.
Random Image of the Month
Hello and welcome to yet another Random Image of the Month, The 'Shroom's most volunteer-based, image-based opinion section. Last month, we looked at one of Mario's spookiest images. This month, we're returning to the classics as we look at an image from one of the greatest games of all time, Super Mario World.
So, before I get into my main point, I have to say that I don't like those fruits. They look gross. Why do they have yellow spots? They don't have yellow spots in the games! The spots make them look rotten and unappealing. My point is that I wouldn't eat them, because they look poisonous. With that little tangent out of the way, I can move on to my main point, that being how unintentionally funny this image is!
Now, you might be thinking, "what do you mean? It's just an image of Mario and Luigi being confused by a Yoshi Egg", and that's true! This is, in fact, an image of Mario and Luigi being confused by a Yoshi Egg. But if you think about it from a lore perspective, them being confused makes no sense! Canonically speaking, Mario and Luigi have spent most of their lives around Yoshis, they've seen dozens of Yoshi Eggs before! Why are they confused about them? IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE NINTENDO! It kind of has the Pokémon thing going on where it makes a lot less sense that people thought there were only 150 Pokémon when you find out that Johto is like a fifteen-minute Lapras ride away from Kanto. Just like that, in retrospect, this image makes Mario and Luigi look like complete morons. They're here acting shocked over the existence of something they've seen literally dozens of times before!
It's just one of those images that, if it had been made at the time Super Mario World released, would be nothing special. It'd just be some basic art to go along with the game. In retrospect, though, it becomes great unintentional comedy, which made it worth sharing this month.
The ? Panel
"Mexico!" (instead of "Let's-a-go!")
[Mario, in the Sombrero and Poncho while holding a small guitar, has an excited posture]
"I'm attired..." (instead of "I'm-a tired...")
[Mario, in a Black Top Hat and the Black Tuxedo, holds a cane. He has a relaxed expression, maybe tired. Sparkles shine around him]
"Texas on ice! (instead of "That's-a so nice!")
[Mario wears a scarf and earmuffs, while shivering. Cold air comes from his mouth as he said the line]
"Hell odor! (instead of "Hello door!")
[Mario, dressed in a T-shirt, short pants, and sandals, opens the door. He is greeted by Wario lifting his armpit to give Mario a nasty odour surprise. Mario flinched in disgust at the smell of Wario's body odour]
"Just what I kneaded!" (instead of "Just what I needed!")
[Mario, dressed in a Chef Hat and a Chef Suit, kneads dough]
"It's amie!" (instead of "It's-a me!")
[Mario, in his outfit from Mario Party: The Top 100, greets Peach]
Happy 200th 'Shroom Issue!
Written by: Toadettefan
Hey guys! This is Toadettefan, and right here is a special drawing I've created for the Shroom's 200th issue! I bet you're wondering how it felt to create this piece of art. Sit back, relax, and listen to my thoughts!
The first thing I drew were the letters spelling out Happy 200th shroom issue. I colored these in using markers, and after that, I moved on to Poochy. Our shroom mascot is in cake form, indicated by all the circles on him and the crayons. This was my first time drawing him, and I think I did pretty good.
Next, I laid out a table for the cake to be placed on. There is also a plate, though Poochy's body obscures most of it. The first character I drew was Toadette, my favorite Mario character. I started with her arms and hands, and I also added a bowtie to make her look festive. I've drawn Toadette many times, so I'm happy with how she turned out!
Afterwards, I started on Cream the Rabbit, my favorite Sonic character. I drew her a couple times before this, but I think this one tops the others. Her proportions are just right, and her ears are the right size. When I drew her prior to this, she had two circles on her forehead, but now, she has a triangle shape. One thing you will notice is that Cheese isn't beside her, but that's because I could not fit him on without sacrificing the quality.
Once she was finished, I began working on Nitros Oxide, my second favorite Crash character. This was also my third attempt at drawing him, and I did pretty good. The eyebrows are curvy in shape to indicate his mood with ease. It was hard getting a smiling mouth to work on him, I wanted it to not look too scary, but also not make him look weird. He's also to scale with everyone else here, as making him taller could have been off-putting.
Once all characters were colored in, the background was taken care of. I used a black marker, making sure none of the details got lost. Once that was done, I spent some time polishing the letters. After that, the drawing was complete. I was proud to create this piece and share it with the community. Happy 200 issues, and to everyone in the community, thank you for making this newspaper the best one on the internet!
If you've been around the community for a spell, or just following some of the music I've covered in this section and, say, the Music on a Staff staff-written collaboration, there's a fair chance you know that I like both nerdy videogame-inspired songs and songs with a bitter streak. I'm fond of music that has overtones of anger, songs that are unafraid to get acerbic in their lyrics and sound. Today, for this milestone issue, I have a song for all of you that combines those two things, mashing together an appreciation for a game's world and characters with more than a fair bit of resentment. Check your nails at the door, settle into your seats, and get ready to raise a glass in a toast... "To The King".
"To The King", to cover the basics first, is a Hollow Knight-inspired fan-song written by TyKim, performed by Brittany Hadley, and accompanied by thumbnail art by @_NotaMato. Now, it looks like TyKim makes videogame-inspired music on occasion, with a couple of Omori-inspired songs listed (though, as of the time of this writing, it appears many of their works are unlisted), but it's not their exclusive focus. Their channel lists a few original songs, too, which overall seem to combine peppy, upbeat instrumentals with heavier lyrics. "To The King" stands out in a few ways, though. First, it's far and away the most popular video on the channel, with well over one million views, and, second, well, as aforementioned, a vocalist performed it, while it appears many of TyKim's songs are performed by Vocaloid software.
Getting into the song itself, what we have here is far from the glowing ode to a monarch that one might expect from the title. No, the song is a condemnation of a monarch, a strong rebuke of the long-gone Pale King, founder and once-ruler of the "eternal" kingdom of Hallownest, the being that uplifted the insects of Hallownest and gave them intelligence. With accusatory questions such as "do you remember your graveyard?" and "with corpses beneath you, do you sleep at night?", the narrators of this song really don't hold back in critiquing The Pale King. In fact, the song is such a repudiation of what The Pale King did, and his philosophy of "no cost too great," that it even leans into being a promise-and-a-threat. You have the narrators warning The Pale King that "someday you'll have to / pay up your debt" and promising a return, culminating with the declaration that "our voices will cry out again".
Just who are these narrators behind the song, though, and why are they so bitter towards The Pale King? Well, it seems like the narrators are The Pale King's children, the many vessels created from the union of The Pale King and the White Lady as part of a plan to seal away an infection ravaging Hallownest that were ultimately dumped into an abyss to be filled with Void and, save for one, sealed away there after just one of them was selected for the plan. I mean, personally, I think that's a fair reason for the many vessels to resent The Pale King; that's not exactly A+ parenting there. Lending even more weight to the vessels' contempt for The Pale King, there are a fairly large number of Hallownest denizens who ended up suffering on account of The Pale King's actions, too, reflected in the song when the vessels command The Pale King to "think of your children" and to "think of your men", along with them mentioning all of the sacrifice needed by The Pale King to "seal [his] damned demons away".
Honestly, the song works really well as one long resentful string of barbs towards The Pale King, drips with venom the whole way through, and it doesn't pull punches, either. The vessels go right for targeted strikes throughout the piece, inquiring about the true relationship between The Pale King and his singular selected vessel, the Hollow Knight, made to suffer thanks to the king's actions. This "chosen, pure knight" turned out to be not-so-pure, seemingly gaining hopes and desires of its own, contrary to the plan, through forming an attachment to The Pale King, seeing him as a father figure. Yet the king sent it to fulfill its duty anyway, all but ensuring its torment as it kept itself silent and raised no objection. The vessels call their father out on this, asking "for you, for your heart, for their love, did they lie?" as if to hammer home that The Pale King cast aside - failed - even a child so devoted to him that it would willingly sacrifice itself for him.
There are a handful of segments throughout the song that seem to be from The Pale King's perspective, with The Pale King affirming he'll do anything to keep his kingdom, that he sees no cost as too great, and pleading for just one day more to solve the problems plaguing his domain. It's an interesting little addition that makes me want to imagine the song in duet form or something similar, with The Pale King interjecting in defense of his actions, defiant and clinging to his philosophy even after the end of his "eternal" kingdom. It's not impossible to read these segments as still being the vessels, though, mocking the king's work and decisions, especially with lines like "cause pain and death, it's fine / as long as this kingdom's mine," which does sound more like something you would say to mock a person rather than something a person would admit to and boast about.
I could go into more detail about exactly how the song intersects with the story of Hollow Knight, pick out more lines that highlight this song as a forceful, somewhat melancholic, mostly bitter rebuke that fits well among the ruined kingdom of Hollow Knight, but, honestly, as always, I can't convey to you in thirty-three paragraphs what listening to the song a couple times through can. The vocalist here does a great job of conveying the song's anger, nailing a festering sense of resentment by mixing softer, melancholic lines with loud, admonishing commands to The Pale King to remember the past and face the consequences of what he wrought. She even does solid work selling the pleading of The Pale King during his short segments. The instrumentation does just as great work of bringing out the bitterness of those left behind and abandoned in a ruined kingdom, and I'll give the song props, as well, for working in a well-placed reference to The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.
Overall, it's a great song, one highly worth a listen, especially for Hollow Knight fans, but one that I think gets its bitterness through even if you aren't familiar with the game's story. In fact, I was only vaguely familiar with the game, knowing it mostly through word-of-mouth praise, when I stumbled upon the song. It was hearing this that convinced me to spend a weekend reading up on Hollow Knight and to eventually buy the game. I, ah, still haven't played it... Though, hey, I'll play it before issue 300 for sure... right? Enough about my gaming habits, though. Go check out the song!
From the Composer of...
I'm a video game fan but I'm also a big fan of video game music. I like listening to it, playing it on different instruments, and buying official soundtracks, and whenever I play a game or even watch a movie, I try to pay attention to the music and, if I liked it, look up the composer(s) afterwards to see what else they've done. Although you'll frequently see people praising music in games, it's not often that the composer themselves gets recognised, especially if they're not a household name like Koji Kondo or Yoko Shimomura. For this section, I wanted to shine a brief spotlight on some Nintendo and non-Nintendo composers - both well known and lesser known - that have worked on Mario music, and show some other themes outside of the series that they have also worked on, which may be similar to compare the composer's musical style between the two themes, or even completely different to show the composer's versatility. They may be obscure tunes, or tunes you probably didn't know were by that composer. I'm definitely not the most music theory-savvy person, so this won't be a section where I go into technical detail; it's mostly just a showcase of songs that share the same composers with some occasional comments, which hopefully some of you may find interesting and may even encourage you to listen to more of their music! (Credits sourced from the game itself and respective game soundtracks on VGMdb.)
Who better to start with than Koji Kondo? A legendary composer who can be considered the John Williams of video games, he's written some of the most memorable themes in video game history and is still composing today, even having composed some songs for Super Mario Bros. Wonder, which just came out last month, and, before that, Super Mario Odyssey, including the fan-favourite Steam Gardens theme. But today I wanted to bring attention to a couple of lesser known themes that he's done...
|"Ground Theme" from Super Mario Bros. (1985)||"Title BGM" from Shin Onigashima (1987)||"Bowser" from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (1995)|
Two years after Super Mario Bros., Kondo composed for Shin Onigashima, a Japan-only game. This is a nice, comforting tune and a cool showcase of the Famicom's distinct sound. You may be familiar with this theme from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where it got a sick electric guitar arrangement.
While many of you probably know Kondo did Yoshi's Island, I wanted to highlight this theme because of how completely out-of-left-field it is from the rest of the game's tone and music, and even Kondo's previous works. It's not just fast-paced electric guitar and organ, it's fast-paced electric guitar and organ on the SNES, and even sounds pretty realistic for the system (the organ's not in this sample, but you can listen to it here).
You also know him as the voice Yoshi. While the Wii Sports and Mii Channel themes are probably Kazumi Totaka's most popular, my personal favourites of his are from the Animal Crossing series, where he's done a majority of its music, including K.K. Slider's songs and the Roost's theme. Among his more recent compositions is the main theme (and its arrangements) in Woolly World, which was his only contribution to the game.
|"Yarn Yoshi Takes Shape!" from Yoshi's Woolly World (2015)||The title theme from X-Scape (2010)|
While doing some last-minute shopping on the 3DS/Wii U eShops before their shutdown, I decided to pick up this DSi game (of course, it was given the more boring title 3D Space Tank in Europe and Australia), and the title theme was enough to draw me in. This eerie tune sounds like something you'd hear in a futuristic sci-fi movie like Blade Runner, and it's unlike any of Totaka's other works.
Kenta Nagata is best known for his work in the Mario Kart series, including Mario Kart 8, where he's done a few arrangements like this amazing rendition of F-Zero's Big Blue theme. This time, I want to show two highly popular Nintendo themes that you might not know were done by the same composer. Here's probably the most well known theme in the Mario Kart series with probably the most memorable theme from Wind Waker.
|"Rainbow Road" from Mario Kart 64 (1996)||"Dragon Roost Island" from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2002)|
|"Waluigi Pinball" from Mario Kart DS (2005)||"K.K. Bashment Instrumental" from Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2021)|
One of my favourite songs from the 2.0 update for New Horizons. Shinobu Nagata's name doesn't appear as a "music" credit often nowadays, so seeing her in this game's credits was a surprise.
|"Mega Mario" from New Super Mario Bros. (2006)||"Entropical" from Splatoon 2 (2018)|
Asuka Hayazaki composing two Splatoon songs (this and SashiMori's other song "Chopscrewey") was also a surprise, considering a lot of her past works were relatively more relaxed soundtracks like Super Mario Maker and Pikmin 3. As expected from Splatoon, it sounds weird and awesome.
Ryo Nagamatsu was probably my favourite composer at Nintendo, and I say "was" because he left Nintendo earlier this year to go freelance, which sadly means we likely won't be getting any more Nintendo music from him in the future. But the number of soundtracks he's contributed to during his tenure - A Link Between Worlds, Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2 - has been impressive to say the least, and I'm currently looking forward to what he'll be working on next. Of course, his best Mario theme for me is still the theme for Puzzle Plank Galaxy.
|"Puzzle Plank Galaxy" from Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)||"Nasty Majesty" from Splatoon 2 (2018)|
Remember that song from the Octo Expansion? Yep, among several others from the DLC, this was one of Nagamatsu's themes. Before that, he also handled all of the music for Salmon Run.
|"Castle Theme" from New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009)||"Wave Goodbye" from Splatoon 3 (2022)|
Outside of the several Mario games Shiho Fujii has worked on, she's also known for her work on the Splatoon series, particularly music for the Squid Sisters. This theme from the ending of Splatoon 3's story mode is a fitting finale to the duo's music (...even though they made another song after that).
|"Bowser Castle Course" from Mario Kart: Super Circuit (2001)||"Big Boss Confrontation BGM" from Super Metroid (1994)|
More popularly known as "Vs. Ridley" or the "Ridley theme", this theme never gets old for me no matter how many times it's brought back. Like Kenji Yamamoto (another prominent Metroid composer and also one of my favourites), Minako Hamano is a master of atmospheric music (just listen to her solo work on Metroid Fusion), but she's also able to deliver some catchy tunes, like this Mario Kart theme and a large portion of the Link's Awakening soundtrack, for example.
|"Break Free (Lead the Way)" from Super Mario Odyssey (2017)||"Napalm Man Stage" from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018)|
One of the cool things about Sakurai assembling a staff team for a Smash game is that the composers get to tackle themes from series they would not have been able to be involved in otherwise. Take this, for example, which is a Mega Man 5 theme arranged by the main composer of Odyssey. You can even slightly hear the opening guitar slide from "Break Free" in it.
|"Mario Kart Stadium" from Mario Kart 8 (2014)||"Battle! (Island Kahuna)" from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018)|
Here's another example of a composer from the Mario series taking on a non-Mario theme in Smash. This arrangement of a Pokémon Sun and Moon theme wouldn't sound out of place in a new Mario Kart game. Yasuaki Iwata has also gone on to be involved in a number of other big Nintendo titles, a notable one being Breath of the Wild, a game he did a lot of the music for, including Kass's Theme and the four Champions' individual themes.
|"Seashore War" from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (2014)||"Crimson Leaves" from Tengami (2014)|
David Wise is my all-time favourite composer, and his work on Tropical Freeze pretty much cemented that, so of course I had to include him. A game he's worked on that hasn't gotten much attention and I wanted to highlight is this indie game from Nyamyam (a studio formed by ex-Rare developers), which blends Wise's signature atmospheric style with Japanese-styled music.
|"Paean to Palette Prime" from Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope (2022)||"Yaiba" from Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z (2014)|
Originally, I wanted to include the DK Rap as a funny juxtaposition, but I just had to highlight this theme from Sparks of Hope, which I think is Kirkhope's best piece in recent years. But who knew the composer of Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie would also compose for a Ninja Gaiden game?
|The title theme from Mario Power Tennis (2004)||"Lightning Battle" from Kid Icarus: Uprising (2012)|
Fans of the Mario sports games will recognise Motoi Sakuraba's music, but he's arguably more well known for his non-Mario works like the Dark Souls and Tales series. Here is one from what I think is an underrated soundtrack, which he did multiple tracks for alongside several other composers, including Dark Pit's Theme. If you've played Uprising, this theme syncs with what's going on in the game especially well.
To end this section, I wanted to show a few composers well known for their work outside of the Mario series that have arranged Mario themes for Smash.
|"Mike's Song" from Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008)||"N.M.H." from No More Heroes (2007)|
While I haven't played many of Masafumi Takada's games (God Hand, No More Heroes, etc. - still need to play Danganronpa), the variety of tracks he's contributed to Smash is incredibly diverse. He can go from doing the cute ending theme of Yoshi's Story to the fast-paced, heavy-metal Shin Onigashima medley I mentioned earlier. Here's two more examples showing his range as a composer.
|"Gear Getaway" from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (2014)||"Furio Tigre - Swingin' Tiger" from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations (2004)|
The composer behind the beloved Ace Attorney series, though some of you may know him as the composer behind the Grandia series. Noriyuki Iwadare's music for Trials and Tribulations in particular was part of what made the game so memorable for me, but besides the usual dramatic and occasionally unconventional themes, there are also a few themes with some jazz influence, which even extends to his Smash arrangements.
|"Ashley's Song (JP)" from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (2014)||"Song of the Ancients (Atonement)" from Nier: Automata (2017)|
Keiichi Okabe made a name for himself through the Tekken and Drakengard/Nier series (two drastically different styles of music), but I only found out about him through the two songs he did for Smash 3DS/Wii U, one of which was this one not featured in the English version. It wasn't until Nier: Automata when I realised how big of a composer he is; in fact, part of the reason I picked the game up in the first place was the music. Definitely check the soundtrack out, and the game if you're into action-adventures!
Shmaluigi, Private Investigator
It was early in the morning when I got the call. I had just poured myself a bowl of cereal and was about to sit down for breakfast when my phone rang. It was Chief Palmer, and he wanted to see me in his office ASAP. He wouldn't give any other details over the phone, but the sense of urgency was obvious. I'm not sure why I still found getting a call from the boss so disconcerting, but disconcerting it was nonetheless. After all, I couldn't even remember the last time he called me for anything besides needing me for a case, so I should know what to expect by now. Or maybe he was finally going to can me for not actually coming into work. I don't know why he let me get away with it for so long, not that I was complaining, mind you.
Truth be told, I don't even know why I thought I could get away with it in the first place. I guess it was the rush of coming off my first big case. You run off to a port town on a whim, lurk in some trashcans, bust up a mafia, then you come home and feel empowered enough to start your own PI business and stop punching the time clock while continuing to collect paychecks. You know, as you do. I'd like to think that I've grown as a person since then. It's hard to believe that was almost three years ago...
The NWPD headquarters was as bustling as ever. The scent of coffee permeated the building, as if I could literally smell the activity. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these guys had been running entirely on caffeine for the past few days. They were all caught up in their work, and no one seemed to pay me any mind as I made the familiar walk to the chief's office, fluorescent lights buzzing overhead.
"What's the situation, chief?" I asked.
"You're probably going to want to sit down for this," Chief Palmer replied. That certainly didn't bode well. I took a seat in front of his desk as he continued. "Five inmates broke out of prison overnight, and one of the guards is missing. We suspect he's been kidnapped. I've beefed up our patrols around the city, but I'd like you to take the case. I have their files here for you to look at..."
The Pianta pulled a stack of folders from his desk drawer and slid them across to me. I opened up the first one and was greeted by a familiar face - Robert Arie, a Bandit I had first encountered quite some time ago, before I even became a private investigator. In the department, we took to calling him the Bandwich, on account of his obsession with jelly sandwiches. Not a single clean crime scene to be found with that guy. The last time I saw him, I had arrested him for nabbing some video games and confidential documents for a prestigious awards ceremony. "Well that was stupid of him, his sentence should've almost been up by now..." I muttered to myself. Then again, he never was the brightest bulb.
I moved on to the second folder, and once again, I immediately recognized them. Shawn Blizzman, a Mr. Blizzard I arrested last Christmas when his plans to engulf the world in permanent winter ruined my vacation. Though I suppose that if someone who ruined one of my vacations was at large again, I'd rather have it be him than a certain woodland creature I could mention...
The third was yet again someone I had arrested before. Two was a coincidence, but three was a pattern, and by now I was starting to get a feeling for why the chief called me for this case. Bram Tyrannos, a Rex who I brought in when he was working under a peculiar villainous ghost. Tried to make us think he was a vampire, but it turned out he was just eating those weird specialty candies.
The fourth, no surprise, another one my old foes. Probably one of the weirder ones, a little automaton of sorts named Zurg with aspirations of galactic domination. Apparently, he's just a toy. Don't ask me how one of them came to life, I have no clue. Those aren't the kind of answers I usually look for. Last time I saw him, he had hired out the mad doctor Phineas J. Shoe. One of these days, I'd get that slippery Goomba.
The fifth kept the pattern. Albert Koopone, alias Terrakingpin. This Koopa tried to start up mafia operations in the city a while back. Thankfully, with the help of the Sticky Warrior, I was able to uncover the plot and sent him packing. I hoped to keep it that way.
A motley crew, to be certain. With modus operandi ranging all the way from petty theft to world domination, they weren't exactly what you would call likely allies on the surface, but they had a common enemy: me. It was a chilling thought, but I've been through a lot worse.
"And what of the guard?" I asked.
"Fang Potter, age 43. Fire Piranha Plant. I have to wonder if they just picked up the pot and ran off. Poor guy."
"Shmaluigi supposes there isn't any security footage from the prison, is there?"
"I'm afraid not, all the footage from around the time of the break-in was destroyed. Most likely it was sabotaged during the escape," Chief Palmer said, scratching his head. "I realize it's not much to work with, but since you've collared them all before, you seemed like the best man for the job."
"No problem, chief. Shmaluigi's on the case!"
I stood up from my seat and turned to leave, then the chief spoke up again.
"Shmaluigi, I'm assigning you a partner for this one."
"You have to be kidding, chief. It's been years since the last time we discussed this, why now?" I asked.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mind working with other detectives, after all I've worked with some great people in my time. I just can't stand the idea of having someone specifically assigned to me by a superior. I'll fully admit that I tend to be very independent and I like to do things my own way, probably to a fault. It's what appealed to me about setting off as a private investigator and how I got there in the first place. Knowing my luck, I'd get saddled with a rookie that I have to babysit the whole time or some hard-boiled by-the-book type constantly watching over my shoulder. No thank you.
"Look Shmaluigi, I let you get away with a lot, probably a lot more than I should. No, scratch that, definitely a lot more than I should. I know you don't like the idea of taking on a partner, but this is... particularly dangerous for you, as I'm sure you're already aware. I want this done by the book. Understood?"
I sighed, having lost any motivation to continue arguing about it. He was probably right, but I still didn't have to like it, though. I would've fought tooth and nail against this back in the day - guess I've lost my edge.
"Wow, that was... easier than I expected," the chief replied with a hint of surprise in his voice. "Your partner will be Detective Yosh, he just got his shield a few months ago so go easy on him, okay?"
I didn't even say anything that time, only replying with a reluctantly agreeable grumble.
The chief picked up the phone to call out of the office. "Cici, can you send Detective Yosh in? Thanks."
Just a few seconds later, a Yoshi came in through the door. He had a snazzy suit and tie on, but the first thing I noticed was that he was literally green...
"Detective Yosh reporting, sir," he said, saluting the chief. I hadn't seen someone act that proper around here in a long time, even when I was still coming in regularly.
"Yosh, this is Detective Shmaluigi. You'll be partnering with him for your next assignment."
"Understood, chief. Pleased to meet you, detective, I've heard a lot about you."
He reached out for a handshake, and I begrudgingly took it. I had no real reason to dislike him personally, but I was still quite bitter about the arrangement.
"Alright, I'll let you two get to it now. There's work to be done!" the chief said.
I left the office with Yosh following closely behind. Then, as if my day wasn't off to a bad enough start already, Shmue Toad...
"Well well well! Just when I thought my day couldn't get any richa! How's about it, Sham-luigi? Palmer given ya da good what-for?" he asked, smirking underneath his cheesy mustache. "Betcha it's because youse been blowin' off dat LT-5 file for a two good years now, huh? Lemme tell ya, it makes a prettier case file than a desk ornament! Haha!"
Really? No one paid any attention to me until now, and it had to be him of all people. I was in no mood to deal with his wisecracking, and stomped past him without saying a word.
One thing that I couldn't help but ponder was who the mastermind was behind this. After all, you don't have a big jailbreak like this without some coordination. Terrakingpin, maybe? He seemed the most capable, but I couldn't shake the idea that it was some outside influence. For all I knew, maybe Monty Brando had organized this to distract me while he planned something big behind the scenes.
I didn't have much time to settle into the case when a call came over the radio for a break-in at Morris Jewelers. Not the Morris I was more familiar with, though. This particular one had a much better moral fiber.
Jewelry stores always make me melancholy. The last time I stepped into one of these, at least off duty, things didn't end quite so well... But no time to mope about the past, I had a case to solve. The Beanish fellow running the store approached us. I was used to seeing him in gym wear, but today he was wearing an appropriately snazzy suit.
"Whoa! Shmaluigi, I wasn't expecting to see you! How've you been, dude? It's been so long since we talked."
"Well, things could be going better at the moment, Mr. Jonathan, apparently for both of us."
"You can say that again."
"What happened here?" Yosh asked.
"I came in this morning to open the place and found it ransacked. Rings, necklaces, bracelets, all sorts of stuff just gone! I've gotta be looking at hundreds of thousands of coins in losses here if I don't get this straightened out. Oh, and I checked the security footage and I saw the guy who did it. Looked like a Mr. Blizzard to me. I don't think I've ever seen one of them come in here before, I've always heard they're generally more into ice sculpture."
Well, that didn't take them long to get to work. Though it didn't seem like they were very coordinated or had much direction in mind. It was just one of them, and all he was doing was... stealing jewelry.
"Don't worry Mr. Jonathan, we're already after him," I said. "We'll get your stock back."
"I appreciate it, dudes."
We left the building and I got as far as opening the door to the squad car before we had a report of another crime over the radio. Someone had broken into Woodrow Oakley's Museum of Curiosities and ransacked the place. A much more frightening prospect than some missing jewelry, considering the sorts of powerful relics could be hiding in there.
This place was, normally, what I liked to call "chaotically immaculate". It wasn't exactly straightforward or well-organized, and your eye was constantly darting from one thing to the next, but at least everything had its proper place. But now it was like a whirlwind had been through here. Artifacts and curios were scattered all about, glass shards on the floor were all that remained of fallen cases, and red velvet ropes had been unhooked from their posts. The proprietor ran up to us as we entered, and the poor Whittle looked like distressed wood.
"Ah, Shmaluigi! What a coincidence seeing you again. Quite a shame what circumstances brought our meeting about though, eh wot? But I say, who's the green fellow you brought along with you?"
"This is Detective Yosh, we're partners on this case. What happened here, Mr. Oakley?"
"Oh, dash it all, old boy! My museum was assaulted by a blooming dinosaur! He barged in here and made a right mess of things! Why, would you look at this place? I'm going to be on the phone with my insurance company for hours! Hours, I say!"
"Was anything stolen, or was it just vandalism?" Yosh asked.
"I can't say one way or the other, I'm afraid. Rather hard to get a complete inventory when everything's in such a disarray. But I tell you what, I'm trying to make sense of all this and I have not seen hide nor hair of my ancient hypnosis mask."
"Hypnosis mask?" I questioned.
"Ah, yes, it's an artifact that allows the wearer to compel a victim to do their bidding without question. Hm, come to think of it, maybe I should have secured that one better..."
"Coming here specifically for that would be consistent with Tyrannos' history," I commented. "Spending a year in prison without being souped up by Vampire Candies must have been maddening for him. We'd better find them soon..."
"Yeah, you're probably right," Yosh added, then handed Mr. Oakley his card. "If anything else turns up missing, give us a call."
With nothing else to do for now, we began the drive back to headquarters. This was certainly frustrating so far. Both times we'd turned up too little, too late, and with no clues left behind that would help us predict any of their next moves. They say two heads are better than one, but it didn't seem to be helping here.
As we drove, we were flagged down by two people on the sidewalk up ahead - a woman with blond hair tied into a ponytail, accompanied by a man with brown hair. They were both dressed seasonably in winter coats and appeared to be rather frazzled. I pulled over on the side of the road and we stepped out to see what was up.
"Detective Shmaluigi, NWPD. This is Detective Yosh. What seems to be the trouble here?" I asked.
"We got mugged by some guy in a blue hoodie! Ugh, and if this day could not get worse, they left a stain on my jacket," the woman said with knives in her voice. The man standing with her hugged her in an attempt to calm her down.
I looked more closely at their coats, both of which which appeared to be stained with grape jelly. I had a feeling I knew exactly who was responsible for this crime...
"Thank you, sirs. It would be really nice to get the purse back soon," the man said, sighing as he rubbed his forehead.
"Did you have anything particularly valuable or unusual in it?" Yosh asked.
"Oh, uh, my wallet and other... stuff. You know, girl things. Have it returned to me once you find it, alright?"
It didn't take a seasoned detective to tell that she was hiding something, but I didn't feel the need to press it any further. I assumed it was a personal matter, after all, if there was anything sketchy going on then reporting the incident wouldn't be too bright.
"Don't worry ma'am, we'll find this guy," I said, then realized I was forgetting something kind of important. "Ah, sorry, we didn't catch your names."
"I'm Cayde Shilen and he's Zerris Huston."
"Alright, we'll be in touch as soon as we find anything," I told them.
"Stay safe out there," Yosh added.
"Okay, thank you. Make sure the purse is returned to me ASAP!" Ms. Shilen said, putting a clear emphasis on that last statement as they walked off to recollect themselves.
We got back in the cruiser, and I radioed in the new information. I doubted that we would find the Bandwich on our own, but maybe one of the patrols in the area would pick him up. If we could get him to squeal on the other four, that would certainly be helpful. No sooner had I finished my report, dispatch reported yet another theft, this time at the Waluigi Time Cereal Factory. I almost wished I could pass that one up, but I knew better and changed course.
"10-4, we're on our way."
There was no one outside the factory when we arrived, but the back door was wide open, so we let ourselves in. I still hadn't entirely shaken off my last time here, but despite the criminal activity, things seemed to be moving along as normal as they could be around here. The employees paid us no attention as they moved between the humming machinery to take care of their duties. It took a while to find someone who actually seemed bothered - Mr. Time himself, accompanied by his rabbit AI assistant.
"Oh hey, it's you again. Long time no see," Mr. Time said. "When did you get a Yoshi?"
"This is Detective Yosh, he's Shmaluigi's partner for the time being," I replied.
"Neat. I'm Waluigi Time, I'm sure you've heard of me! And this is our company president. Yosh, Shbeeg, Shbeeg, Yosh."
"I prefer Mr. Shbeeg," the digital Broodal replied.
Mr. Time shrugged it off and moved on. "Anyway, I'm glad you guys are here, some lousy no-good scallywag stole all of our Cereal Bob-ombs! Some short little plasticky purple robot guy. I thought people who wore purple were supposed to be awesome and trustworthy!"
"Wait, you made Bob-ombs?" I asked, finding such a possibility very concerning.
"I thought this was a cereal company," Yosh added.
"Well, you know, I thought it could be, like, you're a demolition worker, and you want to do your job, but you also need to eat breakfast. So it goes KABOOM but then the cereal goes everywhere and you could eat it. Or you could use it for kart races and stuff."
"It could have been worse. We were barely able to sell those anyway. It's a good opportunity for a write-off," Mr. Shbeeg said.
"I bet he was working for Cornelius! That dumb chicken never lets me enjoy coming up with something cool!" Mr. Time complained.
"Here we go again...."
I could see that the conversation was derailing fast, and if I let those two keep bantering back and forth, we'd be here all day. Fortunately, we were saved by another report coming over my radio. Apparently, someone had called in for a disturbance at JojaMart.
"I KNEW IT!" Mr. Time exclaimed. "Cornelius is trying to sabotage the WT Cereal buy one get one 25% off sale!"
"Well, we better, um, go handle that?" Yosh said, and we booked it out of there before things got any more headache-inducing.
I wasn't exactly thrilled to be on my way to the confines of JojaMart's sterile walls yet again - it was bad enough I had to do my grocery shopping here - but I couldn't help taking a little solace in the fact that this crime spree didn't spare Mr. Morris, given our... less than cordial history. I mean, I'd prefer those guys were still behind bars, make no mistake, but if it had to happen anyway... Was it wrong of me to think that? Probably. I never said I was a saint.
When we arrived, a Toad and a Koopa Troopa wearing JojaMart uniforms were handing out coupons and turning customers away. Now I knew something bad must have happened if Mr. Morris was allowing a dent in the profit margins... Luckily, a flash of the good old NWPD badge was enough to get past them, but that didn't stop me from nabbing the coupon.
Walking through the automatic sliding doors revealed an unfamiliar sight, the store completely devoid of customers. That had to be a first, and it made the place feel even more cold and uninviting than usual. The store wasn't completely devoid of life, though. I quickly spotted Mr. Morris talking to... Detective Luigi and Yuri?
"Luigi? Yuri? What are you guys doing here?" I said, interrupting their conversation.
"Oh!" Yuri beamed happily. "Hello, Mr. Shmaluigi!"
"Yeah, uh, Morris here hired us to investigate the virus that shut down their system," Luigi said. He clearly wasn't as happy about seeing me as his wife was.
"Mr. Shmaluigi!" Morris interjected, dropping the inoffensive corporate shill act for once and pounding his fist into his palm. "Our store - no, the entire city! - is in unacceptable disarray! I can't remember in my lifetime a crisis of this scale! Why aren't you actively apprehending these vile criminals? What incompetent agents of law enforcement allowed this to happen?! Where are the police? I won't stand for their inefficiency, Mr. Shmaluigi, I won't! I'll be speaking with the mayor! No, with the governor!"
"You know these people?" Yosh asked.
"We're... acquaintances," I replied.
"Waaait a second," Luigi interjected. "Since we're both here, why don't we join forces?"
I hesitated for a second, but before I could make a decision one way or the other, Detective Yosh interjected.
"I'm afraid that's out of the question, sir. This case is now an official police matter, and per department protocol we can't have any unauthorized investigators working the crime scene. Please allow me to escort you off the premises."
I could hear Luigi's complaining as Yosh escorted the two of them back to the entrance. "Woah woah, hey, wait, we're still gonna get paid for this, right??"
"WHA-WHAT!?" Mr. Morris' mouth hung agape and he flapped his arms furiously as he turned to Detective Yosh. "You can't dismiss detectives contracted by a private party! They were the only agency available at a reasonable price amidst this crisis! This is abuse of authority! Mr. Shmaluigi, I demand you place this man "officer" under citizen's arrest! Quarterly earnings are at stake! Those two you see outside were counting upon the bonus for hitting this quarter's target to make rent! You are endangering them by prolonging this crisis!"
Now that was a rare occurrence, Morris actually caring about someone besides himself, or at least acting like it. I knew him well enough to know that it was only because the matter was directly related to his own interests.
"Sorry Mr. Morris, but someone called the police so this is our responsibility now. We have reason to believe that this occurred in connection with a larger crime spree that we are currently investigating. Now, if you could be cooperative and fully explain the situation here, that would be most appreciated..."
Mr. Morris continued to glower at Detective Yosh while I explained the situtation, but his look softened after I trailed off. With a long sigh, he composed himself and began to speak, holding a hand to his temple in exasperation. "I was elsewhere, dealing with matters at another branch when it occurred. According to the two who were here, earlier in the day, a large Koopa in a suit barged in, pushing past our valued customers and marching to one of our computers over protests from our valued family members. The Koopa inserted a USB drive into our computer, and in short order, the entire network here was compromised."
"A wretched miscreant appeared on all of our screens," he continued, "and began deleting recordings, altering data, and causing general mischief. The horror began in earnest, however, when the loathsome creature announced over the store intercom that, for the rest of the day, all products would be offered for free at the register! Oh, the horrific frenzy this unleashed! I arrived only after our store was nearly stripped of merchandise... I organized a clearing of the store, and instructed the two present to turn others away..."
"Simply see for yourselves," he added, shoulders slumping in defeat as he walked us over to a checkout kiosk, swiping a pack of gum across the scanner. The displayed price flashed and shifted rapidly, all three digits changing until, finally, with a triumphant jingle usually reserved for winning lottery tickets, settling on "0.00".
"Wooah! Woah! Woah! It's another lucky winner!" Suddenly, a voice rang out from the checkout kiosk, a little garbled and static-sounding, probably from coming out of the kiosk's speaker. "Everyone's a winner on Virovirofun Day! What holiday is that? What day is that?! It's every day! Every one! It's so big! It's like a whole store under your Christmas Tree! Come and get it!"
"You miscreant! It's not enough that you jeoparidize the convenience we offer to our customers and the gainful employment we offer in service of the community, but you mock us!?"
"Gainful!? Whoa there, buddy pal! Who's gaining!? There's this file called wage records(2) in the system! Should we open it? Should we open it?! Yeah! Let's see! Oooh, Morris the worm makes so so so much more than everyone else! Connect me to the Internet! I wanna share how much! It's so much more! I bet it'll make people real mad! They spend all this money and it mostly goes to the top of the stack!"
"It's you that is the worm! And furthermore, those numbers are reflective of the relative value of the work performed! I wouldn't expect that you would understand how businesses are run, but we all must accept our roles and the compensation we recieve for them for the good of the business. Amusing it is that you neglect to mention our numerous pathways for moving up in our organization."
"Awww, buddy, did I give you a sad mind? Did I make you wanna cry? Boo-hoo-hoo! Oh, I know! Leave it to Virovirokun to cheer you up! I'll delete this folder of EmployeeWriteUps so everybody has a clean slate!"
"You've done enough dama-!" Morris began to lodge another protest, but Detective Yosh jumped in before he could get far.
"Sir, can you please stop arguing with the computer program?" Yosh said.
"...ahem," Morris said, ignoring the virus blowing a raspberry at him through the speaker. "If it's of any aid, take this USB stick." He produced said item from his pocket, handing it over to me. "The perpetrator left it behind. Mr. Shmaluigi, we've had... productive partnerships in spite of long-forgotten events, yes? I plead, please do something about this with haste and efficiency. We must resume business and get back to normalcy."
"Interesting. We'll be in touch once we find out more," I said.
"Good luck getting this sorted out," Yosh added.
"Or not," I mumbled under my breath.
"You know, I get the idea that there's some tension between you and that Morris character," Yosh said as we left.
"It's a long story."
Things went quiet for a while after that. We returned to headquarters and continued trying to make sense of things, but with such a disorganized series of events, it was hard to get anywhere. Maybe the USB stick that we sent over to the tech lab would bring back something, but I wasn't hopeful. That thing could've come from anywhere. At least it couldn't do anymore damage now.
Then we finally caught our break, a bank robbery in progress. It may seem odd as a private investigator slash police detective to be considering a bank robbery a break, but after running all over the city and never arriving in time to catch a single one of them in the act, that's kind of where you end up.
And what's more, I finally got to use the sirens!
The squad car squealed to a halt as I slammed on the brakes in front of the bank and we rushed in. You'd expect the customers to be more terrified, but they seemed to just be... mildly annoyed, more than anything. Perhaps that's what happens when the robber is barely more than a foot tall and deep into a cartoonishly villainous monologue.
"-and then I, Emperor Zurg, will RULE THE-"
"Stop right there! Put your hands behind your head!" Yosh shouted.
The diminutive robber spun around in what I assume was shock, but it's hard to tell with a face that can't emote.
"HAHAHA! If it isn't DETECTIVE FUNNYFACE and his... pet lizard, I suppose."
"You FOOL! I have a MORE POWERFUL WEAPON THAN YOU, so I WIN!!!"
The so-called emperor fired one of Mr. Time's Cereal Bob-ombs from the comically oversized - by scale, anyway - cannon that he held over his shoulder straight towards us. I lunged at Yosh and knocked him out of the way just in time, and the Bob-omb continued flying through the air and detonated when it hit the front wall. I turned back to see the damage, and to my surprise, it wasn't much. Very minor scorching on the wall, and cereal splattered across the room. It was a lot messier than it was destructive.
"I should have known better than to trust BREAKFAST FOOL! These are WORTHLESS DUDS!!!" Zurg shouted, and he darted out of the bank as fast as his little wheels could carry him while we were still on the ground.
"Looks like I owe you one," Yosh told me. "Come on, we have to chase him."
I got up first and helped up Yosh, then we tried to give chase. Unfortunately, we had already lost him, and patrols around the city didn't lead to anything. But at least we had finally stopped one of their crimes, and it turned out that those Cereal Bob-ombs weren't nearly as dangerous as I expected them to be. In a job like this, you have to take the little victories sometimes.
After the scuffle at the bank, another quiet period followed. I didn't like it. They had to be planning, or regrouping, or something. I knew they were working together, they had to be. Why else would they all stop at the same time?
Yosh and I spent the next few days combing over what we knew so far, trying to squeeze out any angle that we may have overlooked. By now, I was starting to get used to his presence.
"The worst part is, what if it really is all just disorganized chaos?" I said, looking over everything that had happened. "At the rate we're going, it would take forever to catch any of them. We'd probably have better luck throwing a dart at a map of the city and setting up a sting there."
"I think there has to be an endgame," Yosh replied. "They would still be going nuts if there wasn't."
"But what? We've been over this countless times, and it just... doesn't add up. Jewelry, a hypnotizing mask, a purse, Cereal Bob-ombs, a bank robbery... Maybe they got something from JojaMart, but we don't even know that for sure with the customer stampede Terrakingpin caused. There's just no logical connection between all of them."
"What if they're disorganized and planning something at the same time? They could be collaborating on a larger plan and just doing their own thing at the same time. You put them all in prison, maybe a lot of it is just them trying to get your attention..."
It was an angle I hadn't considered before, admittedly.
"So basically what you're saying is that some of it's just garbage data and we need to filter that out," I said, making sure I was understanding him right.
"Well, we can probably eliminate Ms. Shilen's purse, then. Shmaluigi doubts there was anything of great importance in there. We've ran checks on her, she's not a government employee or really anything that would warrant her being specifically targeted. Probably just standard Bandwich behavior. And we can probably disregard JojaMart for now with the unknowns there. So..." I stopped to ponder the remaining items. "Could they have stolen the jewelry just to sell it for funding?"
"Hang on, if that's it then why would they have also tried the bank robbery? Or am I just missing something?"
"No, no, you're probably right. You know, Zurg seemed just as surprised as we were that the Bob-ombs weren't very effective. What if the robbery was actually a test run for them?"
"That would add up. So was the jewelry for funding then, or is it just irrelevant?"
"It probably doesn't matter either way as far as cracking this case goes. Blizzman's pretty vain, it could've just been personal interest."
"So that leaves us with explosives and hypnosis," Yosh summarized. "That could go way past simple thievery and breaking and entering."
Before we had time to explore that line of thinking any further, we got a call for a break-in over at the M-corporated headquarters.
"Looks like the thinking will have to wait," I said. Who was I kidding - my mind would be racing the whole drive.
As we pulled up to M-corporated, I saw a Waddle Dee frantically running about, accompanied by plenty of arm flailing. I didn't even have a chance to park the squad car before he came darting over to us.
"HELP! Th-the ENTIRETY of Dryvint's Bombers and X Bombs have been STOLEN!"
"Wh-what are those doing at M-corporated?!" I exclaimed. I couldn't imagine what munitions like that would be doing here, of all places.
"DRYVINT was... er, never the same after the WAR he was in, so he STOCKPILES around headquarters in the event of an ATTACK. Magolor isn't TOO concerned as 'nothing is likely to go wrong,' but now THIS!" he said, then trailed off and started to berate himself. "Agh, how could you let this HAPPEN, Walter?!"
"There has to be some ordinance against that," Yosh commented to himself.
"Alright, just start from the beginning, sir. What happened here?"
Walter took a deep breath and adjusted his glasses. "OK, ok. I was reading our INVENTORY report on a variety of our upcoming PRODUCTS, when I noticed a MOTLEY horde marching toward the BUILDING. I watched them and SUDDENLY, a PURPLE one pulled this ORB LAUNCHER on Dryvint's STORAGE below my OFFICE." He pointed at the small office building and then at a shed next to the warehouse. "NEXT thing I know, they're making off with ALL of Dryvint's EXPLOSIVES, which he is NOT going to be happy about."
That... wasn't good, to put it lightly. They were already making enough of a mess of things as disorganized as they were and without that much destructive power.
"Do you know where they were going after that?" I asked. "Did they say something, or... anything?"
"Well, I RUSHED downstairs and only just managed to CATCH them leaving. They were in a HURRY and one mentioned some 'BIG HAPPENING.'"
"Well, that's something, at least. Mind if we take a quick look around?" Yosh asked.
"NO, not at ALL. Mr. MAGOLOR and DRYVINT aren't here for the moment, so I'M essentially in charge," he said, then led us inside. "This is where ALL of Dryvint’s things were. They didn’t seem INTERESTED in anything else. I SUPPOSE it just happened to be handy because it looked REALLY spontaneous."
Yosh and I took a quick around, and as expected, there was a whole lot of nothing besides obvious tampering. If I didn't know better, I'd assume it was unused space.
"Alright, there's obviously nothing here. We need to get a move on," I said.
"Seems that way. If you remember anything else, let us know," Yosh said, handing Mr. Walter his card.
"I WILL," Walter replied. "THANK YOU, detective."
"Looks like we've confirmed the Bob-omb theory," I said, getting back into the squad car. "We just have to figure out where they're planning to strike, and fast."
I kicked the car into gear, and a short while into the drive, we got another call over to the docks. No apparent break-ins or thefts this time, but something suspicious was going on with one of the workers.
When we arrived, we found the paramedics had arrived before us and were treating a Goomba, who despite sitting up at the time, appeared totally unresponsive.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"We don't know," a Medi Guy answered, "we got called here and found the guy like this. He's conscious, but not responding to any stimuli. We're going to take him to the hospital and run some tests."
I noticed Yosh looking over at a nearby Bumpty and turned my gaze that way. A worried expression blanketed their face.
"Hi, I'm Detective Yosh, this is my partner Detective Shmaluigi. What do you know about this?"
"Nothing, really," she answered. "We both work here at the docks. I took a five minute break and when I came back he was like this, and his ID card was missing. That's when I called the ambulance."
"What sort of ID did he have?" I asked.
"City ID. It's for ensuring the wrong people don't get into certain places, you know."
"Hm, between the victim's state and the city ID... Yosh, are you thinking what Shmaluigi's thinking?"
"Bingo," I replied, then turned back to the Bumpty. "Thank you for your time ma'am, but we have to be off now."
We rushed into the car and I hightailed it over to the New Wikisburg Power Plant, hoping against all odds that we wouldn't be too late - and that I wasn't chasing down a completely false lead.
Outside the power plant, a pickup truck haphazardly abandoned on the side of the road came into view as we approached. It matched the description of the truck at M-corporated that Mr. Walter gave us, which means we had our guys. Now we just had to stop them before they wiped out all electrical power in the city...
I leapt from the car and rushed in, thankfully finding that they were pretty sloppy and had left the restricted doors open behind them.
"Quick, hop on!" Yosh said. I took him up on the offer and we dashed toward the generator, where we found all five of them with the explosives stolen from M-corporated piled up in the room, and, surprisingly, Mr. Potter, seemingly unharmed.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Shmaluigi! You've made it just in time to witness the climax of our master plan!" Terrakingpin said.
"Give it up, you lousy criminal scum, and unhand the plant!" I shouted.
Mr. Potter chuckled. "You really still haven't figured it out? You're just as overrated as I expected."
"Wh... What do you mean?"
"I'm the mastermind here! You spent this entire investigation thinking I was some damsel-in-distress when I was behind the whole thing. You really think this bunch of idiots here could organize a jailbreak on their own?"
"Wait, is he talking about us?" Bandwich asked.
"But why?!" Yosh asked.
"Because I'm sick of this stupid detective! Shmaluigi this, Shmaluigi that, the guy breaks up one tiny mafia with help and thinks he's hot stuff when he can't even bother going into work most days. And really, everyone idolizes this guy? I keep seeing copycat after copycat. What about the respect for the real heroes like me?"
I figured he probably didn't see the irony there. He must have just snapped...
"And now we'll prove to everyone in this city that you don't live up to expectations!" Mr. Potter barked, "Starting with the destruction of this power plant by your own rogues gallery, plunging the city into a blackout, led by me!"
"Actually," Terrakingpin interrupted, and then he grabbed Mr. Potter by the stem and yanked him out of the pot he was sitting in. "I think you've outlived your usefulness. Now it's time for the long-overdue rise of the Terrakingpin!"
"You ungrateful-" Mr. Potter grunted, before being interrupted by being tossed across the room, unceremoniously thwacking onto the floor. With quick thinking, Yosh swallowed the treacherous plant and trapped him inside of a Yoshi egg, but we still had bigger problems to deal with.
"It's all the makings of a thrilling drama, isn't it?" Blizzman added, decked out in so much stolen jewelry he looked like a Christmas tree. "I'm getting chills!"
"Now the rest of you take care of these obstacles while I begin the countdown!" Terrakingpin ordered.
"Ah, yes, with pleasure," Tyrannos said, cracking his knuckles.
"Just ONE SECOND!" Zurg yelled. "As FUTURE EMPEROR of the UNIVERSE, I think that I should be the one to start the countdown!"
"No no no!" Blizzman interrupted. "What we need isn't crime bosses or galactic overlords, but a STAR! And I just happen to know one who is available for such an occasion, that being me!"
Tyrannos and Bandwich seemed blindsided by the three of them arguing - this definitely wasn't going according to plan for them. I didn't know what to do next, but Yosh quickly sprung into action, hurling the egg at Tyrannos and knocking him out cold. The Bandwich was the next to find himself in egg form, and quickly became a weapon against Blizzman. Now it was a fair fight, kind of.
"What the- Do you see what you two did?!" Terrakingpin yelled.
"It is YOUR FAU-" Zurg yelled, before also being interrupted by Yosh's tongue.
"Enough of this!" Terrakingpin shouted, turning his attention from the task at hand as he stomped toward us... and then stepped on a sandwich that had apparently fallen from the Bandit's bag in the chaos. The expression in the Koopa's eyes quickly changed from one of rage to terror as he slipped and fell backwards, finding himself once again overturned and immobilized.
"You've GOT to be kidding me!"
Finally, that was over. After the fight, we called in additional backup to get everyone back to prison, along with Mr. Potter, whose return was probably under different circumstances than he anticipated. The power plant was carefully cleaned up, with no damage sustained. Everything was returning to the way it should be...
"Hey, listen," I said to Detective Yosh after everything was said and done. "Shmaluigi's sorry about being curt. It's not your fault, it's just this whole partner thing..."
"It's okay, detective."
"We certainly made a good team back there. Shmaluigi would be happy to work with you again, you know."
"Likewise", the Yoshi said, cracking a smile. But now our part of the case was finished, and we went our separate ways.
Everything except the paperwork.
Even though everyone was back behind bars, they left quite the mess behind to clean up. Sorting out all the stolen property took some time, but eventually, everything got back to their rightful owners, minus one Cereal Bob-omb. JojaMart fared worse, considering nothing they lost was technically stolen. That's the way it goes sometimes.
That's a wrap! Thanks for joining me for this Issue 200 special! Special thanks to my guest writers this time, Roserade as Shmue Toad; MightyMario as Cayde and Zerris; Cosmic Cowboy as Detective Luigi and Yuri; Hooded Pitohui as Morris and Virovirokun; and Magolor04726 as Walter! See you next time, and enjoy the rest of the cool stuff in this issue!