The 'Shroom:Issue XXXVIII/Beta Elements

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Beta Elements

by Turkishcoffee (talk)

Greetings, ’Shroom readers! I’m TurkishCoffee, your new resident conspiracy theorist writer for Beta Elements. I’ve always been intrigued by beta elements; what they could mean, what they could have been used for. Sometimes the answers are more boring than others, but sometimes they aren’t. Also, I like M&Ms. One of my favorite games is Super Mario RPG. Even better, it’s one of the RPG games, so it’s just bursting with beta elements for me to fling wild conjecture at! Are you as excited as I am? I don’t know if you can handle being as excited as I am. Please refrain from reading the rest of the article until you’re at a level of excitement you consider appropriate for your age and cholesterol level. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, has, strangely, a lot of unused enemies. Many are assumed to be sub-species and are palette swaps of existing enemies. I could suggest that the game was meant to be twice as long, or that there’s a conspiracy going on, but I honestly believe there’s a fairly simple – and sadly, boring – explanation for all of this. I think that the unused enemies were mostly just extras. Just something else, maybe a little bit harder than the others, just to mix up fighting the exact same enemies over and over. This meant that if they could not be finished on time – which is honestly why I feel they were omitted – it wouldn’t be a huge deal.

A Baba Yaga, an unused enemy from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars resembling a blue Fautso.
The “Baba Yaga”.

Now you may be wondering “If they were intended to mix it up, why are they just palette swaps? Surely that wouldn’t make them too interesting to look at!” Look at the colors of many of them. Quite a few of the colors are used for nuclear radiation in comic books or background transparency in graphic design. Colors that don’t seem to have any logical pattern to them, aside from just being a swapped palette. Some enemies do have logical colors, and quite possibly did have finished graphics. Those aren’t what I’m talking about here – despite the fact that I feel they were omitted for the same reason. I’m talking about electric blue things. The only place the foes with unnatural nuclear palettes could possibly fit is in an alternate dimension, possibly with Culex as the final boss (this could be supported by the name of one unused species, the Baba Yaga). That’s not what I think, though (as interesting as it may be).

Sprite of the unused enemy "Lumbler".

My theory is that they aren’t so much unused sub-species as unfinished enemies. Their graphics weren’t finished, so the development team plugged in finished graphics for finished foes with an unnatural-looking palette swaps. Likely, they used the graphics of enemies that the unfinished enemies were based on, resembled, or should be in the same area with to help make sure unfinished enemies showed up in the proper locations during testing. The unnatural colors made them easy to pick out. While the possibility of an entire extra area ruled by Culex is intriguing, I think the boring truth is that there there never was meant to be any Listerine® Freshburst version of Stumpet (known as Lumbler). I think that had the extra enemies been finished and put in the game, it would have been a nice little touch to have more things to slaughter while level grinding.