The 'Shroom:Issue 115/Critic Corner

From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia

Director's Notes

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

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Heya guys, I've been on vacation for the past however long, but I love you guys all enough to still have done work on this <3

Thank you very much to everyone who enjoyed my new section Anton's Half-Baked Reviews!!! I'm so happy that it was well-received because I had a lot of fun writing it--so much that I wrote another one!

We also have a new section debuting this month by Lord Bowser (talk), so be sure to give that a read along with everything else. And don't forget to vote! Both in the US election if you can and also for Section of the Month for Critic Corner as well as the rest of the teams! Voting is fun!!!!!

Section of the Month

Place Section Votes % Writer
1st Anton's Half-Baked Reviews 8 44.44% Hypnotoad (talk)
2nd Yoshi876's Monthly Thoughts 4 22.22% Yoshi876 (talk)
3rd Meta Knight's Boss Battle Reviews 2 11.11% Meta Knight (talk)
3rd Character Review 2 11.11% Yoshi876 (talk)


Survive Luigi's Mansion with Lord Bowser
[read more]

Feel reborn by reading DragonFreak's review of The Binding of Isaac
[read more]

WATCH OUT FOR FALLING ROCKS and also Yoshi876's review
[read more]

Flip out with Meta Knight's re--oh, wrong Paper Mario Game
[read more]

Ok so Flip out to Powe--still the wrong game ???
[read more]

Give chase to Yoshi876's reviewby-dooby-doo
[read more]
Opinion Pieces

Don't be scared, it's just Yoshi876 giving us world news. ..okay maybe that's scary
[read more]

Be hungry vicariously through Anton's thoughts on restaurants.
[read more]

Lord Bowser's Inside Story

Written by: Lord Bowser (talk)

Greetings, 'Shroom readers. This is Lord Bowser here with a brand-new Critic Corner section for you to enjoy! This section, so un-narcissistically titled Lord Bowser's Inside Story, will focus on the post-game hard modes and other challenges found in games all over the Mario franchise. I’ll give an in-depth overview and analysis of the challenge, then rate it on a scale from 1-10 based on novelty, difficulty, and other factors. As this is October, there must be an obligatory Halloween theme, therefore we shall be starting with Luigi's Mansion!

Luigi's Mansion is a unique case when it comes to hard modes. In all versions of the game, after clearing the main mansion once, there is a new "Hidden Mansion" option at the start of the game - the game's hard mode. However, in American and Japanese versions, there is very little difference between the Normal and Hidden Mansions; ghosts deal more damage, but this is pretty strongly countered by having the Poltergust 3000 be 1.5x as powerful. Players complained about the lack of newfound difficulty in the Hidden Mansion, so Nintendo gave European players a special treat; the PAL Hidden Mansion, or the "true" hard mode. From this point on, I will be focusing mostly on the PAL Hidden Mansion, and why it's far better than the other versions.

There are many more differences found in the PAL Hidden Mansion compared to other versions. The most obvious change is that the entire mansion, along with Professor E. Gadd's Lab and Gallery, is mirrored. Interestingly enough, this change applies to Luigi's hat as well.

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Another big change is that there are a lot more normal ghosts throughout the mansion, and stronger ghosts appear much earlier on. For example, in the very first area of the mansion with ghosts, a Blue Twirler appears alongside the standard Gold Ghosts and Purple Punchers.

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When they first appear in Area 3 in the normal mansion, they aren't that huge of a challenge due to the player likely being pretty well-experienced by then, but having these relatively strong ghosts show up immediately can catch even seasoned players off-guard. Additionally, the mansion is overall quite a bit darker in the PAL version, making dark rooms appear almost pitch-black without a flashlight.

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Some more positive changes, however, is that there’s far more treasure available in the Hidden Mansion. This change is also present in other versions of the mansion, but it's made far more apparent in the PAL version; with good reason too, as the minimum gold requirement for Rank A was increased from 100 million to 150 million. This requirement is so high that it's actually impossible to attain in the PAL normal mansion, as the maximum possible amount of gold is approximately 142 million. To help with this formidable task, every Speedy Spirit and Gold Mouse in the PAL Hidden Mansion now drop highly valuable Silver Diamonds instead of regular colored stones. This makes for quite a hefty payoff every time one of them is captured.

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Repeat that 25 times for every Speedy Spirit and Gold Mouse in the mansion, and you'll be raking in the loot fast.

As is to expected from a hard mode, the boss battles are also tweaked to be more difficult. This can be seen pretty well with Chauncey, the absolutely adorable ghost baby. Just look at that cute little face!

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However, he’s far more aggressive with his attacks. His rocking horses are larger and travel faster in a zigzag pattern, making them quite a pain to avoid.

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How did I not get hit by that, you might ask? Well, it's definitely because I simply got lucky and totally didn't use an invincibility cheat for the sake of a speed run… heh....

He also bounces around his crib faster, making him all around a much harder challenge, especially for the first boss in the game.

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Fortunately, thanks to the buffed Poltergust, boss ghosts aren’t a completely horrible challenge to overcome. Just partially.

Even Boos, everyone’s favorite ghosts, are made to be even more cruel than they are in the regular mansion. Generally, they have more HP (though some have their HP values reduced in exchange for a massive speed increase), and are more agile, making catching all of them a very difficult task, even with cheats pure luck and determination. For example…

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This Boo is only the fourth Boo in the game, and it already has a whopping 150 HP. You can kiss the easy low-HP Boos goodbye at this point, as the few Boos that have less than 100 HP move extremely fast, hardly giving you a chance to try to catch them. It doesn’t help that the minimum number of Boos required in order to reach King Boo has been increased from 40 to 45, meaning that you need to suffer even more to catch these sadistic ghouls.

Moving on, Bogmire is also changed up to be harder, but thankfully isn’t as buffed as other ghosts. He disappears faster and leaves more silhouettes behind, but past that he isn’t changed all that much. He’s still just as creepy as ever though, of course.

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Boolossus was changed up pretty significantly too, though the boss itself wasn’t; rather, the method needed to defeat it was made harder. Instead of walking around normally, Luigi decides to hop on top of his Poltergust and ride it around the arena. This speeds him up a lot, but makes him a lot harder to control, making the overall fight much tougher. Even the normally easy swarm of Boos created by popping Boolossus for the first time becomes much harder to freeze and catch.

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And don’t even get me started on that godforsaken last Boo…

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For context, this Boo took me over five minutes to catch.

After Boolossus, it’s everyone’s favorite part of the game; the blackout! As you can expect, there are even more ghosts to be found during the blackout all throughout the mansion. To sum it up in one picture…

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Now imagine a scenario similar to that happening in almost every single room in the mansion. That’s the PAL blackout for ya.

Similarly, the waves of ghosts that need to be fought before capturing Vincent Van Gore have been made harder; instead of having to fight three at once, you now need to fight five.

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Imagine having to fight five Blue Twirlers at once… that memory still gives me nightmares.

Lastly, the final battle against King Boo in a creepily life-like costume of me has been souped up as well. Bowser’s flames last longer, both being breathed out and lingering on the ground. The mines Bowser throws also explode earlier, making shooting Bowser’s head off harder. King Boo also gets back inside of the costume quicker as well, while Bowser’s head shoots out more ice, making capturing the king a hard, drawn-out process.

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Luckily, there’s no surprise challenge at the very end of the fight, so as soon as King Boo is caught, you’re done and you’ve rescued Mario… again.

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This is a pretty good impression of my reaction when I finally got through the hell that is the PAL Hidden Mansion.

“But Lord Bowser, I thought you said you were using chea-” *shot*

Now that you’ve witnessed what Luigi’s Mansion’s hard mode is like, it’s time for me to give it a final rating. Overall, the PAL Hidden Mansion receives a score of…


The PAL Hidden Mansion does provide a good challenge for experienced players of Luigi’s Mansion, but it really doesn’t add much new things. The mansion has the exact same layout, minus the mirroring, and there aren’t any new exclusive areas or ghosts to explore and capture. All there really is is just more ghosts and harder methods to catch them. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t get a strong sense of satisfaction from getting such a huge amount of gold at the end of the game, and it’s still far better in comparison to the virtually unchanged Hidden Mansions found in other versions of the game.

Well, this has been the first edition of Lord Bowser’s Inside Story. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and hope that you liked this enough to catch next month’s edition. Thank you for reading!

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DragonFreak's Review Quest

Written by: DragonFreak (talk)

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
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Developer Nicalis
Publisher Nicalis
Platform(s) Nicalis
Genres Roguelike
Rating(s) M
Available From
  • [1]
  • Nintendo Eshop
’’”Isaac and his mother...”’’

In 2016 there has been two games that have taken over my life (and there may be a third coming up, but that is for another day). One of them was Terraria, and the other is the game I will be reviewing today: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (plus the DLC Afterbirth). I believe two years ago I tried out the original Binding of Isaac and I loved it, despite how mediocre it functioned. I loved the concept of roguelikes from that moment onward, even if I have not explored much of the genre so far. Before I continue any further, I will point out that this review will contain “spoilers”, but I have that in quotes because I do not think it is entirely possible to spoil a game like Binding of Isaac. Even the story is so vague it could interpreted as anything. However I will be talking about a lot of the unlockables, so if you have not played the game and you want to be surprised on what you can unlock, I would recommend not reading any further.

The second I started playing Rebirth it felt very good. The original Isaac was essentially a flash game and it felt like a flash game. But Rebirth, it felt like a real game with the controls being so smooth and responsive. Out of all my 300 hours of playing I never blamed the controls themselves for playing badly or making mistakes, which definitely makes the game feel fair most of the time. But I will talk more about fairness later.

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Two things about Binding of Isaac: Rebirth makes the enjoyability and replayability nearly endless: the variety of characters and the hundreds of items. Let me start with the characters. There are eleven characters with completely different playstyles. From Isaac being a middle-of-the-road character in terms of stats to Judas being one heck of a glass canon. Then there is opposite playstyles like the happy-go-lucky Cain to the always unlucky Lazarus. A few characters are similar like Eve and Samson who benefit from low health. And do not forget about the extremes of the character selection of Azazel the overpowered demon of brimstone and the unbelievably fragile The Lost who dies in one hit. There is a playstyle for everyone and most of them are quite enjoyable. The items are what really make the game. You acquire most of the items through item rooms and drops after bosses. If you are one like me the thrill of finding just the perfect item to complete your build is addictive. It is rare when I get just the right items for perfect builds, but when it does happen, it is one of the most satisfying gaming experiences of all time.

As for the enemies and bosses, most of them are well designed in terms of fairness and scaling in difficulty. In fact I cannot think of a single enemy that is difficult enough for me to be angry enough to blame the game instead of myself. However it is the room layouts and the number of enemies that make me blame the game. There are a couple of rooms (some of them I feel appear all the time) that it’s nearly impossible to avoid damage unless have a certain item or are just very lucky. With the bosses, nearly every single boss that has Brimstone-like attacks is unfair. Brimstone is just way too powerful that takes up the full range of the room that usually happen suddenly without warning. I am looking at you The Haunt, Monstro II, Krampus, and Adversary. I am especially look at you Adversary with your homing brimstone, which can be completely broken when the player gets that combo, let alone a boss that has that. These things do make the game more difficult, which I do not mind difficulty, but those instances i would say are unfairly difficult.

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Rebirth also has a DLC called Afterbirth. I do want to point out that the DLC at this time is almost the same price as the base game, which is unappealing. However, I feel like it is worth it. There is a fast paced, risk/reward based mode called Greed Mode, which in my opinion, is extremely fun. Also the chances of you getting those rare but powerful items are more likely in Greed Mode since you encounter a larger group of items than the normal mode. Ten new bosses are added, including 2 new final bosses designed to be harder than any of the previous bosses (which they are). Two new characters are included too! One of them is the amazing Lilith, who cannot shoot projectiles of her own, and instead has to rely on familiars to attack for her. The other is The Keeper, who is honestly the worst character to play as. Funny how this DLC gave me my favorite and least favorite character. All those things plus over 100 new items, dozens of new rooms, ten transformations to make you even more powerful, and a daily run that allows you compete with other players makes this one of the best DLC I have had the fortune of getting. I would definitely recommend.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is similar to my previous review of LISA the Painful. I feel like it is a great game, but it is definitely not for everyone. It is a roguelike, a genre that is sort of niche, and one that is infamous for usually being hard. Trying to 100% it will definitely make you rage many times. The game can also be visually disgusting as it is filled with bloodily fluids, gore, and disturbing imagery. It is rated M for a reason. And if that does not bother you, I would recommend giving this game a go. It can be frustrating, but in the most fun sort of way.

Character Review

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)


Who wants a hug?

It's October, which means that Halloween is drawing closer and all the spooky monsters can distract us from the clown craze currently sweeping the world. Now there are many creepy and kooky enemies or characters within the Mario franchise, and whilst I was tempted to review another Portrait Ghost, I decided to instead review Bouldergeist.

I loved how Super Mario Galaxy introduced a whole new swathe of characters and enemies to the franchise, however, the bosses were all incredibly throwaway. There's no good reason for Bouldergeist's existence, and in my view the only reason he's part of this galaxy is due to him being undead, and with this game creating a whole new load of creatures a boss variant of an already existing wouldn't have made sense. The developers trying pawning him off as the creature who kidnapped Luigi in the first mission of the galaxy, but this really doesn't sit well as no explanation of the kidnap ever happens and all in all, it just makes the whole scenario quite disappointing.

Bouldergeist, however, has many merits given his boss fight. Super Mario Galaxy threw away the "jump on enemy three times" that had been happening in the series fairly recently, although its replacement of constantly spin stuff into boss isn't that great a replacement, but unlike the bosses from the normal Mario series the number three waves goodbye. Now whilst this doesn't strike many people as being particularly noteworthy, as a kid it was great to have a boss fight actually feel like a boss fight, especially given how hard it actually was when his hands came into play. From what I played of Super Mario Galaxy, Bouldergeist was by far the hardest boss.

In concept, Bouldergeist is a great idea for a boss: unique stony creature (sort of), coupled with an actual challenging fight make him very appealing, but is let down massively by the lack of any indication of where he came from, why he kidnapped Luigi, or even what he is. I would've liked a more fleshed or should that be stoned out boss, but what we got in the end is still quite appealing.

Meta Knight's Boss Battle Reviews

Written by: Meta Knight (talk)

It's October, and that means Halloween is just around the corner. Let's take a look at something from one of the best Mario games ever, Paper Mario:The Thousand-year Door. Interestingly enough, this game came out in North America in October. So with such a great game with a variety of settings, you're probably thinking I'm going to go with a boss from Twilight Town. After all that area has a spooky atmosphere, and plenty of enemies. You're thinking I'm going to be going with Doopliss right? Absolutely, positively, 100% wrong.

Instead this month we're going to take a look at the guardian of the Sapphire Star located in the treacherous island of Keelhaul Key. It's time to fight Cortez! When I first played this game at about 8 years old, I was genuinely intimidated by Cortez. His design is threatening, being that of a ghost skeleton, and it fits very well with the pirate theme. I also like that they didn't just make him a larger Lava Bubble. His name is also clever, being named after the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. While you are making your way through the Pirate's Grotto, you will eventually come across what appears to be a ghost pirate ship. Cortez will warn you not to enter, and there is a conveniently placed Recovery Block and Save Block. Enter the ship, and he will warn you once again. There's only one way to get the Crystal Star though, so you make your way to the next room. This treasure room reminds me of The Goonies. After a short introduction, the fight begins.

Cortez's first form.

Cortez appears to have 20HP, but in reality you have to kill him more than once, so he really has about 60-70HP. In his first phase, he has four arms, with a weapon in each, and he looks huge. This is definitely the most threatening in appearance. In each arm he has a hook, a sword, a rapier, and a sabre. I like that each hand does have a different blade, instead of just having the same style of sword. Cortez will have his standard attacks, all of which will require you to guard at the right time. Defeat this first phase, and he collapses. When I was a kid I thought it was over. Oh how wrong I was.

The curtain closes for a brief moment, and when it re-opens Cortez is in his second phase. His arms are disabled, and there is what seems to be a glowing orb of some sort. He still is pretty large, but he's just kind of.... floating in the air. I know that he's a ghost, but without his arms he looks a little bit silly. However, you want to beat this phase as soon as possible, because he can use a huge attack boost which can be bone crushing. After defeating this phase, it's still not over.

The curtain closes once again and the final form of Cortez is revealed. It's just his head, with his weapons all floating beside him. Each weapon has its own individual turn, so it's best to get rid of them all at once with a move that can do lots of damage like Fiery Jinx or Gale Force. It's important to note whether or not the weapons are simply defeated or if they've been blown off the stage. This is because if they are disarmed but still on the stage, they will come back. I do like that attention to detail, and this opens up multiple different strategies to defeat Cortez. In terms of design, it doesn't really look silly like the second form, because you usually see Cortez as just a head anyway. However, I don't think it looks as menacing as the first form, especially since the head is just kind of there with the weapons all around the same size.

When Cortez loses a fair amount of HP on this last phase, he will interrupt the fight with some dialogue. He then proceeds to steal the souls of about half of your audience, replenishing his own HP in the process. Other bosses have used this tactic too, but something about the way Cortez does this makes it memorable. The audience has no fight whatsoever, they're just instantly dispatched. There isn't any screams of agony either. This is why if you're in the Mushroom Kingdom and you're invited to see Mario's journey and all the battles in between live, it's probably best to just watch it on television instead. After this, and when you get Cortez's health to 0, the battle will end and you will win.

Cortez in the treasure room in his basic form.

Although Cortez isn't really defeated he probably just got bored of fighting Mario. I do think that makes for some humor. I mean he's been dead for who knows how long. Cortez seems to realize that everything was a misunderstanding, and he will give you the Crystal Star. Unlike other bosses though, Cortez will actually serve as an ally for the rest of the game, taking you to Keelhaul Key and back whenever you need, and using his ghost army to fight what lies just after the End of Chapter sequence plays. I really like this though, because it shows that Cortez does have some more to his character other than "Oh I'm a generic villain". Besides, being friends with a murderous pirate skeleton ghost is pretty nifty.

Overall, Cortez can be challenging if you are unprepared, but I think that he's still a great boss. He's memorable, a fun character, and the setting blends together really well. Thousand-Year Door is already a fantastic game, with a grand slew of great bosses, and Cortez is definitely one of them.

Marioverse Reviews

Written by: PowerKamek (talk)

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Hi! It’s PowerKamek! I am happy because my life is good right now. I am going to review Paper Mario today!

Paper Mario is one of my favorite games. I have only been playing it for a year. I haven't even completed it yet, but I played most of it. Paper Mario released in early 2001 on the Nintendo 64, and received really good reviews. So, it is a good game. But I’m going to review it in my opinions, so watch out!

When I first played the game and did the beginning, I was thinking how fun this game would be. Once I played it more, obviously I liked it. The story was actually interesting and not tedious. Chapter 1, you meet the Koopa Bros. in their fortress. But first, you go to Koopa Village to help get the fuzzies away from the village, then you get Kooper as a party member. I like Kooper because he can use his shell to attack enemies, which is way better than Goombario's attacks, since he can only headbonk enemies. I was stuck on Chapter 4 for a long time. It’s in Shy Guy’s Toy Box. No how many times I tried, I could not take down General Guy. It took me days before I passed him.

My favorite partner is Bombette. It was pitiful to see Bombette trapped in that cage in the Koopa Bros. fortress. Once I got her, I started liking her instantly. She can explode holes in a wall, and she can take down an enemy with extensive damage (depending on the HP). My second favorite partner is Lady Bow. She is extremely useful when you want to hide yourself from an enemy. She can also hide you during battle and smack the heck out of an enemy. Finally, my third favorite partner is Parakarry. He can make you fly a few feet above a abyss so you can cross it. During battle, he can shoot an enemy in the air with his shell, and if you have some FP, he can carry an enemy out of battle, depending on their size.

Review Time:
Pros: Great Story, Great Partners, and Fun Gameplay
Cons: N/A
I would give this game a 10/10. So it's safe to get it if you don't have it!

Summary: Has a great storyline; The partners are useful; The gameplay is fun and not tedious
Have a great October and a Spooky Halloween!

Movie Reviews

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase

Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase
Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase.jpg
Genres Animated
Release date October 2001
Starring Scott Innes, Frank Welker, Grey DeLisle, B.J. Ward
Runtime 89 minutes
Ratings U (UK)

October is the time for Halloween, which means it's the time for monsters and ghouls to scare us out of skin, however, last month I reviewed a horror film and didn't particularly fancy reviewing another straight off the bat. So, instead I decided to go with a different kind of "horror": Scooby-Doo, otherwise known as most people's first foray into monsters and such. Watching Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase is my earliest film memory, so I always look fondly on it, despite some flaws.

As an animated children's film, it was never going to win awards for its plot, and it's your fairly typical Scooby-Doo opening, what with a monster terrifying some people just before the gang actually arrive. However, what makes this different from the usual Scooby-Doo movies is the use of several locations due to the majority of the film taking place in cyber space. This gives a whole wide of locations for the film to explore, and whilst some, like the moon setting, aren't used to their full potential none of the settings outstay their welcome. The prehistoric one with its many themes, like dinosaurs, mammoths (correctly identified as historically inaccurate) and a volcano is easily the best of them. My main issue with the plot, though, is the appearance of the Phantom Virus within the game, he clearly wasn't with the gang when they were transported into cyberspace, so the excuse of him being there falls extremely flat. Also, the "clues" that they get for unmasking the villain are circumstantial or just feel forced.

One of the main things with Scooby-Doo is the villains and monsters, and the Phantom Virus is a good and threatening presence throughout the film, barring the montage scene, and I would have liked to have seen more of him as he was only really there to set up exposition, especially in the Roman level where he explained the gladiators and lion and then disappeared. The rest of the monsters though, I do have an annoyance with, seeing as the game was based on Mystery Inc.'s past adventures it would have been nice to have seen more classic monsters in all the game locations. What I found most annoying though, was when they did bring back the old monsters, the five that they did could have been better. Whilst the Creeper and Tar Monster could be considered classic monsters, others like the Gator Ghoul or Old Ironface aren't and in all honesty monsters like the Black Knight or even the 10,000 Volt Ghost would have been much better choices.

As a children's film it needs to keep them interested, and considering I was still enthralled when I watched it the other day it does a good job. One of the reasons I feel like it's done this is, like I mentioned earlier, the constantly changing scenery where no area feels dragged out. However, as a children's film it does lack a lot of actual humour; of course it contains the typical Scooby-Doo nonsense like monsters agreeing to pose for photos, falling for poor disguises or agreeing to take part in a electro-therapy session, but the rest of the gags are just non-existent.

I loved this film as a child, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't still enjoy it, but it's not particularly a film I'd recommend for a more mature audience unless they're planning to go on a nostalgia trip, as it is just essentially an extended episode of the cartoon series, and due to the humour in that series it's probably the better one to visit. However, as a film for children, this is the best Scooby-Doo movie without a shadow of a doubt.

Yoshi876's Monthly Thoughts

by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Hello readers and welcome to my Monthly Thoughts! Here, I give a run down on the 10 news stories that interested me the most in the past month. Now, the things that will likely interest me are disasters and similar things; politics; and scientific discoveries, particularly in the fields of astronomy and biology. This issue we'll be covering news from September 11 - October 8, 2016. In all honesty, it felt like a slow news month last month, but I think I've still found some hidden gems.

10. Jailed British soldier in India appeals for UK to release them - I signed this petition when I received it over a year ago, as far as I'm aware they are being held on bogus charges. And even if they were guilty of the weapons charges, the conditions they describe they most definitely don't deserve: they have only basic sanitation, some allegedly suffer from dysentery and they've stated that they would starve if they didn't receive the emergency food packages from their family. I sincerely hope that the Foreign Office will soon be able to sort out this mess.

9. Carbon fibre composite helps with Mars plans - As you'll read later, I briefly summarize Elon Musk's Mars plan, but science is on his side, as carbon fibre is the material, well a composite of it, being used to store the rocket fuel and it is more than capable. So whilst it sounds like the rocket can get there, I am still sceptical on the timeframe that has been proposed, something that you will read later in this section.

8. Transgendered soldier first female to serve on front line - Not only are women going to be allowed to serve on the front line in military operations, but the first one to do so is transgender, which is another boost for their rights. Chloe Allen is the lucky girl, and when she originally signed up for the military she was still biologically male and hadn't started hormone therapy. Both her and I hope that this will inspire people to come out and be who they truly are.

7. Plane debris found in Tanzania is from Flight MH370 - A short one due to sources crashing and me being unable to find them, but some debris that was found in Tanzania is definitely from the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.

Not sure I'd want to go to a water park here
6. Water plumes found on Europa - We already knew that there was an ocean hiding underneath Europa's icy surface, but now the Hubble telescope has seen water plumes erupting from the surface and what that means is that scientists can potentially gather water from these plumes and study it instead of having to break through Europa's crust. And what that means is that the hunt for life could be over soon.

5. Planet at its hottest for 115,000 years - A short one here, but the planet is reaching temperatures last seen during the Eemian period, a time with high sea levels and less ice than what we currently have. What's slightly worrying is the projected cost of trillions of pounds for the future generations, so whilst we may not have to worry about the cost, the chances are our children or grandchildren will have to.

Six years is unlikely, but one day we'll get you
4. Elon Musk plans to get humans to Mars in six years - Sadly, my internet crashed and I can't remember what news website I got this piece of juicy gossip from, but essentially Elon Musk plans for humans to be colonizing Mars within 6 years. It's an amazing story and I wish I could've done it justice in here, but I'm all for colonization of Mars, although to be completely honest I do highly doubt that we'll be doing it within 6 years.

3. British forces ill-prepared for potential invasions - Sir Richard Barrons, a former general in the army, has said that the UK forces are ill-prepared for an invasion, which is incredibly scary given the state of affairs in the world right now. In his 10-page report he says how things like aircraft carriers are just "preserving the shop window". Thankfully his report only condemns the military regarding an opponent like Russia, as British forces aren't used to skilled forces that can manoeuvre easily. Well, at least we can still beat someone in a fight.

2. Philippines President compares himself to Hitler - This was probably the most surprising news that I read this month and it surprises me that this person is still allowed to be in power, if a politician over here in England did that they would be kicked out within seconds. The reason he is comparing himself to Hitler is even more surprising as he says he's happy to kill the millions of drug dealers and addicts throughout the Philippines. Now, whilst drug dealers do need punishment, prison should be their destination, and as for the addicts they need help to get over their addictions, not death. This coupled with the fact that he acts like an immature child whenever anyone brings him up on this, what with him calling President Obama the "son of a whore", and launching other profanities at Ban Ki-moon prove that he is unfit to be the leader of a country.

1. Border controls missing up to 4000 flight risks a year - This statistic comes from the Adam Smith Institute who argue that due to the border force being "neglected" for years as well as the passenger numbers increasing. The number of high-risk flights that are meant to be checked are 99%, but 7.5% of these aren't actually checked, and with the number of passengers still on the increase who knows whether this means that they will be missing more flight hazards, which is a horrendous thought. In all honesty, it surprises me that only 99% are supposed to be checked, considering all that needs to happen is for that 1% to have something onboard for the worst to happen. The Home Office has rubbished the report so it's difficult to say who's actually right, but I do hope it is the Home Office.


Written By: Hypnotoad (talk)

Welcome to another issue of Anton’s Half-Baked Reviews. This month I went on a roadtrip across the country to deliver one Contra to a Stoob, all while visiting Threek in the process. In preparation for this long excursion, I bothered everyone in chat to tell me food places to try out along the path from New York to North Carolina to Georgia to Colorado to New York since where I live in New York is devoid of much culture besides “b-but buffalo wings”.

In addition, while I am here now typing this up much later than I usually do due to the circumstances of this section’s theme as well as the fact that I’ve been on the road for like 4 days driving, I can bring to you a NEW, FUN, AND EXCITING collaboration that The ‘Shroom has never seen before. Bear witness to Stooben typing something on my very own laptop’s keyboard to qualify this as a ~collaboration~:

HOWDY from Stooben’s room! This was rather sudden. I will have more to report later. What now?

WOW THAT WAS REALLY HIM! You can trust me because I’m an administrative official and an award-winning reporter with a degree in both science and art :)

That all being done, let’s get on with the section.


Cook-Out is a chain restaurant specializing in fresh hamburgers and milkshakes, but also offer a small selection of other deep-fried goods and hot dogs and whatever, as well as North Carolina Barbecue which I had to look up to see what even made it special and apparently the subject of unnecessary legal feuds that the South is well-known for. It is located within the South’s Bible Belt region as well as the Basically South region of West Virginia and Maryland.
HalfBaked 115 1.jpg

This particular location I went to with Threek because I arrived like 8 hours earlier than intended and as a result was around for dinner. My first impression of the place was “wow everyone here has really thick southern accents” and here I am with my Upstate New York accent, wearing a Hammer Bros. shirt and flip-flops looking completely like I don’t belong there. Luckily Threek was there to help buffer that as well as also be a cool person.

So after nervously looking at the menu because I had no idea what to get, I decided to get the Cheddar Burger with no mayo or ketchup and then a Reese’s milkshake because those looked as inoffensive and bland as possible to my tastes while also still qualifying as having eaten at the place. When I got it I was met with both a McDonald’s bun as well as the McDonald’s treatment of still getting the condiments that I requested to not be on it still on it. Not wanting to be an awful guest, I sucked up my pickiness and ate it, which is when I discovered they also put macaroni on it without informing me that that was a thing.

Not wanting to sully this, I put faith in Threek’s recommendation and went up to get something else I saw him eating: onion rings. Cook-Out’s onion rings were the best ones I’ve ever eaten. They are so crispy and full of flavor, with a notable trait I look for in onion rings being that the onion stays within the breading after the first bite instead of slithering out like Taylor Swift exiting a club. They also remain crispy and delicious when you bring them home and forget them on the floor for the night!

Also I forgot to try the cheerwine, whoops! The milkshake was gr8 though, very thick to the point I had to eat it with a spoon, with generous amounts of reese’s cups. There’s a reason they advertise their milkshakes with pride.

Rating: RyeChip.png Rye chip

Explanation: Everyone seems to love it and rave about it but I just can’t see the appeal. I won’t ryeshame anyone but I would pick other pieces first. Rye chips, like the onion rings, do have the potential to bring about a feeling of well-roundedness, but really shouldn’t be left on their own. Rye chips are common at get-togethers because they’re a core piece of the Traditional Chex Mix blend, so at the very least they’re a quaint reminder of a good time spent with a friend regardless of what taste you’ve got left in your mouth.

Mi Carreta

HalfBaked 115 2.jpg

Next place with Threek was a Mexican restaurant called Mi Carreta. Upon walking in I immediately knew it was going to be good; any restaurant that puts that much effort into how the interior looks also must care about having good food to afford such a costly renovation!

I’m honestly not too sure what to even mention because it was all so smooth that it just like..happened. The wait staff was super nice and the food was good. While most restaurants offer like a loaf of bread or some rolls for a free kinda-appetizer, Mi Carreta provides nacho chips and 3 kinda sides including some meaty ones that I had no idea what they were and then a house ranch that was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and I think it has some lime zest in it which was very nice.

The only thing I felt awkward about was how I didn’t know a damn thing about what the actual significant difference was between each dish--quesadillas, enchiladas, chalupas, chimichangas. I eventually settled on the Quesadilla Deluxe with chicken because I get quesadillas at Denny’s all the time so I thought “huh can’t be too different”, only to once again have my extreme whiteness thrown in my face when I had no idea how to eat what was put in front of me.

Rating: HotCornChex.png Hot corn chex piece

Explanation: It has that sense of familiarity of regular corn chex, but with that surprising wave of heat that you don’t really expect from what normally is a pretty standard cereal. Milk is supposed to quell the heat but who pours milk into chex mix?? What do you do??? Sit back and enjoy it for what it is and hope that the waitress isn’t watching you flail around with a fork in one hand and a tortilla in the other trying to scoop up a mess of chicken, lettuce, and sour cream.


HalfBaked 115 3.jpg

It’s not Chick-fil-A.

Rating: GoldenPretzel.png The Golden Pretzel

Explanation: My highest rating that I have conceived as of this moment. This shining beacon of culinary perfection, a combination of saltiness, crunchiness, the illusion of eating healthily but actually no nutrition aside from some minor amounts of fiber and carbs. It’s the American Dream. Hardee’s is a place that serves chicken and it is also not Chick-fil-A.


Not wanting to miss out on the key parts of why people like the place, as I did with Cook-Out, I took care to read Culver’s menu for a good like 5 whole actual minutes, much to the dismay of what appeared to be 3 new employees learning how to work the register while one poindexter-lookin’ dude appeared to be way too eager to train them. With this, I was faced with a tough decision, and decided to go with the route of “kinda buying everything without spending $40 on a fast food dinner”.

First up was the ButterBurger Cheese. At first I was confused because honestly what the hell is a ButterBurger and why is the word ‘cheese’ placed after it? I popped on over to their website to figure out what this could mean, and with that I guess maybe it means they butter their rolls? Still seems pretty weird to call it that, but the rolls were really good; not just for a fast food place, but within the whole concept of being a roll. The meat did taste as fresh as they claimed it to be, and they also made it exactly how picky I order them as, so props to Captain College Degree managing the restaurant for training a whole new good crew. Also, can’t forget, pickle placement and quantity was optimal; a feat so often not achieved by even the snobbiest of local sandwicheries.
HalfBaked 115 4.jpg

Next I got a Grilled Chicken Sandwich. Now, both of these sandwiches were just the sandwich so I could budget myself and also not go overboard on food, but Contra did get fries and he said they were kinda standard and nothing special so there you go. I did like the grilled chicken sandwich but it wasn’t particularly groundbreaking, but oh boy you gotta check out what their website claims it all to be. It was not thick--the chicken nor the sandwich, in fact it was kinda small for costing the like $4.69 that it did sandwich alone. It was not juicy, which may be because I opted to not include the tomato, but if you rely on tomato to be the sole juicy detail then you should feel shame. It’s not the tastiest chicken anywhere because the grilled chicken at the deli I work at tastes better. Whoever hand-seasoned it with salt and pepper has gotta learn American proportions because I didn’t feel like I was moments away from heart failure, and that’s what I look for in seasoning; the chicken was rather bland.

Finally was this custard whatever thing that I was super confused as to how I should order it, but the cashier also seemed confused on how to put it in the register so we’re all good there. I got some vanilla ice cream custard thing with peanut butter and Reese’s cups and made it a “concrete mixer” which I guess is their version of the copyrighted McFlurry ice cream spinneroonie machine thing that mixes it up for you until homogenous because you can only trust a machine for that. I’m not sure how to put it in words but it was the best whatever the hell it was ice cream kinda thing I’ve ever had. Perfect amount of peanut butter, perfect amount of Reese’s cups, was much thicker than I’m used to thanks to McFlurries and therefore was much more satisfying to have, and best of all it didn’t instantly melt as soon as it was handed over to me.

Rating: ChocolateChex.png Chocolate chex piece

Explanation: While I can’t say it’s the best chex piece in all of Chex Mix, it is the most well-received piece of mine in my favorite flavor of Chocolate Peanut Butter Chex Mix, and can be found in other flavors. It does what it’s supposed to do just right and leaves me wanting to dump a whole load more of it into my mouth alongside a steady stream of peanut butter.

Tune in next month when I actually review the first thing I was told to review. Also, tell me what to review next! Here’s my Steam Inventory filled with games I haven’t played for some ideas, but things you can tell me to do can also be movies, shows, physical actions, trying new foods, music, literally anything and I’ll cover it eventually if it’s not too ridiculous. Just send me a message here on my talk page or PM it to me on the forum. Don't like what I have to say? That's fine, and probably bound to happen because I'm putting no effort into really learning about my subjects! We at Critic Corner will welcome your alternate review of it as a new section for the next issue!

The 'Shroom: Issue 115
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