Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA) – Part 03 – Hoohoo Village and Hoohoo Mountain

-Hoohoo Village and Hoohoo Mountain-

When the guards said “Nearby village” they weren’t kidding, the village is literally the next screen over from the cave entrance. It’s a nice enough little town. There are only a few buildings, and they seem to mostly be built on a bridge over the waterfall. Not the safest location if you ask me, but to each their own. Talking to the villagers does provide a few clues for us. Apparently Prince Peasley was taken to the top of the mountain, and also the fastest way to the top is to get a ride from Blablanadon. Before moving on, I would also like to note the broken rear wall leading to a death drop down the waterfall. This seems to be a standard feature in most of the homes here…

Building safety aside, we soon discover that Blablanadon is missing. According to one of the locals, he said he saw the prince at the summit, but he never returned from investigating. So now we have two missing people at the top of the mountain. To make matters worse, one of them was our ride up. Without Blablanadon, it looks like we’ll have to take the long way and climb the mountain ourselves. But that’s kind of expected from a video game. You can’t just fast travel everywhere from the start. There wouldn’t be any adventure if you did that.

We continue to explore Hoohoo Village when suddenly we come across Fawful in a confrontation with a Royal Guard. While the guard is quite noble to stand his ground, he is instantly blown away by one of Fawful’s energy attacks. That’s when his attention shifts to us. Naturally, he is upset to see that we have caught up to him while he was busy with Prince Peasley.

However, catching Fawful here doesn’t seem to matter as Cackletta is already making her next move down at the castle. As much as we would like to rush to the castle’s aid, Fawful quickly puts a stop to our plans by dropping a massive stone statue directly in our path. Short of jumping to our deaths down the waterfall, this path seems to be the only safe route down the mountain. We’ll have to find some way of breaking this statue if we want to proceed.

Thankfully Hoohoo Village is home to the Hammer Making Masters, Sledge and Mallet. It takes a small amount of searching, but we eventually find them in their shop. Not only that, we walk in just in time to see them at work making one of their hammers.

It’s an…interesting process, to say the least. The brothers seem to hover in the air and then take turns smashing their own heads into the material on the anvil. Unfortunately, it looks like the rock they were using wasn’t quite up to the task of becoming a hammer. It would seem as if the Hammer Making Masters are about ready to retire due to lack of materials. What unfortunate timing for us.

It’s about this time that they take notice of our heroes standing in their doorway. From the gestures they make, I can only imagine the Mario Bros are explaining the whole situation to the Hammerhead Bros. Fortunately one of them recognizes the pair as Mario and Luigi from the Mushroom Kingdom.

With hardly any hesitation, the Hammerhead Bros. are completely on board to help us in whatever way they can. Right there on the spot, they agree to create hammers for us. Maybe this won’t be such a challenge after all.

Of course, I seem to have spoken too soon, as we just witnessed the fact that they are out of materials. With Blablanadon missing, they too are incapable of climbing the mountain to get Hoohoo Blocks from the mountaintop. No Hoohoo Blocks, no Hammers. So let’s just add this to the ever growing list of things we need to get from the top of the mountain. Is there a grocery store up there too? Does anyone need anything while we’re out? Milk, eggs, bread, anything?

Anyway, the Hammerhead Bros. go on to explain the importance of the Hoohoo Blocks. They are such hard stones that hammers made with them are strong enough to break anything. They further explain that they would love to climb the mountain themselves, but they simply can’t jump well enough to do it.

That of course is where we come in. Mario “Jumpman” Mario is of course world famous for his ability to jump…which is surprising since Luigi can not only jump higher, but can also use his Scuttle jump to slow his decent and actually jump further. Clearly Luigi is the better jumper of the two. Luigi just can’t handle the spotlight I guess. Moving on, the Hammerhead Bros. eventually get to the point and formally ask our heroes to bring back some Hoohoo Blocks from the top of the mountain. Not like we had much choice in the matter.

Now that we have several reasons to head to the top of the mountain, I guess we might as well head up that way. Unfortunately, that’s where we hit yet another roadblock. The bridge just outside of the Hammerhead Bros’ house is broken, and it is apparently the only way up the mountain. Quite a few people are working on repairing it already, but who knows when they’ll be done. All we’re advised to do is go talk to people in the village until it’s fixed.

We’ve already managed to talk to nearly everyone in town. But then I noticed this small little cave in the middle of town with another person inside. Not only that, but this cave led around to another area of the waterfalls with a couple more people standing around.

There is a fun little thing you can do while you’re over here though. Towards the right side of the bridge is a small stream of water gushing out of the rocks. If you have Mario as the lead, he will start drinking up the water very greedily until he has inflated like a water balloon!

There isn’t really much benefit to being a Water balloon Mario. You can’t jump anymore, so you’re kind of stuck here when you’re like this. There is however a generator to the lower left of the area. If you spray the water into the fans it will reward you with a coin. If you keep doing it however, you will get a few more coins and eventually a mushroom. It’s not much, but it’s always fun to find little hidden things like that.

The only other thing of note over here is this Giant Koopa who seems to be blocking the path. He say’s nothing we can do will knock him over, and at the moment he seems to be right. We couldn’t get into a battle with him, we have no items or special attacks to use on him, and we can’t spray him with water because of that small step next to the fountain. For now, I guess all we can do is make a mental note of him and remember to come back later when we have whatever ability we need to make him move.

And with that, I do believe we have talked to everyone in town. Sure enough, when we head back to the bridge, it has been completely repaired. Finally we can head up the mountain to rescue Prince Peasley, look for Blablanadon, and gather up some Hoohoo Blocks for the Hammerhead Bros. Seriously, how did we get such a long list of tasks when we weren’t even trying to go up the mountain in the first place?

Getting up the mountain isn’t going to be particularly easy. Now that we’re out of the safety of the village, we once again have to worry about enemies attacking us. And since we have yet to find an item shop of any kind, we need to be especially careful with our health, as we have very few items to heal ourselves on the way up. Thankfully many of the enemies are these Beanies, basically the Goomba equivalent here in the Beanbean Kingdom. Nothing too hard to deal with.

Even without the enemies, climbing the mountain has its own natural challenges. It would probably be impossible to climb if not for the spin jump we learned from the Stardust Bros. So much so that we actually have to rely on small whirlwinds to speed our spin and allow us to travel even further to clear even larger gaps.

I know this is kind of random, but there’s really no good spot to throw in this random observation. As I’m climbing the mountain, I’ve noticed these little circles with an X in them. I can’t interact with them in any way, but they seem so intentional and unlike the surrounding dirt. I can’t help but feel I should be making a mental note of these as we travel.

Anyway, while climbing the mountain, you will also come across several of these creepy looking statues on fire. This is where filling Mario with water actually comes in handy. If Mario has a big belly full of water, you can spit it all out on the little statues and put out their fire.

Doing so will cause the statues to form a little steam cloud above their heads. They will then suck up this cloud which will make these weird goat head looking things open their mouths and create a new little whirlwind for us to use. This is pretty much the main puzzle you’ll be seeing as you travel up the mountain.

Once we make it to about the half way point up Hoohoo Mountain, we come across Hoohooros, Ancient Weapon of the Hoohoo Civilization. Apparently the second half of the climb is going to be even harder than the first, so only those who prove themselves against Hoohooros are allowed to pass. Looks like we’ve got another boss battle on our hands.

However, no such battle begins. Instead, we must complete a minigame of sorts. This felt like it was actually harder than if it was a boss battle. You must use the Spin Jump to collect the Hoohoo Spirits as they appear between the four pillars. You have 30 seconds to collect 10 Hoohoo Spirits or you fail and have to try again.

However, you ALSO fail if you touch the ground, which happens very easily since your spin jump doesn’t keep you in the air very long. Add to that the fact that the orbs disappear rather quickly if you don’t get to them in time, and it ends up becoming harder than it looks.

It ended up taking about 10 attempts for me to finally finish this seemingly simple challenge. Unfortunately, the excitement was short lived. As soon as you finish the challenge, Hoohooros quickly transitions you into the next.

NOW we have to battle Hoohooros if we want to move on. Just before the battle begins Hoohooros digs underground and comes back up with a new grey color pallet, which I can only assume is his battle form. And it’s this new form that we have to fight. Curiously there are also two pillars on the battlefield. I wonder what those are for.

It doesn’t take long to find out. Apparently Hoohooros has the ability to dig into the dirt and then hide himself inside one of the pillars. It’s easy to follow his shadow to see where he went. And it’s just as easy to destroy that pillar and reveal his true form. But it is something we have to kind in mind during this battle.

As soon as his cover is blown however, he does retreat to the other Pillar as well as summon a new pillar to replace the one we destroyed. Not only that, but the Pillars are actually active participants in this battle, capable of shooting lasers out at our heroes.

The battle continued this cycle for a few rounds before I got the idea to break the OTHER Pillar first, cutting off his retreat. Sure enough, this worked, without a second Pillar to escape to, Hoohooros is left angry and more importantly vulnerable.

Attacking him now does twice as much damage since he has nothing to protect himself with. However, Hoohooros is far from defenseless. On the contrary, the unguarded Hoohooros is actually more dangerous. Unlike the Pillars which only attack one of the brothers, Hoohooros shoots out a sweeping laser attack that is capable of hitting both of the brothers if you don’t dodge at the right time.

The battle continues with this pattern for several minutes. Still new to the game, and not quite used to dodging yet, our heroes end up taking their share of hits. Thankfully we have found at least a handful of healing items along the way. Eventually, with one very lucky hit, Hoohooros is defeated!

Satisfied with our efforts, Hoohooros acknowledges the strength of our heroes and grants them access to the rest of the mountain. To do this, he once again sinks into the ground and created a new platform along the back cliff wall. With this new platform we can finally jump high enough to reach the upper ledges surrounding the area and continue our ascent.

The second half of the mountain didn’t feel like much more of a challenge than the first. The enemies were mostly the same, except now Dry Bones became a bit more common. Also we start seeing Rex, the Purple dinosaurs from Super Mario World. Other than that, the puzzles are largely the same, using the Spin Jump and Whirlwinds to get to new areas. It’s a bit more complex now with the Whirlwinds moving a bit, but nothing too different that anyone should have any trouble.

When we finally do reach the summit, we find ourselves at the edge of a lake which provides the water for the waterfalls. We’re also lucky to find that someone has set up a telescope so people can look down at the kingdom. Look, there’s the castle right down there. Someday we’ll actually make it down there. As soon as we’re done with these side tasks.

While examining the lake, we come across a pterodactyl like creature that must be Blablanadon. Check one item off the list. Not only that, but he seems to be resting on a large pile of Hoohoo Blocks. After kicking one of the loose rocks, Blablanadon wakes up yelling at us and confirming that these are in fact Hoohoo Blocks. Check another item off the list. Unfortunately, Blablanadon isn’t too happy with us wanting a Hoohoo Block, and immediately starts calling us thieves.

Luckily, Blablanadon seems to be somewhat level headed. After introductions he hears us out and explains his own situation. Apparently he flew up here after Prince Peasley. But when he got to the summit, he didn’t see him anywhere. He did however see this random egg had appeared out of nowhere. Since no one seemed to be taking care of it, he took it upon himself to keep the poor thing warm. How nice of him.

Of course, the egg decides to hatch as soon as he said this. All three of us wait excitedly to see what comes out of this massive egg. Unfortunately is seems to be some kind of dragon egg, and this baby dragon does not appear to be very happy. The first thing it does after hatching is let out a mighty roar at our heroes.

Its roar was actually so powerful that it rumbled the Hoohoo Block into the water and down the waterfall. Lucky for us it appears to have landed safely down the chimney of the Hammerhead Bros. Less fortunate however is what it did next. No sooner does it set eyes on Blablanadon that it attacks him. From the looks of it, this dragon is actually capable of spitting up Hoohoo Blocks, which it uses to launch Blablanadon far off into the distance.

Shortly after this, the dragon jumps out of what remains of its shell and attacks our heroes. Looks like we have another boss battle on our hands. On the plus side, we now know that this thing is called a Dragohoho. Downside, it’s going to be launching Hoohoo Blocks directly at our heads unless we can defeat it.

As the battle progresses, the Dragohoho eventually starts to take a much lower stance, I guess from us jumping on its head so many times. It is a new born after all, that can’t be good for it. Curiously, at some point in the battle it actually spits up a rather massive looking Hoho Stone. It’s too big to actually launch as an attack, and instead it just kind of plops out of its mouth onto the ground.

That’s when the true terror of the Hoho stone sets in. The Dragohoho actually jumps on top of the stone, making it much closer to our heroes, which means there is significantly less time to react to any of its attacks.

Once it finally jumps off the stone, destroying that thing becomes our first priority. It’s hard enough to dodge attacks as it is, and our max health is still very low. There’s no way we can survive if we have to deal with those close attacks all the time.

This back and forth goes on for quite some time until eventually we are victorious and the Dragohoho explodes into a mass of stars.

Defeated, the Dragohoho staggers back to its shell before turning into a ball our pure energy. It starts twisting and warping as it glows. I was expecting it to explode at some point, but instead it starts to take on the appearance of a person.

With the flamboyant sparkles and hair flip that could only come from a snobby prince, it would appear the Dragohoho was actually Prince Peasley all along. Looks like we can check off that last item from our list. And it isn’t long before Blablanadon returns to confirm our suspicions that this is in fact Prince Peasley.

Prince Peasley goes on to explain what exactly happened to him. Apparently he is on some sort of top secret mission and happened to stumble upon Cackletta and Fawful. By the time he realized who they were, it was too late. They had transformed him into the Dragohoho and trapped him inside that massive egg.

After his explanation, we have a chance to explain our own situation. However, he doesn’t seem very phased by hearing that Princess Peach’s voice has been stolen. In fact he tells us not to worry about it at all. He does however advise us to head down to the castle as that may be Cackletta’s next target.

Of course, he can’t leave without one last egotistical act. He gives us a gift of an Autographed Rose. I don’t know how exactly you would go about autographing a rose, or why he thinks we want this. But he throws it down to Luigi and compliments how the green matches well with Luigi. Also you might notice he doesn’t seem to actually walk anywhere. He’s too important for that. Instead he has some kind of magic flying pillow that he stands on that moves around for him.

At the very least, showing this rose to the guards at the castle will apparently grant us access. And with one last sparkle and hair flip, he heads off to continue his own secret mission. I honestly don’t know how he could be any more pretentiously annoying.

Anyway, once Prince Peasley leaves, Blablanadon gives us a nice ride down the mountain back to Hoohoo Village. Naturally, our first stop is the Hammerhead Bros’ house to see what they make of that Hoohoo Block that fell down the falls. They are of course very happy to see it.

They waste no time and get right to work turning that Hoohoo Block into a hammer for us. In fact, they were so excited to be back at work that they made two hammers, one for each of us. POW! Now you’re playin’ with power! You’ve got to love the callback to the old Nintendo ads.

The Hammerhead Bros give us a quick explanation of how to use the hammers and send us on our way. Basically they’re field actions the same as talking and jumping. You can do a solo action with the person in front to break up any rocks, or you can do a Bros Action with the person in back to…hit the person in front on the head. They don’t like that much.

I’m not sure why you would want to hit your brother in the head with a hammer, but maybe we’ll gain some ability down the road that will make that useful. For now we should just be glad that we can break apart any big rocks that might be blocking our path. There’s even a rock right inside the Hammerhead Bros’ house that we can practice on.

With hammer in hand, we start whacking away at everything just so see if there is a reaction. We also remember there was a small cave in the middle of the village that had a handful of rocks in it. We break up the brown rocks pretty easily, but it doesn’t look like we’re capable of breaking up purple rocks. Maybe we get an upgrade later in the game. Time to make another mental note to come back here eventually.

After bashing just about everything in sight with the hammer, it’s time to head down to the castle, but if you remember, that statue is still in our way. Sure enough our hammer is strong enough to smash that thing into rubble and we can finally continue on our way.

Traveling down the mountain is a relatively easy task. There aren’t any monsters to worry about in this area, and the only obstacles are a few rocks that need to be broken. That is, until you come to this incredibly high wall. Even with the High Jump it was simply too high to get over. Luckily, there is an alternate path just a screen earlier in the form of the “Mysterious Mine Carts”.

Just inside the cave we find an old Beanish and his dog waiting to explain the mine carts to us. Turns out these mine carts are, in addition to the only path down the mountain, actually a minigame we can play. A rather complicated one at that.

Of course, we need to listen to the explanation of what we have to do. First, the mine is too dark to see in, so Mario, in the foreground, has a flashlight to help illuminate Luigi’s path, in the background.

Second, both of the Mario Bros. are capable of jumping their mine carts. You’ll have to do this to either avoid obstacles, or collect items.

Our basic goal apparently is to collect as many red and green diamonds as we can while speeding down the rails. They are simple enough to collect, just jump into them. However, with Luigi in the dark, you have to find the thing first.

Now we get into the basic training of avoiding obstacles. Of course, I end up hitting the very first one, but it did teach me a lesson. You actually don’t want to be shining the light directly onto Luigi the whole time. You should actually be shining it some distance in front of him so you can see what’s coming.

Here comes the next problem though, depth perception. I manage to avoid the first obstacle with Luigi this time, but then I completely misjudged the next obstacle which was for Mario. I should have known better that Mario would have an obstacle next, but it just looked like it was going to be another one for Luigi. So we’ll have to pay extra close attention to WHERE these obstacles are actually going.

Finally, Mario’s flashlight does not have an infinite energy supply, those batteries will run out eventually. And by eventually I mean almost immediately. To avoid this, you have to keep an eye out for batteries to collect. Just like with the diamonds, these are as easy to collect as simply jumping into them. Of course, depth perception remains a problem with these as well.

So with our training complete, we each jump into a mine cart and off we go. It isn’t long before we find one thing was wasn’t covered in the training, hills. The track in FAR from being a smooth path, and with all the hills it’s easy to lose sight of Luigi and any obstacles in his way. This also distracts from what’s going on with Mario and you might end up missing a few things like I did.

 

When we make it to the end of the track, we find out why we needed to collect so many diamonds. It doesn’t tell you beforehand, but in order to complete the minigame, you have to have collected at least 10 diamonds between the brothers. Thankfully I managed to collect 15 and we’re good to go. Curiously though, the old mine cart instructor was waiting for us at the end of the tracks. If he can teleport like that, why didn’t he just help us down the mountain in the first place?!