Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA) – Part 04 – Beanbean Outskirts and Beanbean Castle

-Beanbean Outskirts and Beanbean Castle-

At long last we have made it to the bottom of the mountain and can FINALLY start heading towards the castle and exploring the area around it. Or so we thought. Before we can start out exploration we are ONCE AGAIN stopped in our tracks.

This time it’s the Hammerhead Bros. stopping us. They apparently rushed down the mountain after us because they forgot to tell us how to use our new hammers in battle. Can you guess what that mean? Our favorite, more tutorials!

Their explanation is simple enough. Just like with all the other skills, Mario controls it with the A button, while Luigi Controls it with the B button.

Even selecting the attack is quite simple and really doesn’t seem to need this tutorial. After picking a Solo Attack, a new menu will appear to let you select either our Jump attack or the new Hammer attack.

When Mario winds up to swing the hammer he will eventually start to shake a bit, that’s the moment you want to press the action button to do extra damage with your attack. Just like how the Jump attack had the perfect timing to do extra damage.

Defending with the hammer also works pretty much the same way. Press the action button at the right time and you will swing your hammer to counterattack the enemy. Thankfully, it looks like the game will automatically select the correct counterattack for the given attack, so you don’t have to manually switch between jumping or swinging the hammer to dodge/counterattack.

After the training, the Hammerhead Bros. basically wish us luck, but they also subtly hint that there might be enemies where we NEED to use the hammer on them because we can’t jump on them. Off the top of my head I’m thinking enemies like Spiny which have spikes on their back. You won’t want to jump on them, that’s for sure.

Before leaving, they also hint at the fact that you can ride the mine cart multiple times. It is a mini game after all. They also leave on a bad wordplay with the green brother saying the cart rides are filled with “suspenders” instead of “suspense”. A word slip the red brother immediately points out and criticizes him for.

Now for real we can start exploring, and right away we find ourselves a new mystery. Just north of where we had our tutorial with the Hammerhead Bros. we find this strange Boo Statue. Looking at it, it is quite obvious that you are intended to push it to the left along its little track. However, as soon as we get close to it, it disappears and you can’t interact with it anymore. So for now I guess we’re just going to have to make a mental note of this statue and come back later once we learn how to interact with it.

Heading south towards the castle, it isn’t long before we’re proven right as we find some Sharpea, basically a local variant on the Spiky. One look at them and it’s pretty obvious that you don’t want to be jumping on them, so we’ll just use our hammer instead. I also want to note that using the hammer to attack enemies in the field is so much easier that trying to jump on them. If you recall I had a hard time landing on enemies with the jump because of basic depth perception problems with this camera angle. Those problems are largely nonexistent with the hammer.

Death Count: Mario – 1, Luigi – 0, Game Over – 0

Our happy exploration quickly turns to desperate survival as we wander into an area we are clearly not ready for. That’s when we have our first casualty of Mario. These enemies are so strong, a single hit from them is more than either character’s max health at the moment. Thankfully we’ve found a few 1-Up Mushrooms on our way here and we can get Mario right back up and fighting.

Death Count: Mario – 2, Luigi – 1, Game Over – 1

Unfortunately, this is when we made a very stupid mistake. Instead of running away like we should have, we stayed and tried to continue fighting. Within seconds Luigi was down for the count and Mario had to carry him. Immediately after this, Mario mistimed a counterattack and was also knocked out cold. And just like that, we have our first Game Over of this play through. Thankfully we saved not too long ago and haven’t made any significant progress since then. Sadly that save was before the Hammerhead Bros. tutorial on how to use the hammers in battle, so we will have to sit through that whole thing one more time.

Now that it’s obvious we aren’t strong enough to do any major exploration just yet, we start to make our way towards the Castle instead. Along the way we get ambushed quite frequently by these Sworms popping their heads up from the ground. They aren’t particularly difficult enemies, but they can be quite annoying when they pop up right in front of you.

We also stumble upon two more mysteries. The first is this cave and ?-Blocks that I can’t seem to find a way to access. There is a tough rock later that I can’t break, so I can only assume that will lead to them. There is also a gate that doesn’t appear to have any way to get past. Again, we’ll have to wait and see what new abilities we gain that will let us through here.

Without any other major incidents, we finally arrive at the Beanbean Castle Town. Sadly, it looks like we were too late, and someone has bombed the whole town. The buildings are badly damaged, there are explosion holes in the ground, and even a few citizens appear to be dead.

A quick walk around town, and we discover that luckily no one is actually dead, just badly injured from the attack. From what we can piece together, it would seem this is Cackletta’s doing. She attacked the town knowing most of the guards had gone off in search of Prince Peasley. Apparently she had come in hopes of getting her hands on the Beanstar, whatever that is, which is housed in the Castle.

Further exploration of the town reveals that there is in fact one store left open. It looks like the Item shop and Armor shop have temporarily combined since the individual shops have been destroyed. Either way, it’s good to finally see an item shop where we can stock up on supplies.

Unfortunately, there is no new armor to buy at the moment, and our item selection is currently quite limited. We do however discover one of the uses for the mysteries “Mustache” stat. The higher your Stache power, the more of a discount you will get in stores. Quite interesting.

Having seen all the town has to offer in its current state of disrepair, we head up to the castle to see what we can do to help. We are understandably stopped at the door by two of the royal guards. They’re on high alert at the moment seeing as the town was just destroyed.

Lucky for us, we happen to be the World Famous Mario Bros. Even here in the Beanbean Kingdom, they know who Mario is, and all the great things he has done for the Mushroom Kingdom.

Luigi however is not so lucky. Having always been in the shadow of his famous brother, these guards unfortunately have never heard of Luigi or any of his impressive feats.

Even if we say we’re the Mario Bros. they aren’t just going to take our word for it. They insist we prove it. Of course, this means showing off the famous Mario Jump. A Jump so impressive that only Mario himself could have performed it.

Unfortunately, if you’ve never seen the Mario Jump, you really have no way of knowing if this is the real thing or not. So the guards still have no idea if we really are the Mario Bros. or not.

They are not unreasonable though. They give our heroes plenty of time to explain why they have come to the castle and why it is so important that they be allowed to speak to the Queen. It looks like we’re finally getting through to them.

But the comedy bit must go on, and once again the guards fail to understand the severity of the situation.

Having heard enough, the guards begin insisting that we leave. That’s when Luigi shows them Prince Peasley’s Rose. The rose which the Prince himself autographed and said would grant us access to the castle.

FINALLY the guards listen to reason and allow us into the Castle. They still don’t believe our story, but the rose is proof enough that we are friends of Prince Peasley and therefore on the side of good.

Once inside, we don’t exactly receive the royal welcome. We don’t receive any welcome at all actually. The halls are completely empty with the exception of a few guards blocking our way to restricted areas. The first person we do see is this little guy who seems to have been knocked out during the attack.

No sooner do we discover this poor victim are we finally given a greeting of any kind. Turns out it is Lady Lima, the highest advisor to the Queen. Finally someone important we can talk to for help stopping Cackletta.

Somehow word has already reached her that we are the Famous Mario Bros. of the Mushroom Kingdom. She’s cautious as first, but after looking us over and seeing our impressive jumping skills, she seems convinced we are who we say we are.

Once again, we try to explain the situation, but Lady Lima seems to be old and somewhat hard of hearing. So our heroes start yelling their explanation, which now seems to be simply too loud for the old lady to handle.

Even if we could get a proper explanation out, Lady Lima doesn’t exactly seem in the mood to entertain us at the moment. Understandably so. The kingdom is currently in ruin and I’m sure the Queen is very busy with her own problems trying to keep everything under control.

Unfortunately, that’s when her rejection takes quite the dramatic turn. From inside her robes Lady Lima pulls out a remote control of some kind. At the press of a button, a trap door opens which is so conveniently placed directly below our heroes, dropping them down to the unknown darkness below.

With our heroes firmly face planted in the basement, Lady Lima offers up a challenge to prove our identities. If we really are the famous plumbers of the Mushroom Kingdom, we should have no trouble fixing the castle’s plumbing issues. If we can do that, she will allow us an audience with the Queen.

Do my eyes deceive me? In all my time playing Mario games, I don’t believe I have ever seen them ACTUALLY do any Plumbing, despite it being their written profession. They have been down countless pipes, sure, but this is different. This is honest plumbing they are doing, fixing leaky pipes. I mean, they’re not doing a GOOD job of it, they’re just plugging up the leak rather than actually fixing the pipe. But they are still doing actual plumbing. I think this might be a first, but don’t quote me on that.

They might be out of practice as actual plumbers, but they do their best to fix the leaks and get water flowing again in the castle. Sometimes, even with all the holes plugged, no water will be flowing out the other end. When this happens, all you can do is turn the water on full blast and flush the line out.

Unfortunately, this has the side effect of popping all the plugs out and causing the pipe to leak again. But a few whacks with the hammer later, the pipe is good as new and water is once again flowing freely.

Now, you may have noticed that there are quite a few nasty critters running around down here. Nobody wants to have Super Flies and Spiny living in their basement. They’re probably what caused the leaks in the first place. So, being the Super Stars we are, we go out of our way to eliminate as many of them as we can. No other plumber is going to go that far for you.

One last hole to plug, and just like that we are done. The whole plumbing system is fixed, and the gates open to let us out. Immediately we are greeted by Lady Lima thanking us for saving her and calling us heroes. I mean, the plumbing was bad, but hero might be a little much.

It’s hard to tell how old Lady Lima is, what with the robe and the small sprites and all, but she seems to be old enough to have full on dementia at this point. We’ve only been down here a short while and already she has no idea who we are or even why we’re here. She doesn’t even remember dropping us down here to fix the pipes in the first place.

As we keep talking, it becomes more apparent that the situation isn’t what it seems. Lady Lima is claiming the castle was attacked by Cackletta and that she has been trapped down here ever since. If that’s the case, who was the Lady Lima we spoke to earlier that sent us down here?

Our focus then shifts to the Beanstar and the imposter Lady Lima. It would seem we have fallen right into her trap. Repairing the plumbing was just what she needed in order to disable the security around the Beanstar. Wait, really? What kind of security system is that? You can either have security for a very valuable item, or you can have running water, but not both. Someone needs to find those contractors and get their money back, because that is the most ridiculous compromise I have ever heard of.

As Fawful rushes into the room, it is revealed that the impostor is none other than Cackletta herself. Now that she has the Beanstar as well as Princess Peach’s voice, she has everything she needs for whatever her plans are. I’m not really sure how any of that makes sense, but I’m sure we’ll get to it later.

We return to our heroes and the real Lady Lima just as she is finishing her brief explanation on the Beanstar. Apparently it has the power to grant any wish, and they have always been in charge of protecting it from falling into the wrong hands. But with Cackletta here, there’s really no time for explanations. We have to hope we can still make it in time to stop her.

With no time to waste, we make our way up the stairs…which are made of pipes. Again, find those crappy contractors and make them fix this. Anyway, we make our way upstairs, but obviously we are too late. Cackletta has already taken the Beanstar and presumably all hope is lost.

Thankfully, no evil villain can resist sticking around long enough for a monologue. And true to form, Cackletta shows up just in time to taunt us while her sidekick Fawful reveals perhaps slightly too much information. It would seem the reason they needed Princess Peach’s voice is because it somehow has the power to awaken the Beanstar. So at least now we know how Peach is involved in this at all.

After this, Cackletta continues to taunt our poor manors for not having seen the Queen yet. It is then that the Queen drops from the ceiling looking quite like She-Hulk, with her massive muscles and green complexion. As much as I might hope she intends to utterly destroy Cackletta for stealing the Beanstar, I have a sneaking suspicion this is also part of Cackletta’s plan and we’re about to be in for a world of pain.

Sure enough, Cackletta leaves us with one last quip about how the three of us could discuss foreign policy over tea. As she leaves, the Queen starts bearing down on our heroes who seem quite worried about their current situation.

Stopping a rampaging Queen is no easy task. One look at her and her massive muscles and you know she could tear you apart with her bare hands if she wanted to. But what’s more impressive is that she is so strong she can actually send shockwaves out across the floor with a mighty two handed hammer swing.

To make matters worse, her crown is much stronger and shaper than it appears. Try jumping on that thing and all you’ll end up with quite a sore foot, if not a solid hole in it.

Looks like if we want to get anything done in this battle, we’re going to have to break the Queen’s arms first. Not exactly the best first impressions our heroes could make with the Queen. Anyway, breaking both her arms will cause them to seemingly deflate and in the process knock the crown off her head.

Even without her arms, the Queen is far from helpless. Taking a step back she starts spitting up massive beans at our heroes. You’ll want to avoid these as much as possible, don’t even try to counterattack them. In this instance, counterattacking actually works against you as the bean will simply come to life as a beanie and join the fight.

After a few lumps to the head, the enraged queen will regain strength in her arms and a new crown will be conveniently dropped onto her head from some unknown place above us. Thus the battle loop starts anew.

After a grueling 10 minutes of battle, the queen is finally defeated. I hope we didn’t hurt her too badly, she is the Queen after all. It would probably become some huge international incident if the World Famous Mario Brothers just casually murdered the Queen of the neighboring kingdom.

She’s still breathing, that’s good, but Lady Lima is quick to fill us in on the bad news. The Queen’s current condition is apparently the result of being fed a Belly Blech Worm. From the sounds of it, it may be hard, if not impossible, to turn her back to normal. With the Queen like this, it looks as if the Beanbean Kingdom is doomed.

Being the heroes they are, the Mario Bros. are quick to offer up any assistance they can to return the Queen to her former self. Unfortunately Lady Lima quickly dashes this enthusiasm. It is apparently impossible to spit up the Belly Blech Worm once eaten.

Perhaps Lady Lima was too quick to shoot us down. There may actually be one thing that can save the Queen. She may be able to spit out the worm is she were to drink the Legendary Chuckola Reserve from Chucklehuck Woods. It’s not going to be easy to get it though, it wouldn’t exactly be legendary if it was.

But no challenge is too much for the Mario Brothers, and so they offer to go retrieve the Legendary Chuckola Reserve. Well, at least Mario agrees to get it. Luigi seems content to simply sit on the floor and poke at the Queen. In any event, Lady Lima hands over the Beanbean Brooch and tells us to head to the Chateau de Chucklehuck. From there we’ll learn where the Chuckola Reserve can be found.

Just as we’re leaving the castle, one of Lady Lima’s assistants catches up to us. They were instructed to give us the Bean Badge to help us on our journey. They also gives us a brief tutorial on how Badges work and how to equip them.

The simple explanation is that badges are an additional piece of equipment you can wear to boost your stats. Whereas your armor typically only boosts defense, Badges can have just about any effect they want depending on the badge. This is our first one, so we don’t have a lot of options but we’ll get more as we keep playing. Poor Luigi is once again left out of the conversation and starts poking people in his boredom. We’ll have to pick up a badge for him too to make him feel better.

Unfortunately, Luigi seems to be sulking quite hard at the moment. He won’t even stand up so we can go to the store. Mario ends up having to PUSH his brother along just so we can continue our adventure.

Thankfully, in the time it took us to explore the castle, the armor shop has collected up a few pieces for us to choose from. It’s not much, but we also don’t have much money at the moment either, so I guess it kind of works out. In the end we get a Pea Badge for Luigi and I like to think that cheered him up a bit.

Death Count: Mario – 3, Luigi – 1, Game Over – 1

Before we head out to Chateau de Chucklehuck, we take some time to fight a few monsters and line our pockets with some of the money they drop. This includes returning to the Tanoombas and getting some revenge for what they did to us earlier. Sadly, this quickly backfires and Mario is once again out cold on the ground.

Mario eventually recovers, with Luigi’s help, and they go on to win the battle. Not long after we find even more mysteries. First, we find another Giant Koopa who can’t be knocked over. And then a short distance away we find this strange blue orb half embedded in the cliff side. What could they be for? We’re already getting quite a list going of things to circle back to when we figure out how to interact with them.