As soon as we make it to the top of the lift, a pair of Toads are ready and waiting to welcome us. They simply can’t believe that Princess Peach herself would really have come all the way out to visit them.
On top of that, the Superstars of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario and Luigi, are also here. I’m glad to see that these toads actually know who Luigi is. That must make him feel better after so many other people so far didn’t recognize him.
The Toads even go so far as to say they “Don’t deserve such an incredible honor.” It’s unclear if they were referring to the Peach, Mario, Luigi, or the situation as a whole, but looking at how red faced Luigi got, I’m going to assume he’s interpreting it personally.
After this, the two Toads offer to give Princess Peach a proper tour of the town. Naturally, Peach accepts this offer. She’s looking forward to taking this tour just as much as these toads are looking forward to giving it.
As for our heroes, they worked hard to get Peach here in one piece. They’ve earned themselves a break where they can just relax and check out the town at their own pace. When they’re ready, they can meet up with Peach again later.
So, first things first, let’s check out the shops this town has. Now that we’re later in the game, we’re starting to see some better items for sale. The locals at the shop are all raving about the Ultra Mushrooms only sold here in Little Fungitown. They are indeed powerful, healing 120hp, but I’m actually more interested in the Super Nuts. Why you might ask? Well, for starters, Neither Mario nor Luigi even have 120hp, so the Ultra Mushroom is a bit too powerful, and therefore useless at the moment. But more importantly, the Super Nuts heal 40hp to BOTH brothers at the same time, saving us a precious turn in battle. That’s much more helpful in my opinion.
Next up we have the equipment shop. Not a huge selection here, but definitely an interesting one. The Shroom Pants are the cheapest, and when equipped will guarantee we win a mushroom after every battle. Pair that with the Shroom Slacks, which increase our odds of getting a lucky strike the more mushrooms we have, and we can just keep getting stronger and stronger. If we don’t want the gimmick though, we can just go for the Shroom Bells, which have the highest defense of the three choices, but no added effect.
Now that shopping is out of the way, we take some time to talk to the locals and get a feel for what Little Fungitown is all about. Apparently the whole town is built on top of the Great Mountain Mushroom. Where it came from and how it got so big remain a mystery to this day. However, it keeps them safe from the dangers below, and the view is so amazing even a few Beanish have made a day trip out to see it for themselves.
In addition to the sights, there also seems to be a “Game Arcade” in town. A handful of Toads in town mention it, but I want to focus on this one little kid in particular. He comments about how his dad spends all his time there which is making his mom very mad. “Which would be funny, except she goes and takes it out on me!” That line is possibly the darkest thing I’ve ever seen in a Mario game. It’s so simple in its phrasing, but it leaves so much open to interpretation about what kind of domestic abuse is actually going on in this little town.
We head over to the Game Arcade ourselves to see what could be so amazing as to cause a broken home for this little Toad. As it so happens, we don’t even make it inside the building before we get our answer. As a grand prize, this arcade is offering up an Invincishroom, which is apparently a combination between a 1-Up Mushroom and a Star. So it sounds like it will give us a second life in which we are completely invincible to everything (except bottomless pits). That actually does sound quite tempting.
We head inside and find the Game Arcade is rather small, having only 4 machines, one of which is broken. If this one Toad is to be trusted, the games also cheat, no doubt to guarantee no one actually wins the Invincishroom. Against our better judgement we head over to the only open machine and give it a try.
When the game starts up, I was happy to see the little blue doll giving the explanations. I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t recognize him. This little blue doll is actually Geno, one of the playable characters from Super Mario RPG on SNES. Since he is officially considered the property of SquareEnix and not Nintendo, he has so far only ever appeared in Super Mario RPG and this cameo here. In fact, even this cameo was removed for the 3DS remake.
Onto the game itself. We control the heads of Mario and Luigi which are positioned under the central platform. By raising or lowering them we can tilt the platform and cause the items falling from the sky to slide off down the ramp. The goal is to feed the various items to the Piranha Plants on either side of the play area. These will be scrolling up and down the side, so we’ll have to be constantly adjusting the angle of the platform. Also, if we feed one of them a bomb, it will close its mouth, and the plant on the other side will open its mouth. We have 60 seconds to feed the Piranha Plants as much as possible and go for the high score.
It’s simple enough in concept, but rather difficult to master in practice. Amazingly, I managed to get a decent high score of 250 points on my first ever attempt at the game. True to their word, the Game Arcade awards Mario with an Invincishroom.
Not wanting to waste a moment, Mario downs the mushroom without hesitation. Right away he seems to regret it. His eyes start to bulge out of his head, his face turns green and swells up like a balloon, and finally he collapses on the ground. Far from giving him an extra life and invincibility, I think it may have just outright killed him.
Mario is rushed to the hospital where a doctor looks him over. Peach and Luigi are close by, anxiously awaiting the diagnosis. Before long, the doctor thinks he has it. Based on the green discoloration, it has to Bean Fever!
Apparently Bean Fever is a rather common condition that afflicts many travelers who aren’t used to eating the food in the Beanbean Kingdom. That makes sense, people in real life sometimes don’t feel right while traveling because the food is so different. So what does he need? A little rest and some antacids?
Normally, it WOULD be that easy to cure. If the doctor had the right ingredients that is. But this same thing must have happened to nearly all the Toads who have moved here, so unfortunately the doctor is clean out of medicine right now. To make matters worse, if Mario doesn’t get any medicine within the next three days…
HE’LL TURN INTO A BEAN!!! What a terrible fate to fall upon the Great Hero of the Mushroom Kingdom. To be turned into a bean after eating a mushroom…
Asking what they can possible do to help, the doctor does have one idea. It will be dangerous, but someone is going to have to travel west of town to the Guffawha Ruins. It’s said that Crabbie Grass grows deep inside the ruins, and if they had some it would cure Mario’s fever.
With Mario out of commission, Luigi is the only one who would be capable of making such a trip. Naturally he agrees without hesitation. He loves his older brother after all, and he’d do anything for him.
On a side note, recent research has shown that monsters have settled in at the Guffawha Ruins. Rumor has it that anyone attacked by these monsters end up with broken bones, their flesh stripped off, and all their blood sucked out. So good luck Luigi!
That being said, Luigi is understandably terrified of the very thought of going out to the ruins now. So much so that he starts cowering in the corner.
After some ahem gentle encouragement from Peach, Luigi is reminded of his love for his brother. Despite his fear, he is now willing to brave the Guffawha Ruins and retrieve the Crabby Grass Mario needs.
Peach gives her thanks and sends Luigi off on his way. While he may to moving, you can clearly see how terrified he still is. In fact, he is so terrified of what might happen to him that he is now unable to jump. This might pose a problem in our search…
We leave the hospital and find out it is actually part of the Embassy. I really wish we could save right now, but Luigi can’t reach the Save Album if he’s unwilling to jump. We attempt to explore the grounds, but that’s limited at the moment. Eventually we find our way back to town only to realize we may not be able to leave town at all if Luigi is unwilling to jump. Even these small steps up onto these mushroom platforms become impassable walls in Luigi’s current state.
With our option of routes severely limited, we eventually find ourselves in the home of a Magikoopa dressed in what is clearly a white mage robe from Final Fantasy. This particular Magikoopa is apparently a hypnotist and offers Luigi his services.
Right away, the Magikoopa diagnosis Luigi’s problem, he is obviously terrified beyond belief. First things first, we need to get Luigi to calm down. So let’s start with some nice long, deep breaths.
After the breathing exercise, the Magikoopa looks Luigi over and notices he’s dressed VERY similar to Mario. Thinking Luigi is simply a super fan of Mario as opposed to actually being the younger Mario Brother, the Magikoopa decides to hypnotize Luigi into thinking he IS Mario.
And so, Luigi closes his eyes and the Magikoopa casts his hypnotic spell on him. Telling him of Mario’s Incredible Jump, how he is the superstar of the Mushroom Kingdom. He flows into a rhythm, bombarding Luigi with his hypnotic suggestion.
With a loud “YAHHH!!!” and a bit of magic, the transformation is complete. The hypnotic suggesting is planted, and Luigi can open his eyes once more.
The Magikoopa leads Luigi over to a mirror so he can see the change for himself. Sure enough, he sees himself as being Mario. Complete with the Red outfit and several inches shorter, he has truly become Mario! At least he thinks he has anyway.
After a quick victory dance, Luigi is finally ready to set off to the Guffawha Ruins. Of course, we should probably head back to the embassy and save first, now that we can jump again. While we’re at it, we have a little fun sliding down the flagpole. It’s a nice added bit of nostalgia from the first Super Mario Bros game.
Anyway, Luigi heads back to the town entrance and rides the elevator down to Teehee Valley. Heading west this time, we see there is actually another small elevator that will bring us up to an otherwise inaccessibly high platform along the wall. As it turns out, it’s actually a good thing Luigi is by himself right now. This elevator has a one person capacity, so we wouldn’t have been able to use it any other way.