-Return to the Kingdom-
As our heroes continue to climb up the pipe and out of the ocean, we shift our attention to somewhere near the Beanbean Boarder. Here we find a badly injured Bowser twitching on the ground after having fallen off the Beanstar. Bowser managed to hold on quite a bit longer than anyone else, so obviously his fall was the most damaging. I’d like to say things couldn’t get any worse for Bowser at this point, but the arrival of Fawful proves that to not be the case.
Fawful doesn’t seem to be doing too good himself, which again is to be expected after the prince launched him this far. He’s having trouble talking, and you can see he’s even holding himself up with a walking stick. Even so, he hasn’t given up on his master, and appears pleased to have found Bowser. Or at least as please as he can be in this situation. Bowser and Fawful might be in bad shape, but Cackletta has been reduced to nothing more than a soul stuck in a vacuum. From the sounds of it, they’re hoping Bowser’s body, damaged as it might be, will serve as a suitable new vessel for her.
Sure enough, Cackletta’s soul floats on over to Bowser’s beaten body and appears to take it over. Bowser reacts in extreme pain to the process, but in his current state there isn’t much he can do about it. He may be the main villain in nearly every main series game, but we also occasionally play golf or go kart racing with him, so it’s saddening to see him in this kind of pain.
We’re not shown the full extent of what actually happens. All we see are a pair of piercing eyes in the darkness, followed closely by a large roar of fire. After some recovery time, Cackletta in Bowser’s body is sure to be a formidable enemy.
Turning back to our heroes, they have finally reached the top of the Yellow Pipe and appear to be on the eastern edge of the Beanbean Kingdom. After unlocking and exiting the small gated area, they are immediately found by Prince Peasley who has apparently been looking all over for them.
The brothers do their best to explain what had happened to them and especially what had happened to the Beanstar. It would seem Prince Peasley was already aware that the Beanstar had broken into pieces during the incident. With how high up we went, probably everyone in the kingdom saw it break into pieces.
Naturally, our heroes are quick to offer their services in recovering the pieces of the Beanstar. Surely something can be done to repair it. Prince Peasley appreciates the offer, but for some reason he would actually like us to head over to the Beanbean Airport instead.
Apparently Princess Peach has decided to come to the Beanbean Kingdom personally. It’s a rare treat to see the Princess leave her kingdom (Without being kidnapped first). So much so that the Mario Brothers are left in shock. Although that might be because they still have not recovered her voice.
Anyway, having Princess Peach come to the Beanbean Kingdom is of course a very serious matter. Being Royalty, she is going to need protection. Who better to protect her than the heroes of the Mushroom Kingdom, the Mario Brothers? And so our heroes are asked to be the ones to greet her at the airport.
After dropping this news, Prince Peasley informs us that the Airport is to the south of the castle. He then leaves us to find our way there. Of course, he has to do that obnoxious prince pose the whole time he’s leaving. It makes me want to punch him.
A quick look at the map shows us in more detail where we need to go. The whole country isn’t very big, so it shouldn’t take us long to get there. But we’ve been through a lot already. Before we head anywhere, we really need to stop in at the Castle Town and resupply. First stop, the Starbeans Café to fuel up with some new coffee blends. I think we’ll start off with the Woohoo Blend this time.
Of course, every new brew is accompanied by a visit from the great Professor E. Gadd. He asks to sample the new flavor and declares it to be delicious. It may even be his new favorite blend. All in all a rather normal exchange for once.
As a thank you for letting him sample the new coffee, he gifts the Mario Brothers with his latest invention, the Bonus Ring. When equipped, the Bonus Ring will give us double the normal experience we would get from battle, but only if we finish the battle without taking ANY damage. Considering how easily many of the standard enemies are killed, this will probably come in very handy.
Just as he was preparing to leave, Professor E. Gadd turns a rather sickly shade of blue and starts complaining of a tummy-ache. On top of that, he is very quick to blame the new coffee blend as the source of his sudden ailments. That doesn’t inspire much hope for its future as a regular menu item.
With the tummy-ache only getting worse by the second, Professor E. Gadd demands to know where the restrooms are. Sadly, the employee behind the counter informs him that the Professor designed the café without any toilets. That’s not only poor planning, that sounds like a building code violation to me.
Watching as the situation quickly escalates, Luigi jumps into action. He rushes off screen and returns with the Professor’s former invention, the Poltergust 3000! The barista assumes Luigi intends to clean up the mess after the Professor ruins his pants. Sadly, it appears Luigi’s plan is much MUCH worse. It looks as if Luigi had planned to suck the bowel movement right out of the Professor’s behind. However, the Poltergust 3000 is such a powerful vacuum that it ends up swallowing the Professor whole. At least there’s no mess on the floor…
Anyway, we still have more beans to sample, so next we go ahead and try the Chuckle Blend. Once again, the Professor shows up to sample it. This time however, he shows up riding his latest Super Poltergust 3001. Presumable this is because he destroyed the previous Poltergust 3000 with his sickness.
He of course is very proud of this new model and wants to show off its new features. Unlike the previous model with was basically a backpack, this one seems to be more of a motorcycle. That is, until we find out that the thing can fly thanks to some sort of jet engine he installed in it. So maybe it’s more a take on how witches flying around on brooms.
But back on topic, he didn’t come here to show off his Poltergust 3001, he came here to sample the new coffee we made. After taking a sip, E. Gadd proclaims that his “body and soul are melting into the syrupy sweetness” and that he might become a ghost if he drinks any more of it.
As always, he again gifts us with his latest invention. This time he gives us the Excite Spring. When equipped, the Excite Spring will allow the wearer to float for a moment when dodging attacks. This sounds like it COULD be useful against certain enemies, but not for the typical battle since different attacks require different methods to dodge them.
With that, the Professor mounts his Poltergust 3001 and blasts off to continue working on his next invention. I’m actually a little surprised with how normal this one was. I would have sworn that “might become a ghost” quote was hinting that he would in fact turn into a ghost after drinking the new coffee.
Anyway, those are the only new blends we can make right now. So let’s take a quick look and see what these even do. It looks like our first blend, the Woohoo Blend, will add a permanent +4 to our HP. The Chuckle blend on the other hand adds +4 to Speed. Seeing as the Woo Beans needed to make the Woohoo Blend are randomly dropped by many enemies after battle, and are therefore the most common bean type in the game, we’ll probably be back at some point to make more Woohoo Blend and bump up our health.
It’s been a while since we were able to resupply, so we’ve actually managed to rack up quite a bit of money in that time. With that in mind, we take this opportunity to line our pockets with as much as we can afford. You can never have too many healing items after all. Even the equipment we ended up buying one of each item. Not that any of them really caught our eye, but it’s good to keep your options open.
There are a few more things we’ve been meaning to do before we head down to the Airport. First, to the west of the town there is a fence that has previously prevented us from exploring past it. However, Luigi is now capable to tunneling under that fence. Doing this we find out that this is the path that leads to the mysterious Cave we saw earlier.
Inside the cave is a rather simple Bonus Dungeon / Obstacle Course for Luigi to complete. There are a handful of Li’l Sparkys bouncing around in a very simple pattern. All we have to do is time our advance and avoid being hit by them. Like I said, it’s nothing very complicated.
After making it to the end of the run and we find a golden Monty Mole waiting for us. As a reward for finishing the course, we were given a Golden Mushroom. This is a very useful item, but one that should definitely be held onto until the end game. When used, it fully restores all HP and BP of whichever brother uses it.
After this, we head to the northern Outskirts were we previously saw one of those blue electric orbs. Now that Luigi has his Thunderhand we can activate this orb and see what it does. Turns out it raises a platform for us so we can reach another of the Bonus Dungeon caves.
Unlike the previous Bonus Dungeon, this one is more of a puzzle area. This dungeon features the Simu-Blocks which, as the name suggests, are two blocks that need to be hit simultaneously.
These puzzles start out easily enough with one brother jumping up a step while the other stays below. However, the later sets require a little more thought. For this one we had to get both brothers to the top of the right hill. But then only Mario actually jumps across the gap, allowing Luigi to fall back to the bottom level. Doing this they become properly spaced to hit the Simu-Blocks.
Just like the other Bonus Dungeon, there is a Monty Mole at the end waiting to give us a special reward. This time we are given a pair of Wool Trousers. These have a pretty good defensive stat, giving Mario a +14 Def compared to the outfit he’s already wearing. What’s really impressive however is the HP-Auto Gain special effect these pants have. When equipped, Mario will end up healing +2 HP after every turn. It doesn’t sound like much, but Mario only has a max 48 HP right now, so that ends up being just over a 4% restoration every turn. These will definitely help us with whatever dangers are still ahead of us.