Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA) – Part 15 – S.S. Chuckola

-S.S. Chuckola-

Our story picks back up at Beanbean Castle where Mario and Luigi are getting an earful from Toadsworth. He leaves Peach in their care and they go and let her get kidnapped. Technically this will be the 11th kidnapping while in their care, but best not bring that up now. He’s already mad enough that he can’t have even a moment to himself.

Thankfully, Lady Lima shows up moments later with a message from Bowletta. I guess the message was sent as some kind of rom hack seeing as Lady Lima produces an original style Gameboy Advance console to share the message with. Curiously, this Gameboy Advance seems to be capable of very clear holographic projections. Was that a special feature that only a few games used? Because I don’t remember the Gameboy Advance being capable of holographic projections…

Anyway, the message is quite clear and to the point. If we want Princess Peach returned to us safely, we need to gather the four pieces of the Beanstar and turn them over to Bowletta. Of course that will cause the end of the world, but that’s apparently not an argument on the table right now.

After hearing this message, everyone briefly laments the new turn of events. Not too long ago everything seemed as if it was going our way and Cackletta had been stopped. Now, there is little we can do other than to gather up the pieces of the Beanstar as Bowletta has instructed.

At the very least, we do have some good news. Prince Peasley has been genuinely helpful for the first time and has already located the general area of each of the Beanstar Pieces for us. He has even gone ahead and marked them for us on our map.

He of course immediately undermines our new found appreciation for him by returning to his usual cocky attitude. He goes so far as to wager 99,999,999,999,999 mushroom coins that he will be the one to retrieve all four pieces before we do. I have my doubts Prince Peasley even has 100 Trillion mushroom coins, but either way we’re going to make him regret this bet.

Luigi on the other hand is completely giddy at the prospect of becoming obscenely rich. So much so that Prince Peasley starts jabbing him with his sword in a way that looks oddly sexual, at least for Luigi… Anyway, the bet is made, and Prince Peasley is the first out the door to search for the missing pieces.

Before we leave as well, Toadsworth offers us up his own bit of advice. He suggests we head to Teehee Valley and try to retrieve that piece first. At this point it’s really our choice, but we have no reason not to take his advice, so I guess we’ll head there first.

Without Peach, our travels through Teehee Valley should become much easier. There isn’t a whole lot of area left to explore, and we can rush through it as fast as we like. There is however a new enemy wandering the sands. These black shadowlike creatures are called Anuboo. They can teleport around the field and shoot lasers out of their eyes. Because of this, they can easily slow us down if we aren’t paying attention.

Eventually we reach the yet unexplored eastern edge of Teehee Valley and find, to our surprise, a rather large ship which seems to have run aground some time ago. And as luck would have it, the piece of the Beanstar is sitting right there on top of the main deck.

Unfortunately for us, the ship’s crew appears to have never left. Now long since turned into skeletons, the crew rushes out to investigate the strange object. Apparently the Beanstar Piece crashed into the ship with such force it actually broke open the main hatch, which had been previously sealed shut. Rather than embracing their newfound freedom, the crew are instead fascinated by the shiny object that fell from the sky and decide to bring it down to the cargo hold.

Naturally, we follow them into the ship. We can’t just let them keep the piece of the Beanstar after all. Inside, we discover that this is the S.S. Chuckola. Apparently when it ran aground it was in the middle of delivering a shipment of Chuckola Cola. What a shame, all the cola going to waste like that.

Deeper in the ship we find more crew members who seem to be anxiously awaiting for the moment when they set out to sea again. My attention however was drawn to the story of Bloat down in the hold. Apparently Bloat got into the Chuckola Cola and drank so much that “His bones got all soft ‘n’ flabby”. More disturbingly they “can’t get him off the wall!” I’m not sure I want to see that…

Eventually we find our way to the Captain’s Quarters. Here we learn the history of the S.S. Chuckola and the story of how it came to be stranded in the middle of a desert. As it turns out, this is actually a sunken ship. That is to say, it sank to the bottom of the ocean while sailing. However, that happened so very long ago that the ocean it sank in has since dried up and turned to desert, leaving the ship high and dry as it is now.

After some searching, we finally mange to find our way to the cargo hold, just in time to see the crew member carry the piece of the Beanstar inside. Ideally we would just follow him inside and ask for it back. Unfortunately another crew member is standing guard at the door. If we don’t have a Membership Card, we aren’t getting into the storage area.

Looks like we’ll have to become crew members ourselves if we want that piece of the Beanstar. They aren’t very picky about people joining either. All we have to do is find some way to help out on the ship. Thankfully, a position seems to have just opened up. While looking for something to do we witness a Beanish quitting their job. Apparently they just couldn’t keep up with all the heavy duty brain labor.

The crew manager appears shortly after complaining about hiring people from out in the sticks. In a case of being in the right place at the right time, he instantly offers us the newly opened positions. Naturally we accept and he guides us to our new co-worker Bink, who is very clearly the skeletal remains of Donkey Kong.

Our work with Bink sounds simple enough on the surface. He wants us to help him line up barrels of the same color. Somehow we score points doing this, and once we score 10 points, we win and presumably get our Membership Card.

In practice however, this task is actually a bit difficult. Mario controls the top levers, allowing the barrels to move up and down. Meanwhile Luigi controls the side levers to move the barrels left and right. What we have to do is slide the barrels around until we line up full 5 barrels of the same color to make them disappear.

As soon as the old barrels are off the board, Bink replaces them with new ones. We continue making matches as quickly as we can until time eventually runs out. Needless to say, we did not pass this challenge on my first try.

Our second attempt goes much smoother as we manage to clear the required 10 sets with 73 seconds still remaining on the clock. Everything was going great until Bink started throwing Yellow Barrels into the mix. With a 3rd color to sort now we didn’t manage to make many more sets.

That’s ok though. We might not have gained an impressive high score, but we met the minimum 10 we needed to pass the challenge. Now we are official members of the crew. As such, we get the Membership Card we need to enter the Storage Area.

We enter to find the Crew Member still hasn’t found a good spot to store the Piece of the Beanstar. That’s good news for us, it saves us the time of looking for it. We rush up to him and try to explain the situation and that he should turn it over to us. Also it looks like he has a dick on his head and it’s not a good look for him.

At first he’s reluctant to hand it over. It did break their hatch after all. So it’s only fair for them to be allowed to keep it. He does however quickly come to a trade agreement. He will turn over the Piece of the Beanstar if we help him free Bloat from the hole in the wall.

We’ve heard several crew members make reference to Bloat already, but this if the first time we actually get to see him. True to the rumors, that is indeed a very large, stuck skeleton. To make matters worse, one of the crew members has taken it upon himself to treat Bloat like he is a Freak Show attraction. As hurtful as these announcements must be for poor Bloat, we do glean a small clue as to how to free him. Apparently there are bombs capable of blowing holes in the walls, Bloat just forgot where he put them.

We start searching high and low around the ship for these elusive bombs until we notice a small patch on the floor which seems oddly out of place. We decide to hit it with our hammers to see what happens. By chance, that just happens to dislodge the bomb from wherever it was hiding and drop straight down next to Bloat.

Now that the bomb is in place, all that’s left to do is head back down to the hold a light that fuse. Considering how big the bomb is, and how haphazardly is was placed, I expected there to be a lot of damage. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case. The bomb exploded perfectly to free Bloat from the wall and caused no other damage to anything or anyone.

Unfortunately, Bloat seems to have been the only thing still holding back the massive reserves of Chuckola Cola. Without his body plugging the hole, it all quickly starts pouring out into the ship. Looks like we solved one problem just to cause another worse problem.

As our heroes get swept up in the currents of Cola, the force of the flowing soda actually causes something quite amazing to happen. In complete defiance to any known laws of physics, the Cola actually causes the ship to start sailing across the desert and head straight towards open water.

With all the rumbling going on, it isn’t long before news travels all the way back to the captain. With no windows in his cabin, the captain can’t see the movement outside. However, a crew member is quick to rush to his side and inform him that they are finally out on the ocean again.

Sadly, the celebrations are short lived. No sooner had the ship set sail does it crash into a rock and once again sink to the bottom of the ocean. Considering it already sank once before and probably has holes all over the place already, I wouldn’t have expected it to stay afloat very long anyway. But it’s still disappointing to see how quickly it sinks.

As the ship settles into its new home at the bottom of the ocean, the currents end up sweeping the piece of the Beanstar away. Not long after, our heroes are also forced from the ship, riding the wave of Chuckola Cola which is now completely ruined. Again, such a waste of Cola.

Our heroes regain their senses just in time to see the Piece of the Beanstar drift off out of sight. At this point, it looks like all our previous efforts have been in vain. All we can do now is chase after it and hope it doesn’t get too far away from us…

We continue to give chase to the runaway piece of the Beanstar. Once again they turn a corner just in time to see the piece float away, this time past a locked gated which blocked our progress previously. However, thanks to the newly sunk SS Chuckola we’ve managed to reach the higher ledge around the edge of the area. Again, I don’t understand why they couldn’t just swim higher, but we are up here now all the same.

It’s a good thing too. Up on the ledge in the far corner of the room is a random pedestal that Mario can ignite with his Firebrand. Of course, we’re well past the point of questioning underwater fire. Instead we simply accept the fact that lighting this pedestal just so happens to lower the gate to the next area, allowing the chase to continue.

Unfortunately, we’ve officially lost sight of the Piece of the Beanstar because of that delay. We have however discovered some new enemies that more resemble what we would expect down here, not like those Goomdivers. Instead we have Starkiss, little starfish that blow kisses at us, and Puffer-Cheep, a Puffer Fish variant of the classic Cheep Cheep enemies. These new enemies actually do have a decent boost in power compared to the previous enemies, and they do manage to slow us down quite significantly.

If it isn’t the enemies slowing us down, then it’s the natural coral that grows in the area. At one point in our search the only way to progress was to have Mario shrink down and squeeze through a small cavity in the seawall. Then ignite yet another pedestal to somehow kill a patch of yellow coral blocking the path.

Shortly after this, Luigi is then forced to use his Thunderhand technique on this Jellyfish like contraption. Doing so transfers the electrical current down it’s long tentacle and opens a steal door which was also blocking the path.

At last, we finally make it to a Yellow Warp Pipe at the other end of the Seabed. Considering the pipe is empty, and it is with some effort that our heroes manage to climb it, I don’t see how the Piece of the Beanstar could have actually gone this way on its own. But maybe there was a water spurt that shot it through the pipe or something. In any case there’s nowhere left for us to explore down on the seabed, so we have no choice but to climb the pipe and hope for the best.