Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA) – Part 20 – Once More Around

-Once More Around-

We rejoin our adventure with Mario, Peach, and Toadsworth in Teehee Valley, where they expect Luigi to land. As it turns out, they weren’t far off the mark with the landing site. However, Luigi’s landing was anything but soft as he impales himself head first into the sand.

Somehow Prince Peasley managed to the regain his balance and land softly on the ground next to the rest of the group. A perfect landing, and the Beanstar is safe, what more could we ask of him (Other than the arm strength to catch Luigi).

At the very least, he does ask what happened to Luigi. Princess Peach comments that he seems to be struggling over there, but no one seems too concerned. Except for Luigi that is. Assuming the landing didn’t kill him, he seems to have falling into some quick sand, and is being dragged even deeper under the ground.

Lucky for Luigi, he seems to have fallen into one of the underground lairs of the Gritty Goombas. He also seems to have landed on a see-saw, conveniently positioned under him, which launches an !-Block back up through the hole he fell through. Once again, no one seems too concerned with Luigi’s current situation.

With zero f*cks and counting on Luigi’s current condition, Prince Peasley bows out early to return to the castle and secure the Beanstar. Toadsworth likewise suggests the desert heat is unhealthy for Princess Peach and suggests they should return to the castle as well.

Now alone in the desert, Mario sets off to recover what remains of his younger brother. First things first, we trigger the !-Block that was launched up from where Luigi fell. Surely it will guide us in the right direction. Curiously all it did was lower a small section of wall somewhere.

Down below however, the occupants of the lair are wondering if that sound was an Earthquake and rush to investigate. Rather than an earthquake, they discover a still unconscious Luigi at their front door. Also, we discover not Gritty Goombas as we had thought, but Popple, the master thief. Apparently this is where he lives between beatings. He of course recognizes Luigi right away, and, putting two and two together, guesses that Mario can’t be too far behind.

If that’s the case, Popple isn’t taking any chances and orders Rookie to tie Luigi up. This in itself is quite curious. Previously, Rookie was Bowser with amnesia. Bowser is of course now Bowletta, so who could have filled in for the role of Rookie?

Whoever the new rookie is, one thing is clear. Luigi is in trouble and needs Mario to come save him. That’s easier said than done of course, what with a desert full of Elite Dry Bones literally throwing themselves at Mario to stop him. Good thing our pockets are lined with coins to throw back at them as we escape.

It doesn’t take Mario long to find the right yellow pipe to fall down. But it’s not exactly a happy reunion with his brother. When we find Luigi he is tied up to a large pillar in the center of the room, seemingly still unconscious. Or possibly dead, he did essentially fall head first out of a plane. Either way Mario gets right to work trying to set him free by burning the ropes right off of him.

The ropes break and fall to the ground, but Luigi doesn’t immediately respond. Thankfully, after a few shouts from Mario, Luigi comes to and the brothers hug out their happy reunion. They aren’t the only ones in the room, however.

Popple of course uses this moment to make his grand entrance and mock the brothers for their touching reunion. Boohoo, should have brought his hankie. He also brags that he went out and found himself a new Rookie, one that is sure to take our heroes down.

And the new rookie is… BIRDO?! Wasn’t Birdo on our side at the beginning of the game? She took the Place of Princess Peach at the very beginning. Now that I think about it, we never really did anything to get Birdo’s voice back to replace the explosive vocabulary. I wonder if it just came back on its own. Also what’s that about “darling” and “Language of Love”? Isn’t Birdo a boy? I’m sure that’s been retroactively changed by now, but I’m pretty sure Birdo is a boy that just acts and dresses like a girl. A fact that Popple seem to be familiar with when he hesitates to refer to her as a “dame”. You know what, I don’t want to think about how Popple knows Birdo isn’t really a girl, so we’re moving on.

Unfortunately, Birdo just continues her identity crisis when she insists Popple stop calling her Birdo and start calling her “Birdie”. Popple however doesn’t reciprocate any of Birdo’s feelings. Not earlier, when he got mad at her for calling him “Darling”, and not now, when she wants to be called “Birdie”.

Popple only has one thing in mind right now, and that is crushing the Mario Brothers who have already humiliated him several times. And now he thinks he finally has what it takes to get his revenge. All thanks to Birdo’s Power.

The Power of Love! At least that’s what Birdo thinks. Popple on the other hand doesn’t really care what kind of power it is as long as it is the kind that will destroy the Mario Brothers once and for all.

With that, we are once again in a battle with Popple. By now we should have Popple’s whole deal down, but it’s still hard to stop his sticky fingers. Once again, he manages to steal Mario’s Hammer right out of his hands. And if we’re not careful, he’ll no doubt try to steal our items again too.

Birdo however is an unknown element to this fight. With her unique powers, she is capable of shooting eggs out of her mouth which explode on contact. She is also able to suck up one of the Mario Brothers whole into her mouth and leech health away from them to heal herself.

As the battle progresses and Popple takes more damage, Birdo comes to his rescue with the promise she will protect him. Popple however, doesn’t seem to want her protection.

It quickly becomes apparent WHY Popple doesn’t want to be protected by Birdo. After sucking Popple up into her mouth, she then produces four massive eggs. No doubt Popple is safe inside one of them, but it’s going to be a hassle trying to figure out which one it is.

The only way to find out where Popple is is to open up all of the eggs. Unfortunately, cracking open the wrong egg has some rather explosive consequences. Inside the wrong eggs are little pink Bob-ombs that will rush at whichever brother hatched it, exploding right in their face, and causing pretty significant damage.

Thankfully, when we do find Popple, his anger at the whole situation causes him to go and smash all the other eggs for us. I can’t really blame him for being mad. Those eggs don’t look like a very comfortable place to be in.

Between Birdo’s protection, and Popple stealing healing items, the battle continues on like this for some time until Mario finally manages to stomp Popple flat. That just leaves Birdo to deal with, and she is NOT happy about what we did to her “Darling”.

Not only has her attack power gone up with her anger, but her attacks are simply more dangerous. Instead of shooting a single egg at a time, she now spins around shooting several eggs wildly at our heroes. She is also still more than happy to suck the health straight out of either one of our heroes, though we managed to avoid that fate entirely.

With some luck, Luigi eventually manages to bring the hammer down hard and flatten Birdo like we did Popple. With Birdo now also defeated, the battle finally comes to an end. This late in the game, I can only imagine this will FINALLY be the last time we see Popple.

Popple is incredibly disappointed with the outcome of this fight, and puts the blame ENTIRELY on Birdo. If she’s this pathetic, he has no use for her, and he fires here from being his new Rookie. Birdo doesn’t exactly take the firing well.

Actually, I’m not sure what to make of that reaction. One second she looks like she’s about the cry, the next she seems almost turned on by the abuse. Whatever her feelings are, she ultimately ends up launching Popple through the ceiling with her tail.

Now that Popple is gone, Birdo seems particularly confident in herself. Clearly this was a test to show her she needs to go out on her own. Only after many hardships will she achieve superstardom. I never knew Birdo was even reaching for superstardom, but there you have it.

Anyway, our heroes quickly leave the underground lair and head back to the castle to regroup with everyone else. Make sure the Beanstar is secure again, get Peach back home, all those minor loose ends to tie up nicely. They do however take a small detour to collect a few Chuckle Beans Mario happened to see before he found Luigi. But that doesn’t take long, everyone at the castle can just wait a few minutes.

Or maybe they couldn’t wait a few minutes. By the time our heroes return to the Castle Town, it has already been almost completely destroyed…again. Not only that, but Bullet Bills are STILL raining down from the sky causing further damage to the town.

We waste no more time and head straight to the castle to make sure everyone is all right. Lady Lima is first to approach us, panicking that it may in fact be the end of the Beanbean Kingdom as we know it. The queen is right behind her to inform us that Bowser’s Castle is apparently in the skies right now leading the assault on the Kingdom.

I wasn’t aware bowser’s castle was capable of flight, but there it is launching Bullet Bills down at the kingdom. No one had expected an assault of this kind, and so there is currently nothing anyone can do to defend against an attack like this.

Thankfully, Prince Peasley informs us that Princess Peach, along with the residence of the castle town, have been safely evacuated to Little Fungitown. So at least we have that going for us. But if we don’t do something fast about bowser’s castle, the kingdom will not survive.

While we don’t actually get to see what Mario said, he must have mentioned something along the lines of knowing where the bathrooms are in Bowser’s Castle. The turn of phrase goes over the Prince’s head, but the queen gets the meaning clear as day. The Mario brothers have fought and defeated Bowser in his own castle so many times that they know the castle like the back of their hands.

The queen is immediately quite grateful to have the Mario Brothers here to help protect her kingdom. However, Prince Peasley’s ego still cannot stand for it. Instead of accepting their aid, he claims it is a Beanbean Kingdom problem and he’ll fix it himself.

Without another word, the Prince runs off to stop Bowletta himself. The Queen protests, but no one actually makes any effort to stop him. Instead Lady Lima suggests we should think of a plan ourselves (Since Prince Peasley is sure to fail).

The queen and Lady Lima then return to the throne room on their own without sharing any kind of plan with us. When questioned, The Queen simply commends our courage in facing Bowser’s Castle alone. Lady Lima on the other hand just mumbles about someone in the kingdom being able to fly. So far, I believe we’ve only met two individuals in the kingdom that can fly. Those being Prince Peasley, who just ran off on his own, and Blablanadon back on Hoohoo Mountain.

No doubt Blablanadon is the one we’re supposed to go see, but this is Bowser’s Castle we’re heading into. Without a doubt this is going to be the last area of the game, and we have quite a few side quests to tackle first before we finish. Our first stop is to head over to the Starbeans Café and brew up some more coffee flavors. Thankfully it seems to be undamaged from the recent attack, and we are able to brew up a wonderful Hoolumbian coffee.

As soon as we are done brewing out coffee, the lights start to flicker and go out. The Barista also appears scared that there are going to be ghosts again. However, instead of ghosts, I giant Gameboy Color drops from the ceiling with a video call on it from Professor E. Gadd.

Of course, if the Professor isn’t actually here, he can’t actually taste the new coffee like he always does. But not to worry, he is sending a representative to taste test it in his place. Queue a Blue Ghost entering the café and scaring poor Luigi. Apparently this particular ghost is friendly, and will be tasting the coffee we have just brewed.

The ghost takes one long sip of the coffee, and is seemingly raptured off to heaven at the mere taste of it. I’m not sure if that is safe to drink. Will we die and be sent off to heaven too?

As always, the professor rewards our efforts with one of his new inventions. This time it is the “Great Force”… is that a piece of the Tri-Force from the Legend of Zelda series? Did the professor really just INVENT the Tri-Force? Whatever it is, it appears to be quite powerful, but also potentially very dangerous. When equipped it will double the amount of damage done to enemies in battle. However, it will also double the amount of damaged received from enemies as well. We’ll have to be careful when/if we use that one.

With that, the Professor leaves right back through the ceiling the way he came, but with the promise he’ll be here in person next time. With a promise like that, I see no reason not to brew up another one right now. So we take a look at what beans we have left and manage to brew up a nice Teeheespresso.

Unfortunately, the Professor breaks his promise and once again shows up through a video conference. Even the Barista calls him out on this. Is this my fault? Did I not give him enough time to travel here so that he can show up in person?

According to the Professor, promises are made to be broken. I hate that expression. Anyway, we start to wonder what ghost is going to be his representative this time, seeing as the last one is resting peacefully in the afterlife now. However, the professor informs us that no such representative will be needed. Instead he has made improvements to his “Game Boy Horror” (As it’s apparently called) and it now has warping capabilities.

He instructs us to simply hold the cup of coffee in front of the monitor and he will take care of the rest. On his end, he points the Poltergust towards the camera and it somehow sucks the coffee straight through to him. I’m not going to question the physics involved in making that possible, I’m just going to be happy that he’s happy with the new coffee blend.

Once again, he offers us a reward. This time it is the Power Grip, which looks kind of like the NES Power Glove. Much like the real world equivalent, I doubt I’ll ever actually use the Power Grip. When equipped it makes it so we never drop our hammer when defending. Seeing as that hasn’t exactly been a problem for me so far, I see no reason to equip this item in place of something else with a more tangible effect.

This time when the Professor leaves, he promises “For sure” he’ll be here next time, but I have my suspicions. I’d like to put those suspicion to the test, but unfortunately we don’t have enough beans to make either of the two remaining coffee blends. I need 25 Hoo Beans to make the Hoohoo Blend, of which I have only 24 beans. I also need 25 Hee Beans to make the Teehee Blend, which I now have none at all of.

Hee beans I feel are the easier of the two to collect. They are awarded every time we complete a mini-game, and we’ve found quite a few of those already. While we could go to any one of the mini-games we know of, we chose to head over to the arcade in Little Fungitown and play “Star ‘Stache Smash” and the Barrel Game from the S.S. Chuckola (Which is also playable here in the arcade now) a few times.

After a few rounds at the arcade, we’re up to 15 beans. Not enough for what we need, but it’s a good start. We can always come back later to get more, but for now I’m getting bored with the repetition. Before we leave little Fungitown to continue our bean hunt, I do want to point out a funny thing I saw. It looks to me like Popple is being forced to polish the mushroom stalks outside The Little Fungitown Embassy. He must have landed here after Birdo Launched him with her tail. Not only that, but after all that time of being the one in charge, it looks like now HE is the rookie following orders.

Anyway, we already have an unlimited supply of Hee Beans in the arcade if we just spend more time there. So that’s not an issue right now. What is an issue is the Hoo Beans. While I haven’t really been paying attention to the beans I have collected, Hoo Beans are apparently the rarest of them all. They only show up in invisible boxes, and the ones we discovered on the Koopa Cruiser may have actually been all the Hoo Beans we have discovered so far. Thankfully, that is where the internet comes in to save the day. There are apparently invisible blocks all over the Beanbean kingdom, just, they’re invisible, so we have no idea they’re even there. Lucky for us, one of them just so happens to be right here in Little Fungitown. And since one bean is all we need, we’re now actually all set for Hoo Beans.

A few more minutes in the arcade is all we needed to get the last couple beans we needed. Time to head back to Starbeans café and get brewing some coffee. First up, the Hoohoo Blend made from the apparently very rare Hoo Beans.

The lights fade out, and true to his word, Professor E Gadd actually shows up in the flesh. Something seems a little… off… about him this time though. Like he’s fading in and out a bit.

As it turns out, this is actually all according to the Professors plans. He has somehow invented a gown that will turn the wearer into a ghost. Now anyone can turn into a ghost whenever and wherever they want.

Just because he has turned himself into a ghost doesn’t mean he can’t still sample the new coffee. He compliments it as being both “mysteriously dim” and a “Short-lived Flavor”, and comments that it would be perfect at attracting the overlooked market of after-lifers. Actually, I’m not sure if that is a compliment or an insult.

Either way, we get another reward from the good professor. This time we are given the Cobalt Necktie. Much like in real life, this bowtie is not very practical to wear with our everyday outfit. It increases the wearers Stache power, and that’s it. Seeing as the only practical use we have found so far for Stache power is a discount while shopping, we probably won’t be wearing it out much.

After a reward like that, I can’t really blame Luigi for returning with the Poltergust 3000 and vacuuming up the professor just like any other ghost. Hopefully that won’t affect our rewards going forward. Speaking of, we only have one more unique blend to brew, the Teehee Blend.

For once, the light don’t dim and Professor E Gadd shows up quite normally. Knowing that it is the last new flavor he will sample, the Professor savors it before proclaiming it the finest blend yet.

Surprisingly, nothing abnormal happens at all this time. The Professor thanks us for the sample, and rewards us with the Game Boy Horror SP, an upgrade to the Game Boy Horror he used to communicate with us before. This one really is a useful item. When equipped, every enemy defeated will drop a rare item every time. THAT is useful.

Since this was the last coffee blend to sample, Professor E Gadd really has no reason to show up at the shop again. He has much more important inventions to worry about. However, as the owner, he can’t just completely abandon the place. So he compromises by hanging a large portrait of himself on the wall. Should we ever have a bad day we can just gaze upon his picture and think of him.

Even though we won’t be getting any rewards from the professor anymore, we are still free to brew coffee to our hearts content. Don’t forget that each coffee offers up a permanent stat boost to whoever drinks it. My personally favorite blend is the Chuckoccino, which adds +4 Defense. I fully admit that I am terrible at dodging, so I need as much help as I can get. Thankfully I was able to brew 4 of them, for a nice +8 defense for each brother.

After leaving Starbeans, we wander around for a bit in hunt of some more beans we might have missed. However, we are quickly distracted when we come across a surfing minigame we missed. It’s located on a small island just Southeast of Oho Oasis. The challenge itself is simple enough, there are 23 Oho Balloons out above the water. Pop all of them and report back to the far island all in under 1 minute and we win. The faster we finish, the better our prize will be.

Things start out a bit rocky. Our jump timing is off, our depth perception is wrong, and we’re just making a ton of stupid mistakes. Not only that, but there appear to be some rather nasty obstacles waiting for exactly our type of poor performance.

Amazingly, we finish we a rather decent time of 1:03:55. We missed the 1 minute time limit, but not by much. We might actually be able to do this now that we know what we’re doing. I’m also super grateful that the Purple Oho at the Far Island actually teleports us back to the start, we don’t have to stumble our way back.

Just as predicted, the second run goes much better and we finish with a passable time of 0:53:51. For our efforts we are rewarded with a Woo Bean… a single Woo Bean…The most common, dropped after fighting most enemies, Woo Bean. I guess we are going to have to work for an amazing time if we want any kind of good reward.

We try several more times and eventually manage to bring our time down to 0:47:71. The prize is better this time, a Hoo Bean, one of the rarest of the Beans. But we’re still not the best yet. We’re told that there is an even better prize if we can shave our time down below 45 seconds. Ultimately, I feel it’s not worth the effort right now, there are more important things we should be doing. Like saving the kingdom from Bowser’s Castle.