Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story Adventure Log — Part II
Play Time: 12 Hours
Party: Mario & Luigi (level 18), Bowser (level 18)
Currently playing as: Bowser
Destination Point Reached: Toad Town for the first time, heading to Dimble Wood
That breaking point I was talking about in my last post came a lot sooner than I expected. As soon as I finished the Underground Cave segment, Mario & Luigi “obtained” the means to exit Bowser’s body…and it’s certainly not the way I expected. I thought it was going to be an anatomically-related exit, like out of his ear or rectum (too adult for a Mario game, perhaps?)…but it’s far from all that. All I’ll say that it fits into the Mario Universe logic perfectly.
Anyway, I explored Toad Town in isometric 3D with the Bros. The first optimistic event I faced is an all-new ability to the series. Inspired by New Super Mario Bros, Mario’s shell suit returns in the game, allowing Luigi to catapult his brother to out-of-reach objects, much like how throwing shells works in a 2D perspective. The story event of obtaining this suit pays some sweet homage to Super Mario World’s “Switch Palaces”.
After getting through the underground portion, I reached the actual town and found out another use for “Ranks” in the shopping mall. You’ll find three Gear Shops there, two of which will tell you that you can’t buy anything until you obtain the next ranks. I leveled up to 18 and finally obtained the “Shine” rank. Let me say that it’s so worth it because the advanced Gear Shop had some really good stuff. I also found a badge shop in town, allowing me to explore this new feature further. As expected, it isn’t quite “Breath of Fire III”-depth, but pretty good for a Mario game overall. Combinations simply increase/decrease the functionality of equipped badges rather than giving you all-new functions. So far, Luigi’s badges basically control the functionality stat and the circumstances surrounding the methods of filling up your bar, while Mario’s badges provide the power itself. I bought the Attack and Coin Badges for Mario and both work as described. Yeah, the Attack Badge is the most expensive so far, costing around 2000 coins.
The “true” plot has also been revealed at this point. Nothing spectacular if you know your Mario RPGs. Same old “gather the star sprites to the save the world from the dark power shit” premise…and Peach has been kidnapped, AGAIN. I’m now searching for the three “Star Cures” to combat Fawful’s “Dark Star” powers. The dialogue makes up for this shortcoming, however. Fawful’s Engrish is worse than before, Bowser has uber-cool dialogue, and Mario & Luigi’s still have hilarious gibberish voice overs.
Currently playing as Bowser, I had Mario & Luigi go back into his body as he heads for Dimble Wood. On the way via Bubble Lake, I encountered my first annoying touch screen mini-game. As Bowser smells the roses, you have to irritate his nose and make him sneeze by pushing the pollens toward the layers. You use the stylus to slide Mario & Luigi in a 2D multi-directional perspective…and most of the time I couldn’t get them to slide to the direction I want.
Let’s talk about the graphics a bit ’cause I left them out last time. Bright and colorful stuff overall. Characters animate excellently. Backgrounds are really detailed…both inside Bowser and out. I noticed some blurriness popping out as the screen scrolls, but it’s nothing major if you’re not looking for it.
The music is EXTREMELY catchy. Composed by series veteran Yoko Shimomura, I can say that most of the tracks are stuck to my head right now. They’re the most memorable in the series, rivaling her original work from Super Mario RPG. Dimble Wood has this Mario RPG “Forest-Maze” feel, The Cave music sounds very Celtic, and the Mario & Luigi’s battle music contains Accordion samples! Seriously, when’s the last time you listened to an Accordion in a game? Anything dark or Bowser-related has some epic organs. I also like the dynamic leitmotif (I love this word) feel when switching between outside and inside Bowser’s body.
That’s it with my current impressions. Talk to you all soon.
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