Friday, February 26, 2010

More Baddies – Jet Engine and Cannonball

These two aren’t strictly baddies as they aren’t sentient but they are as likely to kill you as anything you’ll ever see in SMB3. Appearing on the airships, they begin to fill the screen and overwhelm you. With the way the airship levels move without you; you can’t run away from the danger of this deadly pair.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Baddies – Rocky Wrench

Rocky Wrench shows up in the airship fortresses and appear to be the mechanics of the ships. It makes sense then that they would be trying to defend their ships. I have to recommend disposing of them as quickly as possible before they can throw the wrenches. The wrenches they toss are slow and can keep you from a safe landing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More Baddies – Fire Chomp

I almost typed fire chimp when starting this article. Not even close.

Fire Chomps only show up in the Sky world and when they do it’s easy to panic. They can fly, shoot fireballs, and explode.  Strangely they are much weaker defensively that Chain Chomps and can be dispensed by a simple stomp.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Baddies – Chain Chomp

SMB3 producer, Shigeru Miyamoto, says the Chain Chomp was inspired by a neighbors dog. He would go on peaceful walks only to be interrupted by a fearsome hound chained to a post. Despite knowing he was safe at a distance the dog was terrifying.

The Chain Chomps can be defeated by a shell, hammer or star but realistically it’s better just to walk on by like you would with a dog on a chain. Don’t linger; when the level timer reaches 160 the Chains break and you don’t want to be around when that happens.


Monday, February 22, 2010

More Baddies – Bob-ombs

Bob-ombs follow Bowser with such devotion that they are willing to die for him. You can stomp them, kick them, throw them, it doesn’t matter because eventually they’ll explode and when they do you had better not be around. Bob-ombs are one of the very few enemies who make their first appearance in SMB2 to show up in SMB3. They’ve gone on to show up in almost every Mario game hence.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fortress Week – Stretch

Stretch only appears in two fortresses in all of SMB3 but he makes an impact by being damn near impossible to get past without something going wrong. You can (and must) use Stretch as a platform but rising out of that platform are ghosts stat give you little warning. Worse yet when you encounter them underwater and have to swim in the small space between them. Stretch, why can’t you be cool, like Boo?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fortress Week – Thwomp

Onomatopoeia is how Thwomp gets his name. You see, Thwomp thwomps, and he loves his job. He hangs out on the ceiling of Bowser’s fortresses and waits to crush you. There are two ways to kill a Thwomp, hammers and statue drops (just like with Roto-Disc). Some Thwomps move horizontally later in the game. They’re versatile like that.

[EDIT: Corrected spelling at Tom's suggestion.]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fortress Week – Roto-Discs

The Roto-Discs are fortress traps that can really slow Mario down. They require nearly perfect timing to survive and, like Dry-Bones before them, are nearly invulnerable. The only way to take down a Roto-Disc is by transforming into stone with the Tanooki suit and landing on one of the spinning orbs. At that point you might want to just sneak by instead.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fortress Week – Dry-Bones

We continue our exploration of Mario’s fortress found foes with the nearly un-killable Dry-Bones. This cadaverous Koopa is completely invulnerable to fireballs and tail-whips and can only be temporarily stopped by being stomped on. The only thing that keeps Dry-Bones from being immortal are the invincibility star and the Hammer Bros Suit’s hammer. Despite their unrelenting nature, they are slow and easily left in the dust.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fortress Week - Boo

The great thing about this week is that all the characters are new to SMB3. Most of them go on to appear in just about every Mario game that matters.

Boo is one of those enemies that in their few bytes of character exude personality. Boo’s gimmick is easy. He’s just as scared of you as you are of him. If you face your fears and look at him he’ll hide his eyes and freeze. If you run then he’ll chase you. When surrounded you’ll find yourself turning back and forth in a panic as they inch closer to you. It’s no wonder he’s was given a much bigger role in SMB World and many games long after.

20 Years Later: Here we are.

Japan got Mario 3 in 1988 but here in the states we had to wait two more years. On February 12, 1990 saw it’s American release and that is why we are celebrating the 20th anniversary now. You may think I’m a few days late, but I was a few years late in getting to play SMB3 myself. I didn’t get am NES till Christmas 1994 at the age of six. It was my very first game system and SMB3 was my first game. Love at first sight you might say.

There is a great article on Games Radar about the anniversary. If you need a reminder of why I’m doing this then you need to read it. - Super Mario Bros 3: 20 Years Later

Friday, February 12, 2010

Water Week – Lava Lotus

The Lava Lotus makes its only appearance in SMB3 but it appears to have been based on the Panser from SMB2. (based on behavior and Japanese name) That might make it the only character from SMB2 to make it’s way into SMB3.

These aquatic plants let loose slow moving fireballs in regular patterns. Unlike their SMB2 days, these enemies are rooted in place and are non-aggressive. Unlike more underwater creatures, the Lava Lotus isn’t hurt by fire power, so you’ll have to just swim carefully by instead of attacking.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Water Week – Jelectro

Jelectros are a lot like Munchers in that you can’t kill them and you can’t touch them without dying. They tend to be found in great numbers including a large maze constructed of them in a moving level. Extreme caution should be used around these jellyfish. My theory about Munchers really being blocks in the game code applies to Jelectros as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Water Week – Blooper & Blooper Nanny & Baby

Bloopers are another returning foe from SMB. They’re still susceptible to fire power and still way too fast to out swim.

In this side by side comparison you can see the changes from SMB to SMB3. The biggest change isn’t in the sprite this time. Bloopers sometimes travel with babies that make them harder to avoid. They can also release them in a wide attack. Despite being really irresponsible with their young, these are called Blooper Nannies.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mia's Macaroni

My good friend Mia shared a delicious Macaroni and Broccoli Dish with me. In addition to being an excellent cook is she is burgeoning interior designer. You can see her growing portfolio of student work here on her blog.

BONUS: Mario Valentines

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and as if you didn’t know there’s a way to tie Mario 3 in.

X-Entertainment has a whole bunch you can download. Don’t forget to hand them out to the whole class!

Water Week - Boss Bass & Big Bertha & Baby

Pants shitting terror. That is how I feel about Boss Bass. It leaps right out of the water to swallow you whole. I’ve never mentioned it on this blog but I am terrified of large aquatic creatures. Worse still when videogames make me confront lake monsters of varying sizes. (don’t ask me to play the lake are of RE4) The root of that fear is right here. I still consider the Boss Bass levels to be some of the hardest in the whole game. It shouldn’t be so difficult, but it is.

Meanwhile, under the water, are the visually identical Big Bertha variety. They just swim back and forth, occasionally releasing a baby Cheep-Cheep from their mouths in a frightening display. I’d say more, but these guys creep me out.

Water Week - Cheep-Cheeps!

My blogging resolution is weakening. This is the second week in a row that I’ve missed a Monday. 3 posts today to repent.

Cheep-Cheeps are a virtually unchanged enemy from SMB. If you compare the old sprites (above) to the new sprites (left and right) you’ll see that the black outline and removal of the orange on their beaks and fins are the only changes. The Cheep-Cheep family has grown quite a bit in SMB3, including the ultra rare Spiny Cheep-Cheep.

The Spiny Cheep-Cheep appears in only one level of SMB3, and although it is faster than it’s spineless brethren its spikes don’t make it any more dangerous. You see, they only appear underwater when you wouldn’t be able to stomp on them anyway. What’s up with that?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bro Week – Sledge Bros

It’s Bro Week and I’ve saved the best for last, it’s time for the Sledge Bros. They may seem to be just giant versions of the Hammer Bros but that is not so. Yes they show up first in giant world, but unlike the giant Goombas, Plants, and Koopas these guys keep showing up. They also have a new trick up their shell, a big ground pound that can temporarily paralyze Mario. This leaves you prone to subsequent hammer attacks. Sledge Bros ain’t nothin to mess with.


That’s it for Bro Week come back on Monday for more Mario Baddies as we dive under fro Water Week.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bro Week – Boomerang Bros

They are much more common that the Fire Bros but they are also much more deadly. The Boomerang Bros show up early on in SMB3 and never go away. In fact they are so much more dangerous  that they work as captains of Bowser’s troops in the final world. Because of the arc of the boomerang it’s difficult to jump on the heads of the Boomerang Bros, and the boomerang’s return makes it hard to get in front for a fireball. Just pray you don’t get stuck between two of these guys.

This? This just got real.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bro Week – Fire Bros

Fire Bros. are so rare it’s hard to even call them bros. In fact there are only three in the whole game. It’s possible to miss them entirely. As you can see from that neat animated sprite, they have the same fireball that Mario has when wielding a fire flower. Remember how dangerous you are when you have one of those? Exactly. It’s a good thing they aren’t invulnerable to your fireballs or they might be really dangerous. Unlike the other bros these guys are most susceptible to a stomp on the head, as their attack as no upward arc.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bro Week – Hammers on the Map

Notice something new on that map? That’s right. Hammer Bros. No longer satisfied with waiting for you in levels, the hammer bros have gone on patrol. They walk about the world map as moving levels. It’s occasionally possible to sneak past them by taking another route but if you do run into one you’re in for  a fight.

See? A quick mini level with just hammer bros inside. If you win you get a prize and you get to move forward. These aren’t easy though. The tightness of the level doesn’t give you a lot of room to mount an offense so your best bet is to go in with a Starman or at least a fire flower.

Not too bad, but it gets better. There are special hidden spots on the map that if a hammer brother is on, then there will be hidden items in the bricks of the level.When a hammer bro is standing on one of these spaces he will turn a hot red. Naturally these are called “hot spots.”

Bro Week - Hammer Bros

Dang me! I missed a day! I just moved to Indianapolis and I completely spaced on my blogging responsibilities. You’ll get two posts today to make up for it.

Post 1 is about the Hammer Bros. These turtles are making a return from SMB with a much changed visual but their attack pattern hasn’t changed much at all. They tend to hang out in brick filled areas so your best bet is to bust up the brick they’re standing on to knock them out. Actually using a fire flower would be a better bet but I’m not making assumptions. You can jump on them, but the hammers have an upward ark that’s tough to avoid that way. Don’t forget, they can jump vertically from brick to brick so don’t waste time beneath them or they’ll jump on you.