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Many SPOILERS are contained throughout these posts. You have been warned!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Super Paper Mario high playthrough: Chapter 1

Starting a new playthrough of this game while high... this is definitely the weirdest game in the Paper Mario series.

This isn't my first playthrough, but I honestly don't remember much of my first playthrough of this game, so this is practically blind... Gonna play through all of this while high on weed edibles.

Prologue
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The Book of Prophecies... a book that contains some dark, frightening secrets not meant for anyone's eyes... It later became known as the "Dark Prognosticus" and was sealed away...
This... is the tale of the forgotten book's last owner. It is a tale of love...
The story starts off all dark and serious... and then it turns into a saturday morning cartoon, where Count Bleck is holding a wedding ceremony for Bowser and Peach...
Do you take Peach to be your lawfully wedded wife 'til your games be over?
This was all Count Bleck's doing... Bowser doesn't even know what's going on, and is just going along with it.

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Count Bleck's office lady subordinate uses some crazy looking magic to force Peach to say "I do", and this causes some dimensional rift to open up, and a black heart thing comes out... the Chaos Heart is unleashed, just as it is written in the Dark Prognosticus...

Luigi just happens to be here at the wedding for some reason, and he comes to try and save Peach. He stomps on the Chaos Heart... and interrupts the ritual... then the wedding prologue scene ends there.

After you start a new file, Mario and Luigi are both at their house, on a peaceful day... Luigi is like "It's so peaceful, it's almost a little bit boring."

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They head off to Bowser's Castle... but it turns out it wasn't Bowser who took Peach. Instead, Count Bleck warps in out of nowhere, with Peach under captivity.
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She will be brought to Castle Bleck and used to destroy all world... by Count Bleck!
This guy really likes saying his name...

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Bleck knocks out Mario, and then kidnaps Bowser, Luigi, and everyone else in the castle except for Mario for some reason...
All that remains is for the dimensional void to appear, as foretold in the prophecy...
And this must be where the wedding scene that was shown before the title screen happens...

Mario meets a fairy thing called Tippi, a Pixl... She says Count Bleck is now beginning to form the Void... She uses the same dimensional warping powers that Count Bleck uses to bring Mario to a new area...

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Pippi introduces Mario to Merlon. He explains that this is the town of Flipside, which exists in between all the dimensions... and he says that Mario looks just like the hero foretold in the Light Prognosticus.

He speaks of the end of all worlds... the purple void you can see in the background of this town is a hole in the fabric of dimensions, and if it isn't stopped, it will keep growing until all worlds have been destroyed by it... this is what Count Bleck has been working towards...
A fair and lovely princess... A furious monster king... The union of these two will call forth the Chaos Heart, the consumer of worlds...
Ah... now it's all starting to come together. Merlon further explains that the hero needs the eight Pure Hearts to defeat the Void and save all the worlds... So it is written.

Merlon happens to have the first Pure Heart already, and gives it to Mario...
The Pure Heart has been thrust into your possession!
Finally the first bit of gameplay, after like a whole cartoon episode's worth of story... you need to take the Pure Heart to a Heart Pillar found somewhere in town, in order to open the door to another dimension to find the next Pure Heart.

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The first Heart Pillar is very easy to find, since there's not very many places in town you can go to yet. This whole town is a set of sidescrolling floors separated by elevators... the elevator leading to the lower floor is out of order. One of the NPCs is like "What were they thinking, not installing stairs?"

Before heading into another unknown dimension, Merlon gives Mario a dimensional warp pipe that can take him back to Flipside from anywhere in the universe. He also tells me that I should expect to meet the Flip Wizard, Bestovius, in this first world... alright...

Another little cutscene shows Count Bleck talking with his minions... lol the shape-shifter Mimi pretends to be O'Chunks at first, and then the real O'Chunks, who is much more of an idiot, is confused when he arrives... The other minion, Dimentio, is a sharp-witted joker...

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Office lady Nastasia tells Bleck she's detected the dimension traveling hero of prophecy going around collecting Pure Hearts...
Interesting, mused Count Bleck. We must put an end to this nuisance...
lol this game's dialog is great... there sure is a lot of it though...

 Chapter 1 - The Adventure Unfolds

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1-1: Lineland Road

After a cute little artsy animation where the world gets drawn and colored in, I'm now at Lineland Road... This first part is a Super Mario Bros 1-1 remake, but all the weird aesthetics like the mario item symbol equations up in the sky... plus the fact that it has RPG experience points and items and stuff while still being a platformer... it feels really weird.

Found the Flip Wizard Bestovius right away, using Tippi's inspect ability to find a hidden door... I haggled with him to get me to teach me the 3D flip ability for free...

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lol when he explains the controls...
What is this "A button" I speak of? I assure you that if we are being watched from another dimension... Those beings will understand. But you lack the mustache for a full comprehension.
It's so cool, when you think about it this feature is just a really unique way of controlling the camera... it's really a 3D game, but the camera can only be set to 1 of 2 positions, and in one of those positions you are limited to 2 dimensions.

Also, there's a time limit to how long you can stay in the 3D perspective, with a meter that recharges.

This first level is very simple... again it's just remixing elements from SMB 1-1, but with some puzzles requiring you to think in more than 2 dimensions...

I'm spending a lot of time using Tippi to inspect every single enemy to see their descriptions... it's just like in the first 2 Paper Mario games when I would use the goomba partner's tattle move on everything. There's a lot of weird unique enemies that aren't from any other Mario game.

There's also a bunch of other strange unique things about this game, like a powerup that makes little pixel Marios surround you and follow you around until they die, and a mega star that makes you into a giant pixel Mario...

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Found a "Koopa Troopa" card in a hidden path right past the level goal block... Oh yeah, this game has a really big collectathon aspect. If you really want to 100%, there's gonna be a LOT of things to do.

1-2: Afoot in the Foothills

Mt. Lineland

This level has a rocky mountain vibe... it's getting a bit more complex with non-linearity, giving you several paths you can take, and it's less obvious which way is the progress path and which was is for optional secrets.

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These obstacles are a joke with 3D flipping ability lol... I think the game designers were hoping players might forget about this ability once in a while so that it would seem challenging. The secrets are getting harder to find to... this one vine block leading to a coin heaven is really well hidden.

Also I just found out if you shake the wiimote while jumping on enemies, you get a stylish animation with a bunch of characters appearing to cheer Mario on, and you get extra combo points for doing this multiple times... I'm not sure what the point of "points" in this game is though...

This game also takes the think from Paper Mario TTYD where a pipe takes you into the background art and you are zoomed out and exploring the background... lol this one guy in this house can only be seen in the 3D perspective, and he's been freaking out because he "got up on the wrong side of the bed" and ended up in the wrong dimension and now nobody can see him.

Mario flipped this guy back to normal, and he lowered the bridge that lead to a mountain town.

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Explored the town in 3D and eventually found a hidden path that lead to a room with a new Pixl character who was stuck in a treasure chest for 1500 years... He's named Thoreau, and is kinda shaped like a hand with 5 floating fingers...

Use 1 to pick up and throw objects...
What is this "1", you say? You need not worry. The great being that watches us will know what it is.
The town elder opens up the bridge to the level end block after Mario proves he's the hero by showing the Thoreau Pixl.

1-3: The Sands of Yold

Yold Desert

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This level is mostly just a linear path with like almost no hidden 3D secrets... a lot of new enemies though, like the clefts who can't be killed by normal means, at least you can throw them into quicksand pits... and a weird pink farting monster... and Goombas who have the ability to flip dimensions so they can follow you from 2D to 3D...

Got to a dead end... here's where it starts requiring some 3D navigation... this one rock that doesn't look conspicuous at all in 2D, has a very obvious arrow pointing to another path in 3D... and that just lead to another dead end with a signpost.
Find ye the tall red palm tree of fortune, and leapeth under its branches 10 times.
lol really...? This game has some really silly puzzles... but I guess the first Paper Mario's desert was kinda like that too.

Backtracked until I found the red tree... doing that created a new door... another easy linear path, with couple little secrets here and there... and then I finally met O'Chunks.

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I thug for the count 'o counts
Pathetically easy boss fight... like Boom-Boom in SMB3 is sometimes harder than this.

Then there was another dead end, with another signpost puzzle telling you to do some very specific thing at a specific location to open the way to the goal... except this time part of the signpost's hint was hidden on the other side of the signpost in the 3D perspective.

1-4: Monster of the Ruins

Yold Ruins

The indoor dungeon atmosphere makes this level feel very different from the previous levels which were all outside... But it's pretty simple, just stupidly easy obstacles like firebars that can be completely bypassed in 3d... and a focus on 3d navigation puzzles... mostly just using what you've learned earlier in the chapter... gotta remember to use Tippi to reveal important stuff at some parts...

lol the last part is a cute puzzle... 4 switches with numbers on the side that you can see in 3D so you know which order to hit them in...

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Got out of the ruins, now back in the desert... big dragon boss fight time. This dragon is like a cyborg or something.

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So Fracktail isn't actually a bad guy at first, until Dimentio comes in and gives it a virus...
...SYSTEM NOT FOUND. INSERT INSTALL DISC. DISC NOT FOUND. PLEASE CONFIRM DISC COVER IS CLOSED.
READ ERROR.INSERT BOOT DISC AND PRESS ENTER. NO RESPONSE. SYSTEM MAY BE BUSY OR MELTING INTO SLAG. APPLICATION ERROR. SAVE YOUR WORK AND QUIT. YOU LOST EVERYTHING. WAY TO GO, GENIUS. WAITING FOR PROCESSORS. "404 computer hamsters not found." THREAT LEVEL UPGRADED TO JELLY ROLL 1. DETONATION IMMINENT.
Nothing hard about this boss at all... go 3D and jump on his back when he chases you on the ground, then throw enemies at his antenna...

Fracktail crashed, and turned into a skeleton... The door to a shrine opened up... Mario meets Merlumina.
I am a dormant soul... I have waited long to give you the Pure Heart. Yes, I have been waiting for 1,500 years.
So does she know the one who locked up Thoreau??

She tells Mario a very long story that he falls asleep in the middle of... basically something about how the Purity Heart was created to combat the Chaos Heart that was foretold in the Dark Prognosticus, and they split it into 8 pieces and hid them so that the legendary hero would one day come to find them and use them to stop the dark prophecy... Finally she gives Mario the 2nd Pure Heart.

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Chapter 1 was very simple, and would be extremely short if not for all the dialog and cutscenes... but it did a pretty good job of introducing the flipping mechanic and the difficulty of the puzzles got progressively harder each level... hopefully the later chapters will make the difficulty of the action/platforming a lot harder too.

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