Posted by: Junahu | April 29, 2012

Junahu Writes a Story Mode (Part 1)

I say “story mode” in a very loose sense. This is an arrangement of levels and their features.

The key problem people seem to have with the SSE, is that it doesn’t revel nearly as much in the worlds of its characters, instead choosing to waste time and effort crafting a new canonical world for everyone to share.What baffles me, is that every damn Story Mode MYM has made has done the EXACT same thing; as if the only thing SSE was looking for was dialogue and an antagonist…

In this Story Mode however, levels are treated more as dioramas, individual pockets of fantasy adventures that exist and end on their own. Plots are minimal, or self evident, and the levels themselves are the entertainment, not just hoops to jump through to see the next cutscene. Since each level is self contained, it doesn’t matter if I don’t make all the ones I want to make, or even any more than this one.

Anyway, enough of me complaining, let’s jump into it;

General Outlay

As previously stated, levels are presented as more individual experiences, so at many points, more than one level can be tackled at any one time. Levels are typically broken up into stages, each with some manner of sub-boss at the end. Between stages, the player can reselect their party, out of all the characters they’re currently allowed to bring.

When tackling a level for the first time, the choice of selecting a character is not available to the player, and they must use the two characters that the level gives them. Completing stages may unlock additional characters for the player to use, which they may choose between stages, even on their first playthrough.

Once the level is beaten, the characters you have in your party currently are unlocked for use in any other completed level. Usually you need to complete a level multiple times in order to unlock all of the characters the level offers, since your party is rarely big enough to fit everyone.

On subsequent runs of the same level, you may bring 3 characters of your choice into the level. However, one of these must be one of the two characters that the level originally made you bring

One big change from the usual SSE, is that the player can switch between party characters at any time (With Y, 2, or -, depending on the control scheme being used). This change has the character transform into the next character in line, Zelda tranformation style. This allows for character specific obstacles, or enemy mobs that clearly favour one style of character over another.

When you first start up the SSE, the player is first greeted by a map screen, but with almost all of it coated in purple smoke. There is but one location the player can choose, which sends them to;

Level 1 Spagonia-Isle delfino

Characters: (Sonic, Mario)

Story Outlay:

Sonic’s and Mario’s worlds have come exceedingly close together on their orbits, a rare occurance that allows Eggman to physically bind the two planets together with chains. In total, just two chains connecting Spagonia to Isle Delfino is enough to keep the planets from resuming their orbits. With a new planet to possibly conquer, Eggman teams up with local despot Bowser to wreck havoc

Features:

Grind Rail

The grind rail is a standard feature of newer Sonic games, and the second most iconic feature of Sonic, after the dreaded loop de loop. Hopping onto a rail is slightly different to hopping onto a platform. When a player touches a rail from above, they begin grinding along it (usually with their feet, though certain characters have unique alternative animations, such as Snake grinding on his Cypher). Grinding is wholly subject to the laws of momentum, the speed you grind along is related to your horizontal speed when you hit the rail (or vertical speed, in regards to grinding on vertical grind rails). The rail itself has little friction, but the player will find themselves losing speed as they grind uphill, and subsequently gaining it when grinding down. Rails can turn and contort in many different shapes, including corkscrews and loops. The side of the rail that you can grind on, is always highlighted with red paint, but you cannot mount onto a grind rail at any point where it is running upside down. Subsequently, if you lose momentum while grinding upside down, the player automatically falls off. Booster pads are occasionally found on rails, especially before or during loops, and passing a set will propel the player forward at maximum speed.

While grinding, the player cannot attack, but they CAN spot dodge, and they can also jump off the rail so that they can use an aerial (rail grinding does not restore jumps, but jumping off a rail does not consume a jump). Spot dodging, and landing back on the rail in the middle of an aerial both reduce the speed at which the player grinds along the rail.

Rings

Sonic’s iconic rings are spread generously throughout this level, and restore 1% damage each when collected. If the player is struck significantly by an attack, the rings collected thus far will fly out of them. This allows the player to recollect rings before they vanish, allowing them to regain lost health. Enemies can also collect lost rings to regain their own stamina (each ring restores 3% stamina to enemies) though they don’t actively pursue rings, simply relying on the rings bouncing into them.

Coins

Far less frequent are the Mario style coins. They are generally secreted in areas the player may not need to tread, or may have difficulty reaching. Each one restores 5% damage, and an extra stock is granted if 100 are collected. This tally is kept across stages, and is even saved for later playthroughs of the level. Sonic’s rings grant the same effect, though the fact you lose them all when hit, makes it a tougher job to collect 100.

Stage 1 “welcome to Spagonia”

This city, a level found within Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations (AKA Rooftop Run) has an upbeat theme and very clear european tones to its structure. It’s main hallmarks are its rooftops, its colourful winding streets, and a handfull of tall clock towers

In this Story Mode, the level is tackled with Sonic and Mario. Sonic’s speed and his homing attack prefers the wide open rooftops, while Mario’s platforming is better suited to the busier streets below. The two routes are interchangeable at various points; it’s possible to fall into Mario’s route, or climb back up into Sonic’s

Sonic Specific routes://

A very colourful and celebratory introduction to the game; Sonic, the default character, whizzes past balloons and streamers, as he runs along a lengthy stretch of undulating marble paths. Storefront canopies act as platforms that can lead the player up to the rooftops, though they are too far apart for anyone but Sonic to make the leap between. Assuming the player ignores this, and sticks to dashing through the lower streets, a steep decline under a stone wall leads to an open area where the player invariably runs headlong into the fountain, which launches them upwards, but kills their forward momentum. This gives the player a chance to spot the goomba enemies patrolling the ground below them, and hopefully guide their descent so that they land on their heads.

And that’s the last time Sonic will seem to be the choice character, unless you get him up to the rooftops. Incidentally, this will also be the first time that Chief Quimby appears (he’s in a trashcan near the Goombas, and he outright waves to you should you walk right on past him). His advice is simply to tell you which button you can use to switch characters

The rooftops themselves, should Sonic reach them, are lengthy stretches of undulating platform, punctuated by an occasional wide open space which the player must either clear with a nice wide jump, or pass over via homing attacking the airborne Parakoopa enemies the game places over the gaps. These open spaces, incidentally, coincide with the mandatory mob rooms that Mario must occasionally tangle with, making the punishment of falling in doubly delicious.

The level’s “boss” and end sections differ depending on the route you’ve taken. Staying up on the rooftops it the faster route, so its boss is somewhat lengthier. And don’t think you can just jump down into Mario’s section at the last moment. The last gap in the rooftops before the boss simply leads into bottomless pit if you deliberately drop down. It IS part of Mario’s route, though the drawbridge that normally covers the hole comes down only if the player took the part of Mario’s route that leads up to the drawbridge..

The boss area (It seques in well while you’re running across the rooftops) is a circuitous length of rooftop. Basically, if you run from left to right, or vice versa, you’ll eventually make one lap around the area, returning to where you started. The rooftops here are mostly flat, but contain a few momentum killing objects, such a chimneys, aswell as two sections which dump Sonic into the lower streets again if he fails to make the jump (which are basically just pits he needs to climb out of). Most of these obstacles are bridged past via rails the player can grind across, though the player does need to actively jump onto the rails in order to ride them.

Sub-BossA1: Koopa Airship

Yup, the koopa Airship, infamous from Super Mario Galaxy, swoops into the background and begins chasing Sonic (or Mario, though god knows why you’d switch for this), firing explosive cannonballs into the fray every so often. While it tries to track Sonic no matter where he goes, and can fly as fast as he can run, it still moves with a delay. So long as Sonic keeps running, the airship will lag behind him slightly, ineffectually firing cannonballs and missing. On higher difficulties, some cannonballs are shot AHEAD of Sonic’s position, so he needs to jump those. You cannot damage or otherwise interact with this sub-boss. The aim is simply to make a full lap of the rooftops, which leads to…

Sub-BossA2: Blaze the Cat

Once a full lap of the rooftops is completed, Blaze the Cat enters the screen from the left. She is essentially just a CPU controlled version of the Blaze the Cat moveset with AI that involves fleeing much more than usual. Her AI is basically split into three routines. First, she chases Sonic until Sonic slows down or makes a mistake. Then she fights him for a brief while, or until Sonic lands a few clean hits. She then runs away, running across the rooftop track in a way that is difficult to chase down. On higher difficulties, Blaze will abusively lay bumpers down as she travels, particularly at the ends of grindable rails, in order to send Sonic careening the other way. If Blaze gets too far ahead, she will slow down, or outright stop while the player catches up.

It’s important to note that the Airship is still around during this fight. Though it fires much more sporadically, it is still a problem for the player. The constant pressure to run from the Airship, as well as the running Blaze AI, ensures a (hopefully) engaging chase sub-boss, where landing hits while moving is key. It should also be noted that Blaze herself is vulnerable to cannon fire, just in case you want a cooler way to defeat her. Blaze is defeated after either launching her off the screen, or dealing 100% damage to her. This ends the stage, automatically adding Blaze to the character roster.

Mario Specific Routes://

Picking up where Sonic left off, Mario’s section is a lot more “platformy” making him jump over walls, or onto canopies to avoid patroling enemies. As previously stated, there are also enemy mob rooms in Mario’s route, requiring him to kill Goombas and Koopa troopas. There are three of these mob rooms. The first contains merely a few Goombas. The second contains a couple of Koopas and many goombas (the idea being to KO many goombas at once with a koopa shell). The third contains a sequence of Goombas, Koopas and Parakoopas. Supporting these enemies are;

Enemy: Crawl

Crawls are a notorious enemy found in Sonic 2. Their ability was never in dealing damage, but in riccocheting the player away with its bumper like shield, which it would use to steadfastly protect it from frontal and aerial attacks alike.

In this Story mode, Crawls act pretty much the same. They patrol very slowly left and right, launching anyone (including other enemies) that touches or attacks it from above or the front, away. Essentially, a moving bumber that you can kill by attacking from behind. Naturally, the Crawls tend to bounce thrown shells back at the player, making it a harsh lesson in the ways Smash Bros can screw you over.

A noteworthy feature of the lower streets is that some parts of the floor are covered in a toxic, rainbow coloured paint. Standing in this deals 5% damage per second to the player, lowers their traction, and trips them if the try to initiate a dash while standing in it (the player can still dash through the paint, but cannot start dashing when already in the paint. Obviously enough, Mario’s FLUDD (down B) can wash away such paint, and doing so will reveal coins hidden underneath. The paint appears mainly in the streets that link mob rooms, occasionally in places where the building’s topology prevents the player from simply jumping over. There’s also a sizable patch of paint in the final mob room, probably forcing the player to stand on the isolated (and moving) fall-through-platform to avoid being bounced to and fro across the paint by the enemy Crawls. This, naturally puts the player right in the thick of the parakoopas.

The boss area for Mario’s route takes place in a fairly spacious wine cellar, accessed by crossing a drawbridge at the end of the level. The drawbridge lowers automatically, assuming you haven’t just dropped down from Sonic’s route at the last moment. The wine cellar is a fairly wide room, with a single fall-through platform which hovers left and right. And the boss is;

Sub-BossB1: Donkey Kong

Nothing super special here, just Donkey Kong at the other end of the room. There’s a few barrels around him, which he wastes no time in chucking your way. And more barrels spawn in as the match continues. And that’s it; just KO DK off the left or right side of the screen. On higher difficulties, the floor is patched with splodges of toxic paint, which will spread when barrels are rolled through it

Secret-Sub-BossB2: Diddy Kong

If, instead of killing DK right away, you simply let him continue hurling barrels, one bearing the bright red DK logo may spawn at random. When this barrel is broken, Diddy Kong emerges from it and begins fighting on Donkey Kong’s side. Diddy pretty much ignores barrels, focusing instead on laying banana traps and protecting DK. And when DK is KO’d, Diddy simply runs off the side of the screen after him, suiciding himself.

KOing Donkey Kong ends the stage, adding DK (and Diddy, if he was also fought) to the character roster

Stage 2 “welcome to Delfino”

Stage 2 takes place on Mario’s holiday paradise, and is thus more suited to his pace of exploration. Delfino doesn’t have quite the extreme of branching paths as Spagonia does, mostly focusing on a single route that takes both Sonic and Mario through a tour of the town. There’s still a focus on climbing over rooftops, but it’s punctuated by bell towers and other tall structures (which the player can either climb over, or walk around/under). The stage concludes outside Mt Corona.

Before the stage begins, a cutscene shows Sonic and Mario reaching the plaza via one of the chains connecting the planets, the duo then destroy the chain (presumeably with friendship power), and look up at the remaining chain protruding from the peak of Mt Corona.

Sonic Specific routes://

Sonic’s routes are more or less limited to moments where the player can climb up/over bell towers. This requires some aerial dexterity to climb up moving/falling platforms, and most towers involve a upward grinding section or two (many rails spiral around nearby buildings as they ascend). At the peak of each tower, there is a rail which plummets straight down the other side, before flicking upwards to launch the player in the direction of the next tower.During one of these rail sections, if Sonic drops off the rail, instead of following it to its end, he’ll find a Yoshi egg sitting on a random rooftop (the specific rooftop changes each time you play the level). Attacking the egg hatches it, adding Yoshi to your team (plus an extra stock). If you’re playing the level with Yoshi already on your current team, the egg will hatch a different coloured Yoshi.

While no faster than Mario’s routes, Sonic’s routes have notably less enemies, limited mostly to strategically placed Crawls and…

Enemy: Cataquack

These fun loving guys have something in common with Crawls, in that they love to launch players who touch them. When touched from the front, Cataquacks flip their bills upwards, catapulting the player in an upward arc. Each Cataquack has its own unique catapulting angle/power, so you never know where you’ll end up until you try. Thankfully, Cataquacks are colour coded for your convenience; Blue ones are helpful, launching you to platforms you need to get to, Red ones are not so useful, typically launching you away from where you need to go. Both variants can be KO’d with relative ease with projectiles, or by attacking them from behind. Attacking directly from the front though is a quick way to get catapulted. Cataquacks patrol the platform they’re on, walking left and right at a regimental pace (unless the platform is too small, in which case they will just stand completely still)

Enemy: Whisp

Pretty much homing attack fodder. They fly toward the player when closeby, deal pithy damage/knockback on contact, and can be destroyed by literally any action (even non-damaging attacks). They are far more frequent in Mario’s route, but Sonic has to deal with his fair share of them too

Enemy: Coconuts

Mostly limited to climbing the sides of buildings, Coconuts tosses his titular nuts toward the player at a predictable pace. Whenever Coconuts appears, there is usually a way to reach him, though doing so without getting beaned by a coconut requires good timing. If reflected, coconut’s projectiles will fly back into him, KOing him instantly. Coconuts is about as durable as a Koopa Troopa, and doesn’t flinch when hit by light projectiles. He can also shimmy up and down his wall, either to get a better shot at you, or to chase after you should you choose to ignore him. Special Purple Coconuts can leap from one wall to another, providing the two walls are close enough. Getting hit during this deals a good wad of damage.

Mario Specific routes://

At each bell tower, the player can simply drop down into the streets below and walk under the tower. This invariably leads to a mob room however, similar to stage 1’s. Later mob rooms combine Cataquaks and Coconuts, whilst early ones settle for Goombas, Koopa Paratroopas and Whisps. A couple of the rooms are now on downward slopes, with paint covering much of the floor.  There is also a section in which the player must open a drain (by attacking its lid) and drop into the sewers below the streets. The sewers are just a simple straight tube, with no enemies to speak of, but frequently coated in paint to slow the player’s progress. Once the player reaches the end of the sewers, they need to wall jump their way up and out into the streets again. Chief Quimby is on hand to explain how walljumping works (he’s disguised as a turtle, right next to the area you need to start walljumping). On future playthroughs of the level, a small fountain of water helps propel the player back into the streets.

The final part, in both routes, is the Shine Gate that towers above the rest of the town. Sonic’s route takes him up and over it fairly quickly, but Mario’s is a fairly slow and grueling climb up its side. As always, it’s possible to accidentally fall from Sonic’s route, forcing the player to climb back up the Shine Gate. The climb is punctuated by plenty of Cataquaks, but also a few;

Enemy: Spike

These spike hurling gastropods demand your full attention, since just one slip up can spell the end. They periodically produce a spiked ball (from their stomachs) and then throw it. In Brawl, the balls fly in an arc, and not a particularly well thought out arc at that. It seems as though they ignore the player outright in favour of just throwing spiked balls all day. Thrown balls can be reflected, or caped, back at the thrower.

While Spikes themselves are fairly easy to dispatch through a couple of attacks, they’re usually placed in ways that make it unreasonable to go attack them. There are a couple of varieties of Spike actually. Some walk onto the screen, throw one spiked ball, then walk off. Some stand in place and throw balls at a steady rhythm. Some walk forward whilst juggling a single ball. A special duo of Spikes tosses a single ball between one another. And a red Spike throws balls aimed directly at you. Incidentally, hitting a Spike will turn it red.

They’re pretty varied, is what I’m saying.

The roof of the Shine Gate itself is the setting for this stage’s SubBoss

Sub-Boss1: Tatanga

This gleeful little alien swoops in unannounced because… that’s how Tatanga rolls. The pre fight cutscene shows him spraying ghastly paint from his cannons, mucking the giant Shine that adorns the shine gate, and plummeting the area into an eerie overcast darkness. Mario (or Sonic) attacks the alien to try and stop this, and thus the battle begins

Tatanga’s ship is actually rather small, so even though he takes no histun from attacks, he doesn’t seem all that… bosslike. His main attack, is to spray areas with globs of paint (he can also spray people directly, gooping them up with 5% per second damage until they scramble the analogue stick around to shake it off) which gradually serves to limit the areas you can safely stand. Tatanga can also ram his ship into the player. While a slow attack, it is nonetheless devastating if it hits.

About halfway into the fight, another cutscene begins. Tatanga is knocked off balance and begins having engine troubles. Suddenly a new foe leaps up, over Tatanga, and onto the stage;

SubBoss2: Tatanga & Nack the Weasel

Screw yo Japanese name, this is Nack.

Tatanga is still the main thing to watch out for in this fight, as he still attacks (though a little less, and he moves slower too), Nack simply provides support through his arsenal of weaponry. Nack can move x-tremely swiftly, and even leap clean from one side of the stage to the other. What would normally be a roll dodge, sees Nack leap off the back of the stage while laughing. He then leaps back up at the part of the stage he wants to be.

The first of Nack’s attacks Popgun is as bland as its name. He aims his popgun at the player, and fires a single cork. It travels pretty quickly (for cork), but basically just fliches the player a bit. Nack actually displays a lot of intelligence in when he uses this attack, timing it well with Tatanga’s attacks, and any other dangers that might hit the player. It also helps as a defensive measure, since the end lag is virtually not-there, Nack can fire it then dodge away when the foe reacts.

Nack can also spawn crates of TNT which explodes much like a Blast Box. Actually… yeah, it’s a blast box (albeit it blows up when hit by any attack). If you stray too close to one, Nack will, without fail, attempt to shoot it with his popgun. Still, if you can, try to throw one or two of these at Tatanga.

Finally, Nack can take a prone stance of the ground and ready his Sniper Rifle (he calls it ‘Fang’, clearly). It takes a while for him to ready this position, so if you keep on his case he won’t do it. If you let him though, you’re more or less boned. The instantaneous, stage-penetrating Sniper Shot is a OHKO on all “real” difficulties, and there is no timing to when he shoots. In fact, if you dodge or roll, he WILL shoot you at the end of the roll/dodge. Alternatively, if you run toward Nack, he will shoot at a completely random moment. He cannot aim directly upwards, nor downwards, but on a stage like this that’s not a concern for him.

Do enough damage to Nack, or Kill Tatanga, and he runs away to fight another day.

Stage 3 “welcome to Mt Corona”

The generic innards of a volcanic mountain. Lava is a constant here, so platforms, moving platforms, and other gimmicks are commonplace. The general flow of the level has the player head further into and down the volcano, with a final section of ascending the… um, spout (?) of the volcano. And yes, the wooden boat is here too, enjoy.

Unlike the previous stages, you can ONLY play this stage as either Mario or Sonic. You’re given a character selection prompt to pick one or the other, and both characters have individual versions of the stage to play through. If you’re playing through this level again, and already only have Sonic or Mario in your party, then the prompt isn’t given, and you just go to the equivilent stage.

Incidentally, both versions of the stage have the same mid-level boss, which is fought on a relatively wide stretch of rock suspended above the lava flow;

SubBoss1: Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh is actually quite visible well before you reach his encounter. He’s sitting outside of the game itself, as if part of the HUD, and watching your character fight. He laughs as you are hit, and jeers when you beat up foes. He even throws rocks and other objects at you during the level Paper Mario style. And on the higher difficulties, Gilgamesh forgoes any sense of honor, and might start attacking your damage meter directly if you dawdle in one place for too long.

Once you actually reach the fight area, Gilgamesh leaps out of the HUD and onto the stage. The cutscene shows him and Sonic/Mario squaring off, before Gilgamesh ends the silence with “usually my opponents are more talkative than this, and better armed too. Nonetheless! I — Gilgamesh — the greatest swordsman — in the universe — will send you flying to your next life!”.

Gilgamesh is a fairly large opponent, larger than any playable character at least. And like any boss, he’s solid, immune to hitstun and knockback. However, this is not “always” true. During the wind up on his attacks, there are certain moments where hitting him will cause him to flinch. Gilgamesh has a decent gait to his walk, and much prefers to get close to his opponents, though he cannot jump. Occasionally, he’ll walk right across the stage, for no real reason other than to stretch his legs.

Gilgamesh’s main attack is a simple, yet heaving and wide reaching swing with his Poleax. He has a couple of variations of the attack to deal with foes in various situations, including one to prevent planking, and one to snatch foes out of the air. The higher the difficulty, the more he’ll attack like this, and the lower the start lag on the swing will be. Incidentally, hitting Gilgamesh at the start of the swing itself will flinch him.

This is all Gilgamesh can do until partway into the fight. After which he sprouts two additional arms, each holding a sword. He shouts “Morphin time!” as this happens, and you can actually flinch him during this, up to three times.

After the transformation, Gilgamesh can attack using the Masamune which creates a cloud of slashes directly in front of him, dealing 16-hits for some nasty damage racking. The cloud itself is also quite handy for trapping and even a little stage control. The animation for this attack has Gilgamesh reach for the sword, then twitch unperceptively, attacking so fast that you can’t even see it happen. Attack Gilgamesh as his hands touch the blade to flinch him out of this.

The sister to this is the Muramase which he carries on his other side. So if he’s reaching for a sword, check which side he’s reaching for. A Muramase swing is ludicrously far reaching, slashing foes horizontally from half the stage away. It doesn’t last long though, so it’s easy to dodge. If you attack Gilgamesh at any point during this attack, he checks the blow with his other hand, then slashes the player directly (like… a counter attack or somethin’)

Gilgamesh may also Jump into the air, then slam down hard on the stage, altering his trajectory to slam onto the foe specifically. This attack can be quite devastating, and even shielded gives Gilgamesh the chance to follow up. The closer Gilgamesh is to defeat, the more frequently he will use this to move around.

After about the halfway point. Nack the Weasel shows up again, in a cutscene that almost exactly mirrors his original appearance

SubBoss2: Gilgamesh & Nack the Weasel

Nack behaves exactly as he does in his previous fight, though is less likely to spawn TNT, and in general has a harder time shooting you instead of Gilgamesh. However, he will gladly shoot through him if he has a chance to line up a Sniper shot. As before, Nack flees when Gilgamesh is defeated.

Gilgamesh himself retreats through a tear in spacetime.

Anyway, onto the actual level…

Sonic Specific routes://

Without the rest of the game’s cast to slow him down, he can finally enjoy a level with lots and lots of running fast. There are extremely wide stretches of rock on top of the lava flows, and the gaps between them are relatively easy for Sonic to jump over. There are ramps, inclines and even an honest to god loop-de-loop. Lavafalls (waterfalls made of lava) appear in a number of places to slow your progress. You have to wait until the lava is not flowing in order to run under the lavafalls. And at least one lavafall requires that you take a small detour to knock a nearby boulder onto the lava flow so that it blocks the lava. A section of Sonic running away from an approaching tidal wave of lava shortly follows this, with enemy Crawls, and spikes being the big thing to watch out for. Touching the encroaching wall of lava is akin to touching the walls of lava in the Brinstar stage.

One notable section near the middle of the stage, involves floating down a lava flow on a tiny green brick, fending off incoming Whisps and avoiding lavafalls and falling stalagtites. A vertical plume of lava propels the brick and Sonic up and out of this section, landing him in the fight with Gilgamesh.

Grind rails over lakes of lava are also a feature of the stage, with switching between rails quickly being paramount to not getting dumped into boiling magma. The vertical climb section at the end of the stage is traversed via springs placed on the walls.

Upon reaching the top crater of the volcano, suddenly Bowser fight.

Boss1: Bowser

Bowser enters via Clown Copter, leaping out to engage Mari Sonic head on. It begins as a basic 1v1 match on the top of the volcano. It erupts periodically, which is kinda neat, but also sends drops of lava splashing down on the stage itself. Bowser doesn’t care much about lava, so he can take the heat. Sonic however, cannot, and the rain intesifies as the match continues. Once you “KO” Bowser, his Clown Copter catches him. Bowser then summons his 7 chillinz to fight in his stead.

Boss2: Koopalings

It’s all 7 of them at once, which means it”ll be quite the fiasco, though they’re all very limited in what they can do. Larry and Iggy try to surround the player on both sides, and alternate between throwing fireballs and crouching. They’re invulnerable whilst crouching. Morton Koopa and Roy run left and right across the stage occasionally leaping up into the air and slamming down, creating a tremor that stuns the player if he’s standing on the ground. If both Roy and Morton slam together, the tremor deals a lot of vertical knockback. There’s also a hitbox when they run into one another. Lemmy bounces around while balancing on a rubber ball. The ball is dangerous to touch obviously. Hitting the ball sends it on an erratic crash course that could be disasterous for the player. Lemmy himself will eventually catch it, unless he’d dead, then  he won’t. Ludvig is the closest to being an intelligent foe, as he has no set pattern, and a whole TWO attacks. He can spit fireballs, and he can slide at the player whilst in his shell. Ludvig also fights around his siblings, rather than through them. Finally, Wendy O Koopa is just a plain coward. She sets up decoy wendy’s that explode on the player if attacked. And that’s all.

While 7 koopalings at once sounds overwhelming, they can hit one another. Higher difficulties lower the amount of damage they take when they team attack one another. And the highest simply turns off their ability to hit eachother.

Boss3: Bowser

Returning to the fray for round 2, Bowser has literally no more tricks up his sleeve. His AI is a whole point higher. Other than that, just KO him again.

Boss4: Klown Kopter Koopa

The Clown copter catches Bowser a second time, and Bowser begins bombarding the player from his safer perch. Along with throwing Koopa Troopas down at the player, and summoning gigantic cannonballs that roll across the stage, the Clown copter can also plummet down at the stage, smacking the player. This is usually the best opportunity the player has at damaging Bowser himself, since the copter is invincible. Bowser can also take out a microphone and sing a little ditty, which is so awful it hurts anyone remotely nearby. Damaging Bowser enough ejects him from the clown copter permenantly (the copter flies away into the volcano, which then erupts).

Boss5: Bowser

Back again for a third try. His AI is much more aggressive, but still no smarter for it. KO him once more and he will be knocked into the volcano itself. Hooray! You defeated Bowser!

Boss6: Mega Super Giga Bowser deluxe

What kind of Bowser boss wouldn’t have a giant Bowser fight? A crummy one, that’s what! Giga Bowser’s hulking frame emerges from the opening of the volcano. He can’t drag his whole frame out, so he can’t go attack you directly, settling instead to attack from the background. GigaBowser can, in-order; slam his left/right hands onto the stage, clap his hands together, and lean his head forward and breath a massive stream of fire towards the player’s position. His fire breath leaves lingering flames afterward, and his hand slams cause stage-wide tremors. Since Bowser himself is in the background, you can only attack the parts of him that are currently attacking you. Enough damage to his hands will stun Gigabowser, causing his head to slump forwards, giving you a chance to damage it. Halfway into the fight…

Boss7: Gigabowser & Nack the Weasel

Nack joins the fray in exactly the same manner as his previous encounters. Gigabowser simply gives him a look of incredulous disgust. Nack acts exactly the same as ever, but you’d never know that, because Gigabowser’s attacks can hit Nack, and they do, and he dies super quick. Keep fighting Gigabowser, to eventually defeat him, which for one reason or another, makes him shrink right back down to his original size

Boss8: Bowser

This is the last time, I swear. This time his AI is just about crippled, like a kid spazzing out because he’s losing. Which is pretty much true. KO him, and you win the stage and the level.

Mario Specific route://

Mario’s route is heavy on the FLUDD usage. It destroys most of the fire based enemies that litter this stage, and if aimed at lava, or a lavafall, it creates a solid platform that floats down the lava flow (Chief Quimby is on hand to tell you this, he’s disquised as a pink Bob Omb in the background).  One such section involves creating platforms to climb up a lava flow that’s travelling in the opposite direction. A number of secret areas can be accessed by using platforms to ascend lavafalls.

Between alternating spike platforms, moving platforms, crumbling platforms, and enemy mob areas, this stage can become somewhat challenging.

Mario shares the “float down the lava flow while fighting whisps” section that Sonic has, but Mario gets a small wooden boat for this (Plus he can make new platforms anyway). This section, just like Sonic’s leads to the Gilgamesh fight.

Enemy: Popodoo

Technically just hazards rather than enemies, Popodoos love jumping out of lava at the worst of times and burning Mario’s fat hide.

Here, Mario can dowse them with his FLUDD, killing them instantly. But there are quite a few types of Popodoo to keep you on your toes. There’s the basic up-down, jumping ones. There’s ones that jump toward Mario. One’s that jump low and frequently. One’s that skip across the lava’s surface. One’s that form a daisy chain with one another and leap in big arcs across the screen. One’s that land on platforms and multiply, covering the whole thing in fire. One’s that jump out sideways from lavafalls. etc. A lot of these enemies drop stickers on defeat… which then fall into the lava. oops.

Enemy: Dry Bones

Technically just CPU controlled opponents, since Dry Bones is an actual character. Dry Bones mostly sticks to bone throwing, and can be crumpled simply by jumping on thier heads. Nonetheless, Dry Bones can do many of the things any other playable character can, such as grab, double jump etc. Unlike the playable version, Dry Bones is invulnerable while crumpled.

If you defeat (knock into the lava) all of the Dry Bones in this level (use FLUDD), you unlock Dry Bones as a playable character.

Enemy: Lil Sparky

These diminuitive cousins of the Hothead are pretty darn cute. They snake around whatever platform they’re on, travelling across the floor, walls and ceiling in a loop.

Hitting these guys with attacks increases their size, while dowsing them in water shrinks them. Lil Sparky’s love to patrol otherwise safe platforms, just because it annoys Mario.

The final vertical climb up the volcano is a “fight the enemies whilst riding an elevator” section, though it mostly sticks to goombas, koopa troopas, cataquaks and giant goombas. The summit is where, like Sonic, Mario faces his bosses for the level. Of course, instead of Bowser, Mario gets;

Boss1: Dr Eggman

In a cutscene, Eggman potters into view in his classic egg-o-matic. He looks at Mario in bemusement, “hnn? You’re not Sonic.”. Mario looks at himself, then at Eggman, as if to say ‘yeah, no shit, sherlock’.

“I should warn you, I’m in a very foul mood today. If you don’t want that cute mustache of yours blown to the moon, you should make like a tree and scram”. To Mario’s credit, he does actually turn to leave, though Eggman uses the opportunity to fire a missile at his back. “you poor dullard”

The boss itself starts with Mario in the middle of taking 30% damage and medium knockback. You’ll always start the fight with this handicap. During all the fights that follow, hitting Eggman’s exposed cockpit is the only way to deal damage, though hitting the machine itself can cause it to descend or stop briefly.

In the machine’s first form, Eggman floats around the arena, occasionally firing missiles that have a slight homing effect on Mario. Actually, they’re heat seekers, and they’ll track Mario’s fireballs if he shoots any. After a while, Eggman descends down to ground level, before shooting himself forwards, hoping to ram the player visciously. After a few more hits, Eggman smashes some keys in his cockpit, transforming the egg-o-matic to its next form;

Boss2: Hammer-o-Matic

This grounded machine patrols the stage left and right, turning only if Mario gets behind him. The hammer is quite effective at blocking attacks from the front, and can pack a whollop in return. Mario will also be pitfalled if he lets Eggman run him over.

This form is otherwise pretty basic and it’ll soon transform to its next;

Boss3: Spiked Platform-o-Matic

Summoning two spiked platforms from its undercarraige, Eggman simply hovers high in the air as the two platforms orbit around him. He will occasionally command the platforms to smack down on Mario, or on eachother, if Mario is standing on one at the time. The platforms may also flip over, leaving their spiked sides facing upwards for a time.

A few solid hits sends Eggman scrambling for the next form;

Boss4: Bomber-o-Matic

With a simple opening to drop bombs from, and a turret to paste the floor with bullets, this form patrols left and right, high above the stage. The bombs create powerful vertical plumes of debris upon detonating on the ground. But so long as you don’t touch the debris itself, you can use the vertical updraft from the explosion to propel Mario into the air. The turret is always trained on Mario’s position, and fires at a steady rhythm. It deals a decent amount of damage, can set up for bombs, and generally makes it so Mario doesn’t want to ever stand still for too long.

After a while of this, a brief cutscene shows Eggman summoning a bigger machine to his position. “Time for a change of pace. Get a load of THIS!”. The serpent like robot crashes down, and Eggman fuses his Egg-o-matic to its head;

Boss5: Egg-Viper

The serpentine mechanical monster shares a lot in common with SSE’s Rayquaza boss. General posture for one, and a lot of the attacks function similarly too. The tail sweep, the giant energy ball from its face, the flying across the screen to the other side, etc. Egg-Viper still has attacks of its own though, such as firing platforms with spiked sides that hover forwards, attempting to push Mario off the screen (usually this only serves to give Mario the platform he needs to reach Eggman’s cockpit). Egg-Viper can also retreat into the background, then slam its head into the stage several times. This is painful, naturally, but again gives the player a shot at hitting Eggman himself.

At about the halfway mark…

Boss6: Egg-Viper & Nack the Weasel

Nack joins the fray in exactly the same manner as his previous encounters. And don’t expect any new tricks here either, just exect a hard fight between these two. However, if you refrain from attacking him, and allow Egg-Viper to accidentally team attack him, Nack will ally himself to you and pitch in with taking out Eggman. Once Egg Viper is defeated either way, Nack flees the scene.

Boss7: Eggman

With the Egg-Viper destroyed, Eggman is finally forced to abandon his vehicle alltogether. Sensing the shift in fortunes, Eggman turns tail and flees.

The stage becomes cyclical, as Mario and Eggman run around the crater of the volcano. And the only thing to really do, is chase Eggman and hit him a bunch of times. Eggman, while pretty fast on his feet, has literally no means of damaging you. Enjoy your free beatdown

After defeating the level, a cutscene shows Mario and Sonic meeting up, then symultaneously attacking the chains binding the two worlds together (they use friendship power or whatever). Sonic gives a slight farewell, before hopping onto the chain as it breaks apart and running along it back to Mobius. An extra scene plays depending on who the boss was.

Eggman later regains consciousness, still at the top of the volcano. He looks around, first at Mobius drifting away, then at the hunk of scrap that used to be his egg-o-matic. He then curses the sky. “This isn’t over, you spined menace! Just you wait!”

Bowser and the Koopalings are trapped inside the bowels of the volcano, with Bowser being bandaged up by Ludvig. Lemmy starts farting around on a ball, so Bowser juts out his foot and kicks him into the lava. Lemmy, is probably not dead.

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