Monday, August 11, 2014

Personal List: 5 Mario Power-Up That Didn't Quite Catch On

Hey, look! I'm back. Yaaaaaaaaaaay!!!
Anyway, you know what I love? Some good ol' platformers. My biggest soft spot is probably for the Mario franchise, with its often fascinating gameplay, universes, and of course, the power-ups. Nothing is quite as satisfying as that classic sound of when Mario gulps down a Super Mushroom and your NES goes "Frrump-rump-rump" or whatever the sound was (it's hard to describe in words, but dear God was it satusfying). However, I am not here today to talk about the classics; I'm here to talk about that ones that, regardless of if they have a plce in our hearts, didn't quite catch on for the future installments. These are my top 5 favorite power-ups that didn't catch on.

5. The Frog Suit - Super Mario Bros. 3
Possibly the most unloved Mario power-up of all time, the Frog Suit enabled Mario to swim efficiently underwater with the downside of being pathetically slow on land. Unfortunately, since World 3 is the only world that predominantly features water (and with many levels being on-land whilst chased by angry bloated pufferfish), it became a scarcely-used and inferior power-up when compared to more beloved SMB3 ones such as the Raccoon Suit, Tanooki Suit, and Kuribo Boot, which even though only featured in one level (I think) became a beloved item, so popular it reappeared in Paper Mario: Sticker Star and donned blades in Super Mario 3D World as ice skates.

4. Bunny Ears - Super Mario Land 2
I often like to consider Super Mario World and its sequel to be oddballs in the Mario series. Perhaps this is because they were developed by Grunpei Yokoi instead of Miyamoto, but they both came out as black sheep. The first brings you to the land of Tatanga, where an evil alien has kidnapped Princess Daisy. In the sequel, you are instead off the defeat Mario's villian and anti-hero, Wario and reclaim Mario's mansion. While the first gave Mario a feather as an alternative to the Fire Flower, this was only because it was impossible to show the traditional Fire Mario who had a different color scheme but the same sprite. However, SML2 did introduce a brand new power-up, the Bunny Ears, which allowed Mario to carefully flutter to the ground to help coordinate falls. It hasn't appeared since, but as  nod to Rabbit Mario, in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, when Mario puts on the Bunny Hood, he turns into his rabbity form unlike the other characters.
3. P-Balloon - Super Mario World
The dreaded P-Balloon. It does not forgive. It does not forget. It refuses to grieve the many deaths you shall encounter while under its evil curse.
Perhaps the rarest power-up in Super Mario World, grabbing it causes Mario (or Luigi) to swell up like a hot air balloon. Other than arousing paraphiliacs, Mario floats in the air for a temporary time before plummeting back to the ground to uncertain doom.
It is most notorious for its appearance in the mind-numbing, infuriating level "Tubular" in which you float past Chargin' Chucks and death traps.
It sucks. Thankfully, we haven't seen it since.

2. Blue Shell - New Super Mario Bros.
One of my personal favorites, the Blue Shell is possibly the most recent power-up in the main series to not appear in future installments. While it may cause Yoshi to fly in Super Mario World and wreck havoc in Mario Kart, it only appears as a full-fledged power-up in NSMB. Picking it up causes Mario to slip into the shell and roll across the floor like a shuffleboard if he runs for a few seconds. While it is a pain in levels with tons of steps, it is pure fun when you can just glide across levels, knocking out Goombas like glorified bowling pins.

1. The Hammer Suit - Super Mario Bros. 3
Oh, Hammer Suit. How could it not be at number one? The beloved SMB3 power-up is notoriously hard to obtain, but worth all the ordeals. It grants Mario the ability to throw hammers just like those pesky Hammer Bros. There is simply no explaining how amazing it is; imagine a unicorn with ten kittens on its back flying under a double rainbow. Double that by ten and that's how effing awesome this guy is.

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