Killing Bowser: Defeating Super Mario Brothers Wii

Maybe this isn’t the most culturally sensitive title to use on Easter Sunday, but I go with what I have. Over the past month or so, I’ve taken some time almost every day for myself. That time includes playing Super Mario Wii with the sound off and listening to podcasts.

Super Mario Wii victory lap

Romantic victory lap on Super Mario Wii

I borrowed Super Mario Wii from a friend. We used to play together, drinking wine at the same time, and there was one session in which we finished zero boards, probably due to the grape. His Wii died, so he let me borrow the game. I played it solo all the way through the eight levels.

What makes Super Mario Wii unique in the series is that you can play as one of four players, Mario (the original), Luigi (the jealous brother), and two of the toad characters (we weren’t properly introduced).

The Mario story is pretty standard. You see an introduction in which the perpetually “Will they or won’t they?” Mario/Princess couple gets broken up by Bowser, the bad guy, and his minions. I’m not sure when they introduced Bowser’s son, which makes one wonder what Bowser and the princess were up to during their long wait for Mario to dump him into the lava pit.

Every level is fairly standard. You have to get through two or three boards before either a castle (each level has two) or a ghost house, after which you can save. There is an option to save between these levels. I did it once, turned off the game, and my save point was lost. It’s frustrating to get to that last level and die a couple dozen times, knowing you have to leave your Wii on with that constant whirring of the CD-like disc as you’re watching TV.

Let’s get to the basics.

You start as “little Mario”. Note that little Mario is the default and he’s about half the size of the princess. We’re all familiar with the power-up to “big Mario”, the fire, the ice, and the star that makes you immortal for a limited amount of time. In this game, you get a helmet option that allows you to fly if you shake the controller correctly. There’s a “mini Mario” which makes you smaller, jump higher, and I never enjoyed this version of the character. There’s the Penguin mode which puts you in a penguin suit and you have the same abilities as the ice dude but you can slide on your belly and yes, the game has utility for that skill set.

In each board, you have a few goals. The first one is to get through and advance. As usual there’s a flag at the finish of the board and if you manage to jump to the top, you get an extra life. There’s a “save point” in the middle that lets you skip part of the board. Note that if you change levels and go back, that save point is unsaved. There are coins, as usual, plus three big coins and if you get them all, you get special bonus scenes to help you through the game.

Go to the toad houses. There are one or two of these per level. Inside, you climb up and hit big question marks. On the other side of the question mark is an icon. You have to get a matching pair of icons to “win”, and if you get a matching pair of Bowser or his kid, you are finished. There are also 1 Up houses, which let you shoot yourself through a cannon to hit “balloons” that represent extra lives and there are star houses that give you the star icon (not terribly useful).

Here are some easy tips to win:

Don’t stock up a ton of lives. Once you get to a save point, you can die all the way to zero and you get to refresh your toad house stock. I found that going to the second board on the second level allowed you to gain lives (I liked to get up to about ten). There are a ton of coins in that realm.

Get tons of mushrooms. In the sixth level, between two boards you get hit by one of those flying anvils and go to a “bonus board” in which you win three red mushrooms and occasionally extra lives by advancing. You can play those boards over and over and it’s good to start the harder boards as “big Mario”.

When you’re going against the boss (you get minions until the final showdown with Bowser), try to have the ability to throw fire. You have to jump on the head of the minion three times to advance, and shooting at him is much easier.

Use the internet: There were two showdowns with Bowser Junior in which I had to check out youtube videos to figure out how to advance. It’s not always easy.

How do I rate the game

I compare this game to two of my favorites, Da Blob and Rayman Origins. Both of the latter games have better music (hence the podcasting and putting the audio down to 0) and are more fun games. Mario was tough at times, and I’m sure I died 50 times before winning the final board. It was frustrating, feeling like you made the right move and you hit the wrong button at the wrong time. Maybe it was because I played with one controller and my nunchucks are getting old/wearing down. It was fun, but I’ll probably not go back and try it from the start/try to get all of the coins and bonus items.

Random notes:

— If you die on a board more than eight times, you get the option to have “super Luigi” show you how to finish. Poor Luigi, will he ever get a girlfriend?
— Will the princess ever get to save Mario? You can play as her on the Mario Kart games but otherwise she’s sitting in her gilded cage.
–Super Mario 64 is probably my favorite game of the series, not that I’ve played a lot of them. We played it in the second house I lived in in Atlanta, and my brother’s girlfriend (now wife) was pissed when I copied her saved game so I could take out Bowser. The 3D aspect of the game blew our minds.

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