November 26th, 2008


Mario Suits Up

Here's a post I actually wrote a few days ago, but hadn't gotten around to posting yet.

As I'm sure pretty much all of you know, Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced three magic suits (Frog, Tanooki, and Hammer) that allowed Mario (or Luigi) to gain new powers. I kind of have to wonder why the Hammer Suit makes you fireproof when you duck, when the same doesn't seem to be the case with the actual Hammer Brothers. Maybe they're just too busy throwing hammers to bother ducking into their shells. I've also heard that a Centaur Suit and Toad Suit were both considered, but rejected. The former sounds like it might have given Mario more speed and more jumping and stomping ability, but I really have no idea what the latter would have done. In SMB2, Toad's main ability is to be able to pull up vegetables really quickly and carry items without slowing down, which wouldn't have been of much use in SMB3. The fact that all the Mushroom People are called "Toads" in the more recent games is confusing anyway, since: 1) that's a word that makes me think of amphibians, not mushrooms; and 2) one of them is NAMED Toad. Then again, Yoshi is a Yoshi, and my family had a cat named Cat, so maybe I don't have room to complain.

I don't think the suit idea continued into later games, but I'm sure the designers could have come up with some interesting ideas. What about a Ghost Suit, which lets you pass through walls? Or maybe a Boss Bass suit? Maybe they could have paid tribute to other video game heroes, with a Pac-Man Suit to enable chomping enemies, and a Hedgehog Suit that would give Mario a burst of speed. I also remember coming up with some non-suit power-ups when I was younger, including an icicle that allowed Mario to freeze enemies, and a pear that made Mario unable to fall into pits. I'm not sure the latter would really work out in gameplay, but it's never seemed entirely fair that there was a way to become invincible to enemies and hazards, but not to pits.