Super Mario RPG Single Character Challenge FAQ

I. Introduction

Hello and welcome to my FAQ on the Super Mario RPG Single Character Challenge.
The goal is quite simple. In this challenge, the player shall beat the game by
only using one character. Which character to choose is entirely up to the
player. There are a few rules, and they are as such:

1. In battle, only the chosen character may take action. The other characters
must use either of the two effectively useless items Goody Bag or Mystery Egg.
Before these items are obtained, the other characters must defend every turn.
You may make no effort to heal or stat increase the other party members either
in or out of battle. The other characters may not equip anything at all. They
may only be healed as part of full party restoration outside of battle from
either Mushrooms in chests or a stay at an inn. To be clear, this includes the
"Run" command. Only the single character may attempt to flee from battle for
the party. This also includes timed defense. You must not press a button to
guard with other characters. Just let them take the full hit. Both of these are
inconvenient, and nobody is watching. You can cheat if you want, but don't brag
about your accomplishment if you cheat during the challenge!

2. Priority for other party members must be given to those with the worst
defenses. Mallow shall always be in the party, and if another dummy character
must be chosen, it shall be Toadstool. Geno is also fine as the second
character depending on levels and such; just don't use Bowser.

3. The following items are simply too good and are banned in order to maintain
a fair challenge: Super Suit, Attack Scarf, Star Egg, Lazy Shell (armor), Red
and EXP Booster.

4. Before the single character is obtained, the game may be played in any
manner that the player chooses. Levels should be kept reasonably low. This
obviously does not apply if your single character is Mario.

5. There are two boss fights in which exceptions must be made. These are the
Bundt and Valentina boss fights. In the second stage of the Bundt fight, the
candles on the cake must be extinguished by using a physical attack against
them. At the end of every round, one is re-ignited, and Bundt attacks. Clearly,
one character fighting alone cannot possibly win as his work is undone every
round. For this fight, the player may equip the other two characters with armor
and use them to clear the second form. The single character must still be the
only one to take action during the first and third stages of the fight, and
once the third stage begins, the other characters may no longer be healed.

As per Valentina, the problem is that one character is abducted by Dodo at the
start of the fight. This character must battle Dodo alone, and then the other
two party members must fight Valentina. Once both have taken enough damage, the
two parties shall reunite. The single character must remain in battle with
Valentina as this is the much harder battle. Do not place the single character
in the middle of your formation upon entering this battle. For the purposes of
fighting Dodo, a character of your choice may be equipped and placed in the
middle slot of the party. After the two groups reunite, this character may no
longer take action or be supported.

I know those rules can sound intimidating and somewhat contrived, but it really
does lead to a very interesting and fun challenge. I can personally verify that
this can be completed with every character without power leveling. I would not
suggest this to someone who has yet to complete the game, and, as such, I will
be spoiling the game's plot randomly throughout the guide. If you do not wish
to be spoiled, just stop reading right now, beat the game normally, and then
come back.

II. Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Table of Contents
III. Meet the Characters
IV. General Tips
V. Walkthrough
VI. Jinx
VII. Culex
VIII. Other Challenges
IX. Contact and Credits

III. Meet the Characters

Yes, yes, we all know who the characters are.  We have Mario, Mallow, Geno,
Bowser, and Toadstool. However, how well do you really know them? This is not
going to be some lame plot driven explanation. Prepare yourselves for a real
analysis from a gameplay perspective.

1. Mario

Mario is character you begin the game with and is also quite possibly the best.
He has average stats all around with a well above average physical attack, and
his Jump line of spells is incredible. However, he has no real options beyond
all out attacking when it comes to his spells, and as such, he must rely on
items for support in any battle that he cannot quickly win.

As a solo character, Mario should do extraordinarily well against bosses due to
his obscenely powerful single target attacking options. However, against
generics, he is, for the most part, confined to single target attacking which
will cause him to take a good amount of damage. A Mario challenge should always
keep a healthy supply of Mushrooms in the inventory. For the stronger bosses,
Energizers, Bracers, and Yoshi-Ade could prove to be a great help. Mario is
very conservative in terms of FP use so you will not need to carry many syrups.

In terms of equipment, Mario has great options. He gets new, powerful weapons
frequently. Most of these are pretty standard, but his Masher and Lazy Shell
weapons deserve special note. These are both very powerful when you get them,
but they have the quirk of having a large degree of random damage variance.
This is not bad as it helps as often as it hurts, but just know that they are
not reliable. His armor is "tier 1" which means that it gives higher bonuses
than some other characters get. He gets a few unique accessories, but the only
one which is interesting to us is the Jump Shoes. The Jump Shoes give a few
minor stat boosts, but more importantly, they allow his Jump type spells to be
effective against all enemies. This is incredibly handy, and, as such, the Jump
Shoes should be equipped for most of the game.

Mario's Jump special is, in my opinion, the best special in the game. It seems
weak at first with a mere 25 magic power, but for every two times it is used,
the power increases by 1, ultimately capping out at 152 magic power! 255 uses
seems like a lot, but if Jump is used constantly with Mario as the only
character attacking, this number is very obtainable fairly early in the game.
For only 3 FP, there is really no reason not to spam this technique. This is
what makes a Mario challenge so fast paced and overall easy.

Fire Orb, on the other hand, is not so good. If you are very good at the timing
command, you can deal more damage than the low 20 magic power would seem to
suggest, but except for very early in the game, it cannot compete with Jump
for damage. However, very early in the game is the time at which Fire Orb's 5
FP cost will be the most restrictive. Jump Shoes allow Jump to be effective
against otherwise resistant enemies so the different element is no aid. Still,
Fire Orb is invaluable against one particular early game boss who is weak to
fire so you cannot completely disregard this special.

Super Jump is another great special. 45 magic power is not so bad, and the
damage builds up quite a bit as you bounce over and over again. In order for it
to be stronger than a maxed out Jump in general, you will need about 50
bounces. If you are unable to do this, stick with Jump. Jump is also less time
consuming and overall easier to do. Jump's lower FP cost is also attractive.
Ultimately, which you use in a difficult situation is up to play style, but
both are great choices. It should be noted that the game caps the number of
bounces at 100.

Super Flame is useless. 9 FP is beginning to get expensive, and there is no
way you can press the button enough times to keep up with Jump and Super Jump.
You might as well forget that Mario even learns this useless special.

Ultra Jump is Mario's last good special. Against a single target, it is an
improved version of Super Jump. You need, on average, about 30 bounces to equal
a maxed out Jump. However, against multiple targets, Mario will randomly spread
out the damage. If you are very, very good at bouncing, this can be beneficial,
but in general, it is a detriment as no enemy will be hit enough times to equal
fatal damage. This really limits the versatility of Ultra Jump. 11 FP cost is
also unpleasantly high, but it is bearable. It should be noted that, as with
Super Jump, the game will not allow you to bounce over 100 times.

Ultra Flame is to Ultra Jump as Super Flame is to Super Jump. That being said,
Ultra Flame is completely useless. 14 FP cost certainly does not help.

Overall, Mario's challenge is very fast paced and easy.

2. Mallow

Mallow joins the cause very early, but unlike Mario, he is not so good. He is
an all out mage which is a fairly limiting role. Needing FP in order to be able
to function well is bad. His rather horrible HP and defense will leave him
needing to heal more often than all of the other characters. However, here is
where his first bright point comes. He learns a healing spell at level 3.
One big issue to note is that, for much of the game, Mallow will be limited to
"thunder" elemental spells for attacking. Therefore, enemies that resist
thunder can only be killed by his mediocre physical attack. Expect many long
battles in Mallow's challenge.

Mallow's ability to heal renders Mushrooms obsolete. Do not carry Mushrooms in
your inventory in Mallow's challenge. Syrups are a better investment, and as 
such, Mallow should keep a healthy supply. Running out of FP is death, and
syrups are cheap. Be sure to never let yourself run out of FP. Later in the
game, Mallow will find Bracers mandatory for boss battles with Energizers being
potentially helpful. Yoshi-Ade is the best for this purpose, of course.

One good point about Mallow is that he gets good equipment. While none of
Mallow's weapons are particularly special, they all give decent boosts. He has
"tier 1" armor just like Mario so he is at least well protected. He does not
get anything special as per accessories, but due to his reliance on specials,
he will especially favor the Wake Up Pin and Safety Ring. His ultimate weapon
is in the 6 door section of Bowser's Castle, but luckily, it is not in a battle
room.

Mallow's Thunderbolt special is your salvation early in the game. It is weak in
general, but earlier on, it will be decent. The fact that it hits all enemies
will make random encounters early in the game very easy indeed. It eventually
gets too weak to be your first line of defense, but at the low FP cost of 2, it
never becomes completely useless.

HP Rain is the central spell to Mallow in this challenge. I won't lie to you; a
lot of bosses come down to using this every turn until they run out of FP. 2 FP
for a very large portion of your health recovered is a great deal. I mean, it's
healing! Obviously it's great.

Psychopath is great novelty. When you time it, you see some funny lines. Alas,
it is not practically useful in any serious capacity. However, if you are
really curious about a boss's remaining health and have a spare turn, it does
not hurt to check.

Shocker is your big single target attack. 60 magic power is fairly strong after
all. 8 FP is a bit too high to spam, but it will let you eliminate some
otherwise scary bosses very quickly.

Snowy is a handy, if limited, spell. It does fairly decent, though hardly
great, ice damage to all targets. Ice is a very exotic attacking element, and
this is a boon in some fights. It can help against potent groups of generic
enemies, but 12 FP is a bit much. Don't get me wrong; Mallow will find this
very useful. It's just not quite as awesome as Shocker.

Star Rain is a spell you won't be using much. The main reason for this is that
Mallow does not learn Star Rain until level 18. Star Rain gains 15 magic power
in exchange for costing 2 more FP and losing the ice element in comparison to
Snowy. It's useful against late game generics against whom Snowy was not
adequate. Otherwise, it's no big deal. On a positive note to the player, Star
Rain is easier to get a perfect timing on than Snowy, and it gets a 2X
multiplier.

Overall, Mallow's challenge tends to be very slow paced with a lot of spell
spamming.

3. Geno

Geno joins up right at the start of the Bowyer boss fight, and right from the
start you notice that he does not seem as durable as you might hope. As the
game goes on, it gets better, but his lack of defenses will be your single
biggest concern for most of this challenge. Geno lacks self healing, but he
does have the distinction of being the only character who can boost his stats
without the aid of an item. Geno Boost is learned early, and it is the central
special for this challenge. Geno also has the good fortune of being offensively
powerful, and his wonderful 30 speed comes in handy frequently.

Geno excels at killing enemies with his basic melee attacks so syrups are not
really needed, but if you choose to carry and use them, you will be rewarded
as Geno can use his FP to wipe out generics very efficiently. Mushrooms are
obviously a must as they are your only source of healing. Geno does not need
buffing items of any sort so he can either dedicate more room to standard
healing items or try to take advantage of his speed to use item attacks at the
start of generic encounters. Yoshi Cookies are especially handy, and he can use
them in combination with the Zoom Shoes and Work Pants to harvest Kerokerocola
from Shy Rangers far before any other character can easily acquire
Kerokerocola.

Unfortunately, Geno has second rate equipment. His weapons give lesser boosts
than those that Mario, Mallow, and Toadstool have, and his armor is "tier 2".
Other than feeling sorry about it, there's not a whole lot the player can do
about this, but it does extend the usefulness of the universal armor Work Pants
on Geno. As per accessories, Geno will be a big fan of the Safety Ring. His
poor durability was a problem for him from the beginning, and that protection
against those specials is handy. Earlier on, Geno will put more consideration
into the Amulet than most. He can afford the speed drop, and he really will
like the defensive bonuses it provides. Also, Geno has the unfortunate problem
of his ultimate weapon being in the 6 door section of Bowser's Castle in one of
the combat areas. It will not be easy to obtain.

Geno Beam is a fairly solid special. It is not particularly powerful, but it is
not really weak, and 3 FP is a cheap cost. With perfect timing, the power can
be doubled as well so it really is quite solid. Geno mostly favors his physical
attack over this, but against his defensive enemies, Geno is very thankful for
this. Also, while Geno does tend to rely on his physical later in the game,
early in the game, he will use this as his main method of attack. The earlier
half of the game is not a difficult time for Geno, and this is largely the
reason.

Geno Boost is your bread and butter. For 4 FP, you boost both your attack and
defense. Boosting is very powerful in this game; it roughly multiplies all
damage output by 1.5 and cuts all damage you take in half. That's very, very
good. This will be your first move in every boss fight, and against any generic
you can't quickly and easily defeat, this will also be your first move. There
is no limit to the usefulness of this special.

Geno Whirl is an interesting special. It seems weak at first, but if you score
a timed hit, it does 9999 damage. Obviously, this does not work on most bosses,
but it is very handy against stronger generics. It also does happen to work on
Exor so Geno has one fewer late game boss to worry about than everyone else. I
won't claim this is ridiculously useful as 8 FP is a bit pricy for what it
does, but it certainly does help from time to time. I have been informed that
some people find timing this special difficult. Press "Y" soon after the blast
moves off-screen.

Geno Blast is limited in use like most spells like it, but it can be a handy
generic killer. Like Geno Beam, you can double its power with perfect timing so
it's a bit stronger than it might seem. You can use it to take out groups of
generics, and it's handy against a few bosses. In the end, it's definitely very
average.

Geno Flash is not so handy. You learn it very late in the game, and it is not
much of an improvement over Geno Blast. The 16 FP cost tied to it makes it the
most expensive special in the game, and the effect is certainly not the best.
You might find it handy in working toward Geno's ultimate weapon, but for other
purposes, just forget this special.

Overall, Geno's challenge tends to be very offensively oriented with lots of
focus on stat boosting.

4. Bowser

Bowser is a very unfortunate character. Many new players see his power and
instantly grow to love him. However, in truth, he is a very weak character.
Many experts view him as the game's worst character. His HP and defense are
indeed solid though not really incredible, but his poor weapons make his attack
merely average. He has almost no magical abilities at all, and that includes
the very pivotal magic defense stat. Bowser is also the game's slowest
character so get used to going after the enemy frequently.

Bowser will want Mushrooms in droves, and he'll crave for the Max Mushrooms
early due to his high HP. Syrups are not particularly useful for him; he will
rely almost exclusively on his melee attack for damage. Having some FP for
Terrorize is handy so maybe carrying a single syrup for an unexpected FP
shortage wouldn't be a bad idea. Like most characters, he will be happy to have
stat boosting items as well.

In terms of equipment, Bowser is a catastrophe of a character. His weapons are
very weak, and his armor gives useless boosts. For almost the whole game, you
will want to keep the Work Pants equipped. Only once you obtain the Heal Shell
in Bowser's Keep will you want to consider removing those Work Pants. For
accessories, he will really love the Amulet and Safety Ring as they reduce the
threat of magic attacks, and magic attacks are very bad news for Bowser in
general. In terms of killing generics, Bowser will also be a bigger fan than
most of the Troopa Pin. His ultimate weapon is behind a battle room in the 6
door section of Bowser's Castle. It also happens to be the one that ends with
one of those unpleasant fake treasure chest enemies, but at the very least, he
does not have to face the 6 Shaman party. Since he relies on his physical
attack so much, he will really want to obtain the Drill Claw.

Terrorize is Bowser's only good special. It's weak and costs 6 FP which isn't
really cheap, but it has a chance to inflict fear. The enemy being under fear
is basically the same thing as you having both boosted attack and defense. Be
sure to take full advantage of Terrorize whenever the enemy is both vulnerable
to fear and not easy to defeat. This is also your cheapest option to kill Dry
Bones which is important to keep in mind. One last note is that it has a 90%
chance of inflicting fear, but enemies with higher magic evasion stats (an
obscure, hidden stat that pretty much is only used to determine this) will be
frightened less often.

Poison Gas is useless. Poison is a weak status ailment, and the actual damage
from the special is pathetic. Just forget that Bowser even learns this. I
suppose I'm obligated to inform you that the likelihood of poisoning the enemy
works the same way that fear did on Terrorize. Of course, even if you always
poisoned them, this would still be useless. As I said, forget this special.

Crusher is actually just a more FP costly, non-elemental version of Shocker. It
sounds good, right? The bad news is that you use Bowser's pathetic magic attack
stat. You'll actually be using this against enemies with very high physical
defense, but in general, you should try to avoid it.

Bowser Crush is a very sad special. By mechanics it's a slightly weaker version
of Geno Flash, but then you remember that you're using Bowser's magic attack
stat. Refrain from using Bowser Crush.

Overall, Bowser's challenge tends to be all about trading blows and having the
resources to survive it.

5. Toadstool

Toadstool is the last character to join your party, and she is the other
candidate for the title of the best character. She has a wide array of healing
techniques, and none of her stats are bad. Unfortunately, her focus on healing
gets to be a bit much when she plays by herself. Her great ability to support
the party is useless when you're not allowed to use the rest of the party, and
she finds her lone offensive options very limited. With Toadstool, battles will
not be questions of if you can win. They will be questions of when you will
finally win.

Toadstool will want mostly Syrups in her inventory, but stat boosting items are
always good. To speed up battles, Toadstool will especially favor Energizers.
Don't even think about carrying Mushrooms with her; that would be very foolish.
On an interesting note, Toadstool is the only one who can upgrade the Mystery
Egg to the Lamb's Lure and the Sheep Attack. This can quickly end battles, but
you will not gain experience. Do it if you want, but it is not really worth the
effort since you can always run away the ordinary way. Also, item attacks are
extra useful for Toadstool so it would be wise to carry a few Fire Bombs and
Ice Bombs.

Toadstool does at least get some very solid equipment. Her weapons give good
boosts, and her armor is "tier 1". She also has a unique ultimate weapon in the
Frying Pan. It is more powerful than standard weapons, but it has a greater
degree of random damage. Regardless, Toadstool will want to have it as soon as
possible and will want to use it constantly. As per accessories, she can heal
status effects with Therapy so she has no concern about enemies that just
inflict poison and fear. That frees her up to use stuff like the Rare Scarf in
a few cases.

Therapy is by far the best spell Toadstool gets for this challenge. It heals
her either fully or very close to it, and it cures her of status effects. Many
battles will come down to just using this every other turn while slowly wearing
down the foe. Really, there is no limit to the usefulness of healing.

Group Hug is one of the best specials in the game ordinarily, but healing your
allies is against the rules. This special is totally useless in this challenge.

Sleepy Time can be handy if you can get 16 rotations. You get to put all foes
to sleep, and at 4 FP, it's a very cheap special. Sleep is a useful ailment; it
renders the enemies helpless until you choose to strike. Use of this is
certainly optional, but it does not hurt.

Come Back is also useless in this challenge. If your allies die, you are not
allowed to revive them. For obvious reasons, it is impossible to revive
yourself.

You can just forget about Mute. For one, there's the minor detail about it
locking the game against enemy parties of 6 if you get the perfect timing. That
aside, blocking the enemy from casting is hardly a fantastic ailment.

Psych Bomb is like so many other target all specials. It comes too late, and
the effect is not so great anyway. It is somewhat handy as it is her only
offensive spell, but don't expect to get a lot out of it. The good news is that
it will not wake up enemies you put to sleep with Sleepy Time.

Overall, expect Toadstool's game to be very tedious but also very easy.

IV. General Tips

This section is here to tell you a few things that every challenge player
should know. Memorize all of this before starting, or at the very least use
this as a reference.

Flower Tabs, Flower Jars, and Flower Boxes not only increase your maximum FP,
but they also totally refill your FP. A good strategy is to not use them until
you are low on FP so you can use many FP consuming moves while transversing
dungeons. Be sure to use them all before any boss fight as you cannot use them
while in battle, and running out of FP against a boss while you have flower
items in your inventory is somewhat ridiculous.

Stat boosts do not stack, and they are considered a status effect. The "Attack
Up" status effect can be inflicted by getting an "Attack Up" flower from a
defeated enemy, using Geno Boost, equipping the Troopa Pin or Quartz Charm, or
using the items Energizer, Power Boost, or Yoshi-Ade. "Defense Up" can be
inflicted by getting a "Defense Up" flower from a defeated enemy, using a timed
Geno Boost, equipping the Ghost Medal or Quartz Charm, or using the items
Bracer, Crystalline, or Yoshi-Ade. "Attack Up" causes all of your attacks,
physical, magical, and item, to do about 1.5 times as much damage. "Defense Up"
causes you to take about half damage from all attacks. The enemy can gain these
status effects by using Vigor Up! for an attack boost or Valor Up for a defense
boost. If any character or enemy in battle has the fear status effect, all
damage calculations will act as though the opposite party has both "Attack Up"
and "Defense Up". Fear has priority over status changes; the two do not stack.
If you have the "Attack Up" or "Defense Up" statuses and then become feared,
they will do nothing as long as the fear persists. If you are cured of fear,
you will then regain the benefits of your boosted stats without having to boost
them again. Also, the status effect of mushroomization and the defend command
in battle both cause the game to treat your character as under the "Defense
Up" status. Lastly, the enemy special Shredder removes "Attack Up" and "Defense
Up" from all your characters. This is very dangerous, but only Culex and
Smithy's Invincible Head know this technique. If you were gaining your stat
boost from a piece of equipment and have Shredder used on you, the stat boost
will be gone and will not come back unless you use an item or Geno Boost.

Be sure to grab every Flower and frog coin you can during the main course of
the game. I'll point out the location of each and every one of them during the
walkthrough. Having a lot of FP makes the game a lot easier, and frog coins are
somewhat tedious to harvest at endgame. It is best to get what you can on your
way.

When leveling up, be sure to follow "the rotation". If your level is divisible
by three, choose attack as your level up bonus. If it is one less than a number
divisible by three, choose magic attack. If it is one more, choose HP. This is
important as every character in a single character challenge will need to use
all of their stats. Even Bowser needs his magic, and even Mallow needs his
physical attack. However, it might be worth it to take attack on the levels at
which Bowser would ordinarily take HP. He only gains 3 HP on the big HP levels,
and 1 attack and 1 defense is overall probably worth more than that. Still, HP
is valuable, and Bowser already did take too much damage from magical attacks.
Likewise, Toadstool could consider dropping her magical levels for HP as she
gets a fairly healthy 5 HP bonus even when HP is not the big level up, but you
could argue the benefits. You also should never select HP if your character is
over level 20 with the possible exception of Bowser, but this guide will assume
that your final level against Smithy is level 20. Therefore, the reduced gain
of HP at those high levels is of no importance. This guide will also assume
that you religiously follow the rotation. You might be able to gain slightly by
violating it, but be sure you know what you are doing. Otherwise, you might get
stuck late game against an unwinnable boss and be forced to power level.

Timing is everything! If you can't get a timed hit on your attacks nearly every
time, battles will be a lot harder. If you have trouble timing a certain
special, stop by a save point and practice a bit. Timing commands are easy
after you have done them a few times, and this guide will assume that you are
doing the boosted damage. Timed defense is a bit harder. Enemy attacks have a
wide variety of animations, and to make things even more complicated, some
attacks are unblockable. It is nearly impossible to perfectly defend against
all attacks, but do your best to guard as much as possible. On that note, there
are two kinds of timed hits with both attacks and defense. Correct timing will
cause some extra damage and reduce the damage the enemy does. Perfect timing
does even more extra damage and will totally nullify all damage the enemy does.
Strive for perfect timing; it will save your life many times over. Also,
getting freebies from item usage is a timing command. Try to press the button
just as the item finishes being used. It's not easy to do, but getting free
items helps a whole lot.

Status effects last three turns, and this works both ways. Don't freak out if
you get mushroomized, and remember to use Terrorize again when the fear wears
out.

On specials that require you to rotate the control pad to achieve the timing
command, that would be Snowy, Terrorize, Poison Gas, Sleepy Time, and Mute, you
should repeatedly hit left and right instead of actually rotating. The way the
game counts rotations makes that the most efficient way to get as many as
possible.

Some of you will want a recommendation about which character to use. Well,
I can do that. Mallow and Bowser are the best characters to use in my opinion,
and Geno is pretty good too. Mario's challenge is just too easy, and
Toadstool's is just too tedious. Geno's is really sad early in the game, but
it does end up being quite nice later in the game. Of course, the whole thing
is ultimately a personal decision, and this guide will cover all five
characters.

V. Walkthrough

Okay, I'll start by saying that I really shouldn't be writing a section of 
strategy for the section of the game before Mallow joins. I just want this to 
be complete. If you really need this help, you should not be attempting a 
challenge run.

Dungeon 1 - Bowser's Keep 1

Okay, after that lovely introduction, we find ourselves in Bowser's Keep. Now,
the enemies aren't in an experience or coin giving mood today so it would be
wise to not bother fighting. You can if you want; it's not like anything here
is a threat, but it's a waste of time. Anyway, after running forward a bit,
you'll encounter your first forced fight.

Forced Fight - TerrapinX4

Okay, if you don't choose the defend command, it's impossible to lose this 
fight. Anyway, start off by using Jump on three of them, and then take out the
last one with a physical attack. We might as well use all of our FP while in 
Bowser's Keep as that will power up Jump a bit. If you don't feel like it,
well, don't. It hardly matters.

Okay, now we get to run forward a bit more, and we encounter the game's first 
boss. We even get fully healed. It's...

Boss 1 - Bowser

Okay, as you doubtlessly already know, the trick is to attack the Kinklink and 
not Bowser. Two timed Jumps will destroy it. Failing at that, physical attacks 
take it out quickly. If you lose, I really, really suggest trying a different 
game. If you're in the mood to squeeze every bit of Jump power out of Bowser's
Keep as possible, feel free to use Jump once on Bowser before going after
Kinklink.

Now comes the fun part where you get to run back and forth and deal with 
talking. Save without Toad telling you to; it slightly reduces the amount of 
this nonsense you have to put up with. Either way, it ends with you on your way 
to Mushroom Way, and you have 4 Mushrooms as long as you had the prudence to
refuse to listen to that item tutorial. Doing the timing tutorial has no impact
on the game, but it's tedious so I'd skip it.

Dungeon 2 - Mushroom Way

Enemies:

Goomba - Anything kills him.
Sky Troopa - A single Jump kills him.
Spikey - Avoid him as he's quite strong for now. Two timed physicals will take 
him out otherwise.

This place is really easy, but the treasures you can get here will help you for 
later. Also, in terms of fighting, I like to pick on Goombas until I level 
Mario up to level 2. You really don't have to as the next boss is pretty much 
the same at level 1 as at level 2, but it's nice to be a bit stronger.

In the first room, there are two chests. The first has 5 coins, and the second 
has 8 coins. More importantly, Toad seems to have fallen victim to a Goomba. 
Being of the chivalrous sort, you are doubtlessly going to help him. Defeat the 
fearsome group of two Goombas, and Toad will gratefully reward you with a Honey 
Syrup. Hey, that would cost 10 coins otherwise!

The next screen is a bit more important. Kill the Goomba on the flower, and you 
can reach the cliffs. The chest on the southwestern cliff has a valuable 
Flower, and Toad has been abducted again on the northeastern cliff. Save him 
from a Sky Troopa to earn yourself a Flower Tab. Awesome! The other chest in 
this room contains a handy full heal Mushroom. Use it once you feel that you 
are ready for the boss.

On the next screen, avoid the Spineys and rush to the end. Here, you discover 
that Toad has, shockingly, been captured again. This time, you have to deal 
with some Hammer Brothers. Now, you see, this is why being a hero isn't as 
awesome as advertised. You think you're on a quest to rescue a princess, and 
you get stuck fighting battles for some mushroom man.

Boss 2 - Hammer Brothers

Okay, these guys actually can kill you if you're careless and/or enter the 
battle injured. Their "Hammer Time" special is quite strong for this point in 
the game, and if you constantly fail to get timed defense, your health could 
get low. If at any point in this fight you are very injured, use a Mushroom to 
heal. Usually they die before you need to, but there's no sense in redoing 
Mushroom Way over such a cheap and disposable item.

Anyway, start off by using Jump on one of them. If you have powered up Jump a 
lot, it will kill. Odds are that it won't. Continue by using Jump on the other 
Hammer Brother. Then use Jump on either of them, and this will kill. Now the 
survivor will waste his turn using Valor Up. This ordinarily is annoying since 
he now takes half damage, but his health is already low from that Jump! Another 
Jump will finish him nicely just as you run out of FP.

Whew, that wasn't so bad. The bosses were so kind as to drop a valuable Flower 
Jar. 3 FP is really big at this stage of the game. Also, Toad gives you a 
Hammer that formerly belonged to your felled foes. Be sure to equip that; extra 
attack helps. That's it for Mushroom Way; proceed onward and outward to the 
Mushroom Kingdom.

***Mushroom Kingdom***

Okay, the game is on for real now. You can save in the inn if you want; there's 
a minor permanently missable treasure ahead. Either way, head to the palace. 
Toad will run off to meet the Chancellor so do the logical thing and ride on 
his head. Before he goes in the first door, jump onto the ledge above the door 
and then jump around up there to find a hidden chest with a Frog Coin. Frog 
Coins are nice, and this is your only chance to get this one. It's not 
devastating to miss it or anything, but it's annoying to never be able to get 
perfect hidden chest completion because of this one. Anyway, proceed to the 
throne room, listen to the Chancellor's incessant babbling, and walk out of 
there with a Map for your trouble. Before leaving the castle, be sure to stop 
to do some looting. The vault guard will let you into the basement, and he'll 
explain what some common treasures are by giving you them. The chests contain, 
from left to right, 10 coins, a Flower, and a Mushroom. Hey, that's not bad. 
Head to Toadstool's room and inspect to the left of the chair for a somewhat 
funny scene that ends in you getting a free Mushroom. Once you've done all 
this, leave the palace.

Now here's where the whole challenge has a chance to begin. After watching some 
running and (failed) jumping and doing some talking, Mallow joins your merry 
quest. If you're doing the Mallow challenge, rejoice as your hero has arrived. 
If not, well, he does a nice job of lying dead on the floor.

Now is the time to stop by the item shop. Before doing any actual shopping, 
head into the basement to claim the two hidden chests that each have a Flower 
in them. FP is valuable, and getting two of it is always important. The second 
one requires you to jump off the NPC's head in the eastern corner of the room 
if you didn't know. Anyway, talk to the shopkeeper to get yourself a free Pick 
Me Up (2 coins when sold!) and the chance to do some shopping.

Mario - Buy the Shirt and Jump Shoes. Jump Shoes are too useful to pass up.
Mallow - Buy Pants and the Antidote Pin. Spend the rest of your coins on
Honey Syrup.

Anyway, now you can do some more talking, and it all ends with you getting to 
chase down Croco. Onward to the next dungeon!

Dungeon 3 - Bandit's Way

Okay, this place can be serious business if you aren't prepared. Mario 
shouldn't have too much trouble, but Mallow can really get smacked around. Be 
sure to be at level 3 before the boss; Mario does better that way, and Mallow 
has a very likely unwinnable fight at level 2. Even at level 3, Mallow has a
very hard fight.

Enemies:

Goomba - Again, literally anything kills them.
Sky Troopa - There is zero reason to fight them. Jump and Thunderbolt kill if
you do fight them for some strange reason.
Spikey - Mario should OHKO them with the Hammer. Mallow should go for 
Thunderbolt.
Frogog - He's very defensive. Mario needs a Jump to Hammer combo to kill him. 
Mallow should exploit his thunder weakness.
K-9 - Avoid them as you could be forced to fight a very dangerous K-9 + 2 
Frogog group. If you find yourself fighting them, Mario should Jump while 
Mallow should go with the Thunderbolt strategy.

In short, Mario uses the Hammer against the weak and Jump against the strong. 
Mallow just uses Thunderbolt until everything is dead.

At any time, if you are too drained to go on, you can retreat to Mario's Pad 
for a free heal. Anyway, on the first screen of this dungeon, there's nothing 
to do but fight and save. Proceed onward when you've had enough of both.

The second screen at first appears to just be worth 3 coins. That's nice, but 
we can do better. Get on the spinning flower at the end and lead to the purple 
flower. Oh, what's that? Oh my, we seem to have found a free Kerokerocola. This 
is the best healing item in the game; save this thing for later.

The third screen is pretty uneventful. A K-9 guards a chest here, but it just 
contains a Mushroom. Ignore it if you will. Don't fight here if you're fairly 
close to a level up.

Screen 4 of this dungeon is the focal point. Those two chests contain very 
handy items. The one Croco wanted so badly would have spelled the end of your 
adventure for sure if he had gotten it; it's a Star! Snag it and run into as 
many of the K-9 as possible. Mario and Mallow should both level up before the 
star runs out. If they don't, you need to do a little more fighting. The other 
chest here contains a Flower; be sure to get it.

The last screen has the boss, and the chest is a Mushroom to ensure you're at 
full health for the fight. However, before you get to the Croco bashing, be 
sure to check your FP. You should have 19 FP at this point. If you have less, 
you missed something. If you missed Toad's Flower Tab, you're out of luck. If 
you missed something else, go back and get it now! I'd also backtrack to the 
save point and save before this fight; Croco is a much more serious boss than 
the previous two.

If you are Mario, you should be fine as is. If you are Mallow, make sure you go
back to the Mushroom Kingdom and buy as many Honey Syrups as you can afford.
Don't hesitate to sell Mario's Hammer to afford this.

Boss 3 - Croco

Mario strategy - This fight is not too bad really. Croco is weak to fire, and
he even will not take his turn after the first time you use Fire Orb. It should
only take 4-5 uses of Fire Orb to finish Croco off. If your health gets low,
use a Mushroom. You will have to use the Honey Syrup you got from Toad in
this fight, but that should not be a big deal. Enjoy as they will not all be
this easy!

Mallow strategy - Okay, much unlike with Mario, this fight is very hard. It's
very, very hard. You will need luck, and you will need skill. Don't even think
of trying this fight if you are not at level 3 with both Pants and the Antidote
Pin. You will need lots of Honey Syrup in this fight. You could probably skimp
by with 4 of them if you are lucky, but you will want more. Croco has two
attacks. 2/3 of the time he will do his basic physical attack. This will do
10 damage to Mallow, and it can be blocked. Obviously, a standard block will
reduce the damage to 5, and a perfect guard will prevent all damage. 1/3 of the
time he will use his bomb throw attack. This does 15 damage, and it is
unblockable. You will need some luck in this fight as Croco needs to use that
bomb throw attack as seldom as possible. Your only real way of damaging Croco
is to use Thunderbolt. This deals 17 damage. Croco has 320 HP, and once he is
injured enough, he will heal himself with a Weird Mushroom. This heals 60 HP
and causes Croco to skip his next turn. This means that you will have to hit
him with 23 Thunderbolts. All you can really do is attack with Thunderbolt and
heal with Mushrooms when your health gets low. When you run out of Mushrooms,
use HP Rain instead. If at any time you have a turn in which you do not need
to heal and have 10 FP missing, use a Honey Syrup. Depending on your skill with
timed hits and your luck, you may or may not defeat Croco before exhausting
your resources. You can accept using all of your regular items in this fight,
but you will probably want to save the Kerokerocola. As I said earlier, these
will be very rare up to the end of the game, and it's the best healing item in
the game. If you are about to lose, try using it and go for a freebie. If you
get the freebie, press on, but if you don't, reset. Do not be ashamed at all if
you lose this fight as it is quite difficult. The game does get easier after
this, and either way this is a very winnable fight.

After Croco falls, he drops a Flower Tab and a Wallet. The exit to this area
then appears. Jump on the warp, and then head back to Mushroom Kingdom.

Dungeon 4 - Invaded Mushroom Kingdom

What's this? The sky is dark, and there are Shy Guys on pogo sticks everywhere.
Is it a wild party to which we were not invited? Sadly, no. These clowns
decided that it would be a good time to invade the Mushroom Kingdom. Now, we
can't have that so we're going to kick them out. On a related note, we're going
to be sure to exploit this opportunity to get some valuable items and
experience points. After all, isn't that what being a hero is all about?

Enemies:

Shyster - These are the only enemies here. Mallow should use Thunderbolt to
take them out. It will take two to clear a party earlier, but as you level up
you will gain the potential to take them out in one strike. Mario must kill
them one at a time with either two Hammer blows or one Jump.

These enemies are really not hard so you should spend some time fighting them.
You'll want to be at level 4 for sure for the next boss, and if you are feeling
insecure, it would not be a great crime to go to level 5. Personally, I would
suggest fighting all of the "stationary" Shysters. That means that you ignore 
the constant stream of them that travel from the throne room to the town's
southwestern exit, but you fight all the rest.

Start off by clearing out the main body of the town. Mostly you just get
thanks (and 10 coins!), but the blue guy will notice the Wallet you got from
Croco. Apparently this is his Wallet. If you wait to return it to him, you can
get a Flower Jar later. However, returning it now gets you a Flower Tab now. 1
FP now is probably worth more than 3 FP later so I would return it now. You can
also get the Flower Jar later; don't worry about it and just do the right
thing.

Once you've cleared out the main body of the town, head into the house on the 
town's western edge. This house has been invaded by Shysters. Save the people
by slaying all the Shysters to be rewarded with another Flower Tab. Once this
is done, there's not much to do in outside of the castle. You can head to the
item shop at any time to do some shopping, and Mallow will likely want to buy
some more Honey Syrup. Otherwise, head into the castle.

The boss is in the throne room, but there's treasure to be had here. Head to
the eastern side of the castle first, and you'll discover that the vault guard 
has fled to the guest room. Talk with him to receive the Wake Up Pin, a
valuable accessory that will serve you very well on this adventure. Mallow
should equip it immediately, but Mario will just want to hold it in reserve.
The vault's treasures have also been restored so you can get the 10 coins,
Flower, and free heal out of there. After you're done on this side of the
castle, rescue Toad in the central room. He'll thank you and then head off
for Toadstool's bedroom.

Follow Toad and smash all opposition that dare stand before you. There's a fair 
bit of fighting, but in the end you get the chance to assure the scared
mushroom men that you have the situation under control. Doing as such nets you
a Flower Tab. Being funny and telling them they are doomed gets you nothing.
You can also heal by talking to the elderly woman here, and there's a save
point that seems to have materialized since the last time you were here. Either
way, once you have everything and are done fighting in the castle, heal, save,
and head to the throne room for your next boss fight.

Also, be sure you have a few Honey Syrups. Yes, that goes for Mario too. Mario
will actually probably need more. 4 Honey Syrups should be enough.

Boss 4 - Mack

Mario strategy - Start off the fight by using Jump on three of the Bodyguards.
This will prevent Mack from ever leaping from battle, and one Bodyguard who
will quickly run out of FP is no threat. After that, just use Jump on Mack
every turn. You will likely need to use both Mushrooms and Honey Syrups during
this fight as Mack is fairly potent. Still, you should be able to win
relatively simply. Just don't dawdle at the beginning of the fight as Mack will
leap away if you do, forcing you into a long and arduous attrition. However,
even if he does leap away, the fight is still very winnable. In that event,
just use Jump on the first two Bodyguards, two physicals to kill the third, use
the opportunity of just one Bodyguard being in battle to heal if needed, use
two physicals to kill said Bodyguard, and then use Jump on Mack until he leaps
again. Repeat this process until Mack dies. Still, the first method is
certainly much easier so you should just do that.

Mallow strategy - The good news is that Mack is weak to thunder. Well, that 
being said, is there any question as per the strategy? Use Thunderbolt every
turn, and heal with Honey Syrup if you run out of FP. Use HP Rain if you get 
low on HP. Later in the fight, Mack will begin using his turns to replenish his 
Bodyguards. This makes things easier as it's really a waste of his turns.
However, unless you leveled Mallow up to level 5, you will require two strikes
to kill the Bodyguards. If you have a lot of trouble, fight a few extra enemies
and get to level 5. That makes the fight really easy.

Now we get to see some scenes, and we now have the first Star Piece! Awesome, I
always wanted one of those. Anyway, it seems like the next destination is the
Kero Sewers. Before you leave, be sure to stop by the item shop and trade
Mallow's old coin for a Cricket Pie. This lets Mallow actually get a weapon
later, and even if you're not doing Mallow's challenge, this is valuable as the
game won't let you go to Star Hill much later if you don't do this. Hey, it's
better to get it out of the way, right? You should also take this chance to
restock on items. Mario will be very unhappy if he runs out of Mushrooms, and
Mallow is perpetually thirsty for Honey Syrup. Hey, even Mario won't mind
having a Honey Syrup or two lying around the inventory. FP is nice to have.
Anyway, once all that business is finished, head to your next dungeon.

Dungeon 5 - Kero Sewers

Okay, linear is not the best word to describe this place. There are doubtlessly
many ways through this dungeon; I'll be offering the simplest. Feel free to
explore.

Enemies:

Rat Funk - Mario can take him out with physicals; Mallow won't have much 
trouble with Thunderbolt.
The Big Boo - Mario can go with either a physical attack plan or Jump; Mallow 
sticks with Thunderbolt.
Shadow - Mario should definitely use Jump to take these out in one hit. Mallow 
just has to slug away with Thunderbolt.
Hobgoblin - Mario uses Jump, and Mallow uses Thunderbolt.
Goby - Mario will be fine with just physicals; Mallow exploits their thunder
weakness with Thunderbolt.

Yeah, if you didn't notice, you deal with most enemies the same way here. You
don't really need to fight much here; the Star in a chest gives plenty of EXP.
You should be at level 5 for the boss, but if you fought as much as I suggested
in Mushroom Kingdom, it shouldn't be a problem. If you really want to fight,
pick on the fish. They are the easiest enemies here since they don't use status
effects. Mallow especially does well because of Thunderbolt hitting a weakness.

Start off by following Mallow into the pipe, and then take the straight path
onward. In the next room, enter the pipe immediately to your right. From there,
push on straight ahead, and in the next room, you will be able to jump down. Do
so, and then hit the treasure chest in here. Be sure you're ready for a fight.
It's actually an optional boss so I'll include strategies for characters you
don't have yet just in case you wanted to go back and fight it. I would just
beat it right now personally.

Optional Boss 1 - Pandorite

Mario strategy - 2 Jumps should do it in. This is a joke.

Mallow strategy - Okay, I should say right now that you don't really have to
fight this thing. It's very hard right now. It has 300 HP, and it resists
thunder. Yes, that's right. Your only recourse is to rely on pure physicals.
Really, that's the simple plan. Hack away with your physical attack, and heal
with HP Rain as you need to. You will win eventually.

Geno strategy - Geno Beam will very quickly overwhelm it. Heal with Mushrooms
if your health gets bad.

Bowser strategy - You're going to be quite over leveled for this. Really,
any offensive action you take will quickly break this foe. Basic physicals
are the best bet.

Toadstool strategy - Again, you're really over leveled. Just smack it around
with physicals for a fast win.

Defeating this foe will earn you a Trueform Pin and a Flower Jar. You can then
enter and exit the screen to extract 50 coins from the chest. That's pretty
cool. Either way, progress along the only possible path through a bunch of
water until you're back in familiar ground. Then work your way back to where 
you jumped off and instead continue up along the ledges. Be sure to grab the
chest with the Flower on your way. After going through another pipe, you'll be
next to another chest with a Star in it. Grab the Star and kill as many enemies
as you can. You will want to run through the next pipe to the southwest as the
Star lasts, and then rush along through the row of Rat Funks to another pipe.
From here, you'll jump over a Rat Funk to yet another pipe, and then finally
the maze will begin to end. You hit a switch which drains the water, and then 
you go back through the pipe from which you came. Just jump down where the
water used to be, and then exit through the pipe to the south.

Okay, this is the last screen before the boss. Save first, and leave that easy 
to reach chest alone. Lure a Boo to the raised edge in the north edge of the 
room, and jump on it to begin a battle. Then flee the battle and use the Boo as
a platform to reach the higher ledge. The pipe up here leads to Land's End, and
you can't do anything there yet. However, the chest contains a Flower. Don't
worry; it will still contain Cricket Jam when you return here much later in the
game. Either way, jump down and save again. You can use the Mushroom in the
chest if you want, but Mallow players will want Mario to be as injured as
possible before starting the next boss fight. Once you're ready, head through 
the easy to reach pipe and initiate battle.

Boss 5 - Belome

Mario strategy - First of all, be sure to have the Wake Up Pin equipped. Belome
can put you to sleep. Otherwise, the battle plan is simple. Hammer away with
Jump, and Belome will fall very fast. It's neither difficult nor complicated.
It goes without saying that you should heal with a Mushroom if you get very
injured. Well, I guess it has been said, but odds are, the situation will not
occur. Odds also are that you wouldn't be able to either way because Belome
likes to turn you into a scarecrow.

Mallow strategy - Be sure you have the Wake Up Pin equipped, and make sure that
Mario is near death's door entering battle. Start the battle by stalling with
the defend command and HP Rain until Mario is dead. The reason for this is that
if you damage Belome too much while Mario is alive, Belome will swallow Mallow.
Actually, Belome might swallow you anyway. Really, enter the battle with Mario
very near to death. Since you're doing a Mallow only challenge, getting
swallowed is the equivalent of a Game Over. Once Mario is dead, it's very
simple. Fire away with Thunderbolt to exploit Belome's weakness, and heal with
HP Rain if your health gets low. Be sure to heal with Honey Syrups sooner
rather than later as Belome is able to turn you into a Scarecrow which will
disable your ability to use items for a few turns. Just keep hammering away; he
won't last too long.

After that fairly easy boss is fallen, there's a brief cut scene, and you are
thrown onto the Midas River. The Midas River is a minigame you can play to
win some frog coins. Even better, there are some Flowers hidden on the river.
The first game is both free and mandatory so have at it. I'll assume that you
understand the game's rules, and if even if you don't, Toad will explain. The
two flowers are in caves you enter by bumping into the rocks on the falls. The
first one with a flower is to the left after the very first fork, and the other
one is to the very bottom right of the waterfall. The second section of the
Midas River is just barrel jumping, and there's nothing interesting.

Once you finish the river, you'll get the NokNok Shell, a new weapon for Mario.
You can redo the river if you want to earn more frog coins, but there's no
reason to rush into it. You have enough frog coins for now, and this is not a
very efficient way to harvest frog coins in general. Proceed to Tadpole Pond to
continue your quest.

***Tadpole Pond***

There's not a whole lot to do in Tadpole Pond until you speak with Frogfucius
so you should hurry and do that. Just step on the gray stone near the entrance,
and the rest is obvious. Once you're done with all that long talking, including
the shocking revelation that Mallow is not a tadpole, you will be ready to take
care of business around the pond. First of all, talk to Frogfucius again, and
he'll trade your Cricket Pie for a Froggie Stick. This is a weapon for Mallow.
Those doing the Mallow challenge can rejoice as Mallow's physical attack just
improved a fair amount. Even if you aren't doing his challenge, you'll have to
make this trade eventually in order to go to Star Hill much later in the story.

To the left of the entrance, you'll find a few shops. The Frog Coin Emporium
is the first place at which you can spend your frog coins, and the options are
very nice. You can buy Sleepy Bombs for one frog coin, and you can get
Energizers and Bracers for two frog coins. You won't be needing any of these
for quite a while, but you'll be wanting to have Bracers eventually as they
help you survive in boss battles. Buying one now would not be a horrible idea.
The other shop is the Juice Bar. It is ordinarily very useful as it is the
place to go to get the full party healing items. Alas, we have little use for
these. Still, as you complete the Toadofsky side quest on the right side of
Tadpole Pond, it starts selling powerful healing items ahead of your chance to
have equivalent Mushrooms. For instance, if you play this song for Toadofsky
right now, you will be able to buy 80 HP healing Elixirs:

So La Mi Re Do Re Do Re

You can do it or not; you really don't need to do this side quest. It's nice to
do sooner or later anyway as the final drink you can buy is Kerokerocola. On
a related note, if you absolutely cannot win the Yoshi Races and are doing
Mario's, Geno's, or Bowser's challenge, you will need to do this side quest.
As you start to get deeper into the story, Mid Mushrooms will begin to be weak.
If you cannot harvest Yoshi Cookies to get Max Mushrooms, Megalixirs will be a
workable alternative. I would heavily, heavily suggest that you plan on winning
the Yoshi Races as the chance to harvest Max Mushrooms is only the beginning of
the rewards, but that minigame is very hard for some people so I'm noting an
inferior but workable alternative.

Once you are finished with business here, proceed to Rose Way.

Dungeon 6 - Rose Way

I don't even know if dungeon is the right name for this place. There is no
boss, and the whole area is very fast and easy. Still, it's an area with
enemies so I'll treat it seriously. Also, I haven't stressed it yet so I'll
stress it now. Mallow should wear around the Wake Up Pin even though the
Trueform Pin gives better stat boosts. Sleep and Mute are both very bad status
effects for Mallow, and there are enemies here that can do that.

Enemies:

Shy Guy - Mario should Jump on them. Mallow does well with Thunderbolt.
Starslap - Mario is fairly likely to kill in one hit with the NokNok Shell.
Mallow gets to exploit their thunder weakness.
Crook - They are both fast and likely to run so fighting them isn't too likely
to be a serious problem. If you really want to take them down, Mario can easily
kill with a physical, and Mallow should try Thunderbolt. I wouldn't worry about
them.
Arachne - Mario uses Jump, and Mallow uses Thunderbolt. These guys are strong
with high HP, but they have horrible magic defense.
Snapdragon - Mario can use Jump followed up by a physical. Mallow is stuck
using his physical attack. These are really annoying to fight so you should
probably run if there's more than one of them.

You really don't have to fight much here. You will want to be at level 6 for
the next boss, but he isn't until the end of the next dungeon. You can fight a
little now and less later, or you can fight more later. I prefer to do more
fighting here than in the next dungeon, but it's ultimately your choice.

Start off by riding the forced platforms forward, and when given choices, veer 
off to the left. You'll end up in a side room that contains a few Shy Guys
riding platforms. Slay the Shy Guys to be able to claim the frog coin in the
chest. Backtrack to the main room, and then take the first platform switch you 
get to head south to a Flower. Switch platforms again to ride to an exit to the
north.

Follow the only path until you get to ride some more platforms. You can hang
around here to get some free coins, but if you want to leave as quickly as
possible, just switch platforms at the first chance and ride to the next exit.

In the next room, you'll find 5 chests with Shy Guys on top. The top chest
contains a Mushroom; the others all contain 5 coins. Do as you will with them,
and then proceed to the next screen. Watch a bit of a scene with Bowser here,
and then leave Rose Way. Do note that you can return to the screen with all the
chests infinitely for more coins. If you are running low early in the game,
come back and restock. Odds are you will never need to do this, but it's nice
to keep in mind.

***Rose Town***

Things are not well in Rose Town. You witness this firsthand as a random NPC
gets shot in the skull with an arrow. Well, there are a few things to do here.
First of all, enter the item shop via the chimney to get a Flower in a chest.
You can find a frog coin in an hidden chest in the northwest corner of the
shop as well. The next order of business is to do some shopping.

Mario - Trade in your Shirt for a Thick Shirt. Pick up a Fearless Pin for
later.
Mallow - Trade in your Pants for Thick Pants. Sell any Mushrooms you have. Be
sure to snag a Fearless Pin, and equip it for a nice little defense boost.

You get a fairly ludicrous surplus of Mushrooms in the Forest Maze. Yes, you
get actual inventory item Mushrooms. Don't worry about running out of
Mushrooms. Mallow will not be using Thunderbolt to fight the next boss so don't
worry about having a lot of Honey Syrup. You shouldn't have used much since you
last stocked up in the Mushroom Kingdom. This is the last serious dungeon until
you get something better so if you have 3 Honey Syrup, you should not bother
with more.

Geno players who are thinking ahead might be worried about preparing for the
next boss. Don't worry at all. The Mushrooms you find in the Forest Maze are
enough to let you subsist. Picking up a Fearless Pin for later would not be a
terrible idea, but it doesn't matter at all if you get it now or after the
dungeon.

This is obvious, but you can sell equipment for characters you don't use if you
want. Feel free to sell the Froggie Stick if you are not using Mallow, for
instance. I prefer to hold onto all of these things, but they have no use to
you. I won't mention this again.

After this, head to the house in the northwest corner of town. Do not talk to
the man outside. Simply jump off his head into the house, and then take the two
Flowers in the chests. Do not do anything else inside. Simply leave and head to
the inn. The reason you are being so non-interactive is that what you do with
this house changes what the prizes are in a room deep in the Forest Maze. Doing
this is what gets you the best prizes. Either way, that was indeed the last
order of business so head to the inn to see a nice scene that introduces us to
Geno. Hey Geno, why do you have to run off like that? Couldn't you join our
party now?

Dungeon 7 - Forest Maze

First of all, it's time for another FP check. I had 35 FP going into the Forest
Maze. If you have less, that's okay, but if you're missing more than 2 or 3 FP,
you have a problem that you can probably still fix.

Enemies:

Wiggler - There is no reason to fight these guys at all. If you must, Jump and
Thunderbolt are, unsurprisingly, the way to go.
Amanita - Mario can take him out with one physical hit. Mallow should stick to
the Thunderbolt plan, but these are weak so his physicals are not so bad.
Rat Funk - Mario uses his physical; Mallow uses Thunderbolt. Being reused
enemies, they aren't that big of a threat.
Buzzer - A simple physical from Mario or Thunderbolt from Mallow is a sure
thing kill. Unfortunately, they are fast, and they will do their damage before
you can stop them.
Octolot - Mario should be aggressive with Jump while Mallow is stuck with his
old plan of Thunderbolt spamming. These guys are not very friendly.
Guerrilla - These things are somewhat similar to the Arachne on Rose Way. They
are strong, and they have high HP, but their magic defense is pretty horrible.
Punish them with Jump and Thunderbolt.

So, despite the wooded setting, nothing really changes. Mallow is still
abusing Thunderbolt, and Mario is still wanting to rely on Jump. You really
don't need to fight much here. You'll want to be at level 6 for the boss, and
it wouldn't be a crime to do a little extra fighting on top of that. This way,
you'll be about at the same level Geno is when he joins. That's not really
important at all I suppose, but it's a good indicator that you're at an
appropriate level. By the way, if you didn't know Geno joins here, the previous
paragraph contained spoilers.

Anyway, start off your adventure in the forest by grabbing that Mushroom to the
side of the path. There are a lot of Mushrooms like that scattered around the
forest. Sometimes they reveal themselves to be Amanitas, but they are somewhat
more frequently real Mushrooms. Harvest them until your inventory is bulging;
there's no reason not to fill up now. Also, while you're on this screen, jump
in the northwest corner. Surprise, you got a Kerokerocola!

Now, as the name of this place doubtlessly suggested to you, this place is
pretty linear at the start. So just follow the only path until you find
yourself recently emerged from the underground. Run straight left into a corner
and jump to find a hidden chest with a frog coin. There are four more hidden
chests here too; apparently solid wooden chests have a high probability of
being invisible in forests. 

Either way, proceed onward on the only possible path until you are in an area
with seven stumps. Hey, it's not so linear after all! Now, only three stumps
here have anything in them. The bottom right one is our first stop. Head in,
go to the biggest spot of light, and jump around. You will find a chest with
a flower. Now head to the middle left one and jump around in the corner
immediately northwest of the trampoline to find the game's only completely
empty chest. Well, I suppose you don't have to get it, but don't you want the
novelty? Anyway, the last stop is the stump that will let us proceed in the
dungeon. The far back stump contains a sleeping Wiggler. Hop behind him and 
jump around to find a hidden chest with another Kerokerocola, and then smash
into him to be thrown out of the stump while simultaneously revealing a path
deeper into the woods.

Go back to following the only path through this shockingly linear forest until
you come to a save point. The corner to the right of the save point contains a
very rare Red Essence in a hidden chest. These are brokenly cheap items which
appear on the banned item list so sell it. After doing some good old fashioned
saving, head to the next screen which is, shockingly at this point, a maze.
The rest of this dungeon is a maze in which you must follow the correct series
of exits to get anywhere. Start off by exiting via the west, south, south, and
then west exits to reach a hidden item room. The far back chest yields a nice
Mushroom in a chest (you know, the ones that automatically fully heal you), and
the other four chests give up 3 Flowers and a frog coin. Hey, that's pretty
awesome. Retreat back to the save point by going south in the maze, save, and
then enter the forest and follow Geno. You have to exit east the one time you
can't see him. Really, it's pretty simple.

Now, before you finish the whole following Geno thing (you'll know it's the
last one because he'll look shocked), you have to manage your equipment. Mario
and Mallow should both have the Wake Up Pin equipped as the boss here can use
sleep techniques. Also, if you are doing the Geno challenge, it begins now.
Geno automatically joins up at the start of the boss fight before you can go to
the status screen. On that note, if you are doing his challenge, totally
unequip Mario and Mallow before initiating the fight.

Boss 6 - Bowyer

Preface: manipulating the button locking - Bowyer's button locking is really
annoying, but the secret is that it's not random at all. If you follow the
rules of the challenge, it's impossible for him to lock A. Yep, you're assured
the chance to use your physical attack. As per Y versus X, it all depends on
what you do during those two turns between lock switches. I could go into a
long winded explanation, but I'll stick to the short one. If you use either
two physical attacks or one physical attack and one magic attack, Bowyer will
lock Y. Otherwise, he will lock X. Note that "magic attack" does not include
HP Rain. Mallow mostly doesn't need to think about this, but Mario and Geno,
if ignorant of this, will likely perish as they discover that the X button is
perpetually locked. Be sure to use these tactics to unlock X when you need to
use a Mushroom.

Mario strategy - It's all about Jump. Odds are that you'll finish him before
he has a chance to finish with your allies. If you are really comfortable at
getting high numbers of hits, Super Jump wouldn't be a bad choice either. It's
hardly an easy way to win, but it's technically more effective.

Mallow strategy - I have some bad news. Bowyer is immune to Thunderbolt. What
does that mean for the battle strategy? Well, if you can't kill him with
Thunderbolt, you must use your physical. The damage tends to be in the upper
20s with the Froggie Stick which I really, really hope you got when I told you
to. Bowyer has 720 HP. He is not very likely to kill you in this fight at all,
but it will be tedious. Heal with HP Rain if your health gets low, and if you
run out of FP, use some of those Mushrooms you got in the forest. I guarantee
you have enough to spare. There's really nothing else you can do; this is one
of the more boring boss battles. At the very least, it's very easy.

Geno strategy - Blast away with Geno Beam. You have quite poor defense at this
point due to the whole no armor thing. If you let X stay locked for too long,
you could lose. Bolt does massive damage to Geno after all. Heal with Mushrooms
when you can; Bowyer won't take a whole lot of punishment from you at least.
Geno Beam does 60 damage, and your physical will do 30 or 40. That wears out
Bowyer's 720 HP pretty fast. Also, due to Geno's poor defenses right now, you
might want some info about Bowyer's attacks. He will use his physical attack
or the sleep move when Y is locked, and he'll use Lightning Orb, Bolt, or his
physical when X is locked. He won't attack immediately after locking X. Since
Bolt is his only really powerful attack, this is quite good to know. It's only
1/6 when X is locked too which is nice. The bad news is that if you get unlucky
he could lock X and use Bolt all while you're asleep, but that's not likely.
Meh, you had no chance to prepare for this fight. Luck being involved a bit is
natural.

Regardless of who got to do the smashing, Bowyer will leave you a Flower Box,
and after Geno finishes introducing himself and explaining the quest you've
unknowingly been on, you'll get the second Star Piece. Hey, those are pretty
nice to have. Either way, return to Rose Town.

First of all, stop by the inn and speak with Gaz. The bad news is that you have
to listen to more talking. The good news is that he gives you a Finger Shot for
your trouble. This is Geno's first weapon; it will be handy. Also, from now on,
you can stay at the inn in Rose Town for free. It sure beats going all the way
back to Mario's Pad so be sure to take advantage of it.

Buy a Fearless Pin now if you don't have one already. It will be quite helpful
down the road. It's the best defensive accessory you will have for a while
anyway so equip it if you're using Mallow or Geno. Mario should go back to his
Jump Shoes, though the Fearless Pin isn't bad on him either.

Head to the house in the northwest corner of town and let the poor man in.
Admit to your thievery, and he'll reward you with a frog coin. Jump around on
the bed upstairs for another frog coin. Hey, I'm not one to object about 2 free
frog coins. However, that concludes business in Rose Town. Pass over the Pipe
Vault for now and head to Moleville.

***Moleville***

We have exactly one thing to do in Moleville right now. Head to the item store
and do some shopping.

Mario - Buy the Punch Glove and Work Pants. Sell most of the Mushrooms you have
and buy Mid Mushrooms. You will want about 6 of each. Ditching some of those
Honey Syrups for a Maple Syrup or two wouldn't be awful. I would suggest buying
exactly one Able Juice, but you'll have to get it at Rose Town instead of here.
Mallow - Buy the Cymbals and Work Pants. Sell all of your Mushrooms, and stock
up on Maple Syrup. This will be a big item for you for the rest of the game.
Geno - Buy the Work Pants. Sell most of the Mushrooms you have and buy Mid
Mushrooms. You will want about 6 of each. You might want to pick up a Maple
Syrup or two as well.
Bowser/Toadstool - I'm including them just so I can get another chance to say
this. Buy Work Pants! If you're doing the Bowser challenge, they will be your
main armor for most of the game. Even if you're doing some other challenge,
they will help you outspeed Shy Ranger later, and they are nice to have in
Nimbus Land. Seriously, a pair of Work Pants needs to have a permanent spot
in your inventory.

Once you're done buying a nice pair of Work Pants (and other, less important
items), you have a choice. You could push onward or go to the Pipe Vault. I
would suggest going to the Pipe Vault if you are doing Mario, Mallow, or Geno's
challenges, but wait to head there if you intend to do Bowser's or Toadstool's
challenge so you can clear it out with them. Regardless of what you do, I'm
putting the section for this place right now.

Dungeon 8 - Pipe Vault

Enemies:

Goomba - Well, any attack killed them back on Mushroom Way. What do you expect?
Spikey - These guys are jokes by now. Hit them with anything for a quick kill.
Frogog - He won't always die to anything even now, but he won't be much of a
threat. Mallow should use Thunderbolt, but Mario and Geno might as well stick
to physicals.
Sparky - They have a lot of HP. They have really high magic defense so use
physicals to take them out.
Piranha Plant - Mario should use Jump, Mallow should use Thunderbolt, and Geno
should use Geno Beam. They have even more HP than the Sparky.
Shy Ranger - He is guaranteed to be faster than you, and he always runs on the
first turn. You can't do anything with him now, but remember him for later.

I would suggest not fighting at all here. The experience is not all that good,
and since this is an optional area, it's not really built into the natural
progression of leveling. The Moleville Mines are decent for training, and
Booster Tower is even better. There's just no need to fight here.

Start off by going on the very linear path until you reach a room with a lot of
pipes in sequence. In here, go in the pipe immediately in front of the pipe you
enter from. Now jump right before the overhang, and a yellow platform should
appear. Jump around up on top to get a Flower and two frog coins. Now run back 
under the overhang, grab the coins, and while running at the seemingly
impossible frog coin, hit down at the last moment. Mario should do an
interesting ducking motion, and you'll get the frog coin. Proceed through the
pipe.

After this, go through the next pipe northeast of you to find a mole man next
to a square of pipes. It's a minigame! I'll assume you know the rules, and if
you don't, the NPC is happy to explain. Either way, try to set the high score
by as narrow of a margin as possible. The first time you want to get 20 points,
and you want to get 2 more every subsequent time. The first prize is a Flower
Tab, and the second prize is a Flower Jar. Every win after that is just worth
a frog coin, but it's not a horrible way to get a frog coin or two.

Once you're finished with that, exit to the north, take the next pipe to the
north, and then follow the straight linear path. There's a chest on the way
with a Flower. The chest that seems really dangerous to hit contains 20 coins.
Odds are you will make money in going for it so have at it.

Anyway, once you're finished with that place, you'll find yourself on Yo'ster
Isle. This is a very useful place. Start off your time here by jumping around
behind the save point for a hidden chest with a frog coin. Then save up and
get ready for the Mushroom Derby.

Okay, if you're like me, you think the Mushroom Derby is really hard, and you
really don't want to do it. Now, I wish I could tell you to skip it, but it's
one of the most rewarding minigames. Winning this race gives you access to
Yoshi Cookies which are essential to ensuring a steady supply of Max Mushrooms
as you get into the later part of the game. Even if you don't go for Max
Mushrooms, you can very easily use these to harvest Yoshi Candy which is
a slightly better alternative to Mid Mushrooms. Yoshi Cookies are also a part 
of the fastest way to harvest Kerokerocola which Geno gets access to fairly
early. Once you beat Bundt, a Yoshi baby will appear on the island, and if you
feed him enough cookies, he will give you items. Notably, you can get Yoshi-Ade
which is the ultimate stat boosting item.

I'll make it even more clear. Here are the good items you can harvest from
Yoshi Cookies. I ignore the Bowser's Keep 6 door section for this so that might 
be an extra location, especially for fighting the permanently disappearing
Nimbus Land monsters:

Max Mushrooms: Sackit (Star Hill, Bowser's Keep 2), Fink Flower (Bean Valley),
Ameboid (Factory)
Royal Syrup: Forkies (Bowser's Keep), Orbison (Nimbus Land), Shaman (Nimbus 
Land), Shogun (Land's End), Stumpet (Barrel Volcano)
Fright Bomb: Blaster (Booster Tower), Chow (Land's End), The Big Boo (Kero 
Sewers)
Rock Candy: Jawful (Nimbus Land), Puppox (Factory)
Ice Bomb: Muckle (Nimbus Land), 
Muku Cookie: Mukumuku (Star Hill)
Fire Bomb: Pyrosphere (Barrel Volcano), Sparky (Pipe Vault)
Kerokerocola: Shy Ranger (Pipe Vault)
Yoshi Candy: Any resistant enemy. Goomba (Mushroom Way) is the easiest one.

Normally, these items are difficult to harvest or, in the case of Max
Mushrooms, only available at the very end of the game. However, with good use
of Yoshi Cookies, you can have much more plentiful supplies. I will assume that
you harvest Max Mushrooms if you are doing the Mario, Geno, or Bowser
challenges. If you absolutely cannot win the race, Megalixirs which will soon
be available at the Juice Bar will have to be an inferior and very expensive
substitute.

Now that you're convinced that winning the race is pivotal to your future
success, let's focus on the race. As someone who is awful at the race, I can
say that the trick is to not really use your ears so much. Work in practice
until you have a timing down that gets you moving fairly fast. Now focus on
tuning all else out and just pressing the buttons in that timing. During the
race, use all three of your cookies to ensure success. Cookies are plentiful
after you win so don't worry about wasting them. It might take a few tries, but
there's no penalty for losing. Once you win, save and then work on building up
a nice stash of Yoshi Cookies. Never race on Yoshi; choose to watch every time.
Bet the maximum number of cookies, and reset the game if you lose. If you win,
save and keep going. Do this until you have a good number of cookies saved up,
but you really don't have to build much of a stash. There's not much to be done
now with the cookies, but you can get some Fright Bombs if you really want
them. You won't need Yoshi Candy now, and being of the lazy sort, I advocate
using Mid Mushrooms until you pass 80 total HP. However, it's a generally good
healing item so feel free to harvest as many as you want and/or need. I
personally would not carry any Yoshi Cookies until you are ready to go to Star
Hill, but they are generally useful so it's not an awful idea to bring a few
along.

Once you are finished with the Yoshi nonsense (for now at least), head to
Moleville where the next dungeon awaits.

Okay, if you followed my advice earlier, you've already done the shopping in
Moleville and picked up a fine pair of Work Pants, but if you went to the Pipe
Vault before ever stepping foot in Moleville, do not forget to make a stop by
the shop. Either way, there's very little to do in Moleville before the dungeon
is cleared so you might as well hop to it. Enter the mines at the town's
northern edge, and after some scenes and some talking, a few mole miners will
tell you to hop on up to the old entrance. Follow their instructions to enter
the dungeon proper.

Dungeon 9 - Moleville Mines

Moleville Mines is a very substantial dungeon. It's fairly long, and it's the
first dungeon with two real bosses. Luckily, the enemies around here are mostly
pretty easy so you should be able to earn some precious experience points here.
Note that Mario really needs to be wearing his Jump Shoes as some of these
enemies are immune to Jump otherwise. Status effects are not really an issue
here so Mallow and Geno might as well take the extra defense from the Fearless
Pin.

Enemies:

*From this point on, if I say "attack with standard magic", I mean to have
Mario use Jump, Mallow use Thunderbolt, and Geno use Geno Beam.*

Magmite - He has great defense but poor HP and magic defense. Standard magic
works very well here, but note that he is immune to Jump. Do not forget the
Jump Shoes on Mario!
Bob-Omb - Magic is the way to go here, but if you are worried about a fight
with them, feel free to just defend every turn. Their only means of attack is
suicide.
Sparky - Their high magic defense and horrible physical defense make this a
simple choice. Use physicals to take them out.
Cluster - Watch out! These guys can use "Psyche!", an instant death technique.
They will only use this if they are attacked by a special attack and survive.
Mario and Geno should use magic anyway as they will kill in one hit, but Mallow
should use physicals against them as Thunderbolt will fail to kill in one hit.
Enigma - This guy is not particularly common. Jump will tear him to shreds,
and Geno does well with Geno Beam. Mallow might as well stick to physicals.
Crook - They give up Flower Tabs when you fight them here so just go all out
with magic.

Fight as much or as little as you like really. Bowser joins at level 8 fairly
soon after this dungeon so that is not a bad target for then. There is a Star
here, and there are two bosses. You are likely to gain a lot of experience
with a surprisingly small amount of fighting. That being said, I'd fight a
fair amount here. You will want to be at level 7 at the end of this, and you'll
want to be a good amount on your way to level 8.

The first room is simple; just run right through it. In the next room, you'll
see a treasure hunter who is useless to you now but quite handy later in your
adventure if you plan on doing the Toadstool challenge. Either way, head into
the next room, and you'll see a trampoline. Hmm, we should probably jump on it.
Just be sure that you're ready for a good deal of fighting once you do.

Well, it seems like the trampoline was a trap, and Croco has gone back to his
old habit of stealing your coins. This time, instead of stealing one rare coin,
he is stealing all of your coins. Eh, coins are plentiful. He can have them.
What? We're supposed to chase after him, and we can't progress in the dungeon
if we don't? Boo! Well, whatever, it looks like we have to make trouble. Chase
Croco, but don't try to catch him too early. His minions will be hiding along
the way. Initiate fights with them to win a Flower Tab per fight. Be sure to
get all three of them. Flowers are precious after all.

Boss 7 - Croco 2

Mario strategy - I shouldn't have to tell you what the basic plan here is. Spam
Jump, and he will go down very fast. Yes, he is weak to fire, but by this
point, Jump will do much more than Fire Orb (if you have Super Flame, you are
massively over leveled and will win easily no matter what). He steals your items
when he has taken more than 350 damage so be sure to heal up with a Mid
Mushroom then if you need to. That also causes him to transition from using
unblockable bombs to blockable random thrown enemies so don't worry about the
item loss so long as you are in good health. Of course, as always, Super Jump
works as a substitute for Jump if you are a master of consecutive jumping. He
is surprisingly difficult if you are still at level 6; being at level 7 reduces
the luck you need considerably.

Mallow strategy - Okay, much as with the last Croco, Mallow will have the most
trouble with this guy. You won't be doing much damage to him, but at the same
time, you have HP Rain. Even though he steals your items, you can afford to
stall out the battle a bit. Mallow can take a much better beating now than he
could back on Bandit's Way. Remember, Croco steals your items when he drops
below 400 HP out of his total of 750 HP (he also trades the devastating bombs
for the blockable "Chomp" attack). Be sure your FP is full before you knock him
below that point. Use the Cymbals to attack in general; Thunderbolt will do
really sad damage to him, and you wanted to conserve the FP for HP Rain anyway.
If you find this fight too hard, don't feel too bad about leveling up to level
7 for it. That's the level you'll need to be able to survive two of the bombs
at full health which will greatly speed up the first stage of the fight. An
alternative option is to use a Bracer; that will make this a very easy fight.

Geno strategy - Geno Beam will do more damage than your physical so just let
fly with that. Keep track of the damage you do as well. Croco steals your items
when you knock him under 400 HP. He has 750 HP total. Be sure you use Mushrooms
to be at full or near full health before knocking his health below that point,
and be sure you have plenty of FP to finish the job quickly. The good news is
that losing your items has a second effect on the battle; he replaces his bomb
throw with the "Chomp" command. It's more powerful, but it can be blocked. The
battle is really simple; it's all about timing commands. If you can time
defense, the fight will go simply. If you can't, it will not be so simple. It
takes very little fighting before Croco to reach level 7 with Geno; if you have
trouble at level 6, just let yourself level up.

Hmm, that was much easier than you thought it would be, wasn't it? I told you
this place was not that hard. Did you have the luck of seeing the glitch that
happens if Mallow is dead when Croco steals your items? Did you get incredibly
lucky and get the rare Flower Box drop (don't reset if you didn't)? Anyhow, you
have a Bomb now. Progress to the left as far as you can, and you'll meet up
with just the mole who knows how to use it. He'll blast the wall that leads
ahead, and you naturally are going to be left to do all of the real work.

In the next room, take the lower door and run along the lower track. An event
with a Shy Guy in a mine cart happens, and you are a frog coin richer because
of it. After that, take the upper door, skip the two Bob-Ombs, and hit the
chest. Oh boy, it's the Star! Take out as many enemies as you can with it,
naturally. After the Star, the path is quite linear. The next chest you see
will contain a large number of coins. At the save point, be sure to get the
chest farther ahead first. It contains a Flower, and the chest right next to
the Save Point has a Mushroom. Hmm, there couldn't be a boss in the next room.

Boss 8 - Punchinello

Mario strategy - The bad news is that Punchinello can both inflict fear and
is immune to jump. That means that you have to choose between status protection
and your main method of damage. I'll make this easy for you. Wear the Jump
Shoes. If you have that Able Juice I told you to get earlier, you can just heal
the fear easily. Punchinello doesn't have enough FP to use Sand Storm twice.
Even if you don't have the Able Juice, this won't be hard. With my level 7
Mario's stats and the degree of Jump powering up I did, I killed Punchinello in
11 attacks if I got good timing on Jump but never perfect timing which isn't
even optimal. Some of his those turns are used summoning minions, and the other
turns are only a 1/8 of using Sand Storm. It doesn't take a whole lot of luck
to kill him before he uses Sand Storm at all. Actually, 11 turns to kill a boss
is just absurdly fast, especially when it could be even faster. Enjoy it.

Mallow strategy - Ignore Punchinello's minions and go after him with physical
attacks. Mallow's Cymbals will do 55-60 damage per hit, and Punchinello has
1200 HP. Heal with HP Rain when you need it, and you might need to down some
Maple Syrup during the fight. Be sure to be on your toes with the timed
defense; his bombs hurt if you get hit too often with unguarded blows.
Punchinello has a 1/8 chance of using Sand Storm on the turns he is not
summoning minions. This should not be a problem since you were using the
Fearless Pin anyway, right? As you can tell, it's just a battle of attrition.
It's also not that hard even if it is a bit long.

Geno strategy - Geno Beam is our weapon of choice yet again. Just Geno Beam
away at Punchinello, and heal with Mushrooms when your health gets low. If your
stats are like mine were, it should take 16 hits to do Punchinello in.
That's really not that much when you think about it. The Fearless Pin is nice
in this fight both for the defense buff and for the protection against the rare
Sand Storm's fear effect. By the way, if you happen to be at level 8 for this
fight, Geno Boost will make this battle into a total joke. Use it if you really
don't want there to be even a slim chance of you losing.

Okay, now we go through scenes, and it all ends with you riding a mine cart
with Dyna and Mite. The minigame you do on said cart affects absolutely
nothing. Seriously, don't worry about it at all. It's somewhat fun so I guess
you can try to do well for that sake. If you really dislike the minigame for
some reason, feel free to turn off the TV and do something else while the game
runs through it. It seriously affects nothing; the only gain from doing it is
that you can get a little extra cash along the way. By this point, money is
already nearly useless to you. Do as you will.

On a more interesting note, all this talking ends with you hearing about a
princess from the sky at Booster Tower. Statistically, the odds of any random
princess being the one you are looking for are pretty slim. In Mario's world,
however, things work differently. This is for sure Princess Toadstool so you
need to go and steal her back from Booster. Well, off to the next dungeon I
guess. There's still not a whole lot to do in Moleville, unless you are really
desperate for Fright, Fire, and Ice Bombs and think it's a good idea to "trade"
a rather absurd number of consumable items for them.

Dungeon 10 - Booster Pass

Now we're heading into the very Booster heavy portion of the story. Joy. The
good news is that this particular area is really short. It's only two screens
long, and there's no boss.

Enemies:

Spikester - Magic takes them out very easily. Mario needs his Jump Shoes.
Carroboscis - Magic disposes of him quickly and easily. Mallow will need to use
a few Thunderbolts. The status effects they use are very annoying.
Artichoker - Mario and Geno do better with magic, but his thunder immunity
forces Mallow to use the physicals.
Lakitu - I would avoid these enemies. They are fairly powerful. If you do
fight them, go with a typical strategy of Mario and Geno using magic whereas
Mallow is stuck with physicals.

This place is interesting for fighting. Spikester and Carroboscis are really
weak, but Artichoker and Lakitu are quite strong. Lakitu can be avoided, but
you just have to deal with Artichoker. This place is also a further
demonstration of just how weak Mallow's Thunderbolt has become. It is now only
useful in fighting enemies with much less magic defense than physical defense,
and the game's mage has been reduced to relying on physicals for general
combat. Thunder immune enemies are becoming more common too; it's a real
problem. Things don't get better until you hit level 10. Speaking of levels, it
would not be a bad idea to be at level 8 when you leave this place. It's not
mandatory, but it will keep you on par with Bowser when he joins. Bowser does
join a bit stronger than he had to be so if you're a little behind, don't worry
about it. The next dungeon is amazing for doing lots of fighting.

You also have to think about what accessories to equip here. Mallow and Geno
are torn between the Trueform Pin and the Wake Up Pin as mute and
mushroomization are both present here. Mario also really needs those Jump Shoes
for the Spikesters. It's up to you what to equip, and in many ways you have to
pick your poison. Do you want to risk being muted by the Carroboscis and forced
to fight weakly, or do you want to risk getting decimated by Fungispike/Spore
Chimes? An added benefit to the Trueform Pin is preventing S'Crow Chimes from
working as well, but scarecrow isn't a very bad status effect anyway. If you
want to make things even more complicated, you can consider that the
Artichokers can inflict fear with Sand Storm... This place is too short to give
yourself too much of a headache worrying about it; I'm just trying to make you
aware of the choice.

Anyway, there's not really much to do here other than fight. On the first
screen, run all the way west and jump on top of the plant to find a hidden
chest with a Flower. Then head to the northeast exit and jump in the corner
directly west of it to find a hidden chest with a Rock Candy.

On the second screen, run along the lower ground to a large Flower in plain
sight. After getting the Flower, you could run into a gap in the cliff and hit
a hidden button to kill all the Spikesters on this screen, but you'll only get
coins and no experience. I personally would fight them as this is about as
convenient as it gets for fighting in this area. Either way, exit to the north
on the top of the cliffs to end this place.

As we progress onward to Booster Tower, we get to see a nice scene that ends
with Bowser walking away. Bowser doesn't stay gone for long; he quickly joins
up with your party after you check out the door to Booster Tower. Bowser
challenge players can rejoice as they finally have a chance to beat this game
with nothing but your not so friendly giant idiot turtle monster. Everyone else
can do as all your other party members do and mostly ignore Bowser.

Before entering Booster Tower, you should do a quick FP check. I had 56 FP at
this point. It might be possible to have a bit more FP, and it's reasonable to 
have missed a few obscure Flowers. If you have a radically different number
than this, you have a problem. As you have likely noticed, random encounter
strategies for Mario, Mallow, and Geno are becoming extremely reliant on
magic, and I am assuming that you have a lot of FP to spare in every area. 56
FP is a lot to spare, and I will assume that you have this much now and even
more later. Don't neglect to get those Flowers!

Dungeon 11 - Booster Tower

Booster Tower is not a very short dungeon, but it's a very friendly dungeon to
the player. Status effects are not prominent here, and you get some really good
items while progressing through the dungeon. In terms of equipment, you will be
best off equipping everyone with the Fearless Pin except for Mario, but by this
point that should be fairly obvious. Also, if you are doing Bowser's challenge,
do not forget to equip the Work Pants!

Enemies:

Snifit - They have a lot more defense than magic defense so use magic. Bowser
should just use Terrorize once and then go with physicals. However, they are
only worth 1 experience point so you should really avoid them.
Spookum - They're just weaker Snifits. Magic decimates them. Bowser can save
his FP if he wants to; you really don't need Terrorize. Don't worry; you get
multiple experience points for defeating them.
Jester - Mario and Geno should use magic while Mallow and Bowser should use
physicals. He can do serious damage if you leave him alone.
Rob-Omb - Magic is the best way to go unless you are using Bowser. Bowser
is too cool to use magic. These are the easiest fight in the tower so I would
advise picking on them more than the other enemies.
Remo Con - He has really low magic defense, but he's immune to thunder. That
means that Mario and Geno get quick, easy wins with magic while Mallow and
Bowser stick with the physical plan.
Orb User - They only have 8 HP, but their defenses are insane. Mario and Geno
have easy wins with magic. Mallow can't make it past their thunder immunity and
thus must use physicals. Bowser uses physicals because he is Bowser.
Chomp - Magic is the best plan here. They are even weak to thunder so Mallow
gets a break for once. They are strong compared to many other enemies here so
Bowser might consider leading the fight with Terrorize before going into his
usual physical attack rampage.
Blaster - Magic is your best bet against them, but an even better bet is not
fighting them. They are quite strong. Again, when I say to use magic, Bowser
doesn't count unless you're just leading the fight with Terrorize.
Fireball - Pretty much anything will kill them, but they will almost certainly
get the first turn. Bowser and Mallow have easy group sweeps with Terrorize
and Thunderbolt respectively; Mario and Geno go one at a time with physicals.

On an interesting yet obscure note, many enemies in here are weak to ice. You
probably do not have any means of using ice elemental attacks at this point,
but if you happen to have Ice Bombs, they will do very well. In terms of level,
you will probably want to be at level 9 when you leave this place. Being well
on your way to level 10 does not hurt, but then again, falling short of level
9 is not the greatest tragedy.

In the first room, simply go up the stairs and exit via the top exit. Then, in
the second room, stick to the outer wall as you ascend. Once you reach the peak
of your ascent in this room, jump around a bit to find a hidden chest with a
Flower in it. Progress onward for a little scene with Booster in which he
pretty much confesses to kidnapping Toadstool.

After Booster is done talking, you can explore the extreme ends of the track.
If you wait until Booster runs away, you can fight Snifit 2 on the end near the
entrance. There's not much point, but it's somewhat of an obscure opportunity
so I figured that I would mention it. The end of the track near the exit of the
room contains a much more valuable Flower Tab. The room afterward has two
exits; take the nearer one if you are doing Mario's challenge.

In the room Mario reaches via the nearer exit, you will see a chest that is
quite out of your jumping reach. What you must do is jump down to the ground
and land on the seesaw. Mario will be catapulted upward, and you will receive
the Masher, a truly awesome weapon. Once you have done this, work your way back
up through the tower and take the farther exit in the room in which your path
diverged from the other characters.

This next room contains one big button and an exit. Hit the button to trigger
an event on Booster Pass. I'll cover what you can do there later, but you can
go and take care of it now if you want. You really won't need the items to
finish this dungeon so I suggest waiting until the game gives you a more
convenient opportunity. Whatever you choose, the guide continues onward after
you proceed to the next room, and you can run right through this room as well
once you are finished messing around with the 2D Mario gimmick.

As a matter of fact, your path is linear with no surprises up until you reach
a room with a locked door and 6 pictures. Observe the pictures in the following
order to get the key to the door:

6, 5, 3, 1, 2, 4

Inside, you will get the Chomp, a useful weapon for Bowser. This is so easy to
do that you might as well get it to sell for coins even if you aren't doing
Bowser's challenge. Anyway, once you're finished with that, continue on your
progress along the obvious path. Grab the Mushroom in a chest in the next room
and jump on the seesaw to catapult upward.

The next room is fairly big. First of all, grab the hidden chest with a frog
coin in the southwest corner of the room. Next, carefully jump across the
platforms until you reach the staircase. Instead of going right up, hug the
lower platform that runs alongside the staircase and jump around in the nook in
which you cannot see Mario. You'll find a hidden frog coin. With that in your
possession, exit the room from atop the stairs.

The next room has a lot of coins and frog coins on the floor, and there's a key
to the northern room. Grab all of the frog coins and the key, and then snag the
Zoom Shoes from the northern room. Exit to the west once you are finished. This
is the room in which Fireballs attack you when you step on the wrong floor
tiles so you'll get some free experience points as you get all of this stuff.
Note that Geno and only Geno can outspeed the Fireballs if he equips Zoom Shoes
so if you are going to intentionally fight a lot of Fireballs on Geno's
challenge, be sure to get and equip the Zoom Shoes first.

The next few rooms are linear again, and you don't find anything of interest
until you reach a room with a save point. This is the last standard room of the
tower. First of all, you will want to save. Next, you should leap along the
platforms until you are on top of the already visible chest. Jump on top of
that chest to find the Goodie Bag. Yes, you finally have it. Now your other
characters no longer get to select the defend command in battle. Of course, you
should then get the contents of the visible chest; it's a frog coin. Finally,
jump around in the southeast corner of the room for a restorative Mushroom. Be
really sure that you've saved and then head into the next room.

Okay, it's time for the curtain hiding minigame. If you succeed, you get the
Amulet. If you fail, you get to face Booster. You get 22 experience points and
145 coins for defeating Booster, but you get the one of a kind Amulet accessory
for winning the minigame. You want the Amulet. If you want to fight Booster, I
suggest you reload from your last save after winning. After all, he is a fairly
fun fight, but be warned that he's also a good deal harder than anything else
you've fought so far.

Optional Boss 2 - Booster

Mario strategy - Start the battle by using Jump to take out the three Snifits.
If you get muted, you'll have to use physicals. Booster won't take action until
his Snifits are dead so feel free to waste time until mute wears off. Anyway,
Booster is weak to jump so either Jump or Super Jump will make very quick work
of him. However, Booster is extraordinarily strong, and he can wipe you out
as fast as you can wipe him out. Be sure to keep healed with Mid Mushrooms, or
your game will be over very quickly. Ideally, you will end his Snifits while
either Mallow or Geno are still alive, and they will divert Booster's attention
while you kill him.

Mallow strategy - I would really suggest opening the fight by using a Bracer.
I hate to suggest using an item like that this early in the game, but Mallow
just does not have the defense to go head to head with Booster. Booster is an
all out physical attacker who has one of the most powerful physical specials in
the game in Loco Express. Loco Express does 4X normal damage, and it's
unblockable. Mallow can't take that without some defense buffing, and even
then, it will not be a wonderful time. Be sure to equip the Wake Up Pin as
well; being muted in the battle with the Snifits would be terrible. As per the
actual strategy, after using the Bracer, use Thunderbolt to wear down the
Snifits until one more would kill them all. Unless you manage to be at nearly
full health at this point, transition into using your physical attack to kill
two of them. Heal up with HP Rain and a Maple Syrup if you need it, and then
use your physical attack to take out the last one. Physical attacks are what
you will have to rely on to defeat Booster. Constantly be healing with HP Rain,
and only attack with the Cymbals when your health is very high. Loco Express
did 60 damage to my level 9 Mallow in my test run, and I only had 65 max HP.
It is fortunate that his physical attack is fairly easily blockable so that it
will only do zero damage. You will need some luck with what attacks Booster
uses in order to get the chances you need to take him down. All the optional
bosses are harder for Mallow, but then again, it's much more rewarding to win
those very difficult fights.

Geno strategy - You will want the Wake Up Pin equipped for this fight as being
muted is quite bad. Lead off with Geno Boost, and then use Geno Beam to take
out the three Snifits. Make sure you are near full health upon killing the last
Snifit. Booster dies very quickly; he will probably only take 6 Geno Beams.
However, he hits pretty hard. Loco Express did 48 damage to my level 9 Geno
with the equipment that I suggested, and Loco Express is unblockable. Yes,
that's 48 unblockable damage after Geno Boost. This guy is no joke. However,
he's very beatable as his defense is as bad as his offense is good. Extreme
enemies are always fun to fight.

Bowser strategy - The Snifits at the start aren't any real threat to you so
feel free to take your time taking them out. Terrorize can help speed up the
process, but you really don't need it so don't feel bad if you get muted. When
you will kill the final Snifit with an attack, make sure you are at full health
and not muted. Booster can be feared so once he is targetable, nail him with
Terrorize. After that, use physical attacks. Bowser's defense is incredible so
you should be able to win this fight without too much trouble. Seriously,
Booster's Loco Express, ordinarily one of the scariest attacks in the game, did
four damage to Bowser in my test fight. You almost have to try to lose. If you
feel the need to deviate from any strategy given here, it probably won't hurt
you.

Anyway, after you're done playing around with Booster, be sure to reset the
game and actually win the curtain minigame. It's laughably easy so I'll leave
the task of winning up to you. Once you have the Amulet, head back to the save
point and save, and then go through the door that Booster did to meet your next
boss.

Boss 9 - Knife Guy and Grate Guy

Note: All characters should equip the Wake Up Pin for this fight.

Mario strategy - Knife Guy is the one who has bad magic defense, and he has
less HP. Jump or Super Jump will remove him from the fight very quickly. Grate
Guy alone isn't a threat as long as you have the Wake Up Pin equipped, and he
too will fall quickly to a barrage of Jumps or Super Jumps. This is not one of
your harder battles.

Mallow strategy - Ugh. Knife Guy has bad magic defense, but he's immune to
thunder. Grate Guy has equal stats in both but is weak to thunder. What this
really means is that you're going to be using your Cymbals a lot during this
fight. Start with a focus on Knife Guy. He is more dangerous when they are not
teamed up. Just keep smacking him, and use HP Rain when your health gets low.
It will seem like the fight is going to be really hard after they team up, but
they run out of FP fairly quickly so just use HP Rain extra often early on.
Once Knife Guy falls, you have all but won. Grate Guy is no threat at all alone
if you have the Wake Up Pin equipped. If you happened to over level to level
10, Shocker devastates Grate Guy and makes this fight very simple. Either way,
don't expect this fight to be too awful. It just takes a long time.

Geno strategy - Open the fight with Geno Boost, and then unload on Knife Guy
with Geno Beam. He should fall very quickly. After he goes down, begin firing
the Geno Beams at Grate Guy. He lasts a bit longer than Knife Guy, but he still
takes a lot of damage. This is not a hard fight for Geno at all; you probably
won't have to use a single Mushroom.

Bowser strategy - Open with Terrorize, and then launch an all out physical
assault on Grate Guy. They can't do anything to you at all when they're not
teamed up, and Grate Guy is the easier one to eliminate. Whenever the fear
wears off, cast Terrorize again. You might have to use a Mid Mushroom during
this fight, but it would be just one. Bowser's power is fantastic; put it to
use!

Either way, you get a handy Flower Jar for winning the fight, and then you rush
off to Booster Hill in pursuit of Booster and Toadstool. Booster Hill is a
pretty fun minigame, and the prize this time is great. Every time you catch up
to Booster and Toadstool, you get a Flower. You could get a theoretically huge
number of Flowers from this. I personally got 11 on my test run, and I could
have done better yet. If you do really badly, you can redo Booster Hill and
find some Flowers lying along the path. I suggest you do your best to do well
at this minigame, and if you do horribly, redo the Knife Guy and Grate Guy
fight so you can try again. As per the mechanics of the minigame, Toad explains
it far better than I ever could. Listen to him if you don't get it. I will give
you the one hint that Snifits give you a better boost than barrels, but barrels
are still really important to hit.

***Marrymore***

Anyway, regardless of how many Flowers you obtained, you will find yourself in
Marrymore. The town has one combination inn/item shop and a giant chapel which
seems to have the sole purpose of weddings. Hmm, what could Booster want to do
here? Anyway, your first stop should be the item shop as there's some useful
new stuff here. However, be you warned. Do not sell the Work Pants even if you
get a new armor here. The Work Pants are too valuable to just ditch like that.

Mario - Restock on Mid Mushrooms if you need them. Buy a Happy Shirt as well.
Mallow - Buy the Whomp Glove and Happy Pants, and restock on Maple Syrups if
you are running low.
Geno - Buy the Hand Cannon and Mid Mushrooms if you need them.
Bowser - Just buy some Mid Mushrooms if you need them.

You notice that there's a lot of useless equipment here too. The Happy Cape and
Happy Shell are inferior to the Work Pants, and the Super Hammer and Chomp
Shell are similarly inferior to the weapons you found in Booster Tower.
However, regardless of whose challenge you are playing, make sure that you have
armor for a full party. The next boss is Bundt who forces you to violate the
rules of the challenge. I personally think that Mario, Mallow, and Bowser is
the ideal party for the next fight. Be sure to pick up the Happy armor for the
first two and give the Work Pants to Bowser. If you are doing Geno's challenge,
ditch Bowser for him and just pick up the armor for Mario and Mallow. Weapons
do not help you in the way you have to cheat, and we're not going to bother
giving the other characters accessories. Just get armor for them and nothing
else. Also, you might consider picking up a few Able Juices. They aren't
critical, but they could be handy. Some Pick Me Ups would also be a great
investment just in case. Note that for the two previous items you will need to
head back to Rose Town.

I should note now that it's possible to get some interesting items if you stay
in the suite. You could be given flower items and frog coins, and, once in your
room, you can order Kerokerocola from room service. You might even be able to
get some similar items by sleeping in your room over and over again, getting
indebted to the suite, and forced to be a bellboy. However, the whole thing is
very financially draining. Normal coins don't tend to matter much but,
seriously, it costs 200 coins just to step foot in the suite. The Kerokerocola
cost another 150 coins a piece. I am not going to do this, but if you don't
care at all about coins and would like an opportunity at some decent items,
feel free. If you go in with 950 coins, it's the cheapest way to buy
Kerokerocola en masse so that's cool I guess.

Also, head upstairs in the inn and jump in the western corner of the bedroom on
the second floor. You'll find a hidden chest with a frog coin. Speaking of
secrets, we have some unfinished business. So, instead of rushing to save
Toadstool, we're going to return to Booster Pass

Dungeon 10 - Booster Pass (again)

I'm not going to rehash old ground here. Don't fight anything at all, and just
rush to the first screen of this area. Once you arrive, head west, and you'll
see that a new area has been added. Go through the door that has appeared, and
you'll be on a long, tall pathway. The enemies in the gaps are Spikeys from
Mushroom Way; ignore them. You will also find the Apprentice enemy wandering
around up here. You should be able to easily flatten him; he fights very
similarly to a Snifit from Booster Tower. There's a bit of a funny side quest
you can do if you lose to the Apprentice; the dialogue changes each time as
Booster makes the winning Apprentices new Snifits. I don't really suggest
bothering, but if you are into quirky easter eggs, explore away.

Either way, at the end of the cliff, there are three chests. You'll obtain a
Kerokerocola, a Flower, and a frog coin. Hey, that's not bad. Now head back to
Marrymore; it's time to take care of business.

Head over to the chapel, and sneak in around back on the right side. Cooperate
with the Snifit and Bowser to break a few doors down, but be sure to save when
you can. Also, make sure your party is ready for the Bundt boss fight when you
save. The character you are using should have the Fearless Pin equipped, and
the other two characters should have the armors I suggested earlier equipped.
Yes, I feel awful that we have to cheat like this. Also, if you're wondering
why Geno is not in the suggested party except on his own challenge, it's
because he is the least useful if you don't use Geno Boost, and Geno Boost
would affect the third stage of the fight. We're going to try to keep the
cheating to a minimum here.

Anyway, once you're clear and set on your equipment and in the main hall of the
chapel, you get to do a minigamish thing of recovering Toadstool's wedding
gear. Do it fast to see Mario get kissed by Toadstool, and do it more slowly to
see him get kissed by Bowser or Booster. The scene is really funny in all
cases so do whatever. Yeah, there's a lot of talking and such, but eventually,
you get to do what you came here for.

Boss 10 - Bundt

Mario strategy - Start off the fight by using Jump on Bundt several times to
progress the fight to the second stage. You're allowed to take advantage of
Mallow's HP Rain during the first two stages so I suggest that you do so. In
the second stage, just have everyone hammer away with physical attacks. It is
the only way to extinguish the candles; for once, Jump is not the winning plan.
Once you progress to the Raspberry stage of the fight, abandon your allies and
just smack it with Jump a few times. This shouldn't be too tough, but you do
have to cheat. Note that Mallow will have the first move in the second stage
of the fight. A candle will be re-ignited immediately if he attacks so don't
bother having him attack at that point. Don't use Able Juices to cure fear on
your allies; just use them to cure sleep if it comes up.

Mallow strategy - Bundt is immune to your magic so the plan here is pretty
simple. The only way you will ever attack Bundt is with the Cymbals, and your
only use of FP is HP Rain which you will use whenever your health gets low.
Note that during the second stage of the fight, you will have to use physicals
with all three characters. Feel free to heal them in the first and second
stages of the fight with HP Rain, but leave them to die in the third stage. The
Fearless Pin will protect you from fear, but Lullaby could be a problem for you
or your allies. It would be fine to just let it wear off, but you can also
consider using an Able Juice if you have one.

Geno strategy - As always, open the fight with Geno Boost. Then conduct the
fight exactly like Mallow does except for the detail that you have to use Mid
Mushrooms on yourself in the third stage of the fight instead of HP Rain. The
boss has less defense than magic defense, and you just got a new weapon. I
wouldn't use Geno Beam here, but you might do marginally better damage with it
against Raspberry. Either way, it doesn't matter a whole lot.

Bowser strategy - Bowser was never one for magic, and this cake happens to be
immune to fear. Well, I guess you can only really do one thing with Bowser, and
that's physically attack. Actually, this fight with Bowser is the exact same as
it is with Mallow except you have better stats, and he's the one using HP Rain
instead of you. Once the fight progresses to the Raspberry stage, you have to
use Mid Mushrooms instead of relying on HP Rain.

I probably could have said more about this fight, but considering that you have
to cheat, I'm not too enthused about the whole affair. Once you're finished,
you get to leave Marrymore. Try exiting via the west exit and refusing to
return Toadstool for some humor. Otherwise, exit via the east exit to be
automatically sent back to Mushroom Kingdom. Talk to the man whose Wallet you
returned to receive a Flower Jar. Don't wait to do this either! Talk with the 
Chancellor, and then leave the castle. Toadstool is so upset by the fact that
you were going to leave without her that she throws herself from the upper
story of the castle. Luckily for her, she also simultaneously violates all
known laws of physics by floating slowly down with her parasol. She then joins
your party. Rejoice players of the Toadstool challenge; at this, the halfway
point of the game, your game has finally begun!

Next, you have to stop by Tadpole Pond and speak with Frogfucius. If you did
not obtain the Froggie Stick earlier in the game, you must do that event now.
Of course, who would skip that, especially after being warned earlier in this
guide? Anyway, it's not big deal to have to go through that now. Also, you can
get the second card from Toadofsky now, and that will let you buy Megalixirs.
You really don't need them, but you might want to finish this side quest
eventually so you can buy Kerokerocolas. If you're wondering, the melody is:

Mi Do So Do Re La Ti Do

Now, before we head to Star Hill, it would be a good time to assess where we
stand. Consider this a halfway through the game check up.

In terms of FP, I had 75, including the Flower Jar from Mushroom Kingdom.
Depending on your performance on Booster Hill, you might have a bit more or a
bit less. You might have missed some permanently missable Flowers, or you might
have gotten some Flower that I haven't. The only two possible sources I can see
are rare drops from Croco 2 or Booster, both Flower Boxes. You really do want
to be sure that you have as much FP as possible; battles in the second half of
the game are much harder than in the first half, and not having to spend as
many turns restoring FP can be the difference between victory and defeat.

I had 23 frog coins at this point in the game. Frog coins are not the most
important things really, but they are helpful. You can use them in the Frog
Coin Emporium to get the buffing items and Sleepy Bombs. We haven't needed
those yet, but they will be important for several bosses in the second half of
the game. Also, once you arrive in Seaside Town, you have the opportunity to
buy the Scrooge Ring for 50 frog coins. That's an obscene amount, but the item
is fairly handy since it cuts all FP costs in half. If you've been diligent in
collecting the coins, it will be more easily obtainable.

In terms of items, you should have a good supply of Mid Mushrooms or Maple
Syrups, whichever your particular character prefers. Be sure to sell off any
Mushrooms or Honey Syrups you still have lying around; by now, those are
totally useless to you. If you have gotten them all so far, you should have 4
Kerokerocola, 1 Red Essence, and 1 Rock Candy. Kerokerocola are very, very
useful at endgame. Red Essence is a banned item; feel free to sell it. The Rock
Candy is the best attacking item in the game; you will doubtlessly be able to
find a use for it by the end of the game. You also should definitely have the
Goodie Bag; go back and get it if you don't. You could also get the Mystery Egg
now if you want to use that instead, but it costs 200 coins. Toadstool could
invest even more coins and get the B'Tub Ring in Marrymore and use it to make
the Lamb's Lure which in turn can become the Sheep Attack. In my opinion,
that's a really big waste of time, but if you want to do it, feel free. I also
had a Bracer which I bought during my first trip to Tadpole Pond. You still
don't need one yet, but having one in the inventory is always nice.

Now is also the time at which we get access to some better opportunities for
item harvesting. For now, Mid Mushrooms and Maple Syrups are fine, but very
soon, they will begin to fade in usefulness. You already have a max FP of
nearly twice the restorative abilities of Maple Syrup, and your HP with the
non-healers is pushing 80 which is the limit of Mid Mushrooms. You could use
Megalixirs, but they are expensive and only legal when the rest of the party is
dead. Luckily, your next destination is Star Hill. If you are doing Mario or
Bowser's challenges, be absolutely sure to bring some Yoshi Cookies (you did
win the Yoshi Race, correct?). This will let you pick up some Max Mushrooms
from Sackits while you are there. Geno should head on over to the Pipe Vault.
He can equip the Work Pants and Zoom Shoes to outspeed Shy Rangers, and he can
Yoshi Cookie them to obtain Kerokerocola. Geno actually probably will want to
keep a Max Mushroom or two in the inventory at late game, but he can get
Kerokerocola so he might as well use it. I suppose Max Mushrooms should still
be a big part of Geno's inventory too. There's a failure rate for using a Yoshi
Cookie on Shy Rangers, and you can't use Kerokerocola until your allies have
fallen. As per pure FP restoring items, they are sadly a long way away yet.
Your first chance at getting those is in Nimbus Land.

You also might have some Fright Bombs, Sleepy Bombs, or Fire Bombs. You can get
plenty of those now if you want them. I don't use them in random encounter
strategies, but they are quite handy if you choose to use them. Look back up to
the Yoshi Cookie table if you need some help tracking down Fright Bombs and
Fire Bombs. Ice Bombs are also a possibility, but for now, the only way you
could have them is from Moleville which is a pain.

Your equipment is also a big concern right now. First of all, be sure to remove
everything from your other characters. You might have accidentally left
something on after the Bundt fight, and Toadstool comes with a weapon and
armor. Your main character will want to be equipped as such:

Mario
Masher
Happy Shirt
Zoom Shoes

Mallow
Whomp Glove
Happy Pants
Amulet

Geno
Hand Cannon
Work Pants
Amulet (Zoom Shoes if your next stop is the Pipe Vault)

Bowser
Chomp
Work Pants
Zoom Shoes

Toadstool
Slap Glove
Polka Dress
Amulet

In terms of accessories, you should have all four status protection pins, the
Amulet, and Zoom Shoes. You should also have a pair of Work Pants, equipped or
otherwise. If you're missing the Antidote Pin, don't worry about it. You aren't
missing anything important.

Also, if you are absolutely swimming in coins, you could get the game right now
in Mushroom Kingdom's inn. It does nothing for you, but Beetle Mania is mildly
entertaining. I just thought I'd mention it. Do note that Toadstool will need
a lot of coins in Seaside Town so don't bankrupt yourself if you're doing her
challenge.

If you haven't already, now is the best time to harvest massive amounts of
Yoshi Cookies. You likely have a spacious or easily down sizable inventory.
You will want to get nearly 100 of them; it's not that hard, and it will ensure
that you never run out. Really, get as many as you can stand to get. Also, you
will notice that a baby Yoshi has appeared on the island. Feed him 25 Yoshi
Cookies to make him fat, and then you can feed him 10 cookies at a time to get
a random item. You can get Bracers, Energizers, frog coins, or Yoshi-Ade. One
of these items is much better than the others; I suggest getting a few
Yoshi-Ade now. I will always try to use Bracers over Yoshi-Ade in my
strategies, but sometimes you just need the best. It should be obvious, but
Geno can ignore the fat Yoshi altogether. Geno Boost is a better plan.

If you are doing Toadstool's challenge, you will likely want a few Energizers.
Mallow should pick up just one. I would obviously suggest buying them in
Tadpole Pond instead of paying 10 Yoshi Cookies a piece.

Lastly, your level should probably be level 9 right now, and you shouldn't have
much more than 100 experience points to the next level. Different characters
are likely to be closer or farther to the next level, but no one should be much
farther than 100 experience points away. If you're under leveled, it's not a big
deal, but you'll have to do some extra fighting in the sea. Just keep that in
mind.

Okay, the check up is finished. Did you pass, or is there more that you need to
do before moving on? Regardless of what your status is, be sure to get yourself
in as ready of a state as possible, and then proceed to the next dungeon.

Dungeon 12 - Star Hill

Okay, this place pretty much defines simple. There are no items to find here,
and it's completely linear. That being said, I'm not going to actually walk you
through this place. It would be a waste of time. Just keep going until you
reach the Star Piece, get it, and leave. You can't miss it; Geno won't let you.
If you want to see some interesting dialogue, check the stars on the ground.
You can see the wishes of various characters, including Mallow and Luigi.
There's no boss, but the enemies are well worth noting.

Enemies:

Mukumuku - Magic usually does a bit better than physical, but he's immune to
thunder so Mallow must melee him. He's not a threat so take him out however is
most convenient for you.
Gecko - He's very similar to the Mukumuku in terms of how he fights and what
hurts him. He can put you to sleep so make him a higher priority.
Pulsar - He counters physical attacks with Migraine, an instant death attack.
Refrain from using physical attacks on him unless you have instant death
protection equipped on a return trip here. He's immune to jump; watch out for
that. In general, I suggest just fleeing from him.
Mastadoom - Unless you have a Pure Water for a quick kill, I suggest just
fleeing. He's very strong. If you must fight, try using non-thunder magic.
Sackit - Use a Yoshi Cookie on him to get a Max Mushroom.

I very strongly suggest that you not fight here at all. There are some
abnormally strong enemies, and the next area is a very player friendly area.
However, Mario, Geno, and Bowser will want to harvest Max Mushrooms here from
the Sackits. When you engage in battle, only do so with the monsters that
appear to be Sackits outside of battle. Use Yoshi Cookies on as many of them as
you can, and then flee from any Mastadoom or Pulsar enemies. If there are just
some Mukumukus or Geckos, you might as well kill them.

Don't be too concerned about Max Mushroom harvesting right now. You will have
plenty of time for it later, and you are fine with Mid Mushrooms for the time
being at least. Just get a few and get out of here. Mallow and Toadstool should
not bother getting anything and should just get out of here.

***Seaside Town***

Well, once Star Piece later, you will arrive in Seaside Town. Hmm, the music
sounds so nice, and the townspeople are definitely not suspicious. Things are
definitely looking up here. The elder tells you to go to the Sea, but first we
should check out the shopping around here. The frog on the second floor of the
elder's house gives you some opportunities to spend your frog coins; that
Scrooge Ring is nice. There's almost no chance that you can afford it now; just
keep it in mind for later. The Exp Booster is doubtlessly tempting, but trust
me when I tell you that it will make you grossly overpowered and ruin the game.
The other items are useless; ignore them.

There's also one item shop in town that feels like selling to you. The items
sold here are unlike any you have seen in a shop before, and once you return
from the Sea, you will never see any of them for sale like this again. Bad
Mushrooms are a waste of coins for the most part (Toadstool should consider
grabbing one and only one), but all those other items are quite good. If you
are doing Toadstool's challenge, I'd really suggest picking up a few Fire Bombs
for the next boss. Snagging a few Ice Bombs for Smilax (a much later in the
game boss) would also be wise, but you're fine without them. Fright Bombs are
generally useful for non-Bowser characters, but they're easy to harvest with
Yoshi Cookies. Muku Cookies are just plain strange. They heal 69 HP to the
whole party, cure status effects, and remove the effects of Red Essence.
They're the best status healing item in the game, and it would not be an awful
idea to carry one (certainly no more than one). If you don't get one now and
want one later, you can always use a Yoshi Cookie on the Mukumukus on Star
Hill. Be sure you don't bankrupt yourself here; there's a real item shop in the
Sea. However, be absolutely, positively sure that if you are doing Toadstool's
challenge that you have three Fire Bombs. King Calamari will be "fun" if you
don't. If you can't afford them (don't forget you need coins left over), Yoshi
Cookies can help you out.

Well, that was an interesting experience. As much as I hate to take advice from
obviously evil people, let's take the elder's advice and head on down to the
Sea. Rumor is that's where our next dungeon is.

Dungeon 13 - Sea

The first thing you find here is a more normal shop. Buy Sailor armor if your
character is not Bowser, and buy some Hurly Gloves if it is Bowser. Next exit
via the eastern exit, and you'll be in a place with actual enemies to remind
you that this is a dungeon. Also, if you're doing Mario's challenge, put on
the Jump Shoes. If you're using Bowser, replace those Zoom Shoes with the
Amulet.

Enemies:

Zeostar - Magic takes them out easily, especially thunder magic from Mallow.
Bloober - They're just like the Zeostars. Magic, especially Mallow's thunder
spells, will take them out fast.
Leuko - Use physicals to take them out except with Mario. He uses Jump.
Crusty - Magic is the way to go here again. Mario needs to watch out for their
jump immunity if he's not wearing his Jump Shoes.
Mr. Kipper - He's like most of the monsters here. Magic, especially Mallow's
thunder spells, tears him apart.

Wow, this place bucks some trends. Notably, Mallow dominates here with his
thunder spells. You'll definitely want to be at level 10 before you leave, but
you likely won't do much fighting due to this place being short and having a
Star.

Speaking of the Star, you'll find one in the first chest you see. Use it to
take out every enemy in that room and the next room; it's not only possible but
fairly simple to do so. This will almost certainly let you hit level 10, and
for Mallow that's a glorious day. He finally has Shocker!

After using the Star to destroy everything, exit via the northwest to find
three chests. The nearest one has a healing Mushroom, and the farther two have
a Flower and a frog coin. You can jump back down to the save point and discover
that this area is a loop if you want. Make your way back to the previous room
and go out the other exit to progress.

Jump into the water in this room, dive down with the whirlpool, and then use
the cave to reach the top of the cliff to find a chest with a Max Mushroom.
That's a very nice find for Mario, Geno, or Bowser. Once you have that, exit
the room via the land based exit to find yourself outside with a bunch of
whirlpools. Just jump into one, go to the bottom, and enter the Sunken Ship via
the "pipe" on the mast. That's it; this dungeon is clear.

Dungeon 14 - Sunken Ship

This is the most serious dungeon so far. The enemies are getting stronger, and
there's a nasty optional boss in here. However, your characters are starting to
have some more diverse special options, and you get a few truly awesome
accessories in here.

Enemies:

Dry Bones - They instantly die to all forms of magic, and they are immune to
physical attacks. Use whatever your cheapest option for destroying them is.
Toadstool should flee before she has Sleepy Time which actually does kill.
Greaper - These guys can dish out damage very quickly. Bowser and Toadstool
should stick to their physicals, but the others should use a strong magical
assault. Mallow will want to be using Shocker here to nail the thunder
weakness, and Mario must be wary of the jump immunity if he forgot his Jump
Shoes.
Reacher - Magic absolutely destroys them, especially Mallow's Shocker. Bowser
might want to open fights that involve these guys with Terrorize.
Alley Rat - They're yet another enemy that's very weak to magic. Their HP isn't
high so Bowser and Toadstool shouldn't have too much trouble mauling through
them with physicals. They are fairly likely to inflict poison so watch out for
that.
Gorgon - They can potentially hurt you very badly, and they don't die as
quickly as you might hope. Magic does better if you're the sort of character
who can do that, but Bowser and Toadstool have to stick to the old plan of
physicals.
Straw Head - Shockingly, they are enemies that die more quickly to magic than
to physicals, and they are weak to the thunder element. I think there might be
a pattern here. These guys aren't as strong as you might expect, but they can
inflict some status ailments.

Also, all the enemies from the Sea appear in the underwater sections of this
dungeon. As you can tell, this is as good as it gets for Mallow. Everything has
bad magic defense, and everything is weak to thunder. Liberally abuse Shocker
and Thunderbolt, the latter only being applicable against large groups when
Mallow has high health. Bowser should have enough FP so that you can somewhat
exploit the low magic defense with Terrorize, though you will almost never kill
anything with Terrorize. Inflicting fear is still useful, and Bowser will have
a large interest in reducing the damage he takes here since a few things are
very good at punishing his poor magic defense. Toadstool just has an awful
time, and if you're doing Toadstool's challenge, you should just get used to
that. Her physical attacking abilities are not very good, and she can't attack
with magic as long as her level is below level 18. However, all the enemies
here are able to be put to sleep. Since you only enter at level 10, I didn't
mention it in the strategies, but if Toadstool has hit level 11 and encounters
a large group, you would be very wise to open the fight with Sleepy Time.

Level 12 is a good target level to leave this place. Don't push yourself to
fight too much as you will want to be strong for the bosses here (mostly,
don't consume too many items), but the random enemies don't get easier after
this so you shouldn't plan on training more later to make up for a lack of
training now. The final boss here is strong, but he has few tricks so he should
not be too much of a problem.

There's a save point in the room north of the entrance, and the other direction
is linear for a short while. Progress as you see fit until you enter a room
with many Greapers guarding various doors. You are supposed to defeat the
Greapers to access the puzzle rooms behind them, and then you solve the puzzles
to get items and hints as per the password to access the depths of the ship. We
already know that the password is pearls so the rooms are optional technically,
but the items are nice so we're going to solve the puzzles anyway.

Room 1 - The Sky Troopa moves in the same direction as you do. Lead him to
knock the cannonball onto the switch to get a healing Mushroom.

Room 2 - You have to hit the switches to stop the moving trampolines. Then, a
cannonball will bounce from one to another toward a switch. Try to place the
trampolines near the right side of the circles of light. Your reward is a
Flower.

Room 3 - Ugh, this is the extremely difficult 3D maze. You can't see what you
are doing at all so giving advice here is difficult. You have to "feel" your
way through, and the correct path is very indirect and involves "looping"
through the majority of the structure while constantly jumping. The first big
area you want to aim for is the exposed platform. You will reach it via the
western "door", and then you'll take the eastern "door". From there, you'll
head to a place where you can see Mario by jumping, and then you need to move
in a U shaped pattern to get to the other opening which is elevated enough to
allow you to reach the button. I know this description is horrible; there's no
good way to instruct someone on how to complete this maze. If you simply
cannot finish, that's fine. The prize is a valuable Royal Syrup so you really
should try, but it's hardly a critical item to lose.

After the three rooms on the top, you will enter a side passage. The fellow
walking around can sell you some items, and you can sell him any Pure Waters
you may have found. They can be used to kill ghosts, but they sell for too much
to make that really practical. The chest contains a lot of coins, but Toadstool
can forget about plowing through the Dry Bones in order to reach it. Either
way, you'll find yourself on the bottom row of the previous room with a few new
puzzle rooms to do.

Room 4 - Just follow the trail of coins, and don't catch the head that's making
the trail. You end up 150 coins richer.

Room 5 - This room is so pointless. You have to hit the cannonballs into the
switch. You reward is a Mushroom. No, not the healing type. You get one that
goes in your inventory. A 30 HP healing item is useless by now; only do this
room if you want a sense of completion. Well, at least it's not hard at all.

Room 6 - This also happens to be the room that leads onward so at least
entering this room is mandatory. The puzzle is really easy, but before you
solve it, progress to the next room and enter the password "pearls". Now go
back and jump on the out of place looking barrel and roll it onto the switch.
Hop onto the other switch to get a healing Mushroom. Save and then head onward
for a boss fight. Be sure to equip the Fearless Pin before entering battle. I
was already at level 11 for this fight, but I had a few unfortunate Game Overs
on the way here. You should be fine at level 10.

Boss 11 - King Calamari

Note: The Tentacles will not grab you if one of your other party members is
dead. If both of your other party members die while you are grabbed, it is
Game Over. The odds of getting a Game Over like that are pretty slim, and since
you can't see who they are targeting, your timed defense will probably keep
your whole party alive. Of course, this is still good to know.

Mario strategy - It's all about Jump. Jump the Tentacles left to right to
easily dispose of the first two waves. If you get grabbed, just endure for a
few turns, and Mario will return. He'll be inflicted with fear despite having
the Fearless Pin equipped, but what can you do? Either way, you'll work your
way up to King Calamari himself. There, use your same Jump strategy to remove
his two Tentacles, and then focus on King Calamari himself with either Jump or
Super Jump. If you feel like using it just for the fun of it, feel free to use
Super Flame. It won't do as much as Jump, but this is the best that it will
ever do anyway. If your health gets low, be sure to munch a Mid Mushroom. This
fight is easy, but you can get worn down if you aren't careful.

Mallow strategy - Shocker does very well here so we're going to abuse it. Start
the fight with a barrage of Shockers aimed at the left Tentacle, and then take
out the two right ones with physicals. Don't worry too much if you get grabbed;
just wait it out and then resume your assault after you return. You have to
take out two waves of Tentacles like this. If you happen to run low on FP, use
a Maple Syrup. Be sure to keep healed with HP Rain as well. Eventually, you'll
be face to face with King Calamari. Take out his two supporting Tentacles left
to right just like the previous times, and then focus on the big guy with
Shocker. He has some fairly strong physical attacks, but the Fearless Pin
prevents you from having to deal with fear once the Tentacles are gone. He's
not strong enough to be a big threat if you just keep healed either; this
shouldn't be a hard fight. Shocker is quite powerful at this stage of the game
even when the enemy isn't weak to it. Well, it's powerful compared to what
Mallow is used to having at least...

Geno strategy - Open the fight with Geno Boost, and then target the left
Tentacle with Geno Beam. After that, go after the two right Tentacles with Geno
Beam as well. Don't worry if you get grabbed; just wait it out and then resume
the Geno Beam use. Yes, you will be inflicted with fear even if you have the
Fearless Pin equipped. It's lame, but you just have to deal with it. After
defeating two batches of Tentacles, you will be faced with King Calamari
himself, accompanied by the final two Tentacles. Again focus on the Tentacles,
and be sure to go after the left one before the right one. King Calamari can
inflict poison and fear. The Fearless Pin protects you from fear, and
poison isn't a big deal. Like his Tentacles, King Calamari takes more damage
from Geno Beam so be sure to use it whenever possible. Be sure to keep well
healed with Mid Mushrooms (save your Max Mushrooms), and this should not be a
very hard boss.

Bowser strategy - The Tentacles can be inflicted with fear, and they have no
magic evasion. Terrorize is a very effective tool against both waves of
Tentacles so be sure to use it. Otherwise, simple physicals are about your only
option. You might get grabbed, but it shouldn't be too big of a deal. Just wait
it out and then resume attacking. Even when inflicted with fear himself,
Bowser's physical defense will make the first stages of this fight very easy.
King Calamari himself is immune to fear, but Terrorize is still handy to help
you take out his supporting Tentacles more quickly. Most of what King Calamari
does is physical, and his method of inflicting fear upon Bowser is blocked by
the Fearless Pin. This really should not be hard at all. Just don't get sloppy
with your health. At the same time, stick to Mid Mushrooms. He's too easy to
waste Max Mushrooms.

Toadstool strategy - Like most fight with Toadstool, this is a long and tedious
fight. Start with an Energizer if you have one to spare, but all you're doing
is making it take longer if you do not. All parts of this boss are immune to
sleep so all you can do is rely on your physical attacks. Unlike the other
characters, Toadstool should go right to left; the right ones have lower
physical defense, and Toadstool is weak enough that this will matter more than
their higher HP. If you get grabbed, wait it out. The good news is that Therapy
also cures status effects so, if you ever get inflicted with fear, you can just
Therapy away the problems. Fire Bombs will help you save quite a bit of time,
but save them for when King Calamari himself shows up. In terms of dealing with
King Calamari himself, you should be fine. Even without an Energizer, one Fire
Bomb will take out his left Tentacle and leave the right without enough health
to survive even one physical attack. Either way, if you followed my advice,
you'll have three Fire Bombs for this fight so he goes down nice and easily.
You can expect your physical attack to do a whopping 1 damage to King Calamari
so, if you don't have the Fire Bombs, have fun. I hope you ignored my other
advice and equipped the Amulet. If this fight is too tedious for you, you might
want to rethink doing Toadstool's challenge. It only gets worse after this.

Okay, after that, run back and save, and stop by the merchant to buy some items
if you are running low. You're only halfway through this dungeon! Proceed
through the upper exit of the room after King Calamari, and you'll have to work 
your way through a room without getting hit by the Bullet Bills. This isn't
hard, and the worst case scenario is that you have to try again. The next two
rooms let you do naught but run straight to the door so do that.

The next room involves you and a doppelganger who do a fine job of cutting each 
other off. Jump in the bottom center of the room to hit a switch, and then leap
from the head of the doppelganger to reach a hidden chest with a Kerokerocola.

Proceed onward. The two elevated chests you passed by contain 100 coins a
piece. You likely have maxed out money or very nearly maxed out money by now so
you don't have to bother with them, but jumping from any of the elevated points
in that room will let you get up there. Anyway, proceed until you see a Dry
Bones standing in a gap in some crates. Jump over him and loot the hidden room
behind the crates to get a Frog Coin. Then retreat a room and go down the
stairs to a room with two chests and a save point. Save first, and then get the
near chest to find a healing Mushroom. The farther chest contains Hidon, a fake
treasure chest enemy. Be sure you have the Amulet equipped.

Optional Boss 3 - Hidon

Mario strategy - Jump tears Hidon to shreds. Super Jump can work too if you are
in that sort of a mood. Use Jump to take out all the Goombettes once Hidon is
gone. This is the sort of easy fight that everybody loves.

Mallow strategy - Okay, for this fight to be possible, you're going to need an
Energizer and the Rock Candy from Booster Pass. It's a really good thing that
the save point is so close too since this also will take a good amount of luck.
Start the fight with the Energizer, and then use the Rock Candy twice. Yes, you
absolutely have to get a freebie on the Rock Candy, or you can forget about
winning this fight. Actually, a Rock Candy is worth more than the 17 EXP, 100
coins, and Safety Badge that you get for winning this fight. Unless you are
dedicated to trying over and over again until you get the freebie twice, you
can forget this fight. Of course, if you do get the freebie twice, that's
always cool. You are right next to the save point, and the battle is only three
turns long. It's not too bad to just try over and over again until luck is on
your side.

Geno strategy - Start the battle with Geno Boost, and then lay into Hidon with
Geno Beam. Ignore his minions and just hammer away at him. He only has 600 HP
so it should not take too long. Geno Beam will also be the method of choice to
wipe out the Goomettes once he is gone.

Bowser strategy - You are going to think I'm joking, but I'm not. Hidon
counters physicals with either his physical attack or the very dangerous Carni
Kiss. Physical attacks are out of the question. However, you do have one way to
cause magic damage to him. Yes, that's right. You are going to use Terrorize
over and over again until Hidon falls. It seems fantastically stupid, but it
works. If any Goombettes remain after Hidon falls, some good old fashioned
Bowser physicals will make quick work of them. You'll likely use quite a few
Mid Mushrooms during this fight, and you will probably need a Maple Syrup as
well.

Toadstool strategy - Follow Mallow's strategy to the letter, but I'm really
going to stress this with Toadstool. The Rock Candy is worth more than winning
this fight. Do not lose the Rock Candy; only accept a fight in which you get
two freebies. Toadstool needs item attacks more than the other characters; you
don't want to lose the best item attack that easily.

If you have to restock on some items, now would be a good time to head back to
the merchant and buy up. The chest which used to contain Hidon will have 100
coins when you return so you can make back all your shopping money really
easily. Once you're finished with this whole ordeal, proceed through the door
past Hidon, and then immediately run through the next door. This dungeon's end
is in sight!

In this room, jump into the whirlpool to head underwater, and then go back to
the previous room via the underwater door to get quite a few frog coins. Then
proceed onward to a submerged staircase teeming with enemies. Fight your way
through if you wish, and then you'll be in a very large, water filled room.
Behind the barrels in the northwestern corner is a secret room containing the
Safety Ring. The Safety Ring is the single most important accessory in this
challenge. I can't stress it enough. GET THE SAFETY RING. You will probably not
be finishing the game if you don't get it, and it's a long trip back here if
you forget it. The Safety Ring gives the same stat bonuses as the Fearless Pin
except it also gives +5 to speed. It nullifies all status ailments. Yes, it
just rendered all other status protection items obsolete, including that Safety
Badge that you just got. It also makes you immune to instant death, and it
grants immunity to a wide variety of enemy specials as well. It certainly does
not protect you from all enemy specials or even most of them, but it does
protect you from quite a few of them. Really, this item is completely awesome.

After you're finished getting the Safety Ring, proceed up the barrels to the
surface of the water. Cross the water to the southwest corner of the room to
find a frog coin, and then exit the room via the door near where you surfaced.
You'll be confronted by a group of four Bandana Reds. These are not very strong
enemies. Magic tears them apart, especially Mallow's Thunderbolt. All status
effects work on them as well so Toadstool can use Sleepy Time to help herself
out a bit, and Bowser gets to play with Terrorize. Once they are fallen, you
will see a chest you could grab. Do not grab it. Make sure you are at full
health and run up the stairs to see the single best line in the game:

WHAT THE? How dare you dodge the barrel!

Seriously, that's brilliant. I hope whoever wrote that line got a promotion for
it. Anyway, continuing up the staircase will end with you engaged in fisticuffs
with five Bandana Reds. Fighting five of them is not much different from
fighting four of them so just flatten them. Afterward, they will open the door
behind them to Johnny's room. Johnny is the boss; don't rush in.

If you are going to run back to the save point near Hidon, do so before
grabbing that chest. Either way, before you go into Johnny's room, open the
chest to get a healing Mushroom. Full HP and FP is helpful in a boss fight. You
will want to concern yourself with your level and equipment. I was at level 12
for the Johnny fight, but level 11 works for the most part. If you are doing
Toadstool's challenge, you will really want to be at level 12. The fight is a
whole lot longer at level 11 since you have 7 less attack, and you are doing
very little damage to Johnny anyway. As per equipment, everyone should equip
the Amulet. In order to speed up the fight, Toadstool should also equip the
Work Pants. If you were a FOOL and sold the Work Pants, the fight is just going
to be that much longer.

Boss 12- Jonathan "Johnny" Jones

Note: Clever people will try to kill all of the Bandana Blues after Mario dies
to prevent the 1v1 fight. They'll be punished by Johnny using more powerful
attacks. It doesn't matter if Mario is alive or not; do not, under any
circumstances, kill all four Bandana Blues.

Mario strategy - Use Jump to take out three of the Bandana Blues and then focus
on Johnny. You can use Super Jump over Jump against Johnny if you want; it
really does not matter. Just be sure to leave the last Bandana Blue standing.
This will prevent Johnny from using any attack other than his physical, and it
will prevent the 1v1 fight. You might be wondering why the 1v1 fight is so bad,
but I have to inform you that Johnny becomes an entirely different monster.
Notably, he gains elemental immunities to jump and fire. Of course, he also
uses many of the more powerful techniques that Johnny ordinarily uses if you
kill all of his minions. Really, the whole ordeal is just that much easier if
you leave a Bandana Blue alive. Actually, it's really easy. I doubt you'll need
more than one Mid Mushroom.

Mallow strategy - This fight is all about Shocker. Start by roasting three of
the Bandana Blues with Shocker, and then set into Johnny with Shocker. You will
definitely want to spare one of the Bandana Blues; this keeps Johnny stuck
using just his physical attack, and it prevents the 1v1 fight with Mario. You
will probably have to heal a few times with HP Rain and use a few Maple Syrups,
but Johnny should go down pretty easily.

Geno strategy - As always, open the fight with Geno Boost. The Bandana Blues
are just stronger versions of the Bandana Reds; Geno Beam will easily take them
out. Be absolutely sure to leave one of them alive; this prevents the 1v1 fight
with Mario from triggering and also limits what moves Johnny will use. After
he's down to one ally, just hammer Johnny with Geno Beam. Be sure to use Mid
Mushrooms to heal if you need them, and use Max Mushrooms if you have to (try
to avoid it). This should not be very hard.

Bowser strategy - Open up with Terrorize to inflict fear upon the Bandana Blues
and then take out three of them with your physical attacks. Don't kill the last
one as this keeps Johnny just using his physical attack, and it absolutely
prevents the 1v1 fight with Mario from triggering. Once three of the Bandana
Blues are dead, just lay into Johnny with physicals. He has good physical
defense, but you have Bowser level attacks. Since the only attacks you will see
in this fight are physicals, Bowser should do quite well. Heal with a Mid
Mushroom if you have a problem. Note that Johnny himself can be inflicted with
fear so feel free to use Terrorize a second time to speed up the fight.
However, do not use it a third time as this carries a high risk of killing the
last Bandana Blue. This should not be very difficult at all; just follow this
strategy, and it should be easy.

Toadstool strategy - If you have a Bad Mushroom, start the fight by using it on 
Johnny. Otherwise or afterward, open with an Energizer, and then take out three
of the Bandana Blues with your physical attack. Then start on Johnny with the
same plan. This will take a very long time, and you will have to heal with
Therapy quite a few times. Still, Johnny has no real ability to threaten you,
and if you equipped yourself exactly as I told you to and further are at level
12 (or higher, of course), this should not take an unbearably long time. Also,
the Bandana Blues can be put to sleep with Sleepy Time. You certainly don't
have to do it, but you can open the fight with Sleepy Time if you want. It
might make the start a bit easier. The Work Pants hurt your defense a lot, and
the Bandana Blues ganging up on you can make life hard. Using a Bracer or a
Yoshi-Ade can also help if the start of the fight is too rough.

You get a boatload of experience points for defeating Johnny, and then you get
the precious Star Piece. That was very much so hard earned, but you're not
finished earning it yet. Use the trampoline in the next room and return to
Seaside Town.

Now here our good friend the elder reveals himself to be Yaridovich, a member
of the Smithy gang. Gee, I never would have guessed. As strange as it is, you
should agree to hand over the Star Piece the first time he asks. This gets you
a Flower Box later. He'll take off, and you should make tracks for the inn and
save. You'll want to equip the Safety Ring with most characters, but Toadstool
really needs the +7 attack from the Amulet. Toadstool would really like the +10
attack from the Work Pants as well, but you won't survive this fight unless you
equip the Nautica Dress. Yeah, this is going to be long. Yes, this is the real
boss you have to defeat to earn this Star Piece; he's easily the hardest boss
you'll have fought so far. Be sure you are well stocked on items; you will have
to use more Mushrooms with the non-healers than you have had to use in the
past. Also, everyone except Geno will want either a Bracer or a Yoshi-Ade.
Toadstool will need an Energizer as well if she does not have the Yoshi-Ade.

Boss 13 - Yaridovich

Mario strategy - Open up with a Bracer, and then get to giving Yaridovich a
healthy beating via Jump or Super Jump. Yaridovich has the potential to do some
serious damage to Mario, but Mario's offensive insanity should manage to beat
Yaridovich down fairly effectively. Don't switch targets after the mirage; that
ensures that you always target the real thing. Just be sure to not take any
stupid chances when it comes to healing; this should end well.

Mallow strategy - Start things off with a Bracer, and then start hammering
Yaridovich with Shocker. Yaridovich is weak to thunder, and Mallow is the
perfect character to exploit that. Yaridovich still has decent magic defense so
it will take a while, but that thunder weakness really does help Mallow out a
lot. You'll also need to heal a good amount with HP Rain, and you'll probably
have to use some Maple Syrup to keep up your spell spamming during this fight.
Just keep at it and keep healed, and Yaridovich should fall easily enough.
Do remember to not switch targets after he summons the mirage; it would be a
terrible waste to use Shocker on the false Yaridovich.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost, and then begin to lay into Yaridovich
with physicals. Heal with Mid Mushrooms or Max Mushrooms when your health gets
low; this will likely happen quite a few times. Yaridovich has 1500 HP, and he
can summon a mirage. Your cursor automatically targets the real Yaridovich so
you can just focus on him the whole time without confusion. The Safety Ring
will protect you from Flame Stone and some of the spells the mirage uses, but
it won't protect you from his signature move, Water Blast. The fight will be
long and arduous (compared to everything else so far), but you should be able
to win.

Bowser strategy - Start the fight with a Bracer, and then simply use physical
attacks. Yaridovich is immune to fear so Terrorize is not any help at all in
this fight. You'll likely need to heal quite a bit with Mid and Max Mushrooms;
Bowser's poor magic defense is really highlighted during this fight.
Yaridovich's 85 defense and 1500 HP will make this quite long. You
automatically target the real Yaridovich after he summons his mirage; don't
foolishly switch targets. The good news is that Yaridovich does not have a
whole lot of FP; your ability to repeatedly attack rises greatly once he runs
out. Just keep at it, and this fight shouldn't be too bad. It's the hardest so
far, but it's quite manageable.

Toadstool strategy - Okay, everyone else has a very short fight in comparison
with what Toadstool has to endure. Start the fight with either a Yoshi-Ade or
a Bracer -> Energizer combo. Then use your physical until Yaridovich falls.
That sounds nice and simple, but the damage you do will be very sad. Therapy
again ensures that you are not likely to die; it's just a war of attrition.
Luckily, Yaridovich's poor FP will kick in, and his ability to damage you will
decline greatly one he runs out. You can use attacking items to speed this up
if you have them to spare, but Yaridovich's 1500 HP means that it will largely
come down to a very slow physical attack spam fest. Have fun, and remember not
to switch targets when the mirage appears. You automatically target the real
one.

Now you have the fifth Star Piece for real. Yes, you certainly did earn it, and
you also have earned the right to explore the real town. Take the key and
unlock the previously guarded door to free the townspeople. The elder will be
so kind as to give you a Flower Box since you didn't let him get tortured. Of
course, if you refused to give up the Star Piece, you will have a lesser
reward. Now let's explore the various shops.

The first shop on the left is Beetles R Us. Here you can invest 150 coins for
access to the beetle races. The beetle races are a great way to harvest
ordinary coins; in my opinion, it's the best way. You likely have 999 coins
right now so you should make the investment now. Later on, if you need some
cash, this will pay off.

The second and third doors lead to the weapon and armor shops. The armor shop
just sells old stuff, but you can get some new weapons at the weapon shop. Buy
the new weapons for everyone who has something except Mario. Mario's weapon
here isn't any stronger than the Masher. However, it is less random. I prefer
the Masher so I wouldn't waste the coins, but if you really dislike how random
the Masher is, it's fine to get this otherwise forgettable shell.

The fourth door is a "health food store" that just sells some basic healing
items. It's a good place to restock if Yaridovich drained you, but otherwise
it's nothing special.

The fifth door leads you to Mushroom Boy. You can give him regular Mushrooms,
and he'll randomly give you nothing, a Maple Syrup, a Rock Candy, or a Flower
Tab. I tend to find him way too annoying and random to deal with, but you
could, in theory, get 99 FP right now or stock up on Rock Candies. It's up to
you whether to mess with him or not.

The sixth door leads to an accessory shop. They sell the various status
protection pins that are outdated by the Safety Ring as well as Zoom Shoes
which you already have. You can forget this place for the most part.

Once you're finished with your shopping, you need to talk to the elder. He'll
direct you toward Land's End which is going to be your next dungeon.

Also, if you are doing Mario, Geno, or Bowser's challenges, you very likely are
going to be looking to replace some Mushrooms. Your HP is starting to get too
high to really rely on Mid Mushrooms; go the extra mile and harvest Max
Mushrooms from Star Hill. Mid Mushrooms are still useful, and you should still
carry a few, but begin the transition toward using mostly Max Mushrooms. It
will make things easier for you in the long run. Also, on that note, you would
be well advised to make sure you have a few Bracers or Yoshi-Ades. They will
be useful in the future, and there's no time to collect them like the present!

Well, with all that business taken care of, let's head over to our next
dungeon, Land's End.

Dungeon 15 - Land's End

Land's End is a very big area, but it's not particularly hard. A few things can
inflict status effects so the Safety Ring wouldn't be a bad idea. The boss at
the end of this place is a joke as well; the biggest problem here is simply
getting to the end.

Enemies:

Stinger - Even weak magic should very quickly destroy them. Their HP is quite
bad as well so the stronger physical characters can OHKO with their physicals.
Fink Flower - Physical attacks are the way to go here unless your name is
Mario. He should stick to Jump.
Octovader - He has the same defense and magic defense, and he's immune to
thunder. In short, everyone uses physicals but Mario who uses Jump.
Chow - Magic is a fast kill, but his poor HP makes physical attacking viable if
you are not a very magical character or are short on FP.
Shogun - Magic is the way to go with them. They are fairly strong so Bowser
should lead off his fights with Terrorize.
Geckit - Magic is a fast kill, but physicals aren't much slower.
Spinthra - Mario/Mallow/Geno can use whatever magic they want, but Bowser and
Toadstool are just going to have to maul through with physicals.
Chewy - Mallow should go for the magic, but everyone else should physical him.
His jump immunity forces Mario into this position. If you are having trouble
with them, Mario can try Super Flame, Geno can Geno Whirl them, and Bowser can
slow them down with Terrorize.
Kriffid - Magic is the way to go here. Bowser should use Terrorize to soften
him up as well.
Shy Away - Physical attacks are your best bet unless you are Mario with that
crazy Jump. Willy Wisp is strong so he should be a priority.

As per levels, you want to be at level 14 for Smilax who is not the next boss
but the boss after that. It's easiest to get most of that experience on this
trip, especially since there are two very well placed Stars near the end. There
is some fighting you will want to do in Bean Valley, but it's very reasonable
to hit level 14 near the end of this area. If you are looking for specific
enemies to fight, I'd suggest the Geckits.

On the first screen, use the cannon to reach the upper area and then jump onto
the moving yellow platform. Face due north (toward a corner) and do a running
jump while the platform is at its highest point to find a hidden chest with a
Red Essence. Of course, you should avoid using Red Essence, but it's still good
to grab.

The second screen has a similar secret. Start by running past the cannon and
jumping around in line with the cannon to find a hidden yellow platform. Do a
"weak" blast from the cannon by waiting longer to fire to land on this, jump to
the elevated area, and then jump around in line with the previous platform and
the cannon. This will reveal a second yellow platform. Go back to the cannon
and use it to launch all the way to the second platform. This lets you reach
the floating chest with a frog coin and the highest ledge. The western edge of
this ledge contains a hidden chest with a Kerokerocola.

After this, follow the linear path to a room with spinning flowers and
ascending ledges. Run along the lower area and leap between the purple flowers
to find a hidden chest with a frog coin. Continue along the lower path until
you find an elevated cave which occasionally shoots out a wisp of smoke. Leap
into it to enter a side area.

This place is quite linear so just run along and grab any chests along the way.
There is a hidden chest in the northeast corner of the starting room so be sure
to grab that for a frog coin. At the end, you'll knock a barrel down and find
yourself way back in the Kero Sewers. Grab the chest up here to get some
Cricket Jam and then work your way back to the last save point in Land's End.

From here, work your way up the cliffs to reach a minigame called the Sky
Bridge. This is a surprisingly useful minigame; it's one of the two best ways
to harvest massive amounts of frog coins. If you want the Scrooge Ring, you
might want to stick around and play until you have around 40 frog coins. You
will get many more soon so don't worry about it too much, and the other, and in
my opinion better, way to harvest frog coins is coming up very soon as well.
Regardless of what you choose to do, proceed past this point until you reach a
screen with a Shogun in a sand whirlpool.

You just have to fight the Shogun and then go into his whirlpool. Just repeat
this until you end up underground. Shoguns are fairly strong so I would suggest
going all out. Don't be timid about using the higher FP costing Shocker and
Geno Whirl or using Terrorize every fight; it won't hurt you in the long run.

Save once you get down into the cave and then open the chest to find the first
Star. You should be able to take out all the enemies on your way into another
pit. Once down here, avoid all the Geckits and speak to the NPC on the west
edge of the room. He'll offer to sell you a Star for 400 coins. It's a good buy
so do it and then use it to take out all the Geckits in here. Proceed onward to
find yourself in a temple. You may see a floating gas cloud in here. Engage it
if you want to fight an optional boss. Be sure you have the Safety Ring
equipped.

Optional Boss 4 - Mokura

Everyone strategy - With the Safety Ring equipped, you are invincible. Hit him
with your cheapest spell (Jump, Thunderbolt, Geno Beam, Terrorize, Sleepy Time)
to reveal Mokura, and then use physical attacks until you win.

There's also an NPC in here standing on a trampoline. He offers to open a
shortcut to the surface for 100 coins. I would consider it a good purchase, but
you don't need it now either way. Proceed onward, get the 50 coins from the
chest, and then pay them right back to get your fortune told. Depending on
luck, you might or might not have to fight in the room beyond the pipe.
Whatever happens, you will end up in a room with two chests. One contains 150
coins, and the other yields a frog coin. There are also two hidden chests in
here. The first is on top of the visible chest closer to the entrance, and the
second is in a northern corner at the bottom of the stairs. Both contain frog
coins. Proceed onward and get another fortune told. If you get the reading
about hunger, proceed onward. If not, keep trying until you do. It's time for
your next boss fight. Don't forget the Safety Ring! Also, if you're doing
Toadstool's challenge, run back to the last save point and save. Luck abuse is
going to save some time against this boss.

Boss 14 - Belome 2

Mario strategy - Ignore any clones and just focus on Belome. The Safety Ring
protects you from the Mallow clone as well as almost everything Belome can do.
Enjoy having a fast and easy victory.

Mallow strategy - The Safety Ring makes you very invincible during this fight.
Shocker Belome until he falls. Ignore the clones; they are not a threat. This
is laughably easy.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost and then just hit Belome with Geno Beam
until he falls. The Safety Ring protects you from the Mallow and Geno clones
for the most part, and Belome is pretty harmless as long as you have the ring
equipped as well. You can flatten him quickly and easily.

Bowser strategy - Belome (but not the clones) can be inflicted with fear. In
combination with the Safety Ring, this grants you a perfect defense. Likewise,
Belome will not stand up long to Bowser's rampage of physical attacks. Just
ignore the clones and flatten Belome quickly and easily.

Toadstool strategy - Unlike you have come to expect with Toadstool, this fight
is just as easy for her as it is for everyone else. You just need some luck. If
Belome ever makes a Toadstool clone, reset. You can win eventually, but it will
take a very, very long time as you'd have to stall out Toadstool 2's insanely
deep FP pool. What you want to see are Mallow clones. Mallow clones can't do a
thing to you and waste space nicely. Mario clones aren't a big deal either, but
they will force you to heal more often. You could use the Work Pants to speed
up this fight, but Mario clones are very, very dangerous with that low defense.
Once you get an acceptable clone arrangement, just smack Belome with the
Parasol until he falls. Don't waste an Energizer; it doesn't take that long.

After you finish off that arduous boss, proceed to Monstro Town.

***Monstro Town***

Monstro Town is pretty much just a bunch of doors in a row, but each of these
doors has something interesting behind it. The first door is the door with the
story events. Enter it and do the storyline required talking thing to send
Sergeant Flutter and his company of Sky Troopas to a cliff in Land's End so you
can access Bean Valley. You can also speak with the treasure chest enemy
upstairs to discover how many hidden chests you are missing. If you've been
following this guide, you should have 10 remaining which is perfect completion
so far. Actually, if you've been following this guide, you're well on your way
to having a perfect file in addition to completing this challenge; I can be
quite the perfectionist.

The second house contains two important monsters. One is a Chow who will give
you incredibly broken equipment if you have done 30 or 100 consecutive Super
Jumps. The Attack Scarf and Super Suit that he could give you would make this
challenge very easy, and thus they are banned. If you want to have them in your
inventory as trophies, feel free to collect them, but under no circumstance
should you ever equip them. The Thwomp here is more useful. Just speak to him
seven consecutive times, and the Temple Key outside will fall to the ground
where you can collect it. This will let us get a few handy items shortly so you
might as well get it.

The third door leads to Culex's room. Culex is this game's optional super boss.
You can totally forget about fighting Culex right now, and you can pretty much
forget about fighting him until after you've finished everything else in the
game. With the restrictions of this challenge, Culex is undoubtedly the hardest
boss in the game. He's so special that he has his own section in this FAQ.
I wouldn't advise looking into actually doing it until you've defeated Smithy,
but take a look if you are curious.

The fourth door leads to the item shop. You can restock on Maple Syrup if you
need them, and there is also some Bowser unique equipment here. You can just
forget about the Courage Shell as, like most Bowser unique armor, it is
useless. However, be sure to pick up the Spiked Link. Actually, pick up the
Spiked Link even if you are not doing Bowser's challenge. It will be useful to
you in the Valentina fight in Nimbus Land as that is the other exception to the
challenge rules.

The fifth door leads to a bed in which you can sleep for a free heal. While
sleeping, you will be approached by the Three Musty Fears. Be sure to rest here
once now; this will begin a side quest which will allow you to obtain the Ghost
Medal, a mildly useful accessory.

The hole in the ground is the save point. Be sure to jump in before dealing
with the final door that is at the top of the staircase.

The last door leads to Jinx's dojo. Here, you can fight a series of four
progressively difficult optional bosses, and if you beat them all, you win the
Jinx Belt, a very good accessory. This will be very useful for some characters,
but other characters have a very hard time with this series of bosses. Jinx has
his own section in the FAQ. I would advise that everyone defeat Jagger and the
first Jinx fight now. Mario should fight the second Jinx fight as well. If you
are determined about it, Mario can win the final Jinx fight, and Geno and
Bowser can win the second Jinx fight. Those will all be fairly resource
draining if you do them now, but they'll be really simple if you wait until
after Nimbus Land. If you're really up for a challenge, do them now, but I
would wait. Well, to be fair, "very lucky" could win you the Mario fight fairly
easily, and Bowser's fight isn't too bad. I'd really recommend against messing
with Geno's fight at all, but it is indeed winnable. Don't even begin to think
about pressing onward at all with Mallow or Toadstool right now; they don't
stand a chance.

Either way, before we head to Bean Valley, we have some side questing to do.
Go through the only remaining door in Monstro Town to approach the exit. Before
you leave, jump around in the western corner of the exit area to find a hidden
chest with a frog coin. Now make your way to Yo'ster Isle.

First of all, press "A" while standing between the letters O and A in the word
GOAL to find The Big Boo Flag. Wow, that has to be the most awkward sentence in
the FAQ grammatically, and there's no way around it. Anyway, while you're here,
you might want to do some item restocking. Get some Yoshi-Ade if you don't have
any, and if you need more Max Mushrooms, get the Yoshi Cookies you'll need to
do the harvesting. Of course, Geno can ignore the Yoshi-Ade, and Mallow/
Toadstool can ignore the Max Mushrooms.

Next head on over to Rose Town. Business here is short and sweet. Check behind
the large wooden flower that is the entrance sign to find the Greaper Flag.
Exit Rose Town and head on over to Tadpole Pond.

First of all, speak with Frogfucius to trade in your Cricket Jam for 10 frog
coins. Hey, that's a great trade! Also, you can now play the final song for
Toadofsky. If you are interested in finishing this side quest, the melody is:

La Ti Do Re So Do Re Mi

This will let you buy Kerokerocola for the low price of 200 coins a piece.
Ouch! Well, strictly speaking, they do render all standard HP and FP healing
items obsolete so it only makes sense that they would cost this much. If you
want to buy them, feel free, but note that this will quickly force you to
harvest coins at Booster Hill. Also, as you move later in the game, the use
of a Bracer becomes vital in nearly every boss fight. Yoshi-Ade work as a
superior alternative to Bracers, but you really don't need Yoshi-Ade very often
at all. Bracers are easier to get since 2 frog coins is a cheaper price than
10 Yoshi Cookies, and you have to reset the game several times to get Yoshi-Ade
most of the time anyway. For my strategies, I will use Bracer over Yoshi-Ade
whenever possible. If you use Yoshi-Ade, you'll just win faster. Obviously,
Geno does not need to worry about any of this, and Toadstool should make sure
that she has her typical bounty of Energizers. On that note, Mallow and Bowser 
will need an Energizer if they don't have any Yoshi-Ade as well. I know that
they are not used to carrying them, but there's a boss fight in Nimbus Land
which is much less difficult for them if they have an Energizer.

The next stop is Mario's Pad. Examine your bed to find the Dry Bones Flag. Hey,
that's all of them! Now would be the time to head on your way back to Monstro
Town to collect your reward. If you have 50 frog coins, now would be a good
time to stop by Seaside Town to buy a Scrooge Ring. Of course, that does
depend on your character. Obviously it's a fairly useless item for Bowser.
Mallow and Geno will really want to get it fairly soon. Mario doesn't have much
need of it unless you are a massive fan of doing insane numbers of Ultra Jumps
to quickly finish generic encounters. Toadstool doesn't need it for quite a
while, but she'll find it handy to have at the end of the game. If you don't
quite have 50 frog coins because you decided to wait on frog coin harvesting,
don't worry about it at all. Before you have to do even a small amount of extra
fighting, you'll have another good shot at getting this.

Once back in Monstro Town, sleep in the bed to get the Ghost Medal. Watch out
as it's automatically equipped on Mario. Save and then head back into Belome
Temple, and then work backward toward the surface. Once you reach the elevator
that led you down to Belome, stop and try doing the fortune thing until you are
told that Belome is not accepting visitors past his bedtime. Take the elevator
back down and speak with Belome. He'll eat the Temple Key, and you'll get the
items behind him. You will acquire 8 frog coins, 4 Flowers, a Fire Bomb, a
Max Mushroom, and a Royal Syrup. That's not bad at all. By the way, at this
point I had 86 FP. Your FP count should be pretty similar to that if you want
to hit 99 FP by the end of the game without abusing Mushroom Boy. Regardless
of how you stand, continue your trip back toward the surface.

The 100 coin shortcut really pays off as an investment right now, but if you
are cheap, there's nothing really wrong with going the long way. Once you're
back under the sun, look for a path north. This will lead you to a cliff with a
bit of a minigame. You just have to climb shell to shell. Success at all will
open the road to Bean Valley. If you get under twelve seconds, you can win the
Troopa Pin which is a great accessory. Note that if you are doing Mallow or
Toadstool's challenge that you must win the Troopa Pin or else the Axem Rangers
will become quite complicated. You can scale the cliff as often as you like,
and a good time after winning the Troopa Pin will result in you winning five
frog coins. In my opinion, this is the best way to harvest frog coins in the
game; if you want the Scrooge Ring and don't have it, make sure you have 50
frog coins before leaving. Once you are finished here, exit via the obvious
path on the top of the cliff.

This puts you back on the overworld. Go buy the Scrooge Ring now if that's your
plan. If that Kerokerocola harvesting by using Yoshi Cookies on Shy Ranger that
only Geno sounded cool and if you're doing Mario, Mallow, or Toadstool's
challenge, you could go and join in now. The Troopa Pin's 20 speed in
combination with the 5 speed you get from the Work Pants is enough to let all
of them outspeed Shy Ranger. Sadly, Bowser is still just a bit too slow. Poor
Bowser will never be fast enough. Once you're finished with all that, enter the
new area to begin the next dungeon.

Dungeon 16- Bean Valley

The enemies in the first part of this area are just the same old enemies that
you fought in Land's End. The same strategies work for the most part, and the
Safety Ring is still a good idea. However, if you are feeling like getting
through here more quickly, Mallow or Geno could equip the Scrooge Ring and go
nuts with Snowy and Geno Blast. The second area has new enemies, and there's a
new flavor of Chomp underground. Note that the enemies in the air don't use
status effects; demonstrate your understanding of this by equipping the Troopa
Pin on anyone who was formerly using the Safety Ring.

Enemies:

Chomp Chomp - Magic is the fast and easy path to victory. Jump, Shocker, and
Geno Beam will quickly eliminate them. Bowser should open his fights with them
with Terrorize. Poor Toadstool is stuck with her physical as always.
Birdy - They're very weak to magic and have a special weakness to ice. Mario
should stick to his Jumping, but Mallow and Geno should use their Snowy and
Geno Blast attacks to wipe out parties of them at once. Bowser and Toadstool
are stuck with the physicals, but those won't take too long to get through.
Heavy Troopa - Magic wins here yet again. Mario should make them his first
priority in Jumping, but Mallow and Geno should just let them be caught up in
the target all spells. Bowser should use Terrorize when these are involved.
Toadstool just has to make them a priority and continue on her unfortunately
slow plan.

I wouldn't fight here much. You have to fight five parties of Chewys to fully
explore the underground area, and then you get experience from the boss fight.
That should be enough to get you up to level 15 for Nimbus Land. If you're
lagging a bit, do your extra fighting in the latter half of the area up in the
clouds. The Birdy/Heavy Troopa groups are very easy in comparison to the stuff
on the ground.

Anyway, start your exploration of this area by taking the right pipe. Jump in
the western corner of this area to find a hidden chest with a frog coin, and
then continue via the other pipe. On the new screen, take the other pipe to get
to a treasure chest containing a Flower. Backtrack through the pipe and then
take the standard walking exit to the next area.

Here, there are five pipes and a save point. Save first and then explore the
five pipes. To get in, you have to fight the monsters that come after the Shy
Away waters the plants, but those shouldn't be too bad.

The far western pipe will introduce you to chests with slots in them. You play
a slot machine type game, and depending on how you match up the symbols, you
get an item. Two of the same symbol gets you an item, three of the same give
you a frog coin (or so I've heard; I have never gotten three of the same
symbol), and all three different nets you a fight with Box Boy, an optional
boss. Mushrooms yield healing Mushrooms, Flowers yield Flowers, and Stars give
you Rock Candy. You should definitely not get Mushrooms as that's just a short
term gain. I usually prefer to go for Flowers on these, but getting some Rock
Candy might not be a bad idea. Note that if you don't have at least one Rock
Candy in your inventory and are doing Mallow and Toadstool's challenge that you
will have to get one at some point, though that doesn't have to be here. You
should really, really avoid Box Boy. Not only is he very hard if your character
is not Mario, but there isn't much of a reward for beating him (just experience
and coins). However, if you must...

Optional Boss 5 - Box Boy

Mario strategy - Just like with Pandorite and Hidon, Box Boy's weakness to Jump
is his undoing. Jump, Super Jump, and Ultra Jump should all take him out very
quickly.

Mallow strategy - Ugh. Well, if you enjoy living, you'll want to have a Bracer
active in this fight, and if you want it to end remotely quickly, you'll want
to have the effects of an Energizer. You really might as well just use a
Yoshi-Ade. All you can really do is go all out with physical attacks on Box
Boy, and it will take a while. He can hurt you pretty badly, and Fautso does
not help. Fautso can also put you to sleep so you might want to consider the
Safety Ring, but it doesn't protect against much in this fight. If you want to
save an item, the Troopa Pin or Ghost Medal work too. If you have trouble,
remember that there's absolutely no reason to fight him.

Geno strategy - Start with good old Geno Boost and then transition into
physicals. Geno Beam will do more, but that will incite Box Boy to counter with
Water Blast or Blast, neither of which are very good for you. This will likely
force you to use some Max Mushrooms, and you get nothing for winning. Why
bother? As with Mallow, the Safety Ring is mildly helpful here.

Bowser strategy - Box Boy can be inflicted with fear, and Crusher will actually
do some good damage here. The bad news is that he counters all specials with
his own powerful specials, Water Blast and Blast. Well, shucks. All you can
really do is use your physical to slowly take him out. If he's doing too much
damage to you, Bracers can help. If you want to kill him faster to conserve
Max Mushrooms, an Energizer can help (or just use a Yoshi-Ade for both!). The
Safety Ring blocks sleep, but sleep isn't very prominent in this fight so you
really don't have to use it. You can save an item with the Troopa Pin or Ghost
Medal if you feel as if though you can live without it.

Toadstool strategy - Hmm, Box Boy makes fighting him with other characters seem
like the average boss fight for Toadstool. How will it be for Toadstool? The
obvious answer is "unbearably tedious", of course. I really hope that you have
hit level 15 as that will speed up this fight quite a bit, and you'll very much
need either a Yoshi-Ade or the equivalent Bracer + Energizer combo. The advice
about the Safety Ring applies just as much to Toadstool as it does to everyone
else, but given that you stand to lose a longer fight with her, perhaps you
should be even more inclined to use it on her.

Well, after you don't fight Box Boy and instead get a helpful Flower or Rock
Candy from the chest, head into the next pipe counterclockwise. This contains
another slots chest and nothing else of note. Continue your rotation
counterclockwise to find yet another slots chest. Hey, you know, this could
really let you speed up Toadstool's trip through the game a lot if you took
Rock Candies every time. If you're wondering, I took one Rock Candy and two
Flowers. However, before leaving this room, head southwest in line with the
chest and jump around to find a hidden chest with a handy Kerokerocola. After
obtaining that, continue counterclockwise through the pipes.

The chest in here contains Box Boy no matter what so if you were disappointed
at skipping him, now would be the time to fight him. You could also follow my
advice and skip him altogether; he's really not worth fighting. Anyway, down
here, jump around in the northeast corner under the platform to find a frog
coin, and jump around in the southeast corner that doesn't contain the platform
to find a hidden chest with a Red Essence. By our rules, we can't use the Red
Essence, but this does count toward 100% hidden chest completion at least.
Also, exiting via the trampoline atop the platform leads you to a secluded area
with a chest containing a frog coin.

The last area in our counterclockwise trip has the Chomp Chomp enemy. Jumping
around near his base will reveal a hidden platform and open the way out of Bean
Valley to the secret area, Grate Guy's Casino. There is no need to visit Grate
Guy's Casino as the only good thing there is the Star Egg which is a banned
item. However, if you want full map completion, it's a worthwhile trip. There's
no healing before the next boss so this is also the fastest way back to the
overworld to go heal yourself. You could use Grate Guy's Casino for frog coin
harvesting at least. If you want to actually enter the place and not just be
turned away by the door wardens, you'll need to win a very frustrating juggling
minigame with Knife Guy in Booster Tower to get a Bright Card. I'll leave that
choice up to you, but whatever you do, get yourself in good health and FP and
save at the save point. After that, exit to the northeast to see a bit of a
scene and begin the fight. Be absolutely sure that you have your Safety Ring
equipped for this one.

Boss 15 - Smilax

Mario strategy - The way Smilax is divided does him no favors; a fully powered
Jump will OHKO the smaller Smilax monsters. That being said, start the fight
with a barrage of Jumps until Megasmilax and Megasmilax alone is left. After
that, you can focus on him with your choice of Jump, Super Jump, or Ultra Jump.
Since you're only using specials, (Mega)Smilax never counterattacks and only
has a chance to hit you once between your turns which gives you more than
enough healing opportunities. The fact that so many of this boss's attacks, as
well as his impressive array of status effects, are blocked by the Safety Ring
just makes it easier. Don't expect a great deal of resistance as you flatten
this boss.

Mallow strategy - It's Snowy's time to shine! Both Smilax and Megasmilax are
weak to ice, and the smaller Smilax monsters only have 200 HP. Start the fight
with Snowy, and then use a physical to finish off the first Smilax bulb. Six
Snowies later, you'll be in a one on one with Megasmilax. Snowy will do more
than your physical, but it costs a lot of FP, and it's not a whole lot more.
It's up to you how you will attack; do keep in mind that Megasmilax has a 1/3
chance of countering your physical attack with a physical attack of his own.
You will likely need to use some Maple Syrup, but the fight should be neither
long nor difficult. It's just too bad that more bosses aren't multipart and
weak to ice like this.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost, and then use two physical attacks to take
out the small Smilax monster. When Shy Away creates two more, eliminate them
with a pair of Geno Blasts. Another pair of Geno Blasts will eliminate the trio
of Smilax, and then the real boss will appear. Again, two Geno Blasts will work
to kill the smaller Smilax monsters, and then you'll be free to focus on
Megasmilax with a barrage of physical attacks. The Safety Ring does indeed keep
you very safe during this fight; you will probably only need to heal once
during this fight. The only real threat is that all parts of this boss have a
1/3 chance of countering physical attacks with their own physical attack. Don't
be surprised when it happens.

Bowser strategy - Everything here is immune to fear, and you otherwise have no
shortcuts to help you out. Just go all out with the physical attacks; it's all
you can do. Once Megasmilax appears, take out his minions first. Be wary that
any physical attack you use has a 1/3 chance of being countered by a physical
attack. Bowser's physical defense serves you well in such a situation, but
just be aware of it so you don't wait too long to heal. The Safety Ring does
a fantastic job of negating most of the bad stuff that can happen to you in
this fight; it's ultimately just a simple slugfest in which you have a massive
advantage.

Toadstool strategy - The use of an Energizer in this fight is optional; this
fight isn't too tedious without it, but it's long enough so that you might want
to use it. The Bracer is also optional, and that comes down to how confident
you are with timed defense. Megasmilax can kill you in two hits with his
physical, and he has a 1/3 chance of countering your physicals with his
physical. That means that he could, hypothetically, kill you from full health
before you get a turn unless you have a Bracer up. Of course, if you just use
timed defense, you can endure. You have plenty of opportunities to attack from
full health as Smilax likes to use spells that are totally blocked by the
Safety Ring. You'll also note that everything here is weak to ice, but
save any Ice Bombs for the last stage of the fight. Shortening the portion of
the fight that involves Megasmilax is nice after all. Really, this fight isn't
very hard. Both buffing items shorten the fight and make it easier, but you can
fairly easily win without either of them. As is usual with Toadstool, it's a
matter of spamming Therapy and slowly whittling down the enemy's HP with your
weak physical for a long and boring fight that you are pretty much guaranteed
to win eventually.

Now that Shy Away has told us that someone does not want us to go to Nimbus
Land, the course of action is clear. We really have to go to Nimbus Land. After
all, it's a rule in video games that you always must do something if you are
told not to do it or otherwise informed that someone does not want you to do
it.

You'll see a note drift down from the sky as well. Examining it reveals a
"Seed". This is one of the two items needed to get the Lazy Shell weapon and
armor. The Lazy Shell armor is easily the most broken item in the game and is
banned with very good reason. The Lazy Shell weapon is Mario's ultimate weapon
and is fair game in his challenge. If you're doing Mario's challenge, be sure
to pick up the Seed. Otherwise, you really don't need it, though it sells for a
lot, and the Lazy Shell items themselves could be sold for a lot. You might
also just want completion. Whatever you do, head through the pipe, hit the
block a few times, and climb into the clouds.

On the first screen, just climb up. Grab the 30 coins and frog coin if you want
them. The second screen is more interesting. The easily accessible chest
contains a very valuable Flower; be sure to snag it. Since we want to obtain
the Rare Scarf, we're going to have to jump to the left vine that has the frog
coin hovering near it. This is somewhat difficult. You will need to hold down
and left and do a running jump off the middle plant. The timing is somewhat
precise, but you can try until you succeed. After that, climb to the middle
vine, jump to reveal a hidden yellow platform, and leap from that to reach the
left vine so you can ascend another screen. Up here, you'll discover two
chests. One has a frog coin, and the other has the precious Rare Scarf
accessory. This useful thing boosts defense and magic defense by 15 each; it's
a great accessory for Mallow and Toadstool when you don't need the Safety Ring.

Jumping down through the hole between the chests will land you on a small
platform with two chests, each containing Flowers. Aren't you glad that we're
taking this route instead of the normal, easy one? Jumping down again will send
you on a more continuous falling path until you're in a small room with two
marshmallow men and a trampoline. Take the trampoline and then the normal
trampoline (not the warp one) in the next room to arrive in Nimbus Land, the
final town in the game. After a brief scene in which you discover the shocking
coincidence that there's a lost prince of the cloud people named Mallow, you
can explore the town. Hmm, yes, a lost prince of the cloud people named Mallow
is definitely a coincidence. All those bird enemies don't mean anything, and
this bird woman named Valentina who wanted to keep you out of Nimbus Land seems
trustworthy when she says that the fat bird is Mallow. There's definitely not
any rule of video games in which no shared names are coincidence.

***Nimbus Land***

Well, the nearest door to your left contains a shop. Be sure to buy Fuzzy armor
for everyone other than Bowser (they don't even sell a Fuzzy Shell), and buy
new weapons for everyone but Bowser since this game seems to really hate Bowser
and doesn't want to give him as many toys as everyone else. Mario players can
be especially shocked; you finally have a weapon that's clearly better than the
Masher from way back in Booster Tower. Yes, Jump is still your main mode of
attack. We also have to remember that the boss fight at the end of Nimbus Land
is the other exception to the rules of this challenge, and you'll need gear for
a second character. Bowser should have a full outfit of equipment if you've
been following my advice. If you're doing Bowser's challenge, be sure to pick
up the Hand Cannon and Fuzzy Cape for Geno. Also, while you're in here, jump 
from the high boxes toward the door to discover a hidden chest with a frog
coin. The inn here costs coins, and you can warp out of Nimbus Land freely via 
the warp trampoline a screen down. Get healed somewhere free if you're cheap,
and if you're doing Mallow or Bowser's challenge, make sure you have an
Energizer. The boss inside Nimbus Castle is very arduous for them if they do
not have one, and with those characters, you are likely not used to carrying
one.

Once you're ready to enter, enter the town in the northwest corner, have
shocking revelations about Mallow's past, and tell Garro that you're ready. You
don a brilliant disguise, and then you go into the next dungeon.

Dungeon 17 - Nimbus Castle

Your first choice in here is whether to fight Dodo or not. You can win the very
easy minigame and avoid the fight or just get hit and fight. The reward for
winning the minigame is the useless Feather accessory. The fight itself is very
easy with minimal rewards. Really, it doesn't matter a whole lot either way. I
personally like to win the minigame since the Feather, while useless, is one of
a kind. Again, it's all up to you. If you want to do the fight, having the
Safety Ring equipped would be helpful but isn't really mandatory for non-
Toadstool characters. If being muted ruins your strategy, just smashing Dodo
with physical attacks will tend to produce positive results.

Optional Boss 6 - Dodo

Mario strategy - Jump wins before Dodo can really do anything. He only has 800
HP and has limited damage output potential.

Mallow strategy - Shocker fries Dodo quickly and easily. He might do somewhat
decent damage with Multistrike, but you have HP Rain for that.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost and then move in on Dodo with Geno Beam.
He can counter your physicals with his own physicals, and why not keep it as
simple as possible?

Bowser strategy - Dodo can be inflicted with fear so open the fight with
Terrorize. Dodo's 100 defense isn't bad, but his 800 HP is very poor for this
stage of the game. Bowser's defenses render Dodo's attacking options inferior.
Your Spiked Link should smash him nicely.

Toadstool strategy - Unsurprisingly, she's again the only character who might
have trouble with a fight. You really do need to have the Safety Ring equipped
for this fight as getting muted is devastating. Dodo's 100 defense stat is a
bit high for comfort, but at least you just got a new weapon. You'll probably
want to use an Energizer to speed this up. Of course, Therapy is amazing
protection; you will only die if you get careless. Also, I really wouldn't
recommend wasting good attacking items on this fight, but Dodo is weak to fire.
If you have a massive stock of Fire Bombs (they really aren't hard to harvest),
they'll produce quite positive results.

You can run to the next room, get the Feather if you decided to win the
minigame, and then save. The room afterward removes your statue disguise if you
still have it, and you have to deal with generic enemies from here on.

Enemies:

Birdy - He's no different than he was in Bean Valley. Treat him the same way.
Heavy Troopa - He's also unchanged from Bean Valley. Magic is still the best
option if your character has it.
Bluebird - They're the opposite of the Birdy enemies. Ice does nothing to them,
and they have much better magic defense than physical defense. Everyone should
simply smash them with physical attacks.
Pinwheel - Magic tends to work well, but watch out for their thunder immunity.
Their HP is very poor, and they are not strong. Make them a low priority.
Muckle - Everyone except Mario should focus on them with physical attacks.
Mario should continue to use his superb Jump. The Safety Ring totally nullifies
them.
Jawful - Magic is a good idea here as it does much more damage. They won't
attack until you wake them up, and even then, they can be put back to sleep by
Toadstool. Alas, Bowser cannot inflict them with fear.
Shaman - Watch out! These are the powerhouses of Nimbus Land. Be really sure
that you have the Safety Ring equipped before engaging them so only Diamond Saw
can hurt you. Physical attacks are definitely the way to go against them, but
Toadstool can think about opening her fights with Mute.
Orbison - These guys are just plain tedious to fight. Mario gets a quick win
with Jump, and Geno can put up a decent showing with Geno Beam. Bowser can use
Terrorize to increase his damage output, but these guys are really resistant to
physicals. Unless you are in the mood for a long and boring fight, Mallow and
Toadstool should just run.
Sling Shy - It's all about magic here, and that can include Bowser somewhat as
inflicting fear on them makes them beyond useless. They do have a few status
effects, but you protected yourself, right?

If you didn't pick up on it, the Safety Ring is a great investment here. There
are some ice immunities running around, and that really limits Mallow's ability
to use the Scrooge Ring + Snowy combination. Geno still does very well with the
Scrooge Ring + Geno Blast combination. Also, even more than in most areas, you
can really influence what you fight by what types of enemies you encounter. You
will only fight Shaman if you attack a Shaman group. Birdy and Bluebird groups
only contain that specific type of bird with a chance of a Heavy Troopa or two.
The Pinwheel groups are by far the best to harvest experience as they only
contain Pinwheel, Muckle, and Sling Shy. The Safety Ring reduces the threat of
all three to nearly zero. Don't attack Sling Shy groups at all unless you are
doing Mario's challenge; these are very likely to contain the frustrating
Orbison.

Also, look out for Yoshi Cookie opportunities here. This is probably the single
best place in the game to harvest items with Yoshi Cookies. The enemies here
disappear permanently after you finish the dungeon; do not miss this
opportunity! Muckles yield Ice Bombs, and they are the only enemy which gives
them up via a Yoshi Cookie. These will be very handy against the Czar Dragon so
be sure to pick up a few if you are doing Toadstool's challenge. Jawful gives
the extremely, extremely valuable Rock Candy item. This is your last chance to
make sure that you have two Rock Candies for the Axem Rangers. Mallow and
Toadstool are not getting past the Axem Rangers boss fight without these items;
be absolutely sure you have two Rock Candies before leaving Nimbus Land. Even
if you're doing someone else's challenge, you would be wise to take this chance
to get some Rock Candies. Geno and Bowser will be finding them awesome against
Jinx, among other uses. They're just an amazing item, and there's no reason not
to take advantage of this. Anyone who uses FP can rejoice at the opportunity to
harvest Royal Syrup from Shaman and Orbison. You've been able to get them from
Shoguns in Land's End for a while, but these are much easier enemies to find in
large groups.

Birdy and Heavy Troopa will always be available to fight in Bean Valley. All
other enemies here disappear permanently, excluding some cameos in the 6 Door
Section of Bowser's Keep. In the excitement of all this, don't forget your
level. Level 17 is our target for the Czar Dragon boss fight which is still
decently far away. Hitting level 16 here would be a good idea, but it's not
really mandatory.

To start, you might want to find the exit. Heading southwest one screen leads
to the entrance hall. Southwest again leads out, but the western door in the
middle of the room leads down a hall toward a chest with a Flower. If, instead
of heading southwest from the room in which you are "destatued", you head
northwest, you'll end up in the upper part of the same room. The correct way
to go is northeast; you'll go through some halls and end in a room with a
convenient healing Mushroom. The room after that is the main hallway. The chest
in the northwest corner contains another Flower, and the eastern door leads to
a chest with another Flower. The western door leads to a narrow hall room that
actually has two hidden chests in it. One of them is in the void, and you must
run into the wall in front of where the Jawful is stabbing at it. The other is
just right next to the Jawful on more solid ground. These chests contain frog
coins which are always nice to have.

The room beyond this has some NPCs with which you can speak. Doing so and
generally giving positive responses nets you a Castle Key and a Flower Jar.
Head back to the main hall and unlock the door behind the Heavy Troopa to enter
a room with a giant egg. Predictably, this leads to a boss fight. If you have
the Jinx Belt, be sure to equip it. Otherwise, go with the Rare Scarf. If you
are willing to take a statistical hit in the interest of cheapness, the Ghost
Medal could be used.

Boss 16 - Birdo

Mario strategy - Open the fight with a barrage of physicals to defeat Shelley,
and then set in with your choice of Jump, Super Jump, or Ultra Jump on Birdo.
Birdo does not have much HP so this should go fairly quickly and easily. Birdo
could hurt you very, very badly, but he likely won't live long enough to do it.
If you are having trouble, using a Bracer before you defeat Shelley fully
trivializes this fight.

Mallow strategy - Start the fight with a Bracer for sure, and using an
Energizer on top of that (or just using a Yoshi-Ade in the first place) would
be wise. Birdo is surprisingly strong. Afterward, conserve your FP by taking
out Shelley with physicals. When Birdo arrives, blast it with Shocker over and
over again. You will likely need to heal with HP Rain quite a bit, and you'll
quite possibly run out of FP before it ends and have to use a Syrup. However,
if you just keep at it, you should prevail.

Geno strategy - As always, open the fight with Geno Boost. Next you have to
destroy Shelley. Since it doesn't fight back at all, just use your basic
physical attacks until it falls. Once Birdo reveals itself, you should continue
with the same plan. Basic physical attacks do more damage and will take it down
eventually. Birdo is pretty powerful so you'll likely need to do some healing
before this is over. However, Birdo's very low 777 HP makes this easier than it
might be otherwise.

Bowser strategy - Like so many other bosses, Birdo is immune to fear. Open the
fight with a Bracer as you can't afford to take totally undefended hits from
Birdo at any point. However, after you've hit Birdo three times, he'll start
using his "strong" egg attack. If you are under the effects of the "Defend"
command, these will bounce off you and become Eggberts. Attack the Eggberts to
do 80 damage to Birdo. Yes, this is a rather slow fight, and Birdo can hurt you 
very badly. If you managed to get the Jinx Belt earlier, though I doubt you
did, this will be much easier. You also could use an Energizer to allow your
physical attacks to become more efficient than the Eggberts which really lets
you beat Birdo a lot faster and consume fewer Max Mushrooms. You certainly
don't have to, but it would be a really good idea. You do have that time with
Shelley in which you can do anything with no penalty after all.

Toadstool strategy - Start things off with a Bracer, and then hack away at
Shelly with physicals. You have no hope of defeating Birdo with your basic
physical attacks even when under the effects of an Energizer. You can either
use Ice Bombs and Rock Candies to take him down or use the special gimmick in
this fight. If you have attacked Birdo three times, he'll start to use his
one egg shot. If you used the defend command on the turn before, being hit by
this will generate an Eggbert. Attacking the Eggbert will cause it to detonate
on Birdo for 80 damage. Birdo has 777 HP so you'll have to detonate 10 Eggbert
on it. Therapy will be pivotal in surviving long enough to do this.

Okay, unless you were using Mario, that was a good deal harder than you likely
expected. However, we still have a good deal of dungeon left. Snag the Castle
Key 2 and unlock the next door. Hop onto the hopefully already opened chest in
this room and jump to find a hidden chest containing a frog coin. Rush ahead
past the door with the Heavy Troopa to see a lovely scene with Valentina. Hmm,
yes, after all she's done, she has good reason to call someone else rude. Once
she flees, proceed through the door in the back.

Save in here and then go to the next room. In here, avoid the enemies and jump
under the chest that seems out of reach. A platform will appear, and you can
loot the chest for a valuable Star. Use it to defeat all the enemies in this
room and the next room, including Dodo. Continuing past that room leads to the
end of the dungeon.

You'll end up back at the area you fell to after getting the Rare Scarf. Now,
do not return to Nimbus Land. That will trigger the next boss fight. Instead,
go, save, and heal. The next boss fight is the Valentina fight which is the
second exception to the rules. Equip your main character with the Safety Ring
and place him in the third slot in your party (Mario obviously doesn't move).
Place Bowser in the second slot and equip him with the Spiked Link, Work Pants,
and Safety Badge. If you don't have the Safety Badge, use the Wake Up Pin
instead. If you are doing Bowser's challenge, use Geno instead. If you forgot
to buy equipment for Geno in Nimbus Land, you can pick some up in Seaside Town,
but it won't be as good. If you need to restock on Max Mushrooms after the
Birdo fight, be sure to do so. Valentina's defense stats are poor, but she has
2000 HP so she can take quite the beating. Once you are totally ready, head
back to Nimbus Land.

Boss 17 - Valentina

Pre-battle - It's a 1v1, Dodo versus Bowser (maybe Geno). Dodo can be inflicted
with fear so keeping him in that status would be a good idea and would also
make this even easier. Geno obviously can't do that. Also, don't use Geno
Boost with Geno. That would affect the later stages of the fight, and since
it's not Geno's challenge, that's cheating. Either way, simple physicals wear
away Dodo's health quickly, and you will likely not need to heal at all.

Mario strategy - Open the fight with a Bracer and then begin your typical
Jump attack plan against Valentina. A level 16 Mario who has followed the
rotation and fully maxed Jump will only take 10 hits to bring her down. On that
note, just ignore Dodo and Bowser when they come back; they aren't really worth
worrying about. Valentina can inflict decent damage on you, but like most other
bosses, she doesn't survive long enough to be a really big threat.

Mallow strategy - Open the fight with a Bracer and then move in on Valentina
with physical attacks. Mallow's high magic defense really shines through in
this fight as not even Valentina's most powerful spells are very dangerous as
long as you have that Bracer up. Once you've knocked off 800 of Valentina's HP,
Dodo and Bowser will return. Neither has much impact on the fight so just
continue assaulting Valentina with your physical. This is an astoundingly easy
boss fight as long as you show even minor amounts of caution when it comes to
healing. HP Rain is nearly infinite here since you aren't using other spells;
if in doubt, heal!

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost and then focus on Valentina with
physicals. Valentina has some quite potent magic, and the Safety Ring blocks
only some of it. You'll likely need to do a fair amount of healing in this
fight. Once you've done over 800 damage to Valentina, Dodo and Bowser will
return. Leave Bowser to die and ignore Dodo; you can take out Valentina much
more quickly than Dodo. This fight is more dangerous with Dodo around since a
Valentina spell + Dodo Multistrike combo is very painful. However, Valentina is
a foe of limited durability; you should be alright.

Bowser strategy - Open the fight with a Yoshi-Ade. You really don't need the
Energizer half of it and could get away with just the Bracer, but this way
helps you conserve Max Mushrooms. After that, go all out with physicals on
Valentina. Even when Dodo and Geno return, just continue attacking Valentina.
She doesn't last all that long since her high HP is more than negated by her
poor defense. With the Bracer effect, Bowser takes her magical assault
surprisingly well.

Toadstool strategy - Open the fight with a Bracer. You don't need an Energizer
here, but it does speed it up substantially. I'll leave the issue to your
discretion. Valentina's defense is quite poor, but her HP is high. She is quite
random with her damage output. She has a few spells that are negated by your
Safety Ring, but her others are very powerful, especially Diamond Saw. Once
you've knocked off 800 HP, Dodo and Bowser return. Bowser must be left to die
and isn't much help, but Dodo is quite the pain. Multistrike can really hurt
after all. Luckily, you have nearly limitless healing thanks to Therapy, and
you can afford to wait to attack until you've had a good round in which little
bad has happened to you. Valentina's FP isn't infinite either. If you're having
trouble with this fight, just constantly heal until she's out of FP. Overall,
it's not really a hard fight, but it is somewhat long and has the easy
potential for careless mistakes.

Okay, after some touching scenes, you find yourself in the throne room of
Nimbus Castle. Personally, I would have asked for Geno's autograph, but what do
I know? Anyway, exit the throne room via the back door and return to the chest
that used to contain a Star. Now it contains a Flower which will doubtlessly be
handy for you. This also will be our last FP check as this Flower was the one
that gave me 99 FP on my test run. Having maxed out FP is a great asset so if
you aren't there, I hope you're close! I'll continue to point out Flower
locations to help out those who are lagging.

Return to the throne room and exit it via the normal door. Make your way to the
room in which Mallow's parents were trapped while Valentina was in charge (also
known as the only room you didn't enter during your first trip here) and speak
with the NPCs in here to get a Flower Jar. Return to the main hall and go to
the spot where there used to be a chest with a Flower in it. The chest is gone,
but if you jump on that spot, you'll uncover a hidden chest with a frog coin.
There's only one more hidden chest left if you've been following this guide,
and it's in the final dungeon. That concludes business in the castle so head
back to the main body of Nimbus Land.

You can meet up with Croco in the northeastern house here. After discussing the
finer points of philosophy, he takes off, but he leaves his Signal Ring behind.
This is a pretty pointless accessory if you've been following this guide
perfectly, but if you're missing some hidden chests, it will help you find
them. Also, while outside in Nimbus Land, run along the eastern boundary of the
city and push against the invisible wall. You should find a place which allows
you to run out onto thin air, and you can speak with Shy Away here. He is
quite intimidated by your impressive battle prowess and gives you the
Fertilizer in exchange for his safety. This is the other item Mario needs to
get his ultimate weapon. There's nothing stopping you from getting it right now
actually so let's hop to it!

Return to Rose Town and head to the northeastern boundary of the city. You
should discover that there's a new exit here which leads to a lone house. Hmm,
it's funny how this wasn't here before. Anyway, inside, speak with the
gardener and agree to give up the Seed and Fertilizer. A vine will grow, and
you can climb it up into the clouds to get the Lazy Shell weapon and armor. The
weapon is a great treasure for Mario players; it's his ultimate weapon! The
armor is a banned item; don't even think about using it.

Now would be a good time to return to Jinx. Level 16 has an easier time with
him than level 14, and everyone except Bowser got an equipment upgrade since
then. Everyone should be able to beat Jinx 2 now, and Mario will have a fairly
easy time with Final Jinx. Geno and Bowser can both beat Final Jinx now as
well, and I'd heavily suggest that you obtain the Jinx Belt now if you're using
those two characters. It will be helpful in the next dungeon. Let me repeat
that. Get the Jinx Belt if you are doing Geno or Bowser's challenge. It will be
helpful in the next dungeon. I'm not sure that I want to go as far as to say
that it's mandatory, but you are on your own if you are thinking of taking on
the Axem Rangers without it. As per Mallow and Toadstool, they will need to
wait to challenge Jinx.

Once you are fully prepared and well stocked on all the items you might need,
head back to Nimbus Land to the area you fell to out of Nimbus Castle. Speak
to the guards to access the hot springs. Walk through the exit to fall into the
next dungeon.

Dungeon 18 - Barrel Volcano

Okay, this place is intense. The enemies are strong, and it ends with two very
strong bosses. The good news is that near the end there's a shop that sells the
excellent fire armor as well as an inn. You don't have to worry about keeping
in good health for the bosses.

Enemies:

Magmus - Magic is the best way to deal with him. Do watch out as he's immune to
jump and all status effects so Mario, Bowser, and Toadstool do have to stick to
boring physical plans.
Armored Ant - Don't leave him for last or else he'll use Vigor Up!. Magic is
the way to go with him, and that includes a nice Terrorize from Bowser. Fear
not only weakens him and hits his low magic defense, but it can negate Vigor
Up!.
Oerlikon - He's very similar to Magmus. He's immune to jump and status, but
he has poor magic defense.
Chained Kong - Mario can use his magic, but everyone else should stick to the
physicals here. His magic defense is worse and he is status weak so including
him in a group Snowy, Geno Blast, or Terrorize isn't a bad idea.
Vomer - It's just Dry Bones version two. Use any magic to quickly and easily
destroy him.
Pyrosphere - Mario and Mallow should definitely use magic to take him down.
Geno, Bowser, and Toadstool should stick to physicals, but he is weak so
catching him as a part of a group with Geno Blast isn't a bad idea.
Stumpet - Hit him hard and fast with magic. Sadly, he is immune to fear and
sleep so Bowser and Toadstool are very likely to see his powerful attacks that
he uses every other turn.
Corkpedite - Kill the Body and ignore it. Sand Storm is quite nasty as always.
Body - It has a magic defense stat of one. Even Bowser should join in the magic
assault with Crusher. However, if you have instant death protection equipped,
it can't hurt you so you don't have to worry about ignoring it. Toadstool
should flee from these battles if she doesn't have instant death protection.

You will want to reach level 17 by the end of this dungeon. In terms of
accessories, there are a lot of choices. Almost everything here is weak to ice
and magic in general so Mallow should definitely go with the Scrooge Ring so he
can abuse Snowy to its fullest extent. Bowser has the easy choice of the Jinx
Belt. It protects him from instant death and massively boosts the stats that
are important to him. If you don't have the Jinx Belt, you're in somewhat of a
bind and will be stuck between the Troopa Pin and Safety Ring, neither of which
are nearly as useful here. Mario has two real options. He can use the Jinx Belt
for the big defense buff and instant death protection and rely on having over
200 attack to be his big thing in here. He could also equip the Jump Shoes to
try to exploit Jump, but the Jump Shoes leave him defensively vulnerable. Geno
has a similar double choice. He can use the Jinx Belt and use his physical
nearly exclusively here, or he can use the Scrooge Ring and rely mostly on Geno
Blast. The former option is safer, but the latter is faster. Toadstool doesn't
have options that are nearly as lucrative as everyone else's choices. She can
use the Safety Ring to really help her against Pyrosphere and Corkpedite/Body,
or she can use the Troopa Pin for speedier kills. The Troopa Pin will help her
a lot, but her fight with Corkpedite/Body is awful without the Safety Ring.
It's really up to you what you prefer or whether you're willing to juggle
accessories based on what enemies you expect to be fighting.

Regardless of how you choose to fight your battles, this place is extremely
linear. Unless you jump down from an elevated place, you never have multiple
choices about which way to go. I'll point out a few rooms of interest, but for
the most part, I'll leave navigating this place up to you. You do get a lot of
Flowers here; I will assume that you will hit 99 FP here if you didn't already.

The first room of mild interest is a room with a frog coin over the lava. The
frog coin is well obtainable; you just have to leap out to get it. No, there
are no negative consequences for doing this regardless of how foolish it seems.

The next interesting room is the room with a seemingly unreachable frog coin
above a doorway. The trick is to run through the room, exit through that
doorway, return, and then leap into the lava. Mario's third degree burns are a
minor concern; you just got a frog coin!

The next screen of interest is a place with a chest and a man standing in a
doorway. Ignore the chest for now as it just contains coins, and you likely
have maxed out money. The man is Hinopio, and he'll lead you into his store. Be
sure to buy some fire armor unless you are doing Bowser's challenge, and also
be sure to heal up at the inn. Head back and get the chest after you do your
shopping, and then progress onward out of Hinopio Mart and save. You are very
close to the Czar Dragon, the first of the two nasty bosses here in the Barrel
Volcano.

You'll want to equip yourself for this boss fight. The boss is able to inflict
fear, but he doesn't do it very often. You also have the double problem of
having to deal with the Helios he summons. Basically, it works like this. The
Czar Dragon sometimes randomly summons four Helio monsters. As soon as these
get a turn, they will immediately suicide on you with a decently strong
unblockable physical. Therefore, it is greatly to your advantage to go between
the Czar Dragon and the Helios. The Czar Dragon has 20 speed, and the Helios
have 0 speed. Every character has to look at this problem differently.

Mario is in a tough spot. In the case of a tie in speed, he is guaranteed to
go before the Czar Dragon since Toadstool's 24 speed is the fastest in the
battle and thereby gives your party the win in all tiebreak situations. Yeah, I
don't like it either. He can use the Amulet to reduce his speed to 15, but then
he's open to being inflicted with fear. He could equip the Safety Ring to block
the fear, as well as Flame Wall, but then he's guaranteed to have to take the
4 hits from the Helios. The choice is really yours here; both paths have their
advantages and disadvantages. Mario is so powerful that the battle will not
last very long, especially if he opens it with a Yoshi-Ade instead of a Bracer.
Do note that two bits of luck are needed with the Amulet path. First of all,
you need the good luck of not being inflicted with fear immediately before the
Czar Dragon summons Helios. Secondly, you need to get lucky with Ultra Jump and
hit all four Helios with it. I will be using the Safety Ring for my strategies
since it also helps slightly in the Zombone section of the fight. However, if
you are willing to reset for some good luck, you could save some very precious
Max Mushrooms by using the Amulet instead.

Mallow has a bit of an easier choice. His base 18 speed is slow enough that he
doesn't have to worry about outspeeding the Czar Dragon unless he equips the
Safety Ring or another speed boosting item. He can easily wipe out all of the
Helios and punish the Czar Dragon's ice weakness with Snowy. Of course, if the
Safety Ring doesn't work, just use the Safety Badge! You lose the protection
from Flame Wall, but you keep the more important fear protection and retain
your slower speed. Of course, if you've been following this guide, you very
likely do not have the Safety Badge. In that case, the Fearless Pin works as a
fine substitute.

Geno has an easy choice, but it's not the sort of choice that you want to be
that simple. Geno's base 30 speed will outspeed the Czar Dragon no matter what
you equip (remembering that the Lazy Shell armor is banned). Therefore, you
should just equip the Safety Ring and hope for the best. You do have the option
of using the Jinx Belt and using the nice stat gains from it to try to win in
fewer turns while using luck and Able Juice to get around fear. I'll be using
the Safety Ring for my strategies, but do be aware of the other choice.

Bowser is, for once, quite happy that he's the slowest character in the game.
Additionally, his standard two allies, Mario and Mallow, are slow enough so
that if Bowser were to have 20 speed that he would still go after the Czar
Dragon. This means that you're allowed to equip an item which boosts your speed
by 5. You have two choices. You could stick with your Work Pants as your armor
and use the Safety Badge. The other choice is to buy a Flame Shell form Hinopio
and then equip the Safety Ring. The former option gives you more attack, and
the latter option is somewhat better defensively. I'll be using the first
option for my strategies, but the second one is really just about as valid.

Toadstool is slightly faster than the Czar Dragon to start. She can equip the
Amulet to go second, but any form of fear protection makes her go first. She
also has another serious problem. If you've been following this guide, you
will only be at level 17. Toadstool doesn't learn Psych Bomb, her only
offensive special to strike all enemies, until level 18. Unless you level up to
level 18, you will have to rely on item attacks. Here things get even worse.
The Helios are immune to fire so Fire Bombs will do nothing. Rock Candies are
also mostly out of the question. Remember that you absolutely need to have two
Rock Candies for the next boss, the Axem Rangers. Even if you have more, they
are so useful that it would be somewhat wasteful to use them here. That really
just leaves Ice Bombs. If you have quite a few spare Ice Bombs, feel free to
rely on them and use the Amulet. If not, just use the Safety Ring. You can
stall nearly infinitely with Therapy, and with the Yoshi-Ade effects, you
aren't going to be wiped out in one turn. The Safety Ring is indeed the safe
option here; the fight is actually pretty easy with the Safety Ring. Just be
aware that you have other options.

If you are not using fear protection in this fight, be sure to go and buy some
Able Juice from Hinopio. They cost nearly nothing at this point in the game,
but you might not have much room in your inventory for them. Still, having a
few will likely help you out. Muku Cookies obviously work as substitutes if you
want to do that. Regardless of what you have done, press boldly ahead and
prepare to meet this game's token dragon.

Boss 18 - Czar Dragon

Note: The Czar Dragon summons Helios after using his physical attack (using it
as a counter, which he does 1/3 of the time, does not count) or after using
Iron Maiden. He won't summon them after using a spell.

Mario strategy - Opening this fight with a Yoshi-Ade saves precious turns, but
it's winnable with just a Bracer if you really don't want to use a Yoshi-Ade
for some reason. The plan is to just go all out with Jump (or Super Jump/Ultra
Jump). You do some pretty massive damage to both the Czar Dragon and Zombone
with this sort of attack; they won't last too long. You just need to hope for
luck. You need to hope that the Czar Dragon does not summon Helios very often,
and you need to hope that Zombone doesn't use Blast and Storm as often as his
weak, easily blockable physical. The whole point is to use as few Max Mushrooms
as possible since there's another boss fight right after this. If you are using
the Amulet instead of the Safety Ring, be sure to use Ultra Jump against the
summoned Helios, and be sure to cure fear whenever you get a chance. Good luck
as you will need some luck here!

Mallow strategy - On my test file, I beat this fight using a Kerokerocola and
no other items. At the start of the fight, it would be very helpful to use a
Bracer, Energizer, or Yoshi-Ade, but you really don't need it. The Czar Dragon
is weak to ice, and Snowy will also wipe out all of the Helios. Use Snowy
whenever he summons Helios, and if you manage to get a totally free turn, use
your physical (that's not very likely). Once Zombone comes out, go all out on
healing with some physicals mixed in. Zombone is pretty powerful, but he isn't
capable of wiping you out in one turn, and he has very limited FP. Once he runs
out of FP, you can get more aggressive with your physical. He has pretty
horrible defense so he should go down fairly easily.

Geno strategy - Open the fight with Geno Boost and then go all out with
physical attacks. Unfortunately, you can't really do anything at all about the
Helios so just take the hits and heal more often because of the threat. The
Czar Dragon won't last too long, but when he falls you get the treat of the
second stage of your first true multi-form boss. Zombone is much more powerful
than the Czar Dragon, but you have some advantages. Zombone never summons
Helios, and his physical defense is actually a good deal worse. Also, if you
have any Pure Water, it would be a decent idea to use them on Zombone. He won't
instantly die, but he will attack himself for decent damage. Pure Water are
ordinarily totally useless so this is quite an improvement. Really, if you can
make it to the Zombone section of the fight, you have pretty much won. This
isn't even a hard boss at all really, but you need to worry about how many Max
Mushrooms you use, unless you feel like going all the way back to Star Hill and
then returning here before the next boss.

Bowser strategy - This is a pretty cool fight for Bowser no matter how you look
at it. Open things up with a Bracer or Yoshi-Ade (the latter is preferred in
order to save Max Mushroooms), use Terrorize to inflict fear on the Czar
Dragon if you only boosted one stat, and then move in with physical attacks. If
the Czar Dragon summons his Helios, use Terrorize to eliminate them and to
renew the fear on the Czar Dragon. Eventually, the Czar Dragon will fall, and
Zombone will take his place. Zombone is immune to fear, but he doesn't summon
Helios either. Zombone also has much worse physical defense than the Czar
Dragon. A continued barrage of physical attacks should bring him down fairly
easily, though you can feel free to use any spare Pure Water you have to do a
good amount of damage on the side. All around, this is a mostly easy but not
totally easy fight so it's just entertaining.

Toadstool strategy - This fight is all about Mute. No, I'm not kidding, and I
will never say this about any other fight for the rest of the game. The Czar
Dragon and Zombone both are able to be inflicted with Mute, and it really
messes both of them up. In the Czar Dragon's case, it blocks Flame Wall and
Water Blast. The latter was actually fairly dangerous. Against Zombone, it just
destroys him. Mute blocks Boulder, Blast, and Storm which is also the full list
of all of Zombone's dangerous attacks. With all that being said, the strategy
is simple. Open with a Yoshi-Ade or a Bracer -> Energizer combo and then use
your physical to take the boss down. Be sure to keep the mute status inflicted
the whole match, and be sure to keep healed with Therapy. Once the fight
progresses to the Zombone stage, you have practically won. His only real way of
hurting you is gone, and Zombone has considerably less defense than the Czar
Dragon. It's amazing, but for once, Toadstool has perhaps the easiest time of
all the characters.

After you have slain the dragon, run ahead to get the sixth Star Piece. You
have it for all of a millisecond until it is stolen by the Axem Rangers. Oh no!
They take off, and you can pursue them. Now, you very likely (and very
intelligently) are worrying about saving. You don't get stuck pursuing the Axem
Rangers so feel free to chase them a little further. That way, if you lose the
fight a few times, you will have to watch fewer scenes. I personally suggest
turning back after Yellow catches the Star Piece and informs Red that he
dropped it. Do be sure to save before taking the trampoline; you don't want to
redo the Czar Dragon. Also, check your items and equipment. There are two ways
to win this fight. You can win by "fighting hard", or you can win by using two
Rock Candies. Mallow and Toadstool cannot win no matter how hard they fight;
they will need the two Rock Candies. If you do not have them, you have
obviously not been taking my advice very seriously up to this point. You must
go back to Seaside Town and abuse Mushroom Boy until he gives you two Rock
Candies. You should just be thankful that you didn't totally prevent yourself
from completing the challenge. If you want to fight hard with Mario, Geno, or
Bowser, you'll need quite a few Max Mushrooms. Mario and Bowser will also want
a Yoshi-Ade. Do not use Bracers and Energizers as substitutes. Hopefully, you
will have everything you need without needing to leave the Barrel Volcano. It's
possible that you either didn't prepare well or had to use too many resources
against the Czar Dragon. If that's the case, you'll just have to leave and
return. In terms of equipment, you'll want to give Mario, Geno, and Bowser the
Jinx Belt. Mallow and Toadstool should equip the Troopa Pin. Anyone can use
Mallow and Toadstool's strategy so if you find this fight too hard with the
other characters, feel free to adapt. Eventually, you'll take the trampoline to
the top of the Barrel Volcano and be greeted with the most dangerous boss fight
this side of Culex.

Boss 19 - Axem Rangers

Mario strategy - Open with a Yoshi-Ade, and then take out Pink with physicals.
Green is your next target with the awesome power of the Lazy Shell and Jinx
Belt combination. This will prompt Red to use Vigor Up!, but the offensive
abilities of the Axem Rangers are quickly crumbling regardless. A single Jump
will be enough to take out Yellow; he is weak to jump. The next target is that
super powered Red. Physicals will dispatch him fairly quickly, and yes I know
how awkward it is not relying on Jump for once. This leaves you in a very
simple 1v1 with Black. Be sure to be in good health before defeating Black as
the Breaker Beam is able to kill you if your health is bad going into that
section of the fight. As per actually defeating Black, a physical attack
followed up by Jump should do it. If you're scared that the Jump won't kill and
absolutely do not want to see Spritz Bomb as a counter, just use physicals to
take out Black. The Breaker Beam section of the fight is really easy. You only
get attacked every other turn after all. It should only take 3-4 physical
attacks to seize victory at this point. You will need to use a few Max
Mushrooms in this fight, probably more than you have had to in any other fight.
Still, this is Mario's challenge. You are offensively insanely overpowered.
This fight should be winnable without too much trouble, though if you are bad
at timed defense and get bad luck in which spells Green uses early on, this
could get a bit more complicated.

Mallow strategy - The Troopa Pin ensures that you go first, and it gives you
the effect of an Energizer immediately. This is a battle against time more than
anything so you really need that boost. Open the fight with a Rock Candy, and
then the Axem Rangers will begin their assault. It is very possible that you
will die before your next turn, and if you do, I hope you saved. There's
another factor to consider here as well. Pink might heal someone. If she heals
Red, it's no big deal. However, if she heals anyone else, they are going to be
a part of this fight for even longer. Well, regardless of what happens and
totally regardless of your health, use another Rock Candy next turn. If Pink
either healed no one or healed Red, this will kill every ranger except Red. If
she healed someone, that person as well as Red will live while the other three
will die. Red will always use this turn to use Vigor Up! so you don't have to
worry about being attacked by him. If Pink survived, she'll use Petal Blast
which you can only pray misses. If it hits, it will probably kill you. If you
survive it, you'll be turned into a mushroom and will probably die before you
get another turn. If Black survived, he'll probably kill you, but you might get
lucky and/or manage to do some timed defense. Yellow and Green aren't as big of
threats if they survived, but both could hurt you really badly if things go
badly. Green could also mute you which could be really devastating. He's not
very likely to mute you at all, but it's possible. Anyway, after you heal as
needed, use a Bracer and then focus on any surviving Axem Rangers that are not
Red. Black will die from a single blast of Shocker. Pink and Green go down to
physicals. If Yellow is the ranger left, just start blasting with Snowy. It
will nail Red's ice weakness while simultaneously preventing Yellow's dangerous
Body Slam counter. If you have the good fortune of being locked in a 1v1 with
Red from the start (or after you've killed the other rangers), just take him
out with a few physicals. Be sure you are in good health before finishing Red.

Once all five rangers are dead, you have pretty much won. The second stage of
the fight is childishly easy. The Breaker Beam will fire every other turn for
high but not unbearable damage (if you are not under the effects of a Bracer,
it will probably kill you immediately). After 6 shots, it will be out of FP and
will do nothing until you destroy it. Shocker kills it faster, but it doesn't
matter much. If you are having trouble surviving, just alternate between
physical attacking and healing until it is out of FP. If you didn't notice,
this is a very random fight, and the damage output in the first stage of the
fight is far above what Mallow can ordinarily take even with a Bracer. However,
it might be possible to win with less cheesy tactics. I have tried quite hard
to win this fight in a Mallow solo on other files using different strategies,
and the only thing I was able to do to win other than this was abuse Red
Essence which is a banned item for a very good reason. If you want to try to
win this fight by fighting normally, I suggest equipping the Rare Scarf and
hoping for quite a bit of early luck. You'll need to use a Yoshi-Ade first
turn, you'll need to kill Pink first so you never see Petal Blast, you'll need
Black to play nice in general, and you'll need Green to never use Elegy. Note
that you can do massive damage to Black with Shocker (kills in two hits), but
he counters specials with Spritz Bomb which is almost certainly your ticket to
a Game Over so only hit him with Shocker if you are sure it will kill. Also,
Yellow counters physicals with Body Slam. Never, ever attack Yellow with a
physical attack. I think you also might have a shot if you used the Safety Ring
to block mushroomification and to negate most of what Green can do (pray you
don't see much of Meteor Blast) and then tried to take out Black fast. Ugh, I'm
actually fairly sure that it's possible to win this fight without the Rock
Candies as Mallow, but you'll need to get really lucky and have some really
good timing with the timed defense. Only try it if you're feeling quite
hardcore.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost, and then set into Pink with physicals.
Pink must go first as Petal Blast, which she uses if one of her allies dies,
would lead you to the Game Over screen very quickly. After that, take out
Green with physicals as well. The Jinx Belt will do a really fantastic job of
reducing the damage that Black, Red, and Yellow do to a manageable level so
taking out the two casters is a big deal. Unfortunately, the death of two of
his allies triggers Red to use Vigor Up!. You can handle this fairly well.
Go after Black with physicals here; he won't last too long. With Black gone,
your group specials won't be countered by Spritz Bomb so you can use Geno Blast
or Geno Flash. At level 17 with rotation level up bonuses, Geno Flash is the
better choice here. Yellow has 600 HP, and Geno Flash does over 150 damage
which Geno Blast does not. This is the only stage of this fight in which you
need FP so don't be stingy. Use Geno Flash to take out Yellow and do some
decent damage to Red. Once Yellow is gone, finish off Red with physicals. Make
sure that you have decent health when Red dies as it will trigger the Breaker
Beam portion of the fight. This isn't a very hard section of the fight at all,
but it's possible to lose if you get careless. The Breaker Beam can only fire 6
times before running out of FP, but it won't last that long. This fight as a
whole is very likely to drain a rather unfortunate number of Max Mushrooms.
Don't worry about it; you have them to use them. There is not a time in the
future for which they would be better saved. Fight your best, and you should be
able to win this.

Bowser strategy - His fight with the Axem Rangers is fairly similar to Geno's
version. It will probably be slightly easier. You have to open the fight with
a Yoshi-Ade instead of Geno Boost, but then the fight progresses the same way
until it's just Red and Yellow left. Now, Yellow can be inflicted with fear,
but Red cannot, and Red is the far bigger threat here. Inflicting fear is also
very pointless if you are under Yoshi-Ade effects so just go for Red with
physicals. A barrage of physicals will quickly overwhelm him and leave Yellow
alone. Now, Yellow counters physical attacks with Body Slam which is more
powerful than we want to deal with. The solution to this conundrum is Crusher.
It should kill Yellow in five hits. Gogo casting Bowser! Either way, the
Breaker Beam section of the fight is exactly the same for Bowser as it is for
Geno. You, like Geno, are likely to use quite a few Max Mushrooms here, but the
Jinx Belt really proves to be quite the lifesaver. If you are lacking it for
whatever reason, this will be much harder indeed.

Toadstool strategy - Her fight is a slightly harder version of Mallow's fight.
She will be slightly more likely to die early in the fight, and she will have
more trouble when Black or Yellow survive the two Rock Candies since she lacks
Mallow's specials. If you have three Rock Candies, you can feel free to use the
third one in such a case to immediately send the fight to the third stage. Be
sure to only do this if you can survive Breaker Beam; that would be a lame way
to die. If Black is the one alive, you can probably take him down relatively
easily with your physicals. He's very powerful, but durability isn't Black's
specialty. Yellow is a bigger problem. Attacking Yellow results in the very
nasty Body Slam counter. If you have any attacking items at all, use them
against Yellow. Fire Bombs won't hurt Red, but they'll help wear down Yellow.
Ice Bombs are the far better choice as they'll very quickly finish Red while
damaging Yellow a bit more severely than Fire Bombs. When you get to the point
at which you are out of all attacking items and Yellow is still alive, you
should look at what enemies are left. If Red is also alive, kill him first
with physicals. Then heal to full health before touching Yellow, be sure you're
under the effects of a Bracer, and then physically attack. It will be slow and
painful, but you should be able to win. If you have it, Psych Bomb would make
this much less painful. Of course, if you get Red alone from the start, just
smack him around with physicals (after using a Bracer, of course). Once you get
to the Breaker Beam stage, it's as easy as it is for Mallow. Do note that while
I think it's probably possible for a very lucky Mallow to win without the Rock
Candies, I am not so sure for Toadstool. She's just as fragile as Mallow, but
she lacks his superior magical attacking abilities. If you want to try it, be
sure to be at level 18 so you have Psych Bomb. Use Mallow's first option of
going after the casters (Pink and Green) first, and only use Psych Bomb to
attack Yellow after you've killed Black since Spritz Bomb is death for you too.
Good luck; this fight is terrifying!

There you go; the Axem Rangers are fallen! You have just completed one of the
game's most serious boss fights, and you have finished this whole segment of
the game. Take it for you have earned it; the sixth Star Piece is yours!

If you were wondering, yes, it's a glitch that you only get 17 experience
points. You are supposed to get 63 experience points, but the special death
sequences of the Axem Rangers prevents you from getting most of it. Meh, I
guess you're just going to have to fight a bit more in the next dungeon to make
up for it!

Okay, you will find yourself on the world map. Head out and restock on items as
you need them. I would be sure to have 3 Yoshi-Ade before progressing any
farther in the game. You get stuck in Bowser's Keep, and you can't leave until
you finish a series of three boss fights. None of them are particularly nasty,
but if you are woefully under stocked on items, you could force yourself into a
pretty horrible position. Obviously, Geno has absolutely no need of Yoshi-Ade.
Mario, Geno, and Bowser likely need some more Max Mushrooms as well so be sure
to make a stop by Star Hill to pick up some of those.

Also, Toadstool now has access to her ultimate weapon, the Frying Pan. Head on
over the Moleville and talk to the mushroom man in the store. His special shop
has three items you could buy; you want the third one (the other two are not
very useful). This is the Frying Pan, and it's Toadstool's ultimate weapon. It
is a very good weapon, far better than Mallow, Geno, or Bowser's ultimate
weapons. In short, Toadstool can finally do strong damage with her physical
attack. You've only waited the whole game for it.

Toadstool should be able to use this new weapon to beat Jinx now for the Jinx
Belt, but you might want to wait until you are at level 18, a level which gives
a big attack boost, and have her ultimate armor. It's up to you if you want to
try. Mallow shouldn't even think about trying now, and the other three should
be sure to go and stomp Jinx if they haven't already.

Once you are set on items, head over to Nimbus Land and speak with Mallow's
parents. Their infinite wisdom helps you to see that the Star Piece must be the
only place that you haven't been yet which means that it's in Bowser's Keep.
Of course, if you were paying attention during the opening scene of this game,
you would have noticed one of the Star Pieces very clearly fell into Bowser's
Keep. General video game logic indicates that the last thing you need will be
in the place best guarded by the bad guy. You could use the world map to
conclude that it was the next destination. In short, you need to go to Bowser's
Keep. Mallow's parents suggest that he has grown old and mature enough to go
through the true rite of manhood and take the bus there. Seriously, if you
listen to the way they talk about it, that's about how it sounds. Either way,
hop on the bus and be on your way.

Dungeon 19 - Bowser's Keep

Bowser is so satisfied right now. He joined your party on the vague notion that
he would eventually get his keep back if he worked with you, and it seems like
it's paying off. Of course, if you're doing his challenge, you should note that
the only thing you gained from being a member of this party is the ability to
take the bus home. Anyway, there are enemies here, and they understandably all
fear Bowser.

Enemies:

Gu Goomba - A nice, quick physical attack will destroy him. They flee from
Bowser so watch out for that.
Terra Cotta - Magic destroys them quickly and easily, but they won't last long
to physical attacks either. These guys also flee from Bowser.
Malakoopa - Physicals or magic are both fairly viable in quickly destroying
this. Do note that it's weak to thunder, and it also flees from Bowser.
Tub-O-Troopa - Remember the Heavy Troopa from Nimbus Land? This is basically
the same thing. Do note that it's weak to thunder. Use magic if your character
is that sort of character; use physicals otherwise.
Forkies - Since they won't move until they're attacked, deal with them last.
Physicals are the way to go when fighting them.
Star Cruster - Magic is the way to go here, but watch out for his unusual
elemental properties. He's immune to jump and weak to ice. He also counters
physical attacks with Light Ball which will put you to sleep so watch out for
that. Mario can use Super Flame to help bypass this. Bowser's bypass is
Crusher.

Mallow and Geno can clean up here with the Scrooge Ring. The first three
enemies on that list are very weak, and none of the latter enemies are very
threatening themselves. Bowser has a somewhat awkward time leveling up here
since all the weak enemies run away from him. You should level up to level 18
in the first section of Bowser's Keep. If you fight more, Toadstool can join in
the Scrooge Ring fun with Psych Bomb. Mario and Bowser should use the Jinx Belt
here to make slaying the enemies as easy as possible, but Jump Shoes for Mario
or the Safety Ring for Bowser would simplify dealing with that annoying Star
Cruster. Toadstool should use the Jinx Belt if she has it, but if she does not,
she can go with the Rare Scarf or Safety Ring.

This place is pretty linear for a while. Just progress forward. There's a chest
near the end of this linear area with a Mushroom so don't feel bad about eating
through your FP here. You'll eventually come to a room with a save point and
Croco. Croco has some stuff to sell you that you almost certainly don't need,
but the save point is handy. Once you're ready, press onward to the dreaded 6
door section of Bowser's Keep.

Okay, there are two of each type of course - puzzle, action, and battle. Battle
is easily the hardest set of rooms in this challenge so, if you can, you
probably want to avoid the battle rooms. However, Geno and Bowser have the
misfortune of having their ultimate weapons at the end of battle rooms.
Therefore, I'd suggest that Mario, Mallow, and Toadstool do the two action and
two puzzle rooms while Geno and Bowser do both the actions, one of the puzzles,
and the battle room needed for their item. If you want to do a battle room with
the others for experience, drop a puzzle room for it.

You can easily scout the rooms by running in and seeing how the room starts.
The order of the rooms is random, but it was decided when you created your
file. You can abuse the save point to quickly scout the rooms and decide which
rooms to do.

Action Rooms:

Everybody should do both of these. You get Mallow's ultimate weapon at the end
of one of them, and you get Toadstool's second best weapon at the end of the
other. The big factor is that these have random other items in them as well
which are very good themselves, and these are the easiest rooms to complete.

Action 1 - invisible floor (Super Slap)

You're able to fail 9 times, and there's no real penalty for having to try
again if you fail totally. You should get every chest in this course. You'll
get a few coins (fairly useless), a Fright Bomb, a Royal Syrup, an Ice Bomb,
and a Rock Candy. Yeah, that's a better prize alone than either of the puzzle
rooms. As per a hint about completing this, um, don't fall into the lava. If
you take too long, the Terrapins will disappear, but it doesn't really matter
since you can try as much as you want. You can also show the floor again by
simply jumping, though I find it easier to just expend a try by jumping into
the lava.

The second room here could be passed very easily if you just follow the
platforms easily to the exit. However, this would neglect the great items here!
You can ignore the lower left chest as it contains an illegal Red Essence. The
upper left one grants you a Flower, and the upper right one has a Fire Bomb.
The lower right one has a Max Mushroom which could be very handy if you overly
drained yourself on one of the battle courses. If you need some help actually
clearing the room, um, stay out of the lava. I should also note a general rule
of all moving platform areas. They stop moving when Mario is jumping. This
helps on many challenge areas, but I won't mention it again.

The last room here is somewhat of a remake of the original Donkey Kong. You
have to run up the ledges while avoiding the barrels. If you stand right next
to the slightly raised platforms, the barrels can never hit you. This is very
easy, and it ends when you make contact with DK, er, the Chained Kong. Hey, I
seem to remember that causing you to die in the original Donkey Kong. A
faithful remake this is not!

Unfortunately, the final prize here is about as useful as what you have earned.
You get the Super Slap, Toadstool's second best weapon. You already have the
Frying Pan so this is a pretty pointless piece of equipment. The damage is less
random than it is with the Frying Pan, but that's not enough to justify the
lower power.

Action 2 - moving platforms (Sonic Cymbals)

You just jump from platform to platform. This is so mind numbingly easy; my
only hint to help you complete it is to not jump into the lava. You can ride
the final platform up really high to a chest with a Kerokerocola. Be sure to do
that as it's a really quality item.

The second room here is just insultingly easy. Don't hit the Bob-Ombs. Ride the
cannonballs with reversed controls. Get the chests for a Pick Me Up, two
Flowers, a Max Mushroom, and a Rock Candy. Go into the door.

The last section here is also simple, but the jumping and maneuvering can be
somewhat tricky. I suggest you avoid falling into the lava. Also, loot the
chests to get two Flowers, a Royal Syrup, a Pick Me Up, a Fire Bomb, and a
Kerokerocola. Yeah, for being so easy, these action rooms sure have nice loot.

Once you've completed this series of rooms, you get Mallow's best weapon, the
Sonic Cymbals. It's really nice that Mallow gets a break like this. You go to a
room with such good items dispersed throughout it that you would want to do it
even if there was no prize at the end. At the end, you get the one item that
Mallow wants most.

Puzzle Rooms:

Everyone should do one of these at least. You have to solve some surprisingly
difficult puzzles to get a Rock Candy at the end. It's a good item that every
character can use, and while these rooms require some thought, they aren't any
harder in this challenge than on a regular play through.

Puzzle 1 - quiz

This starts with a quiz about various aspects of the game. No, I don't have a
list of every possible question or even a list of any of the questions. This
quiz isn't very hard, and if you've been paying attention during the game, you
should be fine. I do have one hint here. Don't take your time. If you don't
know the answer, quickly guess. This is a timed event, and if you know the
answers to most of the questions, this will minimize the impact of those things
you do not know. It will also cycle through questions quickly so you can see
many different questions which will doubtlessly help you if you have to try
again. If you only want to do one puzzle room, I'd really suggest the other
one so don't keep trying if you are finding this hard and that is your
circumstance.

Next you have to do a barrel counting event. Ugh, this is easily the hardest
thing in any of the puzzle rooms. You'll never win by mere counting; you have
to count rows and use multiplication. Even then, you have to think pretty fast
and have a fairly sharp memory. Well, there are only two times you have to do
the counting, and the first one isn't that hard. Just do your best.

The third is a fairly interesting triathlon puzzle. You have to decipher the
hints they give you. Unless you know something about triathlons, this will
likely be nearly impossible for you to do. The little detail that you aren't
told is that once any competitor finishes one event that he or she (or it in
this case) immediately starts on the next event while anyone remaining finishes
the previous events. The winner is simply whoever wins the last event. The
order of the events is swimming, biking, and then the marathon. This is enough
to logically conclude the order. The actual order is random, but the same hints
always correspond to the same ranking. The one who out rode the other on his
bike is first place, the one who was in 4th during the bike race got second,
the one who flat out tells you he got third in the marathon got third, and the
one who got third in swimming ended dead last. On that note, it's really funny
when Mr. Kipper is the one who got third in swimming.

Okay, that room is clear, and you're one Rock Candy richer. Don't you feel good
about yourself?


Puzzle 2 - coin game

This starts with a basic coin grabbing game. You can take up to four coins from
the box. Dr. Topper has the same ability in this regard. You take turns until
one of you takes the last of the 21 coins. That person loses. The strategy is
that you always want to take such a number of coins so that there is one more
coin than is divisible by five on your opponent's turn. The logic is that six
is the ideal number of coins for it to be on Dr. Topper's second to last turn.
He can take any number of coins, and then you can reduce the number of coins
remaining to one which forces you to win. In order to force him to have the
turn with just 6 coins left, you want him to be the one who has the turn with
11 coins and then 16 coins and then 21 coins. If you notice, you go first when
there are 21 coins left. Yes, that's right. You have a forced loss, but Dr.
Topper isn't smart enough. Take one coin at a time until he makes a mistake,
and then force him into a losing position.

The next room is one of those puzzles in which you have to hit a series of
switches which alter the state of all the switches around them. That is, if you
hit a switch that is up, it will make any other switches around it that are up
go down. Any switches around it that are down will go up. It's a 4X4 grid, and
if you just jump around randomly, you should win it without too much
difficulty. That's how I've always won it, but a logical analysis of the
situation could probably let you win faster.

The last part of this is ball solitaire. If I did a bad job explaining the
last puzzle, I'll do an even worse job with this. Dr. Topper explains the
rules fairly well, though he neglects to mention that you use "A" to kick the
balls. I'll give you the general tip that you should, after kicking a ball, be
sure that you will be able to get another ball next to it in a future move.
This puzzle has many possible solutions, and I can't really explain it much
better than I have. If you just try a few times, you'll probably stumble into
a winning solution. I wish I could do better, but I can't.

That's the end of the second puzzle room. You get a Rock Candy for your
efforts.

Battle Rooms:

These are fairly draining rooms. You have to fight twelve battles in a row, and
then you get either Geno or Bowser's best weapon as your prize. The experience
you get from one of these rooms is really valuable, but you don't get a chance
to heal before the next boss. If you let yourself get too worn down here, it
will make things harder. Of course, there is a save point before the next boss.
If your pride can take it, you could just die to the boss and abuse the instant
full heal. Also, you can see a few enemies here that had otherwise disappeared
from the world which can be handy for Yoshi Cookie purposes.

Battle 1 - Terra Cotta battle (Drill Claw)

I'm going to write this primarily assuming that you are doing Bowser's SCC
since he's the only one I really recommend it for. If you want to do just one
battle room with Mario, this is the one to do. Do not do this room with Mallow
or Toadstool under any circumstance.

First battle: 4 Terra Cotta

Equip your Jinx Belt and just use physical attacks. They flee from Bowser.

Second battle: 2 Oerlikon, 1 Star Cruster

Equip the Jinx Belt and open with a barrage of physicals to take out the two
Oerlikons. You will probably kill the Star Cruster with another physical, but
save him for last because he'll put you to sleep if he survives.

Third battle: 1 Sackit, 2 Big Bertha

The Big Bertha are the big threat here. Keep your Jinx Belt on for this one.
Bowser should open with Terrorize for sure and then use Bowser Crush to end the
battle. Mario, if he's doing this, should use Jump on the Big Berthas. You can
Yoshi Cookie the Sackit for a Max Mushroom if you want; he is the same enemy
from Star Hill.

Fourth battle: 2 Chow, 1 Forkies

Stick with your Jinx Belt for some more fun. The Chow easily go down to
physicals, but the Forkies will take a few hits. Mario can use Jump on the
Forkies to speed it up a bit.

Fifth battle: 1 Alley Rat, 2 Armored Ant

The Jinx Belt comes to the rescue here. The Alley Rat is very weak, and the two
Armored Ants can be inflicted with fear. Terrorize works well here as it kills
the Alley Rat outright and inflicts fear on both Armored Ants which makes them
easy targets for your physicals. Mario can do it even easier with Jump.

Sixth battle: 3 Bloober, 1 Star Cruster

Bloobers are very weak by this point in the game. A blast of Poison Gas should
be enough to finish off all three Bloobers and prepare the Star Cruster to die
to a single Jinx Belt boosted physical.

Seventh battle: 4 Stinger

Equip the Troopa Pin before the battle and open with Terrorize. You'll kill
them all without taking a hit. If you're worried about missing with Terrorize
and then getting nailed with Fungispike, use Bowser Crush.

Eighth battle: 2 Geckit, 1 Chained Kong

Keep your Troopa Pin equipped so you can open this up with a stronger
Terrorize. It will kill the two Geckits and leave the Chained Kong ready to be
beaten easily with some physicals.

Ninth battle: 1 Rob-Omb, 2 Big Bertha

This is pretty much the exact same as the third battle. The Terrorize to Bowser
Crush combo is the safe way to deal with this. I'd equip the Jinx Belt just in
case Blazer comes into play. Being nailed with instant death is always bad.

Tenth battle: 4 Vomer

Use Terrorize once.

Eleventh battle: 2 Magmus, 2 Pulsar

Equip the Safety Ring so the Pulsar can do absolutely nothing to you. Some
basic physicals will be enough to take out the Magmus, and then a physical a
piece will take out the Pulsar.

Twelfth battle: 1 Chester

Okay, I suppose I had better treat him like all other false treasure chest
enemies. Don't forget to equip your Safety Ring!

Optional Boss 7 - Chester

Mario strategy - Jump will take out Chester very quickly, but it's not an
instant win like it was all the previous times. Still, it could be worse.

Mallow strategy - Ugh, this is why I told you to not do this room with Mallow.
Well, you are somewhat better prepared than usual since Star Rain can actually
hurt him. Star Rain spamming is more or less all you can do here. Physicals are
not the best plan since Chester can heal himself. Star Rain also takes out
Bahamutt without too much trouble which is always valuable. A Bracer or Yoshi-
Ade is probably going to prove nearly mandatory.

Geno strategy - Geno Boost is a nice opener, and then you can set into Chester
with your physical. It's really nice that he doesn't counter physicals like
some of the other false treasure chest monsters. His HP is fairly high, and
he's fairly strong. Just keep at it, and he'll fall. Do note that Bahamutt can
be killed with Geno Whirl which will help you at the end of the fight.

Bowser strategy - Both Chester and Bahamutt are immune to all status effects so
all you can really do is go with physicals until they fall. Chester is annoying
since he can heal himself, and he's very strong. You will probably need a
Yoshi-Ade at the start of battle to minimize the Max Mushroom waste; you have
a series of three bosses after this guy to deal with. You should definitely go
for Chester first as well.

Toadstool strategy - This is pretty much the exact same thing as with Mallow
except replace Star Rain with Psych Bomb.

Hmm, that last fight was quite a bit harder than the others, wasn't it? Well,
now you've won, and you have the Drill Claw as your valuable prize!

Battle 2 - Gu Goomba battle (Star Gun)

Whereas the last one assumed you were using Bowser, this one assumes you are
using Geno. After all, this is where his Star Gun is! If you want to do just
one battle room with either Mallow or Toadstool, this is the one to do. Mario
should stick to the first one.

First battle: 5 Gu Goomba

Equip the Troopa Pin and then use Geno Blast. If you want to conserve FP, just
use a physical on each one of them down the line or use a Scrooge Ring combo of
Geno Boost to Geno Blast.

Second battle: 2 Malakoopa, 1 Tub-O-Troopa

Equip the Troopa Pin and go all out with physicals. The two Malakoopas should
die in single hits, but the Tub-O-Troopa will take a bit more of a beating.

Third battle: 2 The Big Boo, 2 Orbison

The Scrooge Ring is your friend here. One touch of Geno Blast will wipe out the
entire group.

Fourth battle: 5 Sling Shy

One touch of a Scrooge Ring cheapened Geno Blast is all you need here.

Fifth battle: 2 Chewy, 2 Shy Away

Open with a Scrooge Ring'd Geno Blast to take out the two Chewy enemies. Next,
use a physical a piece to finish off the Shy Away.

Sixth battle: 1 Mr. Kipper, 2 Muckle

Hey, it's another chance at some Ice Bombs! If you have some Yoshi Cookies, it
would be a fine idea to use them on the Muckle. Otherwise, just equip your
Safety Ring and use physicals. Mr. Kipper is no threat, but he should go first.
The Muckle can do absolutely nothing to someone with the Safety Ring equipped.

Seventh battle: 2 Amanita, 1 Orbison

Haha, in case you forgot, Amanita is the mushroom enemy from the Forest Maze.
Yeah, this fight is nearly unloseable. A Scrooge Ring'd blast from Geno Blast
is enough to end it instantly, but if you want to be conservative, physicals
will work just as well. I'd go with the former option just because Orbison is
annoying with the healing.

Eighth battle: 2 Greaper, 1 Glum Reaper

Glum Reaper is a scary enemy that you ordinarily would only see in the final
dungeon. Well, the most important thing here is preventing him from ever
getting a turn so equip your Troopa Pin and open with a physical aimed right at
the Glum Reaper. This should kill, and then you can use physicals to take out
the Greapers who seem to do a lot less damage than they were doing back on the
Sunken Ship.

Ninth battle: 3 Pyrosphere

Mallow loves this fight because of Snowy. You should be able to kill them in
one round with Geno if you equip the Work Pants and Troopa Pin before the fight
and then use Geno Blast.

Tenth battle: 3 Lakitu

Equip the Safety Ring and get ready for a really easy fight. These are enemies
from back on Booster Pass. They were really strong at the time, but now they
are just sad. A physical attack per each Lakitu is all you need.

Eleventh battle: 2 Zeostar, 2 Shaman

Equip the Safety Ring for this one, and then rely on your physicals. Target
the Shaman enemies first as their Diamond Saw still really hurts. The Zeostar
are not a serious threat and can be dealt with once the Shaman threat is
eliminated.

Twelfth battle: 6 Shaman

This is a scary fight. Open with Geno Boost and then go down the line with
physicals. Hope your Safety Ring protects you well; 6 Diamond Saw attacks in a
row are more than you can likely handle. Don't use up a valuable Yoshi-Ade with
Mallow or Toadstool (you can heal more easily), and if you are using Toadstool,
be absolutely sure to avoid using a group attack Mute. Despite the fact that,
of all battles, this seems to be the best one for Mute, it will turn on you
here since using Mute as a group attack against six enemies locks the game.
Sleepy Time will work fine, of course.

For a victory here, you claim the Star Gun. This is the best weapon Geno gets
to equip, and it's quite potent. It will come in great handy for the remainder
of his challenge.

Once you are finished with four of the rooms, you'll fall into a room with a
save point. Be sure to save and make any necessary preparations for the next
boss. That would include equipping the Safety Ring.

Boss 20 - Magikoopa

Everybody strategy - Okay, I'm going to approach the strategy here a little
differently than usual because this fight comes down to abusing a very serious
bug in Magikoopa's AI. Notably, when his summoned Mezzo Bomb uses Big Bang and
removes itself from the battle, Magikoopa returns as a valid target but does
not start taking turns again. That's right, he'll just sit there until you slay
him. There is no reason to use a single item in this fight. The save point is
in the room right before this one, and you can AI abuse him until he summons
Mezzo Bomb as his first summon. However, you might as well try fighting his
other two summons if he calls them.

Jinx Clone - Jump, Shocker, and Geno Beam are easy wins here. Toadstool should
use Psych Bomb if she has the FP. Bowser will get some results with Crusher,
but he's probably best off just sharpening his new Drill Claw on this guy.

Bahamutt - The Safety Ring is bad news for this guy. Jump, Shocker, and Psych
Bomb are again the answers. Bowser again gets to have fun with the Drill Claw.
Geno gets to have more fun with Geno Whirl.

Of course, once Mezzo Bomb is summoned, just defend until it detonates. Use
physicals to take out Magikoopa once he's lost his ability to defend himself;
his physical defense is quite low after all.

After you stomp him, Magikoopa regains his senses and remembers that he's one
of Bowser's loyal minions. To make up for his foolish (though quite non-
threatening) attempt on your lives, he'll heal you fully whenever you speak to
him, and he summons a chest with an infinite number of coins in it. The chest,
sadly, only gives on coin at a time so it's a very tedious way to max out your
money. Still, it's somewhat neat.

Enter the left room after Magikoopa to meet up with Croco again. He's updated
his wares, and now he's selling the legendary armor! Be sure to buy whatever
your character specific armor is; even Bowser has some use for this. You can
also buy some random common items that you probably don't need, and you can max
out your money once you're finished. Head back and save, and then progress via
the right door to approach the end of this dungeon.

Just avoid all enemies here unless fighting several Big Berthas sounds like fun
to you. The next room after this has the next boss. Be sure to keep that Safety
Ring equipped. I prefer the Heal Shell over the Work Pants for Bowser here.

Boss 21 - Boomer

Mario strategy - Open with a Bracer and then set into Boomer with Jump as long
as he remains red. He'll take massive damage for a few rounds, and then he'll
turn blue. That signals the time to start hammering on him with your physical.
This too will do massive damage. Boomer is an easy boss with anyone; the effect
just multiplies when you're using a powerhouse like Mario. He won't last long
at all.

Mallow strategy - Open with a Bracer and then set into Boomer with Shocker as
long as he is red. Once he turns blue, start using the Sonic Cymbals to strike
him. It's a very simple to abuse gimmick, and the instant death attack he uses
to "punish" you for abusing it is blocked by the Safety Ring. You even get
fully healed after this fight so you don't have to worry about conserving your
FP. Consider this a bit of a freebie before the next boss.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost and then set into Boomer with Geno Beam.
As long as Boomer is red, Geno Beam will do massive damage while the Star Gun
will do lackluster damage. Once he turns blue, switch to using the Star Gun
since that flips his defense stats. Really, he's a very easy boss. His gimmick
is not a very hard one to abuse, and his only protection from you exploiting
his weaker stat is a 1/3 Shaker counter. Shaker is an instant death technique.
The Safety Ring makes you immune to instant death. You do the math.

Bowser strategy - I suggest opening this fight with a Bracer. You can get away
without it, but you will conserve Max Mushrooms this way. Use Crusher when
Boomer is red, and use the Drill Claw when he is blue. He's really not very
strong, and his Shaker counters can be laughed off with the Safety Ring. I'm
not sure why they put someone with such a weak gimmick so late in the game; he
would have been a great boss if only you fought him earlier. It's very possible
to run out of FP here, but don't worry about it. You get a full heal after the
fight, and you can just use your physical instead of Crusher at that point.
Boomer is probably nearly dead by the time you run out of FP.

Toadstool strategy - Open the fight with a Bracer (optional) and then set into
Boomer with the Frying Pan. You're supposed to use specials against him when
he's red, but Psych Bomb really won't do much more than your physical. Also, it
costs 16 FP which isn't very sustainable. Boomer really isn't very strong, and
you should be able to take him out without serious difficulty. You even get
fully healed after this fight so don't worry that you're overdoing it with
Therapy!

After defeating Boomer, you get to ride the chandelier to the top of the keep.
Time for another boss!

Boss 22 - Exor

Note for the dumb: Read the names of the eyes. "Right Eye" refers to Exor's
right, not yours.

Mario strategy - Open the fight with a Yoshi-Ade and then take out the Right
Eye in a single Jump. Yep, he's weak to jump. Keeping him dead for the whole
fight prevents Dark Star from ever happening. That's pretty cool. Once he's
gone, attack Exor with Jump, Super Jump, or your physical. Super Jump is
obviously best if you have insane timing skills, but it's fairly hard so for
general purposes, you should probably stick to Jump. Your physical will
actually do a bit better on average, but it's unreliable. Whenever Right Eye
comes back, kill it in one Jump again. This should be quite simple.

Mallow strategy - Open the fight with a Yoshi-Ade, and then set into the Left
Eye with physical attacks. Sadly, it is immune to Shocker. Be sure to keep
well healed early in the fight as Right Eye's Dark Star hurts you very badly.
He'll run out of FP eventually, but be sure never to destroy the Right Eye.
That would give him a full FP restoration. This is why Star Rain is a really
bad idea in this fight. Once Exor is exposed, use physicals to slowly take him
out. He's immune to Shocker so don't even think about it. This will be a really
long battle, but it's a foregone conclusion. Their FP to attack is way more
limited than your FP to heal, and the Safety Ring blocks everything dangerous
the Left Eye can do along with the majority of the strong spells from Right Eye
and Neosquid.

Geno strategy - Geno Beam the Right Eye a few times to remove Exor's
protection. Unfortunately for Exor, this includes his instant death protection.
Use Geno Whirl on Exor for a quick win. If you think this is "cheap", I think
you're being absurd and overly difficult. Either way, if you want to win
another way, just open with Geno Boost and repeatedly kill the Left Eye with
physicals so you can attack Exor with physicals. Leaving the Right Eye and
Neosquid alive lets them run out of FP which is very good for you. You don't
want to see Dark Star very often for sure.

Bowser strategy - Open with a Yoshi-Ade, and then focus on the Left Eye with
your physicals. Be warned that you absolutely should not go after the Right
Eye. This fight has a way of dragging on, and parts that you leave alive are
fairly likely to run out of FP. You definitely want to run the Right Eye out of
FP as that blocks Dark Star for the rest of the fight. Be sure to keep healed,
and give Exor a hearty serving of the Drill Claw whenever you get the chance.
The fight will probably be long, but it really isn't very hard.

Toadstool strategy - Toadstool's fight here is just an easier version of
Mallow's. Mallow never used his offensive magic so Toadstool doesn't need to
worry about that. By this point, Toadstool's stats are all around higher than
his, and she has the excellent Frying Pan. In short, open with a Yoshi-Ade,
target the Left Eye with physicals, attack Exor when he's exposed with
physicals, and leave the Right Eye and Neosquid alone so they can run
themselves out of FP.

With Exor defeated, the path is open to Smithy himself. After Bowser shows you
how sly he is (hint: not very), you get the chance to enter the final dungeon.
I personally suggest that you not do that right now. There are seven bosses in
there. Yes, you heard me right. There are seven. You will want to be fully
stocked. Take the warp trampoline behind you to return to the overworld map.
You can come back here whenever you want.

Obviously, physical characters will want lots of Max Mushrooms, but the big
thing to note is Yoshi-Ade. You will want a very healthy supply of the stuff
unless you're doing Geno's challenge. Smithy himself is able to use Shredder
which dispels your stat buffs so you really can't have too many. You'll also
want to think about mixing in some Kerokerocola. Really, make your inventory
the "perfect" inventory as the final dungeon is not a friendly place. Also, if
you are doing Bowser or Geno's challenge, you will want some Sleepy Bombs. The
Director is a fairly rigorous boss fight for them, and they will help
immensely. You will probably have to back out of the final dungeon to restock
again before Smithy so you might as well stock 4-5 of them. You can buy them
at Tadpole Pond for one frog coin which is quite the bargain. If you're feeling
really cramped on your inventory, you could get away with fewer. They're really
just needed for one boss so don't worry about them too much, but your life will
be easier if you have them.

If you haven't beaten Jinx yet, do it. Everyone should be able to beat final
Jinx now. Well, Mallow will still have a very hard time with him, but he should
be beatable with the super equipment you got in Bowser's Keep. If you want to
delay fighting Jinx until postgame, I won't blame you. However, there's no
reason to avoid him with Mario, Geno, Bowser, or Toadstool, and the Jinx Belt
will still be of some use to you. Take him down!

Once you are really sure you are ready, proceed onward.

Final Dungeon - Factory

Okay, this is it. It's time to finish this game. This place isn't very
friendly, but what did you expect? Of course, before you start, you should
know your enemy.

Ameboid - They have horrible physical defense, but hitting them with physical
attacks causes them to split. Use magic to wear them down so that one more
physical hit can finish them. If that's not possible, just split them and keep
in mind that they have no status protection. Do note that they are immune to
jump.
Glum Reaper - These are very dangerous so make them a priority. Luckily, they
stand up very poorly to basic physical attacks.
Li~L Boo - They're very weak enemies. A single physical from anyone is an easy
kill.
Hippopo - They have high HP and physical defense, but they have poor magical
defense. Their thunder weakness makes them easy targets for Mallow especially.
Doppel - He has good HP, but his defenses are low on both sides. He also has a
jump immunity. What that really means is that you should smash him with
physicals.
Puppox - Use a Yoshi Cookie to get a Rock Candy! Otherwise, non-thunder magic
is the best way to go here. He's not all that dangerous so physicals can work
if the FP is a problem.
Jabit - Magic, especially thunder magic, is the easiest way to win here. They
aren't very dangerous unless they use Last Shot!, and that is a suicide attack.
You can safely make them a low priority.
Mad Mallet - Use physicals to kill them. They are an extremely low level
threat.
Pounder - Use physicals to kill them, but nailing them in group magic isn't an
awful idea. They are not very dangerous.
Poundette - It dies easily, but it stands out over the other weak hammer
enemies due to its ability to inflict fear. Still, if you have fear protection,
it's a joke.
Springer - Group magic is the easiest solution, but physicals will take him
out pretty easily as well.
Ninja - He's immune to ice, fire, and thunder, his defenses are similar to each
other, and he uses an attack right before he dies. There's not much else to say
about this enemy; just smash him with whatever does more than zero damage.
Machine Made (Axem Black) - He's very similar to the real Axem Black. Magic,
especially thunder magic, kills him easily, but if he survives, you'll eat a
powerful Spritz Bomb counter.
Machine Made (Axem Green) - With a mere 80 HP, he should die easily to a
physical attack. His magic can be potent if you leave him alone.
Machine Made (Axem Pink) - She can heal her allies, and she uses Petal Blast if
one of them dies. Take her out first with a physical hit or two.
Machine Made (Axem Red) - Take him out fast to prevent him from abusing his
stat buffing abilities. He's more durable than the other mechanical rangers so
it will likely take a few physical hits.
Machine Made (Axem Yellow) - He's just like the original Axem Yellow. Magic is
the way to go against him no matter what character you are using.
Machine Made (Mack) - Again, he's pretty much the same thing as the original
Mack. If you have the Safety Ring equipped, he really can't do anything but sit
there and take a beating. Magic is especially effective against him and against
the minions he summons.
Machine Made (Bowyer) - Hey, he's just like Bowyer. I smell a pattern here.
Actually, he randomly locks buttons so you have to work around that. He doesn't
have any elemental protection (though he is immune to all status), and he takes
similar damage from physicals and magic. Just smash through him.
Machine Made (Yaridovich) - Use magic to take him out, and use group targeting
magic to destroy the "Drill Bits" he splits into.

Wow, there are a whole lot of enemies here! Despite how long it took me to
write about that mess, I suggest that you not fight here. You should be at
level 19 or very close to it when you enter here. Just from fighting the
mandatory fights, you should be able to reach level 20 for Smithy. If you're
concerned that you will miss the mark, pick on the Ameboid as they are the weak
enemies here. If you are looking to level up to level 30 through fighting here,
the last three enemies are the ones to pick on. Mack is the easiest one to
defeat, but he's only worth 40 experience. I personally like to fight against
Bowyer for his fairly easy 50 experience. Yaridovich gives 60 experience and
has a rare Rock Candy drop so he's potentially the best, but he's also the most
dangerous. It's really up to you. I heavily suggest that you avoid the Axem
Rangers here; they just aren't worth the hassle.

Okay, the area is pretty linear for a while, and there are no enemies. Just
enjoy the music and push ahead. Your first dangerous area will be a large
network of platforms connected by nuts that is patrolled by Glum Reapers and
Ameboids. There are no treasures here so just push onward toward the northeast
corner. The screen after that is just a hit the obvious switch and push onward
screen so do that. You'll come to a save point in a small room next. Jumping
around here reveals a hidden chest with a healing Mushroom. This is the game's
last hidden chest so get it if you need it, and be sure to save. The next
screen has an obvious chest with the Ultra Hammer, a weapon you will likely
never use. Moving on, you'll reach the first boss here. Be sure you have your
Safety Ring equipped!

Boss 23 - Count Down

Note: Count Down cycles through his techniques in the following order:

Crystal(2/3) or Ice Rock(1/3), Recover, Aurora Flash, Mega Recover, Water
Blast, (restore FP), Petal Blast, Corona

The Ding-A-Lings cause him to skip a move in his cycle when they use "Time is
marching on!". Note that the Safety Ring protects against much of what Count
Down can do.

Mario strategy - Open up with a Yoshi-Ade, and then set into one of the
Ding-A-Ling with Jump. It should fall quickly, and then you can take out the
other one the same way. With the threat of Dark Star totally gone, Count Down
is wide open. A barrage of Jump will dispatch him quickly and easily, and
you'll probably end up needing just one Max Mushroom.

Mallow strategy - Everything in this fight is weak to thunder so Mallow has
some reason to feel confident. Open the fight with a Bracer and then start
using Thunderbolt. Yes, you read that correctly; I did not mean Shocker. This
is the best tactic since it's very FP conservative and damages both Ding-A-Ling
at once. Once the two of them are gone, just beat on Count Down with your
physical. Despite his weakness to thunder, physicals are best since his two
defensive stats are equal, and the way magic works makes that very bad for
magic at endgame.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost and then start in with Geno Blast. Geno
Flash works too, but Geno Blast should kill the Ding-A-Lings in the same number
of turns. If you are doing less than 172 damage per turn with Geno Blast, use
one Geno Flash to make up for the lesser damage. Once both Ding-A-Lings are
down, focus on Count Down with physicals. This shouldn't be too hard.

Bowser strategy - Okay, this guy is well capable of laying down a beating. Open
the fight with a Yoshi-Ade, and then focus on one of the Ding-A-Lings with your
physical attack. Dark Star is easily the most dangerous thing in this fight,
and they both can do it. Odds are that once you finish one of them, the other
will be low on FP. That means that you should focus on Count Down at that
point. Once he falls, the other Ding-A-Ling will be in a very weak position.
Just smash it to end the fight. It might sound simple, but it will likely use
up quite a few Max Mushrooms. You'll need luck insofar as you don't get hit by
too many Dark Stars if you want to make it to the end of the Factory without
having to make a return trip.

Toadstool strategy - Okay, you have two basic strategies here. You can use the
Frying Pan strategy or the Psych Bomb strategy. I suggest using the Frying Pan,
but the other plan is faster if FP consuming. Start the battle with a Bracer
either way, and then begin on your attack. If you're using Psych Bomb, hammer
away until both Ding-A-Ling are dead. It will likely require you to use a Royal
Syrup or two, but it will damage the enemy pretty quickly. The more
conservative Frying Pan strategy is basically the same thing as fighting with
Bowser. First take out one of the Ding-A-Lings with the Frying Pan. I do
suggest deviating and taking out both Ding-A-Lings before going after Count
Down with Toadstool since they can randomly give you "Attack Up!" flowers which
will let you beat Count Down faster. Therapy ensures you'll never die so don't
worry about that. Really, this isn't a hard fight. Just keep attacking and
healing, and you'll win in short order.

Okay, one down and six to go! Save if you want (you can never return to this
screen) and then push onward. In the next area, you'll find an elevated chest
containing a healing Mushroom and then a pit that you can cross on some white
platforms. If you fall into the pit, you can find a few chests. The near one
contains a Flower, and the far one contains another healing Mushroom. I doubt
that you need healing since Count Down fully restored you, and I really hope
that you already have 99 FP. Still, those things are there if you need them,
and they might be useful if you decide to come back here to level grind for
Culex or something.

The next screen contains some enemies coming endlessly off conveyor belts while
arrows rain down. If you get hit, you spin for a while. They almost always hit
you in the places where the enemies are so it's pretty annoying. Just do your
best to get through with minimal fighting. Afterward, the path becomes linear
for a while, though you can pick up a Royal Syrup and Max Mushroom from chests
along the way. You will eventually reach a save point, and then the next room
contains an infinite number of Machine Made (Yaridovich). You have to defeat
one of them to get rid of the block. There's also a healing Mushroom and a
Flower in chests in the room you can reach by exiting northwest. I would get
them after beating that false Yaridovich in order to be at full health for the
next boss. Speaking of the next boss, save up and jump into the hole in the
floor after defeating the would be Yaridovich to fight the next boss. Keep that
Safety Ring on still.

Boss 24 - Cloaker and Domino

Mario strategy - Open with a Bracer or a Yoshi-Ade and then go all out on
Cloaker with Jump. He won't last long at all. Once Domino teams up with Mad
Adder, you get to switch tactics to pounding Mad Adder with the Lazy Shell.
This should be a quick and easy boss fight as are so many others with Mario;
enjoy it.

Mallow strategy - Open the fight with a Bracer and then set into Cloaker with
Shocker. You are very safe during the first stage of the fight and will likely
not have to heal at all. Once Cloaker falls, you get to fight Mad Adder. Focus
your physical attacks on Mad Adder and heal as needed. This is really quite the
easy fight; Mallow's high magic defense and the Safety Ring make you quite
safe at all times.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost as always and then start hammering away
with Geno Flash. If you do under 240 damage to Cloaker with Geno Flash, use
Geno Blast instead to save FP as in that case both will kill in the same
number of turns. Once Cloaker is gone, you'll get to duel with the Domino/Mad
Adder combo. Focus on Mad Adder with physicals, and he'll fall quickly and
easily.

Bowser strategy - Open with a Yoshi-Ade, and then focus on Cloaker with
Crusher. Earth Link is overall more dangerous than Mad Adder even with Bowser's
low magic defense so you should defeat Cloaker first.  Once Cloaker is gone,
you get to fight the Domino/Mad Adder combo. Just focus on Mad Adder with
physicals as it's the one you must destroy to end the fight. Don't worry too
much about Max Mushrooms as you only have one very easy boss in the way of a
great source of them.

Toadstool strategy - Open with a Bracer and then just smack around Cloaker with
the Frying Pan. It will take a while, but you are pretty much totally safe from
the duo with your Bracer + Safety Ring + Therapy combination. Once Cloaker
falls, you'll get to fight Domino/Mad Adder. Just focus on Mad Adder with some
more physicals, and this should end quickly and easily. You really don't even
have to have the Bracer, but this fight does get legitimately hard if you skip
it. By legitimately hard, I mean it forces you to FP stall in the second stage
of the fight.

By the way, did you notice how buggy that fight was? If you were too fast
which, if you were doing Geno or Toadstool's challenge you were, you didn't get
your first turn. There were a lot of minor graphical glitches in the first
section of the fight with shadows appearing on top of characters and such.
Really, I think this must have been some fight they tacked on at the last
minute. The whole concept of the fight is pretty much a copy and paste from
Knife Guy and Grate Guy too; I often wonder why that last boss really had to be
in the game at all. Anyway, once you've won, head back and save. A small amount
of progress forward reveals the next boss. Be sure to have the Ghost Medal
equipped as it's not worth using a Bracer against this guy. If you are doing
Geno's challenge, equip the Jinx Belt instead.

Boss 25 - Clerk

Mario strategy - Use Jump to very quickly destroy the Clerk. A few Lazy Shell
physicals will quickly remove any Mad Mallet problems after that.

Mallow strategy - Use Shocker to take out the Clerk quickly and then dispose of
the Mad Mallets however you see fit.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost and then use your physical attack to very
quickly end this fight. Take out the Clerk first as he uses Vigor Up! and Valor
Up if he's the last one left.

Bowser strategy - Smack the Clerk with a few physicals to quickly take out his
measly 500 HP, and then kill one of the Mad Mallets the same way. The other
flees. If you want to increase your damage output, use Terrorize. It's not
really needed, but it's an option.

Toadstool strategy - Basic physicals against the Clerk first and the Mad
Mallets second works well here. Sleepy Time is also effective if you use the
all targeting attack.

I was tempted to not even count that as a boss fight, but you do get fully
healed after fighting a unique enemy so I guess it's a boss. Run forward a bit
to see the last scene centered around Mallow in the game, and then try to leave
the room. Toad will rush in and open up shop in this prime location. I question
his business sense, but I can hardly complain about the results. He sells Max
Mushrooms! You'll never need to farm them on Star Hill again. Hmm, if he had
Max Mushrooms the whole time, why couldn't he sell them at some earlier point
in the story? Gee Toad, whose side are you on? He'll also give you a valuable
Rock Candy after you finish shopping so leave a slot open. You might want to
head back and save before the next boss. Then again, you might not. The next
boss is only somewhat harder than the Clerk. Keep your Ghost Medal equipped
unless you are Geno who gets to play with the Jinx Belt.

Boss 26 - Manager

Everybody strategy - Do the exact same thing you did to take out the Clerk.
This is nearly the same boss. It's just more powerful with one more minion. If
you destroy all of its minions, it summons some more instead of powering up
like the Clerk did. Of course, since Manager only has 800 HP, you can easily
avoid this by just killing the Manager first. This is somewhat more satisfying
if you are playing as Bowser.

Head back and save for sure now. The boss in the next room is the actually hard
variety of this sequence. This is the battle that Bowser and Geno players got
Sleepy Bombs for. Equip the Safety Ring if you don't have any Sleepy Bombs, but
use the Troopa Pin if you do have them (Jinx Belt for Geno). Do note that
Toadstool can use a group Sleepy Time to replace Sleepy Bombs.

Boss 27 - Director

Mario strategy - If you don't have any Sleepy Bombs, open with a Bracer and
then focus on the Director with Lazy Shell physicals. Once he has fallen, take
out the three Poundettes. Your offense should overwhelm them fairly quickly.
If you have the Sleepy Bombs, use them and then proceed as per normal. Keeping
the Poundettes asleep prevents them from inflicting fear on you which would
mean almost certain death.

Mallow strategy - Well, if you have Sleepy Bombs, take advantage of them, but
if you do not, it's not a big deal. Use Shocker to take out the Director and
then rain down on the Poundettes with Thunderbolt. HP Rain is more than enough
to keep you alive. Use a Bracer if you're really having trouble.

Geno strategy - Open with a Sleepy Bomb and then follow up with Geno Boost.
Use your physical attack to overwhelm the Director's 1000 HP, and then use
your choice of Geno Blast or Geno Flash to take out the Poundettes. Sleep only
lasts three turns so you may need a second Sleepy Bomb; it will be what keeps
you safe from fear. If you are having a lot of trouble with the Poundettes
waking up and inflicting fear, just use the Safety Ring for this fight.

Bowser strategy - Bowser is too slow to go first without the Troopa Pin, and
fear is death. Unless you want to keep restarting until you get lucky, open the
fight with a Sleepy Bomb and then use physicals to take out first the Director
and then the Poundettes. Everything here can be inflicted with fear, but fear
will overwrite sleep so don't be stupid about it. Don't be shy at all about
using all of your Sleepy Bombs here; they aren't really useful anywhere else.

Toadstool strategy - Her fight is pretty much just like Geno's except she
replaces Sleepy Bombs with her Sleepy Time special, Geno Blast/Flash with Psych
Bomb, and Max Mushrooms with Therapy which also cures any fear she might get
inflicted with. Yeah, don't expect much resistance.

Defeating the Director will reveal the final save. There are only two bosses
left! Equip the Safety Ring and press onward.

Boss 28 - Factory Chief and Gunyolk

Mario strategy - Open with a Bracer or Yoshi-Ade and then focus on the Factory
Chief with Lazy Shell physicals. He only has 1000 HP so he won't last long.
Gunyolk can only hurt you with Breaker Beam which he uses at fairly lengthy
intervals. Jump will dispatch Gunyolk easily once he's alone.

Mallow strategy - This is pretty simple really. Open with a Bracer and then
focus on Gunyolk with Shocker. He's weak to it so he won't hold up for long.
After he falls, take out the Factory Chief with physicals, though Shocker also
works. The Safety Ring protects you from the sleep that the Factory Chief can
inflict and every move Gunyolk has except Breaker Beam. Alternatively, use
Snowy over Shocker at the start. Gunyolk is also weak to that, and you'll be
wearing down the Factory Chief while you do it.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost and let the Factory Chief have it with
repeated Star Gun blasts. Once he's down, Gunyolk will go down easily to pretty
much anything.

Bowser strategy - Terrorize is effective here so you could use that, though you
might prefer the security of a Bracer or Yoshi-Ade. Either way, use the Drill
Claw to take out first the Factory Chief and then Gunyolk. Be sure to be ready
to take the big hits from Breaker Beam; it hurts really badly.

Toadstool strategy - Open with a Bracer and then use Sleepy Time to put them to
sleep. Use your physicals to take out the Factory Chief first, and then focus
on Gunyolk. You could use physicals, but if you want him to never have a turn,
use Psych Bomb while you keep him asleep with Sleepy Time.

Okay, head back and save, and then be sure you have a nice, full inventory.
Head back for more Yoshi-Ade if you need it; Smithy's Shredder makes having
multiple very mandatory (unless you are Geno of course). You should be at level
20 by now, though a higher level will just make it easier. Be sure to save at
the final save point before heading in; Smithy is not friendly.

As per equipment, it's between the Safety Ring and the Jinx Belt. Mallow and
Toadstool should definitely use the Safety Ring. The problem is that only one
of Smithy's four heads in his second form uses status ailments; nothing else
is blocked by the Safety Ring. That being said, those status ailment can and
will ruin you. The three heavy physical characters can try their luck and
overwhelm Smithy before he can inflict them with a fatal ailment, and the Jinx
Belt will really help them do that. With natural healing, the mages shouldn't
risk it.

I was really wanting to accept Smithy's reasonable proposal, but for some
reason, the game automatically forces you to reject. Shucks, I guess this game
is going to end with violence.

Final Boss - Smithy

Mario strategy - 2000 HP is nothing; you are Mario! Just open with a Yoshi-Ade
and smash though Smithy with Lazy Shell physicals. You can only heal so many
times; a fast kill is the most important thing here.

His second form has 8000 HP; that's going to take a while to kill. Your basic
goal is to keep using Lazy Shell physicals except against his Tank head which
you will attack with Jump. If his Invincible head uses Shredder, re-apply a
Yoshi-Ade. If his Treasure Chest head inflicts status, you will probably be
fine. You can safely ignore poison and mute. Fear can be cured with an Able
Juice, Muku Cookie, or time. Scarecrow is really bad. Use Jump while inflicted,
and pray you survive until it wears off. You very well may not, and there's
simply nothing you can do about it except try again and hope it doesn't happen
next time.

Mallow strategy - Okay, the first form is actually pretty easy. Open the fight
with a Yoshi-Ade and then focus on Smithy with physicals. Heal with HP Rain
when your health gets low. That's really it. If you leave the Shypers alone,
they will exhaust their FP quickly and cease to be a threat. Smelter is simply
not worth the effort to kill. Smithy has 2000 HP so this will take a while.

Unfortunately, then comes the second form. This form is decidedly less
friendly. Don't worry; your Yoshi-Ade from the first form carries over.
Basically, what you do depends on his head:

Tank head: Blast him with Shocker! This is your chance to really hurt him.

Wizard head: Tremble in fear. Once you are sufficiently terrified, consider
nailing him with highly damaging physical attacks. Early in the fight, this is
a good plan, but later in the fight, the risk might not be worth it. If you get
hit with two strong spells in a row and are not at absolutely perfect health,
you're in for a quick trip to the Game Over screen. Yeah, have fun with that.

Treasure Chest head: This head can't do anything to you. Have at it with your
physical for minor but useful damage.

Invincible head: Use a Yoshi-Ade after Shredder. You can really do nothing to
this head so either use completely ineffective physicals, use Snowy to do a bit
more damage but eat through FP, or use item attacks. The last is the best
option, but you probably only have a few attacking items.

Don't go after the body; it just keeps coming back. Smithy has infinite FP and
8000 HP; this will take forever with defeat always being one bad turn away. You
have come this far; you can do it!

Geno strategy - He fights the first form just like everyone else. Open with
Geno Boost and then hammer away on Smithy with physicals. Keep healed as you
need and try to defeat this form quickly. Your resources are too limited to
play conservatively, and you are very close to a save point if things go awry.

Against his second form, use physicals against the Wizard head and Treasure
Chest head for sure, and use Geno Blast or Geno Flash against his Tank head.
Against his Invincible head, you will do more with magic, but it is likely not
worth the FP to use it. Physicals are a better bet; you don't have to worry
about running out of stat boosting items thanks to Geno Boost. Just be sure to
keep your stats boosted at all times, and heal as you need. If you get turned
into a Scarecrow, well, sorry. Try again unless you manage to survive the
ailment. In that case, be thankful and carry on.

Bowser strategy - His fight is really similar to Mario's except he's a lot less
strong. Crusher is really overall sucky, but the Tank head's stats are so
extreme that it will still probably be worth it. Really, just use Mario's
strategy here except know that you'll have a lower chance of victory, though it
should still be well within your grasp.

Toadstool strategy - Are you ready for a long fight? I hope so because that's
what you are going to get. Open with a Yoshi-Ade and use your physical to maul
your way through Smithy's first form. Therapy will keep you alive, and the
Shypers will quickly exhaust their own FP. Just keep at it, and he'll go down.

Against his second form, you mostly fight the same way, constantly focusing on
his head, except you are in a bit of a difficult situation. Your only option
to seriously damage his Tank head is Psych Bomb, but that's not exactly FP
conservative. His Invincible head will work its way through all of your
Yoshi-Ade. Item attacks against his Invincible head (especially Ice Bombs) will
be very effective at clinching you the win. You could consider trying with the
Jinx Belt if the Safety Ring isn't working out, but you should be able to take
him out if you just keep at it. Therapy is great after all.

Enjoy the ending; you earned it!

VI. Jinx

Jinx is the easier of the two optional bosses in Monstro Town, but that's a
somewhat misleading statement. The Jinx side quest is actually a series of four
progressively difficult optional bosses. Unlike with Culex, I suggest that you
fight the various fights in the Jinx side quest as soon as your character is
strong enough to win. This will maximize the fun of each fight, and it will
allow you to get the Jinx Belt as early as possible. Everyone can do the first
two fights as soon as they reach Monstro Town, but the others require different
degrees of delay depending on character.

As per equipment, you will want to equip yourself with the best weapons and
armor available at the time. I cover every good opportunity to upgrade
equipment in the main walkthrough so I will assume that you have it. In terms
of accessories, I suggest the Amulet  for the Jagger and first Jinx fight and
then the Safety Ring for the second two Jinx fights. The Amulet and Safety Ring
should both be in your inventory when you first arrive in Monstro Town. If you,
for whatever reason, delay doing the Jagger and first Jinx fight until later in
the game, the Rare Scarf you find at Bean Valley is a good replacement for the
Amulet.

Jinx is very powerful, and he's all about physical attacking. You will need to
have some skill at timed defense if you hope to do well against him. You will
need to have a healthy supply of Max Mushrooms for the later fights if you are
not using a character with a natural healing spell, and non-Geno characters
will want to have a Yoshi-Ade for the later fights as well.

Well, without further ado, let's get to the strategies.

Optional Boss 8 - Jagger

Mario strategy - For this fight, you will actually want to have the Jump Shoes
equipped to overcome Jagger's normal immunity to Jump. This is very easily
winnable when you first arrive in Monstro Town at level 14. If you have fully
maxed out Jump, it will only take three Jumps to take Jagger out. This is
really more of a warm up than anything; the later fights will be much harder!

Mallow strategy - It will take 6 Shockers to bring Jagger down, but Jagger has
the potential to do some serious damage to you. He ordinarily has a 1/3 chance
of using Terrapunch which is twice as strong as his physical, and he has a 1/3
chance of countering any attack with Terrapunch. To be safe, you should heal
with HP Rain until you have a turn after you have normally blocked his regular
physical or have gotten a perfect guard against either of his attacks. Then
attack with Shocker. You may need to down a Maple Syrup, but this fight is not
too hard. Unfortunately for poor Mallow, this is only the beginning, and this
is the only fight in which Shocker does more than zero damage.

Geno strategy - Jagger won't give you too much trouble. Open with Geno Boost
and then hit Jagger with Geno Beam until he falls. It should only take four
hits so you will likely only have to heal once if at all. Don't worry; the
other fights are much harder!

Bowser strategy - Fortunately, Jagger is susceptible to Terrorize so be sure to
keep Jagger inflicted with fear for the whole battle. After that it taken care
of, just hammer away with physicals from your new Spiked Link. He should go
down fairly easily, and odds are you will not consume many (or any) of your Max
Mushrooms.

Toadstool strategy - There are two ways to go about this fight. The simple plan
is to try to chip your way through Jagger's defenses with physicals. This takes
surprisingly few hits, but it takes long enough so that the odds of him doing a
Terrapunch counter followed up by another Terrapunch are pretty high. In the
condition you should be entering this fight, level 14 as soon as you enter
Monstro Town with the Amulet equipped, this is fatal if you have taken any
damage at all beforehand. You can easily make this a winning strategy by using
a Bracer or a Yoshi-Ade, and that's the least resource consuming method to win
the fight. Therapy will be more than enough to cover you as long as you are
under the "Defense Up" status. Alternatively, you could abuse the fact that
Jagger is one of those rare bosses who can be put to sleep. Hit him with Sleepy
Time and then barrage him with item attacks. You can take him out that way
without him having a chance to retaliate. Do note that he's immune to fire so
you must use either Ice Bombs or Rock Candy. I'd really suggest that you use
the first strategy in general, but if you are willing to go through the effort
to harvest those item (or to get freebies), the second method is quite viable.

Optional Boss 9 - Jinx 1

Mario strategy - Be sure you have the Amulet equipped, and then just hammer
away with Jump. Jinx in this fight is basically just Jagger except superior in
every way. He uses Jinxed 2/3 of the time ordinarily and 1/3 of the time as a
counter, and that's pretty much the same thing as Terrapunch except running off
a higher stat. He also uses Triple Kick 1/3 of the time as an ordinary attack,
and that's twice as powerful as Jinxed. It's possible to win with just Jump and
some Max Mushroom use, but using a Bracer or a Yoshi-Ade before you begin
attacking really simplifies the fight.

Mallow strategy - Open the fight with either a Yoshi-Ade or a Bracer ->
Energizer combo. Afterwards, just go all out with that Ribbit Stick (or better
weapon if you fight him later). Heal with HP Rain if your health ever gets even
remotely low, and focus on getting those crucial timed defense commands. You
should be able to take him down if you just continue with this plan; just don't
take any chances when it comes to using HP Rain.

Geno strategy - Open the fight with Geno Boost and then go all out on Jinx with
physical attacks. You will probably have to heal once or twice depending on how
well you time your defense and how often Jinx counters your attack. If you are
having problems with your physical attack missing, feel free to use Geno Beam
instead. The damage output is slightly lower, but it never misses. Either way,
keep at it, and Jinx will go down quickly and easily!

Bowser strategy - Alas, Jinx is immune to fear. Well, the bright side is that
the plan becomes really simple. The use of Energizers, Bracers, and Yoshi-Ade
is really up to you, but the more of those you conserve, the more Max Mushrooms
you will consume. If you open the fight with a Yoshi-Ade, it's very simple to
take down Jinx before needing to heal even once so if you wanted to get through
this fight without using anything, you'd just need that one freebie. The Bracer
and Energizer are lesser forms of that with both serving the purpose of
improving the ratio of your damage to Jinx's damage. If you're only going to
use one of them, stick with the Bracer. Well, regardless of what you choose to
do with items, Jinx falls to a good beating with that trusty Spiked Link.

Toadstool strategy - Her fight goes exactly like Mallow's does. You have to use
the Yoshi-Ade (or Bracer and Energizer), and then you just go nuts with her
physical. It takes a pretty long time, but you are very safe if you play
conservatively via liberal use of Therapy.

Optional Boss 10 - Jinx 2

Mario Strategy - Open with a Yoshi-Ade and nothing else; you can't afford to be
wasting turns. Jump is your path to victory; you just have to hope that Jinx is
cooperative. If Jinx uses his Triple Kick counter a lot and uses Quicksilver a
lot in general, you're in trouble. Luckily, the Safety Ring protects you from
Silver Bullet so every time Jinx uses that, you get a free turn. You will
probably need to use a Max Mushroom somewhere during the fight, and you may
need a few if you are bad with timing commands.

Mallow strategy - Open with a Yoshi-Ade to make this a surprisingly simple
fight. As long as you have the boosted defense, Jinx will not do an unbearable
amount of damage to you. As long as you have the boosted attack, you can beat
Jinx in a reasonable amount of time with your physical attack. Be sure to use
HP Rain whenever you dip below half health, and Jinx should be defeated quite
easily.

Geno strategy - Open with Geno Boost, and then ask yourself at what point in
the game you are fighting him. If you are fighting him on your first trip to
Monstro Town, use Geno Beam every turn after that. He won't go down very fast
at all, and you will have to be quite good with the timing commands. Also
expect to use quite a few Max Mushrooms; it's not a nice fight at all. If you
are fighting him on a later trip, your physical attacks are going to do
substantially more to the point that you should use them regardless of accuracy 
issues.

Bowser strategy - You'll need to open up with a Yoshi-Ade and then lay in with 
physicals. You'll need to use quite a few Max Mushrooms to keep your health up
as you smash him with the Spiked Link. It will take a good beating to defeat
Jinx, but he's well beatable. Watch out for the Triple Kick counter attack, and
if he opens the fight by using Quicksilver on Bowser, you should consider
resetting. Timed defense is key; don't mess it up!

Toadstool strategy - Her fight with Jinx is nearly identical to Mallow's fight.
Open with the Yoshi-Ade, and things become fairly simple. You just go nuts on
Jinx with your physical attacks, and you heal with Therapy when your health
gets low. Your stats are all around worse than Mallow's stats, but by this
point in the game, the difference is pretty minor. Don't expect this to be too
hard.

Optional Boss 11 - Final Jinx

Mario strategy - His first move is always Bombs Away. If he aims at Mario, you
had better perfect guard or pray that it misses. If you get hit, reset. On your
first turn, use a Yoshi-Ade, and then go nuts on Jinx with the Jumps. Jinx only
has 1000 HP, but he can hurt you really badly. He uses Valor Up when his health
dips below 600 HP and Vigor Up! when his health dips below 300 HP. Valor Up
just slows you down a lot, but Jump will still do massive damage. Vigor Up! is
the big problem. At 1.5X attack, his Quicksilver counter will do massive damage
if you don't time it correctly. After he's used Vigor Up!, you also just have
to hope that you never see Bombs Away again as, unless you perfect guard or it
misses, you can probably say goodbye to Mario. However, Mario is strong. Jinx
is just one of the few enemies who can match your damage output. Just keep at
it and you should be wearing your Jinx Belt in no time!

Mallow strategy - Even at level 20 with your ultimate equipment, this will not
be friendly. Having a few Rock Candies will help a ton. Your magic is useless
for attacking here so the plan is pretty simple. Just attack with the Sonic
Cymbals while healing as needed, and do not forget to use that Yoshi-Ade at
the start of the battle. Once he dips below 600 HP, he'll use Valor Up which
slows your damage output to a crawl. Once he dips below 300 HP, he'll use Vigor
Up! which is likely your death. Two Rock Candies at that point will finish him,
but if you don't have them, I hope you are good at perfect guarding! The whole
fight, his Quicksilver counter will be causing you massive trouble, and Bombs
Away is incredibly unfriendly itself. You really never need to win this fight;
it's mostly just pride on the line here.

Geno strategy - If you are trying this right after Nimbus Land, I hope for your
sake that you have two Rock Candies to spare. This will be much harder if you
do not. Open with Geno Boost as always and then set in with physical attacks.
This takes a while to wear Jinx down, and Jinx is very strong. Notably, Bombs
Away is a very bad attack for you to see. If you don't have the skill to
perfect guard it, you just have to hope that he doesn't use it. You especially
have to hope that he doesn't use it immediately after a Quicksilver counter.
That would be just awful and has a very high potential of leading you to a Game
Over. Once he dips below 600 HP, he uses Valor Up which really slows your
damage output, and once he dips below 300 HP, he uses Vigor Up! which elevates
his power to an obscene level. Bombs Away under Vigor Up! is death unless you
take no damage from either a perfect guard or a miss or if you are at
absolutely full health. Considering that it's very possible for Jinx to use
this immediately after a Quicksilver counter, that's a problem. If you have two
Rock Candies, you can help yourself out by using them right after Jinx uses
Vigor Up!. They will do 150 damage each so two of them will kill Jinx for sure
at that point. You can still win if you don't have them, but it's just going to
be a lot harder. You'll need a lot of skill to do it. All of Jinx's attacks can
be blocked so you really can beat him at any level. At level 16 with Nimbus
Land equipment, you need a fairly high level of skill to beat him without Rock
Candies, but it's certainly a level of skill that a person could reasonably be
expected to have. I would definitely recommend that you try to win without them
if you don't have them, and you might even consider farming Mushroom Boy if you
are in a tight spot. The Jinx Belt is very valuable after all. If you
persevere, it is all yours.

Bowser strategy - If you have two Rock Candies to spare, this fight will be a
lot easier. Otherwise, you're going to need either great luck, amazing timing,
or a higher level than level 16 which means waiting to have the extremely
useful Jinx Belt. I'm not saying that you shouldn't try Jinx if you don't have
those items, but the fight is just much easier if you have them. Open the fight 
with a Yoshi-Ade and then start up the physical attacks. Bowser's stats mean
that Jinxed and Triple Kick aren't that dangerous, and you can deal with
Quicksilver, even when he annoyingly uses it as a counter. Silver Bullet is an 
absolute blessing as Jinx likes to use it a lot, and the Safety Ring means that
it does absolutely nothing. However, Bombs Away is a very serious problem. If
you chose the same level up bonuses as I did, it does 80 damage when you block
it. That's forces you to keep your health quite high. That wouldn't even be too
awful of a problem except for the fact that once Jinx goes under 300 HP he uses
Vigor Up!. Valor Up was annoying, but Vigor Up! is devastating. Now Bombs Away
does 120 blocked, and Quicksilver does 60 blocked. Therefore, if he uses
a Quicksilver counter followed by Bombs Away, you are dead unless one of them
misses (extremely unlikely) or you perfect guard (both attacks are very hard to
perfect guard). It's also reasonable that you would have been injured in the
first place. At the recommended stats to fight him, it takes 15 physical
attacks to kill Jinx after Vigor Up!. The odds of this combination happening
over that time is fairly high, especially when you factor in all the turns
you'll inevitably have to spend using Max Mushrooms and the fact that you'll
probably miss with your physical at some point. This is where the Rock Candies
come in. If you have them, use them after Jinx uses Vigor Up!. They will do
150 damage, and Jinx is guaranteed to have under 300 HP at that point. Two of
them will finish him off, and you'll only have to take one powered up attack.
If you don't have them, don't fret. With a combination of luck, good timing,
and a nearly full inventory of Max Mushrooms, the battle is very winnable with
one or zero Rock Candies. Do remember that every single one of Jinx's attacks
is blockable so you can win this fight with pure skill. Do your best, and you
will be wearing your new Jinx Belt before you know it!

Toadstool strategy - Her fight is like Mallow's except the Frying Pan lets her
do real damage so she can win before she gets her ultimate equipment. Therapy
is also a better heal which is always nice. Just hammer away at him, and use a
few Rock Candies after Vigor Up! if you have them to spare. The Jinx Belt will
be of some use to you; do get it if you can manage it.

VII. Culex

Okay, it's Culex time. Culex is this game's optional super boss, and he is
tough. Should you wish to challenge him, you'll need to take a Shiny Stone from
Moleville (trade the Fireworks for the Carbo Cookie and that for a Shiny
Stone) to the sealed door in Monstro Town. Of course, just rushing out and
doing that is a fine way to lose to Culex.

I am unable to write a comprehensive section on Culex now. I am several months
away from having physical access to the game, and I am not confident enough to
write much about Culex without a play test. Consider this a "to be continued"
with a few pointers:

1. Equip the Safety Ring. It protects you from everything the Fire Crystal can
do as well as many of the attacks used by the Water Crystal and the Wind
Crystal.

2. Endgame characters are the only ones who should try. Even level 20 may not
be enough. If you need to grind experience, abusing the 800 coin Star in Land's
End is a good idea. Just use it, go to the Factory, get killed, and repeat.
You'll retain your experience but nothing else. Grinding against the "Machine
Made" bosses in the Factory is another approach. This is so tedious; you will
probably want to mix the plans.

3. Culex uses Shredder a whole lot. Unless you can win fairly quickly or are
using Geno, keeping your stats boosted for the whole fight is quite likely
impossible.

4. Unless you can kill another crystal very quickly, the Earth Crystal should
be your first target. It has the most health but is overall more threatening
than the other three put together.

5. All five enemies in this fight have finite FP. Good luck stalling it out.

VIII. Other Challenges

So, you've finished a Single Character Challenge and want more? You want to be
as hardcore as possible? Okay, first of all, I will caution you that combining
many extra restrictions into a Single Character Challenge will either make it
impossible or force you to power level a whole lot. SCC No Items is probably
impossible with every character, for instance. Mario has a shot at pulling it
off, but I can't see anyone else making it through without a ton of leveling.
What you can do is restrict yourself of other commands, physical attack or
magic (or even ban specific spells). Mario should be able to finish the
challenge either way. I don't think Mallow can finish without magic because of
Croco 1 at least, and without physical would make Bowyer an instant Game Over.
Geno might be able to pull off either end. Bowser could do without magic. If
you want to make this game as unpleasant as possible, I see no reason why
Toadstool only no magic should be impossible. You can try to be creative in
other ways with challenges; do whatever your imagination can find!

Moving away from SCC, other popular challenges are the level 3 game and the no
equipment no items challenges. The former has a fine FAQ on Gamefaqs, and the
latter has been proven possible before. I would suggest against a level 3 game
solely on the basis that having a 1/3 chance of winning the "Lucky" game after
every forced battle and having to redo if you lose sucks. I haven't even
considered the possibility that you get the coin doubling game in that either.
Level 3 is mostly just an exhibition about broken items anyway so I suppose I'm
biased against it, but it would be criminal to not mention it here.

The last category of challenges would be the "button ban" challenges. Try
banning A, X, or Y for yourself in battle. I have done "A" before, and I know
for a fact that the other two are possible. These aren't hard challenges, but
they are interesting and fun to play.

IX. Contact and Credits

If you need to contact me for whatever reason, your best bet is to try to get
a hold of me via the Gamefaqs general board for Super Mario RPG. It's very
likely that I won't see it, but it's very likely that I will as well, assuming
it stays on the first page for a while. I really can't anticipate much need to
contact me; I have no intention of helping people who are stuck on bosses and
such. The only kind of feedback I'd really want would be feedback about the
actual FAQ, and the board is the best place for that. I never check e-mail so
giving an address out would just be a waste of time.

More importantly, I have to credit those who helped in the making of this FAQ.

Floogal was the biggest help. He helped out with all sorts of strategies from
Croco 1 through the Director. His experience with a Bowser challenge was a nice
compliment to mine with Mallow, and it helped me think about how to go about
the game with characters who cannot heal. He did a lot of proofreading as well.
Seriously, thanks a lot man.

Secondly, I have to thank whoever made the "super site". This site was a
phenomenal reference; it has technical information that nowhere else seems to
have. It's ROM extracted info which means that it is in an unfriendly format
to read, but it's incredibly useful. I was worried about putting a link in the
final file since I was scared that it might contain a link to a ROM somewhere,
but I searched it over and can't seem to find anything actually illegal. I'm
sure CJayC (or is SBAllen doing this now?) will reject this and make me remove
the link if he finds something bad, but until that happens, I'm putting the
link here.

http://giangurgolo.home.att.net/smrpg/

Thank you user shadowpimpstyle for the info about the minimum number of Flowers
from Booster Hill.

Thank you Javeman for confirming that it's actually possible to get a Flower
Box from Croco 2.

Thanks in advance to anyone who reads this and uses it while doing a challenge.
This took quite a bit of work to make; I'd be delighted if it were used to
great benefit.

Anyway, thanks for reading my FAQ, and have fun playing some Super Mario RPG!