Monday, January 17, 2011

Nintendo Adventure Books 2: Leaping Lizards

Double Trouble got decent but low marks for being an acceptable book but a fairly dull adventure. Bosco’s second attempt starts out looking like it might go the same way, but if you make it far enough, or look at the cover, you might know to expect something a little off the norm.

Luigi, the smarter, overlooked younger brother, sleeps in and misses an awesome picnic, but is the first on the scene when one of the Koopa kids uses his magic wand to turn the Mushroom King into a rabbit. Even after Luigi chases him down and gets the wand, though, it turns out the magic only works one way and so when Luigi tries to turn the king back to normal he just turns his majesty from a rabbit into an eight-foot rabbit. The only thing that can change him back is a magic whistle, like the kind that’s the prize for winning the International Mushroom Games.

As noted the book’s divided into two major sections, the first of which is pretty standard Mario fare, while the second is the games, and they’re what make the book stand out. Parts are of them silly and random, but Bosco’s to be commended for his research. Peach’s a champion surfer, which you might remember from the cartoon, and Toad wins the weightlifting competition for the Mushroom Kingdom, alluding to the strength that was his trademark in SMB2. Which wasn’t really a bad Mario game but when put against the others is clearly the worst of the bunch (kidding).

And usually I try to avoid spoilers, but it was pretty satisfying that Peach crushes the opposition in the first event. Seeing as how videogames bad videogames were about the heroine always needing to be saved then, especially the Mario series, that was a breath of fresh air.

With the exception of the magic wand, the items in the book still serve to help (or in one case, hurt) but aren’t necessary to achieve a successful ending. When it comes to having a high enough score to get the maximum ranking, however, getting the optimum ending is the only option. Something that may rub some readers the wrong way is that you can’t get the gold (or rather tin) medal in every single event no matter how well you do. I personally liked that the Koopas were able to hold their own in the competition.
Compared to Double Trouble, the writing’s about the same, but it’s saved from a lesser rating by a much more inventive and just plain fun premise. If you’re willing to put up with elements from the Saturday morning cartoon.

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