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18 January 2012 @ 11:36 am
The Insanity (and Jerkiness) of Mario vs. Donkey Kong  
I've been playing Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem on my DS - mostly by squeezing in a few levels here and there in the middle of the night while I'm rocking my son to sleep. MULTITASKING!

I have some good news: It's MUCH better than (and much longer than) "Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2," which felt like it was slapped together in a weekend by someone who was half-asleep.

Ignoring its quality, though, I want to take a moment to reflect on how utterly bizarre this franchise's path has been. I mean, Mario vs. Donkey Kong on the GBA was a great platformer with puzzles to it, a game where Mario was chasing down Donkey Kong because DK stole a bunch of "Mini-Mario" wind-up toys. The title becomes misleading in the sequels, however, as Mario barely shows up. Instead, he just appears long enough to wind up the Mini-Mario toys and send them marching in one direction - towards Donkey Kong - and it's up to you, the player, to remove all obstacles in the toys' path so that they can exact their mindless, accidental revenge upon the poor ape. How utterly insane is that?

Imagine if someone made a game where a hero battled pirates because they stole tons of gold, and the sequel was about the non-sentient gold coins accidentally rolling their way into bonking the pirates on the head as punishment for their transgression in the first adventure. Clearly, someone at Nintendo said "What if the sequel to Mario vs. Donkey Kong was the most passive, ludicrous revenge tale to ever star a bunch of inanimate objects?" And someone ELSE thought this idea was GOOD.

Of course, the sequels aren't just about revenge; they're about getting back Pauline. Yeah, Donkey Kong is falling back on old habits, and is STILL kidnapping Pauline, the girl from the original Donkey Kong whom Mario is still hanging around with! And based on how Pauline's voice actrees delivers all of her lines in an overtly sexual fashion, it's obvious she still has it bad for chubby midgets of the Italian persuasion. It's hard to NOT suspect that Mario is tapping that. Is DK kidnapping Pauline as some sort of attempt to get Mario to 'fess up to Peach about his two-timin' ways?


What happens in the Mushroom Kingdom stays there, baby. You're my only girl in THIS dimension.


Further comedy is provided by how little of a damn Mario gives when his ex-girlfriend/secret lover is abducted. In the first game, when toys are stolen? It's ON. In the sequels, when a friend is taken by a rampaging gorilla? Eh, fuck that bitch. Mario winds up some toys that mindlessly march towards the ape, then leaves to grab a drink. He does this at the start of each "world" - not even each stage! - so he makes like 8 appearances in the whole game, just so he can wind up some toys and walk off. Then it's up to you to make the toys administer their mindless justice while Mario goes off and saves his ACTUAL girlfriend, perhaps, or maybe just drinks a coffee and reads the paper.


Steal my toys? It's GO TIME, motherfucker.



Steal my ex-girlfriend? Well... sucks to be her.