The Mezunian

Die Positivität ist das Opium des Volkes, aber der Spott ist das Opium der Verrückten

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 1

( Note: went back & added music notes to each level analysis. )

It’s hard to divide Legend of the Four Switches into “worlds”, since, as I mentioned in the intro, they sometimes blend into each other. Mo’ importantly, the main path I’ll be going through will leave & return to worlds. However, I’ll try to divide the levels into bunches & describe them as I introduce them.

World A: Valley o’ Bowser’s

In a strike o’ irony, the 1st world is Bowser’s land. You start with 2 levels unlocked: “King Koopa Kastle” & “Sea of Sangre”.

King Koopa Kastle ( 1st visit )

Music: “Bowser’s Castle ( Second Time )”, Super Mario RPG

( Yes, this is some frankenstein o’ classic & modern ¡Let’s Play!™s wherein I embed uncommentated videos accompanied by text below. Technological advancements are slow in my village. )

However, the 1st level is blocked off from completion till you hit all 4 switches, leaving you with just a taunting info box & a pipe that shoots you out o’ the level.

Having the exit be due to a pipe shooting you offscreen was a way to fix an earlier glitch: having the castle itself make you exit the level by touching the screens makes the functionality carry into all the following sublevels. It turns out that a sublevel later in the level actually requires you to touch the edge o’ the screen, making the level impossible. However, I didn’t want to force the player to kill themselves to leave the level. Luckily, I thought o’ this solution. I’m actually glad, since I find the shooting out o’ the pipe — specially with its solemn ghost house music — quite amusing.

Sea of Sangre

Music: “Decisive Battle”, Final Fantasy VI

Despite how ridiculously edgy the use o’ blood for water is ( though, to be fair, it’s ne’er explicitly stated, save for the use o’ a Latin term in the title; it could just be metaphorical ), I do like the aesthetic o’ having the 1st level be dark, with the dramatic “Decisive Battle” music from Final Fantasy VI. Not so fond o’ the sound glitches that happen when you do things, though. Didn’t remember that.

The level itself, though, is… ehhh. Interestingly ’nough, it’s linear, though there is a nice pointless use o’ a P-switch right @ the end, just so you can reach the exit.

Most o’ the level is rudimentary, & much o’ it feels empty. There’s also a random pattern o’ blocks just thrown ’bout @ the end o’ the water section.

Ghosts ’n Goblins

Music: “Fortress”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island ( ¿Same? )

In addition to nonlinear levels, I was big on just weird levels that make you think, ¿What’s the point o’ this? This level starts you in the middle o’ a long empty hall with the only door on the far left side. It’s dumb.

The next room is a li’l better: it’s a li’l puzzle wherein you have to grab a Koopa shell @ the end & bring it back to the middle to throw it @ a vertical column o’ blocks helpfully pointed out by an arrow o’ coins to make a vine grow upward, allowing you to climb up & grab the P-switch.

Granted, as a few o’ the SMW Central people pointed out, despite the holes in the floor, one could still spin jump off Boos to reach to the top early. But I don’t mind that so much, since that’s probably harder to do than the main way to complete the level. Unlike some SMW hackers, I was less obsessed with ensuring people played my levels the “right” way & was quite fine with alternate ways to beat levels, which was why I allow the player to take cape feathers into any level they want, which most SMW hack designers recommend gainst, since it allows one to fly o’er entire levels. To me, if ’twas fine for one to do so in the original SMW, ’twas fine to do it in my hack.

As an aside, I’m now going to keep a counter for levels with P-switches. So far we’re @ 2 out o’ 2. ( “King Koopa Kastle” doesn’t count, since we haven’t gone through it all yet. Also, spoiler alert: it has P-switches, too. )

Then take the P-Switch to the pipe @ the end o’ the level, which leads back to the empty hallway. Hitting the P-Switch creates a door @ the far right side o’ the room, which leads to the goal.

I’m not sure how to feel ’bout this last part. It’s not exactly spelled out; but I’m not sure if it’s particularly hard to figure out, either. It’s not as if the game punishes you deeply if you hit the P-Switch too early; you’ll just have to redo the level, essentially, without needing to kill yourself.

Still, this trial-&-error puzzle could easily get tedious. If I were to remake this level, I’d cut out that whole empty hallway, make you start in the grayscale room, & just put the goal where the P-Switch is. Cuts out the fat. Sure, it makes spin-jumping on boos skip the entire level; but it’s the 2nd level, for god’s sake. Diddy’s Kong Quest had warp barrels that let you skip whole levels in every level in the 1st 2 worlds. Plus, I like the dynamic o’ having the 1st level be a relatively long but simple level & the 2nd level be a short puzzle.

World B: Mushroom Island

After you beat “Ghosts ’n Goblins”, you unlock a pipe on the o’erworld. Go into that pipe, & you’ll be taken to the 1st level spot o’ “Mushroom Island”.

I want to emphasize that last part: there’s no pipe back to “Valley o’ Bowser”. It’s a 1-way trip. Don’t worry: unlike certain hacks ( [cough] Super Demo World [cough] ), it’s impossible to screw yourself out o’ 100% in this game. There’s an alternate entrance back into “Valley o’ Bowser” later.

I’m still proud o’ this design choice. I feel it makes the o’erworld feel mo’ mysterious.

Island of Ergot

Music: “Flower Garden”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

While the true 1st level was a twist on 1st levels, being a dark & red level with ominous music, the 1st level o’ “Mushroom Island” is what a typical game would have as a 1st level: a green grassland. Granted, the sky’s still a nighly dark blue.

Though it’s not particularly brilliant, I like this level. It’s a simple romp with a few choice enemies, broken by 2 simple “puzzles”, if you could call them that. I like the use o’ the P-Switch as to build the coin bridge & the level ends @ a dead-end with power-ups & expects you to enter 1 o’ the many piranha-plant pipes just before the dead-end to find the goal. As I mentioned, these early levels were made when I still had some creativity & wasn’t just copying the same ideas.

O yeah, & an STD joke. ¿What? ¿Was this programmed in C++? ( Ho, ho, ho… O… ).

P-Switch level count: 3 / 3.

Fungi Forest

Music: “Forest Area”, Kirby’s Adventure

Here’s probably the best P-Switch puzzle I created. It’s a twist on the usual puzzle: collect the coins in front o’ the wall o’ brown blocks so that when you inevitably find the P-Switch, you can reach the brown blocks, which will then be coins. ’Cept, ’hind the brown blocks is just a pipe that leads back to the start o’ the level. Careful-eyed players will notice that the tip o’ the wall o’ coins is under a pipe that otherwise looks like it’s just a part o’ the o’erall pipe construction. You’re s’posed to hit the P-Switch so you can stand on the coins & enter that pipe.

You can’t bring the P-Switch with you from the top o’ the pipe construction, either, as you can only enter it from upward-only cloud blocks & can only leave by hitting the switch to make the brown blocks turn into coins, making it a bit o’ a race o’ sorts.

There’s not much to say ’bout the cave interlude. It’s just a boring raft ride forcing you to hop anytime a Blaarg pops out or a bat flies down @ you. I tried to make it a li’l mo’ interesting from the original version by giving the ceiling weird patterns. But it’s still not notable. Probably be better if this section were cut.

The last “puzzle” is OK. You need to grab a throw block & throw it @ the wall o’ turn blocks so you can go through it to reach the goal. To reach the turn blocks, you’ll have to defeat the Amazing Flying Hammer Bro & use his platform to reach it, which means you’ll probably have to go back afterward to get the throw block so you’ll have time to use it.

My only problem is the superfluous use o’ the P-Switch to get through the brown-block-wall ’tween the throw blocks & the turn blocks. I guess the “puzzle” was ’sposed to be that you’re ’sposed to pay attention & notice that there’s land under the throw blocks, which otherwise seem to be o’er a bottomless pit. But that’s a lame puzzle, & would’ve worked better somewhere else. I’d cut it.

Also, Yoshi & turn blocks are great:

If I have any problem with this level, o’erall, other than the 2nd P-Switch & the cave section, it’d be that it doesn’t fit the theme well. It’s s’posed to be a forest level, but most o’ it is pipe structures.

  • P-Switch level count: 4 / 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Basidio Bridge

Music: “The Tidal Coast / Sea Turtle Rock / Beneath the Waves”, Wario Land 3

I really liked the puzzle @ the beginning, where you have to kick a shell down in the small passageway @ the bottom to hit a block @ the end & create a vine. I also like the use o’ the P-Switch to create a race to the beginning to enter the pipe just @ the start, surrounded by brown blocks. I think it’s probably the inspiration from Wario Land 3 & 4, but I like levels where the goal is @ the beginning, which must be unlocked by getting something @ the end, & then take a different path back to the start. In fact, now that I think ’bout it, this puzzle is a lot like Wario Land 4: the P-Switch is like the also-blue frog switch, forcing you to race to the beginning before the switch runs out.

Speaking o’ Wario Land 3, this level’s music is from that game — though, strangely, not from the level that takes place on a bridge. It’s the only song I converted myself, & it shows.

  • P-Switch level count: 5 / 5
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Pepsi Lake

Music: “Underwater Tunnels”, Wario Land II

This level completely changed since the 2011 version o’ this hack. You can see an early version here. Also, in an e’en earlier version, the water was the boring ordinary blue ’stead o’ cola-brown-&-black.

The main change is that the level is vertical now, ’stead o’ horizontal, & it’s simplified. It’s just a short swim-through, dodging piranha plants & munchers. @ the time I remade this, I felt the original was too ordinary, & noted that vertical water levels were rare. I also like the alcove that the midway point is in. Just a li’l divergence.

E’en better: ¡there’s no P-Switch! This was after I realized how o’er-used they were & cut it out. The original, as the video shows, makes you go into some generic ice subroom found in some random pipe ’mong millions to get a P-Switch so you can pass through ’nother brown-block wall. None o’ this hasn’t been done before, & much better. I don’t miss it @ all.

You know, I just noticed ’pon reviewing the footage that the 2nd message box references “upcoming Torpedo Teds” that aren’t in the newer version o’ this level.

  • P-Switch level count: 5 / 6
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

That’s it for now. We’ll continue on the mainland next update.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Programming, Video Games