Paper Mario: The Fascinating Rework of The Master Boss
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In my previous article about Pre-Hooktail Pit Runs, I shared my enthusiasm for things I genuinely enjoy. Today, let’s dive into a captivating aspect of Paper Mario: Pro Mode – the unique approach to The Master boss fight.
The Enhanced Difficulty of Paper Mario: Pro Mode
For those unfamiliar, Clover has developed a mod for Paper Mario, intensifying its challenges. This mod brings about a wide array of new features, including double damage from enemies, revised badge and FP costs, smarter AI, fresh enemy placements, and additional exploration opportunities. If you’re curious, check out the release trailer here for a chance to download it!
The Master: A Standout Boss Encounter
One boss in particular caught my attention in Pro Mode – The Master. The entire gimmick of this boss has been completely overhauled. In the first form, his basic attack starts at 0 ATK, followed by 1 ATK in the second form, and 2 ATK in the final form. However, with each successful strike you land on him, his ATK for the basic attack increases by 1. This unique twist actually makes the Hammer a more viable option than the Jump attack when facing The Master.
Hammer vs. Jump: A Role Reversal
In the original Paper Mario and The Thousand-Year Door, the Jump attack was generally considered superior to the Hammer. Jump boasted a broader selection of powerful badges such as Multibounce, Sleep/Shrink/Dizzy Stomp, and the mighty Power Bounce. Additionally, both Jumps benefited from an increase in power when executing precise Action Commands. Essentially, Jump enjoyed double the ATK compared to Hammer. The only advantage Hammer had was against high-defense enemies and challenge runs that limited badge usage. However, most of the time, relying on Jump was more effective, especially with the assistance of partners. Notably, the Hammer was slightly more advantageous in Paper Mario due to incredible badges like Power Power Quake, which outperformed Multibounce. Nevertheless, when it came to single targets like bosses, Jump reigned supreme. But The Master in Pro Mode subverts this convention.
The Master’s Unique Challenge
Due to The Master’s distinctive gimmick, the battle revolves around maximizing the damage inflicted with each hit. This strategy allows for better control over the amount of damage he returns. Attacking The Master recklessly is no longer an option. Instead, you must ensure that each strike deals the maximum amount of damage to maximize your own offensive capabilities while minimizing his retaliatory strikes. Mario’s Hammer enables you to gradually increase The Master’s damage output, manipulating your own HP to hover around the Danger or Peril zone. By utilizing Charge, you can deliver blows with the Hammer, Power Smash, or Mega Smash, dealing 10+ damage per hit. The Hammer becomes a significantly more viable choice in this scenario. To achieve a comparable effect with Jump attacks, you would require an extensively upgraded Jump badge. Even then, manipulating The Master’s ATK, which consistently increases by 2, becomes far more challenging. I must admit, I’m impressed with this design choice. Mario’s Hammer remains superior throughout all three forms of The Master. It’s an unconventional concept to grasp. Most bosses I battled required a combination of D-Down Jump, Spike Shield, Ice Power, and ATK-increasing badges. The Master was the sole boss that forced me to prioritize the Hammer over the Jump attack.
The Benefits of Hammer-esque Moves
While Power Jump and Mega Jump are viable alternatives, the Hammer itself consumes no FP, and The Master’s DEF increases as he grows stronger. This makes D-Down Pound a viable choice for his later forms. Moreover, these two Jump badges possess mechanics akin to the Hammer attack!
That concludes my brief analysis of why The Master boss encounter in Pro Mode has captivated me. It is my fervent wish that future boss battles in Paper Mario present Hammer as the unequivocal superior choice over Jump.