Monday, November 14, 2011

The Ten Worst Mario Characters to Ever be Playable

Over the course of his 30 years in video gaming, Mario has made a lot of friends and a lot of enemies. So like any normal human being, he enjoys spending time with these people. Sometimes he likes to golf with them, maybe shoot some hoops or even throw a pretty crazy house party. Whatever he’s doing that day, Mario always has a colorful gang of characters to join him.

It's better than doing math.
But sometimes he makes some pretty dumb decisions when making up the guest list for these events. Doesn’t he ever stop to think that maybe those of us at home don’t want to go kart-racing as Baby Peach? Or lobby some tennis balls as Donkey Kong Jr.? Yes, the Mario universe has a great and varied bundle of characters but not all of them deserve to be playable. So I’m taking a quick look at the ten worst offenders. This is my list of the Worst Playable Mario Characters. 

But before we begin, I do want to get this out of the way now; no third party characters are on this list. Yes, I know Mario played basketball with Cactuar. I also know he once raced against some Tamagotchi thing. And yes, he has snowboard and jumped hurdles with Silver the Hedgehog. I know. But none of them are on this list. I’m looking specifically at Mario universe characters. Just because Bomberman once fought against Wario does not make him a Mario character. So without further delay, let’s start the list.

And you thought I was making the Tamagotchi thing up.

10. Dry Bones from Mario Kart DS

Also his kart was broken.
I’m not going to make any friends with this one. Yes, I’m well aware that Dry Bones is apparently the most popular character in existence. I get that and I can sort of see the appeal. He looks cool, he sounds funny and he’s immortal. What’s not to love? Oh right, he replaced Koopa in Mario Kart DS. See, that’s my biggest problem with Dry Bones. As an enemy, I don’t hate him. Even as a playable character in games like Mario Super Sluggers I don’t hate him. I mean, there’s a ton of characters in that game. I mean hell, you can play as a Noki! My beef with Dry Bones is solely in Mario Kart DS. I just don’t feel it’s right for a dead version of Koopa to be playable before the regular Koopa. Koopa Troopa was one of the original eight characters ever playable in a Mario Kart game. He was left out of both 64 and Super Circuit, he finally got a chance to shine again in Double Dash and then what does Nintendo do? Replace him with Dry Bones in the best entry of the series! So I’m sorry, Dry Bones fans. You can moan and groan all you want, but Koopa got robbed and it’s all Dry Bones’ fault.

9. Blooper from Mario Party 8

I couldn't find an in-game shot.
Confession time; I find it hilarious that Blooper is in Mario Party 8. In fact, when I play that game (which is never because it’s not good), I play as Blooper. So why is he on this list? Well, think about it, of all the hundreds of characters in the Mario universe, why Blooper? Was he heavily requested for before Mario Party 8 came out? Is there some sort of secret Blooper fan base I don’t know about? Blooper is a great enemy and much like Dry Bones, in a game like Super Sluggers, he’s perfectly fine. But he just doesn’t seem to make any sense in a game like Mario Party 8. Especially since Donkey Kong hasn’t been playable since Mario Party 4. If you go off of 8 alone, Blooper is more important to Nintendo than Donkey Kong and that just seems ridiculous.

8. Every Single Human from the Camelot Sports Games

Screw humans, I want to play as caterpillars!
Let me ask you something, when you play a Mario spin-off title, who do you play as? Luigi? Toad? Diddy Kong? How about Harry? Plum? Max? What’s that? You have no idea who those last three are?  Well then congratulations, you just made my point for me. See, when Camelot decided to take the Mario Golf and Tennis games to the handheld platforms, they had to get creative with how they went about designing them. So instead of a straight up sports game, they decided to make them RPGs. Which I can get behind. It’s a unique idea in theory. The problem is you don’t play as any of the characters you want to play as. Instead there’s a bunch of weird humans you can play as and even transfer to the console versions. But why would you want to? When I play a Mario game, I want to play as one of the wacky denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom, not some Andre Agassi rip-off. The worst offender is perhaps the first game to even use these made up characters, Mario Golf on the Nintendo 64. You only start the game with 4 characters and 2 of them are some humans you’ve never heard of and likely don’t care about. In fact, you actually unlock three more before you even get the chance to unlock Mario. Yes folks, there does exist a Mario game where Mario himself is one of the last characters you unlock. It’s hard to hate on these characters too much as they are mostly inoffensive but at the same time, they’re not what I play a Mario game for. Sorry Camelot, I still love you but please, cut it out with these fan characters.

7. Fly Guy from Mario Power Tennis

And the award for worst character in this game goes to..
Remember how cool it was when you unlocked Shy Guy for the first time in Mario Tennis? It was his first playable role and he was really good. Then when the sequel came out for the Gamecube four years later, he was a starter character. So obviously, your expectations for who the new super cool unlockable character would be was soaring in the heavens.  But it all can crashing down when you unlocked Fly Guy. Yes, even though Shy Guy was already a playable character, you still unlock yet another Shy Guy, only this one has a propeller on his head. OH BOY! Fly Guy has always rubbed me the wrong way because he’s so unnecessary. There’s plenty of characters that could fit his spot, in fact, there’s several characters from the first Mario Tennis that could take his spot. Toad, Baby Mario, Birdo, Donkey Kong Jr. All of those characters were removed from the first game and not in the second. Instead we got Fly Guy. Camelot couldn’t even be bother to change his cloak color, so he looks exactly like Shy Guy except he can fly. Also yes, I know Koopa and Paratroopa are in the game and they’re the same idea but Koopa deserves to be playable and Paratroopa was in the first game, so they get a pass. Fly Guy, on the other hand, is just a waste.

6. Dry Bowser from Mario Kart Wii

Time paradox need not apply.
NEW Super Mario Bros. had a lot of guts by showing one of the main characters in the Mario universe fall into lava and get all of his flesh burned off. In fact, seeing Bowser in his skeletal form as the final boss in the game was crazy cool and one of the most memorable moments in the whole series. Nintendo must have thought so too because the skeletal form of Bowser, known as Dry Bowser, has appeared in several games since then and was even playable in Mario Kart Wii. Alongside regular, not missing all of his flesh Bowser. Yes, Bowser and his half-dead counterpart can race each other in the same game. I hate it when the Mario series does this. I know the Mario series doesn’t make sense as it is, but how is it even possible for Bowser to race against himself in the first place?! Yes, I know Mario and Baby Mario have been playing sports together for years but at least Nintendo sort of tried to canonize that in Partners in Time. Dry Bowser constantly coming back alongside Bowser just doesn’t add up and makes for an incredibly dumb playable character. Oh well, at least we got Rosalina and Funky Kong out of it, right?

5. Super from Super Mario Strikers

When he scores, he does the robot. GET IT?!
In 2005, Nintendo finally decided to stick Mario in the most famous sport on Earth; Soccer or Football if you live anywhere but the US. But they were too lazy to make it themselves, so they decided to have Next Level Games, the company famous for developing Punch-Out!! On the Wii and the upcoming Luigi’s Mansion 2, do it for them. What we got was an incredibly fun but incredibly weird, arcade style soccer game. The game was criticized heavily for making all the cute and cuddly Mario characters act like homicidal maniacs. Snarling at each other, taunting and of course, telling others to suck their crouch. But none of this is even remotely the most offensive thing in the game. No, to me, the most offensive thing they did was give us the one and only hidden character in the game; a blue robot named Super. Yes, the last character in the game is some out-of-place robot that Next Level just made up. Supposedly, he’s supposed to be a sort of mascot character for Next Level but nobody liked him. Probably because it was incredibly stupid to make him the only unlockable character in a Mario game. Bowser isn’t even playable in this one. Instead, here’s a team made up of five of these guys. Enjoy! Needless to say, it was a dumb decision but at least Next Level learned their lesson. In the Wii sequel, Mario Strikers Charged, Super was no longer playable and all he got was brief cameo in the end credits cleaning the stadium with a mop and bucket. Personally, I would have stuck him with a toothbrush but that’s just me.

4. Metal Mario from Mario Golf and Shadow Mario from Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour

No seriously, how is this possible?
Yes, I’m combing two characters in one position. Big deal? So what? Wanna fight about it? Anyway, as I already mentioned with Dry Bowser, being able to play as two of the same character in any game is stupid but it really irritates me in Mario games. (And Melee with Dr. Mario but that’s for another day.) So naturally, Camelot did it twice. In Mario Golf for the N64, the last character you unlock is Metal Mario. Metal Mario, as you know, is what happens to Mario when he obtains the Metal Box in Super Mario 64, which means Metal Mario is just Mario covered in Metal, not a separate character. Shadow Mario was playable in Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour for the Gamecube. Shadow Mario is Bowser Jr.’s alter ego in Super Mario Sunshine and yes, Bowser Jr. is also playable. What happened here? Did Bowser Jr.’s bandana become sentient and decide to just walk around town as Mario and play some golf? Same with the Metal Box. Who is in charge of choosing characters over at Camelot? They need to be fired. Oh well, at least we’ll never see these two as playable characters again…


3. Baby Daisy from Mario Kart Wii

I can't hate anything that cute too much.
You’d think Baby Daisy would be number 1 with a bullet with how hated she is in the Mario community but nope, only number 3. The baby characters being playable in any game alongside their adult counterparts is sort offensive in and of itself but at least in Partners in Time they tried to explain it, as I’ve already mentioned. However, Baby Daisy was not in Partners in Time. Nor was she in Yoshi’s Island or it’s sequel, two games that introduced many of these baby forms. So as such, Baby Daisy has no right to exist and can’t even be properly explained. It especially doesn’t make sense in Mario Kart Wii because Baby Peach didn’t even need a partner in it. If Baby Peach was playable in Double Dash or one of the Tennis games, it would at least make some sense for them to invent Baby Daisy. She needs a doubles partner. It would still be stupid but it would at least be somewhat excusable. In Mario Kart Wii, however, you do not team up with another character ever so Baby Daisy doesn’t need to be a thing. Instead, she just takes up a lightweight slot that could have went to Shy Guy or Dixie Kong or something but nope, Baby Daisy instead. At least she’s adorable, so I guess there’s that.

2. Honey Queen from Mario Kart 7

It’s pretty ridiculous when a game that hasn’t even been released yet has the second worst character to ever be playable in a Mario game. Honey Queen is the giant bee queen from Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2. She appears in roughly three stages between the two and has maybe one line of dialogue. The only significant thing she did was allow Mario to crawl all over her..erm “special areas.” So naturally, she’s a perfect candidate to be playable, right!? Nevermind that she isn’t important in anyway. Nevermind that it would make no sense at all for her to suddenly be small enough to fit in a kart. Nevermind that nobody on Earth cares about this characters existence. Nevermind that there are several other, cooler characters from Super Mario Galaxy alone that could be playable, the people want Honey Queen! If I was drinking something, I would have done a spit take when I saw the screen shots of this monstrosity plaguing my precious Mario Kart. I honestly didn’t think Nintendo could come up with a playable character in a Mario Kart game I disliked more than Baby Daisy and Dry Bowser but somehow they did it. My theory is that Nintendo wanted to come up with a character so bad it would take the heat off of Metal Mario being a separate character in this game, so Honey Queen was born. And if that’s the case then boy did they hit the nail on the head, Metal Mario feels like a breath of fresh air compared to Honey Queen. You could have literally gone to Mario Wiki, clicked “random article” and found a better character to be playable that way. Unless of course you got Honey Queen in which case, congratulations! You can work for Nintendo. Ugh. I can’t stand it! And yet, for how much I loathe Honey Queen, she’s not even the worst thing to ever be playable in a Mario game…

1. Koopa Kid from Mario Party 5 

Man I hate this thing.
Where do I even begin with this one. If there is one thing that has bugged me to no end in the Mario series, it’s the Koopa Kids. See, in Mario Party, Bowser had a bunch of little minions known as Koopa Kids. They’re essentially just miniature Bowsers. I guess this kind of makes sense in that, Bowser has to come from somewhere. He can’t be the only thing like him in the whole universe, right? Well sure, I’ll give you that. But here’s the thing; The Koopa Kids look just like Baby Bowser. In fact, they’re identical. Yoshi had to fight off Bowser’s baby form in Yoshi’s Island to save Baby Luigi, so Baby Bowser was already an established Mario character. No, I’m not saying he should have been in the Mario Party games but the Koopa Kids shouldn’t have looked exactly like him. Then there’s the whole Koopaling issue. Bowser already had 7 children by the time Mario Party came out and they were incredibly underutilized. These characters could have easily replaced the role of the many Koopa Kids and it would have been awesome. Not to mention they’d all be unique. But nope, Nintendo and Hudson just kept at it with the Koopa Kids. Even going as far as to make one of them playable in Mario Party 5. This is where I lost it. This character has no business existing let alone being playable. Because first of all, there’s a million of them. Second of all, Donkey Kong was removed from the roster in Mario Party 5. So by that logic, the Koopa Kid is more important than DK himself. Third, Bowser’s still the bad guy in the Mario Party games. What reason does the Koopa Kid have to defy Bowser? Is there some sort of back story I’m not getting? Fourth, by the time Mario Party 5 was released, Bowser’s 8th child, Bowser Jr., was an establish Mario character and wouldn’t you know it, he looks just like the Koopa Kid. So now that’s three characters that are spot on identical. The difference is one of them is an actual character, one of them is the baby version of an existing character and the other has no business ever being in anything ever. So naturally, he was once again playable in Mario Party 6 though thankfully demoted to a NPC in Mario Party 7 and removed all together in Mario Party 8 and DS. Hopefully Nintendo thinks twice about characters they already have before making up terrible characters like this again.

Seriously, there are eight better choices in this picture alone.

So there you have, the worst characters to ever be playable in any of the Mario games. While that certainly does seem like a lot, it’s not all that bad. There’s at least two good playable characters for every one bad playable character, so there’s that. But man, Honey Queen, really? Come on, Nintendo. Come on. Oh and if you’re out there going “Man, that characters not that bad.” Let me put it to you this way; Geno and Mallow haven’t be seen in 15 years and these characters have. Think about it.

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