Mario versus the Tasmanian Devil

Natural enemies...a plumber and ah, um, cartoon animal...It’s been a long time, so I don’t remember why exactly I thought these two should fight. Maybe I bumped my head, maybe I was kidnapped by ex-KGB officials and drugged, I dunno. One explanation is just as good as the other. Either way, this is the part of the fight where I usually introduce the combatants. Well, I hate to break with tradition, so I guess I’d better get to it right now. Mario is the world’s most marketable video game character. Beginning in the early 1980s with Donkey Kong, he’s sold everything from the Super Mario Brothers games to golf sims. He’s been a carpenter, a plumber, a golfer, a doctor, an adventurer, and many others. The Tasmanian Devil, known affectionately by his sometimes victims as Taz, has led a much simpler life. He eats, spins around, and eats again. He’s loosely based upon the carnivorous species that serves as his namesake. Apparently Hollywood is trying to save that species. How noble they can be when their marketing tools are on the line…

Round One:
The great thing about using the Tasmanian Devil in a fight is that I don’t have to waste valuable brain power trying to contrive a reason for the battle to happen. Instead he just spins on the scene, devouring everything in his path. Mario, who is just wandering along the Mushroom Kingdom, suddenly hears a ruckus in the distance. Suddenly, a herd of animals comes charging out of the wilderness in fear. Thinking quickly, Mario pounds his head against a nearby brick. (Yeah, that is as dumb as it sounds.) The resulting splitting pain is eased by a bouncing star that bathes Mario’s body in some weird sort of radiation, making the plumber invincible for a brief time but also shortening his life by another few years because of the inevitable cancer that he will get.

One of the inhabitants runs by, dropping a book which Mario picks up and reads. It’s one of those Acme books on the eating habits of the Tasmanian Devil. It starts like usual, saying “Beware the Tasmanian Devil. It eats moles, voles, stoats, goats, foxes, oxes, rats, bats, cats,” and so on for about two hundred pages. It then ends with, “especially rabbits.” This new edition has one additional page: “But ESPECIALLY short greasy Italian plumbers.”

“Oh mama mia!”

At that point, Taz comes bursting out of the wilderness, gunning for Mario. Mario jumps over him as though he were a barrel, but Taz keeps at him, leaving the plumber exhausted and running scared. Round One goes to the Tasmanian Devil.

Round Two:
Mario may be winded, but he’s far from beaten as of yet. Although he lacks the cunning of Bugs Bunny, he does have more of an arsenal that the wiley wabbit, and he decides to show some of that off. Touching a flower, he powers up and begins throwing fire left and right. Taz is, well…not too bright, and tries to eat the fireballs as they come as him. He actually succeeds, to an extent, but it gives him a massive case of heartburn. He lets out a flaming burp, which catches Mario off guard. Mario is stunned as the damage removes his ability to toss fire around, but still manages to stay standing as he goes in for the kill. Round Two is a draw, with Mario having a slight edge.

Round Three:
Taz is being pummeled by Mario’s mad jumping ability, and decides to spin away and do some strategizing. But, as I said before, he’s not the brightest bulb in the box. Once he’s out of danger, he forgets what was going on, and his new strategy is in fact the exact same as his old one: spin around and eat Mario. Fortunately for Taz, Mario himself is kind of a one-trick pony. Sure, when he takes drugs…er, I mean, “power-ups,” he can pull something new out of his hat, but usually all he does is jump. Sure, he’s good at jumping, but Taz is good at eating as well. So while Mario jumps over Taz, jumps on Taz, and so forth, Taz finally manages to swallow the plumber whole.

But despair not, Mario fans, for the little red (communist?) plumber has one last trick up his sleeve. He swallows a mushroom and powers himself up into Super Mario. This rips Taz open in an incredibly gruesome fashion that parents would complain about endlessly were it not rendered in 8-bit graphics. Mario then eats Taz’s remains, because he’s got a serious case of the munchies. Round Three and the Match go to Mario, the reigning champion.

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