Mario and Luigi versus Sonic and Tails
Everyone knows Mario and Luigi. They’re the flagship characters for Nintendo, and have starred in about seven gajillion video games. They were also in a super crappy live action movie. Bob Hoskins played Mario. Sonic and Tails might not be as recognizable. For those of you who were born after the mid 1990s (if there are any of you actually reading this page), Sonic the Hedgehog is the flagship character for the Sega Genesis. Tails is his sidekick. The Sega Genesis was renowned as the system that actually competed with, and for a short while outsold, Nintendo. That, of course, all came before Nintendo shot itself in the foot and killed its market share, Sony created the Playstation, and Sega’s Dreamcast system failed horribly, driving it out of the console making business and forcing Sonic and Tails to star in generally crappy 3D video games. In an ironic twist, the best Sonic games are now found on Nintendo’s own handheld systems. But I digress. This rivalry has been built up for many video game generations. Now we’re going to decide once and for all who is the king of the 16-bit console hill.
So it’s finally come to this. Sonic the Hedgehog has decided to invade the Mushroom Kingdom, ending this video game rivalry once and for all. Accompanying him on his journey is Miles Prower Tails, because Sonic needs an ambiguously gay sidekick if he wants to be taken seriously. (Hey, it works for Batman.)
The Mushroom Kingdom’s royal guard is composed entirely of small toadstool-like creatures that really don’t do anything but make silly noises and hop around. Within moments, Sonic and Tails have laid waste to most of the royal guard, and the Mushroom Kingdom seems to be theirs. A call goes out to the local heroes, Mario and Luigi. With Princess Peach in trouble (as usual), the pair arrive in an instant, ready for a fight. Unfortunately, the heroic plumbing duo can’t fight what they can’t see, and Sonic and Tails move so fast that it’s almost impossible to keep an eye on them. Mario is drilled repeatedly by sharp blue spines as Sonic jumps into him, and Luigi gets slapped around by Tails’s twin fox tails. Neither of the brothers knows what hit them, and they’re almost brought to the brink of defeat in a matter of seconds. Round One goes to Sonic and Tails.
With Mario and Luigi reeling, the two brothers beat a hasty retreat. Of course, over the open ground, there’s no way they can outrun or outmaneuver Sonic and Tails. So they go another route. Finding a green pipe, they jump down it and head for the sewers. Now, the sewers of the Mushroom Kingdom are pretty bizarre. They’re not really sewers at all; they’re more along the lines of dungeons or catacombs, filled with mazes and monsters of their own. Sonic and Tails don’t know this fact, and think they’ve got the Mario Brothers right where they want them. They follow them down the pipe, only to find the Mario Brothers waiting for them. Luigi lets fly with a koopa shell, cracking Tails over the head with it. Mario grabs a fire flower and transforms, throwing fireballs every which way. Both Sonic and Tails take hits and scramble for the rings that scatter across the sewer floor. While Sonic and Tails are focusing purely on staying alive, Mario and Luigi press the attack. Luigi touches an invincibility star and runs straight into Tails, flooring him. Sonic takes several more fireballs, and his blue fur becomes scorched black. The tables have turned, and this time it’s Sonic and Tails who need to beat a hasty retreat from the sewer justice that the Mario Brothers are dishing out. They run out the pipe to regroup. Mario and Luigi don’t follow at first. They stand in victory, and then Mario cracks his knuckles and turns to Luigi.
“Prep the cars,” he says. Luigi gives a devilish grin and gets to work. Round Two go to Mario and Luigi.
Mario and Luigi are many things. They are plumbers. They are heroes. They are athletes, movie stars, and doctors. Perhaps most importantly, they are races. With Sonic and Tails beating a hasty retreat, Mario and Luigi come roaring out of the green pipe in their go-carts from the Mario Kart series. Sure, the vehicles look like something that could be entered into a Boy Scouts soapbox dirby, but that’s before they start launching bombs, bullets, and turtle shells. Those things are essentially tanks on four wheels. And while Sonic and Tails are fast, neither of them has had a racing game where they have to endure the perils of an arctic tundra or the sheer agony that is Rainbow Road. They run as fast as they can, but the Mario Brothers launch a pair of enemy-seeking koopa shells. No matter how far the pair run, they’re nailed by the shells the moment they pause for breath. And once they’re tripped up, Mario and Luigi are right on top of them with their own brand of road rage. Sonic and Tails are reduced to roadkill. I guess the Mario Brothers aren’t as nice as they seem. Round Three and the fight go to Mario and Luigi.