Back to the six rooms...
I have Mario head for Door #3.
Round 1: Five Gu Goombas!
The Gu Goombas are poisonous!
Round 2: Malakoopas and a Tub-o-Troopa!
Round 3: Two Big Boos and two Orbisons!
I'm getting lots of bonus boost flowers in this round!
Round 4: Sling Shys, or Shy Guys in green!
I'm conserving my Flower Points since I know I'm in for a long haul of battles...
Round 5: Chewys and Shy Aways!
I take on another shell game and win double coins instead of double XP!
Round 6: A Mr. Kipper and two Muckles!
Round 7: Two Amanitas and an Orbison!
Round 8: Two Greapers and a new monster: the Glum Reaper!
Now the final door and four more rounds of battles!
Round 9: A trio of Pyrospheres!
And Mario and Mallow level up!
Round 10: A trio of Lakitus!
Now the eleventh round: Two Shamans and two Zeostars...
The final round: A group of Shamans!
Let's hope the Geno Blast works...
Half of the Shamans run away!
Only one's now left, brave enough to face us, and he casts a Blizzard on us!
And that's it!
After doubling out XP in this shell game, Bowser levels up!
We head to the next room. Now what's our prize?
It's a Star Gun for Geno!
Two more doors left to go through, and it's only the puzzles and the action courses left!
I have Mario go through Door #6.
It's one of the puzzle courses!
The setup is this: there's a yellow platform, and a raised platform. On the raised platform, there's a chest, and a big Hammer Bro at the northern edge. The door forward is way high up on the other side, where there's no floor to get to...
I jump on the platfom, where the big Hammer Bro introduces himself...
The so-called quiz master, Dr. Topper, asks me if I want to start this challenge. I ask for instructions.
He explains there's 21 coins in the chest block above us, and that the one who takes the last coin loses!
I can take up at most 4 coins at a time, but if I want to get fewer than that, I can stop Mario from getting any more coins.
So now we take turns grabbing the coins. I have Mario grab two coins first, then Dr. Topper gets one.
I do the same on the next turn...
I calculate how much coins are left after my third turn. 11 more...
Now Dr. Topper gets bold, and leaps for four coins!
Now the platform takes me to my next challenge, where Dr. Topper awaits!
It's Magic Buttons!
So if I step on one switch button, the buttons around it reverse their switch state. In Dr. Topper's words: "ON becomes OFF, and OFF becomes ON."
This is almost borderline Alundra difficulty here...
Sixteen buttons in a four by four grid...hmmm, this might be doable.
I think through this puzzle in my head first.
Since the switch buttons only turn on surrounding buttons, I'm assuming first that it turns on the buttons that are horizontally and vertically next to the one I might press. I'm a bit worried, though, that the buttons might be press the ones diagonally adjacent to it...
I make my guess and have Mario press buttons 15, 9, 8, and 2...
...and I did it!
Next puzzle: Ball Solitaire!
So I have Mario kick a ball, which will "leapfrog" past the ball next to it, and the ball that's hit by the one Mario kicked, vanishes. Now I have to keep making the balls disappear until one is left. But I lose if I kick a ball that lands at a space where another ball previously was...
Aside: ...or if I can't make any more moves, I think.
Dr. Topper starts by vanishing one ball.
There's 15 of them...
I have trouble doing this puzzle.
I slowly start to get this one now...
I start with Ball 11, then 5, 9, 8, and 12, and I lose!
Back to door #6.
I do all of Dr. Topper's puzzles all over again from the beginning...
I almost lost count of the coins I got in the first puzzle, but I manage to win that one!
I cruise by the second puzzle and get my second chance on the third puzzle!
After a few offline interruptions, I'm back!
This is going to take me a bit of a while here...
Looks like I see some hope here!
Now the final kick!
Dr. Topper: "Heh...Wow! Simple as ABC, eh!?" Not really...
I cross into the door...
...and I win my prize: Rock Candy!
I toss out a Freshen Up to put the Rock Candy in!
I use a save state at this point before going into Door #1.
It's an action course, where three Terrapins run away, and a whole pool of lava below! Everytime the Terrapins jump, the passages where I can cross become visible. I only have 10 tries to cross this invisible bridge...
I collect a few chests along the way, which include a Fright Bomb, an Ice Bomb, Rock Candy, and Royal Syrup, though it costs me 6 lives to get to all of them...
Into the next room, where a set of moving platforms await...and I only have 4 tries to get this right...
Following the patterns of the platforms, I carefully cross to the other side, though the chests are tempting to get...
I get an additional Flower!
Crossing into the next room, I find no lava! Thank goodness! What could possibly go--
This obstacle is super similar 3D version of the classic Donkey Kong!
I turn back before catching my breath and trying my luck at the course.
Two tries left...
It's a chaos of barrels!
Now one more go at this!
But I fail and I'm back at the entrance!
I'm getting a bit stressed out here, so I make a save state and stop at this point for tonight...