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Video Game Atlas: Monstro Town

Once a week Art Attack will offer you a handy little travel guide to the fictional worlds of video games.

Name: Monstro Town, Super Mario series

Population: 42

Government: Collective run by an elder

Having spent more time than I really cared to in Hope surrounded by violent, gun-happy ruralites, I felt that a calmer environment might appeal to me. Along the cliffs southwest of the Mushroom Kingdom lies a small enclave of peaceful monsters called Monstro Town.

It's not an easy place to reach by any means. Sheer cliffs to the north make descending to the village perilous without expert help, and the main entrance lies through the temple of Belome, which is home to a ravenously hungry four-eyed beast. Normally I'd have been worried, but since I had recently bought a hitman's arsenal in Hope, I didn't have too much trouble getting through the cathedral.

Monstro Town is a sanctuary for defecting members of Bowser's army. Populated by koopas, goombas and other foot soldier races that make up the Bowser Empire's ground force, the residents have gone pacifistic in the war against the Mushroom people.

Indeed, their elder is an aged Toad called Monstermama. This matriarch cares for her citizens, and hopes to use their reformed nature to broker peace talks between the two warring states. It's likely a failing dream, though she was able to host some meetings between Mario and Bowser in 1996. The conflicts and attacks continue, but the two sides have at least agreed to regular cooperative games. That's at least progress.

Just because the people of Monstro Town have given up war doesn't mean that they have lost their respect for fighting. The most acclaimed martial artist in the two kingdoms resides here. Jinx is a tiny fighter, no more than knee high to an average person, but is a deadly warrior who topples opponents many times his size with ease. During the '96 talks, he also began incorporating Mario's jump-based fighting style into his own method, creating an even more powerful hybrid. Lessons are available.

Being a haven for defectors, it's probably no surprise that the town has a pretty extensive armory. Pieces of defensive gear that are unsurpassed almost anywhere else can be had from the various dealers. There is a price, though, and it's not just coins. Jinx will part with gear only when beaten. The only source of the critically acclaimed Super Suit requires you to complete a difficult (and to my mind pointless) jumping competition. There are conventional shops that embrace regular commerce as well.

Note to the weary traveler: The town maintains a single spare room for rest and refreshment; however, it is free to use. Upkeep is handled by a trio of friendly ghosts who are also known for staging worldwide scavenger hunts.

Reportedly the town contains a portal to the Final Fantasy universe, which was partly the reason I visited as I thought I might make my way into one of the deeper locations than my previous casino trip. Apparently you have to take on a knight named Culex for passage. Well, I'm armed. How hard could it possibly be?

UPDATED: Really freakin' hard. Am now limping across the Mushroom Kingdom and cursing the stupid Final Fantasy door guardian. Will write from next destination.

Previous Entries in the Video Game Atlas

Hope, Hitman series series The Velvet Room, Persona (Shin Megami Tensei) series Onett, Earthbound (Mother) series Bionis, Xenoblade Chronicles series Blobolonia, A Boy and His Blob series The Citadel, Mass Effect series Gold Saucer, Final Fantasy series High Hrothgar, Elder Scrolls series The End of Time, Chrono Trigger series Kakariko Village, Legend of Zelda Series Silent Hill, Silent Hill Series Monkey Island, Monkey Island Series Rapture, BioShock Series The Republic of Dave, Fallout series

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