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Living large in New Super Mario Bros.

Mario has always been pretty good at flattening his enemies, but until New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS came along, he did it the old-fashioned way: one jump on the head at a time. But times have changed. Thanks to the new Mega Mushroom, Mario can spurt up to scary, new heights and unleash a riotous 20 seconds of anarchy on an unsuspecting level. Not a single Goomba, Koopa or pipe is safe from Mario’s Mega Mushroom-induced wrath.

Mega Mushrooms give you a power without equal, a power you need to use responsibly. Here’s a quick list of must-know info about the giant orange mushrooms that never fail to help Mario make a big impact.

Mega Mushrooms are in season
The first thing you’ll need to know about Mega Mushrooms is where to get your hands on them. Although there are precious few found within the game’s levels, you can always pick one up at the orange Toad houses that you come across. Of course, you might have to work your way through a few levels to reach a Toad house – unless you try this little trick.

When you reach the end of a level, don’t be too eager to leap on the flagpole. If you keep an eye on the countdown timer displayed on your screen and manage to hit the flag when the last two digits show the numbers 77, 88 or 99, you’ll make a brand-new orange Toad house appear on the map, opening the door to easier Mega Mushroom access.

Riot to reap rewards
When you use a Mega Mushroom, you’ll see a white bar divided into five sections along the top of your screen. The more destruction you cause, the faster the bar fills up. For every one of the five sections you fill, you’ll be rewarded with a 1-Up Mushroom. Finding the perfect place to cause maximum destruction isn’t easy, but bear in mind that the start is a very good place to start.

The Mega Mushroom you pick up in World 1-1 is your ticket to five 1-Up Mushrooms (and you can replay levels as often as you’d like). If you don’t manage to destroy enough of your surroundings at the first attempt to get all five, the simple delight of flattening one little corner of the Mushroom Kingdom should inspire you to have another try.

You’re not the boss of me
It doesn’t seem fair, does it? For all these years Mario has tirelessly battled his way through level after level of dangerous obstacles and pitfalls, only to come face to face with a boss three or four times his size at the end of it all. If you feel like turning the tables, just keep a Mega Mushroom in storage and trigger it when a boss battles commences. Suddenly that once-terrifying bad guy will be the one staring up you  - at least for as long as it takes you to trample all over him.

It’s raining coins!
Feeling a little light in the pocket? To bring some easy money your way, just perform a Ground Pound after Mario has used a Mega Mushroom, and you’ll be showered with cash from the sky – at least a sprinkle. Although the number of coins won’t be plentiful, every little bit helps. Sometimes instead of coins Goombas fall from the sky. Squash them under your Mega shoes to help fill your damage meter.

From Mini to Mega
Finding all 100 Star Coins in New Super Mario Bros. is no small order – although sometimes you’ll need to be the tiny Mini Mario to snag some Star Coins. In World 7-5, there’s one that you can only get your hands on as both Mini and Mega Mario.

About halfway through the level, you’ll find a mini-pipe covered over by a block.  You’ll need to be Mini Mario and use a Bob-omb to destroy the block to access the underground area. Down there, you’ll see the Star Coin under a pipe and a nearby ? Block that contains the Mega Mushroom you need to clear a path to the precious collectable.

Tread carefully
While Mario is a force to be reckoned with when you trigger a Mega Mushroom, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. Firstly, some of the landmarks you’ll be destroying might have been your passport to another area of the level that is now unreachable. So if you have rampaged through a level - ripping pipes from the ground or vines from above - you should definitely go back and take another look at what you might have missed at a more relaxed pace. And finally, don’t forget that while nobody and nothing is going to hurt Mario when he’s that size, he could still fall through a hole if you’re not careful. Providing you can find a hole big enough for him to fall through, that is!