The Mushroom and Koopa Kingdoms have seen the horrific reality of war, in all it’s forms, and for reasons that few involved understand; Kamek, obviously, is in it to reclaim what he thinks is his – no mystery there. Gadd’s motivations, however, have been somewhat unclear throughout… that is, if you haven’t been paying attention. The Mushroom Kingdom is home to many a spurious operation and all of it requires administration; Gadd is running everything, of course, but there’s still the looming question as to why? Gadd’s a scientist, not a gangster, so it’s not like he’s living like a blinged up player. The amount of coins that all of these “legitimate” businesses generate could fund a lot of scientific research, though, and Gadd certainly has an invested interest in a particular field: Life after death.
A gangster he may not be, but Gadd’s definitely leaving a trail of bodies like one in the pursuit of his goals. In the Mario universe, dead bodies equals more monsters: dry bones (of various kinds) and Boos. Man, with the kill count Mario’s wracked up over the years, no wonder the Boos are always against him…
Gadd is so far behind the front line that he’s not even a blip on the Koopa Army’s radar and Mario, his protector, has the kind of power that makes Gods void their bowels in intimidation. That doesn’t mean for a moment, however, that they’re completely invulnerable; to be honest, super-natural beings are going to cause headaches for anyone and ghosts (especially in the Mario-verse) are certainly the most annoying of the lot. They become particularly troublesome when, as Gadd discovered while studying them, they come back from far beyond the grave to mobilise an undead army against you. The ghosts which follow Dr. Seuss’ favourite colour palette all likely died of natural causes, making them more of a “benign” danger; it’s the tortured, vengeful Boo’s of which one should be wary.
Nothing but hate left in those cold, dead eyes.
How do I come to this conclusion? Mario has likely created his fair share of vengeful spirits on his own, but Gadd would have created enough anguished souls to fill an entire undead kingdom. (Which.. I guess is kind of what he did, but the Toads aren’t “dead” in that sense if you get my meaning?) Souls are clearly a thing as well, which is why it’s so easy for King Boo and his Boo Army to locate Mario and Gadd in both of the Luigi’s Mansion games: They might be sharing the same soul, but it’s still there as a spectral beacon for the Boo’s to pick up on. That’s (partly) why Luigi exists: As a being cobbled together from spare bits and machinery, constantly being upgraded and having not been cloned from an already living being, he has no soul. He lacks the human weaknesses of Gadd and Mario, which makes him ideal in unusual emergencies like this.
Gadd has clearly been aware of the ghosts for some time: The Poltergust 3000 doesn’t exactly look like a prototype model and the emergency plan of escaping to an underground bunker and activating Luigi seemed a little too rehearsed. It also needs to be explained how we know Luigi’s a cyborg/crime against nature, which begins with “Mario Is Missing!”; during the course of that game, Luigi communicates with people across a dozen or so countries in what would have to amount to at least as many languages. There isn’t a single character in this series that’s displayed an audible mastery over any language, let alone multiple. As a minor point, as well, his ridiculous vertical jump height suggests some kind of hydraulics system installed in his legs at the very least.
While cold, these eyes aren’t technically dead since they were never really “alive”. Also: Terrifying.
There’s also the fact that he was left alone when King Boo came for Mario and Gadd in Luigi’s Mansion 2; Gadd wouldn’t have been hard to find, since he was broadcasting an “I’m enslaving your people” signal at the time, but Mario had already been captured before the game had started. Luigi was even the one to have taken out King Boo the first time around; you’d think it would be more prudent to, during a pre-emptive surprise attack, take out the person who’s already proven their mettle against you. It would be, and I’m sure King Boo would have if he were able; it’s difficult, however, when you’re a spirit tracking the essence of other spirits, and your quarry has the power of a thousand rangas* with just as much presence of soul.
This isn’t all for shits and giggles, Gadd has a goal he’s hoping to accomplish in all of this (just one of the many that he has in mind). This is usually the point where I pose a rhetorical question which leads into the next segment, but come on – what does every power-hungry power-player in the Mario-verse crave?
*Also known as “gingers” in other parts of the world.
Thaaaat’s right. Although, for Gadd, it at least makes a little more sense than anyone else who’s trying to claw at undeath (though no less deranged, of course). Also unlike the others, Gadd is actually on the right track because he’s hunting the one person (being?) that’s already found it: Bowser. Not the one you’re thinking of, however, and not that weird furry version of Bowser that Nintendo called a “boss” either; one might describe this Bowser as the “oldest”, but “alpha” is probably a better description. Remember that little time anomaly (hereafter referred to as the “Time Oops”) that Bowser created while playing the more heroic of two evils? Well, there’s a reason that I included the addendum of “possible return(s)” in the title of that segment.
The Time Oops shattered the portion of reality which Bowser inhabited, splintering his being into multiple “versions” of himself which crop up across the timeline of the universe. It explains a few of his more odd appearances, like Dry Bones Bowser for instance; no matter how many 1ups you throw at that guy, he isn’t going to spontaneously sprout flesh and revert to “normal Bowser”, so he had to have come from somewhere. This is just one of many unusual occurrences which can be attributed to the Time Oops, and these are only a fraction of the versions of Bowser which make it out of the Time Oops at all. The forces of reality are imploding upon themselves inside a single point of space, inside of which will be some unimaginable number of Bowsers being created and torn apart with every passing second.
He’s still in there somewhere… and probably everywhere.
So what happens to all these versions of Bowser after they die? If you’re thinking that they become the ghosts we see in the Luigi’s Mansion games then you’re close, and you get an A for effort. The ghosts are more likely to be the various inhabitants of the Mushroom planet that were either murdered by Mario, died in war, were experimented upon to death by Gadd or who’ve died, somewhat unusually, of natural causes. The Boos, however, being a bit more aggressive, organised, and prominent among the ghostly ranks, are likely to be those who bore a grudge strong enough that it carried them into death as the most badass of the Mario-verse ghosts. This is a pretty easy conclusion to come to when you look at their leader, King Boo: Who better to exemplify the nature of an angry, tortured soul than the terrifying ghost of Bowser?
Yeah, that’s right, the souls of all of those different Bowsers are, upon death, all filtering into the same single After-Life Vessel (or “ALV”) and the results are pretty unnerving. Not convinced? Well let’s take a quick look at the major defining characteristics of King Boo: Completely insane, bent on attacking Mario and/or revenge on Luigi, and has the ability to warp reality around him (which makes him such a threat). Now, let’s look at the demise of Bowser: The untold number of Bowser souls that are packing into the one being could easily cause insanity, especially once they all begin gibbering and vying for control. Revenge would certainly be on the forefront of ghost-Bowser’s mind since it was the failed attack on Mario that led to his grisly death in the first place. And as for the reality-bending powers? Bowser died (and was born again, then died, and was born again etc.) in an anomaly of space-time so…
… Look, I’m not a Mushroom Planet scientist, okay? I’m just connecting the obvious looking dots to tell this awful, awful story. Time Oops killed him, he has Time Oops powers now, I can’t really provide you the exact formula for how it works, just go with it, okay? That’s what Gadd had to do just to reach this point, of turning Mario into a backup ALV for Gadd’s soul… Yep.
Well, in truth, Gadd hasn’t entirely worked it out, otherwise he’d be somewhat more deity-like and half way through a galactic rampage by now. See, the Bowsers that have unceremoniously been flung from the Time Oops and into various parts of the timeline weren’t exactly hard to miss, so Gadd has at least been aware of them. The link between the ghosts of the Mario-verse and Bowser is pretty clear by this point, but we still don’t know how Gadd managed to figure it out for himself. It started with the creation of Mario as Gadd’s heir, to assume command of the empire Gadd had built by the time he bit the big one. So once Mario had reached maturity, it was time to send him out into the world to defend what Gadd was passing on and to “die for his country.”
Except no one under Gadd’s command really “dies” while they’re still useful, which is why he was prepared for Mario’s untimely demise(s) with the Lazarus-shrooms (because of course it would be Gadd’s research that lead to the current atrocities in the Mushroom Kingdom, it always is.) What he wasn’t prepared for was a chance encounter with a snarling, feral Boo that looked remarkably like Mario; we know that multiple souls from a particular individual will filter into a single ALV (at least as far as Mario-verse rules are concerned), and now Gadd had begun to suspect the same. From this research, he would eventually develop the technology needed to capture King Bowser Boo and concrete a theory about the existence of “Alpha Boos”: Concentrated spectral forms, created from multiple “copies” of a single soul, as a result of time-space anomalies.
Luigi already had a bit of experience with wrangling ghosts prior to Luigi’s mansion, since the job fell to him to bring in the Mario Ghost. Naturally this would have meant developing the technology needed to capture and contain the creature, which is how we ended up with the Poltergust and containment units for the Luigi’s Mansion games. The technology, of course, is more than sufficient to hold King Bowser Boo because it’s already been tested rigorously on the ever growing Mario Ghost. Why is it ever growing? Well, what better way to feed an inter-dimensional being that lives off of space-time anomalies than by constantly killing and resurrecting the physical entity it’s tied to? No, seriously, that’s a question that Gadd has asked himself many times and this is the best answer.
I’ve thrown a lot of information at you here, now it’s time to wrap it all up into one neat, terrifying package. Gadd’s research into the ghosts of the Mario-verse, the Mario Boo, King Bowser Boo, and… others still yet to be mentioned, have left him with a single conclusion: One can carry their memories, intelligence, and personality with them into the ALV. This is evident in King Bowser Boo, still exhibiting traits of his former self, though it’s clear that the transition from corporeal to incorporeal is far from smooth; King Bowser Boo is a raving nut bag who doesn’t fully understand who he is, or why he’s doing what he’s doing. Bowser’s presence in King Bowser Boo is something for of an impression, an “imprint” of who he used to be, rather than a straight transition.
Gadd isn’t interested in an impression, however, he wants a direct transfer and he has done terrible, terrible things in order to see that happen. He believes that if there’s a way to send energy (souls) one way into an incorporeal “After Life Vessel”, then there must be a way of bringing them back and storing them in a physical body again. A powerful, young, physically-augmented-to-be-Godlike-strong, moustashioed body, perhaps. Of course, in order for him to reverse engineer the latter he has to properly understand the former, and such an undertaking would require a lot of research. A lot of research subjects too. King Bowser Boo and Mario Boo can only provide so much information about the Alpha Boos; he would need a whole range of them, in various sizes, species, ages and… oh… oh no…
Think about how many toads are in the mushroom kingdom, then realise that the greater majority of them are clones from some line of Toad testing subjects. They wouldn’t all be cloned from the same individual, and there are going to be a few that were born naturally as opposed to being manufactured, but most are genetic copies of various genetically engineered beings over decades worth of work. Following Mario-verse rules that means there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of Toad Alpha Boos being stored somewhere by Gadd, being probed and tested for his twisted ends. Gadd hasn’t just got beefed out Toad spirits, however, but probably anyone/thing that’s ever used enough Lazarus-shrooms (or an equivalent thereof) to create an Alpha Boo large enough that he was able detect. That’s Pauline/Peach, a few individual Toads, Wario, the DK clan, the list goes on…
One way or another, Gadd is determined to release himself from the dependency of Lazarus-shrooms in order to obtain true, everlasting life. As the Alpha Boos are so precious to him it’s obvious why he keeps them hidden from Kamek and the Koopa Kingdom, despite the fact that they could be used as the most powerful weapons ever wielded on the Mushroom Planet. Every skirmish that Mario carries out feeds the power of the Alpha Boos that Gadd has in captivity, giving him ample opportunity to study them and how they work, bringing him closer to unlocking the secrets to true immortality. Mario is far from oblivious to all of this but is happy to go along with it, at least until Gadd figures out the bridge between life and after-life.
Immortality is a fine goal to be sure, but Mario’s own plans are far broader in scope; since the beginning of the franchise he’s had an almost singular focus, formed in the most questionable of circumstances, that will lead him to the “behind the scenes” of his own universe. Get ready for the end, TDSO fans, in…
DISCLAIMER: This article is a work of satire, parody and fiction. At no point was it my intention to assert that the things written in this article are true (unless, of course, it turns out that they are true. In which case, suck it, I was totally right). I don’t own the characters, or the concepts, and I’m sure I’m probably not the first to come to many of these conclusions. However, in saying that, stealing my words without asking would be kind of a dick thing to do. To the original owners of the discussed characters: please don’t sue me, I am not a rich man.