Mario & Luigi Dream Team; Hard Mode Guide

Unlike most other Mario games (and all Mario based RPGs in history), Mario & Luigi Dream Team includes multiple difficulty levels thanks to the addition of a Hard Mode unlocked after beating th final boss.  But what’s different about it?  And how would I recommend you get through it more easily?  Well, here’s your answer, in my official guide to Hard Mode in Mario & Luigi Dream Team.

Changes Made

  1. Items are capped at 10 of each.  As in, 10 of each specific item, so you can still have 10 Mushrooms, 10 Super Mushrooms, 10 Ultra Mushrooms, etc.  This makes the battles less drawn out and stall heavy.
  2. Enemy damage has been increased by about a 1000%.  As in, an enemy that does two damage in Normal Mode does about 14 damage in Hard Mode. This means the very first battles in the game (outside the Antasma tutorial one, which does nothing) can kill you in two hits.
  3. Dying brings you back to the last save point, without the instant retry or easy mode.  This is painful in Giant Luigi battles, what with the long cut scenes before them.
  4. Other enemy stats seem to be higher, like HP and Defence
  5. Giant bosses have new strategies and attack patterns.  For a more comprehensive list, keep reading the guide.

Giant Battle Changes

Normally, most bosses in Dream Team’s Hard Mode are about the same as they are in Normal Mode.  However, the Giant Luigi battles seem to be a big exception here, and so here are some changes they seem to have made for each:

  1. The Robo Drill Digger sends out two Tornadoes at once in its main attack, so you have to jump both in one bound.  It also shoots about 6 or 7 missiles instead of three or four when flying.
  2. As far as I can tell, Mount Pajamaja has no changes made.
  3. Earthwake uses his hammer of death attack more often and much earlier on.  He also swings about 8 times instead of 4 or so, and can take someone down from full health to zero in one attack.  The pattern in which the floating blocks are laid out is different too.
  4. Zeekeeper seems to have a different attack pattern for the anti gravity section, with different orb placements.  He also sends out no Mushrooms in the egg shooting attack, and the weird cursor things you have to hit when throwing logs/rocks at him move differently and much faster.
  5. No idea about Bowser yet, haven’t got that far.

Advice

So those are the things I’ve noticed as different.  Here are some tips to make your life easier in this mode:

  1. Get used to dodging enemy attacks in Normal Mode.  Remember, two wrong moves and you’re dead.  Indeed, even the later bosses can be this, I fought Pi’illodium in this game and his hammer attack literally took off more than half a character’s health.  At around level THIRTY FIVE.
  2. Use badges carefully!  Seriously, see that badge that lets you raise defence?  Or the one that provides a nifty no damage forcefield for three to six attacks?  Use it.  Also, make sure to charge it before a  big battle, grind a bit before to fill up the meter and have the badge effects ready to use on turn one in a tough boss fight.
  3. Fight everything!  I know, they’re dangerous… but do you know what’s worse?  The bosses and tougher opponents later.  Seriously, if you don’t grind here, you WILL get slaughtered in the later areas simply due to being too low a level and the enemies doing even more damage than before.  Besides, if you’re scared of some Grombas in Pi’illo Castle’s basement and avoid them immediately, you’ll find Mushrise Park absolutely hell and Dozing Sands even worse.  Grinding avoids this issue.
  4. Save often!  Seriously, if there’s a game that says ‘save after every single battle or solved puzzle’, this is it.  You mess up, and you’re gonna go back to that menu with all progress lost.  So don’t forget!
  5. Learn enemy weaknesses!  Yes, this game has a basic rock paper scissors style element system.  It’s not really noticeable usually, but it’s real useful for the later game.  Basically, roast any plants you see (Piranha Plants, Beehosses, etc) with either the Fire Flower or Luiginary Flame.  And for spiky enemies like Spinies?  Use the Luiginary Ball or Green Shell, since they’re ironically weak to jump attacks (and those Bros Moves are based off your boot power).
  6. Save scum those Gold Beanies!  4000+ EXP isn’t something to laugh at, so if you see one, save before it like you would when about to fight a legendary Pokemon, then reset when it goes wrong.
  7. For that matter, use the Home Button to reset when you fail.  After all, you’re going back to the title screen regardless, so you may as well as cut out the tedious ‘fail’ cut scene too.
  8. Get badges/gear as soon as possible!  Heck, upgrade your gear at level 1 while you’re at it!

So that’s my advise for Dream Team’s Hard Mode.  I would seriously recommend anyone planning to try it out heeds said advice too, it’s quite unforgiving a lot of the time.

Oh, and if you suck?  Play something else.  Seriously, if Dream Team is the Shin Megami Tensei of Mario RPGs, then Dream Team’s Hard Mode is basically the I Wanna Be the Guy of Mario RPGs.