My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This pixelated land. But most of all, I remember The Toad Warrior. The man we called “Kinopio”.

To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by golden coins and the desert sprouted great levels of pipe and pyramid. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war, and harnessed the power of a starman which engulfed them all.

Without coins, they were nothing. They built a house of spades. The thundering POW blocks sputtered and stopped. Their world bosses talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. The seven stages crumbled. The slot machine mini games eroded. A whirlwind of looting, a fire flower of fear. Player ones began to feed on player twos.

Up the vines, it was a white cloud nightmare. Only those mobile enough to power up their jumps, brutal enough to throw turnips would survive. The Birdos took over the clouds, ready to wage war for a crystal ball. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were lifted and thrown. Men like Kinopio.

The warrior Kinopio. In the roar of an anthropomorphic bomb, he lost everything and became a turtle shell of a man. A burnt out, desolate man. A man haunted by the boos of his past. A man who wandered out into the dry, dry desert. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again.

MOUSER: No! No more talk! We go in! We pick them up! And we throw! They throw us, we throw them! Throw ’em! Throw ’em! Throw! Throw!

WART: Be still, my rat of war. I understand your pain. But we do it my way. Fear is our ally. The coins will be ours. Then you shall have your revenge.

MOUSER: Losers… losers wait!

WART (speaking into an intercom): There has been too much violence. Too many hearts lost. But I have an honorable compromise. Just walk away. Give me your coins, the bombs, the POW blocks, and the whole of Stage 7-2, and I’ll spare your extra lives. Just walk away and we’ll give you a safe passageway in the dry, dry desert. Just walk away and there will be an end to the horror.

TOAD WARRIOR: Thanks… but our powerups are in another castle.

And so began the journey north to safety; to our place beneath the angry, dive-bombing sun. Among us, we found a new leader: the man who came from the sky, the Great Tanooki. And just as Peach had planned, we traveled far beyond the reach of Shyguys on ostriches.

The coins, the precious coins, were hidden in the P-switches. As for me, I grew to manhood and in the fullness of time, I became the leader; the Chief of the Prizechest Tribe. And the Toad Warrior? That was the last we ever saw of him. He lives now only in my memories.

The Toad Warrior will return in… Doki Doki Panic 3: Beyond Vanilla Dome!

Toad Skull at 604Republic