P-Balloon

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P-Balloon placed in Tubular

A P-Balloon, as the name might imply, is a yellow balloon with a white P emblazoned on its surface. P-Balloons are found in ? Blocks. Once a block holding a P-Balloon is hit, the balloon quickly floats off to the right, so Mario must grab it quickly before it gets away. Once Mario touches a P-Balloon, he inflates into Balloon Mario for a time.

Balloon Mario slowly floats upwards and can be made to fly anywhere by pressing the corresponding direction on the control pad. While this flight is much slower than cape flight, it allows greater control and grants Mario passage to otherwise inaccessible areas, such as tall straight vertical passages. Mario has no attacks in Balloon form, and once the effect wears off, Mario will immediately fall. (Usually, there are additional balloons located along the flight path so that Mario can renew the effect) If Mario takes a hit in balloon form, he not only deflates, but he also loses his power-up as normal. (So a hit to small Balloon Mario is as fatal as always)

In the original game, P-Balloons are only found in a few areas: a vertical cave in Donut Secret 1, under some logs in Forest of Illusion 1, and as the focal point of the Special World level Tubular, which is commonly considered to be one of the toughest levels in the game.

Hacking information

A P-Balloon is sprite 7D, and it can be placed in a level without having come out of a block. P-Balloons use the same palette as Mario, palette 8. In order for their graphics to show up correctly, the Forest, Ninji, or Mechakoopa sprite set must be used. (SP4 = 02 or 0E)

Related ROM Addresses

  • x0C812 P-Balloon tilemap
  • x0A1A7 Change to EA EA EA EA to give the P-Balloon an infinite timer
  • x10AAE Sprite that comes out of block 125

Glitches

  • Spinjumping into a P-balloon will result in Mario having the effects of a spinjump while in P-balloon form, allowing him to touch some enemies that would normally hurt him, like jumping pirhanna plants.
  • Pressing both left and right at the same time with a P-balloon will cause Mario to fly right several times faster than he normally moves (note that this is impossible on a console without modding). This can also force him into walls without being crushed. Lakitu clouds also do the same.
  • The P-balloon counts as a carriable object, which is why you can't hold items when using it. However, if you grab an item and the P-balloon on the same frame, you'll be able to hold it while still flying around.
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