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Thick Fry Pan or Bionic Slingshot? - by guruzeth

Thick Fry Pan or Bionic Slingshot?

This is the second of an indefinite series of articles investigating in detail the small nuances of EarthBound. This particular article will concern a decision that the EarthBound player must make, a decision which, while not by any stretch of the imagination critical, is nonetheless important.

As those of you who have played EarthBound a fair amount of times know, you purchase the Thick fry pan for Paula in Threed, and typically keep it until you upgrade it to the Deluxe fry pan in the Dusty Dunes Desert. However, in Saturn Valley, you have the option of purchasing the Bionic slingshot. Virtually no one ever does because the Player's guide says not to, but the slingshot DOES offer a sizable increase in offense for Paula (although not that great a one for Ness). The question at hand, then, is: Is the Bionic slingshot worth buying to replace the Thick fry pan?

The first, and most relevant, thing to consider are the obvious advantages in disadvanges. When compared to the Thick fry pan, the Bionic slingshot offers the following advantages:

- Significant increase in offense (+12, which is about 18-22 HP damage per attack.)

The disadvantages are:

- Higher error rate. The Bionic slingshot misses 3/16 of the time, compared to 1/16 for the Thick fry pan -- 3 times as large a probability of missing on each attack.
- The Bionic slingshot is a "Shoot" attack, which means you can't get any SMAAAAASH attacks with it.

These two disadvantages are thought by most players to outweigh the advantage of the extra offense. A third disadvantage, albeit so minor as to be insignificant, is that it does cost money to buy a Bionic slingshot. We need to consider, though, whether it is worth spending this money.

We now need to work through some simple math to determine whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. With sixteen attacks against, for point of example, a Foppy, the Thick fry pan will do about 95 HP of damage per attack (assuming Paula's level to be in the mid-20s), and it will miss once out of the sixteen attacks. So 95 times 15 means you'll do a total of roughly 1425 HP of damage.

The Bionic slingshot, on the other hand, will deal about 115 HP of damage, on the average, to a Foppy. However, it will only connect on thirteen out of the sixteen tries. 115 times 13 means it will give us 1495 HP of damage total. Thus, the Bionic slingshot can be expected to deal about 70 HP more, in sixteen attacks, of damage to a Foppy -- about 4-5 HP per attack more. That's a fairly significant amount, and therefore, the conclusion must be that the Bionic slingshot is, on average, a better weapon... so far.

But there's more. Remember that the Thick fry pan will also occasionally yield a SMAAAAASH attack, and the Bionic slingshot will not. As it turns out, Paula will SMAAAAASH with the Thick fry pan on about 1/16 of her attacks -- actually slightly lower than that, more like 1/17.5, but we'll just say 1/16 for ease of math, and our point will be illustrated just fine. A SMAAAAASH attack will deal about 200 HP of damage -- so if we add the difference of 105 HP to the total, we reach a total expected HP damage, in sixteen attacks against a Foppy, to 1530, versus 1495 for the Bionic slingshot. That's a difference of about 3 HP per Foppy.

Now there is one more thing to consider, and that is the place in the game during which you can use the Bionic slingshot. You can get it in Saturn Valley, and you (presumably) will replace either weapon with the Deluxe fry pan in the Dusty Dunes Desert. This means the chief areas where you will use it are (1) The Belch base, and (2) the Milky Well area.

This is where the argument becomes interesting. The Belch base, as you probably know, is populated with a lot of Slimy Little Piles, which have the excruciating habit of making you cry all the time. When you are crying, your miss rate becomes 3/4, regardless of what weapon you have equipped, which effectively negates the miss rate disadvantage of the Bionic slingshot. When the miss rate is equal, the Bionic slingshot is clearly the better weapon (although Slimy Little Piles have more defense than Foppies and therefore the difference between the two is less.)

Conclusion? This author humbly advises that you buy the Bionic slingshot for Paula in Saturn Valley but don't equip it. In the Belch base, use the Thick fry pan as your standard weapon, but whenever a Slimy Little Pile makes you cry (not unlike the epic movie "Titanic",) use the "Goods" command to switch to the Bionic slingshot. You can sell off the slingshot after you finish the Belch base.

Now, when you're crying, the difference between the weapons is about 12 or so HP per attack (factoring in the possibility of a SMAAAAASH attack with the Thick fry pan.) This is quite significant, but it's up to you whether it's worth the five extra seconds it takes to switch weapons during battle. It is to me, personally. Another of the members of the Supreme Council of Lubyland, Zeth, prefers to just use the Bionic slingshot and keep it equipped, and The Artist Formerly Known As CPTCrunch just keeps the Thick fry pan and doesn't bother with the slingshot. It's really a matter of personal preference. If you're a stathead like I am, you're always looking to maximize your effectiveness in battle. It is my hope that this article has aided you in that quest.

Accepted for submission by unanimous vote in the Supreme Council of Lubyland at 1840 hours, February 6, 2003.


Other Submissions by guruzeth

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guruzeth A Story Without a Title
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7/31/06 0.00
guruzeth giygas's_brilliance
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guruzeth Prayer Commands FAQ
Earthbound Misc. Game Info--Prayer Commands FAQ. Site description: A more accurate prayer FAQ that corrects the player's guide mistakes, with more indepth descriptions.
1/8/05 0.00

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