P-speed refers to the boost in Mario's running speed after running forward for a period of time. The name comes from the P-meter bar first used in Super Mario Bros. 3; though no bar is visible in SMW, it functions very similarly. The meter increases as Mario runs on the ground, and decreases while in midair or turning. Once the meter is fully filled, Mario will gain P-meter and start sprinting, and if he has a cape, he can jump to start flight or spinjump with an extra large jump. Since it boosts Mario's speed significantly, you usually want to build it as soon and as quickly as possible.
The P-meter has a few quirks that aren't immediately apparent, however:
- If you jump with P-speed, the P-meter will basically function like you're still on the ground; in other words, if you turn, you can still rebuild the meter while in midair.
- Gradual slopes are the only slopes that Mario can build P-meter while running up. Once he has P-speed, he can run up any slope (except very steep) without losing it.
- The P-meter will decrease while flying, but not during the initial jump; only when he actually enters flight mode does it start.
- The P-meter won't decrease while swimming or climbing.
The Takeoff Meter is a special meter used by the cape to handle flight. Once Mario has full P-meter, jumping will start the timer, and it will decrease every frame there after. While it's set, two things happen. First, jumping and spinjumping will allow Mario to boost upwards into the air, either in a single large jump or several small short ones. Second, moving downwards while in midair (through any means) will initiate flight. Interestingly, you don't have to have a full P-meter at that point; as long as you started the timer, so you can start flight by falling off a ledge, bouncing off a noteblock, or more notably, even in another room after entering a door/pipe. This trick gets used in several places to start flight right at the start of a room.
Damage boosting refers to the invincibility frames the game gives after taking damage. While Mario has these frames, he can pass through enemies or touch certain damaging blocks such as munchers and spikes (but not lava!). There's three ways to damage boost in SMW:
- Get hurt while Mario has a powerup.
- Get hurt on Yoshi.
- Get hurt while flying. (Also known as cape canceling)
The first option gives the longest grace period, while the latter two are very short. That said, they still have their uses, such as for getting through the Boos in Sunken Ghost Ship.