Mario & Luigi is a series of RPGs for Nintendo handheld systems, starring the titular Super Mario Brothers. It's the third RPG series to star Mario, the first being the one-shot Super Mario RPG, made by Squaresoft, and the second being the Paper Mario series. On the surface, the games are fairly standard RPG stuff, with a field screen, a map, and a battle screen, equipment and items to collect, a smattering of statistics, and a suitably grand adventure. What sets it apart is how well it integrates classic Mario elements into an RPG. The two leads are joined at the hip, the field screen is negotiated with platform action, and all sorts of action elements are added to the battles, up to elaborate "Bros" attacks which can be shockingly demanding. The series is also well-known for its sparklingly witty and self-aware dialogue.
There are currently three games in this series:
• Mario And Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA, 2003)
• Mario And Luigi: Partners In Time (Nintendo DS, 2005)
• Mario And Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (Nintendo DS, 2009)
Tropes in the series as a whole:
• Action Commands: Very vital in combat. Aside from boosting your attacks, they can also be used to dodge or even counter enemy attacks.
• Adventure Couple: Mario and Luigi.
• After Boss Recovery: The Bros will always be healed after every boss they fight (and fallen ones will be revived).
• And Zoidberg: There are many jokes at Luigi's expense about him being the Garfunkel to Mario's Simon.
• As Long As It Sounds Foreign: Mario and Luigi's gibberish sounds Italian.
• Badass Mustache: Mario and Luigi, to the extent their "Stache" stat earns them store discounts, and increases the chance that you will do massive damage with a regular move (called a "lucky" strike).
o The Baby Mario Bros. also have the Stache stat, even though they don't actually have mustaches.
o Bowser also gets a similar effect, the "Horn" stat.
And you know what they say, about a Koopa king with a big Horn…
• Bash Brothers: Quite literally with the titular characters.
• Butt Monkey: Poor Luigi. At least he regularly gets to wallop Mario on the head. Bowser gets kicked around quite a bit as well.
• Cap: Levels stop at 99, and you can only carry 99 of each item.
• Cheshire Cat Grin: Fawful.
• Combination Attack: All of the special attacks are these. Even Bowser's Specials involve teaming up with his minions.
• Cowardly Sidekick: Luigi.
• Crazy Awesome: The entire series revels in being completely insane.
• Difficulty By Region: The Japanese versions are easier.
• The Drag Along: Luigi
• Emergency Energy Tank: The Max Mushroom, which completely restores a selected brother's HP; the Max Syrup, which restores all Bros. Points; the 1-Up Super Mushroom, which revives a KO'd brother with max HP, and the Golden Mushroom (replaced by Star Candy in the third game), which restores all HP and BP.
• Ensemble Darkhorse: Fawful, most definitely.
o Though they caught on and made him the main villain in the third game.
• Fetish Fuel: All three games have featured the Bros. getting eaten by something, most notably in Bowser's Inside Story where it is a major plot point. Macro, micro, weight gain, muscle growth, inflation and even sneezing also get featured quite a bit.
o Yahzee himself lampshades this in his review of the game.
• For The Evulz: The only explanation for around half of Fawful's actions.
o Actually, I thought all his actions were part of his plan. He gave the toads the blorbs, which caused a meeting, getting all the important people in one place. Then he gave Bowser the lucky shroom, and unleashed him at the castle, taking his biggest threat (the Mario Bros.) out of the picture. Then he was free to nab the Dark Star.
• Giggling Villain: Fawful. "I have chortles!"
• Goomba Stomp: One of the brothers' default attacks.
• Grievous Harm With A Body: Most Bros. Attacks involve some element of this between the Bros.
• Inconsistent Translation: The Spanish translators give Fafwul a different name in every game. It doesn't help that the European and the American teams are different, so there are inconsistencies even between the two localizations of Bowser's Inside Story.
• Large Ham: Fawful, oh so very much.
• Laughably Evil: Fawful, in spades, though essentially every villainous character has their moments.
• Love To Hate: Bowser and Fawful.
• Lethal Lava Land: Bowser's castle, of course.
• Luck Stat: 'Stache increases chance of critical hit and improves prices in stores.
o Bowser's equivalent stat is called 'Horns'.
• Magic Mushroom: Even more mushrooms are added, with plenty of interesting effects. The most prominent is the Lucky Shroom, which starts off Bowser's Inside Story.
• The Mario: Self explanatory.
o Mighty Glacier: Bowser, of course, and, surprisingly, Luigi to an extend. His speed starts off very low, but he has more hitpoints than Mario.
Mario actually has a focus on attack and speed, while Luigi has a focus on defense and HP, meaning that neither of them are The Mario.
• Memetic Mutation: "I HAVE FURY!"
• Minimalistic Cover Art: The Japanese ◊ Cover Art ◊. Especially when compared to the American ◊ versions ◊. Bowser's Inside Story is the first game in the series to have the same cover art in English and Japanese.
• No Fourth Wall: Part of the humor of the franchise.
• Not So Harmless: Fawful goes from being a joke of a shopkeeper in Partners in Time that incessantly mutters about revenge…to actually carrying those muttered threats out in Bowser's Inside Story, where he's the Big Bad!
• Numbered Sequels: In Japan only. Elsewhere, they went with Electric Boogaloo instead.
o The second one is Mario and Luigi RPG 2 x 2 (the two brothers and two babies) and the third is Mario and Luigi RPG 3!!! (exclamations included).
• Once An Episode: The games seem to have fallen into the tradition of having Bowser as the Training/Warm Up Boss (with Luigi at the sidelines of the battle), a midway boss halfway through the game, and as a part of the final battle as well:
o Superstar Saga: Mario fights Bowser in the beginning. Later, Bowser loses his memory and Popple recruits him as "Rookie." After Popple ditches him, Cackletta's spirit possesses him to become Bowletta.
o Partners in Time: Baby Mario fights Baby Bowser (Mario fights a Junior Shrooboid instead, but it still counts as Baby Mario's scenario comes first). Halfway through, Bowser teams up with his baby self to fight the Bros. And after everything is said and done, the elder Princess Shroob revives him and attacks through him.
o Bowser's Inside Story: Again, Mario fights Bowser in the beginning when he crashes the meeting (hilariously, Luigi is asleep at the table). Then, oddly, considering he's a playable character for over half the game, Mario and Luigi fight Bowser about halfway through, and he'll actually use the techniques he's learned. At the end of the game, his half of the final battle is against Dark Bowser.
• Only Known By Their Nickname: Bowser refers to Luigi mainly as "Green 'Stache".
• The Other Darrin: In the first two games, Bowser was voiced by Scott Burns. In the third one, however, he's voiced by Kenny James.
• Sequel Difficulty Spike: The stats of bosses and such like in the second game are ridiculously hard compared to the first one.
• Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Fawful combines this with Zero Wingrish. In fact, in the first game, he had an extremely long speech where he said "comeback" at least three times.
• Speaking Simlish: Mario and Luigi speak in a vaguely Italian sounding gibberish babble, in additon to each other's names and "M-hmm" noises. It's pretty well done and at least sounds somewhat Italian. Otherwise, the bros are Heroic Mimes.
• Talks Like A Simile: Fawful (who could forget the "mustard of your doom!" speech?)
• That One Boss: All of the final bosses. Usually averted however, as one or two tries against a boss generally lets the player learn how to avoid all the attacks. There are some exceptions to this though, such as Cackletta in the first game, who screws around with the gravity.
• Theme Naming: Everywhere! Beans, laughter, and of course the second game stuck the word "Shroob" into anything villainous. Fawful in the third game likes to add parts of his name to his minions, like Crawfuls.
• Took A Level In Badass: Bowser, in Bowser's Inside Story (with the help of Mario and Luigi, of course, but still a welcome relief from the severe case of Villain Decay).
o Not to mention those Shroobs in Bowser's Castle
• Verbal Tic: Gerakobits, the Japanese version of Fawful, repeats all of his "ru" sentence endings ten or twenty times. Whether or not the sentence actually ends with a "ru" rurururururururu. The warbling effect isn't unlike Penchinon.
• Villain Decay: Old-time villain Bowser is more or less an ally in the first game, boss in the second (also teaming up with his baby self), and a playable character in the third. He also manages to be a Warm Up Boss in some form in each of the games. Fawful in the second game is reduced to a cameo shopkeeper…and then is upgraded to the Big Bad of Bowser's Inside Story. He's only part of the final boss, though.
o Compared to the more recent Mario games, Bowser's Inside Story makes Bowser Badass. He starts off with really powerful stats, smashes through everything in sight, orders everyone around, turns giant and beats the hell outta not one, but TWO castles and smashes Dark Bowser's, an all-powerful being, face in as a finisher. Also, some of the quotes he makes are really memorable, such as the "Awesome backdrop for a final battle" quote above.
o The villain decay is mainly in the RPG games though. In the Main series, he's still pretty badass(see Galaxy and NSMB Wii).
o I call more of a statistical decay. Level 1 Bowser's stats are godly when compared to Level 1 M&L, but were he to hit exactly level thirty his stat growth will go to bollocks, to the point of a Lv. 40 Bowser having matched stats with a Lv. 40 Mario & Luigi.
• The Woobie: Luigi, definitely. This scene and this scene from Superstar Saga and Partners in Time respectively, increase Luigi's woobieness when he breaks down crying in both of them.
• Woolseyism: The games are known for diverting drastically from the Japanese scripts whenever Rule Of Funny comes into play. Fawful in particular definitely did not speak in mangled Engrish in the original.
o Fawful is interesting here, because he talks in a different funny way in every single translation. He adds Ru to the end of every sentence (repeatedly) in Japanese, a strong accent in French, stutters in German, speaks the same in American Spanish versions, and speaks in refined Spanish with set phrases in the European Spanish versions. He speaks in metaphors in multiple versions.
• Zero Wingrish: Fawful's speech patterns, especially his Catch Phrase "I HAVE FURY!", are an homage to Good Bad Translations of older video games.
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