Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Review

By: Magma

Developer:Nintendo, Alpha Dream
ESRB Rating:E (Everyone)
# of Players:1-4
# of Levels:23
Controllable CharactersMario, Luigi, Toad (very briefly)
The Goodwill Ambassador from the neighboring kingdom of Beanbean, where the citizens are beans, visits Princess Peach looking to improve ties between the two kingdoms. Once she arrives however, it is revealed that it was merely a disguise, and that she is really the evil witch Cackletta! Her assistant, Fawful, sucks up Peach's voice and replaces it with explosives. Now whenever she speaks, explosions ensue! Cackletta plans to use Peach's voice in order to awaken a legend that will grant her every desire, and she plans to take over both the Beanbean and Mushroom Kingdoms! She and Fawful escape. Toad summons the Mario Bros. to Peach's aid, only to find Bowser attempting to kidnap Peach. Mario does battle with Bowser, but Bowser calls it off eventually. It appears that there're far greater worries. Seeing how Peach would blow up his castle if kidnapped, he decides to let the Mario Bros. accompany him to the Beanbean Kingdom and find Cackletta. With some assistance from Toadsworth, Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and the Bowser Baddies take off from Toad Town in Bowser's new warship, the Koopa Cruiser. Near the border, they catch up with Cackletta and Fawful. The Mario Bros. do battle with the assistant who uses improper English, Fawful. Fawful blows up the cruiser, and the whole ship crashes into Stardust Fields, the border between the two kingdoms. Not only that, but once conscious, Mario and Luigi can't seem to find Bowser. What new dangers and adventures await the Mario Bros. in the Beanbean Kingdom? And where the heck is that king of Koopas?

Graphics- 10- The graphics for this game are the BEST I've ever seen in a portable game. There are hundreds of vibrant colors. You'll know what I mean as soon as the Bowser battle begins. The background is stunning. Characters were spared no details. From the way the Mario Bros. eat a mushroom to them taunting the enemy, the movements of the characters are like "wow".
Sound- 7- The music isn't something that you're going to get stuck in your head. There are a couple of tracks (battle theme, boss theme, Beanbean Castle) that are excellent, but it seems like there could've been a little more effort here. There are also several remixed tracks from older Mario Bros. As always, Mario's Theme and the Underground Theme from Super Mario Bros. return, but the music played at Mario's Pad in SMRPG also makes a return at both Mario's House and the Warp Pipe map. Many of the characters (Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Cackletta, Yoshi, Fawful, Peasley, E. Gadd, etc.) also have lines they say often, so they're given voices for these lines. (I.E. Peach "Help me Mario!")
Challenge- 7-10- The game is not easy. The battle system is very complex. Most of the enemies can be defeated easily, but there are several bosses in the last part of the game (i.e. Roy, Cackletta Essence, and possibly Wendy and Fawful) that you will be trying multiple times. Some of the puzzles can be a little hard to figure out, but none of them are extreme brainbusters. I'd give this game a 7 or 8. The reason it says 7-10 is because, as always with GBA Mario games, there's a built in Mario Bros.
Replay Value- 2-10- I can't think of a very good reason you'd want to beat the game, than start all over again right away. There's really no reason. Sure, there're a couple of sidequests, but not any real cool or elaborate ones. As always, there's a 10 because you can play Mario Bros., too (see Purple's review for that game).
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga was a game I and many others have been looking forward to for a long time. The first Mario RPG since Paper Mario. However, I was surprised that it was going to be for GBA. That's why I was reluctant at first. I had no reason to be. Mario & Luigi is better than Paper Mario in my opinion! Well, the story isn't exactly what I'd call normal. It's not everyday a person gets their voice stolen and replaced with explosives. Very eccentric. But still good! The graphics are excellent. As I mentioned before, they're the best portable graphics I've ever seen (well, except maybe Mario Advance 3 [Yoshi's Island]). The colors are very bright. Of course, they can't stand up to next-gen consoles, but I'm talking about on the GBA's power scale. Oh, and incidentally, it's fun to turn Luigi into a surfboard and ride the waves. The gameplay can get old after a while, unfortunately. There aren't enough plot twists. Sure, there are a couple of huge ones (Woohoo Hooniversity), but most of the game is running around in forests and mountains and the such fighting enemies. That's really fun at first, by the way. The battle system has been modified greatly since Paper Mario. You control Mario with the A button and Luigi with the B button. You can inflict critical this by pressing their corresponding buttons. Once you have all your techniques, you'll be able to jump, use a hammer, throw fire and thunder, and combine the brothers' power. When an enemy attacks, you'll be able to either hammer or jump on the enemy. This takes very precise timing, especially later in the game. For example, a goomba is fixing to charge into you. Jumping at the right time will let the goomba pass harmlessly under you, and even better timing will let you land on the goomba, causing damage. Bros. Attacks use BP (Brothers Points). The attack will go in slow motion, and the Mario Bros. will work off each other's tactics to cause big damage if you push the button at the right time. To make things more interesting, there are also three levels you can put the Bros. Attacks on. At level one, the attack will go in slow motion and an icon will appear to let you know that you need to push that button. On level two, there is no slow-motion, but the icons still appear. Finally, on level three, there is no slow motion or icons, but they also cost less BP. After you use the Bros. Attacks so many times, they become "Advanced". You will have to time your actions differently, but much more damage will be done. Outside of battle, the A button will control what the brother in front does and B button controls the brother in back. Pressing the start will make the two switch positions. The L and R buttons switch the action icon in the topright corner that tells you what the brothers can do. These icons include Jump, Hammer, High Jump (Luigi only), Spin Jump (Mario only), Firebrand (Mario only), and Thunderbrand (Luigi only). Of course, there are also other icons (speak, investigate, etc.). The brothers can also do special things with these icons. For example, making Luigi pound Mario with his hammer from behind flattens Mario to three-inch size. He can than pass through holes in the wall, separating the two brothers. This is often the key to many puzzles. It also works the other way, Mario hitting Luigi with a hammer, Luigi will burrow under the ground and pass under gates. Fire Tickle, Thunder Tickle, High Jump, and Spin Jump are also brother actions.Side Note: The Koopalings (Iggy, Larry, Lemmy, Ludwig Von, Roy, Morton, and Wendy O), Professor E. Gadd, Birdo, and yoshis are also in the game. M&L is a great game. The thirty dollars (or is it fourty) is worth it. Pick it up! Right now! Seriously don't wait another second. I mean, who wouldn't want to watch Bowser get shot out of a cannon? However, if you don't have fast reflexes, I don't recommend this game to you. Surf on up to the local internet store (or to a game store) on a Luigi surfboard and buy it. And hey, you could buy me an extra copy too. I could always sell it.