Review by wolverinefan

"Nintendo drops the ball again"

Ah, Mario & Luigi, a game that caught my interest at E3 2003. Claiming to be a sequel to Paper Mario, which in turn was a sequel to Super Mario RPG; a classic in role playing games. Sadly, Nintendo has dropped the ball once again and delivers a shallow and flawed game that only hardcore Nintendo junkies will love.

The game starts off with some evil bad guy taking Peach's voice. Mario and Luigi, who are tied together by a clothesline (don't ask, run to the princess rescue. They find Bowser there who demands Mario to go rescue Peach's voice so he can in turn kidnap her. Mario joins Bowser and Luigi gets dragged along even though he doesn't want to go. For the record, Luigi never came off as a scaredycat until Luigi's Mansion so I see no reason why this lame act must continue. Anyway, they head off to the Beanbean Kingdom (the names only get worse as each area later is named after a laugh). It's a pretty pathetic story and it moves at a snails pace.

The control is obviously simple considering this is the Gameboy Advance. However, it's very unresponsive at times and this is a bad thing when the game is full of mini games that are forced upon the player to complete and they require perfect button pressing. Throw in the same problems in battle and you might be finding yourself in big trouble.

The sound effects are nightmarish beyond compare. I haven't heard such horrid sound bits in a game ever.The music is a mixed bag, as it always seems to be on the Gameboy Advance. It's a mix of classic songs which sound good and new songs which sound bad.

The graphics are also a mixed bag of vomit. The character sprites look decent at times but then sometimes they look god aweful. The backgrounds follow the same fate. At times they look really good and then sometimes they look like a handicapped child painted them. It's really a shame, I would have expected more from Nintendo.

Now onto the gameplay. There are a total of two playable characters. Obviously it's Mario and Luigi. First I'll cover the exploring aspect of the game. The duo works as a team, early in the game you're introduced to Brother Moves. Have Luigi in the back and you can do a high jump. Mario being in the back brings about a twister like move that lets you spin across gaps. They must be used over and over to travel the land. It becomes really tedious to have to switch and as the game progresses you get more moves. Battle works like this. Each brother attacks separately. They can do a normal attack, use an item or once they learn how to, a brother move. The brother move is a time based button press action and delivers just a bit more damage than a normal attack but it uses up brother points. You can do extra damage by hitting the attack button right before hitting the enemy and you can dodge attacks by jumping over them. It's all time based I guess. When you gain a level you get an extra option to add bonus stats. It's either 1-3 and it's played like a slot machine and is pretty much random but you get to choose which area to upgrade in. Battles are not random, you must come into contact with an enemy and you will want to attack all enemies because you do not return to a lot of the areas and enemies do not respawn. The game is about 8 hours long and features a few sidequests but that is something I'm not into.

The replay value is low in my opinion. It's an RPG and very few have replay value. This being a portable RPG I can see it having more of a chance at replay value but the fact remains that it just isn't a very good game.

Perhaps if Nintendo put more effect into the game it would have been better. The cameos were a great idea but frankly the gameplay is weak and that's a big no-no for any and all RPGs. If you're a huge fan of Mario and/or Luigi then maybe you should check it out but you've been warned.

Control: 6
Gameplay: 4
Graphics: 4
Replay Value: 3
Sound: 4
Story: 5

Final Score: 4

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 12/28/03

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