Review by Jules Rules

"One excellent adventure boosted up by the very funny comical parts. Nintendo still has their magic."

We're all aware that all of the Mario games that made a massively huge impact on the NES & SNES consoles have been recently ported onto the great, little hand-held that is the GameBoy Advance. Such titles include Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 3. But you can't count out the other huge titles that haven't been ported onto the GBA as of yet. What about Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars? The game saw Mario and the rest of the gang in a brand new twist for the whole side-scrolling-action Mario games. It turned out to be a hit, and now in the present, many are still protesting for the game to be ported onto the GBA. So it wasn't long until Nintendo officially announced a brand new not-ported Mario game for the GBA, entitled Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Everyone was pondering what it will be like and whether or not Nintendo still has the magic from the 1980s time period. Does Nintendo still have that special magic? Will fans stop begging for Super Mario RPG to be ported because of how well Mario & Luigi draws? Find out all in my review of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.

The graphical features in Mario & Luigi are simply stunning, and a dream to play on (especially with the light equipped on your SP). As with most Mario games, they are bright-colored and just something to drool over while playing through the game.

I have to say that Mario and Luigi, as well as the many other characters in the game, all look a lot more stunning than in previous 2D Mario games. Of course, Mario and Luigi aren't complete without their classic Plumber outfits, and they're thankfully in this game, too. Each character has something unique with how they look, whether it be the awesome amount of evil enemies or the good guys. You can easily pick out who is good and bad, especially with the great GBA visuals.

You're probably wondering about the different environments and places to visit in Mario & Luigi, right? I can say that I've had a pleasure browsing everywhere possible around these locations, as they just look extremely fantastic. The Beanbean Kingdom is a world full with many different places, dark or light. It's like some kind of Lord of the Rings map, every different place unique in some kind of fashion, each with its own different ability and gift. Even though many places across Beanbean are bright and colorful, there are times when you'll come across many dark and baddy-filled areas.

Is there really anymore I can say? There is even great lighting effects, such as waving your torch about as you proceed through a dark, mysterious mine, filled with all sorts of obstacles. It proves that Nintendo still has their magic. Well, in the graphics department at least. Simply stunning, I need say no more.

Like all Mario games, each is filled with music that just creeps into your head and makes you want to listen all day. The basic, effective tunes are no different in Mario & Luigi. You'll find yourself humming away as you proceed through a light, enjoyable area of Beanbean, or gazing mysteriously at the dark, slow tunes. It's just unbelievable. Is there anything Nintendo can't perform badly?

Putting the music aside, there are quite a few voice-overs in the game. Yes, you'll hear Mario and Luigi's dialogue from Super Mario Advance games on the GBA, but there's also some new ones. Scrolling through your actions which you can perform, you'll come across a hammer and either Mario or Luigi will shout; ''Hammer!''. It really adds to the whole concept. Of course, there are plenty other pieces of dialogue other than ''hammer''. When explaining stuff to people, Mario or Luigi will blabber on in Italian, adding once again to the whole concept. Once again, there is a few other action-dialogues that explain your current situation, other than blabbering on in Italian. Even though the voice-overs aren't like Max Payne for example, they aren't meant to be.

We can't forget the classic Mario-game sound effects now, can we? Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is also filled with tremendous sound effects that fit the current environment/action, making you feel more and more about your situation and what you are actually doing. The ''boing'' noises when you jump are, most definitely, there. Is that really a surprise? Even though it can be irritating when you're jumping and jumping with both Mario and Luigi, you won't be entirely put off. The sound effects are also backed up with ''bang!'' noises as you bounce off a bad-guy's head and many, many more. I can't complain at all about the sound effects.

Well, we're here. This is where all Mario games shine like a big, wide sun. Is Mario & Luigi any different? Of course not! The deeply-filled Role-playing and Action parts really pull you in, whatever type of games you're into.

Each set button represents a different character. So, for example: 'A' and 'R' represent Mario, which are of course, on the rightist side of the GBA/SP control scheme. Luigi represents 'B' and 'L', which are on the most left side of the GBA/SP. This proves very easy to handle each character and makes an RPG on the GBA look extremely simple, which it is, really. But with Nintendo, simplicity is the key.

This is no different in battles, either. Pressing A will make Mario attack and pressing B will make Luigi attack. Very neat and excellent if you ask me. Speaking of battles, the amount of stuff you can perform are simply stunning. You can perform hammer attacks, normal-jump attacks and even Bros. Attacks, where you perform a combo move with both Mario and Luigi. These are different, however, depending on which character you select the attack with.

Of course, as Mario & Luigi is an RPG game, you have many different statistics for both the main characters. These all include the regular Hit Points (HP), Power, Speed, Defence and the most funny of all in a Role-Playing game, Moustache. Yes, that's right, you'll get points on how big/good your 'stache is. Very funny if you ask me.

What kind of question is ''Is Mario & Luigi fun?'', of course it's fun! When hasn't a Mario game not been fun? Every second you will be loving Mario & Luigi and just treat it as a major gem in your GBA collection. RPG fan or not, there is no reason why you won't enjoy playing Mario & Luigi. Despite it's deep enjoyment, it can actually be quite difficult at times. Whether this means a tough boss you're fighting or even a terrain you are stuck on. Yes, there may be times that you will get stuck in the game because you have no clue where to go. I doubt you'd be stuck long, though. Simply stunning Gameplay, but is this actually a surprise?

Evil has stolen Princess Toadstool's/Peach's voice and Mario and Luigi aim to find out who exactly took it. The story goes deeper and deeper as you progress, but the story is anything but surprising. It's a turn-around for the Mario series, though, and beats Bowser kidnapping the Princess. As I said, it evolves into a much deeper story, but if I tell you, you'd be spoiled.

It's a Role-Playing game and it's Mario, so when did the option of ''not having replayability'' come into play? Even when you've completed the game, which will take pretty long, you will be gagging for more, aiming to start again and try and beat it quicker this time. And again and again, and so on. I guarantee that you won't play Mario & Luigi just once.


Though not as pulling-in as Super Mario RPG was, Mario & Luigi is still an excellent game and one every GBA owner should purchase. With basically everything in the game looking and playing extremely well, you will certainly not regret buying it. What are you waiting for? Go out and buy Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga now!
Overall: 9/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/13/04

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