Review by WindYoshi X

"The Adventure Begins... Again!"

Being the Mario fanatic I am, and the fact that Nintendo has some talented developers in their hands, naturally, I loved his RPGS Super Mario RPG(SMRPG) for SNES and Paper Mario for N64. I have been anticipating the arrival of Mario and Luigi ever since it was announced, but to be honest, the footage I saw of the game made it look strange to me, and from it, I could not really tell how the battle system worked or see any RPG elements. I was pretty skeptical, but now that I have Played this awesome game, I understand how it works, which brings us to my review.

This is where Mario and Luigi really does a good job. The Story, like most Mario games, begins in the Mushroom Kingdom. One thing that is different though, is that this story is filled with humor and is actually pretty funny. While Mario is taking a shower, toad comes over to inform him of some bad news. Something has happened to princess peach! Mario and Luigi rush off to the castle to see what has happened. They find out that an evil witch from the Beanbean kingdom, Cackletta, has stolen peach's voice. At the same time, Bowser, also at the castle, is angry that Peach's voice is stolen. Bowser then decides that before he kidnaps princess peach, he will go and retrieve her voice. Mario decides to go along, while Luigi decides he will stay and protect the home front as usual... until further complications.

As the humorous story progresses you will visit tons of different locations. Like beach, forest, grassland, undersea, Ice and other fun yet typical areas. You meet tons of new people, and lots of familiar faces on your quest. The battle system is a mixture of Paper Mario and SMRPG. It takes the jumping and hammer systems from Paper Mario and it takes the fact that you can eventually inflict major damage from SMRPG. In the battle, when it is the enemy's turn you have the option to dodge their attacks with Mario and Luigi. Just jump at the right time and you can dodge the attack or even land on the enemy and inflict extra damage, but you don't want to land on something like say.. a fire attack because you will get hurt. You also can attack oncoming enemies with your hammer to stop there attack and damage them.

Like most RPGS, in this game Mario and Luigi have stats. Pow is your attack power. Def is your defensive strength. Speed determines how fast you are and if you will go first in battle. Stache is a odd stat that you probably do not recall seeing in any other rpg before. Stache is pretty much your luck. It determines what items you get from battle, decreases store prices, and lets you get Lucky hits in battle which are pretty much critical hits. As you go through the game you will learn new power-ups called bros. actions. They will at first be tricky to use, but as you go along will come naturally to you. Bros. actions can be used out of battle to solve puzzles and reach new areas. Two of the bros. actions you get early in the game are High jump for Luigi and Spin Jump for Mario.

You can use High Jump to jump to higher platforms, and you can use Spin Jump to fly over large gaps. In battle these Bros. actions convert into Bros. attacks. The two first Bros. attacks you get are Mario's Splash Bros. and Luigi's Bounce Bros. These special attacks can be used in battle by using a combination of buttons with correct timing and order. You must also have enough BP(Bros. Points) to use these commands in battle. They are sure to put a smile on your face the first couple of times you use them. The game consists of many puzzles and Dungeons that were created and put together well, although one complaint I have is that they can sometimes begin to feel tedious, but not enough to ruin the full experience. Game Play, like any game, is definitely the most important part of this game, and obviously, where the most work was put in to the game.

You control Mario with the A button and you control Luigi with the B button. The D-pad controls the direction of both of them and the L and R buttons switch between their special powers and abilities. In battles the same goes for Mario and Luigi with the A and B buttons. If it is Luigi's turn use the B button, if it is Mario's turn use the A button. So if you are walking around and Mario is set to jump, hit A and Mario will jump. If you are walking around and Mario and Luigi are both set to jump, hit A and B simultaneously and they will both jump. Its quite simple, but at first is complicating. Don't worry though, any newcomer or Veteran to Mario games will soon enough feel at home with these very familiar controls.

The Graphics in this game are pretty impressive. They really shine on a GBA SP, literally. Being so fluid and clear, they fit the humor of the game perfectly, as they are animated and can allow many variations for some oddly gorgeous scenes. I have completed this game and covered more than 30 hours of game play. I am yet to notice any graphical flaws such a glitching or transparent characters and environments. The graphics are very colorful and give the game a cartoonish feel, almost like cel-shading for GBA but different. At first this was the section of the game that a was questioning and the section that most people will question at first, but after playing the game thoroughly I understand why the developers chose these graphics as they perfectly fit the environments and allow a unique gaming experience. Mario and Luigi, in my opinion, has the most beautiful looking graphics on the GameBoy Advance.

The music and sound effects in this game are done well. There is some new music and lots of classic music too. Mario and Luigi also have semi voice acting for when they are talking. It sounds Italian, but to the player it is pretty much funny sounding gibberish. The sound effects for explosions, jumps, fire, water, and other things are done well and mostly use sound effects from older Mario games, which is in no way a bad thing. The classic music ranges from the Mario 64 castle theme to Mario's Pad theme from SMRPG. The new music mixes in well with the classic music to greatly enhance the overall experience. If you like Nintendo music you'll like this music. Like I always say, what would a good game be without good music?

Well as you can probably assume based on what you have already read in my review, this game is pretty damn fun. You are always ready to play when you have free time because the story, action, and the addiction of leveling up are always puling you back in for more. The battle system is also very fun and addictive. After you beat the game, although this game is very enjoyable to play through, it just does not hold the automatic effect to pull you back into it again. Well I'd say that for most people, but if you are like me, and like to replay games just for the fun of doing it again, then you will see it does have some replay value, sort of the way SMRPG does(I beat that game at least 15 times). Either way, whether you don't really like replaying games or not, you will most likely come back to this game to experience it again someday.

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga is an instant classic and I'm sure anybody who buys it will think the same. With 20-25 hours of game play, cool characters, awesome environments, nostalgic music, and fun game play, I do not see why anyone would choose to miss out on this truly amazing game. Anybody who owns a Gameboy Advance, or better yet, a Nintendo DS, should go out and get this game, its well worth it.

Gameplay: 10
Controls: 9
Graphics: 10
Sound: 9
Lasting Appeal: 7
Overall: 9(not an average)

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/27/04

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