Letís start with one of the most highly rated games ever made, Super Mario Galaxy. The 3D platforming in this game is superb, and itís hard to criticize just about anything in the original Galaxy game. The atmospherics are extraordinary, the soundtrack is amazing, and so on.
Gushing aside, Luigiís role in Super Mario Galaxy becomes apparent in Ghostly Galaxy where Luigi has been trapped in a ghostly mansion. As Mario approaches the end of the first mission, he spots Luigi behind a pane of impassable glass; once Mario reaches Luigi and saves him, Luigi will reward Mario with a Power Star (the player cannot approach Luigi as Boo Mario, which is one of the power-ups during the level, or Luigi will shudder in fear). Afterwards, Luigi will traverse various galaxies collecting random Power Stars and promptly getting stranded in these galaxies. In exchange for rescuing each time, Luigi will reward Mario with another Power Star.
So just why is Super Mario Galaxy a relevant Luigi game? Well, Galaxy starts what I like to refer to as the modern Luigi era, i.e., the post-GameCube era. During this time period, Luigiís role as an active sidekick is well-defined, and his continued assistance to Mario is unquestioned. Luigiís heroicness starts to show in his personality and it is also explored in this game and others more extensively than in GameCube era games like Luigiís Mansion. Luigi actually starts to act rather heroic in most games after Galaxy, barring a few other titles.
Fun Fact - Once you beat the game and collect all 120 Power Stars, you can play the game again as Luigi. When you reach the Ghostly Galaxy playing as Luigi, Luigi will encounter another Luigi. The only difference between the two characters is that non-playable Luigi is slightly taller and lighter (in color) than playable Luigi. If anything in Mario were canon, I would think that this second playthrough actually took place during one of Luigiís dreams in Mario & Luigi: Dream TeamÖ
Right off of the bat, I must admit that Iím not a huge fan of 2D Mario platformers. Most of my early experiences with Mario games were 3D platformers, RPGs, or sports titles, so I naturally enjoy those titles more. However, New Super Luigi U still deserves a lot of credit; itís a relatively inexpensive DLC package ($20 USD) or standalone game ($30 USD) that does 2D Mario platforming justice. The platforming is a little wonky, but the stage design is actually rather fresh compared to New Super Mario Bros. U even though New Super Luigi U is missing some features.
Luigiís role in New Super Luigi U; the Bros. was removed from the title for the very reason so that Luigiís role as the sole protagonist could be highlighted. This DLC package was one of the highlights of the Year of Luigi, and it sold well over a million copies worldwide. The game featured Luigi-esque physics, making all of the four playable characters (Luigi, Blue Toad, Yellow Toad, and Nabbit) jump insanely high and slide more upon landing. This actually made the game rather difficult, and it made four-player platforming more of a chore.
Nevertheless, New Super Luigi U made Luigi the pre-eminent protagonist of a 2D Mario platformer; although it was only DLC, the game still made a significant splash in an otherwise dry Luigi Year of Luigi lineup on the Wii U.
Fun Fact - In the intro of this game when Peach, Luigi, and the two Toads are eating a meal in Princess Peachís Castle, Marioís hat can be seen on the banquet table in front of the seat he was sitting in for New Super Mario Bros. Uís introduction. Even in his own games, Luigi cannot escape the influence of Mario.
You must be thinking, ďWhat is one of Luigiís starring roles doing at number eight, Mr. SL?Ē Well, I have a few reasons right off the bat; firstly, Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon is a notable step down from its immediate predecessor and other recent Luigi-featured games in multiple ways. Although the game maintains and improves the atmospherics and theming from Luigiís Mansion, Dark Moon structures the game into bit-sized chunks, lessening the overall ďscaryĒ of the game. (The game still has its moments; the cutscene when entering the fifth mansion sent shivers down my spine). Furthermore, the puzzles are rather exemplary, but the combat elements in Dark Moon are sparse.
Regardless, Dark Moon is still a good game. Itís the second entry into Luigiís very own series, and, for a handheld, it can still hold a candle to the original. The gameís portrayal of Luigi, though, is less-than-conducive to recent efforts to make Luigi heroic. Although Luigi eventually prevails through the game, his ability to deal with even the smallest ďscaryĒ occurrences is limited. This reversal seems distantly removed from previous games on the list like New Super Luigi U, where he rescues Princess Peach, and Super Mario Galaxy, where he manages to find Power Stars on his own.
Fun Fact - Luigi has accrued the jealously of the entire world for having Polterpup as his pet. Nah, but seriously, if you take the first letter of every single mansion in the game in sequential order, you will end up with the word ďghost.Ē Proof: Gloomy Manor; Haunted Towers; Old Clockworks; Secret Mine; Treacherous Mansion. The same is also true with the names of the bosses for each mansion.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a true masterpiece; as a sequel to the original Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64, it surpassed the original in just about every way, excepting nostalgia. The gameís battle system was rather simplistic but engaging, the graphics were thematically beautiful, and the story and dialogue was charming and full.
Of course, the game primarily features Mario, so Luigiís role is relatively limited. In fact, Luigi has only ever joined Paper Mario as a protagonist in Super Paper Mario (hint hint); however, in the rest of the Paper Mario games, Luigi has made a variety of cameos in funny and interesting ways. The Thousand-Year Door cameos are the most interesting. In The Thousand-Year Door, Marioís battles take place in front of a paper audience; usually the audience consists of Toads, Koopas, X-Nauts, Shy Guys, Goombas, and other Mario characters. Occasionally, Luigi will show up in the audience. Members of the audience can also throw items to help (or hurt) Mario, and Luigi will usually throw some of the best items! Luigi also appears in the hub town, Rogueport, where you can ask him about his analogous adventures in the Waffle Kingdom that somewhat mimic Marioís adventures in and around Rogueport. About midway through the game, Luigi will pen his adventures in Super Luigi books that go on sale in Rogueport; theyíre super expensive, but you get to hear Luigiís heroics like never before. Green binding is included in the price of the book!
Okay, okay, I know, Iím the only one who would ever buy that book. (You can read the stories in a guide on GameFAQs if youíre interested). However, Luigiís cameos in Paper Mario gamesóespecially The Thousand-Year Dooróare always charming, and they add a lot of character to the otherwise timid Luigi archetype that was proliferated during the GameCube era and earlier. Luigiís clumsy nature are exasperated in his adventures in Waffle Kingdom, and The Thousand-Year Door has some of the best Luigi cameos in general. The sheer funniness and awesomeness associated with Luigi in The Thousand-Year Door is enough to propel the game to spot number seven.
Fun Fact - In the game, you can get an L Emblem badge (a badge is an equippable item that usually gives Mario a new attack or helps his stats) that makes Marioís attire match Luigiís clothing. Thereís also a W Emblem badge that changes Marioís clothing to Warioís clothing, but the L Emblem is obviously more important in a Top 10 list about Luigi, right?
If I have to explain what Brawl is to you (mind you, youíre currently reading a list about Luigi, Marioís sidekick), then you need to buy a Wii and experience life. Or a GameCube, if you prefer Melee. Iíll get into why I chose Brawl over Melee in a bit, but Iíll briefly explain what Brawl is now: Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a party fighting game in which combatants from all over the Nintendo-verse join the brawl and fight against each other. The fight takes place on a 2D screen in which combatants are dealt damage (shown in the form of percentage) until they are knocked off to the left, right, or top of the screen (or fall off the bottom, if applicable). Brawl has all sorts of featuresótoo many to get into in a Top 10 list.
Whether Brawl is a good game is up for debate. I think it gets too much hate, but I tend to take it at face value: itís a damn good party fighting game in which skill is a factor, but itís not the factor. I enjoy Melee for its competitiveness, but I prefer Brawl because I love chaos.
Ahem, digressions aside, Luigiís role in Brawl is rather traditional; Luigi is one of the thirty-five combatants to choose from. Luigiís been in all three Smash games released thus far, though. I chose Brawl because Luigiís personality is best exemplified in Brawl. Although some of Luigiís moves are carbon-copies of Marioís moves (e.g., Up-Smash, B-Neutral, etc.), subtle differences give Luigi his spunk. Most importantly, Luigi has a Final Smash (finishing move) that is referred to as the ďNegative Zone.Ē This move momentarily slows down the brawl so that Luigi can create a negative zone in which other combatants will fall asleep, go insane, or just take damage. Luigi can usually KO opponents rather easily with his Final Smash. The plumber also makes a critical appearance in Brawlís story mode, the Subspace Emissary, in which he is part of a final trio with King Dedede and Ness that rescues the rest of the cast.
Luigiís role in Brawl is rather dynamic. Although he isnít emphasized all that much in Subspace Emissary, he has a moveset that is mostly his own; he manages to de-clone himself from his brother, one of the chief complaints persisting around the inclusion of Luigi since the original Smash game. Luigi even gets his own stage this time around rather than being tied to one of Marioís many stages. His stage, Luigiís Mansion, coupled with his dorky taunts and whacky Final Smash, make Luigi a wonderful standalone character in Brawl. Luigi really starts to find his modern identity in Brawl.
Fun Fact - Luigiís Down-Taunt is actually an attack. Furthermore, it has such insane knockback that if it connects over a pit, the receiving party will be KOd in nearly all scenarios. If you want to try to use it in competitive play, youíll want to try to use it on someone hanging from an edge while youíre standing right next to them.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team was Luigiís signature game during the Year of Luigi. Yes, even more so than New Super Luigi U, Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon, and Dr. Luigi. The latest entry into the Mario & Luigi sub-series, Dream Team utilizes traditional Mario & Luigi combat and gameplay elements. The combat is turn-based with each of the brothers taking turns to attack (enemies attack, too). Button coordination is one of the biggest elements of Mario & Luigi games because oftentimes two ďsister buttonsĒ (think L and R or A and B) control each of the brothers (i.e., L controls Luigi and R controls Mario). Dream Team differentiates the different roles of the brothers rather well, and it also has the traditionally strong Mario RPG story. My main qualm about Dream Team usually regards the fact that there are too many Dream World visits and the lengthiness of the tutorial/introduction, but weíll get more into the former later.
So, yes, the Dream World. Usually, when we think of ďdreaming,Ē we associate a subject to the action. Just who is dreaming in Dream Team? Why, Luigi, of course! Luigiís main role in Dream Teamóin addition to joining Mario on another combat-/puzzle-ridden adventureóis to sleep. When Luigi falls asleep (on special, ancient pillows, no less), Mario can enter his dreams and explore the inner recesses of Luigiís mind with a new partner, Dreamy Luigi. In Luigiís dreams, we get a lot of insights into what Luigi thinks of himself. Luigi is even able to manipulate his dreams by having Starlow, Mario and Luigiís helper for this adventure, mess with his face, causing ďLuiginary WorksĒ to help Mario reach new areas of the Dream World.
My favorite part of the game is Dreamís Deep where Mario enters the deepest fabric of Luigiís dreams. Think of Dreamís Deep as your deepest conscious, albeit most likely subconscious. Anyway, once down here, Mario sees Luigis float across the dark background and hears random echoes of thoughts as they are blurted out. Hereís a small sampling of what Luigi says: ďI fight ghosts,Ē ďLet me help you,Ē and ďIím not clumsy!Ē Overall, Luigi expresses an innate desire not to be the shadow of his brother and to be as helpful as he can possibly be. Dream Team really demonstrates how complex Luigi is as a character, an aspect we can usually only extrapolate from Luigiís actions, not from his words.
Fun Fact - Although Mario levels up faster than Luigi in this game, if they both have the exact same speed stat (which you need to achieve by an insane amount of grinding, most likely), Luigi will always go first. Always. Yep, Luigi is just the best, right? He even gets stats priority!
Released not only on the NES but also on three iterations of Atari and several home computer operating systems, Mario Bros. is the classic Mario game. Enemies spawn at the top of the level from the warp pipes and work their way downward toward the warp pipes at the bottom of the level. Along the way, Mario can defeat these enemies by hitting the ground beneath them with his jump. This will allow Mario to defeat the enemies; once all enemies are defeated for an area, Mario will progress to the next area. Mario Bros. is a classic.
Mario Bros. is also the first game in which Luigi debuts. Well, he debuts in spirit. If a second player decides to join the fun, he or she will be green with purple overalls instead of the traditional red with blue overalls. Voila, Luigi! Mario Bros. has since to become this big franchise that you may or may not have heard aboutÖ..
The original Mario Bros. actually had a remake named Luigi Bros. in which the first player was green with blue overalls. A version of the game is included in every copy of Super Mario 3D World and New Super Luigi U. Anyway, this is the OG (original game), so itís only fitting that Mario Bros. deserves a spot on the list. Although Luigi has since been modified in countless ways to his current form, kudos to Nintendo for wanting to distinguish the first player from the second player. Too bad it only took them ten years to give Luigi a distinct personality and twenty years to give him his own game!
Fun Fact - On the gameís box art, Mario is wearing all blue. Apparently color was not a big deal back in the day.
Super Paper Mario is a Paper Mario by thematic graphics, story, and title only; relatively little about this game associates it to its predecessors any more so than the Mario & Luigi RPGs. That said, Super Paper Mario is a superb game for what it is; a platformer with RPG elements. I know that many fans loathe this game for not being a true The Thousand-Year Door sequel, and I understand those sentiments; for the longest time, I felt the same way about Super Paper Mario. However, Super Paper Mario really is a great RPG/platformer hybrid, and it has the best story of any Paper Mario game thus far.
Luigi also gets a boost in Super Paper Mario, becoming fully playable for the first time ever. Although Luigi is the last playable character of which you earn control, heís one of the best for real-time combat with his super-high jumps and quick responsiveness. Luigi is also critical with regards to the plot. Without giving out some super major plot spoilers, Luigi is actually more relevant to the storyline than either of the other two non-Mario party members, Bowser and Peach. Luigiís character dynamics in Super Paper Mario are more than enough to make him the most interesting character in the game, barring the backstory behind Count Bleck and Tippi. To be honest, itís difficult to describe just what makes Luigi so awesome in Super Paper Mario without completely spoiling the game, but the gameís ability to portray Luigi in a completely different light makes the number three placement appropriate for this list.
Fun Fact - Continuing the sappiness of Dream Team, one of Luigiís most adorable quotes from this game is ďIím my broís bro.Ē Díawww. But, seriously, if you want a real fun fact, check out the back cover of the official guidebook and look for a Golden Fuzzy. Although a Golden Fuzzy appeared in The Thousand-Year Door, no such Fuzzy made an appearance in Super Paper Mario.
The titular entry for the now-popular Mario & Luigi sub-series, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga portrayed Luigi as an equal in a Mario RPG for the first time ever. As previously described, Mario & Luigi games focus on button coordination and teamwork between the brothers as they battle their way through a joint adventure. Often, the toughest parts of the game are not when Mario & Luigi are facing a difficult boss together but rather when one brother lacks the other; the party system is so intricately woven into the gameplay that its absence is a completely foreign gameplay element.
Superstar Saga is quite possibly the best Mario & Luigi game, if only because of its strength for such a comparatively older Mario RPG. Luigiís role in the game is obvious; his name in the title is indicative of his importance. That said, Superstar Saga did not focus as much on differentiation as Dream Team did. Nevertheless, giving Luigi a role of equal stature to Marioís role in the same game was a huge deal, especially in a genre that had been predominantly Mario-driven until the release of this game. Furthermore, Luigiís contributions to the partnership were no less important than Marioís contributions, and Luigi was not downgraded in the gameplay nor degraded in the storyline. Although some humor concerns Luigiís inferiority to Mario (i.e., that Luigi is second to Mario), itís all in good jest, and Luigiís importance to the overall game is more important.
The sole reason Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is not number one on this list is because of the lack of differentiation between the two brothers; after slowly prodding along simple differences between the brothers, Superstar Saga seems to reverse many of the underpinnings that made the brothers unique. Granted, much of the humor in the game focuses on some of their character traits, and the lack of differentiation most likely pulled Luigi up and Mario down in stature rather than Luigi down and Mario up. Still, Luigiís role as an equal is huge for him, and this importance is usurped by only one other gameÖ
Fun Fact - Superstar Saga was actually supposed to include appearances by multiple other Nintendo characters, like Fox McCloud and Olimar from Pikmin. These characters are still in the coding (and presumably in the beta), but they were eventually removed from the game itself.
Luigiís second starring role (the first was Mario Is Missing!) is the most important Luigi-featuring game to be released thus far. This Nintendo GameCube game was not only an amazing launch title but also a huge 1-Up for the green plumber who had constantly lived in his brotherís shadow, barring that one aforementioned little-known SNES game. Luigiís Mansion pits Luigi against a house full of ghosts; in the game, Luigi must traverse the foreboding mansion so that he can locate Mario and clean up a lot of the ghosts in the house. The game is superb in that its marriage of combat-driven gameplay and puzzle-driven gameplay is spot-on. The atmospherics are also amazing for a launch title GameCube game.
Of course, Luigiís role in Luigiís Mansion cannot be understated. He is the sole protagonist, and he actually gets to rescue Mario, a magnanimous job for a character that was originally a palette swap of the original plumber. Although Mario isnít exactly a typical damsel-in-distress, the role reversal gives Luigi a lot of credibility as a character; Luigiís identity as a wholly separate character is affirmed with Luigiís Mansion unlike with any other game. On top of that, Luigi does something that Mario has never done before: catch ghosts. The genre and the game are unique in the Mario franchise, and Luigiís status as protagonist is huge.
Moreover, a lot of Luigiís identity in future games is derived from his appearance in Luigiís Mansion. In Mario Kart DS, Luigi has a Poltergust (the vacuum he uses to catch ghosts) go-kart; in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Luigiís stage is Luigiís Mansion; in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Luigi occasionally pulls out his Poltergust; in Mario Power Tennis, Luigi can use his Poltergust to save otherwise unreachable volleys. Luigiís personality is also further defined (rather, defined for the first time) by his time in Luigiís Mansion. In the game, we learn that Luigi is extremely cowardly hero with clumsy tendencies. This archetype is maintained throughout Luigiís appearances in GameCube-era games in addition to some of the whackiness that is both explored in Luigiís Mansion and explored further in games like Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
After Luigiís Mansion, Luigi is undeniably his own character, and, in many ways, he has more personality than the mysterious and oft-unexplained or -unexplored Mario.
Fun Fact - In the Boneyard, thereís a small plant. If you water it three times (once when you first see it, once when after defeating the second boss ghost, and once after defeating the third boss ghost), highly valuable gold diamond will pop out of the flower. The gold diamond is the most valuable treasure in the entire game, and the only other one is earned for capturing all 50 Boos in the mansion.
- Dr. Luigi Ė Even though Luigi could totally pull off the ďdoctorĒ persona, Dr. Luigi just isnít that great of a game. Itís subservient in just about every way to Dr. Mario 64, and Luigi-ness is mitigated to the addition of the L-block in the new eShop game.
- Mario Party 2 - An odd choice, I know. Mario Party 2 actually exhibited quite a bit of personality for all of the characters in the game, including Luigi. They even put on costumes! Havenít you always wanted to see Luigi in a cowboy costume? Or as a pirate? Or as an astronaut? Well, you can always go find Luigi on the weekend because HE DOES ALL OF THOSE THINGS IN HIS SPARE TIME.
- Paper Mario - If only for the Easter Egg where Mario can startle the living crap out of Luigi. Midway through Chapter 3 when Mario earns the Super Boots, if you trek all of the way back to Mario and Luigiís house via Toad Town (itís a long trip) and ground pound at a certain spot in the house, you will find Luigi writing in his diary in the basement. You can read the diary at just about any time, and itís pretty awesome.
I hope you enjoyed this Luigi-filled list! Despite being the ultimate incarnation of a videogaming sidekick, Luigi really has made a name for himself, and it shows in all of the games heís starred in. Even though heís not the primary character in most Mario games, he has a lot of personality and spunk, something that you should watch out for in future releases that include Luigi (Mario Golf: World Tour, Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. 4, and so on). Ever since his inclusion as a Mario palette swap, Luigi has steadily gained more and more autonomy. Itís actually quite impressive how a palette swap has managed to earn his own personality and games over the course of the last three decades. The Year of Luigi may have ended, but the Eternity of Luigi has just begun!
In the meantime, if you liked this list or want to discuss some of the inclusions in this list, feel free to drop by the Top 10 Lists Contributor board, which is linked to at the bottom of this page. Let me know if you liked this list by recommending it below; Iíll be more likely to write more Top 10 lists if I get positive feedback. Also feel free to track my other contributions if you like my writing. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed this list! Now let me just find my copies of the Super Luigi books andÖ..
List by super_luigi16 (04/24/2014)
Discuss this list and others on the Top 10 Lists board.
Have your own Top 10 in mind? Create and submit your own Top 10 List today.