Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
|Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story|
North American box art
|Series||Mario & Luigi|
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, known as Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! (マリオ&ルイージRPG3!!! Mario ando Ruīji Āru Pī Jī Surī?) in Japan, is a role-playing video game developed by AlphaDream and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld game console in 2009. It is the third game in the Mario & Luigi series, following Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and preceding Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
The game's plot involves Mario and Luigi being shrunken and inhaled into the body of their long-time nemesis, Bowser. The Mario brothers learn to assist Bowser, who is unaware of their presence, as he combats Fawful, who has taken control of the Mushroom Kingdom. The gameplay focuses on the co-operation of the trio, who use their specific abilities to solve puzzles and fight enemies and thus progress through the game. Similar to its predecessors, its role-playing style emphasizes a turn-based battle system focused on timing accuracy, and is comedic in nature.
Bowser's Inside Story was first revealed at Nintendo's Tokyo Press Event on October 2, 2008, and its English title and Western release dates were announced at E3 2009. The game was both critically and commercially successful, gaining an aggregate score of 91% from GameRankings and 90 from MetaCritic, and selling 4.13 million copies worldwide as of April 2011.
Gameplay alternates between three characters, Mario & Luigi, who are controlled together using the A and B buttons on the bottom screen, and Bowser, who is controlled with the X and Y buttons on the top screen. There are two main worlds, the main overworld, which is played in an overhead view, and the world inside Bowser's body, which is a 2D side-scrolling world. Whilst most of the game is played with Mario & Luigi inside Bowser and Bowser himself in the overworld, Mario & Luigi also have opportunities to visit the overworld via pipes as the game progresses. Gameplay typically revolves around playing one character whilst the other is inactive, whilst later sections involve alternating between the two in order to progress.
The battle system from the previous two games returned, this time with Bowser as a playable character. Bowser's battles are similar to Mario & Luigi's, albeit it he specialises in punching and breathing fire. During Bowser's battles, he can inhale to suck up defenses and enemies from the top screen similarly to the character Kirby from another Nintendo series. Any enemies inhaled will enter his body, where Mario & Luigi will fight them instead. Along with Mario & Luigi's Bros Attacks, Bowser has his own set of special attacks that make use of the touchscreen. Just like how Mario & Luigi can unlock new abilities by finding Attack Blocks, Bowser can earn new abilities by rescuing caged "Bowser Baddies", or by finding kitten-like blocks called Blitties.
A new ranking system is introduced in which, after a character has reached a specific level, their rank will increase. Upon reaching these milestones, player's can give that character a special bonus, such as an additional equipment slot or additional bonuses earned from battles. Mario and Luigi each have six ranks whilst Bowser has four and it is not possible to select every possible rank bonus in the game. The Badge system from previous games have also changed, now possessing effects that can be used by Mario and Luigi by charging a meter with attacks. When the meter is filled, players can touch the meter to activate its effect, which varies depending on the combination of badges equipped, such as health recovery or stat raising.
Various minigames are present, in which Mario & Luigi will have to help out Bowser's body from the inside in order to help him progress. The minigames' locations include the "Arm Center", where Mario and Luigi hit spark-like items into a muscle to strengthen Bowser's arms; the "Leg Outpost", where Mario and Luigi stomp on leg muscles to strengthen Bowser's legs; and the "Gut Check", where Mario and Luigi help digest food that Bowser eats. One location, the "Rump Command", has the player accumulate adrenaline in order to supersize Bowser if he gets crushed, which then allows the player to enter a new battle system where the DS is held vertically like a book, and attacks utilize the stylus and microphone.
The game opens with a disease called "The Blorbs" spreading across the Mushroom Kingdom. Toads that become infected with the disease inflate to many times their normal size and roll around uncontrollably. A council is immediately called at Princess Peach's castle to discuss what can be done about the epidemic. Starlow, a representative of the Star Sprites that watch over the Mushroom Kingdom, also attends. At the meeting, it is discovered that all those affected had previously eaten a "Blorb Mushroom" given to them by a salesman, who is later revealed to be Fawful. Bowser invades the castle attempting to kidnap Peach, but is defeated by Mario and expelled from the castle.
Bowser later finds himself in Dimble Wood where he is tricked by Fawful into eating a "Vacuum Shroom." The mushroom causes Bowser to mindlessly inhale everything in sight. He inhales Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Starlow before finally passing out. With Peach gone and the majority of the population incapacitated from the disease, Fawful then proceeds to take over Peach's castle while his assistant, Midbus, takes over Bowser's castle. Mario and Luigi, who have shrunken to microscopic size, navigate Bowser's body and manage to revive him. Bowser has no memory of the event and as a result is unaware that the Mario brothers are inside his body. Bowser only communicates with Starlow, who nicknames herself "Chippy" to avoid suspicion. Bowser then proceeds to chase Fawful in an attempt to reclaim his castle with the assistance of the Mario brothers.
Fawful eventually extracts Peach from inside Bowser's body and takes possession of the Dark Star, an evil and powerful entity with a seal that could only be broken by Peach. After a barricade prevents the trio from entering Peach's castle, Mario, Luigi, and Bowser are told by the town doctor that they are required to gather the three Star Cures in order to create the Miracle Cure, a magical medicinal object. The Star Cures are eventually collected and the Miracle Cure destroys the barricade and also heals the Blorbs disease in the process.
Bowser confronts Fawful in the transformed Peach's castle and defeats his assistant, Midbus. The Dark Star's seal finally breaks and it enters Bowser's body, where it begins to leech on Bowser's cells and absorb his DNA. The Dark Star escapes and is briefly taken back in possession by Fawful, who is then defeated by Bowser. The Dark Star absorbs Fawful's remains and, using Bowser's DNA, becomes a shadowy, powerful doppelgänger of Bowser, named Dark Bowser. Bowser then battles Dark Bowser and, with the help of Mario and Luigi, destroys the Dark Star. Fawful, having been inhaled by Bowser during the battle, initially feigns remorse but suddenly self-destructs in a final effort to destroy the Mario brothers. The explosion causes Bowser to regurgitate everyone he had inhaled. Enraged by the discovery, Bowser proceeds to fight the Mario brothers, but is defeated and retreats back to his castle. The two castles are rebuilt and Peach sends Bowser a cake as gratitude for his unintentionally heroic efforts.
Nintendo revealed Mario & Luigi RPG 3 at a press conference in Japan. Nintendo of Japan revealed details of the game relating to the plot and game play, as well as the fact that it would involve extensive use of the touch screen. AlphaDream, developers of Superstar Saga and Partners In Time, developed this game along with experienced contributors to the Mario series such as Yoko Shimomura and Charles Martinet working on music and voice acting respectively. At E3 2009, it was revealed that the official English name of the game would be Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and that it would be released in fall 2009 for North America and Europe.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story received critical acclaim and is the highest rated game of the RPG Mario games, with many of the praises going to the improved gameplay, storyline, humor, and Bowser's role as the focal character. The first North American critic to review it was the magazine Nintendo Power, who scored the game a 9.5/10 saying it is "the best RPG-style Mario adventure ever made," and that "Anyone who loves the Mario characters, role-playing games, or even action games should absolutely give Bowser's Inside Story a look." IGN awarded it a 9.5 as well as an Editors Choice Award. GameInformer awarded this game with an 8.75 out of 10 and gave it an award for "Handheld Game of the Month". GameDaily gave the game 10/10. Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game 92%, saying "Bowser's Inside Story is the freshest, most vital RPG on the DS for ages". GameSpot gave the game a 9.0, and awarded it with an Editors' Choice award, praising the overall plot and story. X-Play's Blair Herter gave the game a 5 out of 5, highly praising the plot. Giant Bomb's Brad Shoemaker gave the game a 5 out of 5, and the website later named it the Best DS Game of 2009.
Bowser's Inside Story was the top-selling game in its first week of release in Japan at 193,000 copies. It sold 650,000 copies during the first half of 2009 and finished out the year as the 11th best-selling game at 717,940 copies sold in the country. According to NPD Group, Bowser's Inside Story was the fourth best-selling game for its release month at 258,100 copies sold. It continued to sell well in the following months and had sold 656,700 copies in the region by the end of December 2009.
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