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[a] 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 RPG series.
The game's plot involves Mario and Luigi being 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 and Luigi, who are controlled together using A and B on the bottom screen, and Bowser, who is controlled with X and Y 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. Although most of the game is played with Mario & Luigi inside Bowser and Bowser himself in the overworld, Mario and Luigi also have opportunities to visit the overworld via pipes as the game progresses. Gameplay typically alternates between controlling the brothers and controlling Bowser. Some sections involve direct interaction between the brothers and Bowser in order to progress.
The battle system from the previous two games returns, this time with Bowser as a playable character. Bowser's battles are similar to Mario & Luigi's, albeit it he specializes 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 use the touchscreen. As Mario and Luigi can unlock new abilities by finding attack blocks, Bowser can earn new abilities by rescuing his caged minions, or by finding living, kitten-like blocks called Blitties.
A new ranking system is introduced in which, after a character has reached a specific level, his rank will increase. Upon reaching these milestones, that character will receive a special bonus, such as an additional equipment slot, being able to visit specific shops or receiving a certain piece of equipment. Mario and Luigi each have six ranks, but Bowser has four. The badge system from previous games has also changed, now possessing effects that Mario and Luigi can use 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 the Mario Bros. will have to help out Bowser's body from the inside in order to help him progress. Examples include the "Arm Center", where the brothers hit spark-like items into a muscle to strengthen Bowser's arms; the "Leg Outpost", where they stomp on leg muscles to strengthen Bowser's legs; and the "Gut Check", where they help digest food that Bowser eats. One location, the "Rump Command", has the player accumulate adrenaline in order to supersize Bowser if he is crushed, leading to a new battle system in which the DS is held vertically like a book and all attacks require 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 like a balloon 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 secretly the mad scientist Fawful. Bowser invades the castle attempting to kidnap Peach but is defeated by an enraged Mario and expelled from the castle.
Bowser 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, Starlow, and their friends 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, the boar-like 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 consequently does not know the Mario brothers are inside his body. Bowser only communicates with Starlow, who nicknames herself "Chippy" to avoid suspicion. Bowser begins tracking down Fawful in an attempt to reclaim his castle with the assistance of the Mario Bros.
After leading Bowser into a trap, Fawful 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. When a barricade prevents the trio from entering Peach's castle, Mario and Luigi sneak out of Bowser together via warp pipe into Toad Town and are told by the town doctor that they must gather the three Star Cures in order to create the Miracle Cure, a magical medicinal object that will cure the Blorbs disease and destroy the barricade. Bowser overhears this and races for the cures himself, only to be trapped in a safe by his minions who now serve Fawful. Ultimately, the brothers collect all three star cures, and the Miracle Cure destroys the barricade, healing the Blorbs disease in the process.
Bowser is freed from the safe and confronts Fawful in Peach's transformed castle and defeats Midbus. The Dark Star's seal finally breaks, and Fawful tries to absorb its power, only for Bowser to punch him away. The Dark Star then enters Bowser's body, where it begins to leech on his cells and absorb his DNA. Mario and Luigi return to Bowser's body to stop it, but the Dark Star escapes and searches for Fawful to reclaim the power stolen from it, only for Bowser to find and defeat Fawful first. The Dark Star absorbs Fawful's remains and, using Bowser's DNA, becomes a shadowy, powerful doppelgänger of Bowser, named Dark Bowser. Bowser 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 Bros. The explosion causes Bowser to regurgitate everyone he had inhaled. Enraged by the discovery, Bowser proceeds to fight the Mario Bros. but is defeated and retreats back to his castle. The two castles are rebuilt, Bowser's minions return their loyalty to him 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, where they reveal details of the game relating to the plot and play mechanics, 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 in the United States. 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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