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Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

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Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSagaGBACoverArtUS.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s) AlphaDream
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Yoshihiko Maekawa
Shunsuke Kobayashi (3DS)
Producer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Tetsuo Mizuno
Artist(s) Toshizo Morikawa
Writer(s) Hiroyuki Kubota
Composer(s) Yoko Shimomura
Series Mario & Luigi
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance
Nintendo 3DS
Release Game Boy Advance
  • NA: November 17, 2003
  • JP: November 21, 2003
  • EU: November 22, 2003
  • AU: November 28, 2003
Nintendo 3DS
  • JP: October 5, 2017
  • NA: October 6, 2017
  • EU: October 6, 2017
  • AU: October 7, 2017
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga[a] is a role-playing video game developed by AlphaDream and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The game is the first in the Mario & Luigi RPG series. The game was later re-released for the Wii U Virtual Console on the Nintendo eShop in 2014.

The setting of the game begins in the Mushroom Kingdom, but progresses to the Beanbean Kingdom for the majority of the game. In the game, Mario and Luigi combat Cackletta, the primary antagonist. The quest begins when Cackletta, with the aid of her assistant Fawful, steals Princess Peach's voice after adopting the guise of an ambassador from the Beanbean Kingdom.[1]

A role-playing game, it centers on a battle system different from that of traditional games of the genre, with emphasis on timing and more elaborate attacks.[2] The game is whimsical in tone, with various in-game jokes and comical references to the heritage of the Mario series. Superstar Saga was critically acclaimed, and IGN named it the twelfth best Game Boy Advance game of all time in their feature reflecting on the Game Boy Advance's lifespan.[3] A remake of the game for Nintendo 3DS, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, was released on October 6, 2017.

Gameplay[edit]

Superstar Saga's battle system

The gameplay of Mario & Luigi differs from most other role-playing games due its focus on controlling Mario and Luigi simultaneously. During overworld sections, the directional pad controls Mario's movement with Luigi following closely, while Mario and Luigi's other actions are controlled individually with the A (Mario) and B (Luigi) buttons respectively.[4] The game begins with them being able to jump independently, though they will soon gain access to hammers and a variety of other techniques as the game progresses. For example, Luigi's hammer can be used to squash Mario into a smaller size, allowing to access small gaps, while placing Mario on Luigi's shoulders allows them to act like a propeller and hover across large gaps.[5] Various enemies roam the overworld, and coming into contact with these enemies initiates a battle. Landing a hit on the enemy while on the overworld allows the player to deal pre-emptive damage, while the opposite is also possible.

Battles in Superstar Saga are turn-based. Mario and Luigi can attack normally either by jumping, which can deal multiple hits but when used against enemies covered in flames or with spikes, Mario or Luigi will get hurt, instead of the enemy. Another attack option is the hammer, which is powerful, but ineffective against flying enemies. Similar to previous Mario RPG titles, such as Super Mario RPG and the Paper Mario series, players can time button presses to make their attacks more effective, such as earning an extra jump attack or increasing the hammer's power.[6] Introduced in this series is the way in which Mario and Luigi can defend themselves during an enemy's attack. When an enemy attacks, the brothers will be able to either jump or use their hammer which, when successfully timed, allows them to dodge their attacks and even deal counter damage (for example: if they jump on top of a charging Goomba). Throughout the game, players can unlock Bros. Attacks, which use Bros. Points (BP) which requires players to cooperate between Mario and Luigi's actions to perform powerful combination attacks.[2][7] Players can also use items such as mushrooms for healing, peppers for boosting stats and 1UP mushrooms for reviving fallen bros. Defeating enemies earns experience points which help the bros level up and increase their stats, with players given the option to further increase the stats of one attribute every time they level up. Players can further improve their stats by equipping new gear to the Bros., or making them wear badges that give them special attributes.

Like other Mario titles for the Game Boy Advance, Superstar Saga features the enhanced remake of the Mario Bros. arcade game.[8][9] The game also supports rumble functionality when used with the GameCube's Game Boy Player accessory.[4]

Plot[edit]

Unlike most games in the Mario series, this game is not set in the Mushroom Kingdom.[10] Instead, Superstar Saga introduces the Beanbean Kingdom, a neighboring monarchy to the Mushroom Kingdom. Despite this, traditional enemies such as Goombas are present, as well as new enemies exclusive to the game. The predominant race are the "Beanish", although there are other species such as the "Hoohooligans" and Yoshis. No locations featured in the Beanbean Kingdom, with the exception of Bowser's Castle, existed in any earlier Mario series games.

Characters[edit]

The playable protagonists in the game are Mario and Luigi, whose quest is to rescue the voice of Princess Peach, the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom. The voice is stolen by the game's antagonists Cackletta and Fawful.[11] Throughout the game, Mario and Luigi must work with the Beanbean monarchy headed by Queen Bean. Both she and her son, Prince Peasley, offer Mario and Luigi assistance. The youthful Prince Peasley is a celebrity figure in his native Beanbean Kingdom.

Deviating from a tradition of the Mario franchise, Superstar Saga's central antagonist is not Bowser, but the Beanish witch Cackletta.[12] Bowser aids the protagonists during a period of the game, but Bowser's body becomes possessed by the consciousness of Cackletta to form the creature Bowletta. Cackletta is aided by the assailant Fawful, who is often characterized by his comical use of language, as evidenced by his famous quote "I HAVE FURY!" and who is also the antagonist in the sequel Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Additionally, Mario and Luigi have recurring incidents with a thief named Popple and his sidekick Rookie (amnesiac Bowser), who engages both protagonists in conflict at various times throughout the game.[13] In one case, Popple fights alone. In another, he uses Birdo instead of Rookie.

Story[edit]

The game opens with the witch Cackletta and her assistant Fawful (disguised as good-will ambassadors) arriving to steal Princess Peach's voice and replace it with explosives. After being summoned to the palace by Toad, Mario and Luigi confront and subdue Bowser, who coincidentally was attempting to kidnap Peach. Bowser decides against doing so, and teams up with Mario and Luigi to take her voice back from Cackletta, who has fled to the Beanbean Kingdom, with the intention of kidnapping Peach afterward when her voice would not destroy his castle.[14]

Mario, Luigi, and Bowser fly to the Beanbean Kingdom via Bowser's airship, the Koopa Cruiser. Mid-flight, Fawful attacks the cruiser and blows it out of the sky. The brothers find themselves at Stardust Fields which is at the Mushroom/Beanbean Border, after making a deal with Tolstar, the king of Stardust Fields to get some coins to help Bowser who is stuck in a cannon and learning Bros. Techniques from the Border Bros. Tolstar cheats them but is defeated by the brothers, and afterwards Bowser is launched out of the cannon and he and the brothers become separated. On their journey, the brothers find themselves at Hoohoo Village at the base of Hoohoo Mountain but cannot travel to the Beanbean Castle because of Fawful setting up a roadblock. Ascending the mountain and defeating its guardian Hoohooros, at the summit they meet Blablanadon, a pterodactyl who ferries people to the summit and back to the town below. Blablanadon mentions he discovered a strange egg that soon hatches into a dragon called Dragohoho that the brothers defeat. Dragohoho then transforms into Prince Peasley, who had been transformed into a dragon by Cackletta. Blablanadon takes the brothers back down to the village and they meetup with the Hammer Bros. who fashion them hammers made from a Hoohoo Block that lets them destroy Fawful's roadblock.

The brothers reach Beanbean Castle Town and step into a trap laid by Cackletta that drops them into the sewers. The brothers learn from Lady Lima that Cackletta's goal is to steal the Beanstar, a mystical object inside the castle which once awoken with Peach's voice will grant all of her wishes.[15] Cackletta takes the Beanstar and attacks Mario and Luigi with a mutated form of the Queen Bean during her escape. After defeating the Queen, Mario and Luigi travel to Chucklehuck Woods to retrieve the Chuckola Reserve, a soda which will restore Queen Bean to her former state. They encounter Popple, a thief also after the Chuckola Reserve, with an amnesiac Bowser as his accomplice, named Rookie. Running into the brothers Cork and Cask who teach them new techniques with their hammers, and traversing the maze like woods, the brothers manage to defeat and obtain the Reserve, return to Beanbean Castle Town, and cure Queen Bean.[14]

Mario and Luigi then travel to Woohoo Hooniversity, where Cackletta plans to awaken the Beanstar. After solving numerous puzzles the brothers arrive too late, but the Beanstar is exposed to Peach's voice, which causes it to go berserk and flee. Mario and Luigi then battle Cackletta and defeat her. Cackletta is severely incapacitated from the battle, so Fawful sucks up her essence into his "vacuum helmet" to save her life. Cackletta then commands Fawful to attack, but he is stopped by Prince Peasley. The brothers locate the Beanstar but encounter Popple and Rookie again. After battling them, the Beanstar is again exposed to Peach's voice. The four grab onto the Beanstar in an effort to keep it under control, but it shoots into the sky. The Beanstar explodes into four pieces, which scatter across Beanbean Kingdom, and the brothers become separated from Popple and Bowser. Mario and Luigi backtrack after landing at Oho Oasis and obtain Firebrand and Thunderhand techniques respectively and meet Peach as she arrives in Beanbean Kingdom, who inexplicably has her own voice. They discover that Prince Peasley had learned of Cackletta's plot and warned the Princess beforehand and Birdo, disguised as Peach, had her voice stolen instead. Bowser's arrival and presence at her castle had prevented Peach from revealing the plan to Mario and Luigi. Meanwhile, Fawful imbues a weak Bowser with Cackletta's soul, resulting in the twisted Bowletta.[16]

On a trip to Little Fungitown through the desert of Teehee Valley, Mario becomes sick with Bean Fever after eating an unfamiliar mushroom and a hypnotized Luigi goes to obtain the cure by himself at the Guffawha Ruins. Peach is kidnapped by Bowletta, who demands all the pieces of the Beanstar in exchange. First going back to Teehee Valley, to the wreck of the S.S. Chuckola which later sinks, the brothers travel underwater to Gwarhar Lagoon and obtain new techniques for their gloves from the Jellyfish Sisters, then through battle obtaining the first piece by defeating the Christmas obsessed crab with a lisp, Hermie III. They obtain the second piece from the designer Harhall, obtain the third by winning a game and defeating Popple again in Chucklehuck Woods, and finally going to the Yoshi Theatre to obtain the fourth piece by completing a quest to collect bean fruits for the Yoshis in the theatre. (The second, third, and fourth pieces can be found in any order.)

After restoring the Beanstar, Mario and Luigi travel to Joke's End to make the exchange, once again traveling through a maze filled with puzzles to be solved. Bowletta refuses to hand over Peach, but Luigi, disguised in Peach's spare dress, ends up being taken in Peach's stead. He escapes from the repaired Koopa Cruiser, reclaiming the Beanstar in the process. The brothers return to Beanbean Castle Town, finding it under attack by Bowletta using Bowser's flying castle. The brothers and Prince Peasley fly up to it to stop Cackletta. Mario and Luigi battle past the Koopalings, but before they can reach Bowletta the brothers encounter Fawful yet again. A fierce battle between the three ensues with the brothers coming out on top, but Fawful plays a dirty trick and attacks the brothers while they weren't paying attention. However, Prince Peasly comes in and send Fawful flying, seemingly defeating him. The Bros. finally confront Bowletta and another epic battle begins. Feigning defeat, she tricks the brothers and swallows them. After waking up in her belly, the brothers battle and defeat Cackletta's soul, exorcising her from Bowser's body. The two are regurgitated and Bowser returns to normal. Afterwards, the brothers escape the castle before it explodes from a bomb set by Peasley. The explosion sends the castle falling into the ocean.[14] Exhausted from their vacation, Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toadsworth decide to head back to the Mushroom Kingdom. Before they can leave, Peasley brings a farewell gift for them to take home, which is Bowser, who regained his memory. The gang then returns home, and a movie based on their adventure is being shown at the Yoshi Theatre.

Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser[edit]

The story of Minion Quest starts off right after the Mario Bros. have defeated the first two enemies in the game, the two Goombas. After they are defeated, they are placed in barrels, and the one on the right complains about how he got trounced by the Mario Bros. again, with the one on the left saying that it's about time the Goombas rose up and made a name for themselves. Unbeknownst to anyone in Bowser's army, these two Goombas would eventually become Captain Goomba and Private Goomp over the course of their adventure.

They are taken care of by the Koopalings Roy, Wendy, and Iggy, who tear into them and mercilessly taunt them about how useless, expendable, and trash they are and proceed to give them orders, but before they can do so, the Koopa Cruiser gets attacked by Fawful and starts to sink into the area around the border between the Mushroom and Beanbean Kingdoms, just like in the main story, and every one of Bowser's army of baddies is thrown clear of the wreckage.

Captain Goomba regains his consciousness and awakes in a cave. He attempts to see if there is anyone nearby, but he can hear no answer, so he looks outside and finds that he is on a huge mountain. He sees Bowser, who had just been shot out of the cannon in Stardust Fields, fly through the air into the distance. Deciding to rush after his leader, the captain of the Goombas warms up for some action and takes off in pursuit of Bowser, and thus begins the untold adventure. After beating two Beanies who come across his path, Captain Goomba comes across some of his fellow kind arguing over who should be the captain and lead the rescue. Overcome with joy, he meets up with them, where they explain the situation to him, and after he convinces them to join him on the adventure, they officially make him a captain and give him his flag. Initially they only agreed to this because no one else wanted to, but he slowly starts to win their sincere support and respect and prove himself a true captain. Captain Goomba learns the tutorials of the game the first few levels.

The crew fights various Goombas, and a pair of Hammer Bros. who were going to live with the Hammerhead Bros. The squad comes across two Paragoombas, who take Captain Goomba for an enemy and attack his squad. After defeating them, the now-freed Paragoombas tell him the bad news: Fawful came across Bowser and made plans for him, and the Paragoombas attempted to interfere and stop him, but he brainwashed them with his headgear's smoke and shooed them away to fight his enemies. The minions make fun of the captain's "aura of stupidity"; this becomes a running gag throughout the story. Ludwig and Lemmy are encountered on the mountain, but they pay the squad no mind as they continue to look for Bowser themselves.

Eventually, Captain Goomba comes across Fawful, who has Bowser with him. Before he can do anything, however, Private Goomp arrives to take credit for defeating Fawful. Fawful uses his brainwashing smoke to brainwash Private Goomp, but fails to brainwash Captain Goomba due to his true minion spirit. Captain Goomba and his squad fight against Private Goomp and his brainwashed forces, and after the battle, Fawful knocks Goomp and Captain Goomba off the top of the mountain, and flees to the castle to retrieve the Beanstar, once again drawing parallels with the main story. Later, Captain Goomba consults a Hoohooligan about Bowser's whereabouts, and jumps off the bridge to the base of the mountain, making a huge crash in the process.

Outside Beanbean Castle Town, the Koopalings are discussing their plans about how to find Lord Bowser, and even wonder if he has been kidnapped. They easily dispatch a rowdy group of Beanies, but are ambushed by Fawful, who uses a more powerful spray to brainwash all the Koopalings after the normal one proved to be ineffective.

Captain Goomba and his squad come across a Shy Guy strolling around, who throws a turnip at Goomba. Afraid for a second that he might be brainwashed, the captain is ready to fight, but the Shy Guy says they are on the same side, and he was only attacking due to the fact other minions were hostile. Shy Guy joins Goomba's team as a new captain.

The two captains and their squad eventually encounter Lakitu, who explains to them that when the Koopa Cruiser exploded, it sent the minions flying across the entire kingdom, and that they will have to recruit all of the minions before taking their last stand against Fawful. Lakitu says he'll scout the nearby areas for any minions, but before he can do so, a brainwashed Larry snatches him away for building Fawful's army. However, the duo of captains are able to rescue him, and they continue their search.

Later on, the group runs into Prince Peasley, and they ask him if he has seen any Stalking Piranha Plants lately. One sneaks up behind Captain Goomba, and a battle ensues with a few Piranha Beans. After the fight, Captain Goomba humorously sends a Piranha Bean to attack Prince Peasley. The squad then encounters the Elite Trio, with Private Goomp at the forefront. Goomp says he intends to recruit all the minions and get recognition from Bowser, so he, along with Sergeant Guy and Corporal Paraplonk, fight the squad, with Captain Goomba winning the battle. After the battle, the three then argue over why they lost, causing a fight to ensue. The squad decides to ignore them and continue. Eventually, the group confronts Larry, who is ordering his minions to help build a fortress for him, so he can conquer Beanbean Castle Town. In the ensuing battle, Captain Goomba wins against Larry, and convinces him to join their cause, although Larry strongly dislikes taking orders from a Goomba. He informs the squad that the Koopalings are scattered around the world, knowing the locations of three of the Koopalings: Iggy in Chucklehuck Woods, Wendy in Gwarhar Lagoon, and Morton in Teehee Valley.

The squad enters a cave filled with Boos, and encounter Professor E. Gadd, who talks about his ghost research and his inventions, including a time machine. They wander into Chucklehuck Woods, where Iggy is busy taking over the forest. Captain Goomba starts to smell an addictive fragrance that makes him wander off into Bubbles' lair. Inside the cave, they see Bubbles, who mistakes them for the ones who are causing the turmoil in the forest, and he breaks the floor with his feet, sending the entire squad plummeting down into the underground. Getting out, they encounter Cork and Cask, who ask for help retrieving the Red Goblet in exchange for info on Iggy's whereabouts. Sergeant Guy has split up with the Trio, and attempts to beat the squad alone, but fails and instead joins the squad. The squad soon meets a Boo who becomes another captain (although he just wanted the flag). Finally, at Mother Chuckalola, the squad encounters and defeats Iggy, and he joins the squad's team.

In Gwarhar Lagoon, Captain Goomba is swarmed by eager Hermie club fans, only for Wendy to appear and taunt the squad. The Hermie club then attacks Wendy, so the minions give chase. Although she escapes, she has set up a "cute battle contest" that will determine the cutest group, which the Hermie club plans to join. Hermie III snatches a Bob-omb and Starlow, a star sprite, to use as decorations for the cute contest, which leaves the rocking starfish Spangle dejected. Starlow escapes, and shooes both Hermie and Spangle away, before leaving to possibly enter the cute battle herself. Corporal Paraplonk is encountered training his Paratroopas for the contest, and after a battle, joins the squad. The cutie battle begins which gives Shy Guy stage fright, and he bails as a result. The minions must get through a few rounds earning points, and eventually Wendy gets fed up and decides to fight early. After, Wendy joins the squad, and after leaving, the star angels (Starlow, Spangle, and two Starkiss) end up winning the prize.

Back at Hoohoo Mountain, Bowser is seen looking for food. The minions lose sight of him, and ask a Hoohooligan what happened to Bowser. He explains that Bowser was able to escape Fawful's capturing, but got struck by a "hard object" (which made him lose his memory). Popple, who was in the village stealing food, trips on Bowser, causing him to wake up and start following Popple. Back at Chucklehuck woods, Popple has already made Bowser his Rookie, but momentarily loses sight of him. Popple asks the captains for help in finding "Rookie," but they intimidate Popple into fighting. Rookie does appear, however, but he does not recognize his former lackeys, and burns Captain Goomba when the latter tries constantly to no end to get him to come back home to the castle before leaving.

The squad makes their approach to Teehee Valley, Where Morton is attempting to take over the Toad village. Encountering Private Goomp in the desert, they battle his Goomba squadron and gain him as the last Elite Trio member. They "save" a single Toad that works at the arcade at the town, and bribes Captain Goomba into getting an Invincibility Mushroom in a cave in exchange for beans, and in yet another parallel to the main story, it turns out they got a Poison Mushroom instead of an Invincibility Mushroom, which caused Mario to get Bean Fever. Among a group of Troopeas, a lone friendly Koopa is encountered, and becomes a captain, though his affinity for rhyming is usually frowned upon. Eventually, the group finds Morton and defeat him, and he joins the squad.

Popple is encountered again, this time looking for a replacement for the previous Rookie (candidates include a Fighter Fly, a Beanie, a Paratroopea, a Tanoomba, and Birdo). Upset that the squad attacked him in the Woods, Popple fights the minions, but is defeated again. Birdo, the only Rookie left, carries Popple away. Meanwhile, the cutscene where Rookie becomes Bowletta plays, implying Rookie was just beaten.

Lakitu informs the crew that the Koopa Cruiser is being repaired in Joke's End, but Fawful appears to tell them he took over Bowser's Castle, and that Bowser is "no longer of this world anymore." Making their way to Joke's End, they find the Koopa Cruiser in ruins, so they decide to defeat minions to gather tools, unaware they are being spied on by Roy. Once they have enough allies, Roy launches a surprise attack, but soon comes to his senses and joins the squad, telling the squad to stop a bomb the Elite Trio had placed on the cruiser. With the cruiser repaired, the squad flies to Bowser's castle.

The castle is filled with the hardest enemies thus far. Ludwig and Lemmy are encountered and fought, and once defeated, the Koopaling team is complete. Eventually, as a test of strength, Ludwig orders all the Koopalings to fight at the same time. Captain Goomba defeats them all, and they gain the Koopalings' respect.

The group encounters Fawful once again, and although he taunts the squad mercilessly, they defeat him and make their way to Bowser's chamber, where Bowser (seemingly returned), immediately tells Captain Goomba to "destroy" Mario. It turns out "Bowser" was actually Bowletta in disguise, and she and Fawful use a trapdoor to send the squad into a dungeon, which turns out to be a Mechawful factory. After a long final battle which tests all the skill levels, the minions defeat Fawful one final time and escape the dungeon. It is unknown what happened to Fawful after this, it is presumed he fled and went on to fight Mario and Luigi, once again in a parallel to the main story.

After Bowletta's ultimate defeat, the minions reunite with a returned Bowser, only for the castle to explode sending Bowser and his minions crashing into the screen. Later, Bowser gets stuck in the present in the airplane, and all the minions chase after it on their way home. Back at Bowser's castle, Bowser begins to promote Captain Goomba, only to realize he was the "hard object" that fell on Bowser's head and gave him amnesia. Bowser angrily chases after Captain Goomba, and his title and flag are taken away, although his former minions never forget his leadership as the story comes to a close.

Development and marketing[edit]

Superstar Saga, developed by AlphaDream, is said to take its inspiration from the Nintendo 64 game Paper Mario;[10][17] the two games have similar graphics and gameplay.[18][19] The producers of the game were Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario franchise, Tetsuo Mizuno, and Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo.[20] The voice acting for Mario and Luigi in the game is provided by Charles Martinet, well known for providing the characters' voice in Nintendo's Mario franchise.[17] The game's music was composed by Yoko Shimomura, who also composed the score for Super Mario RPG.[21]

Superstar Saga was first revealed at E3 2003 under the name Mario and Luigi, where a playable demo of the game was available.[22] In August and September 2003, a playable demonstration was also available at the European Computer Trade Show, the Games Convention, and Nintendo Gamers' Summit.[17][23][24] To link in with the game's comic themes, Nintendo organized an official competition between October and November 2003 in which contestants would try to submit the best knock-knock joke to win a Game Boy Advance SP and a copy of the game. Nintendo employed comedian Kathy Griffin to choose the winner.[25]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 90/100[26]
Review scores
Publication Score
EGM 8.83/10[27]
Eurogamer 9/10[10]
Game Informer 9.5/10[27]
GameSpot 9.2/10[4]
IGN 9/10[28]
Nintendo Power 4.7/5[27]

Superstar Saga received "universal acclaim", according to the review aggregator Metacritic.[26] The game's comical dialog and themes in particular were lauded by critics. Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell commented that "each line of dialogue and identifiable cameo is handled with a loving sense of humour."[10] Despite this, RPGamer's Andrew Long labelled the plot as repetitive, and the game's characters as "a tad shallow".[29] While also appreciating references to the heritage of the Mario series,[30] critics praised the game for avoiding clichés common in previous games of the Mario series.[10]

The gameplay attained a mixed reception. Critics enjoyed the game's battle system, which deviated from role-playing game tradition.[4] IGN's Craig Harris commented that "unlike most Japanese RPGs Mario & Luigi's turn-based battle involves the player at all times".[28] Despite this novel approach to combat situations, some reviewers thought that the overall gameplay lacked innovation.[12][31] GameSpy in particular criticized the game for an apparent lack of originality, commenting that "in terms of gameplay, there isn't much there that we haven't seen in the NES and SNES Mario and Zelda titles."[12] Furthermore, some reviewers were disappointed by a perceived lack of difficulty in the gameplay as a result of targeting a younger audience.[31] However, Cubed3 welcomed this approach, citing that "any gamer, be them [sic] veterans to the genre or complete amateurs, will find the title to be perfectly accessible."[1] Edge and other gaming publications have criticized the controls for being occasionally confusing when considering the usage of jumping, hammers, and other combinations between the two characters.[32]

A common concern among reviewers is the overhead perspective, which critics have bemoaned for preventing them from judging pathway routes and an object's location in relation to its background.[1][28] Besides this, the actual visuals were generally well received,[4][10] as well as the setting and animations. The audio was commended for combining both originality and nostalgia, even though it looped frequently.[4]

In 2006, Superstar Saga was rated the 37th best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games list.[33] In the same year, the game became part of the Player's Choice label.[34] In 2007, the game was named the twelfth best Game Boy Advance game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the Game Boy Advance's long lifespan.[3] In the United States alone, Superstar Saga sold 1 million copies and earned $30 million by August 2006. During the period between January 2000 and August 2006, it was the 14th highest-selling game launched for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS or PlayStation Portable in that country.[35] As of 2007, Superstar Saga has sold over 441,000 units in Japan and 1.46 million in the United States.[36][37]

Sequels and remake[edit]

Nintendo released Partners in Time, the prequel/sequel to Superstar Saga, on November 28, 2005 for the Nintendo DS system. The plot and setting is relatively disconnected to that of Superstar Saga, as Cackletta has been replaced by the Shroobs as the primary antagonists.[38] Although the game is set outside the Beanbean Kingdom, there are references to Superstar Saga in Partners in Time, such as the inclusion of Fawful in the sewers of Princess Peach's Castle in the game.[39] The Bros. Moves have been retained in Partners in Time, although they involve an item system as opposed to the Bros. Points system that Superstar Saga has.[40] A second sequel, Bowser's Inside Story, was released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS, with Fawful reprising his role as a key villain. A third sequel, Dream Team, was released in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS. A fourth sequel, Paper Jam, a crossover with the Paper Mario series, was released for the 3DS in 2015.

Nintendo 3DS remake[edit]

During a Nintendo Treehouse Live webcast at E3 2017, a remake of Superstar Saga for Nintendo 3DS, titled Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions,[b] was announced. The port features updated graphics, maintaining the use of sprites but with additional lighting effects, akin to Dream Team and Paper Jam. The port also adds an additional storyline, Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser, which follows Captain Goomba and features different gameplay mechanics. The game also features Amiibo functions, tied to the existing Boo and new Goomba and Koopa Troopa figures. The game was released worldwide on October 6, 2017.[41]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Known in Japan as Mario & Luigi RPG (マリオ&ルイージRPG, Mario ando Ruīji Aru Pī Jī)
  2. ^ Known in Japan as Mario & Luigi RPG 1 DX (マリオ&ルイージRPG1 DX (デラックス), Mario ando Ruīji Aru Pī Jī Wan Derakkusu, read as "Deluxe")

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Riley, Adam (2003-11-26). "'Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga – Cubed3'". Cubed3. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  2. ^ a b Sulpher, Brian P. "Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Guide: Basics". IGN. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  3. ^ a b Harris, Craig (2007-03-16). "Top 25 Game Boy Advance Games of All Time". IGN. Retrieved 2007-03-18. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Torres, Ricardo (2003-11-19). "'Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for Game Boy Advance. This game was created and produced by Khalid Yassin. Review'". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  5. ^ Sulpher, Brian P. "Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Guide: Walkthrough". IGN. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  6. ^ Sulpher, Brian P. "Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Guide". IGN. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  7. ^ Sulpher, Brian P. "Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Guide: Items". IGN. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
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