The 'Shroom:Issue 200/Mario & Luigi Memories
Mario & Luigi Memories
Written by: BlueShelledKoopaTroopa
I first remember playing Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga sometime around when the game was new in 2003/2004. I don't remember if I asked for the game or if it just happened to be bought one day. Either way, it was a new GBA game, so I wasn't complaining.
This was the first Mario & Luigi game, as well as the first Mario RPG overall, that I've played. (I would later go on to play Partners in Time, Thousand-Year Door, and Super Paper Mario when they were new).
It was really weird to see Bowser teaming up with Mario and Luigi, even if it was only briefly in the beginning. I knew Bowser as the bad guy before this game. (I wasn't aware of Super Mario RPG at the time). This game happened to be the first time I saw them team up.
It was fun to see Mario and Luigi get into many crazy situations on their adventure, and also for those moments when they are separated and have to do battles and puzzles by themselves. The minigames found along the way were also fu, and I can't forget the music and sound effects, which are just classic GBA goodness.
Learning the enemy attack patterns and pulling off the Bros. Moves was super satisfying. Learning the advanced techniques and doing them on level three felt amazing. However, there was a problem; I didn't quite understand what the stats Speed or Stache were for, so some bosses, especially the final boss, were very difficult.
The Koopaling fights, from what I remember, were really challenging, especially since, in some fights, there's a limited amount of rounds before you get an automatic Game Over. My stats weren't quite where they needed to be, so it took a lot of tries to get past that point. The second half of the final boss was really rough. I didn't have high enough speed, so the final boss was able to do her attacks right away, and, since I didn't know what attacks it was going to use, and I only had 1 HP with Mario and Luigi, I got game overs multiple times without even getting a chance to attack. Even after surviving the first attack rush, it was an endurance battle to keep repeating the process needed to start doing damage to the boss. I never felt so great when I finally beat that boss.
(I have to say that, even back then, I found it eerie that Beanbean Castle Town doesn't get repaired even after the game is over.)
It feels really weird now that I'm on my 2nd run almost about 10 years later, playing while having a better understanding of the RPG mechanics. The bosses in general, the Koopalings, and the final boss all felt much easier.
I should briefly mention the Mario Bros. game that was also packed with this game (which was also packed with the four Mario Advance games on GBA). I was able to experience four-players with it. It was four-player madness before New Super Mario Bros Wii.
I also find it interesting that there's an unofficial way to play the main game with two-player co-op with the GameCube Game Boy Player and the Wii U VC. I never got to try it out, but it's cool that it's a thing and it works.
I've never got around to playing the 3DS remake of this game, but I'm aware of some of the QoL changes that were made and the extra side game.
I got Partners in Time for Christmas in 2005, ready for more Mario and Luigi insanity, with Baby Mario and Baby Luigi and time traveling! That for sure will open more possibilities with craziness, I thought, and indeed it did. From time traveling, to having to deal with Bowser and Baby Bowser & the Shroob army, to getting eaten with other Yoshis by Yoob (that made it very personal), there were antics all over. I loved the interactions that Mario and Luigi had with Baby Mario and Baby Luigi.
The Bros. items were satisfying to pull off, like in Superstar Saga. They were also trickier to do since there are four Bros. to worry about. I really like how the impact of the attacks can be felt.
The final boss was also challenging, but mostly because it was a long boss fight. Also, I still didn't know what Speed and Stache were for, so the final boss fights were challenging. Even after facing the final boss 10 years later, the final boss still felt a bit too long.
(I have to shout out the most iconic Mario line in this game, "Babies!").
I thought Partners in Time was a great game. It's a shame there never was a remake of this game (although that could always change in the future). There could be an opportunity for four-player co-op.
After Partners in Time, I didn't get to play the future Mario & Luigi games when they were released until years after.
Outside of the game
I decided to look back at the Mario & Luigi commercials to see if I remembered seeing any of them back then. The only one I remembered was one from Bowser's Inside Story, where kids were describing how Mario and Luigi get inside Bowser to save the day. Wow, 2000s Nintendo commercials were really something else.
This game seemed to have more of an impact than I realized. To this day, the sprites from this game, (and also some from Partners in Time/Bowser's Inside Story), are widely used in many sprite fan animations.
(There's even a cringey photo of me recreating one of the passport poses that Mario and Luigi did.)
Now I want to replay the game again.