Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

Review

posted 12/8/2003 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: GBA
There are no random encounters in Mario & Luigi, you will always be able to see the enemies you will face just roaming around the countryside. If you run up and jump on the enemy before the fight, you will have the upper hand when you get into the battle. Likewise, if the enemy spins and hits you forcing you into a turn-based fight, they will have the upper hand and the first attack.

The game ends up offering an engaging story that will have you captivated all the way through. Even for gamers unsure of the whole role-playing genre, Mario & Luigi offers a lighthearted adventure that earns a few good laughs and actually manages to be interesting. It’s not weighed down by a lot of extra characters or useless dialog; it’s to the point and keeps the pace up.

The world map invites a lot of exploration and rewards gamers who aren’t afraid of doing a little backtracking. Mario & Luigi’s world is decidedly more interactive than that of Golden Sun or other popular role-playing games. You can break rocks with your hammer to uncover secret paths, you can collect items by hitting your head on blocks, and you can jump around like an overhead platformer.

Each character ends up lending their own unique power to the quest. Mario can use fire and can be jumped on like a trampoline. Luigi, on the other hand, is good with lightning and can spin really fast so you can float across large gaps. The game is set up so you will constantly be learning new moves, all of which are used to solve puzzles throughout the course of the adventure.

As you explore the world you will also find a bounty of mini-games that will test your memory, finger skills, and timing. Some of these games you are required to beat in order to continue your quest, but just as many of them are there for fun and amusement. As you understand your surroundings more, it’s easier for you to transport from one area to another just to play these mini-games.

The game is generally pretty easy, always giving you enough money and mushrooms. The puzzles are fairly basic as well, only a few really offer much in the way of a challenge, and even then an experienced gamer shouldn’t get stuck more than once or twice. The game is fairly long, though, offering a good twenty hours, with a lot of incentive to play longer and find the items passed over.

My only real complaint about the world is that it reminds me too much of Hyrule in the Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past. Looking past the similarity in style, Mario’s world seems to offer a lot of the same clichés that litter Zelda’s, including a mountainous area, a desert valley, and even a maze-like forest. There are a few surprises in Mario & Luigi, but most of it feels oddly reminiscent of Hyrule.
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