Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

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The third game in the Mario & Luigi RPG series, released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS. Its Japanese name is "Mario and Luigi RPG 3!!!".

A mysterious disease, the Blorbs, is causing Toads to swell into giant balloons. In a bid to capture Princess Peach and use her power to claim the Darkness Power of the Dark Star, Fawful tricks Bowser into miniaturizing most of the toads in Peach Castle and sucking them into his own body. The Dark Star is buried beneath the Mushroom kingdom and seems to be the cause of the Blorbs.

With Peach, Mario and Luigi trapped inside Bowser's body, Fawful takes over Bowser Castle, capturing some of his minions and brainwashing the rest. Bowser embarks on a journey to take back his palace and free all his minions. Meanwhile, Mario and Luigi aid him from inside his body when necessary in the midst of collecting the three Star Cures needed to counteract the Dark Star.

One of the quirks of the game is that Bowser can't be controlled unless Mario and Luigi are inside his body. That's because of the new mechanic of the Vacuum Block, which allows Bowser to suck up smaller enemies or, less frequently, parts of the enemies that temporarily raise Bowser's stats. When Bowser is ingesting entire enemies, the screen cuts away to a battle inside Bowser between the Bros. and the enemy. After this battle is over, the outer battle resumes (unless Bowser ate the last enemy). Notably, this is the only way that Mario, Luigi, and Bowser can fight against common enemies in the same battle. Another feature is that while most of the world is the same format as the previous two games, a top-down view of the world, all the stages inside Bowser's body are 2-D, side-scrolling levels.


Tropes used in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story include:
  • Action Bomb: Bob-ombs of course.
    • There's also the Alarm Bob-ombs, that explode when their time's up.
  • Airborne Mook: Some enemies can fly or float, and are thus immune to hammers, shells, shockwaves or any other low-hitting attacks. Bowser himself is unable to hit them via normal attacks as they either fly too high or can easily dodge his slow attacks.
  • Alien Geometries: There are pipes inside of Bowser that got there when he sucked them up. They lead to the outside of Bowser's body, without, at any point, going through Bowser. And in doing so, also raise the Bros.' size from microscopic to macroscopic. This sort of thing is par for the course in Mario World, though. Why do you think they're called warp pipes?
  • Always Accurate Attack: Unsually for a game that bases its attack system of dodging attacks, Peach's castle has one, it even calls it "Unavoidable attack". Bowser will take damage from this and cannot counter it.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Bowser even compliments the final boss on creating the "perfect backdrop for an awesome final battle." Said quote is actually the page quote for that page.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Broggy, Broque Monsieur's guard dog. He's pretty much pissed off at everything and can be unlocked as Bowser's final Special Attack. It also seems to have adopted his master's hatred of Mario since he'll growl if he comes too close.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Averted in the case of the Dimble Wood Wigglers. After Bowser ransacked the farm and the forest became a battlefield for Giant Bowser and his castle, they increased their security measures.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Wiggler accuses Bowser of invading and contaminating his farm, pulling out his giga-carrot, and eating it. Note that he told Bowser to do the last one.
  • Ascended Extra: Fawful goes from being The Dragon in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, a shopkeep in Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time, to the Big Bad in this game.
  • Ascended Meme: The game uses both "A Winner Is You!" and "They're a secret to everybody". Only the former is used by Fawful, though.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Parts of the game have Bowser growing giant in order to combat opponents too large for regular size.
  • Badass: Bowser shows just how badass he can be when not fighting Mario.
  • Bag of Sharing: Both the Bros and Bowser share coins and items. Makes one wonder where the coins gets stored. Also, when either characters are selling things in shops, the fact that Mario can sell a huge turtle shell and spicy drumsticks and that Bowser can sell mushrooms and overalls is a bit odd.
  • Bag of Spilling: Averted in one case where the brothers decide to use a move ("Hit mario with a hammer to make him small") from the first game when it is required, but otherwise played straight.
  • Balloon Belly: Lots. It's part of Fawful's plan to extract Princess Peach from Bowser's body after tricking him into trapping her in there -- later in the game, Bowser can go back and get fat again whenever he wants (Mario and Luigi to gain access to Flab Zone again, but there is no need to). The Bros. use it to their advantage as part of their "Snack Basket" special, using a giant Luigi to make a quake that damages all enemies, as well as to inflate Mario with air or water for travel purposes. And of course a bunch of Toads coming down with the blorbs. When it gets cured, one Toad seems to stay sick, until he says that it's how he normally looks like.
  • Beam-O-War: A brief fire breathing contest between Bowser and Dark Bowser.
  • Big Bad: Fawful.
  • Big Eater: Luigi, for one of the Mario Bros. special moves.
  • Blah Blah Blah: Bowser absolutely hates being made to listen to long-winded speeches, at one point even shouting, "TOO MANY WORDS."
  • Bonus Boss: There are three Shroobs locked up in Bowser's Castle. There's also the Challenge Node in Bowser's body (somewhere around his...liver?), although the fights there are only upgraded versions of old bosses. And are short, so short that there is a limit to how many moves you can finish them off in. This culminates in a Boss Rush incidentally featuring its own Bonus Boss: Bowser X.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Bowser, baby.
  • Boss Remix: Bowser's Theme is remixed for the Giant Boss Battles.
  • Bread and Circuses: Fawful. Not only does he win over the respect of nearly all of Bowser's henchmen, but he turns Bowser's Castle into a theater. And even Bowser has to admit that his cooking is excellent.
  • Breath Weapon: Bowser, naturally.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Luigi. He gets the most humiliating of the attacks, but at least he seems to enjoy them.
    • Luigi may have had his moments (though not as many in comparison to the first two), but Bowser is perhaps the king Butt Monkey in the entire game for wholly obvious reasons.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Durmite, which at first appears to be little more than a Giant Space Caterpillar From A Carrot. Its later revealed to be one of the Star Sages.
  • Chest Monster: Trashure (and Dark Trashure, later in Peach's Castle), a fairly regular enemy that doesn't bother trying to trick you. The chest opens at low health, giving Bowser the chance to inhale the coins inside. The regular attack also sometimes spits out coins (or mushrooms). It's also a bit of a Metal Slime however, tending to flee the battle.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Dark Fawful's three legs have to be destroyed (and you have to get rid of his two eyes as well so he won't hide those legs before you attack) before the Brothers can hit his true target, the Dark Star Core.
  • Collection Sidequest: Finding the Blitties, which lets Bowser use Broggy in a Special Attack. Beans also return but boost stats straight away. There's also collecting the various Attack Pieces that aren't necessarily needed to finish the game and are SP expensive, but a couple of them can become Game Breakers.
  • Continuity Nod: The aforementioned Bonus Boss battle against cryogenically-frozen Shroobs in Bowser's castle. In fact, the Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time recaps accompanying the fight border on Continuity Porn; when Mario informs a disbelieving Starlow that it was Luigi who finished off the Shroobs in the end, she mocks him by suggesting that he did so by "ferociously crying" - and she's dead-on right.
    • Isn't this whole game basically a Continuity Nod? Think about it: In game 1 Fawful is The Dragon to the Big Bad Cackletta/Bowletta. In game 2 he sells badges to Baby Mario and Baby Luigi claiming that one day he will have his revenge. What does he do in this game? That's right. He gets his revenge and becomes the Big Bad.
    • Though probably not intentional, the last battle of the first game is you fighting an evil spirit inside Bowser, the final battle of this game is you fighting an evil spirit inside Bowser.
      • If you want to get technical... the final boss of all three games involve Bowser being possessed (sort of) by something he probably shouldn't have eaten.
  • Cool Castle: Bowser's Castle and Peach's Castle. They're both ridiculously massive in size and amount of rooms (four or five floors each minimum), but they actually become giant robots. The former can fly to dodge missiles and fight against Bowser himself, the latter becomes a massive robot which attacks via laser beams and black holes. Note that neither of them normally do this, but Fawful tinkered with them.
  • Cool Train: The battle between giant Bowser and a train nicking stuff from his vault.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: The Mechawfuls definitely have whatever controls them inside their heads, to the point that the head specifically has to be destroyed separately to stop it from regenerating the body.
  • Creative Closing Credits: After the boss battle, Bowser is furious to find out that Mario, Luigi and Starlow's been in his body the whole time, and picks up a fight. Cue the closing credits, where he gets KO'd as usual, and a Where Are They Now? Epilogue showing what happens next. Oh, and after that, a heartwarming scene where Bowser gets a cake from Peach.
  • Cultural Translation: In most versions of the game, Broque Monsieur is stereotypically French (Even in the French Canadian one, where he's France French, with the associated language differences and stereotypes.). In the France French translation, he's a stereotypical English gentleman.
    • He speaks Gratuitous English in the Japanese version too. For example, one of his lines is "Oh my dog! What's happen!".
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Luigi gets his moment to shine during a few plot points.
    • Bowser does as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bowser and Starlow have moments of this, mainly toward each other.
  • Decoy Protagonist: While Mario and Luigi are the ones to gather the Plot Coupons, the game is arguably more Bowser's story. Well, the name "Bowser's Inside Story" isn't Just for Pun...
  • Death From Above: Goomba Storm. Goo-Ra! Note that they're also set on fire for this attack.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Magic Window uses a ludicrous amount of your SP and the individual attacks only do a quarter of the damage your normal jumps can do... but it will not stop until either you screw up an Action Command or everything on the other end of the field is dead.
  • Determinator: Shown through one of Dark Bowser's attacks in which Bowser has to face an onslaught of dark versions of his minions. It's pretty danged awesome to watch Bowser simply swat every single dark minion aside as he tromps toward Dark Bowser.
  • Deuteragonist: In two layers, no less. One layer is Bowser as one protagonist and Mario & Luigi as the other protagonist (since they are always together cooperatively). And, of course, Mario and Luigi are of equal mutual importance as a protagonist team.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Literally, in Bowser's case.
  • Disc One Nuke: The Koopa Corps for Bowser, which also remains useful for the rest of the game. Works on both multiple and single targets efficiently, and when done correctly its damage output exceeds several of the more expensive late-game attacks, such as the Magikoopa Mob.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Fawful, although he does not explicitly reference the events in the first game.
  • The Dragon: Midbus, to Fawful.
  • Dual Boss: Bowser Memories M and L.
  • Dumb Muscle: Bowser has just the right mix of this and Idiot Villain Protagonist.
  • Dummied Out: There was a Mushroom item that allowed the Bros to heal Bowser during a battle inside him (for the Sea Pipe Statue and Durmite, both of which could damage Bowser from the inside). It was taken out, presumably because only those two bosses had those sort of attacks.
  • Easily Forgiven: Bowser decides to release Private Goomp, Sergeant Guy and Corporal Paraplonk for betraying him for Fawful as long as they help fix the castle. They were Brainwashed though, so he can't exactly hold a grudge. Bowser does care for his minions, after a fashion.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Dark Star. Nobody knows what it is or where it's from, only that it's evil. Mario and Luigi start gasping and choking just from getting near it. Then Bowser steps up to the plate...
  • Emergency Transformation: Fawful turns into a bug-like blob of dark energy after being pummeled by Bowser.
  • Enemy Mine: Subverted by Bowser. He is not even aware of the fact that he inhaled the brothers and that they are helping him from inside. And he does not take it kindly when he finally finds out.
  • Cute Kitten: Blitties
  • Messy Pig: Midbus, who's a pig with an armadillo shell.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Bubble Bloopers and their dried-out forms, Dried Bloopers. Chakron the sage is an octopus.
  • Eviler Twin: Dark Bowser to Bowser.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Fawful and Bowser.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The Dark Star overpowers Fawful, who had stolen some of its energy, to become complete. However, Fawful becomes part of the Dark Star's core, and acts like a beneficial parasite; using his power to buff up Dark Bowser should he fall in exchange for being given access to as much of the Dark Star's power as he needs to defeat Mario and Luigi.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Bowser vs. Fawful.
  • Exposition Fairy: Starlow.
    • Aka 'Chippy', who tries to assist/annoy Bowser.
  • Expy: Does Nutsoglobin remind anyone else of Kamina?
  • Face Heel Turn: Private Goomp, Sergeant Guy and Corporal Paraplonk were bribed over to Fawful's side and they lock Bowser in his own safe. Bowser forgives them, though.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: When Mario and Luigi finally get to the first areas Bowser visited, the "large" enemies are jokes, but the small enemies that Bowser instantly defeated without battle are level appropriate.
  • Fantastic Voyage Plot: Kind of the point of half the game.
  • A Father to His Men: Bowser's troops see him like this. Even though he treats them like crap, he does care for them underneath all his yelling and berating. If you try to leave the screen with the Goombas still in the cage, Bowser will stop and insist he should help those "idiot Goombas".
  • Final Exam Boss: Bowser X counters every Bros. Attack used by inhaling it, making you unable to access that technique until six turns afterwards. This practically requires you to master each of the ten Bros. Attacks in order to defeat him.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Bowser. And he is gorgeous, in his own eyes anyway. Numerous hilarious moments of worship of his own physique, manliness and abilities.
  • Finishing Move: Invoked by Bowser at the very end of the game.

Bowser: And for the finale, one KO Punch!

  • Fixed Encounters: Best of all, you can get a free strike on enemies by jumping on them (as Mario and Luigi) or punching/burning them (as Bowser) in the overworld.
  • For The Chortulz: While Fawful does have a plan, very few of his projects involve it at all. The only apparent motive for 80% of his actions appear to be for sheer fun.
  • Flanderization: A subtle example. Fawful's speech patterns are somewhat MORE broken than in Superstar Saga, where he would simply talk in first release Final Fantasy I level sentences with some Zero Wing thrown in near the end. Here, he's more prone to Zero Wing level sentences, with the new Redundancy Department deskboy being Midbus (whom Fawful likely taught how to talk like.)
  • Gambit Roulett: Fawful, predictably, slips into this territory. For instance, getting toads infected with the Blorbs seems to have no other purpose than to draw Bowser out of his castle in concern for "his" kingdom and get beaten up by Mario, smacked into the forest where he'd accept the mushroom from Fawful in desperation for a means to beat Mario. The Blorbs have the added effect of keeping everyone busy with the epidemic and off his tail, effectively making his work invisible until it was too late.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A couple of moments in the game are funnier once you think about them for a while. "Mario, are you wearing any gear? I sure hope you are!"
    • "Rump Command" just seems like an odd name until you realize it's the place you go to save Bowser's ass.
    • Building on that, Fawful literally yanks Peach out of Bowser's ass (thankfully via magic rather than more direct means). Bowser's response? "Hey, put that back!"
  • The Goomba: Goombules for Mario and Luigi, Chuboombas for Bowser. Both of which are based off Goombas, of course.
  • Goomba Stomp: Enemies try to do it to Bowser in Bowser's Inside Story. Luckily, he can duck under his spiked shell.
  • Gratuitous French: The block people. Broque Madame even tries to take this into Everything Sounds Sexier in French.
    • The French localisation turns it into Gratuitous English for Broque Monsieur.
    • In Canada, the French localisation set "Mosieur DuBloc" as an authentic French of France, with all the stereotypes and language differences.
    • Broque Monsieur (Brirock in the original) speaks Gratuitous English in the Japanese version.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Bowser and Fawful, duh.
  • Heavy Voice: The speech vocalizations for the Toads are deeper when they are infected with the blorbs.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Luigi at the beginning of the game. He slept through Mario's opening tutorial!
  • Here We Go Again: After everybody gets out of Bowser's body, Bowser becomes enraged at finding out what happened and yet again starts fighting with the Mario Bros. Cue the credits.
  • Honest Axe: When Luigi is rescued from sinking by Princess Lipid, she asks Mario if he dropped him or a "treasure of everlasting wonder". You don't actually get to choose: she automatically assumes Mario wants the treasure even though that's not the case.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first Midbus fight, though it's more of a tutorial.
  • Hot-Blooded: Bowser.
  • Humongous Mecha: Most of Giant Bowser's foes.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Bowser pulls out a whole bunch of minions (or Broggy) from his shell when he does a minion attack.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: The end of the game.
  • An Ice Person: Midbus becomes one of these in the last dungeon. The way this trope is applied also counts as Cryogenic Exponent.
  • Incoming Ham: "Did someone page the king of awesome?!"
  • Infernal Retaliation: One of Bowser X's attacks starts off with a simple fireball attack. Upon one of the Bros. hitting it back with a hammer, it sets Bowser on fire, causing him to rain flames on the Bros, then follow it up with a spiked shell ball slam.
    • Bowser does it during a minigame in Peach's castle where a giant piranha plant sets his rolled-up shell on fire. He uses it to his advantage and rams the piranha plants to death. Later, Bowser and Dark Bowser set each other on fire, and both of them roll up into flaming spikeballs trying to tackle each other.
  • Informed Ability: Bowser apparently knows how to give professional massages. He just doesn't want to, unless there's compelling compensation.
    • Given that he's probably gotten massages from his minions a lot, it's likely he picked up some techniques from them.
  • Insistent Terminology: Double Subverted with the Miracle Toadley Cure. At first, he insists Starlow refer to the Miracle Cure by its full name, but then he seems to have dropped the issue soon after. Yet if you talk to him later, he's muttering the full name under his breath.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Fawful has passed down his speaking style to his dragon, Midbus. However, it's nowhere near as bad, and he simply speaks in a somewhat redundant fashion like the badly translated/dubbed kung-fu movies.
  • Interspecies Romance: The Koopa Troopa/Boo couple in Bowser Castle.
  • Just Eat Him: The game would have been very short if Bowser had chewed.
  • Laughably Evil: Bowser in particular as a Villain Protagonist.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Bowser does this when he badgers his Goombas about how they are supposed to fight.

Bowser: "Marching straight ahead at the enemy's feet." Didn't you all memorize that at Goomba Boot Camp?

  • Little Miss Snarker: Starlow a.k.a. "Chippy" so very much.
  • Low-Level Run: Finishing the game with Mario at Level 17 or lower will give you a message admiring your dedication. Though it has been confirmed by a few players, this is often regarded as an Urban Legend of Zelda by many, which is not helped by most FAQ's claiming that the message can be received with Mario or Luigi under Level 17.
  • Make My Monster Grow: A rare heroic version in that Mario and Luigi must make Bowser grow at certain points in the game.
    • Dark Star Core which is Fawful can temporarily double Dark Bowser's size. When this happens, punch him in the gut to make him cough up the little bastard.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Everything is designed like Fawful. For some reason this includes pictures/statues of Bowser with Fawful's glasses and Peach statues with modified heads.
  • Meaningful Name: Midbus is the midboss. (And the third-to-last boss.)
  • Megaton Punch: One of Bowser's primary attacks.
    • At the end of the game: Bowser finishes off Dark Bowser with five of these in a row, the last of which is a particularly devastating one.
  • Mirror Boss: The final boss battle of the game is Bowser versus the Dark Star turned into Dark Bowser, a clone of him. One of its attacks is to punch him, which must be countered by Bowser's own punch, followed by a shell slam, which must be countered by Bowser's Shell Shield. He also uses Bowser's various abilities, such as fire breath, and even (when giant) mimics a Bowser Army attack.
    • Bowser Memory M and Bowser Memory L are a particularly bizarre example.
  • Mood Whiplash: For most of the game you are treated to a cheerful, upbeat soundtrack, and then you get to the respective final bosses and the tone of the music becomes melancholy.
  • Motor Mouth/Unreadably Fast Text: One of the Goombas when Bowser is inside his castle for the first time after Fawful's takeover.
    • Some of the Magikoopa's as well. Which is kind of a shame, as what could be made out seemed pretty funny.
    • Luigi also takes the cake in some scenes where he talks.
  • Mythology Gag: There's a segment where Luigi gets stuck from the waist down inside a Sockop, a monster that looks like a green boot, in what is almost certainly a reference to the "Kuribo's Shoe" from Super Mario Bros.. 3. It even lets him walk safely over thorns and other hazards like the Kuribo's Shoe. And just in case it wasn't clear, you later see a Sockop named Kuribo.
    • ... which intentionally or not could be seen as an inside joke (and not just referencing the aforementioned SMB 3 either). You see, "Kuribo" is the original Japanese name for the minor enemy known as "Goomba" in English-speaking regions.
      • Definitely a SMB 3 reference. It's the only game with Kuribo's Shoe, and the only game where the English manual uses the name Kuribo, anyway, due to a translation foul-up.
    • This is a bit of a stretch, but during the Boss Battle with Junker, a bucket falls onto one of the Bros.'s heads and you (the player) must guide them around, avoiding being crushed by Thwomps. This is very similar to the premise of the Japan-only Mario & Wario, where the fairy Wanda must successfully guide Mario through a level, while one of various items is obscuring his vision. One of said items is a bucket.
    • Bowser Memory M and Bowser Memory L's attacks are based on previous Super Mario Bros. games. Mario finds a Super Star, or he finds a mushroom and starts breaking blocks. Luigi is chased by a ghost.
  • Nakama: Bowser and his minions.
  • Never Say "Die": When Midbus confronts Mario and Luigi, Starlow gives us this little gem: "YOU GOT A KO WISH?!"
    • There is no way this is not deliberately invoked, however.
  • Never Let the Brothers and Bowser Meet: There's only one time they meet again before the ending and this is at halfway through the game. It's probably also one of the hardest boss fights at that point.
    • If you switch to the brothers and walk to the location where Bowser is (only possible late in the game), he simply won't be there, except the one time when he's passed out in the Toad Tunnels.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Played straight in a good way in terms of the skills that the Bros. and Bowser learn.
    • Played straight in a bad way at the beginning with Peach's sudden "Wish Power" (that never gets used again), the appearance of Starlow, and how the Dark Star sounds more like a Giant Space Flea From Nowhere rather than a legendary evil. It really feels like they made the plot up as they went along.
    • Peach's "wish power" shows up in Paper Mario as well, though it wasn't actually called that. Regardless, it's not something they made up on the spot.
      • It is possible the "wish power" was used to establish that Starlow is the same kind of creature as Twink from Paper Mario. They look very different, but both claim to be Star Sprites and have the power to grant wishes to an extent.
        • The heart superimposed over Bowser before Peach launches him could also be a sign that her "wish power" is the source of her healing magic in Super Mario RPG.
  • Nice Hat: Fawful's rocket hat after he powers up, which the Brothers have to destroy before Bowser can actually fight Fawful, lest the hat continually regenerate his health far faster than Bowser can take it down.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Princess Lipid
    • Which sounds a little like Kefka's to be honest.
    • Or possibly the Great Fairy in Ocarina of Time.
    • It also sounds pretty darn similar to the Golden Diva from Wario Land 4.
  • No Fame, No Wealth, No Service/Recognition Failure: The heroes can't enter two high-class shops in the Mushroom Mall until they've proved that they're the right sort of clientele... even though most inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom recognize Mario on sight.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Accidentally setting off an entire storeroom of Bob-ombs does nothing more than send Bowser across the world map.
  • Ocular Gushers: Luigi does gushers of joy when Mario saves him in Bowser's body, and the Chuboombas do this when Bowser eats their lollipops.
  • Oh Crap: The usual reaction to Giant Bowser, from the Monty Moles seeing him tower above their train with a train to the entire Toad Town screaming in horror.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The Daredevil Boots turn either Mario or Luigi into one of these, doubling their attack power but causing them to go down in one hit regardless of their health.
  • One-Winged Angel: Dark Fawful/Dark Star Core can turn into a multi-limbed monstrosity.
    • Pretty much every later boss in the game as well as the giant bosses. (Fawful Express may or not count seeing though the Monty Bros brought a hill to life)
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: You can be forgiven for forgetting that Chippy's real name is Starlow, given that it's only mentioned right at the very beginning of the game and she spends the entire rest of the game being called Chippy.
    • And one other time when you rescue Peach about halfway through the game in Bowser's Flab Zone
  • Palmtree Panic: Plack Beach, which has an odd tooth decay theme.
  • Playing with Fire: Bowser's flame breath and the Fire Flower special attack.
  • Product Placement: Parodied with such "fads" as Launch Fit, Slide Fit, etc.
  • Promoted to Unlockable: Bowser.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Chain Chawfuls are Chain Chomps brainwashed by a Fawfulized parasitic worm in their head. Bowser can inhale the parasite to kill it, which frees the Chain Chomp from the mind control.
  • Puzzle Boss: Several bosses need a very particular strategy (such as one specific brother attacking an appropriate weak point, or using the boss's flunkies against him) to defeat.
  • Railroading: Hard. Some times, Bowser will refuse to go anywhere (or is incapacitated), forcing you to use the Bros, even though you'd like the opportunity to just go back to Dimble Wood and give the Monsieur those damn Blitties.
  • Recurring Boss: Midbus.
  • Retraux: At one point, Mario and Luigi go into Bowser's memory and get forced to fight old-style versions of themselves.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: Some regular enemies can be defeated instantly by a specific move, like Bowser's firebreath on Bob-Ombs (trapped in Jailgoons). However, some will just cause the enemies to retreat, thus netting no XP from them.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Does Dr. Toadley answer his own questions? He certainly does.
  • Robo Speak: The mechanised form of Princess Peach's Castle that's Bowser's final giant battle foe. ACTIVATE BLACK HOLE ENDGAME!
  • Royal We: Princess Lipid.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Bowser. In fact, as much of a Dumb Muscle he may be, he seems to be the only one who does something useful in the Koopa Kingdom. Any other Bowser Baddie with a shred of competence ends up betraying him for Fawful.
    • Lampshaded, where Bowser angrily shouts to his Goombas trapped in cages that while they're busy playing "Cram in the Cage", he gets things done!
  • The Runt At the End: One of the Blitties in a perfectly-executed Broggy Bonker and one of the Goombas in the Fawful Theater.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: The Magic Window attack. The bros hop into a disappearing, reappearing window and continually hop out onto enemies in random order until you miss a hit; either Mario, Luigi, or both at the same time. The frequency of the hops speeds up as you continue to get it right, and when it really gets going, you can actually see multiple copies of the same bro onscreen at once.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Dark Star. Doubles as an Artifact of Doom.
  • Segmented Serpent: Wiggler is fought like this. Like most examples, the head is the weak spot. Unlike most examples, you want to target his body segments first, as its head is immune to damage until you turn all of the body segments yellow (by damaging them).
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: If you get a high enough score in the Green Shell mini-game, you will recive an accessory called the Challenge Medal. This makes all of the enemies in the game a score tougher, but nets you extra Gold, effectivley putting the game on hard mode.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike
  • Sequence Breaking: Generally very hard to pull off, but after the first Star Cure, you can get five of the needed Attack Pieces in Dimble Woods before you should. You still can't get past the Wiggler though.
  • Shoot the Medic First:
    • Bowser's Memory ML. If you take out M first, L will revive him with a 1-UP if given a chance.
    • For a more indirect definition of "medic", one enemy is a Thwomp with a head cold that is more easily dispatched if you remove its ice pack first.
    • Not to mention the alligators that can't eat their healing beans if they don't have teeth.
    • The battle against Dark Fawful has his helmet, which heals him for 300 hp very often. You need to suck it in when it detaches.
  • Shout-Out: The English localization seems to feature references to internet memes. Fawful's first line of dialogue in the game is "A Winner is you!" and after the boss fight at the Toad Town clinic, Bowser uses the phrase "Cry Moar" (though he spells it more).
    • There may also be the enemy named Fawfulcopter. However, they don't go "Soi soi soi"
    • Whether it was intentional or not, a shout out to Kamina happens right before the semi-final battle with Fawful ( battle right before the fight with Dark Bowser).

Bowser:"You thought your toy castle could stop me? Who do you think I am, Buddy? I'm Bowser, the Koopa King!"

Bowser: Bah! You like compost? I'll compost your FACE!

  • Smurfing: The Emoglobins have a habit globin of replacing globining a word or two with "globin." Some players globins don't like this feature globin, but they don't underglobin-stand. IS THAT NOT GLOBIN?!
  • Slasher Smile: Fawful. Even creepier when he gives a real chortle. Doubly so when he tries to take out Mario and Luigi as he dies
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Because nothing portrays the quest of a giant angry turtle like cheerful, upbeat background music. Especially Bumpsy Plains / Blubble Lake.
    • Climax Bosses near the end of the game still have the same cheery, light-hearted boss music, in spite of the otherwise serious atmosphere.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Subverted; Bowser's Horn stat has the same function the Bros' Stache stat does.
  • The Spiny: Certain enemies have spikes on their back or are on fire, jumping on these will make Mario or Luigi take damage.
  • Stealth Pun: Midbus and Fawful. Pork and Beans, respectively.
  • Stop Helping Me!: In the first Midbus battle, Fawful ends up doing this to Midbus by attempting to warn him of Bowser's attacks, which actually serves as a tutorial for the player. Not that it hurts Midbus much...
    • 'Chippy' spends half the time making fun of Bowser as well.
  • Storming the Castle: With a twist; it's Peach's castle you're storming, while it's under Fawful's occupation.
  • Supporting Protagonist/The Ishmael: It's actually Bowser that takes center stage in this game. Mario and Luigi are just there to help him out.
  • Taken for Granite: Subverted by Chakron, who has stood in one position so long his muscles have locked like that. Also subverted in that he's happy like that, and actually becomes upset when you break him out of it.
  • Taking You with Me: Fawful tries it on the Bros. at the end of the game.
    • The Dark Star does it as well as a final attack in the first battle, though it's not really defeated.
  • Tempting Fate: The things the Fawful Express Mole crew say before/during the battle with Giant Bowser are exactly the most idiotic things possible, including their entire plan via villain monologue and their weakness.
    • And Fawful at the beginning, giving Bowser an unintentional tutorial when watching him fight Midbus.
  • Theme Naming: Fawfulized enemies will have part of their name replaced with part of Fawful's name (Crocodile-Crawful, Chain Chomp-Chain Chawful, Monty Mole-Mawful Mole, etc)
  • The Mole: Literally and played straight. The Monty Mole Brothers reveal themselves to have been working with Fawful all along, right before running Bowser over with the Fawful Express.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In the ending, Bowser, after helping to put an end to Fawful, destroy the Dark Star, and find a cure for the blorbs; challenges Mario and Luigi to a fight and yet again gets the hell beaten out of him during the credits. However, as he is nursing his wounds at his castle, he receives a thank-you cake from Peach and the Mario Bros.
  • Toilet Humor: Wisdurm farts in Luigi's face. Possibly also Truth in Television, as some types of insects in real life actually do expel gas from their abdomen to deter predators.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bowser has several moments of questionable rationale. He wouldn't be Bowser if he didn't, though.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bowser (with the help of Mario and Luigi, of course, but still a welcome relief from the severe case of Villain Decay).
    • Not to mention those Shroobs in Bowser's Castle

Just to clarify, these are the Shroobs' stats in Partners in Time:

        • HP: 15
        • Power: 8
        • Defense: 23
        • Speed: 16
        • Experience: 3
        • Coins: 2

Now here they are in Bowser's Inside Story:

        • HP: 500
        • Power: 168
        • Defense: 94
        • Speed: 102
        • Experience: 900
        • Coins: 300

...Yeah. Apparently being frozen in ice does that to some people. (Credit goes to Super Mario Wiki for this edit)

    • Fawful goes from the second-in-command Dragon, downgraded to a shop owner, and suddenly is the primary boss of the game? In fact, one could argue he made an even better villain than his old mentor Cackletta...
      • Of course, Fawful didn't involve the Beanbean Kingdom in his evil plans. Apparently, the Mushroom Kingdom is the only one, ever, without a plan or a clue.
  • Underground Level: 'Tunnel Under Construction'.
  • Underground Monkey: Many of the enemies are even more variations on the classic Mario foes, either at a cell level inside Bowser's body, or beefed up for Bowser himself to fight. Some are quite creative, while others are simply regular enemies under Fawful's Mind Control.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Any of the Giant Bowser fights, in which the Brothers must supercharge Bowser's adrenaline and turn him into a giant Godzilla-like destruction machine (probably a reference to either Giga Bowser from Smash Bros or the final battle of Yoshi's Island) to fight a huge enemy.
    • In regular battles, if Bowser takes enough damage he'll get angry and Turns Red (Literally), raising his attack power but decreasing his defense.
  • Variable Mix: There are two tracks for everywhere in the game, one for when you're walking around outside as Bowser and one for when you're inside Bowser.
  • Verbal Tic: The Emoglobins all have very globin-y and strange-like speech patterns. They tend to use too much-ish of the "Globin" in the talking, but that is to be expected from creatures possessed of such a globin.
  • Villain Protagonist: As already mentioned, Bowser is a playable character.
  • Warmup Boss: Bowser again. Midbus, for Bowser as well.
  • Weapons That Suck: Not exactly a "weapon", but the Vacuum Block allows Bowser to suck up Blitties, small enemies, as well as parts of larger ones. It's far from sucky too, as almost all enemies that Bowser encounters are hampered by it in some way, or have an associated enemy that can be sucked up.
  • What Could Have Been: The Underground Tunnel was originally planned to be explored by Mario and Luigi too, but was taken out. The Choomba enemy has sprites and attacks that it would use if it faced off against the Bros. instead of Bowser, along with the Naplock and Dark Mechawful enemies. The Dark Mechawful's attack was unfinished, however.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Wisdurm is never shown leaving Bowser's body.
    • Also the Miracle Cure, which was used to destroy the barriers on Peach's Castle, then was never heard from again. This is after the heroes talk about using it against the Dark Star.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Broque Monsieur hates Mario since bashing in coin blocks "decreases their value" and makes business harder for him and thus will tell the bros to get out of his shop, albeit politely.
    • This could also apply to the Wiggler. He tells Bowser to "take responsibility" for pulling up the Giga-Carrot by eating it for the Bullet Bill; when Bowser does, Wiggler gets mad and, rather than cough up the Bullet Bill as he promised, starts a fight! And the Koopa King needs to own up for his actions?
      • Note that he got mad and attacked you not because you pulled the carrot up, but because you ate it, which he told you to do. Though it's possible that he's mad because you actually succeeded in eating it in such a short amount of time.
  • When Trees Attack: Treevils in Dimble Woods. Like most plant-based enemies, Kill It with Fire.
  • Where It All Began: The game begins and ends at Peach's Castle.
  • Womb Level: Most of the bros' stages.
  • The Worf Effect: Like in every Mario and Luigi game, you fight Bowser at the beginning, and he's an absolute pushover. Justified this time, as his abilities are being weakened by Peach and Starlow. You even fight him later in the game at his full potential, and he puts up quite a fight.
  • Wrap Around: Certain enemies do this, by going off one side of the screen and coming back from the other.
    • Hilariously played by the Crawful enemy after it loses its teeth- the bean it tries to eat gets shot off the left side of the screen, only to land on its head from the right side of the screen.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon:

Fawful: "A nuisance barge barging in at a critical time for us!"
Bowser: "Nuisance barge? GWAHAHA! Buddy, you're like a nuisance SUPERTANKER!"

  • You Are Not Alone: Bowser gets this at the end of the game from Chippy, who tells him that Mario & Luigi have his back. He doesn't hear them, and kicks butt himself regardless.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: You can't stop Fawful from taking over Bowser's Castle, kidnapping Peach, stealing the Dark Star, and awakening it. Even Mario and Luigi's hunt for the Dark Star consists of nothing but failed attempts to stop it.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: It takes about 30 minutes of in-game progression for Bowser to learn the exquisite art of lying on the ground with his spiky shell pointing up for the purpose of defending from airborne attackers.
    • At no point in the game do Mario and Luigi ever have the ability to wear overalls, gloves, socks, AND shoes at the same time. Given, they eventually learn how to wear two or three of these four items at a time...
  • Zerg Rush: Bowser's Goomba Storm invokes this. Broggy Bonker sees Broggy followed by the Blitties you collected. One of them lags behind.
  1. Musshība Beach