Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

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The first game in the Mario & Luigi series, released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance.

In one of the most elaborate (original) games made for the Game Boy Advance, Mario is sent to the Beanbean Kingdom, which conveniently adjoins the Mushroom Kingdom. Luigi reluctantly goes along after Mario and Bowser join forces. The Big Bad Cackletta reportedly has stolen Princess Peach's voice (yes, her voice) in order to activate the Beanstar, an artifact with the power to grant wishes.

The dialogue is sparklingly witty and self-aware. There's The Dragon Fawful, for example, the baddie who talks in deliberate Engrish in the localization. And the endless commentary on Luigi's second-fiddle status. Also, the audio ends up Speaking Simlish pretty convincingly.


Tropes used in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga include:
  • Adipose Rex: Queen Bean is a rare female example.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The Chuckolator, an animated barrel of soda.
  • Apathetic Citizens: One of the Beanbean Castle Town residents asks you to find his pets for him once the town's started to rebuild from the attack. He tells you the little critters "aren't super-motivated, so they're probably still around town someplace". He seems to be of a type since he can't be bothered to go find them himself.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Trunkle's tree on its head, as using several bros attacks on it can take it out before it is able to divide.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Prince Peasley was turned into a dragon and trapped inside an egg before the game's events began - the dragon is a very early boss fight. Apparently Mario and Luigi beating the stuffing out of the dragon breaks the spell. Then, he gets shrunken down and eaten by a Pirahna Plant.
  • Big Bad: Cackletta.
  • Bishie Sparkle: When Prince Peasley flips his hair, the entire screen goes white.
    • Hilariously downplayed on one occasion due to the prince being shrunken down.
  • Body Horror: The fate of the professors at Woohoo Hooniversity.
    • As well as Bowletta.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: One of the Dummied Out scenes in Starbeans Café has Wario say "Now that I’m here, this game’s finally gettin’ good!" and later "Don’t you have free drinks for celebrity guest stars in this game?".
  • Butt Monkey / Chew Toy: Poor Bowser. Let's see, during this game, he gets curbstomped by Fawful, gets stuck in a cannon, gets fired out of it, hits his head so hard he loses his memory, works as Popple's lackey for some time as "Rookie", finally regains his memory only to fall who-knows-how-far from the Beanstar, gets possessed by Cackletta, gets his castle blown up, gets beaten up by the Mario Brothers, then finally gets blown up with the castle and hits the screen, and is then dragged home by the plane and it's implied he got a cold. He's not gonna try to kidnap Peach for a while.
  • Captain Ersatz: Popple is suspiciously similar to Croco.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Beanbean Kingdom, full stop.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Cackletta's arms and head need to be destroyed before her heart can be targeted..
    • Also, you have to smack Queen Bean's arms for her pointy crown to fall off, but you can bypass all that if you've learned Splash Bros. Advance.
  • Collection Sidequest: Finding all the coffee beans.
  • Crap Saccharine World
  • Crossdresser: Luigi dressing up as Princess Peach (even doing a Noblewoman's Laugh).
  • A Day in the Limelight: Luigi gets his moment to shine during a few plot points.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: This happens to all the bosses, even if they are alive in the cutscene that follows.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: To an extent. After whipping Tolstar, he reappears when the Bros are cornered and accused by a group of Beanbean guards, vouching for your innocence.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Cackletta, and she has somewhat nasty attacks to boot too.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: HooHoo Hooniversity houses the fight with Cackletta stated above.
  • Damsel in Distress: In an unique twist, Princess Peach isn't kidnapped... but her voice is. Well, she still gets kidnapped later, but it isn't the usual "whole game" deal.
    • Even then, it's not her voice that's kidnapped. It's Birdo's. Apparently, anyone can put on a pink dress and a wig and pass for Princess Peach, since Birdo, Luigi and even an alien do it throughout the various Mario and Luigi games. Hey now, Luigi and possibly, if you want to go there, Birdo make very convincing women. Also, the alien's face was obscured by a purple mushroom, and she already had a similar figure to Peach.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Fawful's infamous "Mustard of Doom".
    • He seems to have a thing for condiments because, not long after, he jabbers something about the butter of Cackletta's next plan being spread.
      • Or food in general, because he later says the Beanbean Kingdom will be Cackletta's snack cake.
  • The Dragon: Fawful
  • Dual Boss: Popple and his various sidekicks.
  • Dummied Out: There exists dialogue in the game code for several different characters giving you the different accessories from mixing bean juice: Wario for the Greed Wallet, Samus Aran for the Power Grip, Link for the Great Force, Fox McCloud for the Bonus Ring, Captain Olimar (who speaks in boxless dialogue) for the Cobalt Necktie, and the racer from Excitebike for the Excite Spring. Professor E. Gadd would only show up to deliver the Game Boy Horror.
  • Embedded Precursor: The same Mario Bros. arcade game included with the Super Mario Advance games.
  • Enemy Mine: Bowser. However, he only helps the brothers because he doesn't like other bad guys taking what he wants.
  • Escort Mission: Escorting Princess Peach through Teehee Valley to Little Fungitown. You have to keep her onscreen at all times, make sure there are no enemies heading towards her, and work quickly to open the gate at each section of the valley. If you don't do one of the first two, she gets kidnapped. Mario and Luigi must rescue her and try again.
    • However, the player can make this easier by defeating every opponent on the field, then escorting Peach.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Popple helps Mario move the Beanstar out of harm's way and bows respectfully to him before a battle.
  • Evil Laugh: Cackletta tends to...well, look at her name. Fawful also has one.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Fawful.
  • Expy: The Beanstar is pretty similar to Jirachi...
  • Face Heel Turn: Birdo, after falling in love with Popple (if it is the same Birdo).
  • Final Exam Dungeon: Bowser's Castle.
  • Finger-Snap Lighter
  • Foreshadowing: "I can't kidnap Peach like this!" "She'll wreck my castle!"
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Played for laughs; what is obviously a wine-making operation instead produces "soda".
  • Gambit Pileup: And how. Most allied NPCs were chessmasters at one point or another, with instances including (but not limited to) swapping Luigi and Peach to have him infiltrate the Koopa Cruiser and completely anticipating Cackletta's fake gift and kidnapping of the princess (and on a sidenote, knowing that the guards would be useless), countering the plan by swapping out her and Birdo, of all things, before the opening cutscene, and nobody knew what was going on until halfway through the game.
    • Cackletta also manipulated crazy situations, such as making you fix the plumbing to cancel the castle security system. (... In hindsight, that makes even less sense.) By the end, you wouldn't have been surprised if The Plan set up by the heroes was really just the villains in disguise.
  • Gender Bender: Bowletta. Hoo boy.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The thief Popple and his various partners.
  • Global Currency Exception: That 100 coins you got at the beginning of the game turn out to be Mushroom Coins, and is worth 10 Beanbean Coins. (doesn't matter, as you have to surrender it immediately.) And later, when you get an impossibly high amount of Coins, it turns out to be Mushroom coins, and is worth... 99 coins. But how could the exchange rate fluctuate so fast?
    • Didn't Peasley say something regarding the Mushroom Kingdom plunging into some sort of panic over the loss of their princess?
    • Tolstar probably just lied to you because he's a greedy bastard.
      • Wait, if you account that in the exchange rate, Tolstar would have asked for more...
    • The only logical, foolproof explaination is: The Rule of Funny.
  • Grand Theft Me: Happens to Bowser when Cackletta's ghost needs to quickly possess a new body in order to survive.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny (pretty much everything Fawful says)
  • Item Crafting: The various coffee beans are brought to Professor E. Gadd's coffee shop and blended into stat boosting drinks. He also gives out accessories (and a skit) every time a new type of drink is brewed.
  • It's All About Me: Hermie attacks you because you barged in looking for a MacGuffin and happened to be a world-famous superstar, distracting his friends from fussing over him.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Bowser loses his memory and ends up as Popple's dopey sidekick.
  • Let's Play: By MyNameIsKaz and Medibot, using a Gamecube/Game Boy Advance Player in a mildly convoluted setup to allow Kaz to control Mario and Medibot, Luigi.
  • Metal Slime: Golden Beanies. There's a rare chance of finding one after defeating a Pestnut (there's usually just a regular Beanie) and they run away the moment their turn comes around, but they drop a relatively large amount of experience and the Spiny Badge, which lets you stomp spiked enemies.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: The Piranha Bean will give out either the Piranha Badge or Piranha Suit, depending on whether or not it's fought with a certain item equipped. There's no way to obtain the items anywhere else, so only one of them can be obtained.
  • Mythology Gag: The plan to disguise Luigi as Peach and turn him over to the villains first appeared in the comic "Super Mario Adventures", which was printed in Nintendo Power over a decade earlier.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A required task at Beanbean Castle.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Cackletta and Bowletta.
  • Not Quite Dead: Unfortunately, the Mario Brothers do not realize about Cackletta's soul transfer until it's too late.
  • Ocular Gushers: Peach, who is actually Birdo in disguise, does this at the beginning of the game, and Luigi does it when telling Mario that Peach got kidnapped by Bowletta.
  • Outside the Box Tactic: The Trunkle boss dies to one or two hits of the Chopper Bros. attack to the forehead. See also Attack Its Weak Point above.
  • Palmtree Panic: Oho Oasis and Gwarhar Lagoon.
  • Recurring Boss: Popple, as mentioned above, as well as Fawful.
  • Royal Rapier: used by Prince Peasley.
  • Shielded Core Boss: Fawful, the second time you fight him.
  • Shout-Out: The boss fights with the original seven Koopalings.
    • They even had a few taken out - the coffee shop was supposed to have a different Nintendo cameo for each new drink, but Professor E. Gadd's role was expanded at the last minute. The accessories he gives out are all references to the characters that would have been giving them out instead.
    • Geno from Super Mario RPG shows up to teach you how to play the Surprisingly Easy Mini Quest.
    • The Chuckola Bounce minigame features monsters that spit rocks at you called Chuckoroks.
  • Sole Entertainment Option: A video arcade in Little Fungitown, and a cinema in the middle of nowhere.
  • Theme Naming: The places around Beanbean Kingdom are named after laughter onomatopoeia or types of laughter.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Queen Bean is first encountered after Cackletta forced her to eat a Belly Blech Worm, which turned her into a muscular brute that only focused on violent destruction.
  • Verbal Tic: Popple has the habit of adding "see?" to the end of his lines, see?
  • Video Game Stealing: Swing Bros. Advance can allow the Bros. to steal the item from an enemy.
  • Weapons Grade Vocabulary: Peach's actually Birdo's voice is stolen and replaced with Cackletta's explosive vocabulary.
    • The characters keep having to scurry out of harms way whenever she speaks. Then she attempts a full paragraph, and blows out every window in the palace.
  • Who Is This Guy Again?: Luigi. People often seem to forget/not know his name, and what they do call him usually references the color green.
  • Wicked Witch: Cackletta.
  • Womb Level: The final boss battle takes place inside Bowser/Bowletta's stomach, though it strangely looks more like hell than a stomach.
    • Although, Bowletta DOES breathe fire, so it's not entirely implausible.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: One Toad in Little Fungitown is playing an arcade game like this.
  • The Worf Effect: At the start of the game, Bowser gets knocked out in one hit by Fawful.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Actually averted here, due to the heroes being one step ahead. The villains fail to obtain both Peach's voice and the Beanstar, thus they get pissed and start bombing Beanbean kingdom out of rage.
  • Zero Effort Boss: Bowser, as the tutorial. He does one point of damage to you (you have 11), and is automatically defeated when he is damaged on the sixth turn. Your only battle command is to attack him and hence damage him, so it's impossible to lose this fight.