Mischief Makers is the story of Professor Theo, a space-travelling Mad Scientist, and Marina Liteyears, his robot creation and assistant, marooned on the strange planet of Clancer. Agents of a mysterious "empire" kidnap the Professor for unknown reasons, and it's up to Marina to rescue him (multiple times), at times helped and at times hindered by the bizarre Clancers and threatened along the way by the Empire's goons, including an Evil Counterpart called Calina and a team of animal-like supersoldiers called the Beastector.
Mischief Makers is a 2-D Platform Game (with occasional 3-D elements) where grabbing, throwing, and, yes, shaking objects is integral to gameplay . It's more puzzle-oriented than the typical platformer; you must often go through elaborate mazes of warp points, use Clanpots to create specific items, find some specific enemy in the stage, or do any number of other, sometimes unintuitive, tasks to proceed. All play is timed, and each level has a hidden Gold Gem to find; both time and Gold Gems collected affect the ending.
Unique for an N64 game is that the Analog stick isn't used at all. The D-pad is used for all movement.
For a game that has similar gameplay mechanics (grab and throw to be precise) check out Solatorobo
- 2½D: A few stages have stuff fly in from the background or a few faint decorations in front the play area. Merco's mech also flies into the background for the first phase of the fight. Your first real boss fight has the giant boss in the background and you have to throw his own fists back at him by throwing them up towards his face.
- Action Commands:When you have all gold gems (including the A-times one) except the last one, the last one is gained through countering Teran in the ending by grabbing him when the target appears as he attempts to attack you.
- Action Girl: Marina, obviously.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: The geyser in "Aster's Tryke".
- Alphabet Soup Cans: The "Sports Festival" contains an equation-based mini-game called "Mathfun" because... Well, it's not entirely obvious why, other than Marina apparently needing to bone up on her sums.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Every fight with a Beastector member (when on their mechs, not when you first meet them) has one, as do a few other boss fights.
- Awesome but Impractical: You can relieve enemy Clancers of their machine guns, missile launchers and other dangerous toys and turn the fire right back on them - with interest, if you shake them first. But when it comes to speedy combat, smart throwing is much more effective.
- Background Boss: Migen Jr.
- Badass Adorable: Marina.
- Badass Normal: She may be a robot, but she's specifically a robot maid/scientist's assistant, yet she can take down the likes of the Beastector atop their mechs.
- Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Both Marina and the Professor do it in the pre-title screen introduction.
- Bishounen: Merco (especially in human form). And he knows it.
- Boss Banter: Limited to the Beastector bosses, but often hilarious when it's indecipherable.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Characters recognize boss stages, and by extension, their place as a boss.
- Ms. Hint does this all the time. She's simply a pink Clanball with a bow, but if you shake her she'll give you hints in exchange for red gems. She makes no attempt to hide the fact that this is a video game.
Ms. Hint "You think this game is pretty easy, don't you? But soon strong enemies will appear."
- Cartoon Bomb: Used to destroy red blocks.
- Catch and Return: Often the most devastating means of defeating enemies is by throwing their projectiles back at them. Grenades and even rockets can be caught, plus Marina can also grab laser beams and throw them back as balls of energy.
- Aside from picking up the enemies themselves and throwing them, or grabbing an nearby object (including other nearby enemies) and throwing it at them this is Marina's main form of attack and the one used most often in boss fights. The first major boss fight has you catching the boss' own fist and throwing them back into his face (Grabbing and Throwing SOMETHING is her only means of attack aside from a single slide move).
- Combining Mecha: The final boss fight, and you have to take it on all by your lonesome.
- Cyborg: Quite a few enemy Clancers appear to have mechanical enhancements, including Arm Cannons of varying descriptions and, for some reason, tank treads.
- Designated Victim: Theo.
- Dirty Old Man: Theo.
- Easing Into the Adventure: The first few stages of the game have no enemies and very few ways to even take damage (it's outright impossible to die in stage 1-3, for instance). They're close to being a tutorial, but they're fully part of the plot and they count toward your time and gem totals, just like everything else.
- Everything Fades: Mechanical enemies (and some non-mechanical enemies) explode, while non-(mini)boss Clancers appear to turn into earth with a ghost flying out.
- Excuse Plot: The reason for the true final boss fight.Apparently, the Beastector have recovered from their brainwashing and returned to the side of good, but they're fighting Marina... out of rivalry over whose fan club she should join?
- Fan Service: Marina turning human at the end. Her appearance also depends on what age the player input.
- Fastball Special: One stage has Marina team up with Teran and an unnamed warrior Clancer to fight off an invading enemy horde. You can toss either of your allies into enemies to defeat them, and the warrior Clancer even develops a force field around him when he's thrown, letting him take out a whole line of foes at once.
- For Massive Damage: Most stage bosses require elaborate tactics to defeat. Even minibosses generally have restricted vulnerabilities.
- Giant Space Flea From Nowhere:
- While most bosses have a good reason for being where they are in the plot, some of the minibosses (e.g. "Toadly Raw!") don't. It's also kind of unclear what Migen's goals are, although we do briefly see him interrogating the Professor.
- One level requires you to rescue seven lost children. This would be perfectly unremarkable, if each one didn't immediately turn into a monster and attack you. The reason isn't explained until they've all been defeated, and even then it's sort of a Hand Wave.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Essentially everything Marina fights. If it moves, it can probably be picked up, and then thrown to kill someone else.
- Guide Dang It: Aside from the aforementioned examples, there are two more Gold Gems to find than it seems like there logically should be. Good luck finding them.
- Many of the gold gems are this. One of the earliest ones is in "3 Clancer Kids". You need to find the woman's husband and shake him, who can only be found after obtaining the exit warp-gate star. He's hidden in a secret room, where the largest of the 3 kids was found, which the camera will only reveal after the stage is clear. To open the room you have to use a clanball on a spring to get up on top of the structure (while the platform you need to land on is slightly out of reach of the natural path the spring throws you), dig up a clanbomb (which also can only be dug up after the stage is clear) then get down and dash through the structure in time so you can blow up the wall before it explodes. Granted, there are hints (the red blocks are visible before this, though what's behind them isn't, there is a line of red gems leading to the roof and the woman wonders where her husband is), but they don't seem connected at first and red gems trick you into thinking your prize is a Green Gem.
- The fight with Tarus and the Sasquatch Beta. You have to smash Tarus with his own mech, which is not done by throwing it at him, but instead lifting it above him and slamming it downward. When just about every other enemy can be defeated by simply tossing their own attacks back at them, this was completely unexpected and unintuitive.
- There's also the races in the Festival stage. Unless you've been tapping the D-pad to dash all along instead of using the much easier C-button tapping, chances are you've forgotten that the D-pad method lets you go slightly faster. Someone in the game does mention this fact... once, in the second level.
- Even moreso, Marina has a slide maneuver that is faster than either variety of dash and can be used here. The player is only ever informed about it once, in a bit of post-boss narration. The problem? It not only doesn't tell the player the controls for using the slide, it refers to it as a 'knife kick'.
- Hot-Blooded: Lunar.
- Improvised Weapon: Marina gets through fights by grabbing and throwing a multitude of objects, from normally thrown objects, like grenades and shurikens, to flowers, robot parts, the enemies themselves, missiles, giant lasers and even negative emotions.
- Indy Escape: One level actually has you fleeing a giant, rolling boulder.
- Innocent Aliens: The Clancers. According to one character encountered early in the game, this made it easy for the Empire to recruit Clancers as troops.
- Interface Spoiler: The Imperial HQ stage select screen makes it obvious that what might at first appear to be the final boss fight isn't.
- Subverted by the very same stage select screen, which shows what appear to be even more stages after the real final boss. They're actually parts of the ending. One of them is also not completely non-interactive.
- Item Crafting: By putting the right combination of items into a Clanpot and shaking it, you can create new things, including bombs, weapons, vehicles and sometimes even people.
- I Want Them Alive: What the Emperor wants with Theo and Marina. On the other hand, the Beastector want them dead.
- James Bondage: Professor Theo is constantly getting himself into scrapes, and would probably be screwed if he'd never built Marina. Marina isn't helping matters either. Every time she rescues him, he tries to grope her, and she ends up chucking him halfway across the planet.
- Just Eat Him: Oddly subverted. Theo gets eaten by a giant lizard at one point and it clearly does chew him very thoroughly. But when you defeat him Theo pops out intact.
- Kid Hero: Teran, a young Clancer (or is he?) descended from heroes.
- Large Ham: The Beastector trio, especially Lunar.
- Incoming Ham: Witness, if you will, their introductory scene:
"Through fire, justice is served! Heeeeeeere's LUNAR!"
"To punish evil foces, I have been charged! It's TAURUS time!"
"A hero in shining armor is called! I am MERCO!"
- Late to the Punchline: To a kid, it's not immediately obvious why Marina gives Professor Theo a Megaton Punch when he tries to "hug" her. Until you realize... He's not really trying to HUG her...
- Lethal Lava Land: Migen's Shrine combines this with a Temple of Doom, as it's a giant temple-like building whose bottom floor is a lake of lava.
- Life Meter: Which can be filled up to three times, compressing the first two into jewels that each represent a full bar.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Big Bad Professor Leo is Professor Theo's brother.
- Made of Explodium: Nearly all bosses explode spectacularly. Even the ones you fight again later on.
- Magical Girl: Calina uses a magical girl-style transformation sequence to assume her Marina-like appearance.
- Megaton Throw: Looks like Theo's blasting off again...
- Mood Whiplash: Professor Theo apparently goes through a death scene, complete with his whole body turning blue as he breathes his last and Marina shedding a tear... then he suddenly gets up and says he was kidding.
- Multiple Life Bars: Marina has them, 3 layers. Teren in his two stages, does not.
- Olympic Games: In one of the levels, Marina must participate in various track and field matches: the 100m dash, 200m dash, 400m dash, long jump, ball catching, hurdles and mathfun.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Inverted: Professor Leo wants to be defeated, but only by Theo. He reacts with despair to his loss to Marina.
- Playing Tennis With the Boss: Most stage bosses (and some other bosses) use some form of this, given the grabbing-oriented combat, but the oddest examples are Migen Jr., who must be damaged by throwing his fists back at him, and the toad in "Toadly Raw!", which is harmed by its tongue.
- And there's at least one instance of Playing Dodgeball With The Boss. Literally. You CAN cheat and cross the line to toss the boss, but she'll call you out on it at the end of the stage after you win.
- Post Climax Confrontation: After you beat the Monolith and destroy the Empire, the Beastector will challenge you to a rematch.
- Robot Girl: Marina.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: "[H]e past [sic] away a few days ago" in reference to a minor character.
- Sentai: The Beastector are a villainous example. They're a heroic team brainwashed by the Big Bad.
- Shoot the Medic First: Migen will heal his son if you don't take care of him first.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Mt. Snow.
- Speed Run: Each level is timed, and the player is given a rank depending on how quickly it was performed. You are given one of the gold gems if you minimize the total time across all levels.
- Spikes of Doom: Common in this game as in many other platformers, but in this game they take the form of spiked, levitating Clanball-like objects. Special mention must be made of Spike Land, an amusement park themed around these things.
- Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Marina was originally created to do Theo's household chores.
- Taking You with Me: Leo tries to do this after losing to Marina, but Theo ends up Taking the Bullet. Of course, he survives.
- That Came Out Wrong:
Teran: Shake me!! Shake me hard!! Grab me and shake me!!
- Toy Time: The game's "blocky" look gives it an overall "toy" feel, but one level in the third world is specifically based around using different toys.
- Transformation Sequence: When Calina, Marina's ridiculously unconvincing Evil Twin, morphs into "Miracle Outer-Galactic Android Z".
- Transforming Mecha: Each member of the Beastector has one.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The "Sports Festival" stage is the largest offender. You're suddenly presented with a Sports Festival and have to compete in various events that feel like they've been lifted from Track and Field from the NES (though you use your normal controls), including 3 races of varying length, Hurdle Jumping race, Long Jump... And two that are a gameplay change within a gameplay change. "Ball Catch" (Catch Balls from your team in a pot and keep the other team's out) and "Math Fun" (see Alphabet Soup Cans above).
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: There are a few hints that Teran's pal Sarie fancies herself this, compared to Teran's sister Celes who's not actually his sister but the Princess who people have been saying has been missing for half the game. She's actually been in hiding and Teran is her bodyguard.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Pretty much all Clancers and other moving objects in this game (and many non-moving ones) can be grabbed, shaken and thrown, whether friend, foe or neutral party. And neutral NPCs can usually be hurt. Quite a few can be killed if their survival isn't required to complete the mission.
- Voice Grunting: Most dialogue takes the form of text boxes with accompanying beeps at varying pitches representing characters' "voices", but Marina and most other important characters have several exclamations or other short lines of actual voice acting. Some of these are surprisingly distinctive and memorable, like Lunar's "Eat lead!" and "Through fire, justice is served!" or Marina's "STOOOOOOOPPPP!" or "Shake Shake!", both of which happen quite a lot.
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: The Emperor shows up mid-way through the fourth world and attempts a One Hit KO on Marina, leaving it up to Teran to find a way to heal her.
- Words Can Break My Bones: Used quite literally in the fight against Monolith, where you shake negative words to turn them positive and throw them at the boss.