Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is a role-playing video game developed by AlphaDream and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The game is the first in the Mario & Luigi RPG series.
If it’s one thing that Mario games lack, it’s in the story. Usually, it’s all about saving the Princess from the evil Koopa King, Bowser. But, this time around, it’s a little bit different. The Mushroom Kingdom is honored by the arrival of The Beanbean Kingdom’s Goodwill Ambassador. But it all goes downhill from there. The ”Goodwill Ambassador” was simply a disguise, as she was, in fact, the sinister Cackletta, along with her sidekick, Fawful. Instead of stealing the Princess, they take her voice. Yes, you heard me. Don’t be confused; it all comes together in the game. Along the way, you’ll learn more about Cackletta and the reason why she stole Peach’s voice, as well as incidents that have to do with Beanstars and Neon Eggs. There’s even a plot twist or two.
This game landed me right at 20 hours. This is plenty long, especially at the Player’s Choice pricing. The original Mario Bros. game returns once again, but you probably won’t spend much time with it. Certain mini-games can be repeated with added difficulty several times, and mastering each could buy you a couple more hours of practice. I enjoyed those mini-games and played them a bit but didn’t find them compelling enough to do that. And sometimes, even if you might want to, getting yourself across the world map might hinder your returning somewhere.
This game takes a lot of cues from Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64, itself a masterpiece. The battle system is lifted right from it, practically, and this is a good thing as it takes a decent RPG fighting style and mixes it with timing and combination button presses so that turn-based combat is interactive the whole way. Battling is fun and interesting. Beyond this, the novel idea of controlling both brothers simultaneously starts a little mind-taxing. Still, it quickly becomes second-nature and quite ingenious. It allows for an exciting gamut of puzzles apart from the standard fare that would occupy one-player games of a similar nature. I don’t think there was one block-pushing puzzle the entire time, for instance.