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File:SuperstarSaga.png

A series of RPGs for Nintendo handheld systems, starring the eponymous Super Mario Brothers. It's the third RPG series to star Mario, the first being the one-shot Super Mario RPG, made by Squaresoft, and the second being the Paper Mario series.

On the surface, the games are fairly standard RPG stuff, with a field screen, a map, and a battle screen, equipment and items to collect, a smattering of statistics, and a suitably grand adventure. What sets it apart is how well it integrates classic Mario elements into an RPG. The two leads are joined at the hip, the field screen is negotiated with platform action, and all sorts of action elements are added to the battles, up to elaborate "Bros" attacks which can be shockingly demanding. The series is also well-known for its sparklingly witty and self-aware dialogue.

There are currently six games in this series:


Tropes in the series as a whole:

  • Action Commands: Very vital in combat. Aside from boosting your attacks, they can also be used to dodge or even counter enemy attacks.
  • Adventure Duo
  • After Boss Recovery: In the first two games, the Bros. will always be healed after every boss they fight (and fallen ones will be revived).
  • Alertness Blink: The occasional !
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The final levels in each game are always castles that have been taken over by villains.
  • Art Evolution: Compare the ingame-graphics of Superstar Saga with those of Partners in Time and Bowser's Inside Story. While the general style stays quite the same, the sprites get much more detailed in the latter two games, thanks to them being released on the Nintendo DS instead of the Game Boy Advance.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Mario and Luigi's gibberish sounds Italian.
  • Badass Mustache: Mario and Luigi, to the extent their "Stache" stat earns them store discounts, and increases the chance that you will do massive damage with a regular move (called a "lucky" strike).
    • The Baby Mario Bros. also have the Stache stat, even though they don't actually have mustaches.
      • Yet.
    • Bowser also gets a similar effect, the "Horn" stat.
  • Bash Brothers: Quite literally with the titular characters.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Some supporting characters.
  • Breakout Character: Due to his Ensemble Darkhorse status, Fawful was upgraded to Big Bad in the third game
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Luigi. At least he regularly gets to wallop Mario on the head. Bowser gets kicked around quite a bit as well.
    • Arguably, Luigi's status as a Butt Monkey is considerably lessened in Bowser's Inside Story. He still gets the shaft, but not nearly as much (or as forced) like in the preceding titles in the series.
      • Ditto with Bowser, who becomes one of the main characters.
  • Cap: Levels stop at 99, and you can only carry 99 of each item.
    • As far as Bowser's Inside Story goes, damage caps at 9,999. It's somewhat impractical though, because only one thing will even have that much HP (Exactly that much.) and it still requires you to power it up. It's Bowser X. Without the Challenge Medal, he has 8,000 HP.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Fawful.
  • Combination Attack: All of the special attacks are these. Even Bowser's Specials involve teaming up with his minions.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Luigi.
  • Critical Hit: Attacking certain enemies in certain ways results in this.(ie Using the Thunderhand on Cackletta's Left Hand.
    • Actual Critical Hits are called "Lucky!"
  • Difficulty by Region: The Japanese versions are easier.
  • The Drag Along: Luigi, literally so in Superstar Saga: when Mario gets the news that Bowser is attacking the Mushroom Kingdom again, he immediately rushes out of his shower and jumps into his clothes, while Luigi is hanging them. This results in Mario running to the castle with the rope still attached to his clothes... and Luigi all wrapped in the rope.
  • Emergency Energy Tank: The Max Mushroom, which completely restores a selected brother's HP; the Max Syrup, which restores all Bros. Points; the 1-Up Super Mushroom, which revives a KO'd brother with max HP, and the Golden Mushroom (replaced by Star Candy in the third game), which restores all HP and BP.
  • Fisher Queen: Peach, possibly; it depends on whether or not an economic crash (see You Fail Economics Forever below) like the one in Superstar Saga happens every time she gets kidnapped..
  • For the Evulz: The only explanation for around half of Fawful's actions.
  • Goomba Stomp: One of the brothers' default attacks.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Most Bros. Attacks involve some element of this between the Bros.
  • Inconsistent Translation: The Spanish translators give Fawful a different name in every game. It doesn't help that the European and the American teams are different, so there are inconsistences even between the two localizations of Bowser's Inside Story.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Fawful's speech patterns, especially his Catch Phrase "I HAVE FURY!", are an homage to Good Bad Translations of older video games.
  • Just for Pun: When the English localizers named Partners in Time and Bowser's Inside Story as such, they made the titles puns: the first is a pun on the phrase "partners in crime" with the last word changed to "time," which rhymes with it and reflects the Time Travel theme of that game. When Bowser's Inside Story's title says "inside story," it means it literally--the Mario Bros. end up accidentally getting swallowed by Bowser.
  • Large Ham: Fawful, oh so very much. Bowser too (though not as much as Fawful). Luigi has many Large Ham moments of the Heroic Mime variety, especially with his Narm Charm Victory Pose.
  • Laughably Evil: Fawful, in spades, though essentially every villainous character has their moments.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Bowser's castle, of course.
  • Luck Stat: 'Stache increases chance of critical hit and improves prices in stores.
    • Bowser's equivalent stat is called 'Horns'.
  • Magic Mushroom: Even more mushrooms are added, with plenty of interesting effects. The most prominent is the Vacuum Shroom, which starts off Bowser's Inside Story.
  • Mighty Glacier: Bowser, of course.
    • Glass Cannon: Mario, since his stats focus on attack and speed.
    • Stone Wall: Luigi, since his stats focus on HP, Defense, and 'Stache.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The Japanese Cover Art. Especially when compared to the international versions. Bowser's Inside Story is the first game in the series to have the same cover art in English and Japanese.
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: There are many jokes at Luigi's expense about him being the Garfunkel to Mario's Simon.
  • No Fourth Wall: Part of the humor of the franchise.
  • Not So Harmless: Fawful goes from being a joke of a shopkeeper in Partners in Time that incessantly mutters about revenge...to actually carrying those muttered threats out in Bowser's Inside Story, where he's the Big Bad!
    • Likewise, Bowser went from Butt Monkey to a Hot-Blooded Badass, though not without some help from Mario and Luigi.
  • Numbered Sequels: In Japan only. Elsewhere, they went with Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo instead.
    • The second one is Mario and Luigi RPG 2 x 2 (the two brothers and two babies) and the third is Mario and Luigi RPG 3!!!
  • Oh Crap: Mario and Luigi do this a lot.
  • Once an Episode: The games seem to have fallen into the tradition of having Bowser as the Training/Warmup Boss (with Luigi at the sidelines of the battle), a midway boss halfway through the game, and as a part of the final battle as well:
    • Superstar Saga: Mario fights Bowser in the beginning. Later, Bowser loses his memory and Popple recruits him as "Rookie." After Popple ditches him, Cackletta's spirit possesses him to become Bowletta.
    • Partners in Time: Baby Mario fights Baby Bowser (Mario fights a Junior Shrooboid instead, but it still counts as Baby Mario's scenario comes first). Halfway through, Bowser teams up with his baby self to fight the Bros. And after everything is said and done, the elder Princess Shroob revives him and attacks through him.
    • Bowser's Inside Story: Again, Mario fights Bowser in the beginning when he crashes the meeting (hilariously, Luigi is asleep at the table). Then, oddly, considering he's a playable character for over half the game, Mario and Luigi fight Bowser about halfway through, and he'll actually use the techniques he's learned. At the end of the game, his half of the final battle is against Dark Bowser.
      • Actually, Bowser is fought 4 times in every game; there are two battles against Popple & Rookie, in the halfway battle in the second you fight both Bowser and his younger self so really you need to knock him out twice, and "Bowser X" is the final enemy in the Gauntlet in the third game.
    • Also, the Fantastic Voyage present in each game, getting larger as the series progresses. In the first one it's merely the setting for the final battle. In the second one it's the second half of the second "world". In the third game it takes up about half the game.
    • Another element present in all three games is collecting the pieces of a special star. The first game has the four pieces of the Beanstar, the second game has the six pieces of the Cobalt Star, and the third game has the three Star Cures that combine to form the star-shaped Miracle Cure.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Bowser refers to Luigi mainly as "Green 'Stache".
  • The Other Darrin: In the first two games, Bowser was voiced by Scott Burns. In the third one, however, he's voiced by Kenny James.
    • It wasn't just Bowser. Coinciding with the vocal changes in the main series, Peach went from Jen Taylor (Superstar Saga) to Nicole Mills (Partners in Time) to Samantha Kelly (Bowser's Inside Story).
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Luigi in all three games, despite being anything but plucky.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Parodied by Fawful who sings an elaborate rhyming song but is unable to think of something that rhymes with his name for the last line and settles for "Something... else that... rhymes... I HAVE CHORTLES!!!"
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: The stats of bosses and such like in the second game are ridiculously hard compared to the first one.
    • That's because you have four brothers. That gives you more attack power and more longevity. If the enemies had stats in line with those from the first game, they'd be wiped out.
    • The third game takes a ridiculous one with the Bro. Attacks and minigames.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Fawful combines this with Intentional Engrish for Funny. In fact, in the first game, he had an extremely long speech where he said "comeback" at least three times.
  • Sibling Team: Who else?
  • Speaking Simlish: Mario and Luigi speak in a vaguely Italian sounding gibberish babble, in additon to each other's names and "M-hmm" noises. It's pretty well done and at least sounds somewhat Italian. Otherwise, the bros are Heroic Mimes.
  • Sure Why Not: Members of the translation team actually left some translation errors in the final game when working on Fawful's dialogue since the errors seemed in character for him anyway.
  • Talks Like a Simile: Fawful: Who could forget the "mustard of your doom!" speech?
  • Theme Naming: Everywhere! Beans, laughter, and of course the second game stuck the word "Shroob" into anything villainous. Fawful in the third game likes to add parts of his name to his minions, like Crawfuls.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Bowser, in Bowser's Inside Story (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
    • Bowser gains another in Dream Team where he don't only remembers all the tricks he learned from the previous game but he also betrays Antasma who was supposed to be the Big Bad, Ascending himself as the true one by stealing the MacGuffin and fleeing and finally absorbing said MacGuffin so he can become his strongest form to date for the final battle
  • Verbal Tic: Gerakobits, the Japanese version of Fawful, repeats all of his "ru" sentence endings ten or twenty times. Whether or not the sentence actually ends with a "ru" rurururururururu. The warbling effect isn't unlike Penchinon.
  • Who Is This Guy Again?: Luigi, at least to Bowser and his goons.
  • Wrap Around: Many enemies have this, such as charging off one side of the screen and coming back from the other.
  • Yoko Shimomura: Has composed the music for the entire series thus far, after previously having also composed the music for Super Mario RPG.
  • You Fail Economics Forever: With Unfortunate Implications about Peach's capacity to rule; at the start of Superstar Saga, the exchange rate between Mushroom Kingdom coins and Beanbean coins is pretty shabby, something like 100M = 1B. Later on, Prince Peasley cockily bets 99,999,999,999,999 Mushroom Kingdom coins that he'll find the Plot Coupons first; even with the poor exchange rate this is a pretty sweet deal. But when he makes good on the bet at the end of the game, the converted value of his promised ante is...99 Beanbean coins, meaning that over the course of a single game, the Mushroom Kingdom's economy has crashed so irretrievably that statistically, even the houseflies are begging for change in the streets of the nearest stable economy (probably Beanbean). Depending on how you take all this, the economic failure lies either with the writers, or with Peach.
    • Considering that all that occurs after Peach was kidnapped, it's not really that odd. What do you think would happen if the leader of your country suddenly vanished without a trace, and the one who usually kidnaps her didn't this time?
    • It could also be that Peasley was messing with Mario and Luigi. Or that Lady Lima temporarily reset the exchange rate so that the Beanbean kingdom's economy wouldn't crash. Either that or they're corrupt as hell.
    • Plus, it isn't really a valid promise, considering that there's no witnesses or official documents or whatever. But you know what? Let's just laugh.
  • Zerg Rush: Lampshaded earlier by Bowser in Bowser's Inside Story: apparently, this is all the Goombas learn during their military training. Bowser's Goomba Storm combination attack plays it straight, but if pulled correctly, it shifts to Death From Above via flaming Goombas.
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