[[quoteright:330:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/superstarSaga.png]]

A series of [[EasternRPG Japanese RPG]]s for Nintendo handheld systems, starring the eponymous [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Super Mario Brothers]]. It's the third {{RPG}} series to star Mario, the first being the one-shot ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'', made by [[SquareEnix Squaresoft]], and the second being the ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' 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 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 [[ActionCommands action elements]] are added to the battles, up to elaborate "Bros" attacks which can be [[SomeDexterityRequired shockingly demanding]]. Enemy attacks can be avoided completely with proper timing, and can even result in [[DeadlyDodging counter-attacks]].

Also, as the title implies, Luigi, ever the LesserStar in most ''Mario'' games, is given a much more prominent role here than in any other SpinOff game other than ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'' and [[VideoGame/LuigisMansionDarkMoon its sequel]]. Many of the jokes revolve around his tradition of staying behind during Mario's other adventures and how [[WhoIsThisGuyAgain hardly anyone knows who he is outside of the Mushroom Kingdom]]. But at the same time, he also gets to make a name for himself through his own heroics in each entry of the series, to point where he eventually earns the remembrance of characters who start off unable to remember his name.

There are currently four games in this series:
* ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga'' ({{GBA}}, 2003)
* ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'' (NintendoDS, 2005)
* ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory'' (NintendoDS, 2009)
* ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam'' (Nintendo3DS, 2013)

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!!Tropes in the series as a whole:

* ActionCommands: Very vital in combat. Aside from boosting your attacks, they can also be used to dodge or even counter enemy attacks.
* ADayInTheLimelight: Luigi gets a much more prominent role in these games than he does in most other games in the franchise, particularly in ''Superstar Saga'' and ''Dream Team''.
** ''Bowser's Inside Story'' is, naturally, one of these for Bowser.
** ''Partners in Time'' for the babies, especially Baby Luigi who's usually the one who needs to be saved.
* AdventureDuo: Throughout the games, Mario and Luigi explore together the Bean Bean Kingdom (Superstar Saga), Mushroom Kingdom's Past (Partners In Time), inside Bowser (Bowser's Inside Story), in Mushroom Kingdom's Present (also Bowser's inside story), Pi'illo Island (Dream Team) and the Dream World (Also dream Team).
* AfterBossRecovery: In the first two games, the Bros. will always be healed after every boss they fight (and fallen ones will be revived).
* AlertnessBlink: The occasional '''!'''
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: The final levels of the first three games are castles that have been taken over by villains.
* AmusingInjuries: All over the place. Luigi and Bowser are the most frequent victims.
* ArtEvolution: Compare the ingame-graphics of ''[[http://www.spriters-resource.com/gameboy_advance/mlss/index.html Superstar Saga]]'' with those of ''[[http://www.spriters-resource.com/ds/marioluigipartners/index.html Partners in Time]]'' and ''[[http://www.spriters-resource.com/ds/marioandluigi3/index.html 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 NintendoDS instead of the GameBoyAdvance.
** Taken UpToEleven in ''[[http://www.mariowiki.com/Gallery:Mario_%26_Luigi:_Dream_Team Dream Team]]'', which brings 3D graphics to the series for the first time - but still keeps the same overall art style.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Mario and Luigi's gibberish ''sounds'' Italian...
* BadassMustache: Mario and Luigi, to the extent their "Stache" stat earns them store discounts, and increases the [[LuckStat chance]] that you will do [[ForMassiveDamage massive damage]] with a regular move (called a [[CriticalHit "lucky" strike]]).
** The Baby Mario Bros. also have the Stache stat, even though they don't actually ''have'' mustaches.
** Bowser also gets a similar effect, the "Horn" stat.
* BashBrothers: Quite literally with the titular characters. The games also feature quite a few sibling tag-teams.
* BlackBeadEyes: Some supporting characters.
* BreakoutCharacter: Due to his EnsembleDarkhorse status, Fawful was upgraded to BigBad in the third game
* ButtMonkey: Poor Luigi. At least he regularly gets to wallop Mario on the head. Bowser gets kicked around quite a bit as well. Luigi's status as a ButtMonkey is considerably lessened in ''Bowser's Inside Story''. He still gets the shaft, but not nearly as much ([[CosmicPlaything 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. [[spoiler: It's Bowser X. Without the Challenge Medal, he has 8,000 HP.]]
* CallAHitPointASmeerp: Critical hits = "Lucky hits" (in addition to what the games call critical hits: using an attack that an enemy is weak to), Skill/[[LuckStat Luck]] = "[[BadassMustache 'Stache]]", MP = "BP" ("Bros. Points") in the first game and "SP" ("Skill Points") in the third.
* CheshireCatGrin: Fawful.
* CombinationAttack: All of the special attacks are these. Even Bowser's Specials involve teaming up with his minions.
* CounterAttack: During the enemy's turn, you can dodge their attacks and hit them back with jump and hammer attacks. Hypothetically, you can even get through an entire game without taking any damage at all aside from a small handful of {{Always Accurate Attack}}s.
* CowardlySidekick: Luigi.
* CriticalHit: A weird example. In-game, the term "critical hit" is used to refer to ElementalRockPaperScissors advantages, whereas actual critical hits are called [[CallAHitPointASmeerp "lucky hits"]].
* DamnYouMuscleMemory: Invoked by certain enemies throughout the game; some will switch between attacks you have to jump to dodge and attacks you have to do nothing to dodge. Also, later enemies will especially take advantage of players who press both Bros' buttons at the same time to dodge instead of figuring out which Bro is being attacked by making it so that dodging with the Bro not being attacked will cause him to be hit while jumping.
* DenserAndWackier: Without question, these games are the silliest in the Mario Bros. universe.
* DifficultyByRegion: The Japanese versions are easier.
* TheDragAlong: 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.
* EmergencyEnergyTank: 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.
* EscapeBattleTechnique: The series has a 'Run' option for this. In ''MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga'', you had to hammer the A and B buttons to make Mario and Luigi run while coins fell out their pockets, in later games you just hit the run command and immediately flee the battle. As per the norm, it doesn't work in boss battles.
* EvolvingAttack: In ''Superstar Saga'', if the brothers used their Bros. Attacks enough times, Mario would pause, think, and then talk to Luigi for a moment, making suggestions. This unlocked a secret alternate version of the Attack, often with its own unique properties. The alternate Spin Jump attack, for example, allows Mario to jump on spiked enemies, ignoring the defenses of TheSpiny.
* [[FisherKing Fisher Queen]]: Peach, possibly; it depends on whether or not an economic crash (see YouFailEconomicsForever below) like the one in ''Superstar Saga'' happens every time she gets kidnapped..
* ForTheEvulz: The only explanation for around half of Fawful's actions.
* TheGoomba: Each of the games in the ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi'' series puts its own unique spin on the Goomba. The TropeNamer also appears in all four games, playing different roles in each.
** The first game, ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga Superstar Saga]]'', takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom's neighboring country, the Beanbean Kingdom, [[PlanetOfHats where everything is bean-themed]] instead of mushroom-themed. Their Goomba equivalent is the Beanie, a creature who looks like a bean with a face and two feet. Actual Goombas also appear in the game as [[TrainingBoss training bosses]]. It should be noted that the actual weakest enemies in the game are Fighter Flies, who live on the border between the two kingdoms.
** The second game, ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime Partners in Time]]'', takes place during an AlienInvasion. The weakest enemies in the game are alien Goombas called Shrooblets. Actual Goombas also appear later on, once again being tougher than normal.
** The third game, ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Bowser's Inside Story]]'', is a FantasticVoyagePlot through Bowser's body. The weakest enemies inside Bowser are single-celled Goombas called Goombules. The weakest enemies outside Bowser are Chuboombas, chubby Goombas who love candy. Actual Goombas also appear as SummonMagic. [[IncendiaryExponent Flaming Goombas]] that [[RussianReversal stomp enemies]], no less. [[spoiler:The same Goombas are also Bowser's only way of countering one of Dark Fawful's attacks, by punching them into him, no less.]]
** The fourth game, ''[[Videogame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam Dream Team]]'', features Grombas as the weakest enemy in the overworld, while Drombas are the weakest enemy in the Dream World. Actual Goombas appear as (somewhat late) midgame enemies where they usually work together with Fly Guys or each other to try to overwhelm Mario and Luigi, either through ZergRush (with other Goombas) or through DeathFromAbove (with the help of the Fly Guys). They are even used as cavalry, being carried into battle by the Fly Guys to increase their numbers. Both Goombas and Fly Guys also have stronger versions of themselves that appear as mid-to-lategame enemies. Finally, Goombas remain one of the only enemies that are faced in both the real world, and the dream world (the latter as assisting enemies in a [[spoiler:boss battle with the Elite Trio, one of which is a Goomba]]), [[spoiler:and Dreamy Goombas can be summoned by the FinalBoss, Dreamy Bowser]].
* GoombaStomp: One of the brothers' default attacks.
* GrievousHarmWithABody: Most Bros. Attacks involve some element of this between the Bros.
* HeKnowsAboutTimedHits: So many characters do this, it's almost a RunningGag.
* InconsistentTranslation: 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 inconsistencies even between the two localizations of ''Bowser's Inside Story''.
* InformedEquipment: You never see any of the special gear or badges on Mario and Luigi's actual sprites. Then again, they could just all look identical to their normal clothing and differ merely by effect, it's never explained.
* IntentionalEngrishForFunny: Fawful's speech patterns, especially his CatchPhrase "I HAVE FURY!", are an homage to {{Good Bad Translation}}s of older video games.
* InterimVillain: Fawful. In the first game, he was [[BigBad Cackletta's]] [[TheDragon Dragon;]] in the second, he was only seen as a cameo while the role of the BigBad was taken by the Shroobs; and finally in the third he is now the BigBad.
* KilledOffForReal: This series is not shy about having the Mario Bros kill off the {{Big Bad}}s and {{Bigger Bad}}s of the series. The only exceptions are [[spoiler:Fawful, who still dies from a botched TakingYouWithMe, and Bowser, who hijacks the BigBad role from Antasma at the last minute]].
* LargeHam: Fawful, [[IntentionalEngrishForFunny oh so very much]]. Bowser too (though not as much as Fawful). Luigi has many LargeHam moments of the HeroicMime variety, especially with his VictoryPose.
* LaughablyEvil: Fawful, in spades, though essentially every villainous character has their moments.
* LethalLavaLand: Bowser's castle, of course.
* LuckStat: 'Stache increases chance of critical hit and improves prices in stores.
** Bowser's equivalent stat is called 'Horns'.
* MagicMushroom: Even more mushrooms are added, with plenty of interesting effects. The most prominent is the Vacuum Shroom, which starts off the third game by giving Bowser the ability to inhale stuff, such as the Mario Bros.
* ManHug: Mario and Luigi do this fairly frequently after one or both have been rescued from danger, another way of showing how much they care for each other.
* ManaPotion: Syrups restore Bros. Points.
* MinimalisticCoverArt: The [[http://www.mariowiki.com/images/0/0e/MLRPGBox.png Japanese]] [[http://www.mariowiki.com/images/1/15/PiTJP.jpg cover arts]] of the first two games, especially when compared to the [[http://www.mariowiki.com/images/4/4e/Superstars.PNG international]] [[http://www.mariowiki.com/images/7/79/MarioLuigiPartnersTime.jpg versions]]. ''Bowser's Inside Story'' is the first game in the series to have the same cover art in English and Japanese.
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg: There are many jokes at Luigi's expense about him being the {{Garfunkel}} to Mario's Simon.
* NameAndName: Obviously.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: 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 BigBad!
** Likewise, Bowser went from ButtMonkey to a HotBlooded Badass, though not without some help from Mario and Luigi.
* NumberedSequels: In Japan only. Elsewhere, they went with subtitles instead.
** The second one is ''Mario and Luigi RPG 2 x 2'' (the two brothers and two babies) and the third is ''[[ExcitedShowTitle Mario and Luigi RPG 3!!!]]'' The fourth goes back to normal titles with just ''Mario & Luigi RPG 4''.
* OhCrap: Mario and Luigi do this a lot. Sometimes appropriate background music is added.
* OnceAnEpisode:
** Bowser is a RecurringBoss in every game.
** The games seem to have fallen into the tradition of having Bowser as a [[WarmUpBoss tutorial boss]] (in the second game, it's Baby Bowser). ''Dream Team'' broke this tradition by having Antasma as the tutorial boss instead.
** Also, a WombLevel is present in the first three games, getting larger as the series progresses. In the first one, [[spoiler: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 the first three games is collecting [[StarShapedCoupon 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. This is Averted in ''Dream Team'', however: the PlotCoupon is the pieces of the Ultibed which is... a bed [[spoiler:that is the only way to get the Bros. to the Zeekeeper]].
** The final boss of the first three game also has an uncanny habit of [[spoiler:entering Bowser]] and using his powers, as well as being defeated [[spoiler:while inside him]]. In the first one [[spoiler: Cackletta's soul possessed him to become Bowletta, and then died after the Bros. were sucked inside him and fought her personally]], in the second [[spoiler:the Elder Princess Shroob's ghost possessed him to become Shrowser, and was killed when [[HoistByHisOwnPetard all of Bowser's attacks missed and hit her ghost instead]] ]], and in the third [[spoiler: the Dark Star entered his body to copy his DNA and become Dark Bowser, who was even destroyed when Bowser inhaled its power source and let the Bros. whale on it]]. Subverted with the fourth one, [[spoiler: where Bowser ''himself'' is the final boss. However, he still eats something to power himself up: the shards of the Dream Stone]].
** There is a fake Peach in every game except for the third. The first has Luigi and [[spoiler:Birdo]], the second has [[spoiler:Princess Shroob]], and the fourth has [[spoiler:Kamek]].
** A Wiggler is always a boss, between the Wiggler living in Chucklehuck Woods in the first game, the Shroob-Wiggler hybrid Swiggler in the second, the vegetable farming Wiggler in the third, and the Wiggler from the fourth who is fought with Popple.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Bowser refers to Luigi mainly as "Green 'Stache".
* TheOtherDarrin: Coinciding with the vocal changes in the main Mario series, Bowser and Peach's voice actors have changed a couple of times throughout the series:
** In the first two games, Bowser was voiced by Scott Burns. In the latter two, however, he's voiced by Kenny James.
** Peach went from Jen Taylor (''Superstar Saga'') to Nicole Mills (''Partners in Time'') to Samantha Kelly (''Bowser's Inside Story'').
* ThePinIsMightierThanTheSword: Badge equips.
* PluckyComicRelief: [[ButtMonkey Luigi]] in all three games, [[LovableCoward despite being anything but plucky]].
* PunBasedTitle: 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 TimeTravel 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.
* RecurringBoss: Bowser will always be fought more than once in every M&L game.
* RhymesOnADime: 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!!!"
* RuleOfFunny: Everything. Also the general answer of anything in the Headscratchers page.
* SequelDifficultySpike: 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.
** The fourth game eventually becomes downright ''[[UpToEleven brutal]]'', especially when compared to the previous games. Enemies become powerful enough to take entire chunks out of your hit points, with attack "tells" being ''much'' harder to spot. Several bosses have attacks that are both fast and powerful, and the complexity of their bigger moves only adds to the difficulty.[[note]] One of the last bosses ([[spoiler:Final Antasma]]) even has an attack that goes on for ''eternity'' if you don't stop it yourself.[[/note]] Don't be surprised if the last bosses can kill you in a few hits. There's also the added [[SelfImposedChallenge Expert Challenges]], which dare you to fight in certain ways in order to obtain points to unlock rewards.
* SequelEscalation: Stats of both the Mario Bros and enemies get higher in each game, and the damage calculation becomes more unforgiving to match. Partners in Time used division instead of subtraction to calculate damage, so damage in that game went much higher than that in Superstar Saga. Enemies with the same stats would do about twice as much damage in Bowser's Inside Story as what they did in Partners in Time.
* SequentialBoss: Every final boss in the series comes in at least two parts. The one for ''Bowser's Inside Story'' is slightly different, given that one part is outside Bowser and one part is inside. [[spoiler:Averted with Dream Team. Dreamy Bowser is the only Final Boss.]]
** CognizantLimbs: Often part of at least one of the two parts.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: Fawful combines this with IntentionalEngrishForFunny. In fact, in the first game, he had an extremely long speech where he said "comeback" at least three times.
* SiblingTeam: Who else?
* SpeakingSimlish: Mario and Luigi speak in a vaguely Italian sounding gibberish babble, in additon to each other's names and affirmative noises. It's pretty well done and at least sounds somewhat Italian. Otherwise, the bros are {{Heroic Mime}}s.
* TalksLikeASimile: Fawful: Who could forget the "[[MemeticMutation mustard of your doom]]!" speech?
* ThemeNaming: 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. The fourth one goes with references to sleep.
* TookALevelInBadass: Bowser took levels in badass as the series went along. In ''Superstar Saga'', he's a ButtMonkey. In ''Partners in Time'', he's an actual threat, albeit a minor one. In ''Bowser's Inside Story'', he's a protagonist. In ''Dream Team'', [[spoiler:he replaces Antasma, the supposed BigBad, as the game's main antagonist]].
* VerbalTic: In the Japanese version, Gerakobits (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 [[GaoGaiGar Penchinon]]. While translations of Fawful's dialogue in other languages don't keep this, it can still be heard in his VoiceGrunting.
* WhoIsThisGuyAgain: Luigi, at least to Bowser and his goons, who instead call him "[[PaletteSwap Green Mario]]," "Green 'Stache" and the like. [[spoiler:Subverted at the end of ''Dream Team'', where Bowser ''finally'' remembers his real name after having deemed him a WorthyOpponent this time around.]]
* WrapAround: Many enemies have this, such as charging off one side of the screen and coming back from the other.
* ZergRush:
** {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d earlier by Bowser in ''Bowser's Inside Story'': apparently, this is ''all'' {{the Goomba}}s learn during their military training. Bowser's Goomba Storm combination attack plays it straight, but if pulled correctly, it [[SubvertedTrope shifts]] to DeathFromAbove via [[IncendiaryExponent flaming Goombas]].
** The Goombas uses this as their sole attack in VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam. In other words, all the Goombas attack at the same time, attempting to ram into the Mario brothers.
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