A series of Japanese 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 four games in this series:
Butt Monkey: 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 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.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: 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.
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.
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 inconsistencies even between the two localizations of Bowser's Inside Story.
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.
Not So Harmless Villain: 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.
Oh Crap: Mario and Luigi do this a lot. Sometimes appropriate background music is added.
Once an Episode: The games seem to have fallen into the tradition of having Bowser as the Training/Warm Up 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.
The final boss of each game also has an uncanny habit of entering Bowser and using his powers, as well as being defeated while inside him. In the first one 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 the Elder Princess Shroob's ghost possessed him to become Shrowser, and was killed when all of Bowser's attacks missed and hit her ghost instead, and in the third 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.
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!!!"
Rule of Funny: Everything. Also the general answer of anything in the Headscratchers page.
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.
Sequel Escalation: 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.
Sequential Boss: Every final boos 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.
Speaking Simlish: 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 Mimes.
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.
Verbal Tic: 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 Penchinon.
Artistic License - Economics: 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.