main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Video Game: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
The first game in the Mario & Luigi series, released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance, and for the Wii U eShop in April 2014.

In one of the most elaborate (original) games made for the Game Boy Advance, Mario is sent to the Beanbean Kingdom, which conveniently adjoins the Mushroom Kingdom. Luigi reluctantly goes along after Mario and Bowser join forces. The Big Bad Cackletta reportedly has stolen Princess Peach's voice (yes, her voice) in order to activate the Beanstar, an artifact with the power to grant wishes.

Tropes appearing in this game:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 99.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Characters invent names for Luigi, because Who Is This Guy Again?
  • Action Insurance Gag: At the end of the early gameplay scenes, Bowser's Koopa Cruiser is destroyed by Fawful. Talking to one of the Koopa Troopas found afterwards yields the comment, "The K-Koopa Crusier... We haven't finished... paying it off.."
  • Adipose Rex: Queen Bean is a rare female example.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The Chuckolator, an animated barrel of soda.
  • Apathetic Citizens: One of the Beanbean Castle Town residents asks you to find his pets for him once the town's started to rebuild from the attack. He tells you the little critters "aren't super-motivated, so they're probably still around town someplace". He seems to be of a type since he can't be bothered to go find them himself.
  • Artistic License – Economics: At the start of the game, the exchange rate between Mushroom Kingdom coins and Beanbean coins is pretty shabby, something like 100M = 10B. 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). Although it does take Money for Nothing to its logical conclusion.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Trunkle's tree on its head, as using several bros attacks on it can take it out before it is able to divide.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • Prince Peasley was turned into a dragon and trapped inside an egg before the game's events began - the dragon is a very early boss fight. Apparently Mario and Luigi beating the stuffing out of the dragon breaks the spell. Later, he gets shrunken down and eaten by a Pirahna Plant.
    • There's also the matter of the Woohoo Hooniversity professors being turned into Laser Snifits.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Mom Piranha's elemental weakness changes depending on her color, and is healed if hit by the wrong element.
  • Berserk Button: Jojora doesn't react well when you attack her friends. On the other hand, she doesn't seem to mind too much being attacked herself, as she has killer defense.
  • Beta Couple: Toadsworth and Lady Lima.
  • Big Bad: Cackletta.
  • Bishie Sparkle: When Prince Peasley flips his hair, the entire screen goes white. Downplayed on one occasion due to the prince being shrunken.
  • Body Horror:
    • The fate of the professors at Woohoo Hooniversity.
    • As well as Bowletta.
  • Book Ends: The first time you see the Bean-Bean Kingdom, it's been destroyed. Towards the climax, when you come back, it's been destroyed again.
  • Boss Bonanza: The game has a separate boss fight for each of the seven Koopalings in Bowser's Castle, followed by Fawful, Bowletta, and the Essence of Cackletta.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: One of the Dummied Out scenes in Starbeans Café has Wario say "Now that I’m here, this game’s finally gettin’ good!" and later "Don’t you have free drinks for celebrity guest stars in this game?".
  • The Bus Came Back: The Koopalings return, after being absent for more than a decade since Super Mario World. Then they get Put on a Bus again until 2009.
  • But Thou Must: Quite possibly one of the most infuriating examples is The Hammerhead Bros.' tutorial. Which you have to sit through even if you've mastered how the hammer works.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Bowser. Let's see, during this game, he gets curbstomped by Fawful, gets stuck in a cannon, gets fired out of it, hits his head so hard he loses his memory, works as Popple's lackey for some time as "Rookie", finally regains his memory but falls who-knows-how-far from the Beanstar, gets possessed by Cackletta, gets his castle blown up, gets beaten up by the Mario Brothers, then finally gets blown up with the castle and hits the screen, and is then dragged home by the plane and it's implied that he got a cold. He's not gonna try to kidnap Peach for a while.
  • Captain Ersatz: Popple is suspiciously similar to Croco.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Remember Blablanadon from the Hoohoo areas? He's the only way to access Bowser's Castle at the end of the game.
  • Cloud Cuckooland: Beanbean Kingdom, full stop.
  • Cognizant Limbs:
    • Cackletta's arms and head need to be destroyed before her heart can be targeted..
    • Also, you have to smack Queen Bean's arms for her pointy crown to fall off, but you can bypass all that if you've learned Splash Bros. Advance.
    • There's also Hermie III, whose claws can be targeted. He'll counter every attack used against him with his claws if his claws aren't down.
  • Collection Sidequest: Finding all the coffee beans.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: One Toad in Little Fungitown is playing an arcade game like this.
  • Combination Attack: The main draw of the game is the way Mario and Luigi team up for puzzles and fighting. In all their Bros Moves are the Splash Bros, Chopper Bros, Fire Bros, Bounce Bros, Knockback Bros, Thunder Bros, Swing Bros, Cyclone Bros.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cross Dresser: Luigi dressing up as Princess Peach (even doing a Noblewoman's Laugh, if only to conceal his mustache).
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: At the start of the game, Fawful does it to Bowser of all people. He literally one-shots Bowser with an attack that would otherwise take 5 or so hits to defeat a Bro.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Cackletta is an incredibly competent villain for someone out of the Mario Bros. series. Notably, she started the trend of Bowser being an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, which took him until Mario & Luigi: Dream Team to recover from.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Luigi gets his moment to shine during a few plot points.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: This happens to all the bosses, even if they are alive in the cutscene that follows.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: To an extent. After Tolstar is defeated, he reappears when the Brothers are cornered and accused by a group of Beanbean guards, vouching for your innocence.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Cackletta the first time you face her, and she has somewhat nasty attacks to boot.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Woohoo Hooniversity houses the fight with Cackletta stated above...and interestingly the second showdown with Popple and Rookie.
  • Distressed Damsel: In an unique twist, Princess Peach isn't kidnapped... but her voice is. Well, she still gets kidnapped later, but it isn't the usual "whole game" deal. Even then, it's not Peach's voice that's kidnapped. It's Birdo's. Apparently, anyone can put on a pink dress and a wig and pass for Princess Peach, since Birdo, Luigi and even an alien do it throughout the various Mario & Luigi games.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Fawful's infamous "Mustard of Doom".
  • The Drag-Along: Luigi at first.
  • The Dragon: Fawful.
  • Drop the Hammer: Mario and Luigi get hammers after the second dungeon, and they are upgraded twice over the course of the game.
  • Dual Boss: Popple and his various sidekicks.
  • Dummied Out: The game code contains dialog for several different characters giving you the different accessories from mixing bean juice: Wario for the Greed Wallet, Samus Aran for the Power Grip, Link for the Great Force, Fox McCloud for the Bonus Ring, Captain Olimar (who speaks in boxless dialogue) for the Cobalt Necktie, and the racer from Excitebike for the Excite Spring. Professor E. Gadd would only show up to deliver the Game Boy Horror TMK has the scripts for the lost cameos.
  • Embedded Precursor: Superstar Saga includes the Game Boy Advance port of the Mario Bros. arcade game. It's the same port included with the Super Mario Advance games.
  • Enemy Mine: Bowser. However, he helps the brothers only because he doesn't like other bad guys taking what he wants. Sadly it doesn't last long though, as throughout the whole game events conspire to prevent him from helping for anything other than getting to the Beanbean Kingdom.
  • Escort Mission: Escorting Princess Peach through Teehee Valley to Little Fungitown. You have to keep her onscreen at all times, make sure there are no enemies heading towards her, and work quickly to open the gate at each section of the valley. If you don't do one of the first two, she gets kidnapped. Mario and Luigi must rescue her and try again. However, the player can make this easier by defeating every opponent on the field, then escorting Peach.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Popple helps Mario move the Beanstar out of harm's way and bows respectfully to him before a battle.
  • Evil Laugh: Cackletta tends to...well, look at her name. Fawful also has one.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Fawful.
  • Excuse Plot: Probably the most notable aversion in the entire Super Mario Bros. series. The game has several major Plot Twists and features a Gambit Pileup that doesn't get fully resolved until after the penultimate dungeon.
  • Expy: The Beanstar is pretty similar to Jirachi...
  • Face-Heel Turn: Birdo, after falling in love with Popple (if it is the same Birdo).
  • Final Exam Dungeon: Bowser's Castle.
  • Finger Snap Lighter
  • Fingerless Gloves: Sniper Bills.
  • Flipping Helpless: The brothers can't get past the giant Koopas until they've learned the fire dash attack.
  • Flunky Boss: Mom Piranha, who is accompanied by respawning piranha plants.
  • Foregone Victory: Mario can't lose the first fight with Bowser, no matter what you do. Even if you miss every single action command, Mario will win.
  • Foreshadowing: "I can't kidnap Peach like this!" "She'll wreck my castle!"
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Played for laughs; what is obviously a wine-making operation instead produces "soda".
  • Gambit Pile Up: And how. Most allied NPCs were chessmasters at one point or another, with instances including (but not limited to) swapping Luigi and Peach to have him infiltrate the Koopa Cruiser and completely anticipating Cackletta's fake gift and kidnapping of the princess (and on a sidenote, knowing that the guards would be useless), countering the plan by swapping out her and Birdo, of all things, before the opening cutscene, and nobody knew what was going on until halfway through the game. Cackletta also manipulated crazy situations, such as making you fix the plumbing to cancel the castle security system. (... In hindsight, that makes even less sense.) By the end, you wouldn't have been surprised if The Plan set up by the heroes was really just the villains in disguise.
  • Gender Bender: Bowletta. Hoo boy.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Golden Beanie had higher stats than standard Beanie.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The thief Popple and his various partners.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The four Beanbean shards. Notably, Mario and Luigi must find eight fruit to collect one of the shards- making it an example of Catching These Things to Catch All Of These Other Things.
  • Global Currency Exception: Those 100 coins you got at the beginning of the game turn out to be Mushroom Coins, and are worth 10 Beanbean Coins. (doesn't matter, as you have to surrender it immediately.) And later, when you get an impossibly high amount of coins - something like 9,999,999,999 - it turns out to be Mushroom coins, and is worth... 99 Beanbean Coins. But how could the exchange rate fluctuate so fast? The only logical, foolproof explanation is the Rule of Funny.
  • Grand Theft Me: Happens to Bowser when Cackletta's ghost needs to quickly possess a new body in order to survive. This causes some Pronoun Trouble about whether the result is male or female.
  • Hypno Pendulum: Technically a Hypno Staff, but in any case, Psycho Kamek uses it to hypnotise Luigi into thinking he's Mario so he's brave enough to go to Guffawha Ruins.
  • Implausible Boarding Skills: How to get across to Joke's End? Easy, Mario can use Luigi as a surfboard simply by hammering him into a convenient slot.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Pretty much everything Fawful says. note 
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Luigi's second Bros Move, gained near the start of Chucklehuck Woods, allows him to turn Mario tiny by hitting him with a hammer.
  • Instant Expert: Mario and Luigi's Bro moves. Reading the Secret Scrolls once for two moves is apparently enough as well.
    • It's somewhat averted, though, in that there's a hidden, more difficult form of each Bros. move—appropriately named Advanced—that can only be unlocked if the player successfully pulls off the move a large number of times.
  • Item Crafting: The various coffee beans are brought to Professor E. Gadd's coffee shop and blended into stat boosting drinks. He also gives out accessories (and a skit) every time a new type of drink is brewed.
  • It's All About Me: Hermie attacks you because you barged in looking for a MacGuffin and happened to be a world-famous superstar, distracting his friends from fussing over him.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Bowser loses his memory and ends up as Popple's dopey sidekick.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: Mario and Luigi get Fire and Lightning abilities respectively. This might be due to their personalities. Mario, a hero, is brave and consistent, though his Fire powers existed before this game as the Fire Flower powerup. But Mario is also aggressive and impulsive, showing a little hotheadedness. Luigi, who is slightly lazy and cowardly(you could say that he's gone in a flash), is also more expressive in his emotions and funnier (he might have a spark of life in him). When Luigi does act, he can make all the difference, and he is as brave as his brother during events with strong enemies. Hence, the partnership between the two.
  • Literal Metaphor: Mario and Luigi have to jump the border from Mushroom to Beanbean early on. To do so, they play a game a jump rope.
  • Man Hug: Mario and Luigi hug each other at least three times during their adventure; the first time being in Woohoo Hooniversity after Luigi is freed from a barrel mishap, the second time after rescuing Peach from her temporary Teehee Valley kidnapping during the Escort Mission (though you can do this again if you let her be kidnapped again) and the third time is when Mario frees Luigi from his tied-up status.
  • Metal Slime: Golden Beanies. There's a rare chance of finding one after the brothers defeat a Pestnut (there's usually just a regular Beanie) and they run away the moment their turn comes around, but they drop a relatively large amount of experience and the Spiny Badge, which lets you stomp spiked enemies.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: The Piranha Bean will give out either the Piranha Badge or Piranha Suit, depending on whether or not it's fought with a certain item equipped. There's no way to obtain the items anywhere else, so only one of them can be obtained.
  • Mythology Gag: The plan to disguise Luigi as Peach and turn him over to the villains first appeared in the comic Super Mario Adventures, which was printed in Nintendo Power over a decade earlier.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A required task at Beanbean Castle.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Cackletta and Bowletta.
  • Nobody Poops: Lampshaded when Gadd wants to take a leak. Luigi solves this by vacuuming Gadd into the Poltergust 3000.
    Professor E. Gadd: WHERE'S THE RESTROOM?
    Clerk: Boss! You never built any toilets in this place!
  • Not Quite Dead: Unfortunately, the Mario Brothers do not realize about Cackletta's soul transfer until it's too late.
  • Ocular Gushers: Peach, who is actually Birdo in disguise, does this at the beginning of the game, and Luigi does it when telling Mario that Peach got kidnapped by Bowletta.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Bowser's Castle.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: This game has the Chuckolator. Which is literally living soda that grows stronger by the power of jokes.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: The Trunkle boss dies to one or two hits of the Chopper Bros. attack to the forehead. See also Attack Its Weak Point above.
  • Palmtree Panic: Oho Oasis and Gwarhar Lagoon.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The first few arcs of the plot stem from the fact nobody tells Mario and Luigi what's going on until about a third of the way into the game.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Queen Bean uses "he...she...uh, IT" to refer to the Grand Theft Me character.
  • It's Up to You: At one point, Prince Peasley challenges the Mario Bros. to see who can get the most plot coupons, with a large bet hanging on the line. The prince fails to get even a single one, as when trying to get his first one, he gets shrunken down and eaten. In addition, at the beginning of the game, Bowser offers himself and his army to help the Mario Bros, only for them to be shot down. Ultimately subverted. You never needed to get involved in the first place, due to steps taken prior to the start of the game.
  • Rare Candy: The Bean Coffees. While Woo Beans and Chuckle Beans are plentiful, Hee Beans are only won in minigames, and Hoo Beans are stored in invisible blocks.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Throughout their adventures in Chateau de Chucklehuck, the Bros. learn of Bubbles, the original founder and owner of the chateau and the rumored creator of Chuckola Reserve, a mysterious soda so shrouded in legend that some doubt its existence. Every indication is given that this character is long dead... until, of course, Mario and Luigi meet him in the heart of Chucklehuck Woods, where he reveals he's been perfecting his soda for the past 1000 years. And what does perfecting soda for a millennium do? Grant it life and make it try to kill you, apparently.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • Popple, as mentioned above, as well as Fawful.
    • Bowser as well, even being fought alongside Popple twice.
  • Royal Rapier: Used by Prince Peasley.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Princess Peach and the Beanbean royalty had Cackletta's initial plan foiled before the game even started.
  • Rump Roast: Mario's fire field move involves lighting a fire under Luigi's buttocks to cause him to run as breakneck speed.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: Complete with a Skeleton Crew. They were carrying a shipment of Chuckola Cola, until one sailor drank too much and broke a hole in the ship. Mario and Luigi inadvertently give the ship its proper burial.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Used to hide the word "fatso".
    Skeleton: Old Bloat is even more of an "ostaf" than before!... Whuzzat? You dunno what an "ostaf" is??? Seesh! It's simple! Try spellin' it backwards!
  • Shielded Core Boss: Fawful, the second time you fight him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Nintendo even had a few taken out — the coffee shop was supposed to have a different Nintendo cameo for each new drink, but Professor E. Gadd's role was expanded at the last minute. The accessories he gives out are all references to the characters that would have been giving them out instead. See above entry for Dummied Out.
    • The Chuckola Bounce minigame features monsters that spit rocks at you called Chuckoroks.
      • The barrel section in Woohoo Hooniversity is pretty much like a level of [1].
      • One of the Hammerhead Bros., after giving Mario and Luigi their hammers, says "Now you're playing with power!"
  • Sole Entertainment Option: A video arcade in Little Fungitown, and a cinema in the middle of nowhere.
  • Solo Sequence: There are a few situations in which one brother is out of commission, forcing the other to go alone. In addition, there are many puzzles in which the brothers seperate for short times, emphasizing the teamwork in Teamwork Puzzle Game. One dungeon consists of both characters having a solo sequence at the same time. It's Joke's End.
  • Spanner in the Works: Half of the game - or hell, maybe the whole game - wouldn't have happened if Bowser hadn't come to kidnap Princess Peach at the worst possible time.
  • Stealth Pun: Joke's End is the place all bad jokes go due to their frigid reception.note 
  • Stuck in Their Shadow: Happens In-Universe. Characters recognize Mario, but either forget Luigi, or acknowledge that Luigi is the brother "left behind". This references older games (Super Mario RPG, Super Mario 64, the first Paper Mario) when Luigi stayed at home while Mario did everything. In Superstar Saga, Mario and Luigi have equally important roles.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Luigi when he's disguised as Princess Peach.
  • Theme Naming: The places around Beanbean Kingdom are named after types of or onomatopoeia for laughter.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Luigi finally gets some recognition (including actually being called by his name) when the brothers meet some in-universe fans.
  • Training Boss: Bowser, as the tutorial. He does one point of damage to you (Mario has 11), and is automatically defeated when he is damaged on the sixth turn. Your only battle command is to attack him and hence damage him, so it's impossible to lose this fight.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The brothers first meet Queen Bean after Cackletta forced her to eat a Belly Blech Worm, which turned her into a muscular brute that only focused on violent destruction.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Popple has the habit of adding "see?" to the end of his lines, see?
    • Perhaps you noticed the elderly researcher in Castle Town, and his brother in the Yoshi Theater. Both say "perhaps" often.... Perhaps! (Note: The former uses the word pretty much anywhere in his sentences, whereas the latter always sticks them at the end.)
  • Video Game Stealing: Swing Bros. Advance can allow the Bros. to steal the item from an enemy.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Poor Luigi gets on the receiving end of this if you attempt a High Jump when Mario is mini, and have Mario jump just before Luigi lands on top of him. You earn one coin for pulling this off, but Luigi loses one HP in return, and looks like he got racked in the balls. It's hilarious to pull off, though.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Tolstar, who simply throws spiked balls at our heroes, occasionally trying to fake out our heroes by tossing them above their heads. He eventually starts attacking more when his HP goes down.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Peach's actually Birdo's voice is stolen and replaced with Cackletta's explosive vocabulary. The characters keep having to scurry out of harms way whenever she speaks. Then she attempts a full paragraph, and blows out every window in the castle.
  • What The Hell, Bro? Hammering Mario or Luigi or setting fire/electrocuting Luigi or Mario before they have learnt the appropriate moves will cause the unlucky bro to yell at his tormentor. Also, in a lesser example, Peach wants to go to Little Fungitown. Luigi thinks it's a bad idea. Mario whacks Luigi on the head with his hammer and says "Let's go!" Problem solved.
  • Who Is This Guy Again?: Luigi. People often seem to forget/not know his name, and what they do call him usually references the color green.
    "Mario and... Mr. Green Mario Brother Guy!" A guard in front of Beanbean Castle addressed "the famous Mario and Lui-uh... other guy", forgetting the name in mid sentence. In a later scene, the same guard noted, "A very Mario-esque fellow and a Loo...uh, some other guy!"
  • Wicked Witch: Cackletta.
  • Womb Level: The final boss battle takes place inside Bowser/Bowletta's stomach, though it strangely looks more like a volcano interior than a stomach.
  • The Worf Effect: At the start of the game, Bowser gets knocked out in one hit by Fawful. The same attack takes at least 5 hits to down a bro.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Actually averted here, due to the heroes being one step ahead. No, not the Bros., the royalty. The villains fail to obtain both Peach's voice and the Beanstar due to a Batman Gambit by the Princess herself, thus they get pissed and start bombing the Beanbean Kingdom out of rage.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Once Luigi learns how to properly shock his brother with the Thunderhand on the field, the bros gain the ability to move in sync with one another as well as the ability to walk backwards. Why Luigi needs to electrocute Mario order for them to accomplish this is a mystery (Luigi's repressed jealously, perhaps?).

Mario & LuigiUsefulNotes/The Sixth Generation of Console Video GamesSuper Mario Sunshine
Mario & LuigiTurnOfTheMillennium/Video GamesMario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Magical VacationUsefulNotes/Game Boy AdvanceMario Golf
Mario & LuigiEastern RPGMario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Mario & LuigiFranchise/Super Mario Bros.Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Vacuum MouthImageSource/Video GamesThe Drag-Along

alternative title(s): Superstar Saga; Mario And Luigi Superstar Saga
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy