The first game in the Mario & Luigi series, released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance.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.
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 = 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). 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.
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.
The fate of the professors at Woohoo Hooniversity.
As well as Bowletta.
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?".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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) but is also more expressive in his emotions and funny (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!"
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?).