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Videogame: Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
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The third game in the Mario & Luigi RPG series, released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS. Its Japanese name is Mario and Luigi RPG 3!!!.

A mysterious disease, the Blorbs, are causing Toads to swell into giant balloons. In a bid to capture Princess Peach and use her to claim the dark power of the Dark Star, an Artifact of Doom that is buried beneath the Mushroom Kingdom, Fawful tricks Bowser into eating a mushroom that lets him suck up her, the Mario Bros., and most of the Toads in Peach's Castle.

With Peach, Mario and Luigi trapped inside Bowser's body, Fawful takes over Bowser Castle, capturing some of his minions and brainwashing the rest. Bowser embarks on a journey to take back his palace and free all his minions. Meanwhile, Mario and Luigi aid him from inside his body when necessary in the midst of collecting the three Star Cures needed to counteract the Dark Star.

One of the quirks of the game is that Bowser can't be controlled unless Mario and Luigi are inside his body. That's because of the new mechanic of the Vacuum Block, which allows Bowser to suck up smaller enemies or, less frequently, parts of the enemies that temporarily raise Bowser's stats. When Bowser is ingesting entire enemies, the screen cuts away to a battle inside Bowser between the Bros. and the enemy. After this battle is over, the outer battle resumes (unless Bowser ate the last enemy). Notably, this is the only way that Mario, Luigi, and Bowser can fight against common enemies in the same battle. Another feature is that while most of the world is the same format as the previous two games, a top-down view of the world, all the stages inside Bowser's body are 2-D, side-scrolling levels.


Tropes appearing in this game:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 99, in a game that is usually beaten around level 40, if not lower.
  • Action Bomb:
    • Bob-ombs, the walking bombs that are a staple of the Mario franchise. Bowser can get a special attack where he can line up the Bob-ombs to attack certain enemies.
    • The Alarm Bob-ombs are Bob-ombs that explode when their time's up.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Broque Monsieur keeps referring to Bowser as "Monsieur Turtle Bits".
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Luigi gets his moment to shine during a few plot points.
    • The game is as much a Bowser game as a Super Mario game.
  • Airborne Mook: Some enemies can fly or float, and are thus immune to hammers, shells, shockwaves or any other low-hitting attacks. Bowser himself is unable to hit them via normal attacks as they either fly too high or can easily dodge his slow attacks. But he can still suck them up...
  • Alien Geometries: There are pipes inside of Bowser that got there when he sucked them up. They lead to the outside of Bowser's body, without, at any point, going through Bowser. And in doing so, also raise the Bros.' size from microscopic to macroscopic. This sort of thing is par for the course in Mario World, though. Why do you think they're called warp pipes?
  • Always Accurate Attack:
    • Unusually for a game that bases its battle system on dodging attacks, Peach's Castle has one; it's even called "Unavoidable attack". Bowser will take damage from this and cannot counter it.
    • The Stone Blooper (whom you fight inside Bowser) has an attack where it embeds itself into the ground and drills into it, causing Bowser damage. It's one of the very few attacks by a normal enemy you cannot prevent.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Bowser even compliments the final boss on creating the "perfect backdrop for an awesome final battle." Said quote is actually the page quote for that page.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Broggy, Broque Monsieur's guard dog. He's pretty much pissed off at everything and can be unlocked as Bowser's final Special Attack. It also seems to have adopted his master's hatred of Mario since he'll growl if he comes too close.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Averted in the case of the Dimble Wood Wigglers. After Bowser ransacked the farm and the forest became a battlefield for Giant Bowser and his castle, they increased their security measures.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Wiggler accuses Bowser of invading and contaminating his farm, pulling out his giga-carrot, and eating it. Even though he made you do the last part.
  • Ascended Extra: Fawful goes from being The Dragon in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, a shopkeep in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, to the Big Bad in this game.
  • Ascended Meme: The game uses both "A Winner Is You!" and "They're a secret to everybody". The former is actually appropriate, as Fawful, the person who says it, is a Strange Syntax Speaker.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Parts of the game have Bowser growing giant in order to combat opponents too large for regular size.
  • Bad Ass: Bowser shows just how badass he can be when not fighting Mario.
  • Bag of Sharing: Both the Bros and Bowser share coins and items. Makes one wonder where the coins gets stored. Also, when either characters are selling things in shops, the fact that Mario can sell a huge turtle shell and spicy drumsticks and that Bowser can sell mushrooms and overalls is a bit odd.
  • Bag of Spilling: Averted in one case where the brothers decide to use a move ("Hit Mario with a hammer to make him small") from the first game when it is required, but otherwise played straight.
  • Balloon Belly: Lots. It's part of Fawful's plan to extract Princess Peach from Bowser's body after tricking him into trapping her in there — later in the game, Bowser can go back and get fat again whenever he wants (allowing Mario and Luigi to gain access to Flab Zone again, but there is no need to). The Bros. use it to their advantage as part of their "Snack Basket" special, using a giant Luigi to make a quake that damages all enemies, as well as to inflate Mario with air or water for travel purposes. And of course a bunch of Toads coming down with the Blorbs. When it gets cured, one Toad seems to stay sick, until he says that it's how he normally looks like.
  • Beam-O-War: A brief fire breathing contest between Bowser and Dark Bowser.
  • Big Bad: Fawful.
  • Bigger Bad: The Dark Star.
  • Big Eater:
    • Luigi, for one of the Mario Bros. special moves.
    • Bowser. He gets fed a tad too much, though.
  • Blah Blah Blah: Bowser absolutely hates being made to listen to long-winded speeches, at one point even shouting, "TOO MANY WORDS."
  • Bonus Boss: There are three Shroobs locked up in Bowser's Castle that give you a Bros move for winning. There's also the Challenge Node in Bowser's body (somewhere around his...liver?), although the fights there are only upgraded versions of old bosses. And are short, so short that there is a limit to how many moves you can finish them off in. This culminates in a Boss Rush incidentally featuring its own Bonus Boss: Bowser X.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Bowser
  • Boss Bonanza: The repurposed Peach's Castle holds Junker, Blizzard Midbus, Dark Star, Super Peach's Castle, Dark Fawful, and Dark Bowser and the Dark Star Core. Starting with the Dark Star, the only plot events are these boss fights and the buildup for them, and if you just go right for these bosses and do nothing else, there won't even be any regular enemies.
  • Boss Remix: Bowser's Theme is remixed for the Giant Boss Battles.
  • Boss Rush: Class 7 in the Gauntlet. Plotwise, the last four bosses: the Dark Star, Super Peach's Castle, Dark Fawful and the Vaccuum Helmet, and Dark Bowser and the Dark Star Core. Although you can do whatever you want in between, plotwise, only things related to the fights happen in between, like the final Rump Command minigame to activate the Super Peach's Castle fight and a minigame fight with Dark Bowser.
  • Brains: Evil; Brawn: Good: Played straight with the idiotic but strong Bowser as the Villain Protagonist versus the intelligent Fawful.
  • Bread and Circuses: Fawful. Not only does he win over the respect of nearly all of Bowser's henchmen, but he turns Bowser's Castle into a theater. And even Bowser has to admit that his cooking is excellent.
  • Breath Weapon: Bowser, whose arsenal includes his trademark fire breath.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Poor Luigi. He gets the most humiliating of the attacks, but at least he seems to enjoy them.
    • The game's premise centers around Bowser having accidentally swallowed a small town; there are quite a few indignities that go with that.
  • Catch Phrase: "I HAVE CHORTLES!", by Fawful, the Big Bad. Used in place of evil laughter, or accompanying it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Durmite, which at first appears to be little more than a Giant Space Caterpillar From A Carrot. Its later revealed to be one of the Star Sages.
  • Chest Monster: Trashure (and Dark Trashure, later in Peach's Castle), a fairly regular enemy that doesn't bother trying to trick you. The chest opens at low health, giving Bowser the chance to inhale the coins inside. The regular attack also sometimes spits out coins (or mushrooms). It's also a bit of a Metal Slime however, tending to flee the battle.
  • Climax Boss: Alpha/Beta Kretin, filling the same role as Petey Piranha in the previous game, but with a much larger plot revelation afterwards.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Dark Fawful's three legs have to be destroyed (and you have to get rid of his two eyes as well so he won't hide those legs before you attack) before the Brothers can hit his true target, the Dark Star Core.
  • Collection Sidequest: Finding the Blitties, which lets Bowser use Broggy in a Special Attack. Beans also return but boost stats straight away. There's also collecting the various Attack Pieces that aren't necessarily needed to finish the game and are SP expensive, but a couple of them can become Game Breakers.
  • Continuity Nod: The aforementioned Bonus Boss battle against cryogenically-frozen Shroobs in Bowser's castle. In fact, the Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time recaps accompanying the fight border on Continuity Porn; when Mario informs a disbelieving Starlow that it was Luigi who finished off the Shroobs in the end, she mocks him by suggesting that he did so by "ferociously crying" - and she's dead-on right.
    • Isn't this whole game basically a Continuity Nod? Think about it: In game 1 Fawful is the dragon to the Big Bad Cackletta/Bowletta. In game 2 he sells badges to Baby Mario and Baby Luigi claiming that one day he will have his revenge. What does he do in this game? That's right. He gets his revenge and becomes the Big Bad.
    "But... Now that I am thinking... Cackletta's [sic] revival was all thanks to my quite nasty efforts! Which means, all this time... I am Fawful, who is just a toady! Such working, all for others!" - from Superstar Saga
    • Though probably not intentional, the last battle of the first game is you fighting an evil spirit inside Bowser, the final battle of this game is you fighting an evil spirit inside Bowser.
  • Cool Castle: Bowser's Castle and Peach's Castle. They're both ridiculously massive in size and amount of rooms (four or five floors each minimum), but they actually become giant robots. The former can fly to dodge missiles and fight against Bowser himself, the latter becomes a massive robot which attacks via laser beams and black holes. Note that neither of them normally do this, but Fawful tinkered with them.
  • Cool Train: The battle between giant Bowser and a train nicking stuff from his vault.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: The Mechawfuls definitely have whatever controls them inside their heads, to the point that the head specifically has to be destroyed separately to stop it from regenerating the body.
  • Creative Closing Credits: After the boss battle, Bowser is furious to find out that Mario, Luigi and Starlow's been in his body the whole time, and picks up a fight. Cue the closing credits, where he gets KO'd as usual, and a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue showing what happens next. Oh, and after that, a heartwarming scene where Bowser gets a cake from Peach.
  • Cultural Translation: In most versions of the game, Broque Monsieur is stereotypically French (Even in the French Canadian one, where he's France French, with the associated language differences and stereotypes.). In the France French translation, he's a stereotypical English gentleman. He speaks Gratuitous English in the Japanese version too. For example, one of his lines is "Oh my dog! What's happen!".
  • Cute Kitten: Blitties. Collect them all and you'll get Broggy as a minion. Do Broggy's attack perfectly, and all 15 of them will join him in tackling the enemy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bowser and Starlow have moments of this, mainly toward each other.
  • Decoy Protagonist: While Mario and Luigi are the ones to gather the Plot Coupons, the game is arguably more Bowser's story. Well, the name "Bowser's Inside Story" isn't Just for Pun...
  • Death from Above: Goomba Storm. Goo-Ra! Note that they're also set on fire for this attack.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Magic Window uses a ludicrous amount of your SP and the individual attacks only do a quarter of the damage your normal jumps can do... but it will not stop until either you screw up an Action Command or everything on the other end of the field is dead.
  • Demonic Possession: Notably averted in this game. The final boss does not possess any of the characters, and certainly not Bowser. He does, however, fight in a form similar to that of Bowser, and part of the final boss does have Fawful's Dark Star form being fought inside Bowser by Mario and Luigi.
  • Determinator: Shown through one of Dark Bowser's attacks in which Bowser has to face an onslaught of dark versions of his minions. It's pretty danged awesome to watch Bowser simply swat every single dark minion aside as he tromps toward Dark Bowser.
  • Deuteragonist: In two layers, no less. One layer is Bowser as one protagonist and Mario & Luigi as the other protagonist (since they are always together cooperatively). And, of course, Mario and Luigi are of equal mutual importance as a protagonist team.
  • Disc One Nuke: The Koopa Corps for Bowser, which also remains useful for the rest of the game. Works on both multiple and single targets efficiently, and when done correctly its damage output exceeds several of the more expensive late-game attacks, such as the Magikoopa Mob.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Fawful, although he does not explicitly reference the events in the first game.
  • The Dragon: Midbus, to Fawful.
  • Dual Boss: Bowser Memories M and L.
  • Dueling Player Characters: Midway through the game, the Mario bros fight Bowser after finally getting out from his insides. Bowser has the attacks he learned while in the player command.
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Bowser has just the right mix of this and Idiot Villain Protagonist.
    • Midbus is this even more so, stating that "sense is for the weak."
  • Dummied Out:
  • Easily Forgiven: Bowser decides to release Private Goomp, Sergeant Guy and Corporal Paraplonk for betraying him for Fawful as long as they help fix the castle. They were Brainwashed though, so he can't exactly hold a grudge. Bowser does care for his minions, after a fashion.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Dark Star. Nobody knows what it is or where it's from, only that it's evil. Mario and Luigi start gasping and choking just from getting near it. Then Bowser steps up to the plate...
  • Emergency Transformation:
    • Fawful turns into a bug-like blob of dark energy after being pummeled by Bowser.
    • Bowser can only transform into Giant Bowser when his body is in extreme danger— namely, when he's being crushed.
  • Enemy Mine: Subverted by Bowser. He is not even aware of the fact that he inhaled the brothers and that they are helping him from inside. And he does not take it kindly when he finally finds out.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Bubble Bloopers and their dried-out forms, Dried Bloopers. Chakron the sage is an octopus.
  • Eviler than Thou:
    • One of Bowser's main motivations to fight Fawful; only HE is allowed to kidnap Peach!
    • And against Dark Bowser. Only Bowser is allowed to take over the Mushroom Kingdom!
  • Eviler Twin: Dark Bowser to Bowser.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Fawful and Bowser.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Subverted. The Dark Star overpowers Fawful to regain the energy he had absorbed from it, consuming Fawful along with it. However, the two seem to form a mutually beneficial relationship, with Fawful powering up Dark Bowser from within during its fight with the real Bowser, and the Dark Star's core lending its energy and assistance to Fawful in his own battle against Mario and Luigi.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Bowser vs. Fawful.
  • Exposition Fairy: Starlow, a.k.a. 'Chippy', who tries to assist/annoy Bowser. He is not amused when he finds out 'Chippy's' identity.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Private Goomp, Sergeant Guy and Corporal Paraplonk were bribed over to Fawful's side and they lock Bowser in his own safe. Bowser forgives them, though.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: When Mario and Luigi finally get to the first areas Bowser visited, the "large" enemies are jokes, but the small enemies that Bowser instantly defeated without battle are level appropriate.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Kind of the point of half the game. Even after gaining a way to get outside of Bowser, Mario and Luigi aren't free from this trope; Mario and Luigi enter into a giant Sockop (Shoe-like pitcher plants) at one point in Dimble Woods, called Kuribo appropriately enough.
  • A Father to His Men: Bowser's troops see him like this. Even though he treats them like crap, he does care for them underneath all his yelling and berating. If you try to leave the screen with the Goombas still in the cage, Bowser will stop and insist he should help those "idiot Goombas".
  • Final Exam Boss: Bowser X counters every Bros. Attack used by inhaling it, making you unable to access that technique until six turns afterwards. This practically requires you to master each of the ten Bros. Attacks in order to defeat him.
  • Fighting Clown: Crawful, an enemy that deliberately slips on Banana Peels and trips on rocks to damage the player.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Bowser. And he is gorgeous, in his own eyes anyway. Numerous hilarious moments of worship of his own physique, manliness and abilities.
  • Finishing Move: Invoked by Bowser at the very end of the game.
    Bowser: And for the finale, one KO Punch!
  • Fixed Encounters: Best of all, you can get a free strike on enemies by jumping on them (as Mario and Luigi) or punching/burning them (as Bowser) in the overworld.
  • For The Chortulz: While Fawful does have a plan, very few of his projects involve it at all. The only apparent motive for 80% of his actions appear to be for sheer fun.
  • Flanderization: A subtle example. Fawful's speech patterns are somewhat MORE broken than in Superstar Saga, where he would simply talk in first release Final Fantasy I level sentences with some Zero Wing thrown in near the end. Here, he's more prone to Zero Wing level sentences, with the new Redundancy Department deskboy being Midbus (whom Fawful likely taught how to talk like himself.)
  • Gambit Roulette: Fawful, predictably, slips into this territory. For instance, getting toads infected with the Blorbs seems to have no other purpose than to draw Bowser out of his castle in concern for "his" kingdom and get beaten up by Mario, smacked into the forest where he'd accept the mushroom from Fawful in desperation for a means to beat Mario. The Blorbs have the added effect of keeping everyone busy with the epidemic and off his tail, effectively making his work invisible until it was too late.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • At one point in the game, the bros have a boss fight against Bowser. In the fight, Bowser will more than likely have no stats in common with the ones he had while being controlled by the player, having far more HP than he would have by that point as well as lower power and defense. In addition, none of the gear he may have had on will be in effect, and he'll never use items or do more than an "Ok" with his special attacks.
    • Also, Bowser learns the Spiked Ball overworld ability after Mario and Luigi fix his back and he states "Look at what I can do now!"...When he actually has the ability to curl into a ball as soon as you rescue the Shy Guy Squad.
  • The Goomba: Goombules for Mario and Luigi, Chuboombas for Bowser. Both of which are based off Goombas, of course. Bowser can summon his own original Goomba for his first special attack.
  • Goomba Stomp: Enemies try to do it to Bowser in Bowser's Inside Story. Luckily, he can duck under his spiked shell.
  • Gratuitous English: Broque Monsieur (Brirock in the original) in the Japanese version as well as the French version.
  • Gratuitous French: Broque Monsieur and Broque Madame. Broque Madame even tries to take this into Everything Sounds Sexier in French. In Canada, the French localisation set "Mosieur DuBloc" as an authentic French of France, with all the stereotypes and language differences.
  • Guide Dang It: The requirement for getting a perfect 100-point score from the puzzle minigame, made even worse by the fact that few people know about this. No matter how well you do on an individual puzzle, you will only get up to 99 points. The trick is that it's an event triggered by clearing all five puzzles in less than 2 minutes. Considering the usual scores are for individual puzzles, this isn't exactly intuitive.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Bowser and Fawful, duh.
  • Heavy Voice: The speech vocalizations for the Toads are deeper when they are infected with the blorbs.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Luigi at the beginning of the game. He slept through Mario's opening tutorial!
  • Here We Go Again: After everybody gets out of Bowser's body, Bowser becomes enraged at finding out what happened and yet again starts fighting with the Mario Bros. Cue the credits.
  • Honest Axe: When Luigi is rescued from sinking by Princess Lipid, she asks Mario if he dropped him or a "treasure of everlasting wonder". You don't actually get to choose: she automatically assumes Mario wants the treasure even though that's not the case.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first Midbus fight, though it's more of a tutorial.
  • Hot-Blooded: Bowser.
  • Humongous Mecha: Most of Giant Bowser's foes.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Bowser pulls out a whole bunch of minions (or Broggy) from his shell when he does a minion attack.
  • I Ate What?: As previously stated, Bowser has no idea that he consumed his enemies, and isn't happy about it when he finds out.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: The end of the game.
  • An Ice Person: Midbus becomes one of these in the last dungeon. The way this trope is applied also counts as Cryogenic Exponent.
  • Incoming Ham: "Did someone page the king of awesome?!" He does this multiple times. Basically whenever someone mentions his name out-of-Koopa, he shows up.
  • Infernal Retaliation:
    • One of Bowser X's attacks starts off with a simple fireball attack. Upon one of the Bros. hitting it back with a hammer, it sets Bowser on fire, causing him to rain flames on the Bros, then follow it up with a spiked shell ball slam.
    • Bowser does it during a minigame in Peach's castle where a giant piranha plant sets his rolled-up shell on fire. He uses it to his advantage and rams the piranha plants to death. Later, Bowser and Dark Bowser set each other on fire, and both of them roll up into flaming spikeballs trying to tackle each other.
  • Infinity–1 Sword: A-OK Wear raises all stats by a good amount and prevents all Status Effects. While you can only get it once you have the Star Rank and it costs a whopping 20,000 coins for one pair, it's possible to earn that much money by having Mario and Luigi go out and explore all the areas that Bowser explored at the beginning (As soon as Bowser rescues the Koopa Troopas). It makes the last two dungeons and the Gauntlet a lot easier.
  • Informed Ability: Bowser apparently knows how to give professional massages. He just doesn't want to, unless there's compelling compensation. Given that he's probably gotten massages from his minions a lot, it's likely he picked up some techniques from them.
  • Insistent Terminology: Double Subverted with the Miracle Toadley Cure. At first, he insists Starlow refer to the Miracle Cure by its full name, but then he seems to have dropped the issue soon after. Yet if you talk to him later, he's muttering the full name under his breath.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Fawful has passed down his speaking style to his dragon, Midbus. However, it's nowhere near as bad, and he simply speaks in a somewhat redundant fashion like the badly translated/dubbed kung-fu movies.
  • Interspecies Romance: The Koopa Troopa/Boo couple in Bowser Castle.
  • Just Eat Him: The game would have been very short if Bowser had chewed.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: It's easy to think Starlow is male, when she's actually quite female. The only in-game hint to her gender is a set of feminine eyelashes on her character art...which you only see after you beat the final boss.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After being tricked by Fawful, Bowser devours the strange mushroom that grants him the vacuum breath needed to defeat Mario with. Bowser basically goes Drunk with Power at this point, and swallows up everyone. Cue evil laughter before then collapsing. When he rouses from his slumber, he forgets everything.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Bowser's entire history with the second Star Cure. Before the events of the game, Bowser entered the house of a sage named Kuzzle, who greeted him amicably and challenged him to solve a jigsaw puzzle. Bowser couldn't figure it out, and in a rage attacked him, trashed the place and stole his Star Cure. But having no use for it, he put it away in a safe in his castle. Cut to the game's events, and in his efforts to reclaim the Star Cure in a time of need, he gets betrayed by two groups of people he had previously treated well, is severely injured by one of them, is forced to solve a jigsaw puzzle to remember the safe's combination, and is finally locked within the safe himself.
  • Laughably Evil: Bowser in particular as a Villain Protagonist.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Bowser does this when he badgers his Goombas about how they are supposed to fight.
    Bowser: "Marching straight ahead at the enemy's feet." Didn't you all memorize that at Goomba Boot Camp?
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared to the previous game.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Starlow a.k.a. "Chippy" so very much.
  • Low Level Run: Finishing the game with Mario at Level 17 or lower will give you a message admiring your dedication. Though it has been confirmed by a few players, this is often regarded as an Urban Legend of Zelda by many, which is not helped by most FAQ's claiming that the message can be received with Mario or Luigi under Level 17.
  • Make My Monster Grow:
    • A rare heroic version in that Mario and Luigi must make Bowser grow at certain points in the game.
    • Dark Star Core which is Fawful can temporarily double Dark Bowser's size. When this happens, punch him in the gut to make him cough up the little bastard.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Everything is designed like Fawful. For some reason this includes pictures/statues of Bowser with Fawful's glasses and Peach statues with modified heads.
  • Meaningful Name: Midbus is the midboss. (And the third-to-last boss.) Midboss is actually his name in Japan, but he's no Dark Adonis.
  • Megaton Punch: One of Bowser's primary attacks. At the end of the game, Bowser finishes off Dark Bowser with five of these in a row, the last of which is a particularly devastating one.
  • Mighty Glacier: Bowser is ridiculously powerful compared to the Mario Bros., but almost everything will outspeed him.
  • Mirror Boss:
    • The final boss battle of the game is Bowser versus the Dark Star turned into Dark Bowser, a clone of him. One of its attacks is to punch him, which must be countered by Bowser's own punch, followed by a shell slam, which must be countered by Bowser's Shell Shield. He also uses Bowser's various abilities, such as fire breath, and even (when giant) mimics a Bowser Army attack.
    • Bowser Memory M and Bowser Memory L are a particularly bizarre example.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Midbus, who's a pig with an armadillo shell.
  • Mood Whiplash: For most of the game you are treated to a cheerful, upbeat soundtrack, and then you get to the respective final bosses and the tone of the music becomes melancholy.
  • Motor Mouth: Luigi takes the cake in some scenes where he talks.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • There's a segment where Luigi gets stuck from the waist down inside a Sockop, a monster that looks like a green boot, in what is almost certainly a reference to the "Kuribo's Shoe" from Super Mario Bros. 3. It even lets him walk safely over thorns and other hazards like the Kuribo's Shoe. And just in case it wasn't clear, you later see a Sockop named Kuribo.
    • This is a bit of a stretch, but during the Boss Battle with Junker, a bucket falls onto one of the Bros.'s heads and you (the player) must guide them around, avoiding being crushed by Thwomps. This is very similar to the premise of the Japan-only Mario & Wario, where the fairy Wanda must successfully guide Mario through a level, while one of various items is obscuring his vision. One of said items is a bucket.
    • Bowser Memory M and Bowser Memory L's attacks are based on previous Super Mario Bros. games. Mario finds a Super Star, or he finds a mushroom and starts breaking blocks. Luigi is chased by a ghost.
    • The boxart is based off the Japanese Box art for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
  • Never Say "Die": When Midbus confronts Mario and Luigi, Starlow gives us this little gem: "YOU GOT A KO WISH?!"
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Played straight at the beginning with Peach's sudden "Wish Power" that never gets used again.
  • Nice Hat: Fawful's rocket hat after he powers up, which the Brothers have to destroy before Bowser can actually fight Fawful, lest the hat continually regenerate his health far faster than Bowser can take it down.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Princess Lipid.
  • No Fame, No Wealth, No Service: The heroes can't enter two high-class shops in the Mushroom Mall until they've proved that they're the right sort of clientele... even though most inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom recognize Mario on sight.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions:
    • Accidentally setting off an entire storeroom of Bob-ombs does nothing more than send Bowser across the world map.
    • Fawful blows himself up at the end of the game, which not only doesn't harm Mario, Luigi or Starlow in the slightest, but propels everyone out of Bowser's body and only gives Bowser himself a spicy taste.
  • Ocular Gushers: Luigi does gushers of joy when Mario saves him in Bowser's body, and the Chuboombas do this when Bowser eats their lollipops.
  • Oh Crap: The usual reaction to Giant Bowser, from the Monty Moles seeing him tower above their train with a train to the entire Toad Town screaming in horror.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The Daredevil Boots turn either Mario or Luigi into one of these, doubling their attack power but causing them to go down in one hit regardless of their health.
  • One-Man Army: Holy heaven and hell, Bowser. He literally has to fight through an army of a couple dozen mooks assaulting him just to make it to the Final Boss—and this is merely one of said boss's attacks!
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Dark Fawful/Dark Star Core can turn into a multi-limbed monstrosity.
    • Pretty much every later boss in the game as well as the giant bosses.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Starlow's name is mentioned all of once in the prologue, once in the ending, and once almost exactly halfway between. One can be forgiven for thinking of her throughout the entire rest of the game as "Chippy" — all of the good guys know her real name, but two are silent protagonists, and Peach spends most of the game captured or sitting in town.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Some regular enemies can be defeated instantly by a specific move, like Bowser's firebreath on Bob-Ombs (trapped in Jailgoons). However, some will just cause the enemies to retreat, thus netting no XP from them.
  • Palmtree Panic: Plack Beach, which has an odd tooth decay theme. It's actually called "Tooth Decay Beach" note  in the Japanese version, doing away with the pun entirely.
  • Playing Sick: Mario and Luigi do this to get a meeting with Doctor Toadley cue Mario coughing and Luigi having the most hilariously exaggerated chest pains ever. Guess Mario is quite devious after all.
  • Playing with Fire: Bowser's flame breath and the Fire Flower special attack.
  • Plot Tunnel: Some times, Bowser will refuse to go anywhere (or is incapacitated), forcing you to use the Bros, even though you'd like the opportunity to just go back to Dimble Wood and give Broque Monsieur those damn Blitties.
  • Product Placement: Parodied with such "fads" as Launch Fit, Slide Fit, etc.
  • Promoted to Playable: Bowser.
  • Pun:
    Fawful: "A nuisance barge barging in at a critical time for us!"
    Bowser: "Nuisance barge? GWAHAHA! Buddy, you're like a nuisance SUPERTANKER!"
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Chain Chawfuls are Chain Chomps brainwashed by a Fawfulized parasitic worm in their head. Bowser can inhale the parasite to kill it, which frees the Chain Chomp from the mind control. But you don't get EXP.
  • Puzzle Boss: Several bosses need a very particular strategy (such as one specific brother attacking an appropriate weak point, or using the boss's flunkies against him) to defeat.
  • Recurring Boss: Midbus for Bowser. Bowser for the Mario Bros.
  • Retraux: At one point, Mario and Luigi go into Bowser's memory and get forced to fight old-style versions of themselves.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Does Dr. Toadley answer his own questions? He certainly does.
  • Ring Out Boss: The Tower of Yikk, Bowser's second giant opponent. Made easier by how easy it is to stop him from escaping the water afterwards.
    • Peach's castle, when it creates a second black hole. You'll need to punch it into the black hole behind it and avoid getting knocked into the one behind yourself (It'll use an Always Accurate Attack to knock Bowser in anyway).
  • Robo Speak: The mechanised form of Princess Peach's Castle that's Bowser's final giant battle foe. ACTIVATE BLACK HOLE ENDGAME!
  • Royal "We": Princess Lipid.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Bowser. In fact, as much of a Dumb Muscle he may be, he seems to be the only one who does something useful in the Koopa Kingdom. Any other Bowser Baddie with a shred of competence ends up betraying him for Fawful. Lampshaded, where Bowser angrily shouts to his Goombas trapped in cages that while they're busy playing "Cram in the Cage", he gets things done!
  • The Runt at the End: One of the Blitties in a perfectly-executed Broggy Bonker and one of the Goombas in the Fawful Theater.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: The Magic Window attack. The bros hop into a disappearing, reappearing window and continually hop out onto enemies in random order until you miss a hit; either Mario, Luigi, or both at the same time. The frequency of the hops speeds up as you continue to get it right, and when it really gets going, you can actually see multiple copies of the same bro onscreen at once.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Dark Star. Doubles as an Artifact of Doom.
  • Segmented Serpent: Wiggler is fought like this. Like most examples, the head is the weak spot. Unlike most examples, you want to target his body segments first, as its head is immune to damage until you turn all of the body segments yellow (by damaging them).
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Fawful
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: If you get a high enough score in the Green Shell mini-game, you will recive an accessory called the Challenge Medal. This makes all of the enemies in the game a score tougher, but nets you extra Gold, effectivley putting the game on hard mode.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike
  • Sequence Breaking: Generally very hard to pull off, but after the first Star Cure, you can get six of the needed Attack Pieces in Dimble Woods before you should. You still can't get past the Wiggler though.
  • Shadow of Impending Doom: Happens three times to Bowser, by his own castle, then by the Tower of Yikk, then by Peach's Castle. The second time, he even tries to recall what happened, but gets squashed before finding out. As for the third time, Bowser had no time to react before it squashed him.
    Bowser: "Weird! It got dark! I feel like this sort of thing happened before... And then..." *Stomped*
  • Shoot the Medic First:
    • Bowser's Memory ML. If you take out M first, L will revive him with a 1-UP if given a chance.
    • For a more indirect definition of "medic", one enemy is a Thwomp with a head cold that is more easily dispatched if you remove its ice pack first.
    • Not to mention the alligators that can't eat their healing beans if they don't have teeth.
    • The battle against Dark Fawful has his helmet, which heals him for 300 hp very often. You need to suck it in when it detaches.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The English localization seems to feature references to internet memes. Fawful's first line of dialogue in the game is "A Winner is you!" and after the boss fight at the Toad Town clinic, Bowser uses the phrase "Cry Moar". (Though he spells it more.)
    • There may also be the enemy named Fawfulcopter. However, they don't go "Soi soi soi"
    • Midbus's final form seems to resemble Ganon. Also, that logo on his shoulder looks suspiciously similar to the Pigmask logo in MOTHER 3...
    • Remember the Boo and the Koopa who are referred to as "Honey" (the female) and "Darling" (the male)? Doesn't that sound a little familiar?
    • One of the enemy types in Bowser's Castle is a robot cage with one of Bowser's minions trapped inside. Defeating it frees the minion.
    • Fawful sings a song reminiscent of the Scooby-Doo theme in one scene.
    • Private Goomp, Sergeant Guy and Corporal Paraplonk each share the same rank and coloration as three characters from Sgt. Frog.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: As can be expected of him, Bowser has very little patience for pre-battle taunts and banter when he's being controlled by you.
    Bowser: Bah! You like compost? I'll compost your FACE!
  • Smurfing: The Emoglobins have a habit globin of replacing globining a word or two with "globin." Some players globins don't like this feature globin, but they don't underglobin-stand. IS THAT NOT GLOBIN?!
  • Slasher Smile: Fawful. Even creepier when he gives a real chortle. Doubly so when he tries to take out Mario and Luigi as he dies
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Because nothing portrays the quest of a giant angry turtle like cheerful, upbeat background music. Especially Bumpsy Plains / Blubble Lake.
    • EVERY BOSS except for the final boss and giant bosses has the same cheery, light-hearted boss music, even Alpha/Beta Kretin, who just kidnapped Peach, the fight between the Bros. and Bowser, the Dark Star, and Dark Fawful, both of which are part of the Boss Rush (though one in plot only) at the very end of the game.
  • Spikeballs Of Doom: Bowser becomes one during his Shy Guy Sling move, as well as when he gets the ability to roll around out of battle.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Subverted; Bowser's Horn stat has the same function the Bros' Stache stat does.
  • The Spiny: Certain enemies have spikes on their back or are on fire, jumping on these will make Mario or Luigi take damage.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Midbus and Fawful. Pork and Beans, respectively.
    • Broque Monsieur and Broggy. Say "block monster" and "blocky" with a heavy French accent. "Broque Monsieur" and "Broque Madame" are also puns on "croque-monsieur" and "croque-madame", types of French grilled sandwiches.
    • A Boo and a Koopa Troopa are in love. This gives Ghost in the Shell a new meaning.
    • Nutsoglobin is a pun on "nutso" meaning "crazy" and "not so globin", where "globin" could mean anything in this context.
    • How does Bowser lose all of his weight after getting fat? Literally burning calories. (The fat burns from him)
    • One of the locations in Bowser's Body is "Rump Command" and you go there whenever you need to save Bowser—"saving his butt".
  • Stop Helping Me!: invokedIn the first Midbus battle, Fawful ends up doing this to Midbus by attempting to warn him of Bowser's attacks, which actually serves as a tutorial for the player. Not that it hurts Midbus much...
  • Storming the Castle: With a twist; it's Peach's castle you're storming, while it's under Fawful's occupation.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: The "victory" feast. You must control Bowser to eat food before the Boos force-feed him.
  • Supporting Protagonist: It's actually Bowser that takes center stage in this game. Mario and Luigi are just there to help him out.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss:
    • If the Monty Bros. didn't come out of the Fawful Express to bomb Bowser, they would have had a much better chance of escaping and winningnote .
    • Dark Star's summoning of Dark Satellmites. Hitting a Dark Satellmite back into it will make it vulnerable.
    • Dark Bowser growing via help of the Dark Fawful Bug. Thanks to this, Bowser is able to punch Dark Bowser's stomach and force him to cough up the Dark Fawful Bug.
  • Taken for Granite: Subverted by Chakron, who has stood in one position so long his muscles have locked like that. Also subverted in that he's happy like that, and actually becomes upset when you break him out of it.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Fawful tries it on the Bros. at the end of the game.
    • The Dark Star does it as well as a final attack in the first battle, though it's not really defeated.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • The things the Fawful Express Mole crew say before/during the battle with Giant Bowser are exactly the most idiotic things possible, including their entire plan via villain monologue and their weakness.
    • Fawful at the beginning, giving Bowser an unintentional tutorial when watching him fight Midbus.
    • Bowser, before entering his vault: "This is one place that stupid Fawful NEVER could break into!". Then he goes in and sees the train tracks...
  • Theme Naming: Fawfulized enemies will have part of their name replaced with part of Fawful's name (Crocodile-Crawful, Chain Chomp-Chain Chawful, Monty Mole-Mawful Mole, etc)
  • The Mole: Literally and played straight. The Monty Mole Brothers reveal themselves to have been working with Fawful all along, right before running Bowser over with the Fawful Express.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In the ending, Bowser, after helping to put an end to Fawful, destroy the Dark Star, and find a cure for the blorbs; challenges Mario and Luigi to a fight and yet again gets the hell beaten out of him during the credits. However, as he is nursing his wounds at his castle, he receives a thank-you cake from Peach and the Mario Bros.
  • Tiered by Name: All of the bosses from the Challenge Node are bosses from the main story made more powerful. They all have the same name as the original bosses but with "X" at the end of their names. Even the bonus boss Bowser X.
  • Time-Limit Boss: You only have a set number of turns to defeat the Fawful Express, otherwise the road ends in an unstable bridge and Giant Bowser will fall as an instant Game Over.
    • You also have a turn limit when fighting the Challenge Node bosses.
  • Toilet Humor: Wisdurm farts in Luigi's face. Possibly also Truth in Television, as some types of insects in real life actually do expel gas from their abdomen to deter predators.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Bowser has quite a few moments of questionable rationale. He wouldn't be Bowser if he didn't, though. For instance, he gorges himself on an entire kitchen's worth of food, and then deciding to work it all off in a single gym pass. The player can repeat this as many times as they want.
    • Every single Toad suffering from the Blorbs reports having been offered a Blorb Mushroom by a mysterious stranger, and then eating it. They are literally eating strange mushrooms with the same name as the disease it causes.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Bowser (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. Just take a look at their stats before and after.
    • Fawful goes from the second-in-command Dragon, downgraded to a shop owner, and suddenly is the primary boss of the game? In fact, one could argue he made an even better villain than his old mentor Cackletta...
  • Training Boss: Bowser, who is the first boss for the Mario Bros.. Midbus, who is Bowser's first boss. After that, Broque Monsieur who teaches how Bowser and the Bros. can fight together.
  • True Companions: Bowser and his minions.
  • Underground Level: 'Tunnel Under Construction'. It's a large circuit that can be used to get around quickly as Bowser.
  • Underground Monkey: Many of the enemies are even more variations on the classic Mario foes, either at a cell level inside Bowser's body, or beefed up for Bowser himself to fight. Some are quite creative, while others are simply regular enemies under Fawful's Mind Control.
  • Unreadably Fast Text:
    • One of the Goombas when Bowser is inside his castle for the first time after Fawful's takeover.
    • Some of the Magikoopa's as well.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • Any of the Giant Bowser fights, in which the Brothers must supercharge Bowser's adrenaline and turn him into a giant Godzilla-like destruction machine (probably a reference to either Giga Bowser from Smash Bros or the final battle of Yoshi's Island) to fight a huge enemy.
    • In regular battles, if Bowser takes enough damage he'll get angry and Turn Red (literally), raising his attack power but decreasing his defense.
  • Variable Mix: There are two tracks for everywhere in the game, one for when you're walking around outside as Bowser and one for when you're inside Bowser.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • The Emoglobins all have very globin-ish and strange-ish speech patterns. They tend to use too much-ish of the "Globin" in the talking, but that is to be expected from creatures possessed of such a globin. IS THAT NOT GLOBIN?
    • The Moles tend to put 'bro' in every one of their sentences, leading to things like broski.
    Mole (Upon seeing Giant Bowser): BRO NO!
  • Villain Protagonist: Bowser is a playable character. His designs aren't exactly altruistic, although the Mario Bros. do their best to manipulate him into not being a complete jerk all the time.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The Sea Pipe Statue.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Dark Star uses this attack as both itself and the Fawful bug, requiring both brothers to jump onto Starlow during the charge-up time or else take major damage. The original Dark Star (and its X variant) will also pursue the brothers after the attack for just as much damage. Bowser's fire breath acts the same way.
  • Weapons That Suck: Not exactly a "weapon", but the Vacuum Block allows Bowser to suck up Blitties, small enemies, as well as parts of larger ones. It's far from sucky too, as almost all enemies that Bowser encounters are hampered by it in some way, or have an associated enemy that can be sucked up.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Wisdurm is never shown leaving Bowser's body.
    • The Miracle Cure, which was used to destroy the barriers on Peach's Castle, then was never heard from again. This is after the heroes talk about using it against the Dark Star.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Broque Monsieur hates Mario since bashing in coin blocks "decreases their value" and makes business harder for him and thus will tell the Bros. to get out of his shop, albeit politely.
    • Parodied with the Wiggler. He tells Bowser to "take responsibility" for pulling up the Giga-Carrot by eating it for the Banzai Bill; when Bowser does, Wiggler gets mad and, rather than cough up the Bullet Bill as he promised, starts a fight! And the Koopa King needs to own up for his actions? Note that he got mad and attacked you not because you pulled the carrot up, but because you ate it, which he told you to do.
  • When Trees Attack: Treevils in Dimble Woods. Like most plant-based enemies, Kill It with Fire.
  • Where It All Began: The game begins and ends at Peach's Castle.
  • Womb Level: Most of the bros' stages.
  • The Worf Effect: Like in every Mario and Luigi game, you fight Bowser at the beginning, and he's an absolute pushover. Justified this time, as his abilities are being weakened by Peach and Starlow. You even fight him later in the game at his full potential, and he puts up quite a fight.
  • Wrap Around:
    • Certain enemies do this, by going off one side of the screen and coming back from the other.
    • The Crawful enemy after it loses its teeth—the bean it tries to eat gets shot off the left side of the screen, only to land on its head from the right side of the screen.
  • You Are Not Alone: Bowser gets this at the end of the game from Chippy, who tells him that Mario & Luigi have his back. He doesn't hear them, and kicks butt himself regardless.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: You can't stop Fawful from taking over Bowser's Castle, kidnapping Peach, stealing the Dark Star, and awakening it. Even Mario and Luigi's hunt for the Dark Star consists of nothing but failed attempts to stop it.
  • You Have Researched Breathing:
    • It takes about 30 minutes of in-game progression for Bowser to learn the exquisite art of lying on the ground with his spiky shell pointing up for the purpose of defending from airborne attackers.
    • At no point in the game do Mario and Luigi ever have the ability to wear overalls, gloves, socks, AND shoes at the same time. Given, they eventually learn how to wear two or three of these four items at a time...
  • Zerg Rush: Bowser's Goomba Storm invokes this. Broggy Bonker sees Broggy followed by the Blitties you collected. One of them lags behind.


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alternative title(s): Mario And Luigi Bowsers Inside Story; Bowsers Inside Story; Ptitlepf9wvkpu
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