These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
8.8: Game Informer originally gave the game a 6.5. This would have been bad enough, but the reviewer's primary complaint? The writing was bad. The ensuing fan backlash actually prompted two letters of apology. The first one claimed that the reviewer gave the score not of his opinion, but guessing how well consumers would like it. This caused more complaints about the review, so a second apology letter was written with the exact opposite message.
Anticlimax Boss: Macho Grubba from Chapter 3. Despite having a whopping 60 HP, which is massive for this point, considering that the last boss only had 30 HP and the next one will only have 40 HP, he's still incredibly easy to beat. It doesn't help that all of his attacks are insanely easy to Superguard.
Breather Level: The Excess Express in Chapter 6, for the most part. It's more puzzle-oriented than battle-oriented, but it does have a "dungeon" portion with some fairly tough enemies, including an enemy who is obscenely difficult to deal with for the games' standards.note By which we mean a very sturdy flying enemy with a spike that also happens to be immune to fire and explosions. This means no jumping without a specific badge on, hammer attacks are nigh-useless due to the enemy's ridiculous defense, and only two partners have some way to damage the enemy at all—resulting in what is essentially the game forcing you to use an alternative method to take it down.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: It seems to be the general opinion that if you even think of leveling up anything but Badge Points, then you're a complete idiot who doesn't know how to play the game properly.
Crack Pairing: Vivian and Doopliss are very often shipped together for no apparent reason.
Demonic Spiders: Amazy Dayzees. Their attacks can deal twenty points of damage, and put both of your characters to sleep. Also double as a Metal Slime. Fortunately, they usually run away, and give out more star points than any other enemy in the game.
Some of the later monsters in the Pit of 100 Trials can be BRUTAL. Namely, Wizzerds of any sort, Arantulas, and even the dreaded Amazee Dayzees can show up (sometimes not alone!). Pretty much any enemy on levels 81-99 are beyond brutal and dangerous, as well as exclusive to the pit.
Fridge Brilliance: Defeating Bonetail nets you a grand total of... one Star Point. Players will naturally rage at this... until realizing that this is the game's way of saying "You just beat the hardest enemy in the entire game. You don't need to level up anymore!"
Cortez's forms. First, a four-armed skeleton holding each of his weapons. Then, a hunched-over skeleton with some gem in the torso. And finally, his head and his weapons. Why do his forms progress like this? He's falling apart.
How come the impenetrable defenses of the Iron Cleft brothers never manage to get further than 10th place in the Glitz Pit? Because the guys directly above them are Spike Tops. Iron Cleft have unbeatable defenses, but only have an attack of 4, Spike Tops have a defense of 5.
However, one of the Iron Clefts explicitly states that their spikes can "penetrate any substance" (exact words), so it's Fridge Logic, really.
That's what he says, but if you super guard you'll take no damage so it can't be true. There are attacks that can't be super guarded too (and thus, may really pierce through anything)
Also, while their spikes may certainly be capable of penetrating any substance, there's no indication that the Iron Clefts have trained enough to be able to produce the force necessary to do so.
Each time someone questions who got turned into a pig, they end up as the next victim. "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
There are a few hints in Chapter 4 that Mario isn't himself after the first Doopliss battle. These include his posture when standing and holding up the Crystal Star, his tinny voice, and the fact that the game doesn't declare a newly learned Special Move upon "chapter completion". Also, if you have the W Emblem badge equipped during the battle (changes Mario's color scheme to that of Wario's), he will suddenly change back to his normal color scheme.
When Mario obtains the Gold Star, he's able to use Power Lift to boost his attack and defense. That explains why Grubba was able to increase his own attack and defense.
Considering that Grifty says Bonetail, Gloomtail, and Hooktail were the Shadow Queen's pets, and that the Pit of 100 Trials was built as a prison for the Queen's enemies, it's safe to say that a lot of people met their end there.
At one point you must look behind a crate. You'll see a few of Mario's new friends lying on the ground, not moving. You can say they're stunned, until you see the flies.
The situation is somewhat helped by the fact that they react to Mario talking to them (one gasps out a warning, while the other gives a wordless response), proving that they're alive. And they both show up perfectly healthy at the end of the level. On the other hand, consider that they aren't the first fighters that have had their energy drained. They're rescued and Prince Mush (the other known victim) is found, but what if there were others?
In Rogueport, there seems to be some dried reddish-brown stuff on the ground. One could easily pass this off as dirt, until you realize that it's next to the gallows, and that it's found nowhere else in town...
It was found in one other place in the Japanese version. Next to a Toad-shaped chalk outline.
Fridge Logic: Glitzville is presumably in the skies of the Mushroom Kingdom, yet pretty much nobody there recognizes Mario or Bowser!
Rogueport and the areas connected to it seem to take place in an area separate from the mainland of the Mushroom Kingdom; not everyone recognizes Mario. Jury's still out on Bowser. At the same time, only Grubba himself was stated not to know Bowser in Glitzville, calling him a nutcase who tried to ambush Mario.
Game Breaker: The "Danger Mario" setup. By setting his max HP at 5 thanks to Chet Rippo and equipping tons of Power Rush badges, Mario can deal obscenely huge amounts of damage. Add to that the Spike Shield, which allows you to jump on spiked enemies safely, Close Call, which sometimes causes enemies' attacks to miss when Mario is in Danger mode, Ice Power, which allows you to jump on fire enemies safely, and several Life Shrooms in case Mario dies, and you can kiss the difficulty good-bye. This is alleviated somewhat by the fact that you can only make the best use of it late in the game, as you need Bobbery to reach Chet Rippo, but it still makes the rest of the game (As well as the Pit of 100 Trials, if you haven't cleared it already) a breeze.
Let's just say that there's a very good reason why the Rogueport citizens feel uneasy whenever they're near the Thousand-Year Door. It's fabled in legend as the door leading one to a grand legendary treasure. It's actually the gateway to the Palace of Shadow, where the Shadow Queen has remained sealed for a thousand years.
The tune that comes with X's e-mails as well as Grubba's when he threatens you (from the ice world in Super Mario Bros. 3). It doesn't help that the controller rumbles whenever you receive one of these calls, which will often jolt the player's focus.
The Shadow Queen is basically a nightmare incarnate. And when she actually makes an appearance in the story, the first thing that happens is the entire world is plunged into darkness. Instantly. It gets worse from there.
The 'victory' music that plays at the end of a battle and your partner has been knocked out. Ugh...
While Mario explores the unused rooms of Glitz Pit, finding the half-dead forms of two of your former opponents. It doesn't help that they were two of the nicest characters in the level.
From Chapter 6, waking up the third day to find that all of the passenger on board the Excess Express have been abducted by a weird tentacle monster made up of smaller creatures that are abundant enough to swarm the entire train, covering every single window.
The abilities of the Chapter 4 boss, Doopliss. The boss himself might be Nightmare Retardant, but him first turning the villagers into pigs, then performing identity theft in the most literal manner possible is definitely scary. Hits home if you try to take the pipe to Rogueport during the second bit; you can't, because that pipe requires you have something with your name written on it...and you no longer have a name.
Nightmare Retardant: Doopliss has abilities that remain terrifying throughout Chapter 4, but that doesn't change the fact that the one responsible for the town's curse is a Bedsheet Ghost in a party hat and bowtie who is sitting in an easy chair watching TV when you first meet him.
Padding: Some of the fight conditions Grubba sets down for you can be this such as "Don't attack for the first three turns" or "Let your enemy damage you five times" as it only unnecessarily drags out the fights.
Then there's the backtracking in Chapter 4.
Player Punch: Sir Grodus shutting TEC-XX down, if you really felt for TEC.
Seeing Doopliss possess Mario's body and running around pretending to be him, while the player is unable to do anything about it just yet or even return to Rogueport, can be a little jarring.
The Scrappy: Flurrie is easily the least popular partner, which can mostly be attributed to her design and attacks.
That One Attack: X-Yux's primary attack can immobilize you, and it can only be neutralized with a well-timed Superguard. If that doesn't kill you, then its attack when it has four mini X-Yux shielding it definitely will.
Magnus 2.0. He's got That One Attack where he sucks up the audience in a hose and rapid-fires them at you, dealing completely massive damage unless you can block correctly. Hope you still have Star Power left for Sweet Feast and/or Power Lift!
There's also Bowser's appearance out of nowhere in the Palace of Shadow, primarily because, Mario is probably on low health from the preceding battle with Grodus, and Bowser and Kammy have quite a bit of health for this battle. Thankfully, Showstopper works here.
Hooktail if you don't have (and/or equip) the Attack FX R badge, since Hooktail has an attack power of 5 and 20 HP, then when she's defeated, she replenishes half her HP. Oh, and she has a defense of 1, which is a lot for that early in the game.
Pirate's Grotto from the fifth chapter, particularly with the part where Boat Mario has to get past some rolling waves.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Jolene's brother and the Glitz Pit's first champion, Prince Mush. After you beat Grubba and the Crystal Star releases him, he could have been a good Bonus Boss along with Bonetail and the Atomic Boo. He was at one point intended to be a bonus boss... but instead, after the end of Chapter 3, you never see him again.
The Woobie: Vivian would be very difficult not to feel sorry for. To elaborate, she's blamed for literally everything that goes wrong for the Shadow Sirens, has a necklace she found taken from her by Beldam and repetitively kicked around by her sisters, and she's implied to be a transsexual. The player is quite surprised that it took her that long to finally be fed up with Beldam's abuse, and join up with Mario.
Hell, Bobbery qualifies, too.
Jolene and Prince Mush certainly qualify too. Their family was poor, Mush disappeared as a result of Grubba's machine resulting in Jolene having to work for Grubba to find her brother and Jolene seems to be putting on a brave face the whole time. It helps that Jolene is popular with the fans and a lot of fans thought Mush would've been a cool Bonus Boss.
Even Mario qualifies to some extent. Having your body and name stolen by a Jerkass, and no-one recognizing you with nothing but your jump, a hammer, some badges, and whatever items you had. While everyone talks about how great you are. Not to mention having your girlfriend transformed into the Big Bad before your eyes.
Luigi is either this or Iron Butt Monkey due to a certain request in Poshley Heights. Basically, a fangirl of Luigi's wants to meet him, and in order to do that you need the L Emblem. When you show up, the real Luigi also shows up and she thinks YOU are the real one, practically crushing poor Luigi. That's right, if you want 100%, you have to be a dick to your own brother.
TEC-XX is this. Knowing nothing about love, helping Peach try escape, and trying to cheer her up when she misses the Mushroom Ball. But then he is shut down by Grodus, and uses the last of his power to tell Mario where Peach is and activates the teleporter back to Rogueport.He gets better at the end of the game, but still...