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Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser, known in Japan as Koopa Gundan RPGnote , is the alternate mode found in the Video Game Remake of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, a previously untold story which focuses on Bowser's Minions during the events of that game. The story begins with a Goombanote  expressing his frustration at his status among the other troops. When the Koopa Cruiser suddenly crashes into the Beanbean Kingdom, he rises up as the new leader among some left over minions in search to find the suddenly missing Bowser.
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As the adventure unfolds Captain Goomba begins to learn how Fawful has brainwashed the near entirety of the Koopa Troop and must defeat them in order to sway them back into Bowser's side. Along the way, Captain Goomba gets help from other characters such as: a Jerkass Deadpan Snarker Shyguy named Captain Shyguy; a Lakitu that assists him by scouting out their newfound landscape, whose name is never stated; a Boo who initially didn't want to become a Captain but was forced to anyway; and a Koopa Troopa with a massive love for rhymes.

The battles are the two armies automatically fighting against each other, though the player can choose which characters to send in, give more power to critical attacks by performing certain actions such as repeatedly pressing a button, pressing a button with the correct timing or aiming correctly at the enemies, and choose one of the actions available to the captain, the latter of which costs CP. At the end of a battle, if any of the opponent's allies had survived, they will join the player's team. There are three types of troopers: Melee (who only fight physically), Ranged (who fight exclusively with projectiles), and Flying (physical fighters who fly). The types follow a rock-paper-scissors triangle of strength and weakness, with Melee units being strong against Ranged units but weak against Flying units, Ranged units being strong against Flying units but weak against Melee units and Flying units being strong against Melee units but weak against Ranged units.

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Don't be confused, it is NOT its own game, it is a game mode, and one of the two major game modes, in the remake of Superstar Saga.

January 2019 saw the release of Bowser Jr.'s Journey, a sequel to the game as part of a remake of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. The gameplay is the same, but now the protagonist is Bowser Jr., and the antagonists are a trio of brand new characters known as the "Best Fitness Friends". While this game shows another view of the Beanbean Kingdom adventure, Bowser Jr.'s Journey gives a different perspective on the Dark Star incident.


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Tropes appearing to this mode:

  • A Day in the Limelight: The entirety of the Koopa Troop is given the full spotlight this time around.
    • The Koopalings and the Elite Trio are also given bigger roles than usual.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Probably this mode's most defining feature.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: During one cutscene, the four captains get in line next to other NPCs. The dissonance is made clear because the captains are using their battle sprites while the NPCs are using their overworld sprites. Strangely enough, the captains do have overworld sprites as well.
    • The captains also wander in overworld areas while still using their battle sprites.
  • Ascended Extra: Remember that first Goomba you fought in the Koopa Cruiser in Superstar Saga? He's the main character now...and he turns into something far more.
  • Ascended Meme: "I have fury!" was already Fawful's catchphrase in Superstar Saga, but this story cranks it up a notch by calling his final form "Most Furious Fawful."
  • Badass in Distress: Bowser.
  • Big Bad: Fawful. In Superstar Saga he was The Dragon to Cackletta, but here, he's the main antagonist.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Koopalings and most of the other minions get brainwashed by Fawful. Beating them usually snaps them out of it. Averted during Bowser's Castle where they're instead tricked into believing Bowletta is Bowser.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Thanks to the intro and the Koopalings getting brainwashed, Bowser's minions have splintered into different factions following the Koopa Cruiser incident. Private Goomp, Sergeant Guy, and Corporal Paraplonk initially stay together, but get in an argument after a fight in Beanbean Fields and split up, each trying to join different Koopalings. They're reunited by Joke's End, though.
    Sergeant Guy: The Trio has officially split up! Who needs friends anyway!
  • Broken Pedestal: By Joke's End, Captain Goomba's respect to the Elite Trio (whom he considered to be his heroes) have vanished to the point that he considers them "lower" to his level.
  • Call-Back: The order of the Koopalings you fight closely resembles the same order in Super Mario Bros. 3. The only difference in the order they're fought in is that Iggy and Morton switch places, but in certain orderings of playable Minions that group the Koopalings together, Iggy and Morton are in their original places.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Private Goomp, Sergeant Guy, and Corporal Paraplonk first appeared in Bowser's Inside Story before showing up in this spinoff of the first M&L game.
    • Professor E Gadd mentions that he's making a time machine.
    • Bowser's minions come across Starlow, who was vacationing in Gwarhar Lagoon only to be run afoul of Hermie III.
    • The last area in Bowser's Minions has Fawful's robot army from Bowser's Inside Story. It's also revealed that they're the ones who attacked the Castle Town at the beginning of the game.
    • The concept of Fawful brainwashing minions refers to one of his main tactics in Bowser's Inside Story. Also, he persuades the Elite Trio to defect here, too, but Private Goomp is a bit more enthusiastic about it than the other two, and this time, they're quickly beaten back to the protagonists.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The Koopalings have been brainwashed into working for the other side, and apparently the best way to un-brainwash them and get them on your side again is a good thrashing.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Prince Peasley has a far more minor role here this time. Although you can unlock him as a special minion after the mode's normal ending.
    • "Popple's Partner, Part 2" is the only quest to feature an appearance of a Fighter Fly, and even then it's not during the gameplay, but during the opening cutscene.
  • Dialogue Tree: Subverted. There's only one instance of dialogue trees in the story, and it's at the end of the "For the Love of Hammers" quest, when the Hammerhead Bros. ask if you'd like to hear their Hammer Song again. Your only dialogue choices are "Umm..." and "Please, no.", and your choice has absolutely zero impact on the dialogue or events, as the story moves on with them deciding not to sing the song.
  • Duel Boss: Private Goomp's Clash of Captains ability, which he uses after enough units fall in all of his fights, has him interrupt the fight and rush to your captain, taking damage from any of your remaining units in the way, for a duel. In this state, he cannot use Captain Commands, but he will always use his Rocket Headbonk unless Deny is used. Captain Goomba later learns this as his unique Captain Command.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The minions of Bowser's evil army vs. the evil army of Fawful's brainwashed minions.
  • Fan of the Underdog: At the final cutscene of Joke's End, Captain Shy Guy secretly admits to C. Koopa and C. Boo that he actually admires C. Goomba for what he does. Of course he never actually tells this to C. Goomba.
  • Fantastic Racism: A major theme shown throughout is how the Koopalings look down on Goombas; part of Captain Goomba's motivations is to prove that he can be a good leader and a capable fighter. This leads to Ludwig, shortly after joining, suspecting that Captain Goomba didn't get as far as he did out of loyalty and determination, but rather relying on the Koopalings he recruited. This leads to Ludwig deciding to test him by having him fight all of the Koopalings at once. Upon losing, he and Roy start seriously reconsidering their stance.
  • The Ghost: Mario and Luigi (mainly Mario) are frequently mentioned throughout the story but are never seen... except briefly at the beginning of the true final quest, "Believe in Bowser", and even then they're only shown from the back.
  • The Goomba: Briefly Discussed. Turns out Goombas are pretty famous in the Beanbean Kingdom... for being the first enemy Mario stomps on.
  • Giant Mook: Big Boos, Chain Chomps and Giant Tanoombas can all be part of your ranks. Predictably, they move and attack slow, but hit hard and have a lot of resilience.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The original group of Goombas that comprised Captain Goomba's squad named him the captain because they didn't want to bear the burden of leading the squad. To everyone's shock, he pulls it off in spectacular fashion.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: By this mode's perspective, Cackletta can be viewed as this while she's the Big Bad of Superstar Saga.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Ultimately subverted, the story's ending narration states that while Captain Goomba was stripped from his position, neither his fellow captains or former minions have ever forgotten his leadership and dedication.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Private Goomp starts out trying to stop Fawful, but winds up brainwashed into the first boss. He gets into a bit of a rivalry with Captain Goomba and takes a somewhat neutral, yet antagonistic role before he's recruited in Teehee Valley. Then he leads the Trio into defecting at Joke's End, at which point they take another beating and join Captain Goomba for good.
  • Immune to Mind Control: Captain Goomba is unaffected by Fawful's brainwashing gas, avoiding Brainwashed and Crazy and thus setting out to free the rest from the mind control. The Koopalings, while not immune, have heavy resistance to it, which Fawful prepared for by making a stronger variant. By the end of the story, everyone is immune, with the Koopalings easily spinning the gas away when Fawful sprays them.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Captain Goomba does this at several points, whether it be to blindly charge into a wall or jump off an entire mountain as a shortcut. His exclusive skill even makes him charge through the enemy ranks (taking hits from them on the way) to face the enemy leader alone.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Captain Shy Guy's solo challenge requires the use of his Reinforce skill to beat the melee enemies he would normally have no chance against. Said skill summons a random member of your army to serve in battle: in this one in particular the first use will always summon Captain Goomba, but subsequent uses can be anything from one of the a Koopalings to a lone and underleveled ranged unit.
  • Mini-Boss: Starting in Beanbean Fields, you fight all or one of the Elite Trio part way through each area before fighting the resident Koopaling. This is cleverly reversed in Joke's End, where Roy ends up being this to the final fight with the Elite Trio, which is the actual boss of the area.
  • Musical Spoiler: Your first clue that there's more to Joke's End than it seems? Roy has the regular battle music after the previous five area bosses shared a boss theme.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: A challenge in the game requires you to recruit Bowser Jr., who is simply referred to as "that guy" (likely for the sake of avoiding spoilers).
  • Non-Action Guy: Lakitu, who would rather prefer to scope the land to find any brainwashed minions which he would then lead the squad to, to reform them.
  • Oh, Crap!: When the Goomba Squad returns Roy to normal, Roy realizes that the Elite Trio is missing from the group, and reveals to the Captains that the Trio is planting a time bomb on the Koopa Cruiser, so he joins the rest of the group to stop them.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga from the perspective of the separated minions.
  • Recurring Boss: The Elite Trio are at first fought together, then fought throughout the next few areas one by one, and finally get one more fight before the final area. Private Goomp gets a fourth fight as the first boss of the mode. Popple is also fought twice throughout the story.
  • Retcon: Bowser's amnesia was caused by being shot out of Tolstar's cannon in Superstar Saga, but here it's caused by Captain Goomba falling on his head.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Captain Koopa Troopa loves doing this, to the loathing of everyone except Captain Goomba, who also shares his love of rhymes.
  • The Rival: Captain Goomba has two of them.
    • Fawful, who begins to grow increasingly frustrated with him as he foils his plan to takeover the kingdom.
    • Private Goomp maintains a rivalry with Captain Goomba for most of the story. It's part of the reason why he leads the Trio in defecting to Fawful while at Joke's End.
  • Rousing Speech: As the army of Mechawfuls approaches the squad before the final battle, Captain Goomba gives a damn good one to the other soldiers.
  • Running Gag: Characters remarking that Captain Goomba has an "aura" of stupidity.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: The minions fall into three types, Melee, Ranged, and Flying. Melee units have the advantage over ranged units. Ranged units have the advantage over flying units. And flying units have the advantage over melee units.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Goombas. For the first time in the franchise, even as they're still the weakest and most basic of the troops, they are a force to be reckoned with.
  • Tournament Arc: The events of Gwarhar Lagoon revolve around the Cutie Battle Contest, which contestants compete at not only being the strongest, but also the cutest.
  • Trick Boss: Happens twice:
    • Joke's End proceeds normally until Roy's defeat, which is when he reveals that the Elite Trio defected and placed a bomb on the Koopa Cruiser. The actual boss fight is against the Trio.
    • In the final area, after beating Lemmy and Ludwig, they join for one fight before Ludwig, who can't comprehend how a Goomba did all that he did, tests Captain Goomba by having him fight all seven Koopalings at once.
  • True Companions: Captain Goomba, Captain Shy Guy, and Captain Boo, and heck, the entire army. It's one of the main points of the story.
  • The Unfought: Cackletta and to a lesser extent, the Mario Bros.
  • Villain Protagonist: Remember as nice as the four captains can be, they still work for and are loyal to Bowser.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: It’s an automatic defeat if the party’s captain is knocked out in battle. However, the same goes for the opposing team.
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: At the end of "The Paraplonk Squad's Secret!", the Goomba Squad wants to join the Cutie Battle Contest just as long as they get to beat Wendy back to normal. However, they need to train on getting cuter. Both Captains Goomba and Boo turn to Captain Shy Guy, who looks in the same direction at first, then slowly backs away from them...
  • Wolfpack Boss: Near the end, there's a five stage fight that ends in fighting all seven Koopalings, led by Ludwig, at once as part of a test; obviously, you can't use the Koopalings in this fight until rematches.

Alternative Title(s): Minion Quest

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