Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga
Mario and Luigi are back, this time in an all new role-playing experience for the Game Boy Advance.
'Want' and 'need' are generally seen as interchangeable words, often used incorrectly by numerous individuals. Example: A grade school child petitioning his mother for the latest toy would plead that he needs the device. Does he really need the toy? Well, of course not. Unless the toy in question is a color specific HAZMAT suit in a nuclear wasteland - then it's probably a good idea.
That's why in directing people to play a game, a person must be careful not to overuse 'need' and 'want'. Sure, wanting people to play a game is fine and dandy; but that statement lacks the subtext power of telling a comrade he or she needs to play a game. It's a minute difference that makes a world of difference.
That said: you need to play Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the latest Mario role-playing game for the Game Boy Advance. Without a doubt, there hasn't been a finer Game Boy Advance title crafted to this date. What's extremely interesting is all the liberties taken by Alpha Dream, the game's developers, in the creation of the title. The confines of the Mushroom Kingdom, where the majority of Mario Bros.. games take place, quickly disappear as Mario, Luigi and a couple of old friends make their way to the Bean Bean Kingdom. This all because of an ambush in ambassador's guise steals Princess Peach's voice to use the Bean Star, which is capable of granting a wish in conjunction with a pure voice.
Playing in a territory outside of the Mushroom King is a truly engrossing experience, as the land is as ripe for exploration. The scenery and setup is something to behold. Of course, many locals pay homage to the Mario Bros. in their own way, via sound and sight. For instance, don't be surprise when those infectious germs from Dr. Mario make an appearance in the game, or when classic tunes from the previous installments grace your ears.
While these two senses are surely treated to a good time in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, what really gets a work out is your thumbs, as the game provides the player with one of the most ingenious control setups of late. It's simpler than it sounds, with a small learning curve to boot. One button controls the various actions - hammer, hand power, jump or special jump - of Mario; the other controls the actions of Luigi. They follow each other in a follow the leader fashion, but this is quickly remedied by using the select button to swap between the two brothers - and you will.
Also, the combat implements these as well with a timing system. Theoretically, it's possibly that you could avoid ever getting hit in the game. This is because players have the ability to dodge or hammer back attacks at the attacker. While this makes for some interesting gameplay, it becomes an almost a mechanical process that can detach the player from combat at some points. That's never a good thing.
The only main qualm with the game is the fact of the overall ease, as previously mentioned in terms of combat. Save for some final battles and fairly ambiguous puzzles, it's nowhere near the hardest game in existence. Of course, this makes the title more approachable to a wider audience of videogame players, or even first timers, but it hinders the overall experience in the end just enough for those that have prior experience under their belt.
With one of the best sums currently, it's only a few parts that keep this title from being a game like no other. However, the game is by no means just average. This is still the best game available to date on the Game Boy Advance, despite the linear setup and the late game monotony found in combat. It would be a doing a disservice to yourself if you didn't add this game to your library, because it will beat you down and then place itself dead center for all to see. It's just that good.
What's Hot: Great RPG action with classic Nintendo heroes!
What's Not: Bad underwater sections.