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Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga


FishyFish
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Played this for a few hours at the weekend and quite enjoyed it, but after tonight's session I think it's lost its shine. I've never been a big fan of RPG's - I've always seen them as potentially good games ruined by boring, time-consuming, random battles that get in the way of any fun you might otherwise have - but Mario & Luigi promised something different. "Action RPG!" and "No annoying random battles!" quoted the reviews and various word of mouth accounts. Unfortunately, not really true...

Point 1 - I fail to see the distinction between random battles, and battles that can't really be avoided because of fast, erratically moving monsters that're difficult (and frustrating) to escape. Both seem pretty random to me.

Point 2 - Having to continually press buttons and switch characters because you need to jump up on a ledge / spin across a gap / smash a rock every ten seconds soon becomes extremely tedious - especially when you find one of those Mario / Luigi blocks and instead of headbutting the block, Luigi instead jumps on your shoulders and attempts a high jump.

Point 3 - The mine-cart ride. Mine-cart sections are a videogame cliche but this one also serves to be slow and boring. Guide both characters in slow moving carts while using a torch to light up the way. Jump very slowly to collect items. These things might be cliche'd, but that doesn't mean they can't be fun.

Point 4 - ...I can't be bothered to list any more. The simple fact is that I've twice turned the GBA off in the middle of playing tonight for the terrible reason that I was bored. This is probably down to my dislike of RPG's, but I'd hoped for something more with this game, maybe Zelda but with Mario rather than Link, but unfortunately the differences offered over other RPG's are too thin to win me over.

I really want to like the game, and I'll persevere a little longer to see if it re-lights my fire, but at this moment in time I'm pretty disheartened by it.

<sigh>

Fishy

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Yeah - I'd have to disagree. I'm really enjoying Mario and Luigi and am pretty far into it (I don't know how far you are - but I'm many hours past the mine carts). The control can be a bit awkward at times, but I wouldn't go so far as to say tedious, plus I've done a pretty good job of avoiding enemies so far - it's not like Grandia where the enemies wiz around so fast its impossible to avoid them.

So to my mind, a lovely funny, enjoyable GBA game, which I'm about 10 hours into and not even slightly bored with. In fact I want to play it right now.

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yikes, who pissed in your cornflakes?

* There's a huge difference between random battles and erratic enemies; you see the latter coming, you can stay back to put off the battle, you _can_ avoid it. Being attacked by an enemy you see as you approach is very different to being attacked by an enemy who was invisible until the big swirly whoosh effect came out of nowhere.

* I think the controls do a pretty good job of making available a large set of combination actions whilst remaining simple and straightforward.

* The mine cart is fun, especially on the higher levels. You really didn't enjoy this?

* Yes it's a cliche; the whole game is full of cliches. That's the point. The genius of the 1st mario RPG was that they took this silly world of fat plumbers, fire and ice worlds, cyclical princess stealing and made a cohesive world out of it. This required much humour to make it stick. Play some more; there's so much in here that isn't cliched, that's fresh--so fresh, it jumps up and nips at your nose--that you'll be hankering for a cliche to hold onto.

* I can't be bothered to point out the error of your ways; you seem to be in a whole different frame of reference to me. From my perspective, this is Warioware the RPG -- it's Super Mario RPG pushed to the extremes that Square could never have taken it to. It looks very nice too. It's not the better game of Super Mario RPG; it's a lighter snack, but it's bloody good.

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yikes, who pissed in your cornflakes?

Mario & Luigi did :wub:

* There's a huge difference between random battles and erratic enemies; you see the latter coming, you can stay back to put off the battle, you _can_ avoid it. Being attacked by an enemy you see as you approach is very different to being attacked by an enemy who was invisible until the big swirly whoosh effect came out of nowhere.

I agree about the difference and that it's an improvement over totally random battles, but the erratic movement patterns of the monsters means that in many cases it's impossible to avoid confrontations (especially in confined spaces) and as the battles were all taking what seemed ages to complete, or resulted in the loss of loads of coins while trying to run, soon became very frustrating. To date the only RPG battle system I've ever found to be agreeable is in Pokemon - If you want to battle, go in the tall grass, otherwise do as you please.

* I think the controls do a pretty good job of making available a large set of combination actions whilst remaining simple and straightforward.

Got to disagree on this. When something as simple as jumping on a ledge requires numerous button presses there's something wrong. It's simply far too much effort for something so fundamentaly straightforward. I can see the need for having to select special moves / items etc, but being able to jump should be a pre-requisite. The characters might have to learn how to jump higher, fair enough, but it shouldn't take up to four button presses to do so when required.

* The mine cart is fun, especially on the higher levels. You really didn't enjoy this?

Nope. For me it was a slow moving trundle through a dark cavern. The torch beam aspect seems more like a gimmick than something that actually adds any entertainment and I think I'd have probably enjoyed it much more if it had been ommitted. The fact that I find the GBA SP's controls too small and fiddly to properly control two characters at once didn't really help either.

* Yes it's a cliche; the whole game is full of cliches. That's the point. The genius of the 1st mario RPG was that they took this silly world of fat plumbers, fire and ice worlds, cyclical princess stealing and made a cohesive world out of it. This required much humour to make it stick. Play some more; there's so much in here that isn't cliched, that's fresh--so fresh, it jumps up and nips at your nose--that you'll be hankering for a cliche to hold onto.

I was referring to the mine cart secton as a gaming cliche rather than the game as a whole. I generally agree with your comments which is why I'm dissapointed that the RPG elements are dulling the overall experience for me.

* I can't be bothered to point out the error of your ways; you seem to be in a whole different frame of reference to me. From my perspective, this is Warioware the RPG -- it's Super Mario RPG pushed to the extremes that Square could never have taken it to. It looks very nice too. It's not the better game of Super Mario RPG; it's a lighter snack, but it's bloody good.

My ways aren't really in error though, it's just that (at the moment) the game isn't really to my taste. I don't find the semi-realtime battles any less tedious than their turn-based counterparts in other RPG's (in fact I'd probably PREFER a turn based system as it would reduce the problems I have with fiddly GBA buttons). In my perfect world the battles would be realtime in the same way that Zelda's are, but that's obviously just my own personal preference.

Who knows, maybe I was just in a bad frame of mind last night and I'll enjoy it more next time I play?

Fishy

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Point 1 - I fail to see the distinction between random battles, and battles that can't really be avoided because of fast, erratically moving monsters that're difficult (and frustrating) to escape. Both seem pretty random to me.

Whilst that's true to some extent, the difference is you know when a battle is coming if you can see it - even if you can't avoid it.

I have no problem with 'random' battles per se, in fact I find the lack of physical requirements on my part to be quite relaxing, but then I also love the way (in M&L) you can jump on or smash the enemies beforehand to gain an advantage in battle. Also, battles seem to be different each time. There's not a huge amount of strategy here to be honest (ie. none, really) but there's more requirement to remember enemy movement and timing, meaning that as your characters get 'stronger' you also get faster. I can see that as being a bit of a flaw, however, seeing as you could 'scout ahead' in an area, learn all the enemy movements in battle, and then reset and do it again, thus saving you plenty of items and stuff... not that I've done that or anything, just that you could. :wub:

Point 2 - Having to continually press buttons and switch characters because you need to jump up on a ledge / spin across a gap / smash a rock every ten seconds soon becomes extremely tedious - especially when you find one of those Mario / Luigi blocks and instead of headbutting the block, Luigi instead jumps on your shoulders and attempts a high jump.

Agreed. Controls are very fiddly. Having to 'scroll' through two characters' movements in real-time is a little unweildy. Try pressing L+R together, however. It'll 'reset' to jumps from whatever you have selected. Useful at times.

Point 3 - The mine-cart ride. Mine-cart sections are a videogame cliche but this one also serves to be slow and boring. Guide both characters in slow moving carts while using a torch to light up the way. Jump very slowly to collect items. These things might be cliche'd, but that doesn't mean they can't be fun.

That whole thing (and the jumpy battles too) remind me a lot of Wario Ware. Little mini-games and simple timed jumping bits. I've not been back to any mine-cart bits since I did that one, but I don't remember it being that bad - just a little slow. Quite easy too!

Point 4 - ...I can't be bothered to list any more. The simple fact is that I've twice turned the GBA off in the middle of playing tonight for the terrible reason that I was bored. This is probably down to my dislike of RPG's, but I'd hoped for something more with this game, maybe Zelda but with Mario rather than Link, but unfortunately the differences offered over other RPG's are too thin to win me over.

I really want to like the game, and I'll persevere a little longer to see if it re-lights my fire, but at this moment in time I'm pretty disheartened by it.

I guess if those turn-based games really 'aren't your thing' then you'll probably not be attracted to it. It tries it's hardest to simplify everything and make the game more instantly accessable and interesting, but that's about as far as it can go within the turn-based confines.

Personally I think it's pretty sweet! But then I'm a fan of that sorta thing.

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Point 3 - The mine-cart ride. Mine-cart sections are a videogame cliche but this one also serves to be slow and boring. Guide both characters in slow moving carts while using a torch to light up the way. Jump very slowly to collect items. These things might be cliche'd, but that doesn't mean they can't be fun.

That whole thing (and the jumpy battles too) remind me a lot of Wario Ware. Little mini-games and simple timed jumping bits. I've not been back to any mine-cart bits since I did that one, but I don't remember it being that bad - just a little slow. Quite easy too!

You should go back and try the higher levels of the mine-cart, it gets quite hectic. You get *beans* for winning, too!

I keep meaning to backtrack to the jumping rope and trying the higher levels on that; the "physics" of the rope & the feints of the rope-pullers were superb.

--Sam

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I'm wondering if this game was originally going to be Mario Advance 5. It's just the presence of the Mario Bros subgame.

It's certainly an example of what the Mario conversions should have been from the start. Rather than converting Mario RPG we get a new game in the same style, like Metroid Fusion.

We just might get Mario World 2 and Yoshi's Island 2 after all then.

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I'm wondering if this game was originally going to be Mario Advance 5. It's just the presence of the Mario Bros subgame.

It's certainly an example of what the Mario conversions should have been from the start. Rather than converting Mario RPG we get a new game in the same style, like Metroid Fusion.

We just might get Mario World 2 and Yoshi's Island 2 after all then.

I think the Mario Bros game is just easy for them to throw in, although I'm starting to wonder if it's worth the ink they use to print instructions for it. I have 3 copies of the game now, and will probably get another for Xmas (Super Mario Bros 3).

BTW - isn't Mario World 2 == Yoshi's Island. I'm betting Mario Advance 5 will be Yoshi's story however (sadly). I'd love to see a new game though.

Still loving Mario and Luigi BTW - played it last night for about 3 hours. A sheer joy to play, one of my favorite games of the year.

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I'm wondering if this game was originally going to be Mario Advance 5. It's just the presence of the Mario Bros subgame.

Yeah, I got 5 of them now :rolleyes:

It's quite different to the other Mario Advance games though; it's nowhere near a platformer. Therefore I don't think it really fits in with the other Mario Advance games.

Here's to hoping that there will be a new Mario-platformer for the GBA...

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It's certainly an example of what the Mario conversions should have been from the start. Rather than converting Mario RPG we get a new game in the same style, like Metroid Fusion.

We just might get Mario World 2 and Yoshi's Island 2 after all then.

I think it's shocking that there hasn't been a new, proper 2D Mario game for the GBA. Couldn't they have released a conversion of 'Super Mario All-Stars' and maybe a cart with 'Super Mario World' and 'Yoshi's Island', then started on a new title?

I know that this would be less lucrative, but... er, oh.

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I'm betting Mario Advance 5 will be Yoshi's story however (sadly). I'd love to see a new game though.

Despite what I just said, I hope this is true, as I haven't played it.

Or I could just buy it for the N64, I suppose. It's dirt cheap on ebay.

They should convert Super Mario RPG to GBA... would it work? I never played it.

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Well, gave it another go last night...

But to no avail. I didn't warm to the battle system at all and got frustrated beyond belief at trying to make any progress. I've now deleted my save game file and it's going on eBay so I can try to recoup some of my outlay.

For those interested, the camel's back was broken by the folowing straws:

1) From my last save point the first thing I encountered wer the Hammer Brothers who provide training on using your hammers in battle. First time through, no problem. Second time around I didn't need to do the training again so selected "No" when they asked if it was required. However selecting "no" makes no difference at all as the stupid tool-headed twats force you to do the training anyway! After a number of re-starts this was pissing me off enormously.

2) The fast moving enemies (firstly the Goomba things and then the Bob-ombs). Fair enough, these can be avoided if you're fleet of foot, but for the most part they always banged into me. In effect they turned the game into a frantic game of dodge, rather than one of exploration. There were areas I wanted to explore but couldn't be arsed to because it would mean loads of (mostly) unavoidable battles.

3) That fucking Lakitu thing! No matter where I went in a certain area of the game, there it was, floating above my head, dropping impossble to avoid monsters. Even worse, because he stays right above you, it was impossible to jump on a high ledge without banging into him and getting into yet another battle. Now, my guess is that if I beat him in battle he'd have dissappeared, but, as by this time I was having no fun whatsoever, I decided to call it a day rather than continue with more of the same.

As mentioned before, I'm pretty dissapointed about the game as the premise is great and I really wanted to enjoy it, but for me personally the RPG elements sapped out most of the entertainment.

The next time I see a review that says "No random battles" I'll take it with a bag of salt.

I think me and RPG's will now forever go our seperate ways. With the exception of Pokemon and Deus Ex (and Skies of Arcadia - although the random battles in this drove me to the brink of despair, I did actually complete it) I always seem to end up frustrated and disappointed. I'd thought of getting KOTOR for the XBOX, but suspect that this will be more of the same, yes?

Fishy's rule #376 - RPG = A good game ruined

Fishy

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The best thing about portable games is that they are generally made to work well in short bursts. I've been finding Mario & Luigi most successful in this capacity. Play it like a normal RPG (mammoth 3-8 hours sessions or even just 1-2) and I can see why it would be annoying.

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The best thing about portable games is that they are generally made to work well in short bursts. I've been finding Mario & Luigi most successful in this capacity. Play it like a normal RPG (mammoth 3-8 hours sessions or even just 1-2) and I can see why it would be annoying.

Actually I've found the sparse save-points to be rather unhelpful whilst travelling (bus/tube, etc). They're fine until you start wandering around the map and realise you haven't saved for 10 minutes and can't get back to a save point without pefroming 7 hops, 4 twists, 6 switches and a jump or two.

Other than that, though, top stuff!

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No doubt I'll agree when I have reached such a point in the game. For now, I'm astounded by just how many save points there are, given:

a.) How long it actually takes to save (not a major complaint, but slightly annoying).

b.) How few save points there seem to be in other RPGs.

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How few save points there seem to be in other RPGs.

Largely agree - throughout the entire game, I think there was only one bit where I had to turn my SP off and annoyingly couldn't find a nearby save point. Which is, y'know, fairly extraordinary for an RPG.

FishyFish: as you say yourself, you don't like RPGs, and I'm afraid there's only so much an RPG can do to appeal to someone who doesn't like the fundamental game style, no matter how hugely and grinningly joyful an RPG it is.

Our not hugely unobvious conclusion today, then, is this: if you hate RPGs, then don't buy Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga! It is an RPG.

(However! It is still my favourite game of 2003 thus far. Shame the final dungeon's a bit workmanlike and chore-ish, really. Still, eh?)

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I'm 15 hours in now and still "lovin' it". From FishyFish's comments I'd wager he's about 2-3 hours in (just after the mine karts, just getting the hammers). I can't really believe that you can get frustrated with this game such a short time into the game. The comment about the Hammerhead brothers I couldn't figure out, I did the training once, and didn't have the problem that fishy had. I'll freely admit that Lakitu is annoying, just be pro-active (i.e. attack him).

I'll agree with Moose here, M+L is one of my favorite games of the year. If you don't like it then you clearly just don't like turn based RPGs of any kind, and should stay away from the genre.

I wanna kick Prince Peasley's arse though.

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It's so adorably cute. Just look at the in-battle 1-Up Mushroom animation for proof. It's also very adept at making me raise a smile... poor Luigi :D

Plays bloody well, too - I find myself deliberately getting into battles, savouring the XP gain and looking forward to levelling up. Sad, but true...

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I'm 15 hours in now and still "lovin' it". From FishyFish's comments I'd wager he's about 2-3 hours in (just after the mine karts, just getting  the hammers). I can't really believe that you can get frustrated with this game such a short time into the game. The comment about the Hammerhead brothers I couldn't figure out, I did the training once, and didn't have the problem that fishy had. I'll freely admit that Lakitu is annoying, just be pro-active (i.e. attack him).

I'll agree with Moose here, M+L is one of my favorite games of the year. If you don't like it then you clearly just don't like turn based RPGs of any kind, and should stay away from the genre.

I wanna kick Prince Peasley's arse though.

The Hammer Brothers thing happenned every time - I got the choice of declining the training, but when I did they just made some comment and then forced me to undergo it yet again. :D

I think that the problem I have is that I like the adventure / exploration aspects of RPG's, but the battle system just kills them stone dead for me. If the battles were proper realtime affairs, e.g. the Zelda games, then I'd love them to bits, but as it is the regualr, random, drawn out battles just feel like they're needlessly drawing out the experience and sapping it of fun.

Someone perfectly summed it up in the current Skies of Arcadia thread where they said there were islands they wanted to explore but they couldn't face the prospect of all the random battles they's have to face in order to get to them.

For me they're akin to going for a drive in the country and discovering you have to stop at every ten minutes because the car's overheating. The experience, while still taking place, is effectively spoiled.

Still, horses and courses...

Fishy

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The Hammer Brothers thing happenned every time - I got the choice of declining the training, but when I did they just made some comment and then forced me to undergo it yet again. :D

That's weird. Never seen anything like that in the game.

As for Horses for Courses, well that's what it boils down to I guess. If you don't like turned based battles then you're not going to like M+L.

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The Hammer Brothers thing happenned every time - I got the choice of declining the training, but when I did they just made some comment and then forced me to undergo it yet again. :D

That's weird. Never seen anything like that in the game.

As for Horses for Courses, well that's what it boils down to I guess. If you don't like turned based battles then you're not going to like M+L.

I can handle turn based battles - I prefer realtime, but I don't hate taking turns - it's the random, stop-start nature of RPG's that spoil them for me.

It was the comments in various reviews stating that there are no random battles in the game (but failing to state that observable enemies are frequently difficult to avoid) that persuaded me that I might enjoy it.

Fishy

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If you decline the training, they say they will show it to you in a battle instead.

I dont find the battles too bad, infact every baddie i come across i battle him so i can level up.

I am glad there are loads of save points, since i only play in short bursts. Why do my coins keep going up/down though when i save?

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How few save points there seem to be in other RPGs.

Largely agree - throughout the entire game, I think there was only one bit where I had to turn my SP off and annoyingly couldn't find a nearby save point. Which is, y'know, fairly extraordinary for an RPG.

Hmm, well yeah during the missions/dungeons etc., I'd agree - plenty of save points, very frequent!

It's only now that I'm getting lost wandering around the world that I miss being able to save anywhere - perhaps because I'm also playing Golden Sun 2 almost simultaneously.

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