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Mario & Luigi 3

The brothers are back for more turn-based tomfoolery

Naturally, we love Mario's platform games. They're the building blocks that form the foundation for everything Nintendo stands for. But we enjoy his various RPG adventures almost as much, especially the ones in the Mario & Luigi series. The fantastic Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is one of the funniest, most entertaining RPGs on the Game Boy Advance and its DS sequel Partners In Time was just as entertaining. As a result, we were more than happy when Nintendo announced that the third game in the series would be on its way to the DS later in 2009.

We've been messing around with a Japanese-language version of the game and we're happy to report that it's just as funny (and addictive) as the other two.

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The story is suitably silly. A number of Mushroom Kingdom residents have started swelling up and inflating to the size of a huge beach ball. A new character - a small yellow ball whose name roughly translates as Chippy, though this may change by the time the game comes out here - comes to the conclusion that the cause of this condition is a virus that has spread throughout the Kingdom.

Mario and Luigi arrive to see what's going on but before they get a chance to offer to save the day, Bowser turns up for his regular princess-kidnapping attempt. This time he doesn't do so well because Mario quickly batters him (the fight doubles as the tutorial for the game's turn-based battles).

Blasted out of Peach's Castle, Bowser lands in a forest, where he meets Fawful, a villain from the Beanbean Kingdom (and one of the funniest characters from the previous games). Fawful gives Bowser a 'special' mushroom, which makes Bowser lose control of his body and causes him to constantly inhale, swallowing anything that comes near him. Under Fawful's control, Bowser returns to Peach's Castle and swallows its residents, including Peach, Mario, Luigi, Toadsworth and a bunch of Toads, before falling unconscious.

Fawful's planned all this so that he can take over both Peach's Castle and Bowser's Castle. That seems fair enough - why nick one castle when you can have two? Bowser eventually regains consciousness though and this is where the real gameplay kicks in. On the top screen you'll be controlling Bowser as he searches for Fawful and destroys everything in his path, while on the bottom screen you'll be in charge of Mario and Luigi as they try to find their way out of Bowser's stomach.

Double Vision

While the whole 'control different characters on different screens' concept isn't really new (the same idea was used for parts of Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time, where you'd control Mario and Luigi on the bottom screen and their infant counterparts on the top), Mario & Luigi RPG 3 does offer a slightly different take on things. Whereas the Bowser sections on the top screen are played in the usual Mario & Luigi way - with an isometric viewpoint and the ability to walk up, down, left and right as you explore each location - the sections inside Bowser's stomach are different. These offer completely 2D, side scrolling platforming in the style of old-school Mario games. It's still an RPG at heart - when you encounter an enemy it still switches to a turn-based battle - but the actual exploring sections take place in 2D instead of 3D. This means the top screen is effectively an RPG while the bottom is a side-scrolling platformer with RPG elements, making for an interesting mix of game styles.

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One of the main reasons for having two sets of characters to deal with at once is that it makes for some interesting co-operative puzzles, where one character does something on one screen to make things progress on the other screen. For example, at one point Mario and Luigi find themselves faced with a large block that they must lift in order to progress. On the top screen Bowser comes across a large fire hydrant with water pouring out of it. If you make Bowser drink a load of water, his stomach fills with liquid down on the touch screen. As the water level rises the block duly floats up

and the brothers are then free to swim through the now open passageway. How's that for unintentional teamwork?

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18 comments so far...
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  1. Zarnak Monday 20th Apr 2009 at 11:13

    Yay! This looks awesome; I loved the previous two. I was a bit annoyed at the lack of a 'proper' overworld in Partners of Time. The concept of this sounds promising - Bowser will be great to play as and I'm liking the idea of the 2D exploring in him. Fawful is cool and hilarious too.

  2. DSVIP Monday 20th Apr 2009 at 11:37

    Is this game even releasing in the UK? I really hope it gets announced because the other two (the first one specifically) were my favourite games(s).

  3. ibarnaby64 Monday 20th Apr 2009 at 14:34

    *Looks at title* Since when was this on Wii? :lol:

  4. master sword Monday 20th Apr 2009 at 15:11

    looks unique, but i hope having most of the game set in one area (bowsers belly) won't make it to boring

  5. Mama Luigi Monday 20th Apr 2009 at 17:37

    I'm not entirely won over by the sidescrolling sections after playing the Japanese version. I'd prefer it to be a traditional RPG in all areas. All the same it's an entertaining game, but not quite as fun as the original or it's slightly shabbier sequel.

  6. TheAPERSON Monday 20th Apr 2009 at 19:11

    I'm looking forward to this (why else do you think I created the official thread for it) but it's a shame that the game has not had much exposure apart from when the Bowser mechanic was shown.

    But that'll make it much better to play.

    Come on, we need an English release date.

  7. Super_Sonic96 Wednesday 22nd Apr 2009 at 05:47

    I can't wait for this! My two favorite ever DS games are both getting a sequel at the same time! (Those being Mario and Luigi:PIN and Legend of Zelda:PH)

  8. chocfang Wednesday 22nd Apr 2009 at 18:23

    It looks great :D I think the first one was quite good but it got quite boring at some bits :cry: but the bowser stomach bit looks awesome and I'd love to use bowser too breath fire on everything!

  9. Shadowluigitails Saturday 25th Apr 2009 at 10:50

    By the looks of it I think I prefer Superstar Saga because if the GBA had great screens, I dont think M&L 3 is pushing itself on smoothness of characters

  10. GuyWhoLikesBlue2 Tuesday 28th Apr 2009 at 17:03

    I wonder what the subtitle for it will be?

  11. MARION64WII Wednesday 29th Apr 2009 at 12:29

    I must get this. Looks much better than SS and PIT

  12. Deku scrub Saturday 2nd May 2009 at 20:05

    I am thinking of getting one of the mario RPGs on the DS whitch is better partners in time or the 3rd one


  13. MARION64WII Tuesday 5th May 2009 at 11:49

    I am thinking of getting one of the mario RPGs on the DS whitch is better partners in time or the 3rd one


    Probably the 3rd because the picture is better and you can play as bowser, who wouldent want to play as him? Also on youtube you can listen to music from the game, it is Awsome

  14. Ai64 Saturday 9th May 2009 at 22:50

    I really can't wait to get this game! I am still think of bowser saying "come on nintendo! let me have a chance in the spotlight!". wish granted.

  15. Lukeo10 Monday 11th May 2009 at 17:48

    So looking forward to this lol

  16. MARION64WII Thursday 28th May 2009 at 19:58

    By the looks of it I think I prefer Superstar Saga because if the GBA had great screens, I dont think M&L 3 is pushing itself on smoothness of characters

    Clearly the first was better than the second but remember this is not out yet so just give it time

  17. shadow.x Monday 22nd Jun 2009 at 12:01

    I just wanna know wen it comes out!!!!

  18. Deku scrub Sunday 11th Oct 2009 at 07:00

    it's out now

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