In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and the upcoming release of a certain game next week, I’m going to write a little tribute blog to one of video gaming’s most famous green-clad heroes: Luigi! I’m not going to take a look at EVERY game Luigi’s been in, just the ones I feel are most important. At one time, Luigi was originally my favorite Mario character. That is, until Super Mario Kart came along and I realized how awesome Toad was. But Luigi is still tops in my book, way cooler than Mario anyway. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of Luigi’s highlights in gaming.
Technically, I guess this was Luigi’s first game. In a lot of early Mario games, Luigi was just a palette swap of Mario, simply put to represent Player 2. And that goes for this game, too. Mario Bros. was released in 1983, so I guess that makes 2013 Luigi’s 30th Anniversary. I guess that’s why in the last Nintendo Direct, they named this the Year of Luigi! I have better memories playing the updated version of Mario Bros. on SMB3 and All-Stars with a friend, but one time at Chuck E. Cheese’s when I was little, I was playing Mario Bros. by myself. Somebody came along beside me, but I didn’t look at them because I was busy playing. They kept bumping into me, though, and dropping their tokens instead of putting them into the slot, so I was getting a little annoyed. When I looked over, it was the guy in the Chuck E. Cheese costume trying to play with me! That made me laugh!
But I’ve always wondered something. Is Mario Bros. REALLY Luigi’s first game? In the intro to Donkey Kong Jr., it shows two Marios pulling up DK’s cage. Who is that other Mario who helps pull up the cage, then walks off the left side of the screen never to be seen again? Could that be Luigi wearing Mario’s colors? I know that’s splitting hairs, but it’s always made me go ‘hmmmm…’
Super Mario Bros. 2
I’m probably in the minority, but I enjoyed the USA Mario 2 game more than Mario 3. This was a significant game for Luigi because in this one, he was playable AND different. Not just a palette swap of Mario anymore, he also had his own special moves, too. Meaning, he could jump higher, and his legs even wiggled around as he jumped. Of course, Luigi in Japan’s Mario 2 had different moves, too, and he could jump higher but was harder to stop after running. But I’m glad we got OUR version of Mario 2 instead of theirs, as Japan’s Mario 2 was just a harder version of the first game and probably would’ve made many a kid on this side of the ocean swear off video games for good!
Super Mario Bros. Super Show
The Mario cartoon was horrible, and poorly animated and written. But we all watched it as kids anyway to get our video game fix before the Internet came along. But the cartoon really contributed to Luigi’s personality, because it really didn’t show through in the games yet. In the cartoon, Luigi was a bit more cowardly and reluctant than Mario, traits that have carried over into the video games even today! So Nintendo really owes a lot to the cartoon for contributing to Luigi’s character. Interestingly enough, in the Japan-only Super Mario Bros. anime, Luigi was more greedy and conniving, like Wario.
Super Mario RPG
“Hey wait a minute,” you might say, “Luigi wasn’t even IN this game!” Well, he was at the end, leading the parade during the credits. But remember when games had well-written colorful instruction booklets? Well, since Luigi wasn’t in the game, they let Luigi kind of ‘host’ the instruction booklet! As a Luigi fan, this helped ease the disappointment that he wouldn’t actually be in the main game. It was fun to read, too!
Luckily, in other Mario RPGs, Luigi plays a more prominent, or at least funny, role. I really liked how Mario and Luigi have to work together and get along as brothers in the Mario & Luigi titles. I really can’t wait for the next Mario & Luigi game, subtitled Dream Team. In this one, Mario gets to go inside Luigi’s dreams, and Luigi will be able to help Mario in all sorts of different ways in his dream world!
Luigi was also playable in Super Paper Mario, where he could fold up like an accordion and spring up high. But I think my favorite Luigi role in an RPG was Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. In this game, he wasn’t playable, but you could talk to him in town and he’d tell you about a separate adventure he was having! His adventure could’ve easily been a plot for another Mario RPG, so it’s almost like the makers of the game were making fun of themselves and the trite and silly plots these games have! Too bad Paper Mario: Sticker Star isn’t near as good.
Karts and Sports, Fights and Parties
I’m not going to list all the side games Luigi’s been in, but it’s nice to know that in nearly all of these games, Luigi is playable. Whether it’s a kart racing game, sports game, Super Smash Bros. title, or Mario Party entry, Luigi is always there. If Toad isn’t playable in these games, I’ll generally pick Luigi.
Boxing in Game & Watch Gallery 4
In the Game & Watch Gallery series for GBC and GBA, you could play classic G&W titles as well as updates featuring characters from the Mario universe. These games are REALLY fun and I highly recommend them. Sometimes Luigi would appear in these games as a side character, but in Game & Watch Gallery 4, he got top billing in one of the games. In the Boxing game, Luigi sparred with a Wiggler, Boo, and finally Waluigi himself. I can’t imagine Luigi as a boxer, though.
Super Mario 64 DS
The original Mario 64 was famous for NOT having Luigi in it. But he was in the DS remake and would even wiggle his legs when he jumped, just like Mario 2! The DS version also had some touch screen mini-games, and Luigi was a dealer in a casino in the card games!
It’s nice that Luigi was playable in Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, as well as Super Mario 3-D Land since he was absent in previous 3-D titles. In these games, he controlled a little different. He could jump higher, but was harder to stop after running, just like Japan’s Mario 2. His personality really shined through in these games, too.
I really liked the Nintendo GameCube. I even like it better than the Wii, and that’s saying a lot considering you can play GameCube games on the Wii. As a Luigi fan, I thought it was cool that the GameCube launched with a Luigi title, not a Mario one. A lot of people complained about Luigi’s Mansion, but I thought it was great. Fantastic graphics, unique gameplay, and lots of personality from Luigi and the ghosts. I really can’t wait for the 3DS sequel: Dark Moon, next week. Sure Luigi’s Mansion was short, but I think it was designed to be that way, so you can go back and replay it to try and get a better score. I know that’s what I did! As a fan of Ghostbusters and ghost stuff in general, Luigi’s Mansion is one of my favorite games in the Mario universe.
But did you know that Luigi’s Mansion wasn’t really his first starring role? You see, back on the SNES, Nintendo licensed the Mario characters out to other companies, and one of them made a game called Mario is Missing. In this game, Luigi searches the world for his missing brother, and it played like a Mario-fied version of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego. I never played it, but I hear it wasn’t really that good.
Luigi’s Future Looks…Green!
So what’s in store for Luigi in the future? Well things look pretty good with the upcoming Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team titles. He’ll also be the star in some DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U where you get to play as Luigi and stages and levels are reworked to make best use of his abilities. It’ll be called Super Luigi U and I may download it if it’s not too expensive and isn’t much of a memory hog.
And that’s all for now! In the comments section, tell me your favorite Luigi moments and games. Are there any other green clad game heroes you like? Some of my other favorites include Cammy, Leona, and Grune from Tales of Legendia (she has green hair and clothes, and even her name means ‘green’ in German). Even though I don’t like Mortal Kombat games, some of the green-clad characters in that are even kind of cool, like Sonya Blade, Reptile, and Jade. Don’t forget to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day! Later! –Cary