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Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (DS)

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3 Reviews

Genre: Action & Adventure / Video Game for Nintendo DS / To Be Announced / ESRB Rating: Everyone / Release Date: 2009-10-09 / Published by Nintendo

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    3 Reviews
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    • More +
      29.12.2011 21:25
      Very helpful



      A brilliant role-playing game that is suitable for all. Buy it!

      'Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story' is a DS game released in 2009. It's one of the Mario role-playing games from the ever-successful franchise released for the Nintendo handheld consoles which allows you to play as both Mario Bros rather than just the more popular one. I played the first game in the series, 'Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga' on the GBA and although I never completed the game it was still enjoyed what I saw of it. The second game, 'Partners in Time' seemed to be less well-received than its predecessor and I skipped it because of the mixed reviews, but looked forward this entry's release. With a promising premise and a good look at previews online, I decided to take the plunge and bought it a few weeks ago. Now I've completed it and boy, it was time well spent!


      Mario's home, Toad Town, has been hit with an epidemic known as the Blorbs, causing Toads (the normal citizens with mushrooms on their heads) to blow up to gigantic proportions and be incapable of moving. While Princess Peach, Mario, Luigi and others hold a meeting in the castle they are interrupted by the Bros' archenemy, Bowser, who has come for an umpteenth capture of Princess Peach. Mario and Luigi easily defeat him and Bowser ends up in the forest, where he is met by a mysterious figure who offers him an unusual shroom that will help him beat his foes. Bowser immediately eats it- but then inhales and shrinks several people and things into his body, including Peach and our heroes!

      Turns out the shroom was a trick by Fawful, the malaprop (his catchphrase is "I have chortles! [sic]") antagonist of the series, into allowing him to invade Bowser's castle and unleash a new evil over the Mushroom Kingdom. Stuck in Bowser's body, the only way Mario and Luigi can defeat Fawful is to enlist the help of their biggest enemy. The story isn't the best I've ever sat through because it's quite straightforward, but it definitely has many humorous moments, especially in the case of Bowser, who remains completely unaware that the Bros are inside his body helping him out! His character being the most interesting might be because he's the anti-hero of this game (and this specific series in general if I'm correct) and it's great to see him boss about his minions from his own perspective. Fawful is a typical cartoon villain but also very funny because of his malapropism and own blunders. Therefore I'd say the plot would appeal more to younger players than adults, although a lot of reading is involved (important bits are highlighted in blue though for your convenience).


      First thing to note is that, unlike the Super Mario main games, 'Bowser's Inside Story' is not just a simple platformer but a role-playing game (or RPG). Unlike the other games so far though you not only take control of both Mario and Luigi as they traverse Bowser's insides, or Bowser himself in the real world. Their control schemes are quite different and so I'm going to explain them separately.

      Mario and Luigi are controlled by the A and B buttons, respectively. They will be going to Bowser's body to either help him with an internal problem or improve his physical moves to get past obstacles in the real world. On the map they have several abilities unlocked through the course of the game that are shown in the top right hand corner that you switch between with the R button. These include jump, hammer, tornado (the Bros spin across to far-off platforms or into other tornados to reach higher places), and drill (to go underground and get past low/narrow barriers). There are different variations of the jump and hammer moves as well (e.g. using Luigi's hammer on Mario makes him shorter so he can make his way through narrow passages). Sometimes they will need help from Bowser, for example making him drink water so the Bros can float to higher platforms. Controlling Mario and Luigi is on the map is fun and challenging as you must work out which moves must be used to get to the next platform. My only niggle with controls is that when getting both Bros to jump across to narrow platforms is difficult because Luigi sometimes doesn't make it all the way if Mario is in the space for him to land. Since neither brother can move any further without the other this results in a bit of backtracking especially if Luigi falls all the way back down to the bottom of the screen!

      When they touch an enemy (or vice versa if they're unlucky) it's time to head into battle where you take turns between Mario and Luigi to defeat their enemy. They can attack with their hammer or jump moves, but it's more than just sitting back and watching the Bros do damage as there are timed actions too. If you press A in a jump just before Mario or Luigi touches an enemy, they will bounce again for an extra attack and damage, whereas delaying a lift of the hammer until it's as far back as possible gives it maximum power. When enemies attack, some of their moves can be avoided/countered with more timed presses of A or B depending on whom they're attacking. You might think this makes battles ridiculously easy but it doesn't. Knowing when to press the action commands is a task in itself especially when encountering new enemies whom require a lot of trial and error, but the system is easy to master when you get the hang of it. Winning battles earns you XP and coins to spend on items, which are also found in blocks around the place that you jump under.

      Now Bowser is controlled with X and Y. His special moves are his punch, fire breath, body slam (for pressing buttons and springing platforms) and curling into a spike ball. Punch and Fire Breath also carry through to his battle screens and he counters moves with his punch (X) or his spiky shell (Y). Unique to Bowser though is his Vacuum ability, allowing him to suck things which boost his stats or actual enemies. When the latter is sucked in, they are fought by Mario and Luigi inside Bowser's body. This tag-team concept is a nifty feature which very much defines the game and works really well, especially when taking on bosses! Their Special Moves in battle (which use up SP, or Special Points) are acquired and used different from the Bros as well. Bowser's are based on his types of allied minions that are scattered trapped around the world and activated using the touch screen feature in different ways, whereas Mario and Luigi have to collect 10 'Attack Pieces' in the area to unlock them and whilst only one Bro has to use it on their town, requires the co-operation of both. Both sets of specials are fun to try out and like regular moves, need well-timed commands from the player for them to deal maximum damage.

      In addition to the platforming and battle elements, 'Bowser's Inside Story' relies a lot on mini-games to progress story-wise as Mario and Luigi help Bowser's predicament in the outside world by improving him physically, whether it be stimulating his arm muscles by hitting spark-things at them, stimulating leg muscles by bouncing on them or shooting red and green balls to get his body out of critical condition- and then cause Bowser to grow into a giant! The latter results in giant sized boss battles against whatever crushed Bowser in the first place and you need to turn the DS to a horizontal position and use the touch screen and microphone to attack your enemy. There are only four of these types of battles in-game but they are incredibly fun, engaging and also require strategy. For example, one such battle is you fighting against a train, but you have to defeat it into a certain number of turns as you chase it to a rickety bridge, which Bowser will fall into and die immediately if he goes past there! I did find the mini-games annoying at first as they weren't part of the core gameplay and the later levels of them can be quite frustrating, but looking back I think it makes the game even more unique and connects the gameplay better with the story- something which you don't see in a lot of RPGs.


      'Bowser's Inside Story' has great graphics for a DS game. Granted they won't beat out PS3 games like Uncharted or Call of Duty but a game like this doesn't need 3D. It has bright, vibrant colours that will appeal to anything that plays the game. Bowser's insides are very well-designed and whilst there probably is a bit of artistic license to his anatomy it does feel like you're actually traversing inside a monster's body. The animation is good too, especially during the Special Attacks and the giant stages.


      The soundtrack for the game fits well, ranging from lighthearted themes in the hub places and battles to somewhat darker tunes when Fawful and co. appear. My favourite song is probably Bowser's battle theme which ominous like his character. Sound effects are decent, with voices from Mario, Luigi and Bowser among other characters. Furthermore there are recognisable sounds from the Mario franchise such as when you collect coins and bounce, showing the game is not at all far off its roots. Generally, there's nothing that will make you turn the DS to mute in frustration.

      ==---Replay Value---==

      It took me around 25 hours to complete the game, but it might take those more experienced with a series a bit less. Still there's plenty of side missions, involving either finishing jigsaw puzzles or practising your special moves ad infinitum, if you want a break from main gameplay or just to test your battle skills. Completionists can aim to get the highest battle rank (each unlocked at different character levels) for more items and gear. However with that stuff aside I still think this is a fairly long game for a handheld. Annoyingly you cannot save after defeating the final boss, but this does give you the opportunity to complete the game 100% before fighting them again.


      'Bowser's Inside Story' is a fantastic game. The solid gameplay from the previous instalments is back but with several new touches to make it a game that stands out a lot. It can be bought for as little as £19.99 preowned from GAME or Gamestation and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any DS owner!

      (Also on Ciao under the username Anti_W)


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      • More +
        30.11.2011 20:14
        Very helpful



        Mario fans must have!

        Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is an RPG (role play game) brought out by Nintendo for the DS in 2009. I really enjoy the Mario RPGs and have played Mario and Luigi: Partners In Time previously (which was given 5 stars by me in my review). I bought this game because I enjoyed Partners In Time so much, and have to admit that this game is just as good. I really enjoyed the story and playing the game gave me hours play.

        Ok so to start off, here is a bit about the story line in this game:
        This game doesn't follow as traditional of a 'Mario' storyline, though the basic balance of good and evil is still very much present.
        A disease called 'The Blorbs' has infected a lot of the Mushroom Kingdom and the Toads who become infected by the disease are all growing to massive sizes. Princess Peach calls the Mushroom Kingdom council (including a starlet called Starlow) to order to discuss the new disease and then the council all discover that they are also infected by the new disease as they have all eaten mushrooms that were sold to them by a dodgy salesman called Fawful.
        Fawful also tricks Bowser into eating a poison mushroom called a Vacuum Mushroom and he suddenly starts sucking in everything he sees, he sucks in Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Starlow and passes out.
        Fawful takes his chance and decides to take over the Mushroom Kingdom in the absence of Peach and the Plumber Brothers. Mario and Luigi need to revive Bowser in order to bring Fawful to an end... I don't want to give too much away, but this is basically the start of the story. There are loads of little twists and turns throughout this story and I think it was a nice change from just Bowser capturing Peach and having to save the day again.

        You can play this game, at different parts of the story as both Mario and Luigi as a pair or as Bowser, it is nice to have a change and play as Bowser in a game like this where you can walk around freely, it makes this game kind of stick out and be different from the rest.

        You have, like with many RPG games different attack, HP and defence points, your character can level up become stronger by beating enemies and gaining experience points in battles.

        The interface on this game is really easy to understand and it does not take long to navigate through to where you want to go in the game from the title screen.

        The graphics on this game are what you would expect from the Nintendo ds, they are bright colourful and cartoon styled, they could be described as quite child-like compared to games available on the Xbox or Playstation, but I think that this is what attracts Nintendo fans as games are light hearted and fun to play/look at. This game is played on 2d kind of graphics which I think is also more pleasing to Mario fans as some of the 3d Mario games have been less successful.

        You should be able to pick up this game in any Game, HMV or Gamestop locally, or if you can also purchase it on the internet. I bought this game for around £30 in Game as this was the best deal at the time, however I bought this about 2 months ago so it probably hasn't decreased much in price. I can see this game for as cheap as £20 on the internet so if you don't mind having to wait on it, you may save some money buying it online. I got a lot of play time out of this game and think it was a great buy.

        Overall I think that this is a fantastic game, there is lots going on in it in terms of storyline and playable characters and I found this game interesting from start to finish. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys playing RPG's or Mario fans in general. 5 out of 5 stars from me!

        *also on ciao under lorrainek90


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      • More +
        10.03.2010 18:28
        Very helpful



        A true classic!

        Everyone knows who Mario is and most are familiar with his brother Luigi and his biggest enemy Bowser. Generally you can bet that a Mario game is going to be great, sometime games like Mario Party or Mario and sonic at the Olympic games are not to everyones liking, but the single player Mario games are some of the best around. An example of this would be Mario Galaxy which was voted by many to be the best game of last year. Here however is a Mario game for the Nintendo DS, which is the handheld console from Nintendo that has sold over 100 million worldwide! In this game you will play not only as The super Mario Brothers but also Bowser and trust me you will not be dissapointed

        The gameplay-
        As with previous Mario games for the Nintendo DS this game is a RPG. This means you take on the roles of Mario, Luigi and Bowser making them stronger as you progress throughout the game. The characters grow stronger via levels. All three start at level one when you begin the game, as you fight in battles with the characters they gain experiance points. Once you have attained enough experiance points you will go up to level two increasing in power in the process. Going up a level gives you more health, better defence, higher attack power and more! The bulk of the gameplay sees you controling the characters through the world and occasionally coming across enemies. When this happenes the screen changes and you go to battle mode, this follows a turn based strategy format. Rather than a free for all fight each character gets a turn to attack or use an item or a special move. For example on Mario's turn you may decide to jump on the enemies head, you select this from a menu and the attack begins. Here however you have to time button presses to deal maximum damage. The same goes for defending. When an enemy attacks you there is a chance to tactically press a button allowing you to avoid being hurt. This goes on until the enemy has no more health. I really enjoyed the gameplay of this game. Sometimes an RPG can get a bit boring as you simply choose to attack an enemy and then watch your character carry out the commands without any interaction. Here however the involvement in the moves makes the game much funner and more rewarding. The element of growing in levels also means you get different moves as you progress. You get a hammer for example to give enemies a good wack with! I feel that this game doesn't use the touch screen functionality enough but whilst this should be a negative I realised as I played that its addition may not have been welcome. The extra element of the touch screen may have confused things too much. The game does however use the potential of having two screens very well, Bowser in controlled on the top screen, whilst mario and luigi are on the bottom screen.

        The plot - The game follows a very familiar style of plt, this timehowever there is a twist. There is a new enemy on the scene who is causing havoc. Marios friends are ill and no one knows why. After a mysterious character feeds Bowser a "special" mushroom he goes beserk and starts to suck everything in around him like a vaccum. This intevitably leads to Mario and Luigi being sucked up. Here is the twist. Whilst you control Bowser in the main world, Mario and Luigi have been shrunk and you control them inside bowsers body! As you control bowser its possible to have him do things to alter whats going on inside. This can involve drinking water to flood his insides to help Mario and Luigi get to never before seen places! This element has been thought out really well, sometimes you have to stimulate bowsers arm muscles to make him stronger and other such wacky things! The adventure continues with all three charactes trying to work together to restore some normality! What I like most about the story was how funny it was the script was really well written! I was worried it may be too childish but the game was really enjoyable and a joy to play!

        Sounds and music - The DS being handheld you do have the problem of small speakers but I felt the music still came through well. There were no memorable tunesbut the scene was always set nicely as you would expect and the sound effects were classic Nintendo and quite nostaligic. Fans of Mario will enjoy this more than newcomers to the series however!

        Longevity - This is a reasonably long game with experianced gamers pushing the 15 hour mark. There not many good side quests as with many RPG's but this is on a handheld device and so cannot be as in depth as other similar games! You will probably play it again somewhere down the line or if you like it you could trade it in for the new pokemon game that will be out soon which is also an RPG.

        Graphics - You will not graphics like that on the wii but they are still quite pleasent on the eyes. The colours are all rich and the whole game is really bright. The developers have done a great job and have probably got the most out of the DS!

        This is without a doubt one of the best games currently out on the DS. I realise a lotof new gamers have bought a DS due to the range of games that are out. I do suggest buying thisgame for an idea of what games can offer. There is a lot of rubbish out on the DS from developers simply trying to benefit from its success. For around 20 pounds this game is also good value for money. In gaming magazines it seems to be getting scores of over 90% and I would agree with that giving it 9 out of 10 easily!


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