Monday, January 01, 2007

It's a me...Mario, baby-flattener!

If you were to ask me a couple years ago what does RPG stands for in relation to video games, I would have answered "Sure, it means Rocket Propelled Grenada, a weapon most often used in id Software's Quake series". An odd answer as the most common definition would be "Role Playing Games", a genre that I hated, until recently.

The game that changed my mind is Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (PIT for short). An RPG for the Nintendo DS, PIT features the usual cast of characters, Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser and as a twist, the younger (read: baby) versions of themselves. The story line is features the adult Mario Bros. going back in time to save the Mushroom Kingdom from an alien invasion and to save the adult Princess Peach as well. Piggybagging with them are the baby versions of the Mario Bros.

Gameplay takes place in a 2D top-down view, with the action mainly taking place in the touchscreen while a simple map usually occupies the second screen. Occasionally the babies can be split from the Mario. Bros and both screen will be used to show both parties. Moving around the game may involve creative uses of the characters, and some of these moves are bordering on having to be reported to Child Support in real life. Hehe.

For example, the baby Mario Bros. can be thrown, spun and flatten (the horror of it all!) to reach places unaccessible to the adults.

Unlike walking around the map in real-time, combat is turn-based. Characters take turns to attack and defend. Attacking options are pretty diverse, players can be jumping on enemies or use Bros. Items such as green shells, trampolines, ice and fire flowers and many more. The babies have in addition hammers that can be used for both attack and defence.

How does PIT appeal to me? I would say the game has a certain comedic quality to it. The script is funny, the characters are over the top and the uneasy pause indicated by them during the game (indicated by "...") had me at hello.

It helps as well that the game has excellent gameplay and great graphics and animation (albeit in 2D) and for a non-RPG fan, a nice introduction to the genre. Did I mention that this game supports the Rumble Pak as well?

Since this is a pretty old title, dated 2005, you might face some difficulty in looking for a new copy of the game.Try scouring Ebay or forums for a good secondhand bargain and hours of enjoyment!

If you don't mind Japanese text, you can get the Japanese version at Play-Asia (here)