I thought I was done with my Mario and Luigi kick. I wasn’t. I picked up Bowser’s Inside Story today. I just couldn’t stay away any longer. I’ve only just started but I’m already very impressed.
After I beat Partners in Time I dug out my copy of Super Star Saga. I didn’t start a new game or anything. I just resumed an old save to find out how it compared to Partners. Not very well, it turns out. Why the game does feel more expansive and robust (largely because Partners is so linear) it’s also much more rough and loose. I was shocked to see how primitive the graphics were. Don’t get me wrong, Super Star Saga is a great looking GBA game, but the sprites are so tiny and poorly animated when compared to Partners. It may not seem obvious if you’re not looking at the games side by side, but the graphical work is leaps and bounds more sophisticated in Partners. Even little things like the save journals in Super Star look like crap when compared to Partners’.
Likewise, the details and graphics in Bowser’s Inside Story are a leap above Partners’. Already in the first five minutes there’s a fantastic little moment. When Mario and Luigi are first introduced they come through Peach’s castle door. Mario bursts in with a jump and a confident “Woo-hoo!” Luigi stumbles in, one shoe dangling off his right foot, obviously unsuccessfully slipped on with haste. Mario and Luigi are stopped by a toad who explains how to talk to NPCs and during the conversation Luigi, ever so subtly, slips on his shoe. My heart melted. Now that’s fine detail and animation.
You know who else had pictures of their leader in their homes? Communists.
This is not to say that it’s all mushrooms and roses. In the manual there’s already a few instances of Nintenidiocy. First, the manual goes out of its way to inform us that when pictures of gameplay are used the picture on the top represents the DS’s top screen and pictures on the bottom represent the DS’s bottom screen. Do you think I’m a stupid baby, Nintendo? Did you think that I’d assume that the picture on the top represent the bottom screen? Why did you feel you needed to clarify this? Just another example of the resent trend of Nintendo’s where they assume that people who buy their games are too stupid to actually play them.
Then, in the story section, we get:
“…with even the Star Sprites at a loss for what to do. Mario™ and Luigi™ set out on an adventure to find the cure! And then there’s everyone’s favorite brute, Bowser™, who, as always, tries to abduct Princess Peach™.
Lord, save me from Nintendo’s® copy writers.