Author Topic: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time  (Read 4605 times)

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Offline Bill Aurion

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Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« on: December 31, 2005, 07:17:31 AM »
Background:  The sequel to the brilliant out-of-nowhere GBA hit by AlphaDream, the developer behind Japanese cult hits Hamtaro and Tomato Adventure.  This time around, the Princess goes back in time in Professor Egad's time machine and ends up getting kidnapped...again...But not by Bowser this time!  Instead we fight these new villains called the Shroobs.  Mario and Luigi go back in time and meet up with younger versions of themselves and team up to save the older Peach...Simple enough!

Gameplay:  If you haven't played the original game, go kill yourself...I mean, uh...Basically how well you do in the game is completely dependent on your reflexes.  That's right, none of this turn-based "you hit me and I can't dodge" crap.  Instead, you can avoid EVERY attack in the game with a well-timed button press.  But it's not that easy, and you need to pay attention to what the enemy is doing!  As with every other Mario RPG game in the past, timed hits are also back, allowing you to do more damage to the enemy.  This time around, though, you are able to do a "double timed hit" when you are carrying the Baby Brothers in tow, which is really cool...

AlphaDream wised up and got rid of the horrible Bros. Attacks, which were annoyingly hard to pull off and just weren't fun to use.  Instead, you get Bros. Items, which include Green Shells, Trampolines, Chain Chomps, etc. in order to pull off massive damage on your opponents.  These were a LOT of fun to use, and rely on quick reflexes in your button presses without being a pain to use.

The only "big" problem with the game is that it is definitely more noticably linear than the original, but the original game only faked not being linear so it's not that big of a deal.  The level design is fantastic, and the new puzzles involving the two pairs are clever and interesting.  The enemies and bosses are THE BEST in the Mario RPG series, end of story.  
~Score: 10 (because I can't put 11)

Visuals:  A beautiful step up from the original game, but that's pretty much expected with the superior hardware.  The sprites are nicely detailed and the animation is basically perfect.  I can't really say much more than that!  
~Score: 9.5

Music:  If there was a major complaint I had with the original game, it would be that the music really sucked...The battle music was great, but everything else was boring and forgettable, which was fairly shocking considering Yoko Shimomura, the composer, is behind the amazing Super Mario RPG soundtrack.  However, she has not only redeemed herself with this game's soundtrack, but has surpassed her previous efforts in the Mario RPG games in my opinion.  I found myself just sitting in certain areas listening to music FOREVER before realizing I should move on.  The original music is fantastic, the remixes chosen are fantastic (Yoshi's Island, anyone? =D)...  
~Score: 10

Replay Value:  I just finished my first round through and I'm already itching for another go around.  However, because the game is fairly linear, you are likely to find most of secret objects on your first time through...Or maybe not!  There are some cleverly hidden items crammed in the game...  
~Score: 7

Humour:  I didn't know where to put this, so I made it its own category!  The original game was lauded for its hilarious script and this game is no different.  I've seen past reviews saying that the dialogue isn't as funny as the original's, but guess what?  Those people just fail at humour!  Kudos to Nate and his NOA buddies for a great translation and kudos to AlphaDream for the "text-less" humour!  
~Score: 10

Overall:  I have no clue how Mario RPG games are getting better...When M&L came out I was like "There is no way Ninty can make an RPG better than this," and then I found myself saying it again over Paper Mario Thousand Year Door...It's FUN, the music is awesome, and the dialogue is hilarious...This game is just incredible, and you needed to be punched if you don't give it a try...

~Final Score: 10  
~Former Resident Zelda Aficionado and Nintendo Fan~

Offline nitsu niflheim

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2006, 01:02:46 AM »
I actually liked this one better than the first one.  While it was linear and felt somewhat shorter, it felt more polished and more user friendly.
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Offline vudu

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2006, 05:16:42 AM »
While I'm only about two-thirds of the way finished with this game (Shine Mt.), I have to disagree that this one is better than the first.  

I agree that the Bros Items are an improvement over the Bros Attacks, they're still not perfect.  For the most part there are very few differences (other than cosmetic) between many of the items.

The humor doesn't seem to be as zany as the original, although that might have to do the fact that the first one came out of nowhere and this one everyone was expecting it.

The biggest drawback (as already pointed out) is the lack of exploring.  While there's plenty of room for searching within individual areas there is no overworld, which makes the game feel smaller than the first.  On top of that, there's almost no (at least not that I've found) back-tracking to previous areas once you've left them.  Meaning, unlike previous Mario RPGs, you don't have to revisit areas to get special items once you've found new power-ups.  However, some might call this a good thing.

A final note:  Combat with just the older Mario bros can be rather tedious.  Since only the babies can wield hammers (at least thus far in my game) it make fighting with the older bros a bit boring, as they can only jump attack or use bros items.

EDIT:  I lied.  One more thing.  I found it odd that my babies have significantly more experience than the older brothers.  This is because there are many areas where only the babies can go, but very few where only the adults can go.  This lead to my babies always having a higher level than the adults until about halfway through the game (where the amount of experience required to level up was greater for the babies than for the adults).
Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown! I am so serious about this! Dull colors are the future! The next generation! I will never accept a world with such bright colors! It is far too childish! I will rage against your cheery palette with my last breath!

Offline Bill Aurion

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2006, 08:14:08 AM »
On top of that, there's almost no (at least not that I've found) back-tracking to previous areas once you've left them.

On the contrary, you HAVE to backtrack to find beans and also to get certain items, as in the desert...

Since the babies are weaker than their older selves, it also makes more sense for them to get more experience...But the point about the Older Brother battles being "tedious" comes into play there too...
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Offline Karl Castaneda #2

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2006, 09:05:01 AM »
Well-done, Bill. A 10 seems a little overboard, but you were certainly convincing.
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Offline couchmonkey

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RE:Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2006, 02:56:58 AM »
Bill Beats me!  That's what I get for sitting on the review all Christmas, I guess!  May as well post mine anyway.

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time

Long have I searched for the perfect Mario RPG.  Traveling over hill and dale, fighting immense beasts, and raiding trashcans for gruel and mead.  It is a quest of love, for every Mario RPG is as wonderful as the last, but nary a one is the best.  From Super Mario RPG to Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door,  I recently found my way into the lair of Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Could it be the gateway to the fabled realm of milk and honey and 110% perfect games?

I'll get right to it: the game is rushed.  The main quest to recover the pieces of the Cobalt Star ends abruptly when the Bros. recover two pieces at once, and the game is lacking in some of the "trimmings" of an RPG such as mini-games and side quests.  I've heard one person claim that he beat it in 12 hours, but he was running away from most of the fights.  My own clock read 24 hours in the end.  For most players, I'd guess around 16-18 hours to beat it, and around 30 hours to do and see everything.  But here's the thing: While a lot of recent games offer up 15 hours of action stretched to 25 hours by backtracking and item collecting,  Partners in Time offers 15 hours of pure adventure.  I think AlphaDream deserves major praise for letting this game be short and outstanding rather than long and watered-down.  Of course long and outstanding would have been even better, but given the game's tight release schedule it's as good as it could possibly be.

There have been a few changes to the game design, and luckily most of them are for the better. The controls feel more polished. The game also has a simple hub world instead of a big, interconnected map - this could be viewed as negative, but I think it's a lot more fun when to go straight to the action instead of fighting through an obstacle-laden map.  The game also makes excellent use of the dual screens: a handy map is usually displayed on top and when the babies and adult bros. split up, you'll often control each pair on a different screen.  The story sequences make nice use of both screens too.

The battle system hasn't changed a lot.  The biggest change is the replacement of Bros. Attacks, the new Bros. Items require less memorization and more endurance and fast reflexes.  They are a nice change, but they aren't a big improvement.  The only other big change is that you have to keep track of four buttons (one for each adult and each baby) instead of two.  Sometimes it's annoying , but in general it's a nice addition.  Overall the battle system is excellent, but it doesn't feel really improved from the first Mario & Luigi.   The game also tends to be a little easier than the first since items and coins are in ready supply.  I actually find this game's challenge level to be better than the first Mario & Luigi, but some players may be disappointed.

Partners in Time looks and sounds great.  The graphics are much like the first Mario & Luigi but with larger sprites and more animation in the backgrounds.  My only complaint is that the edges of the sprites often have grey pixels around them - presumably to make the black outlines look less jagged - but they look pretty bad against black backgrounds.  The soundtrack is great, it has an epic feel to it, moreso than any game in the series since Super Mario RPG.  Of course, the songs feature plenty of classic Mario songs too!  The game's simple use of character voices should be an example for all Mario games: if you're only going to record a few lines of dialogue, don't repeat them over and over!

Along with the graphics and sound, the story rounds out the presentation nicely.  It's not quite as off-the-wall as the previous game, but it still has lots of funny dialogue and I thought it felt a little more epic than the first game since it takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom.  I just wish they had done a little more with Kamek - he was an important part of Yoshi's Island and he isn't particularly funny or important to the story of Partners in Time.

Pros:
- Another great story, nicely presented
- Not too much filler gameplay
- Great battle system makes a return

Cons:
- Battle system didn't improve much
- Short and somewhat lacking in extras

This is an awesome game.  In spite of it's short size, it came quite close to being the Mario RPG I've been searching for.  Fun, vibrant, and well-written, I highly recommend Partners in Time.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 10.0
Play Control: 9.5
Gameplay: 9.0
Lastability: 7.5

Overall: 9.0


Edit - Comments:

I like this game better than the first one, too, although I don't really consider it a huge leap ahead of the rest of the series.  Compared to the others there just aren't as many cool Mario references and mini-games and other extras.   But I really appreciate how AlphaDream took what they had and polished it so nicely instead of trying to stretch it out.  
That's my opinion, not yours.
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Offline Infernal Monkey

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2006, 11:36:42 AM »
Yay! I didn't like the first game at all, but I'm looking forward to this whenever it comes out next month! It's the sequel effect (I hated the first Paper Mario, but loved the 2nd!)

Offline vudu

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2006, 05:01:25 AM »
Okay, so I beat the game last night and I have to say that the last few boss fights were really annoying.  The second form of Princess Shroob kept making me dizzy and then would proceed to wail on Mario or Luigi for a couple of turns either killing them or dealing out over 100 damage.  It wasn't so much a hard fight as it was plain annoying.
Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown! I am so serious about this! Dull colors are the future! The next generation! I will never accept a world with such bright colors! It is far too childish! I will rage against your cheery palette with my last breath!

Offline Bill Aurion

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2006, 05:05:39 AM »
Well, it puts your reflexes to the test, which is sorta the point of the game...
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Offline vudu

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2006, 06:01:06 AM »
Reflexes?  If you can't move there's little testing going on.

Besides, I can understand dizzying for one attack, but once you are injured you should become undizzied.  I don't see the point in having a boss get three turns in a row--each with multiple attacks--and I can't do anything but sit and watch.
Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown! I am so serious about this! Dull colors are the future! The next generation! I will never accept a world with such bright colors! It is far too childish! I will rage against your cheery palette with my last breath!

Offline nitsu niflheim

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2006, 06:32:45 AM »
The bosses and normal enemies in the later part are rather easy if you buy a certain badge from a certain shop.  And if you use mix flowers with it you can be pretty much unstoppable.  Anywhere from 300 to like 900 damage per round is more than enough to give you a quick way to level up and on bossess it makes things a little easier for people annoyed by the strangeness of cheap tactics.

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Offline Bill Aurion

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2006, 06:33:04 AM »
The point is to avoid getting hit in the first place, of course!  (But yeah, I guess the dizzy effect was a little overdone...Well, it just makes you that much more cautious about not getting hit...)
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Offline Hostile Creation

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2006, 03:41:35 AM »
I beat the final boss, every incarnation of it, without having a character even pass out during battle.  So I thought the final battle was pretty awesome.  I didn't really have that much trouble with dizziness, but I can see how it might be annoying.

Brilliant game, by the way.  I absolutely loved it.  I'll let those two reviews speak for the game (both are well done), but I'll throw out my personal score of 9.5. Great game.
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Offline couchmonkey

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RE: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2006, 04:46:14 AM »
I had absolutely no trouble with dizziness on my first couple of plays through the end, and then a ton on my third.  Use Refreshing Herbs.
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