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Mario Vs. Luigi In-Depth FAQ
By Michael Q. Larson (michaelqlarson at gmail dot com)
Version 1.1 Last updated 15 May 2007
- Hidden Area in Pipe Room accessible only with Mini Mushroom
- New Ice Surface strategies
- New Miscellaneous tips
Mario Vs. Luigi is a multiplayer mode included for the first time in 2006's
New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS. Players assume either Mario or Luigi
and race through a looped two-dimensional map collecting stars. Along the
way, they fight each other using traditional Mario Bros. power-ups. This two-
player mode is immediately available within the game. Only one copy of the
game is necessary for two people to play.
The game's host can modify four game parameters.
1) The number of stars to win a round.
2) The number of rounds to win a match.
3) The number of lives allowed.
4) Whether to manually or randomly select levels.
The number of stars to win a match can be 3, 5 or 10. Three stars makes for
quick rounds. Five stars can still prove quick. Choosing 10 stars can lead
to drawn out endurance matches. (See more on star properties under STARS).
The number of rounds to win a match can be 1, 3 or 5. This means best out of
one, best out of three, and best out of five. Pretty straight-forward.
The number of lives can be 3, 5, or unlimited. Limiting lives can have a big
impact on gameplay. Having five lives is usually just as good as having
unlimited lives, provided players aren't totally clumsy. Having only three
lives, however, provides incentive for players to focus on killing each other
as an alternate road to victory.
On random level select, the levels seem to appear with the following
1) Classic Surface
2) Classic Underground
3) Ice Surface
4) Pipe Room
The object of the game is to collect stars. The person who first reaches the
star limit (see OPTIONS) wins. Alternatively, the person who first reaches
the death limit (see OPTIONS) loses.
Stars appear randomly at one of the level's star spawns exactly 10 seconds
after the last star has been grabbed. However, all the stars possessed by
players are constantly up for grabs. There are a number of ways to "knock
free" one of your opponent's stars.
1) Jump on him.
2) Hit him with a fireball, turtle shell or ba-bomb.
3) Ground pound him (jump, then press down and B). This knocks free up to
three of his stars.
4) Hit him while using the star, Mega Mushroom or Koopa Shell.
5) Hit from underneath a block that he's standing on.
6) Knock him into a pit. This can be accomplished by jumping on him while
he's near a pit or hitting him with a fireball while he's near a pit.
Coins are scattered throughout all levels of this game mode. They either float
freely in the air or dwell within question mark blocks or brick blocks. Upon
collecting 8 coins, a special item (see ITEMS) will hover above you for a
moment, then fall. Collecting coins can help you shortcut the two-step
process toward getting fireballs. It can also produce Mega Mushrooms and
Stars that can tip the scales during an intense run-in. Be careful, though,
as not all items produced are desirable.
Items obtained from both item blocks and coin bonuses:
Super Mushroom - Makes you big. While you're big, you can break bricks by
hitting them from underneath or by ground pounding them (down and B while
jumping). Being big also affords you an extra hit from an enemy before dying
(you shrink if you're hit).
Fire Flower - The Fire Flower allows you to hurl up to two fireballs at once.
These fireballs skip across the ground, turning enemies into coins and
knocking stars free of opponents. Being hit by an Enemy, a Shell Mario, Star
or Mega Mushroom while carrying a Fire Flower will disarm you, turning you
back into a normal big Mario.
Items obtained only from coin bonuses:
Star - Makes you invincible for about ten seconds. During this time, you can
damage your opponent (disarm, shrink, or kill). Each time you hit him, you
knock free one of his stars. Keep in mind that you can still die from falling
into a pit or being crushed by the crushing ceiling.
Koopa Shell - If you run enough paces, you'll transform into a spinning shell
that damages everything in its path, although bouncing back after impact. This
item causes damage (disarming, shrinking or killing) to the opponent as well
as knocking free one of their stars. Be sure to release B to exit the shell if
you need to wall jump.
Mega Mushroom - Enlarges you to the height of the screen. During this time,
you are not only invincible, but can also destroy most things in your path,
including bricks and pipes. This ability lasts for about 20 seconds. If you
hit your opponent, you will disarm, shrink or kill him and knock free one of
Mini Mushroom - Shrinks you to a fraction of your former size, allowing you to
fit in tight cracks and clear slightly higher ledges. You can only damage your
opponent during this time by ground pounding. Also, fireballs can instantly
kill you. In this game mode, mini mushroom is more of a power-down than a
power up. Avoid it unless you have specific plans. It's usually better to
avoid the item as it drops down and hope your opponent accidentally picks it
Level One - Classic Surface
This simple level is based loosely off world 1-1 from the original Super Mario
Enemies = 3
Stars Spawns = 6
Coins = 9
Item Blocks = 2
Enemies: With two goombas, a koopa and two pits, this level is fairly
Star Spawns: Just to the left of the starting point, block stairs lead upward,
then drop off in a volcano shape. It's important to note that this region is
home to four of the level's six star spawns. One just to the left, under the
high brick ledge, one just over the volcano, one inside the volcano and one
just to its right. The other two star spawns are located at the starting point
and above the tallest of the two pipes.
Coins: Several question marks contain coins. The region just to the right of
the start point contains six of the level's nine coins.
Item Blocks: At the start point and half way across, near the koopa spawn
(between two brick blocks).
Strategy: This level has two high points (crowning coin block and high ledge)
and three moderately high points (start coin blocks, high pipe, mid-high
ledge). The best strategy for this level is to get the Fire Flower as quickly
as possible. That way you can assume one of these high points. If you assume
the crown coin block, be sure to take its coin before you climb up there (if
you are hit from underneath, you lose a coin and suffer a one-second stun).
From here, you can throw fireballs (only two at a time) to your left and
right. These have good range from both locations. You might jump occasionally
to alter the bounce of your fireballs. With careful angling, they can leap
the level's pits.
As I said in the Star Spawn section, four of the level's six star spawn points
are in the same area, left of the start point. Stay near here and check your
bottom screen for stars. A word of caution: the volcano pit star spawn can be
deadly if your opponent is nearby. A well-placed jump to the head can not only
knock free one of your stars, but can also send you helplessly plunging into
the pit. You can use this star to bate your opponent.
The Mega Mushroom is useful on this stage due to the lack of places your
opponent can hide. Just run around (you can run right over this level's pits
and through all its blocks and pipes) and, depending on your objective, steal
stars or aim to kill.
Throw a koopa shell to knock out your opponent's prized star. If you've just
managed to kill him, you can carry it with you to the starting point and kill
him again shortly after he's spawned.
Level Two - Classic Underground
The smallest level in the game, this is based off underground levels from the
original Super Mario Bros.
Enemies = 2
Stars Spawns = 8
Coins = 10
Item Blocks = 1
Enemies: One goomba near the hidden item block, one koopa near the four-tiered
block layers. Everywhere except for the starting point and the elevator shaft
is a pit if you're not careful with your ground-pound. This goes double if you
grab a mega-mushroom.
Star Spawns: Between each of the four-tiered block layers (the area with the
koopa) exist star spawns. These can be tough to get into unless you're big, so
you can break through to different layers quickly. The starting point (as
always) features a star spawn. The goomba alcove (where the hidden item block
is) has two star spawns right next to each other inside of it. To the left of
it also exists a star spawn. Finally, a low-hanging region of ceiling also
houses a star spawn.
Coins: Aside from the obvious coins, two hidden coins in the low hanging
segment of the ceiling can be easily picked up while you're up there. Ground
pound correctly and you'll grab both at the same time.
Item Blocks: The one hidden item block in this level is located just left of
the starting point, in the goomba alcove. For speed's sake, ground pound on
the block before entering, and the mushroom will drift your way. It's difficult
to get the mushroom from within, because you have to escape and then run over
and grab it, hoping it doesn't get lost in the elevator shaft. When getting a
Fire Flower out of this block, try to hit it and the block beside it so you can
jump up or drop down and collect it without additional jumps. You'll see what I
Strategy: This being the smallest level in the game, I also feel it is the
most frantic. The dearth of items contributes to this, and you may find
yourself small most of the time. Since the level is so small, camping stars
doesn't seem very helpful. A good strategy is to patiently build up to a Fire
Flower (if you're playing to 5 or 10 stars), and then go after your opponent.
Staying up-top, despite its only one star spawn, is a sound defensive
The Mega Mushroom is as much of a liability on this level as it is an aid. If
it appears above you and you are not over solid ground (such as the elevator
or the start point), don't jump for it. You'll break through the bricks when
you land. Here's the secret to using the Mega Mushroom on this level. Run, but
don't jump. If you want to jump, be sure you're going to land on solid
ground. If you land on a thick layer of bricks, you can jump again before
falling through, hopefully reaching solid ground. The only place to hide is on
the ceiling, which can be of limited use. Remember, no matter how razed the
level ends up being, there's always (from my experience) a way to grab the
The star is amazingly powerful in this one, especially if you can corner your
opponent in the goomba alcove.
The koopa can be tough to land on, so be careful! If you get the koopa shell,
throw it! If it lands in the goomba alcove, it will bounce back and forth,
opening paths for you to run (or slide) under to access the item block. It'll
eventually drop off the elevator underside, but sometimes this takes several
bounces. If you know your opponent is up top, throw the shell up there. He
won't see it coming, because everything up there is off-screen.
Level Three - Ice Surface
The biggest level in the game, Ice Surface boasts a whopping 21 coins, and a
free Shell Mario upgrade if you can slay the koopa up top. Lots of bullet
bills and a spring board keep this level interesting.
Enemies = 2
Stars Spawns = 9
Coins = 21
Item Blocks = 1
Enemies: One special koopa (that gives you Shell Mario ability) up and to the
right of the start point. One koopa just right of the leftmost pit. Lots of
bullet bills! Two pits.
Star Spawns: The star spawns are well distributed. From left to right: one at
the start point, one up near the special koopa, one between the brick ridges
(a wall jump may be in order), one beneath the level's sole item block and one
two floors above it. One exists on the highest ledge in the level, toward the
level's center (you might want to use the spring board to get there), one
directly above the spring board (the spring board is the only way to access
it), one between the two pits and one just left of the start point.
Coins: If you're playing a coin gathering strategy I recommend bouncing up and
down on the spring board. Immediately after springing off, you get four coins.
If drift to the right, you can get seven more. If you drift to the left, you
can get four more, but can position yourself near more star spawns.
Item Blocks: The level's one item block is located dead center of the level.
You'll see it wedged between four brick blocks near the ground.
Strategy: I am horrible at this level. Here are some strategies readers of
this FAQ have sent in:
You know that blue koopa that provides the shell? While your opponent goes on
the springboard to get at it, just go the right of the first ice platform (that
had a bullet billl launcher on its rightmost edge) and wall-jump back and forth
across the bricks above you. You'll end up at the blue koopa platform five
seconds before your opponent gets there. When he arrives, jump on or shell dash
Use the springboard to reach the blue special koopa. Jump on him and take his
shell to become Shell Mario/Luigi. Let your opponent get half of the required
stars. Then Press X or Y to run fast and you will be in Shell Mode. Chase your
opponent until you hit him. Then leave Shell Mode and get the Star. Continue
this until you have all his Stars. Avoid the pits. Then get the rest of the
Stars and win. If you lose your shell or die then get another one from the
special blue koopa.
Here are my observations:
The mega-mushroom is nearly worthless in this level owing to the unbreakable
ice blocks. Your opponent can hide under the center ice blocks and wait for
you to shrink. Still you may catch them off guard.
Shell Mario is useful, but difficult to control. Too many obstacles stand in
the way. Add to that the multi-layered nature of this level and Shell Mario's
difficulty in turning corners (if you're really skilled, try to bank-shot),
Shell Mario ends up being of limited usefulness. Still, it's two hits that
won't kill you, if you want to grab it right off the bat from the special
koopa up top.
Fireballs are also of limited usefulness. The best strategy I've seen is just
to keep moving and get lots of stars, avoiding your opponent unless he's
Star is useful, but it's easy to run away using the spring board.
Note that pressing down after launching from the spring board triggers a
drill-like motion. If you drill into your opponent, it has the same effect as
ground pounding him, meaning it will knock free three stars. Also, you cannot
exit the springboard windmill effect until you touch the ground, so don't
drift near any pits. You won't be able to wall-jump out.
Level Four - Pipe Room
Pipe room is two walled-off sections connected by two sets of pipes.
Enemies = 2
Stars Spawns = 7
Coins = 9
Item Blocks = 1
Enemies: Two piranha plants. No pits.
Star Spawns: The left two-thirds of this level houses four of the level's star
spawns. The start point, just to its right, and two near the mid-level warp
pipe. On the right half, two exist near the item block and one exists just
right of the end-level warp pipe.
Coins: Coins are evenly distributed, with three just over the rightmost
Item Blocks: The level's one item block is near the bottom of the pipe stairs
section of the level's right half.
Strategy: As I said earlier, coins play a major role in this level. Not only
can they produce an early Fire Flower, but they can also provide you with a
star. The star is useful if you're playing with the music off. Otherwise
you're friend's going to hear it and use the pipe trick. The pipe trick means
going up and down the pipe repeatedly to prevent yourself from being damaged
by an opponent's Mega Mushroom or star. It works all too effectively, and the
presence of four pipes in this level means the threat of a star or Mega
Mushroom is easily nullified.
The best way to win at this level is to stick to the right half, jumping
around and collecting coins. The two tall pipes in the center would make for a
good camping spot, being that they're equidistant from the four surrounding
star spawns, save for their lack of their own star spawn. If you've got a Fire
Flower, try to control this half and you'll have a four-to-three chance of
winning. I say this because the warp pipes are cumbersome. If you have to go
through a warp pipe to get to a star, you'll probably get there too late.
A word on using the Mega Mushroom on this level. Though it looks cool as hell,
you can see it coming a mile away (the screen shakes like crazy) even with
the volume off. The previously mentioned pipe trick makes this useless. Not to
mention you have to have sufficient headroom to use it. It's more of a pain
than anything. It does buy you twenty seconds to grab stars, though. That's
two extra stars, if you're quick.
Thanks to Dan who wrote in with this awesome secret.
There is a secret way to get on top of the pipes, and it is not a glitch,
because Nintendo put coins up there for you to collect.
Here's how it works:
1. The ceiling of the level is full of pipes, except for small gaps on the
far right and far left of the level (the one on the right is bigger, so it's
easier to jump to).
2. You must have either a mini mushroom or an invincibility star. The reason
for this is because the other forms can't jump far enough or high enough.
3. Wall jump onto the wall that is the same direction as the side of the
level you are on (ie if you are on the right side of the level, jump onto the
right wall), and then immediately wall jump again as soon as you touch the
wall. You will jump onto the nearest pipe (which is near the top of the
level), at which point you should wall jump again.
4. Keep wall jumping for a few seconds, and you can eventually get on top of
the pipes, and run to the other side of the level.
Level Five - The Crusher
The Crusher is the most dangerous level in the game. Riddled with pits and
ba-bombs, and lorded over by the mighty crushing ceiling, death is a constant
threat, regardless of your size.
Enemies = 2
Stars Spawns = 7
Coins = 11
Item Blocks = 1
Enemies: Two ba-bombs that damage you if you touch them from the side. These
guys blow up about four seconds after you stomp them. If your opponent is run-
crazy (i.e. constantly holding down B) then throw one at him. If he doesn't
realize in time and let go of B, he'll take damage. There are also pits to
worry about. The crushing roof is the most menacing of all. It rapidly strips
you of your power ups before killing you, so if you squeeze out in time, you
may still survive. The crushing roof makes for interesting moments of tension
throughout the round.
Star Spawns: The starting point. If you head right, you'll pass a mini Mario
alcove. Three star spawns exist between the alcove and the nearby pit: one up
high, one down low, and one halfway up. This is an excellent camping spot. The
next star lies within the item block alcove, guarded by a ba-bomb. Just to the
right and up of that one lies another star spawn. The final star spawn is
located deep within a pit filled with rising and falling rock. It takes a full
compression cycle to access this pit, so it's often best to collect coins and
let your opponent have this one.
Coins: Aside from the 11 coins mentioned, four more lie in the mini Mario
alcove. These four coins are not generally worth the trouble of getting a Mini
Item Blocks: The level's one item block is guarded by a ba-bomb. Don't get
trapped in there with him. If you do, bounce him back and forth and he may
blow up far enough away to spare you. Note that the crushing ceiling destroys
items on contact.
Strategy: The fireball is king here. Once you've obtained the fireball,
camping the center five stars is a winning strategy. The problem is that
they're separated by a pit, which spells instant death if you get stomped or
fireballed at the wrong time. Once you get a Fire Flower, invest the time to
grab a back-up in case you die. That'll save you two cycles of hitting the
If you're playing high stars (five or ten) and low deaths (three), a killing
strategy may prove optimal. Aside from stars (mega mushrooms won't appear on
this stage) you can bate your opponents into grabbing your unwanted Mini
Mushrooms, or simply pelt them with fireballs when the crushing ceiling is on
its way down. It's hard to hold onto stars on this level, and if you get
trapped in the same space with your opponent, both of you stand to lose a few
that may just spring irretrievably off the level.
Staying alive on this level means playing it safe. Don't attempt running
crouches to get out of tight spots unless absolutely necessary (life for star
- Wolfzoon writes in with this important observation: If you have a star, you
can still be killed by someone with a mega-mushroom.
- Clay writes in with this observation: While being small leaves you
vulnerable to fireballs and shoves, it does alter your jumping, giving you
longer hang time at the peak of your jump. You can use this to your advantage
by making jumps not normally possible.
- Keep the sound off or use headphones. Nothing gives away your game like star
- Every time a star is collected, the level resets itself. This means all
enemies, blocks and coins return to their original positions. If you're about
to grab a star, grab nearby coins that will respawn once you grab it, so you
can grab twice as much. If you want to deprive your opponent of items, don't
grab the star until you've hounded him with your fireballs for all his stars
first. Think of ways to use this fact to your advantage. See him jumping into
the Classic Underground goomba alcove? Grab the star, and he'll be sandwhiched
in there with that goomba.
- If you run into your opponent (holding B), both of you will lose a star.
This is helpful if you don't have a star, or if you're desperate to keep your
opponent from winning.
- If you get hit, you'll be invincible for one second after recovering from
your stun. Use this time to escape, get back your star, or get revenge. This
is particularly crucial when dealing with fireballs. If both of you have
fireballs, you'll trade hits back and forth until one of you gets to higher
ground or escapes entirely.
- You can get two stars out of one stun if you hit your opponent with both a
fireball and jump on him. This is tricky, and the timing is tough, but if you
get it right, you can rob him of his stars much faster than he can return the
- In pipe land, you can jump to the top of the two tall pipes in a single wall
jump. Face away from them, jump straight up, and spring off the opposite wall
first. This saves a few split seconds.
- Small and about to get steamrolled by a Mega Mushroom'd Mario? Jump into a
pit. Sound silly? Hug the wall for just the right length of time. He'll walk
over you and you can spring out, behind him. It's tricky.
- Down a lot of stars? Try ground pounding. It's often an act of desperation,
but if you get it right, you can close the gap. Example: Luigi has six stars.
You have three. You ground pound him and gather up his stars. You've just
reversed your positions in around five seconds.
- Slow and steady can win this game. If you collect coins for the first
minute of a 10 star game, the most stars behind you can end up is six (if your
opponent was lucky enough to hit every star spawn correctly). But in that
time, you can pile on a Fire Flower and burn statistics with a lot of coins.
One star can even the game. One Mega Mushroom can win it. There's a lot of
luck to this game, but digging through the bad luck to get to the good luck
requires skill and tenacity.
Any suggestions or corrections for this FAQ? Just want to chat?
michaelqlarson at gmail dot com. You can also find this guide at lifespill.com.