Luigi's Heroic Debut!

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Luigi's Heroic Debut!

Release type: Freeware
Release date: August 11, 1996
Levels: 20
Author: Mike Perrucci
Website: More Mazeguy
Related games: Invasion of the Blobs!, Invasion of the Blobs 2, Jario!, Super Mario 5

Somewhere between his two Invasion of the Blobs games, Mike Perrucci completed his other full Game-Maker project, a tribute game starring Mario's relatively neglected brother Luigi.

At some point, most Game-Maker users probably attempted a Super Mario Bros. tribute or pastiche. A poll of former users suggests that Mario-like features are amongst the most sorely missed from RSD's engine. Although plainly Game-Maker is just not made for repeating Miyamoto's work, the most frustrating problems are the lack of Mario-style stomping and block breaking mechanics. As ever, clever users can try to fudge the mechanics, but the solutions aren't immediately available.

Perrucci got around these issues by largely making his own original game. Luigi is full of visual and conceptual references to the Mario series, and it approximates a few mechanics to the best that its engine will allow, but the game largely defines its own rules and tone, and is illustrated in its own particular style. If anything, Luigi feels closer to Peach the Lobster than Super Mario World. The distance largely works to the game's favor, as the comparisons to Miyamoto's games quickly fade, allowing Luigi to work on its own merits.

Rather than stomp enemies, or knock them from below, or toss bouncing fireballs, Luigi slings a retractable plunger. The plunger has a decent range, but Luigi is stuck until the attack is completed. This makes attacking a strategic matter, as there is no space for twitch reactions.

Forging a new path in Luigi's Heroic Debut!

With a lack of the familiar 2D Mario physics, running and jumping are also a more deliberate affair. There's none of the free-wheeling running and momentum, allowing the player to react as the situation arises; here, every step and every jump are planned.

Some of the more functional tributes to Mario mechanics include the spinning shells and bombs left by defeated Koopa Troopas and Bob-Ombs; the solutions are simple but effective, and were later incorporated into Invasion of the Blobs II. Less perfect but still manageable are the gravity-based springboards and the one-way platforms used for [?] blocks. The game is full of pipes, but just as scenery; none of them are navigable.

The scale of Luigi's Heroic Debut! may be the most surprising aspect. This is no demo or proof of concept; this is a full game, longer and more detailed than nineteen out of twenty Game-Maker projects. It's not just big; every level is unique, every world tries something new.

Level 1-2 of Luigi's Heroic Debut!

There are cutscenes between levels, featuring many guest stars (including the cast of the Invasion of the Blobs games). Every world is capped with its own complex boss encounter. The design is of the sophistication of, say, Blinky 2 -- or of Perrucci's other finished projects.

Perhaps the most distracting element to Luigi is in fact all the Mario references. Since the game works on its own terms, and largely carves out its own identity, it would probably do better without the anchor to its origins. The use of Nintendo's property makes the game a little dodgier to distribute, and the cross-comparisons do take a while for the player to bypass. Swap out a few sprites and a couple of background details, and you would have a completely original game that invited no scrutiny outside of its own merits -- and its merits are plenty.

As the game stands, it is reminiscent of those curious Game Boy spin-offs to major franchises, like the Super Mario Land and Wario series, or the Castlevania Adventure series by comparison to the main-franchise Castlevania games. It's got the familiar iconography, but by necessity it's doing its own thing entirely, and probably all for the best.


Level 4-3 of Luigi's Heroic Debut!

For years now, Luigi, that skinny, high-jumping plumber from Brooklyn, stood quietly in the shadow of his plumper brother, Mario. As Mario rescued Princess Toadstool from the clutches of the evil Bowser time after time, Luigi kept dreaming of a day when he would rise up and face off against King Koopa and his army. And with his victory would come a thank-you kiss from the beautiful Princess, praise from all of the Mushroom people, his face on Nintendo merchandise, and the respect of his brother.

One day, Toad, the loyal Mushroom retainer, rushed into Luigi's bedroom, frantically trying to wake him up.

Level 3-3 of Luigi's Heroic Debut!

"Luigi! Wake up! We have a crisis on our hands!"

"The Princess was captured, right?", said Luigi, slowly sitting up.

Toad seemed surprised. "Yeah, how'd you know?"

"It's not so shocking when you hear it for the fourth time. Don't worry, I'm sure Mario's kicking Koopa's butt by now."

"But that's just it! Mario's been captured too!!"

It was then that Luigi realized what was going on. With Mario gone, he was the only one who could rescue him and Princess Toadstool. This was the moment he had always dreamed of. His big chance to be the hero. And he wasn't about to miss out on it.

With that, Luigi rushed out the door, grabbed his plunger, and headed towards Bowser's castle. This is Luigi's heroic debut!!!


Level 5-2 of Luigi's Heroic Debut!

If you've played other Super Mario Bros. games (who hasn't?), you'll notice quite a few differences:

1) Don't try to stomp anything! Instead, whack 'em with your retractable plunger.

2) Don't waste your time trying to go down pipes. You can't.

3) Your health status is not determined by Super Mushrooms. Instead, your hit points determine how close you are to losing a life.

Other than these three differences, the game should feel familiar except for the controls. Enemies, items, scenery, and characters should all bring back memories.

As for controlling Luigi, use the numerical keypad:

   [7]      [8]      [9]  
jump left/jump up/jump right  
   [4]      [5]      [6]
 run left          run right
   [1]      [2]      [3]

To attack:

z - shoot left
x - shoot right
  • When you get to Bowser, press Spacebar and see what happens!!

Find the goal to finish each stage. Toad will be waiting for you there. After 3 levels you'll fight a boss and rescue a princess lookalike. Then it's off to another world.

That's about it. Have fun! And get those coins!


Level 4-2 of Luigi's Heroic Debut!

Blocks, levels, maps, etc.:

Mike Perrucci

Music, sound, game engine:


GIF pictures made with:


Luigi's Heroic Debut! is based on Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. series.


This game is not known to have been distributed in any form, prior to its addition to the Archive.

Archive History[edit]

In the midst of ongoing communication, Mike Perrucci reluctantly mentioned Luigi's Heroic Debut! on July 4, 2010 -- then later submitted it on July 13.

Technical analysis[edit]

Although still imperfect in emulating the core Super Mario mechanics, this game goes further than most other attempts. The use of a plunger interestingly compensates for Game-Maker's deficiencies in implementing stomp-when-jumping effects, and question blocks are effectively rendered, most likely through a clever combination of a partly-blocking background tile over which the question-mark monster is laid, that transforms into a bonus when hit. As a result, you can only hit the question mark and obtain the bonus from below.

Springs appear to be implemented through a similar technique to the one seen in Calimero II, reacting on hit by giving a collection of keys that temporarily turn air into reverse-gravity tiles. Although unrealistic, it does the trick.

  Pype/PPP Team.



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