Luigi (ルイージ, Luigi) is a character in the Mario series. Originally a palette swap of his older twin brother Mario, Luigi's appearance and personality have both developed greatly since his debut, to the point that he has become the co-star and deuteragonist of their home series.
Two years after the widely acclaimed classic Donkey Kong, Shigeru Miyamoto wished to incorporate the two-player competitive and cooperative gameplay of the arcade game Joust into his own game. To this end, he created Luigi, Mario's twin brother, for the arcade game Mario Bros. However, Luigi's actual debut was in the otherwise unrelated Game & Watch game of the same name.
Luigi's name is said to have been inspired by a pizza parlor called "Mario & Luigi's", which was located near Nintendo of America's headquarters. Coincidentally, his name was also noted to be similar to the Japanese word 「類似」 (ruiji), which means "similar", and further ties into his formative years as a palette swap.
Luigi's original design, both in official artwork and gameplay, was a palette swap of Mario; in this case, his overalls and shirt are green and black, respectively, to contrast with Mario's red and blue color scheme. While the Game & Watch version of the game has one player control both brothers, the arcade version features Luigi as the character that the second player would control.
Luigi would then be featured in the widely acclaimed classic Super Mario Bros., which saw the brothers travel through the Mushroom Kingdom for the first time to rescue Princess Toadstool from the evil Koopa King, Bowser. Unlike its predecessor, Super Mario Bros. features Luigi clad in a green shirt, white overalls and white hat, which would become his color scheme as Fire Luigi in subsequent games. This game also notably, albeit quietly, retconned his and Mario's depiction as Italian-American plumbers from New York City.
In both the Japanese Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and the international Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi was established as having superior jumping prowess compared to Mario. The Lost Levels also gave him worse traction compared to his brother; both traits would become Luigi's defining gameplay mechanics in the overwhelming majority of subsequent games. Super Mario Bros. 2 further codified Luigi's physical appearance, depicting him as taller and thinner than his brother.
Although Mario effectively became Nintendo's mascot thanks to the success of Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros., Luigi's relevance, which was still at a respectable level, waned in response. Despite appearing as the sole playable character in the edutainment-based spin-off Mario is Missing!, Luigi's relevance continued to wane, so much so that he was actually left out of some games entirely. The most notable instance of this was his complete absence in the widely acclaimed classic Super Mario 64; however, this was attributed to the Nintendo 64's technical limitations, and he returned as an unlockable character in the game's Nintendo DS remake, Super Mario 64 DS.
Thanks to his inclusion in Super Smash Bros., Luigi's relevance was renewed. This was most notably demonstrated in Luigi's Mansion, Luigi's first starring role within his own spin-off series. The game established Luigi's defining personality: cowardly and bashful, with a deep-seated fear of ghosts. Despite this, he undergoes character development and pulls through to save Mario from King Boo. Luigi received slightly more character development via the Mario Tennis series: its first installment marked the debut of his antagonistic rival Waluigi, while Mario Power Tennis saw Princess Daisy become a reciprocal love interest for Luigi after her appearance as his caddie in NES Open Tournament Golf.
Although Luigi did not appear in Super Mario Sunshine, his relevance has remained steady since Luigi's Mansion. This has been most obvious with his co-starring role in Mario & Luigi series alongside Mario; his appearance as an unlockable character in Super Mario 64 DS, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D Land; and his status as one of the most important characters in Super Paper Mario.
Luigi's relevance increased considerably thanks to the announcement of the Year of Luigi, which was announced on February 14, 2013 and commemorated the 30th anniversary of his debut. Various games and collectibles focusing on Luigi were released, with two of the games, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, further developing his character. Dream Team further cemented the deep bond between the Mario Bros., and saw Luigi courageously rise to the occasion against Bowser, which resulted in his critics—such as Starlow, and Bowser himself—coming to view him as Mario's equal. Dark Moon saw him develop a slightly more courageous attitude, save Mario yet again, and clearly cemented King Boo as his archenemy, evoking reminders of the long-standing rivalry between Mario and Bowser.
Aside from his character development, Luigi's abilities were also highlighted during the Year of Luigi. New Super Luigi U notably lacks Mario and instead focuses on Luigi's signature higher jump and slippery traction. Dr. Luigi marks his debut as a doctor like his brother before him, and sees him utilize unique L-shaped Megavitamins. Although the Year of Luigi officially concluded on March 18, 2014, one final Year of Luigi game, Super Luigi Bros., was released a little over a month later as a part of NES Remix 2. Like Super Mario 3D World's Luigi Bros., Super Luigi Bros. is a modified emulation of Super Mario Bros., but noticeably differs by retaining Luigi's higher jump and sporting mirrored versions of every level.
Luigi returned to an ancillary role for his appearance in Super Mario Odyssey; he appears as the non-playable host of the Balloon World minigame, which was made available via a game update released on February 21, 2018. Later that year, a remake of Luigi's Mansion for the Nintendo 3DS was released, alongside the announcement of Luigi's starring role in the upcoming and tentatively-titled Luigi's Mansion 3.
As a playable character
Main article: Luigi (SSB)
Luigi's first appearance in a fighting game is in Super Smash Bros., where he appears as one of the four unlockable characters. His design is based on his appearance in Mario Kart 64, albeit with his overalls colored indigo instead of blue, which references his sprite from Super Mario World. Luigi can be unlocked after completing Break the Targets with all of the starter characters.
Luigi's abilities are almost identical to Mario's, although there are a few differences between them. His neutral special move is also a Fireball, albeit colored green and immune to gravity. Luigi's up special move is also the Super Jump Punch, but his is very polarized compared to Mario's. Due to consisting of a sweetspot and a sourspot, Luigi's version can deal up to 25% when landing the former, but only 1% when landing the latter. Lastly, his down special move is Luigi Cyclone: it is similar to Mario Tornado, but instead consists of only two distinct hits and that each launch the opponent away from Luigi. In addition, Luigi is notably the only character in the game whose taunt can damage opponents.
Largely because of his awkward physics, Luigi is currently ranked 12th on the tier list. This places him in the C tier, and at the bottom of the list.
Luigi's in-game character description reads:
As a playable character
Main article: Luigi (SSBM)
Luigi appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee as an unlockable character. Luigi can be unlocked in Adventure Mode via two methods. One is by finishing the first stage with the number 2 in the timer; in addition to causing him to take Mario's place in the subsequent battle, is may also be a reference to Luigi having always been considered second to his older brother. The second method is by playing 800 VS matches.
Like his fellow veterans, Luigi now has a side special move; in his case, it is Green Missile. Green Missile propels Luigi forward and can be charged. In addition to being usable for recovery like Super Jump Punch, Green Missile can potentially misfire, which significantly increases its damage output and travel distance.
Due to Luigi's moveset and mobility being noticeably improved, as well as benefiting from Melee's game physics, Luigi is currently ranked 13th on the tier list. This places him in the D tier and directly in middle of the list.
As a playable character, Luigi is featured on three trophies - his normal trophy, acquired by beating Classic mode with Luigi on any difficulty, and "Smash Red" and "Smash Blue" trophies won by beating Adventure and All-Star modes, respectively - as well as a fourth, styled after his appearance in the GameCube launch title Luigi's Mansion.
His normal and "Vacuum Luigi" trophies read as follows:
As a playable character
Main article: Luigi (SSBB)
Luigi appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an unlockable character. He can be unlocked by playing 22 VS matches, completing Classic Mode without using any continues, or by having him join the party in Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary. Unlike in SSB and Melee, Luigi's design is now based on his appearance as of Luigi's Mansion, albeit with a realistic aesthetic and subdued color scheme. By extension, he now has his own unique voice clips, instead of using sped up versions of Mario's voice clips.
Like his fellow veterans, Luigi now has a Final Smash; in his case, it is Negative Zone. Despite having been buffed overall, particularly to his recovery, the loss of wavedashing significantly harmed Luigi. As a result, he is currently ranked 28th on the tier list, placing him in the E tier.
As a playable character
Main article: Luigi (SSB4)
Luigi appears in Super Smash Bros. 4 as a playable character. However, SSB4 is the first installment of the series to announce him as a playable character before release and, unlike in the previous three installments, he is now a starter character. Like Mario, Luigi's design is based off his appearance as of Super Mario 3D Land.
Luigi has been buffed in the transition from Brawl to SSB4. In addition to retaining his overall fast frame data and varied recovery, Luigi's moveset now boasts an impressive amount of utility, particularly in regard to combo potential. This is best demonstrated by Luigi's grab game, which is among the most effective in the game thanks to his quick grabs; his back throw being a viable KOing option; and his down throw possessing outstanding combo potential.
However, Luigi retains his slow mobility, especially while airborne, as well as his extremely low traction. Update 1.1.1 also altered the knockback of his down throw, which removed its guaranteed KO set-ups. Despite his flaws, Luigi overall remains a force to be reckoned with, and he has achieved fairly strong tournament representation and results throughout SSB4's lifespan. As a result, he is currently ranked 18th on the tier list, placing him in the B tier.
Tanooki Mario & Kitsune Luigi
As a playable character
Main article: Luigi (SSBU)
Luigi returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Unlike in Super Smash Bros. 4, he has reverted to being an unlockable character.
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