Luigi (ルイージ, Luigi) is a major character in the Mario series, and Mario's younger twin brother. Originally an exact copy of Mario, and soon thereafter a palette swap, Luigi's appearance and personality have developed greatly since then, to the point that he has become the co-star and deuteragonist of their home series.
Two years after his older twin brother, Mario, debuted in the widely acclaimed classic Donkey Kong, Luigi made his own debut in Mario Bros. for the Game & Watch. 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.
After observing the two-player competitive and cooperative gameplay of the arcade game Joust, Shigeru Miyamoto wished to incorporate a similar style of gameplay into his own game. To this end, he further developed Luigi's design for his inclusion in the identically titled, but completely unrelated arcade version of Mario Bros.
Similarly to the cover artwork for the Game & Watch version of Mario Bros., Luigi's design in the arcade version of Mario Bros. is 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. Unlike that game, however, 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. for the NES, 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 Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels/Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi was established as having superior jumping prowess compared to Mario, but having worse traction. Super Mario Bros. 2 also established that Luigi was both taller and thinner than his brother. All of these traits would become Luigi's defining gameplay and physical traits in the overwhelming majority of subsequent games.
Although Mario effectively became Nintendo's mascot thanks to the success of Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros., Luigi's relevance waned in response, so much so that he was actually left out of some games entirely. While he appeared as the solo playable character in Mario is Missing!, this game was an edutainment-based spin-off instead of a part of the main Mario games. The most notable instance of Luigi's dwindling relevance was his complete absence in the widely acclaimed classic Super Mario 64. Despite this, he would appear in the Nintendo DS remake of Super Mario 64 as a playable character alongside Yoshi and Wario.
After these absences, Luigi saw increased attention when he was included in Super Smash Bros. In addition to gaining an evil counterpart in Waluigi in Mario Tennis, Luigi's Mansion notably marked both his first starring role in a main Mario game and Luigi's personality actually undergoing development. Although Luigi did not appear in Super Mario Sunshine, Nintendo has nevertheless made a more conscious effort to include him in more games, playable or otherwise. This has been most obvious with his co-starring role in Mario & Luigi series alongside Mario, as well as his status as a party member in Super Paper Mario and his appearance as a playable character in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
However, 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 collectables focusing on Luigi were released, with two of the games, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, further developing his character. Dark Moon saw him develop a slightly more courageous attitude, save Mario yet again, and resulted in King Boo becoming his full-fledged archenemy. 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, coming to view him as Mario's equal.
Aside from his character development, Luigi's abilities were also highlighted during the Year of Luigi. New Super Luigi U notably lacked Mario and instead focused on Luigi's unique traits, such as his slippery traction and high jumps. Dr. Luigi marked his debut as a doctor like his brother before him, and saw 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 jumps and sporting mirrored versions of every level.
In Super Smash Bros.
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. His voice clips are a higher pitched version of Mario's voice clips from Super Mario 64. Luigi can be unlocked after completing the Target Test 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 the Luigi Cyclone: it is is similar to the Mario Tornado, but instead consists of only two 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:
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
As a playable character
Main article: Luigi (SSBM)
Luigi appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a secret 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:
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Main article: Luigi (SSBB)
Luigi appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an unlockable character and can be unlocked by playing 22 VS matches, completing Classic Mode, 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 subdued and realistic aesthetic. 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.
In Super Smash Bros. 4
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 attack speed 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 best 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
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