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Proto:Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.

GBA-M&L-E3 Title-1.png
This article is a work in progress.
...Well, all the articles here are, in a way. But this one moreso, and the article may contain incomplete information and editor's notes.
To do:
The obligatory "everything" todo:
  • Various sprite differences such as the extra shine on Mario and Luigi's overalls, Princess Peach, the Toads, and hud elements (to only name a few).
  • Beanbean town NPC differences such as the inhabited shops, the different NPC model and cloaked figure still found in the final game's assets.
  • The book that goes unused in the final game's assets played a role in an earlier puzzle from Hoohoo Hooniversity.

The E3 demo of Superstar Saga was dumped by Zoda-Y13, and released by Codebound on October 24, 2023. Dated May 3, 2003 (just over five months before the final US/European build and 11 days before the start of that year's E3), it lets players access a select few areas from the first 2-3 hours of the game's campaign.

It's also got a ton of differences from the final game.


GBA-M&L-Subpage Dialogue-1.png
Early Dialogue
Tweaked text all around.
GBA-M&L-Subpage Sprites-1.png
Early Sprites
Pixels were shuffled around.
Prototype MLSS Unused Diskun Enemy.png
Unused Enemies
Diskun almost turned heel?!


While the demo locks you out of most areas, the core story and some parts of the game are finalized at this point. It's possible to start at the intro cutscene by editing values 0x5BC760 and 0x5BC76C from E1 01 to 73 00 and selecting the first save file.

Many areas and cutscenes are missing sound effects and play the same placeholder music. These are not noted here unless it's important.

GBA-M&L-Subpage Intro-1.png
Same story, different take.
GBA-M&L-Subpage WoohooHooniversity-1.png
Woohoo Hooniversity
Extinguish it. Not hit it.

Demo Contents

GBA-M&L-E3 SaveSelect-1.png

By default, the demo is locked to three preset areas that were customized specifically for the E3 event, all starting at different points in the game with different stats for the Mario Bros. without giving anything away about the game's story. Additionally, most of the options in the player's inventory have been disabled with text reading "Out of use" and the game does not generate save data at any point.

These three presets are as follows:

No. Description Character Stats
Mario Luigi
File 1
Reach the Border Bros.
fortress and beat their
border crossing jump-
roping game!
LV: 7 LV: 6
HP: 16 HP: 18
BP: 22 BP: 21
POW: 30 POW: 26
DEF: 25 DEF: 27
EXP: 496 EXP: 352
File 2
Use the high jump and
spin jump to climb the
mountain and defeat
Ufross, the ancient
LV: 9 LV: 9
HP: 22 HP: 24
BP: 28 BP: 26
POW: 36 POW: 33
DEF: 33 DEF: 34
EXP: 844 EXP: 889
File 3
Hit all eight Coin Blocks
out on the Mamelian
LV: 12 LV: 12
HP: 30 HP: 32
BP: 27 BP: 28
POW: 44 POW: 40
DEF: 40 DEF: 42
EXP: 1574 EXP: 1686
MLSS Demo ThankScreen.png

Once one of the objectives described above are completed, the game displays a screen reading "Thank you for playing!" before booting back to the Nintendo screen. This screen is identical to that of the kiosk demo.

General Differences

Splash Screen and Menus

Proto Final
GBA-M&L-E3 Nintendo-1.png GBA-M&L-Nintendo-1.gif
GBA-M&L-E3 Title-1.png Mario & Luigi- Superstar Saga-title.png
High-quality scan of the logo used in the E3 demo.
Another variation of this logo, used in Nintendo Power #169 on Page 100. Note the altered font and different placement of the "&" symbol.
  • The Nintendo splash screen is smaller, lacks animations of Mario and Luigi jumping in, and plays a generic coin sound effect.
  • The title screen is completely different:
    • Instead of a chest appearing showing the game's logo in a cloudy landscape, this title screen is more generic with leaves for its background.
    • The game's early logo is present. This logo bears some resemblance to the Japanese logo in terms of the font used, as well as the placement of Mario and Luigi's silhouettes. This logo was also used for various promotional material during E3. The logo of the remake on 3DS is very similar, just with the modern text and the brothers moved to the other side, where Captain Goomba takes their place.
    • "Press Start" is in a different font.
    • The copyright uses a slightly different font and lacks a red outline.
    • After pressing Start, the game immediately goes to the save file select screen. There's no submenu for options or Mario Bros. Classic minigame (the latter of which is completely absent from this build's files).
Proto Final
GBA-M&L-E3 SaveSelect-1.png GBA-M&L-SaveSelect-1.png GBA-M&L-SaveSelect-2.png

Every aspect of the save file select screen is different:

  • The final game represents this screen as a passport desk with items littered around. In the E3 demo, the graphics for the suitcase are reused.
  • The background graphic covered by text represents the Mushroom Kingdom rather than the Beanbean Kingdom.
  • The file, coin count, and timer graphics are much simpler.
  • The level text lacks a brown outline.
  • The name of the area is right underneath Mario and Luigi. This was moved to the bottom in the final.
  • The arrow on the top-left has different animation cycles. In the final, it moves to the left and immediately back to the right. In the demo, it moves left and right at the same speed.


Proto Final
GBA-M&L-E3 BattleIntro-1.gif GBA-M&L-BattleIntro-1.gif

The animation that plays when entering a battle is completely different. Instead of a 3D star moving closer and fading to the battle, the screen flashes twice before flipping to a pattern showcasing icons for Mario and Luigi, then flipping to the battle. Since this animation is a bit shorter, the battle starts a few frames earlier.

Unused Rooms

Early Toad Town

Please elaborate.
Having more detail is always a good thing.

Room IDs 0x1D, 0x13, and 0x67 consist of an earlier version of Toad Town.


ROM Header

The final game has the ROM header title field set to MARIO&LUIGI# (# followed by "J" for Japan, "U" for United States, and "P" for Europe). The demo has both of these blanked out.

Build Date

Present at 0x1F0B48.

May  3 2003 15:56:48

Cartridge File Size and Label

To do:
Transcribe the cartridge label text.

The demo ROM only takes up 8 MB compared to the final game's 16 MB, and was dumped from a development cartridge that could hold a maximum of 16 MB.

GBA-M&L-E3 Cartridge-1.jpg

The cartridge has a handwritten label that roughly translates to "Shogakukan ROM - For character check - AlphaDream Co., Ltd." Shogakukan is a company responsible for the distribution of various Hamtaro-related media, suggesting that the cart once contained a build of fellow AlphaDream game Hamtaro: Rainbow Rescue dated November 11, 2002 (over five months before its final Japanese build). Unfortunately, whatever else may have been in the cartridge data is gone - the final versions of Rainbow Rescue are only 8 MB in size, the Mario & Luigi demo takes up the first 8 MB of the cart, and everything past Mario & Luigi appears to be garbage data.