Video gaming’s perpetual second son, Luigi will never truly be Mario’s equal in Nintendo’s eye. Although time has been incredibly kind to him (bestowing Luigi his own spin-off series through the Luigi’s Mansion franchise,) his role in the series is to mainly be that of the “second player,” the runner-up.
It’s easy to underestimate Luigi as a result, but while Nintendo places an emphasis on Mario, they never forget to shine a spotlight on his younger twin. In the past few decades, Luigi has grown as a character through solo outings and more focused character direction. He’s become someone who doesn’t necessarily live in Mario’s shadow, even accomplishing certain feats the famed plumber could only dream of.
10 Luigi’s A Higher Jumper
When it comes down to it, while Mario may be “Jump Man,” it’s Luigi who actually has the higher jump. From as early as Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi has been depicted a far higher jumper than Mario. Of course, this does come with its downsides: Luigi specifically has next to no traction, making it difficult to maneuver in mid-air.
On the other hand, Mario has perfect mid-air handling and traction making landing jumps all the easier. Mario offers more reliable jumping whereas Luigi offers higher highs. More skilled players might be opted to pick Luigi if only to gain that extra in-air mobility.
9 Luigi Can Take A Hit
Although there aren’t many mechanical differences between Mario and Luigi in the Mario & Luigi RPG sub-series, there are some subtle stat differences between the two. Specifically, Mario is meant to be the player’s offensive character, having a higher Strength stat, whereas Luigi is meant to take more hits, having a higher Defense stat.
While Mario & Luigi is the type of franchise where players are expected to dodge as many hits as possible, the fact that Luigi has a bit of leeway when it comes to taking damage is nice. He’s meant to be less experience than Mario so it makes sense he’d get hit more often. It’s only fair he have a sturdier body to survive said hits.
8 Utilize The Negative Zone
Introduced in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Negative Zone very quickly became a key part of Luigi’s character in said franchise. His Final Smash, Luigi inverts the world around him to create a slow bubble of negativity, one that he can take advantage of in order to knock out any opponents.
Bizarrely, the Negative Zone has never appeared in another, completely exclusive to Super Smash Bros. Of note, as Luigi was originally an inverted color swap of Mario, the Negative Zone inverting space around it could be a reference to Luigi’s role as a “negative” version of Mario if nothing else.
7 A Master Of Invincibility
Super Mario 64’s remake on the Nintendo DS changed quite a lot about the base game in order to fit in Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario and playable characters. Of note, several of Mario’s abilities were taken away from him and instead given to his cohorts. Luigi in particular ended up inheriting Mario’s invisibility from the Invisible Cap.
This change means that Luigi is the only character in-game who can make use of invisibility. With his powers, Luigi can walk through gates, walls, and generally just avoid obstacles in order to nab Power Stars. It’s not a skill he uses outside of Super Mario 64 DS, but it’s one that he canonically now has.
6 Walk On Water
While Luigi having invincibility was done specifically to give Luigi a unique ability in-game, Super Mario 64 DS also gives Luigi yet another character specific skill: the ability to walk on water. With enough of a build up, Luigi can use his scattering feet to very briefly walk on water. It isn’t particularly useful, but it’s something Luigi can do that Mario can’t.
For the most part, it serves as a way of traversing water quickly in-game. It’s certainly much faster than swimming and the novelty of walking on water is fun. It’s even used to catch a few Luigi specific Power Stars. It hasn’t made a meaningful appearance since, but it doesn’t really need to. Luigi doesn’t hang around water all too often.
5 Bring About The End Of The World
Although the first two Paper Mario games more or less kept Luigi deep in the background, Super Paper Mario for the Nintendo Wii not only promoted him to playable status, he’s arguably the main character of the entire game, actively driving the plot far more than Mario, Princess Peach, or old King Koopa himself.
Specifically, Luigi is the catalyst for the end of the world. Only he can bring true destruction to existence. Although Super Paper Mario is considered the game that began the franchise’s problems, Luigi’s role in the game is handled very well and the story stands out as one of the series’ absolute best.
4 Luigi Has The Slicker Stache
The Mario & Luigi franchise may tout itself as a traditional series of JRPGs, but the games do have their own oddities. Stat wise, there’s the Stache stat. While it makes sense for the mustachioed plumbers to take care of their facial hair, it’s an interesting detail to make grooming an outright stache.
Of note, Luigi’s Stache stat is actually higher than Mario’s. Given that the Stache stat actively affects shop prices, this makes Luigi’s Stache very much worth investing money into. With a high enough stat, Luigi can finesse shopkeepers out of their best gear for cheap. Mario can too, but not to nearly the same extent as his younger brother.
3 Fight Ghosts Head-On
Although Mario bumps into ghosts rather often in his own games, he very rarely has the means to take them out himself. At best, he can occasionally throw something at them. At worst, he’ll need to get through levels without taking them out. Luigi on the other hand has the means to take out ghosts outright.
Of course, he’s relegated to doing so only in the Luigi’s Mansion series, but with three entries in the franchise, it’s now safe to say that this is just something Luigi can do on the regular. Considering the second game even ends with Luigi confronting his fear of ghosts outright, that’s another leg he has up on Mario.
2 Grow As A Character
On that note, Luigi is able to do something Mario can’t: develop. As Nintendo’s flagship character, Mario is more or less relegated to staying static between games. This doesn’t make him a lesser character by any means, but it doesn’t make him more compelling either. Luigi, on the other hand, is allowed to change with time.
This is seen as early as the original Luigi’s Mansion, the game that introduced his cowardly tendencies. From there, Luigi has since gained confidence in other games, slowly shedding away his fears. It’s more or less what the Year of Luigi was dedicated to. As Mario stays the same, Luigi changes.
Above all else, though, Mario will always be Nintendo’s go-to guy. He’s the character that Nintendo flocks to when it comes time for their big releases. Luigi isn’t always present, however, hanging back at home. Which isn’t all that bad. In-universe, Luigi is able to afford far more time for R&R than the titular Super Mario.Of course, he does seem to resent this as evidenced by his diary in Paper Mario, but The Thousand Year Door shows that Luigi is more than comfortable going out on his own unspecified adventures as well. Luigi may not be as busy as fans want him to be, but that also just makes his moments of stardom all the more special.