Super Luigi 64

Every Mario game that has ‘Bros’ in the title has had one thing in common: you can play as both the eponymous Mario and his brother Luigi. From Mario Bros arcade to Super Mario Bros 3, even in the SNES era with Super Mario World, it’s a rule as old as time. The only exception were the Game Boy games, but those were portable and so didn’t translate to multiplayer very well. When Super Mario 64 came out, people wondered if Luigi would be playable as player 2. When the game finally came out, he was nowhere to be found, but plenty of speculation on how to unlock him. Eventually, mod tools and N64 hackers came about to find a solution, which came to be known as Super Luigi 64.

The hunt for Luigi

There were many rumors on how to unlock Luigi. The one I remember the most had something to do with the star statue in the courtyard (outside the Big Boo’s Haunt stage). I think it was that it activates after collecting all 120 stars and completing some other tasks.

Another was that the same statue has a sign that reads “L is real 2401”. Others interpret it as saying “Eternal Star”

Which was thought to refer to all the coins in the game but there are only 2,090 of them in total. Others thought it was referring to a date (Feb 04 2001) after which people thought Super Luigi 64 (or Super Mario 64 2) would be released. This was only a day off from Paper Mario’s release date in North America (Feb 05) in which he appeared but played a minor role as an NPC.

There is another sign in Ocarina of Time’s Dodongo cavern that uses the same texture, so it’s possible that it’s just gibberish meant to represent any text.

This was in an era before the internet was widespread, so playground rumours abounded. No one really expected you to have video capture hardware and software or even a camera whose film you were willing to sacrifice film on. This was the golden age of word-of-mouth rumours.

In November 1996, a few months after the Nintendo 64’s release in North America, IGN posted the following challenge:

N64.com believes Luigi is not in Super Mario 64, but we would love to be disproved. Putting our money where our mouths are, we are putting up a bounty of $100 for the first person who can prove Luigi is in the game.

In Search of Luigi

This was back in the day when it was much more common to discuss cheat codes than glitches, hex editing and decompiling code. The fanbase had given up on finding Luigi within a few years. One of the best-selling games being played by millions of people and nobody even found an obscure glitch to make Luigi appear.

Obligatory Muper Mario 64 DS mention

Of course, Luigi became playable in Super Mario 64 DS almost 10 years after the original’s release. He is unlocked through the game, pr playable upon getting a Luigi hat hidden in each stage. Luigi makes the game stupid easy with his super high jump and floaty descent.

However, we’re not talking about the DS game since that’s a whole monster on its own.

Luigi is real, for real

In July 2020, just over 24 years since the release of Super Mario 64 in Japan, Luigi has finally been found.

As part of the leak in May 2020, intrepid hackers have found assets that would have belonged to a Luigi character within the game. TA hacker called CometMedal found files related to Luigi which included a bunch of files. Here’s a sample:

These were some polygon models, voice files and some textures. Greendev123 then went on to put it all together in a rom hack. This is how Luigi would have looked like if he appeared in the game:

There are also some strange numerical matches with dates and the number 2401. Coincidence? That is up to you to decide.

so you’re telling me that Luigi being in mario 64 was finally solved 24 years and 1 month after mario 64’s release, when the whole myth of luigi in mario 64 was tied to those EXACT NUMBERS (2401), AND if you add those numbers you get 2+4+0+1=7 (July) and 24+01=25, today’s date???

@Rheycore

Though it must be noted that this discovery came from hacking through the source code that was leaked, not through viewing the ROM files. This means that the Luigi files were probably excluded from the final ROM, and left on the cutting room floor. The files are also dated to 2003, so they were probably last used in relation to the iQue’s development.

A true playable Super Luigi 64 (plus hoaxes)

There are several iterations of the concept of a Super Mario 64 where you can play as Luigi. The first few were just hoaxes for internet clout, but later on they ended up turning into real mods that you can play on your N64, bringing the dream to life.

Here’s a video comparing the journey to the first star in both the 2015 version and the 2019 version.

Starxxon

All of the Starxxon versions don’t have any downloadable ROMs that I could find. If you know the whereabouts of any, please get in touch.

2005 version

The first, and oldest, Super Mario 64 video. The first video of it modded. The first upload of an N64 game in general to YouTube and of Direct Feed footage no less. This video achieved so many milestones. It’s honestly amazing how this video is overlooked.

Medachod on youtube

This is the first known footage of Super Luigi 64 by Starxxon in 2005. People thought for a while that this was real, but he later revealed that it was meant as a joke and that this was just a hack.

It seems to be that this ROM hack just changed the Mario model to look more like Luigi. His head does have a very balloon-like shape, and an extremely short snout.

This version has not been released to the public as far as I know. The video can be seen here.

Missing second version

There is another version of the Luigi hack by Starxxon but the only reference to it I can find is that he says that the 2008 version (below) is the 3rd iteration. There is a mod that’s missing to the sands of time.

If you have any information, screenshots or videos do let me know.

2008 version

A few years later, starxxon released this version of the Luigi mod. This one features a Luigi model that is a lot taller with longer extremities than Mario. It’s almost like he has the proportions of Waluigi here. His head seems much better proportioned here though.

This version can be found here. There is also no known downloadable ROM for this one either.

True 64’s Super Luigi 64

True64 (aka Truesixtyfour, aka Cjes and CyberTanuki) made a hack of the game back in 2015 and then released an updated version four years later in 2019. Since this one has a playable demo, there are a whole lot more things that we can tell that aren’t possible from a simple video.

Features (click to expand)

Changes in v1.0 (2015)

  • Custom super Luigi 64 title screen logo
  • Accurately designed Luigi model
  • SSB64 Luigi SFX
  • Adjusted triple jump height and running acceleration
  • Mario graphics replaced with Luigi
  • All instances of “Mario” were changed to “Luigi”
  • N64 compatible

Changes in v2.0 (2019)

  • Fully animated 3D Luigi head
  • Separate patch files for n64 compatibility are no longer required
  • Updated title screen logo model
  • Greener graphics
  • Cap collectables now match the Luigi cap color
  • New side flip and wall kick moves
  • Higher jumps and slippery movement
  • Luigi sounds are now modified completely in the NSound data
  • Fixed running/sliding rotation
  • Runs on an 8MB ROM file (no longer an extended 24MB ROM)
  • Misc. bug and stability fixes

You can find the download for the 2015 version here on n64squid.com by using the password “itsAmeWeegee” or also use the mirror on archive.org. The hack comes in a PPF format, which can be patched using PPF-o-matic on a ROM called Super Mario 64 (U) [!].z64.

Most of the changes made in this hack are graphical. The Luigi head in the opening, icons, text – The list goes on. I particularly like the stretchable Luigi face and the mission select screen’s green emblem.

There are some gameplay changes like Luigi’s jump height and slipperiness which make this game a bit more difficult to play (in my opinion). If you look at my footage video, it makes grabbing King Bob Omb much harder than it should be. The increased jump height also makes it hard to land a triple jump, since the second and third A-button press have to be executed slightly before you land on the ground compared to playing as Mario.

Nevertheless, this is the first hack of Super Mario 64 that lets you play as Luigi that was released to the public and for that it has its place in history.

Super Luigi 64 by Pimpuigi

After the discovery of Luigi in the source code, work began on another attempt to bring the green plumber to life in all his 3D platforming glory, finally releasing in December 2020 with a new update in May 2021. Pimpuigi is the main architect of this version, but there have been contributions by many others as well. This includes even some of the True64 team which worked on the 2015 version.

Credits

Original Authors

  • PimpUigi (Mod creator)

Key Authors

  • Marshivolt (Luigi Model Finalization)
  • Kaze Emanuar (Yoshi Programmer)
  • Snowxanya (Peach Voice)
  • Cjes (Super Luigi 64 Titlescreen Logo & Background, Luigi file select Glyphs)

Contributors

  • TheYoshoDude64 (Luigi Course select, Silhouette, and Power Meter)
  • P0PPY (Edited SunlitSpace542’s Luigi Goddard Model)
  • Andrat (Luigi Life Icon (further edited by PimpUigi and Marshivolt))
  • CyberTanuki (True64 Team)
  • King Geoshi Koopshi (True64 Team)
  • Charles Martinet (Luigi Voice)
  • Nintega Dario (“Luigi” Voiceclip)
  • Nintendo (Luigi Model)
  • Dude64 (Being Dude64’s identical lost twin)

Special Thanks

  • MohjinTehDohjin (PU64 Developer)
  • SunlitSpace542 (PU64 Developer)
  • MM (PU64 Developer)

You can find the download for the 2019 version here on n64squid.com by using the password “itsAmeWeegee” or also use the mirror on Gamebanana. The hack comes in an IPS format, which can be patched using Flips on a ROM called Super Mario 64 (U) [!].z64.

This version is much more than just a reskin of Super Mario 64 with a Luigi flavour to it. For starters, the patch comes in five different flavours:

  • OG Luigi from Classic Mario Bros. NES and Super Smash Bros. Melee (White shirt + Dark Green pants)
  • Super Mario Bros. 1 Luigi (Green shirt + White pants)
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 Luigi (Bright Green shirt + Black pants)
  • Super Mario World Luigi / Smash 64 Luigi (Bright Green shirt + Purple pants)
  • Super Mario Super Show Luigi (Blue Shirt + Green Pants)

The biggest difference is that Yoshi is available as a playable character if you manage to talk to him on the castle roof. I haven’t been able to get to 120 stars yet (and don’t feel like glitching/clipping) so I haven’t been able to try it out, but this is just another way of confirming an old rumour from 20 years ago.

There’s also some additional voices, like Peach’s invitation letter at the beginning that mentions Luigi instead of Mario.

There are a few things that the older version of the game did that this one didn’t though.

  • Luigi isn’t slippery, he has about as much traction as Mario
  • Luigi’s voice sounds a bit like a ‘chipmunked’ version of Mario’s. Apparently, this was the intention from the source code files themselves.
  • Mission select textures show Mario icons

This version does seem a bit more polished but either one of the two available versions would be a fun little journey should you choose to accept it.

Articles across the web

Luigi's existence in Super Mario 64 has always been a mystery. People have made rumours, fake videos and even ROMs of Super Luigi 64.
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