Mario is Missing! is a geography-based game for the PC, Macintosh, Super NES and NES. It was developed by The Software Toolworks and released in 1992 for PC and SNES. In 1993, the NES version was made and developed by Radical Entertainment. The first two versions were published by Mindscape, and the NES version was published by Nintendo. It features very similar sprites to those of Super Mario World (SNES) and Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES). Mario Is Missing! is the first Mario game to feature only Luigi as the starring character, which did not occur again until Luigi's Mansion in 2001.
Bowser sets up a castle in Antarctica, and plans to use many hair dryers from Hafta Havit, a mail order company, to melt Antarctica's ice and flood Earth. He sends Koopas to cities across Earth to steal artifacts to fund his operation. Mario, Luigi and Yoshi travel to Bowser's castle to stop him. Luigi is hesitant to go in, so Mario goes by himself and is kidnapped by Bowser, prompting Luigi to rescue him. This plot is not explicitly included in the Super Nintendo version.
Luigi progresses through the game by completing levels in Bowser's castle; each floor is guarded by one Koopaling and contains a number of pipes which transport Luigi to a city containing Koopas. Once a floor is completed, Luigi must defeat the Koopaling guarding that floor to proceed to the next.
The main gameplay consists of moving around a city in side-scrolling manner while jumping on Koopas to collect stolen artifacts (pieces of famous landmarks). Luigi then must 'secure' the city by taking these artifacts to their respective locations and correctly answering two questions about the landmark. Once an artifact is returned, the landmark is reopened. During the quest to return all three artifacts to their proper landmarks, Luigi must determine his location to receive the assistance of Yoshi by using a device called the Globulator. If Luigi takes Yoshi to the correct location, he can ride him for double the walking and running speed. Once the exit pipe is found, Luigi is returned to the castle as long as he has Yoshi with him to scare the Pokey into the pipe; otherwise he will be unable to return to the castle. He can then proceed to another town to do it again.
In each city, Luigi is able to question the locals to gain clues as to his current location, the general direction of remaining Koopas, and information about the affected landmarks. He is given a map showing where information booths, people and Koopas are in the city. After returning the artifacts to the locations, Luigi takes photographs of the places he visits, which can be viewed any time later in the game.
The game has a difficulty level ranging from preschool all the way up to 'adult' (i.e. college) difficulty.
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