Over the last few months leaks have been emerging from the big daddies of platforming, Nintendo. Nothing too surprising so far since leaks and game companies go together like Mario and Peach’s cake (euphemism that at your own peril.) Oddly enough though, this time the leaks haven’t concerned any upcoming titles or other mystery projects. Instead we have been given the gift of some N64 era source codes! The holy grail of items sought by people who crack game files to find the sweet nectar of hidden gems within. Among the codes found are the files for Star Fox, Yoshi’s Island, Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and a few more treasures of history, but the biggest of all is a pre-launch build code for Super Mario 64, its SO old in fact that it’s still named Ultra 64 Mario Brothers! 2 things to take from that name, 1. The N64 was originally titled the Ultra 64, and 2. Brothers… BROTHERS, see what I’m getting at?
It’s been assumed and rumoured for years that Mario’s lanky, green wearing younger brother was meant to be hidden somewhere inside Nintendo’s crowning glory of the N64 era. The closest anyone ever came to proving this before was the infamous “L is Real 2401” message on the fountain of Princess Peach’s castle. Now however the miners have dug deep and found in an Ultra 64 file copywritten on December 12 1995, a job lot of texture files for little Luigi sitting there just waiting to be used! Proof that the cowardly plumber was well on his way to Development not too long before the title launched in June of 1996. It’s a strong possibility that Nintendo simply ran out of time or space to implement him but now with the advanced technology in out hands, people have the power to revive the eternal understudy!
Rom modifiers have already been hard at work and some of the results are a little unsettling. Luigi’s files are decent, and he has a full list of textures and even some voice files which are still under lock and key, most of these files can easily be dumped on top of Mario’s character model and work just fine but there is no sign in game or the files of how this alternative character was ever going to be playable. No menus and no items to change, so most of what is being made is just Mario with assorted Luigi arms or head in place. It’s an odd scarecrow way of living but hey, it’s the best we can hope for just now! I have no doubt that within the next few months we will see a slew of new Mods for this game with Luigi at the forefront, which would be a nice change of pace from the sheer number of Sonic mods already rolling around on file sharing sites… Really? Sonic before Luigi?
This doesn’t exactly change anything about the game, it’s not like you’ll be able to find the character actively hidden within the true released version of Mario 64, but it’s at least nice to know that Nintendo tried! Besides, with Rom hacks and Mods its no doubt that if you wish to emulate this classic title at anytime in the future then you’ll have the option to include Luigi, maybe for a change of pace? Or maybe just to have your younger brother play as him for yet another opportunity to bully him…
The safest thing to say is, regardless of his incomplete addition and missing the mark once again, Luigi is still beloved and at least on this occasion while it isn’t in a true form, L is Real.