Lakitu, as seen in New Super Mario Bros. U (2012).
|First appearance||Super Mario Bros. (1985)|
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
|Designed by|| Shigeru Miyamoto|
Lakitu (ジュゲム Jugemu ) is a character in the Mario series of video games from Nintendo. He is typically depicted as a turtle-like creature (a Koopa Troopa in Mario terms) with a green shell, orange or yellow body, and thick, black glasses. He usually rides in a cloud with a smiling face (known as Jugem's Cloud). The name Lakitu is also used for an entire race of Koopas, most of whom fly about in this fashion. The origin and pronunciation of the name Lakitu are unknown, but the Japanese and English names do not appear to be related.
Lakitu is one of the few Mario enemies to have appeared in the series from the beginning. This puts Lakitu into the same pantheon as foes such as Goombas, Koopa Troopas, Bullet Bills and Piranha Plants. Unlike most of these other enemy characters, however, Lakitu has not changed a great deal from one game to the next.
In his role as an enemy character, Lakitu typically flies about and throws spiked eggs at Mario, although variant types employ other attack patterns. Unique among Nintendo enemy characters, Lakitu also appears in a number of games as a figure neutral to Mario. Furthermore, Lakitu features in a handful of non-Mario games as well as media such as comic books and animated cartoons.
Lakitu's basic attributes appear as early as the 1985 game Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). He rides on a cloud and throws spiked eggs at Mario (or Luigi for the second player). Though these hurt the hero should they touch him, the real difficulty Lakitu presents is that the eggs become Spinies, turtle-like creatures with spiked shells, when they touch the ground. As a result, Mario's path soon becomes littered with the foes. Lakitu typically hovers above Mario and speeds up or slows down at the same rate as the hero. Later games add other arms to Lakitu's arsenal, such as homing eggs in Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988). These basic attack patterns remain largely unchanged until the three-dimensional environments of the Nintendo 64 game Super Mario 64 (1996), where Lakitu may move in all directions.
Mario may defeat Lakitu by shooting him with a fireball, stomping on him, or hitting him with some other projectile such as a hammer or a Koopa shell in the games that allow such attacks. In the games where Mario's ally Yoshi is a controllable character, the dinosaur can also eat Lakitu or his cloud. Stomping requires some effort, as Mario must find a sufficiently elevated perch from which to jump, and must time the leap so as not to land on a Spiny egg.
Lakitu also plays a neutral role in a number of Mario-series titles. This trend began with Super Mario Kart in 1992. Here Lakitu flies about the Mario Grand Prix racetrack and aids the go-kart drivers who race there. The Lakitu Brothers in Super Mario 64 (1996) are another example; they hold the camera that "films" Mario's exploits, thus personifying the player's point of view of the three-dimensional game stages. Despite the moniker, only one Lakitu "Brother" ever appears on screen at a time, presumably because the other is holding the camera that the player sees out of.
The cloud on which Lakitu rides is called the Jugem's Cloud in Super Mario Bros. 3, though later games do not refer to it by name. It is roughly the same size as Lakitu, and it is characterized by its smiling face in every game except Super Mario 64. The name comes from jugemu, Lakitu's Japanese name. Beginning with Super Mario World (1990) for the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), many games allow Mario to make use of the cloud after dispatching Lakitu. Mario may then hop aboard the cloud and use it to fly for a short period of time before it dissipates.
Super Mario Bros. 3 also offers the Jugem's Cloud as a power-up item. If the player uses the Jugem's Cloud on the overworld map (from which individual game levels are selected), he may skip over one stage without having to play it.
Beginning with Super Mario World in 1990, Nintendo has introduced many new varieties of Lakitu enemies for Mario to encounter. Most are simply standard Lakitu who do not fly about in clouds, who throw a special projectile, or both.
The first variant the player encounters is the Fishin' Lakitu. Instead of raining Spinies down upon Mario, the enemy hovers slowly, dangling a 1-up mushroom at the end of a fishing pole. Should Mario grab it, the Lakitu speeds up and throws Spiny eggs. In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (1995), he attempts to steal Baby Mario from Yoshi's back; success causes the player to lose the game. The Fishin' Boo is the undead version; rather than an extra life, it dangles a deadly flame from its fishing rod. This pole is now one of Lakitu's major characteristics in various Mario spin-off games. In the Mario Kart series, for example, Lakitu carries a stoplight, various signs, and rescued racers on the pole.
Some Lakitu variants do not fly about on clouds. Super Mario World introduces the Pipe Lakitu, who emerges from a large, green pipe to throw spiked eggs at Mario. Similarly, the first game in the Yoshi subseries, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, introduces the Wall Lakitu, who hide behind walls, throwing projectiles. Similarly, Aqua Lakitu appear behind walls on underwater levels and breathe through a snorkel. Wall Lakitu are more common than flying Lakitu in Yoshi's Island.
A rare Lakitu type, the Thunder Lakitu, flies in occasionally and throws balls of thunder at Yoshi. This Lakitu reappears in New Super Mario Bros. (2006) as Lakithunder. In the Yoshi sequel, Yoshi's Story (1998), Lakitu can throw other types of items, such as rocks or jets of water. The Game Boy Advance title Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (2003) introduces a variety of Lakitu known as a Lakipea, one of a series of vegetable-themed enemies, which flies about in a vine-covered cloud and throws Spiny-like Sharpeas.
Lakitu in secondary games
Mario Kart series
Super Mario Kart, a 1992 SNES release, is the first game to feature Lakitu in a non-combatant role. Lakitu owns and runs the Mario Grand Prix tracks on which the other Nintendo characters race go-carts. The character's two main tools remain his Jugem's Cloud (which he uses to move about the raceways) and his fishing rod. Rather than harming the players, however, Lakitu aids them by starting each race, alerting them when they complete laps or drive in the wrong direction, and by hooking them and moving them back to the track if they go off course.
As in the Mario Kart series, the various Nintendo sports games that feature Mario characters often employ Lakitu in some sort of referee or support capacity. In Mario's Tennis for the Virtual Boy (1995), for example, Lakitu serves as the chair umpire and score keeper. In the GameCube title Mario Power Tennis (2004) he uses his fishing pole merely to retrieve wayward tennis balls. Mario Golf for Nintendo 64 (1999) instead follows the precedent of Super Mario 64 and makes Lakitu the cameraman. The 2003 title Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour includes a course named Lakitu Valley, though Lakitu himself makes no appearance. Most recently, Lakitu serves as umpire in Mario Superstar Baseball (2005).
Mario role-playing game series
Beginning with Super Mario RPG, a 1996 SQUARE/Nintendo collaboration for the SNES, Lakitu has been a somewhat rare enemy in Mario's various role-playing game adventures. These games typically take place on a playing field with both a north-south and east-west playing axis but without much up or down movement possible. This typically allows Lakitu to fly about in every direction except up and down. These games often feature the other varieties of Lakitu as well, such as Fishin' Lakitu. Some introduce new kinds, such as the Dark Lakitu in the 2004 GameCube title Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. These are similar to regular Lakitu, except that they throw sky-blue Spinies.
Mario may fight Lakitu in these games by touching him in the main gameplay mode. This leads to the game's battle mode (though this is difficult since Mario must find elevated ground from which to jump). In these encounters, Lakitu typically attack with lightning-based magic, physical attacks, Spiny eggs, or other projectiles. They are usually immune to thunder-based attacks.
Other Lakitu, usually with unique names, often serve as boss enemies in these games. They are generally stronger and tougher versions of their normal counterparts, and they typically leave better power-up items when defeated. Such Lakitu are "Spike?" (real name Lakilester), who ends up joining Mario's party, and the Lakitu Twins, who fight Mario alongside of the Spiny Twins.
Non-enemy Lakitu appear as well, such as a cabby of sorts who shuttles Mario and company between two locations in Super Mario RPG. The game Paper Mario, released in 2000 for the Nintendo 64, is the first to allow the player to actually control a Lakitu. This happens after Mario defeats a Lakitu named Lakilester (who refers to himself by his nickname Spike), and the character joins Mario's party. Mario may use Lakilester's cloud to fly about for unlimited periods of time, and Lakilester is able to protect Mario with a cloud and throw Spinies at enemies. According to unused sprites found in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Lakilester was set to appear in that game, along with all of the other characters. Lakilester has an overprotective girlfriend named Lakilulu, who often loses her temper when he puts himself in danger.
Lakitu makes cameo appearances in a number of video games. Tetris Attack, a puzzle game released for the Super Nintendo and Game Boy in 1996, teams Lakitu with a character called Goonie as the first boss of Vs. Mode. Defeating the Lakitu/Goonie team frees them from Bowser's possession and makes them available for use by the player. They are no different from any other playable character, though.
In the Mario Party series, Lakitu appears as a non-playable character in certain minigames. For example, in the 2002 GameCube title Mario Party 4, a Fishin' Lakitu dangles a fish-like enemy called a Cheep-Cheep from a fishing pole. Meanwhile, the players direct their characters to fill up a large, mechanical Cheep-Cheep with water. Lakitu eventually declares the winner by placing the real Cheep-Cheep in the first mechanical fish to fill up first.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee for GameCube (2001), Fishin' Lakitu is featured as a trophy, and Lakitu can be seen flying in the background of various stages. In Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (2003), Lakitu appears on the menu to explain how to use the e-Reader add-on device. Finally, in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap for Game Boy Advance (2004), he is a sedentary enemy, who attacks Link with lightning before retreating into his cloud.
In addition to his video-game appearances, Lakitu also plays a role in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "Mario and the Red Baron Koopa", which originally aired in 1989. The animators apparently did not use any of the video games as source material, and, like the Koopa Troopas, Lakitu here has a vastly different look: more reptilian, completely green, with red aviator goggles. The episode also marks the first time Lakitu's voice is heard, and his dialogue and delivery closely resemble those of comedian Groucho Marx.
A more on-model Lakitu appears in a comic-book story called "Cloud Burst" in Issue #5 of Super Mario Bros., published by Valiant for the Nintendo Comics System. This Lakitu is a bit of a kleptomaniac, stealing treasures from Bowser and Princess Peach, including both their crowns. Mario and Luigi must retrieve the princess's crown, which she believes to be in Bowser's possession. Upon seeing Lakitu, Mario flees, but Luigi manages to find Peach's crown among Lakitu's stolen treasure and then pulls the escape hatch, dissipating the cloud, but not before Lakitu manages to steal his clothes.
- ^ "Lost Bytes - Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door". http://www.classicgaming.com/tmk/pmttyd_lost.shtml#partners. Retrieved August 22 2005.
- Mario's Tennis Instruction Manual. 1995.
- Mitchell, David, editor. The Super Mario Monster Compendium.
- Super Mario Bros. Instruction Manual. 1985.
- Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode summaries.
- Super Mario Kart Instruction Manual. 1992.
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