Instead of a metal sword, the beam sword generates a brightly colored energy blade about one meter (or three feet) in length. Although they appear to be light sabers, a beam sword has properties of a solid weapon, so they cannot cut through everything. Beam swords are the only weapons capable of deflecting energy based attacks like fireballs, other than Link's Master Sword and Mario and Luigi's capes. While they were initially seen as nothing more than a throwaway gag in Stupid Smash Brothers, duels between characters using these weapons became a staple of the series and appeared regularly. The color of each saber represents the user, while the core of the saber usually represents a person's alignment, be they good or evil.
It is unclear exactly how beam swords work, though they aren't new technology; Merlin created some of the first some 4,000 years prior to the present, although they were only functional after centuries of development. When the hilt of one is struck while it is still activated, a violent explosion will occur, destroying the weapon and harming the user, as observed during Mario's second encounter with Nox Decious.
While a beam sword largely resembles a light saber (even down to the sound effects it creates), there are several key differences between the two: Unlike a light saber, a beam sword cannot cut through virtually any material. This is because the blade of a beam sword has more properties of a solid than a plasma or light. However, a beam sword does have the ability to cut or stab through flesh and bone. Interestingly, nearly all deaths caused by beam swords throughout the series are due to stabbing injuries; the only notable counterexamples are when Merlin attacks Nox Decious (as seen in Episode 75), and when Mario kills some ninjas with swipes from his blade (Episode 61). In retrospect, there are several items that aren't affected by beam swords, such as the Master Sword and Link's shield.
Each beam sword's blade shows 2 colors: The color of the blade (which is purely for aesthetic purposes) and the color of the core (which reflects the current user's alignment). There are a variety of colors for the blade, including red, yellow, blue, green, and purple. On the other hand, the color of the core may be either white for those who are good, black for those who are evil, or a blueish grey for those who find themselves morally conflicted. The core color will change if the beam sword is picked up by a person of the opposite alignment from its previous user.
Notable Beam SwordsEdit
Mario's Beam Sword was the blue-bladed beam sword that Mario used when fighting. It is presumed that he created this saber before the start of the series. In "Stupid Smash Brothers," Mario used it when all his comrades had fallen to fight Wario. He didn't use it again until his battle with Nox Decious, where it was entirely destroyed by Decious' Dark Magic.
Wario's Beam SwordEdit
Wario's Beam Sword is Wario's red blade that resembles those used by the Sith from Star Wars, coinciding with Mario's original blade resembling that a Jedi. It is presumed that Wario created this saber himself. Wario used this beam sword when he fought in "Stupid Smash Brothers." He kept his saber when he left in "Link's Letter is full of Holes!". After severing his friendship with Waluigi, Wario gathered the Nether Emblems in the Orchard, constructed the Nether Saber, and plunged it into Nox Decious' chest.
As revealed in "Remembrance," the Darkness left Decious upon his death and took a new host, Mario, as he was the closest person. Mario, possessed by the Darkness, used his Force-like power to steal Wario's original blade from his back pocket, and the two battled furiously. Mario ultimately lost the duel, but he escaped with Wario's first saber, which he would continue to fight with for the rest of the series. Wario would likewise continue to wield the Nether Saber, resulting in the four Bros' wielding sabers with colors matching their shirts and caps.
Luigi's Beam Sword is the green beam sword that Luigi battles with in "Two Tall Thin Men have a Fight!". It is mentioned that he has one in "Is it "Kung Pow" or Stupid Mario?", but it isn't seen. The green blade matches Luigi's shirt, unlike Mario's original Beam Sword coloring, which was meant to parody Star Wars.
The Dark Emerald BladeEdit
The Dark Emerald Blade is Mr. L's beam sword. It is called this because of its black core and green glow. The Dark Emerald Blade is supposed to be as powerful as the Black Widow Blade, if not more powerful. The most noticeable attribute of the Dark Emerald Blade is that it can absorb and shoot energy blasts, similar to the fireballs that Mario and Luigi shoot. Mr. L must have taken it when the Darkness changed Luigi's beam sword's core into black, and threw it to somewhere. Obviously and shortly, it is the evil version of Luigi's beam sword.
Waluigi's Beam SwordEdit
Waluigi's Beam Sword is the purple beam sword that Waluigi battles with in Episode 29 and Episode 44. It is mentioned that he has one in Episode 27, but it is not seen. The blade is purple and matches Waluigi's shirt, unlike the coloring of Wario's original.
After killing Blaire Vherestorm with it, Waluigi seemingly threw away his beam sword.
The Black Widow Blade is Nox Decious' grand saber. Decious created this saber from pure evil, and named it after its black and red glow. The core is black (due to it being made of pure evil), no matter who wields it. Decious didn't think Mario was worth risking potential damage to his precious weapon, so he created a duplicate saber which was substantially weaker--this duplicate was destroyed in his battle with Mario. He had placed the real beam sword in the Orchard so he could kill Mario with one final blow later, but Decious died before he could use it. The Black Widow Blade was in the Darkness' possession up until Act II Part 3 of the movie, when he was presumed to have been killed. It was taken into the possession of Wario, who gave it to Mario in Act II Part 4 for him to use to fight Mr. L. It is not known if Mario kept the blade, as he dropped it when he was done using it. The blade that the Darkness used in Act II Part 6 was not the Black Widow Blade. This is known because the core flashes gray every now and then; the real Black Widow Blade had a constantly black core. The Darkness later used another copy to kill Blaire Vherestorm. In The Season finale, he revealed that the copies he created were more powerful than the original. Nox Decious has also made another copy of the Black Widow Blade which he used in Episode 61 in another battle against Mario.
The Nether SaberEdit
The Nether Saber is the most powerful beam sword. Whoever posses the Nether Saber will always win in combat. It consists of the three Nether Emblems. Originally, the blade appeared to have a blue core, a yellow outline, and a green glow, but this was in the hands of the confused Wario. In actuality, it is a yellow beam sword. The Nether Saber is the only beam sword that can change the core to other colors besides white and black. The outer glow also seems to change as well, but this was only seen in "The Most Epic Battle EVER," "This time, It's Personal!", and "Remembrance." The core of the Nether Saber kept changing while in Wario's possession to represent his internal conflict, which helped Merlin realize that he was the second chosen one. When Wario's inner conflict was resolved, the beam sword returned to a regular yellow color.
The Nether Saber was made by Merlin at his table. After he used it to assault his evil brother, Merlin made sure that the three Nether Emblems were separated from each other, because the saber was far too powerful for one person to control. Mario and company began searching for the emblems when they learned it was the only thing that could defeat Nox Decious.
Once they had the Emblems, Mario confronted Decious. He was too slow to assemble it, though, and Decious kicked the emblems away. While Mario and Decious dueled, Wario constructed the Saber in the Orchard, caught Decious by surprise, and plunged it through his chest. With Decious out of the way, Wario tried to kill Mario with the saber, but it decharged before he could finish off the job.
The Nether Saber needed to be recharged, so Wario went to the Abandoned Shed and learned to recharge the saber from a man named Nilrem. The path to recharge it was too much for Wario, so he abandoned the saber in the Orchard where Ash found it. He brought it to Solid Snake and Otacon and the three of them set off towards Merlin's table to destroy it once and for all.
Once they got to the table, the set up was suspiciously unguarded. When Solid Snake put the saber into the center of Merlin's table, it began to be reactivate. They had received false advice from Master Miller who was actually Wario in disguise. Once reactivated, Wario attacked them with fireballs and took the saber for himself.
After his battle with the others and once he truly realized his destiny, the saber's core turned a normal white as he knew that he was actually good and not evil.
Wario used the Nether Saber in his first fight with The Darkness, who managed to take it from his hands. Wario reclaimed the Saber after he apparently killed The Darkness by throwing it through his back. He used the Nether Saber one last time in his second battle with The Darkness, and impaled him with it again, killing him for good. It is unknown what happened to The Nether Saber after that, as Wario threw it aside after the battle and walked off without it, but it was revealed later in the series that Wario still has the Nether Saber. He uses it to tell if Merlin is still alive, as Merlin is connected to the Nether Saber; the Saber would lose power if Merlin were to die. It is revealed in the series finale, that Merlin is dead. It's also revealed that The Nether Saber is connected to Merlin's spirit, and his spirit lasts long after he's dead, and thus is why The Nether Saber still works.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Like Star Wars' light sabers, the beam swords' special effects are created by rotoscoping a placeholder (In this case, a PVC pipe with a rubber/electrical tape hilt) in post-production. After the pipes are masked frame-by-frame, color, fade and glow effects are added.
Animating Beam Sword battles is a tedious process that sometimes delays an episode, as is the case with Bloody Confrontations, which was delayed by three weeks and edited solely by Rich Alvarez, who would often stay up all night masking shots to complete the episode. As NTSC video runs at approximately 30fps, ten seconds of a singular Beam Sword effect can usually take more than half-an-hour to mask. After The Movie, Beam Sword duels and other special effects sequences were conveniently suppressed via the Beacon story arc until Season Five, where most instances of special effects were handed over to multiple third party freelancers.