Paper Mario (E) Review by: juuldudeMario his N64 RPG!
Hey there folks! First of all, a (late) merry Christmas to everyone! Second, if you're wondering why this review came out relatively late, it's because I was doubting which game I wanted to review, as I'm playing a lot of games at the same time at the moment. I am playing Zelda OoT, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 64, Mario & Luigi Dream Team Bros and I should also play Mario & Luigi Bowser's Inside Story as well! But this is a game that I have finished about a week ago and since it is fresh in my mind I would do this game first.
In 1996, near the end of the SNES lifespan (the Nintendo 64 came out in the same year) Nintendo released its very first Mario RPG, created together with Square Enix. It was called Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. It became a really popular game and it was praised by both the critics and the fans. Nintendo wanted to make a direct sequel for the N64 but since Square had stopped working together with Nintendo they made a completely new game together with Intelligent Systems that came out in 2000 in Japan and 2001 in other countries, coincidentally enough at the same year the Gamecube was launched, just like what happened with Super Mario RPG. Nintendo had troubles with making the game look interesting but when Naohiko Aoyama made a sketch just for fun
that showed 2D characters walking in a 3D world
which is how the idea of Paper Mario was born.
I have played this game on my phone because I got a N64 emulator to play games which I can't play here on Vizzed and even though I could play this game on Vizzed, I finished it on my phone. Since I'm European, I only can play European versions of games, so that's why I'm also reviewing the E version of this game. If you notice differences with the American version, then please say so as I have no idea if there are any differences (except for being able to play with German and French texts in the E version).
Now that I have said all these things, lets start this review!
The story part will be quite long, so I'm going to do a long version and a summarized version. First the long version, then the summarized one.
Before you actually can start the real game, you can watch a small part of the story before you go to the titlescreen. We see that there is a place named Star Haven where the seven Star Spirits live. The Star Spirits can grant wishes with a special tool that they watch over and protect: the Star Rod (Kirby, anyone?). Since the Star Rod is of course a very powerful thing, the Star Spirits protect it with utmost care until one day... two evil beings invade the Star Haven. These two evil beings are none other than the evil king Bowser and... Kammy Koopa?(This is the game that introduced Kammy and as later explained she's Bowser his right hand and so smart that she is known as 'the brains behind Bowser'!) Anyways, Bowser commands Kammy to use some powerful magic which suddenly breaks a seal that protects the Star Rod! Bowser grabs the Star Rod and imprisons the Star Spirits into cards, to make sure that they won't cause trouble as well. Together they fly away, Bowser in his Koopa Clown Car and Kammy on her Broom. Now the Starkids (little stars who act like messengers) can't deliver the wishes to Star Haven, which means that wishes won't come true anymore! Is there anybody who can save the Star Spirits?
Now the game and the rest of the story start!
Mario and Luigi are chilling inside their house when a friendly Paratroopa delivers a letter. Luigi takes the letter out of the mailbox and walks inside, calling Mario that princess Peach sent them a letter. The letter tells about a party organized at Peach her castle and Peach would be honoured if Mario and Luigi could come. The two bros immediately head out to Peach her castle. While Luigi decides to talk with a Toad and mingles as he says himself, we can take control of Mario! Mario goes to Peach her room and finds Peach there. Peach wants to relax with Mario but suddenly... the ground trembles and... the castle rises up into the air! What's that? Is that... Bowser's Castle beneath her
castle? Peach and Mario see that they are so high that they can see the stars!
Suddenly Bowser breaks in through Peach her window together with Kammy. He tells Peach that he is indeed the one who has brought her castle here, and he's planning to kidnap her (again...)! Mario protects Peach and is ready to take on Bowser. Bowser simply laughs but Peach tells him that he can't beat Mario. But Bowser says that this time it will be different!
The battle starts. Not much happens until Bowser shows something: the Star Rod! And what's worse, he uses it to make himself invincible! Mario is no match for him and Bowser easily defeats him with a powerful fire blast, causing Mario to faint. Bowser then casts a lightning on Mario, causing him to fall out of the castle and all the way down to the Mushroom Kingdom.
On the earth, Mario is still unconscious when vague versions of the Star Spirits appear. Apparently, they still have some power left even though they're trapped in cards. They use their remaining power to give Mario more energy, even though they can not wake him up. Their only hope is Mario and since their power is too weak they have to leave after they have done that. Mario is then found by a Goomba who calls out some other Goombas and then Mario is put into a bed. Just before he wakes up, one of the Star Spirits wakes up and tells him
that he should go to the Shooting Star Hill. Mario wakes up and is informed by a Toad that he was as
leep for days. Everybody in the Mushroom Kingdom knows about what happened and everybody has noticed that their wishes don't come true anymore. Mario goes to the Shooting Star Hill and there the same vague Star Spirits appear and inform Mario about the situation. Bowser has trapped the Star Spirits in cards and has given them to his strongest henchmen. If Mario can rescue the Star Spirits they can retain their original, stronger form and
when he has rescued all seven of them, they can make a beam that will stop Bowser his invincibility. So Mario sets out on a quest to rescue the Star Spirits!
Bowser steals the Star Rod, Mario & Luigi go to the party at Peach her castle, Bowser lifts Peach her castle into the air with his own castle, Bowser becomes invincible thanks to the Star Rod and for the first time beats Mario in a battle, Mario is informed by the Star Spirits what has happened and sets out on a quest to find the Star Spirits and stop Bowser.
Well, at first the story seems a bit boring. It's almost the same as the story of all the Mario platformers, the only difference being that this Bowser is invincible. But as you progress throughout the game, you will find out other things. There is a land that is doomed to wither away because the place is filled with clouds, boos are being eaten by a severe beast, a town has Fuzzy problems and you are even accused of murder! Is this all the work of Bowser? The first two things, yes. The other two things, no! Anyways, this sure makes the game more interesting. Bowser his minions are almost everywhere, even at places you would least expect it. And Bowser his powerful henchmen who guard the Star Spirits are all very different. Some use their power to cause trouble (like the examples I mentioned earlier) while others decide to hide away as much as possible.
So it might not be the most interesting story at first but when you progress in the game there will be more funny things to discover and to learn about. There are enough characters to make this game and the story interesting. The only thing of the story I never understood is why Luigi doesn't help Mario. He's there to talk with throughout the whole game but for some reason he doesn't want to join you or something.
The graphics look really good for a Nintendo 64 game. Raw 2D sprites look really good on a Nintendo 64, and it gave Mario a different but unique look. The 3D worlds all look different but interesting as well, and trees, houses and water look pretty realistic. There are also some backgrounds that look hand drawn, which is something that goes well with the paper theme. When I started this game I was wondering if it would be clear to see that characters were paper thin, and I wasn't disappointed. When Mario goes to bed, he falls in his bed like a falling paper. There are some parts where Mario and other characters fall down as papers, and when a character turns around you can see how thin they are. The only downside of using 2D characters in a 3D world would be that it's not hard to see vertical depth but horizontal depth can be a little bit hard to see in the beginning.
I think that this game has really diverse and deep Mario music. First of all, there are lots of Mario musics that don't sound Mario-esque at first, because they are really mysterious, dark, or even very thrilling (well, for a Mario game with not so Mario-music then). Something that the Paper Mario series began with is that each major boss has its own boss theme, which is own of the best and most interesting ideas for a Mario game, since you can get a different look at a battle and a boss as well. Awesome musics, both overworld and boss musics I really like are: A Party at Peach's Castle, Koopa Bros. Keep Cool, Dry Dry Ruins Quest, Gusty Gulch Adventure, Huffin' and Puffin' and King of the Koopas (the final boss theme!).
As for sounds, this game has some unique sounds. Mario his jumping sound is not his regular sound, collecting coins also sounds a bit different as well. Mario doesn't make any sounds like he does in Super Mario 64 but other characters don't as well, it's just an aspect of the Paper Mario series. Something really neat and funny is putting on badges that give different sound effects when you use your hammer or jump on an enemy in a battle.
I'm going to divide this in overworld and battle gameplay, as both are unique like in most games.
The overworld is actually quite boring if you look at Mario his moves. If you've played Mario & Luigi games then you know that the bros will learn special moves to use in the overworld. All moves Mario can do in Paper Mario is jumping, hammering and talking. Jumping gets a bit more interesting later on when you can pound the ground and can jump a bit higher that's it. Something I don't like as well is that you can only have 10 items with you, the rest has to be stored which can only be done in stores. The thing I like to do in the overworld however is using badges, because you can use badges that have effect in the overworld or battles (but badges can only be put on in the overworld).
The real fun comes from using partners. Throughout the whole game, you'll find 8 other people who eventually join you, some are just fans, others want to your help, others help you in return for helping you and one even switches from Bowser his side to your side! All the partners can do different things, like blowing up walls, giving information, swimming, crossing gaps, flying over lava and thorns and so on. This makes the overworld a lot more interesting. The best thing is that the partner who can give you information can give information about literally ANYTHING. So not only places and characters, but also items in the environment and people! This is really cool and makes the overworld a lot funnier.
Fights in this game are very different compared to Super Mario RPG or Mario & Luigi games. In Mario & Luigi games, you just have Mario and Luigi on the field. In Super Mario RPG, you are on the field with two of your partners. All of your partners or Mario and Luigi can attack or use items, or choose to run away. But in Paper Mario it's different! Mario is the only one who can use items, choose to run away or use Star powers. Wait what, Star powers?
Let's start with the basics. Mario can either jump or use his hammer. If Mario wears special badges, he can use special jump and hammer moves. Mario his partner then uses an attack but the partner can also attack before Mario does. When Mario or his partner uses a special attack, it costs 'flower points'. Just like with hp, you have a certain amount of these points, and they can be refilled. A partner has two attacks, but if Mario jumps against certain blocks in the overworld, a partner can be upgraded and will learn one extra move. Their attack power will also rise. The difference with the partners is that they don't have hp. Certain enemies and bosses have attacks that can hit Mario or his partner, but both can defend themselves and will either take less damage or no damage at all. If Mario is hit he will lose hp but if a partner is hit without defending themselves they will fall down and can't attack for one turn.
So back to the Star powers. Once Mario rescues a Star Spirit he or she will give Mario a special move to use, like healing, making enemies fall as
leep or doing some damage. Using a move costs 'star points'. Moves can cost 1-3 starpoints. There is a bar that shows how many starpoints can use, and each turn it fills up a little. Mario (and partners when Mario wears special badges) can use Focus (which costs nothing) so that the bar will fill up faster, but then a turn will be wasted. Alright, that's it!
I find the overworld very interesting with partners but without partners it would be way too boring. Battles can be a bit complex at first but are actually easy to understand once you get the hang of them. I think the battles are more fun than the overworld though, as the overworld only has a few difficult puzzles and for the rest it's quite easy, while the battles take a lot more strategy.
For a Mario RPG this is a great game that is really worth replaying, anyone can start this game and finish it, there are a lot of sidequests, small messages, secrets and other funny stuff. Collecting badges is really cool and feels fresh. Just like with all Mario games, there are very different places, and the people change too: a desert town had nomad toads and nomadimouses, a snow town has penguins and toads with winter clothes, instead of those toads who walk around like it's summer all the time. Luigi can be visited as well which is funny to do as he's often singing and idling. There's also a cook named Tayce T who can cook with one (and later on two) ingredients so if you want you can collect food (certain places have food hidden in trees or bushes) and cook it to see what will come out. The only downside of this game is that it takes longer than most Mario games, so if you rather play shorter Mario games I would play another Mario game.
I spent more than 30 hours to complete this, while Super Mario RPG and some of the Mario & Luigi games took me 15-20 hours to complete. That's because there are a lot of sidequests, things to cook, there are some optional bosses, tiny secrets, hearing information about several things and the overworld is very big. The boss battles were rather short however, which gives the feeling that you're never taking too much time. I think the game shouldn't be longer or shorter as it is, they put as much in it as they probably could and should have done.
Probably the biggest downside with this and most other Mario games is the difficulty. Mario games are made for kids so a lot of Mario games don't have something very hard, although recent Mario games get things like harder stages (the special worlds and the hardest level in special world 8 in Super Mario 3D Land for example), optional stronger versions of bosses (Bowser X in Mario & Luigi Bowser's Inside Story for example) or a different difficulty mode (Mario & Luigi Dream Team Bros for example) but this game doesn't have that. There is an optional boss who is harder than the final boss but when I fought him I had little to no trouble with him, there was a boss in the storyline I found a lot harder to defeat. I wish that there would've been something more difficult as I found the game too easy at some points.
And that's it for this huge review of mine, mostly because of the long story and gameplay parts. If you think I made those too long, please say so because I can put a lot of maybe not so necessary information there.
Summon time! First some other great reviewers.Zlinqx
: I still have to read one of your reviews where you have summoned me, if I don't forget it I will do it.A user of this
And some other people as well!imamonster
: Sword legion
If any of you guys don't want to be summoned anymore, then please tell me so as I summon all kinds of people who I think are interested in my review. If you don't, prepare to be summoned until you die! MUAHAHAHA cough cough... }:)
That's it for this review, I hope you enjoyed reading it and please tell me your opinion about my review or the game if you have played it. Feedback is always welcome, since I can only improve right?
That's it for this review, until next time Vizzederians! :)