Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Review"Chef Torte! The cake's MOVING!"
One of the amazing things about living in the digital age is the ability to instantly download classic games to modern systems so you can share with the newest generations of gaming enthusiasts. Nintendo's Virtual Console is an amazing tool to dig up some of your old favorites while discovering some new gems. Since it would appear that Nintendo has no interest in reviving, updating or creating a sequel to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, it is as a good time as any to fall in love with the first Mario role playing game ever made.
Before becoming half of Square Enix, Square developed Super Mario RPG under the watchful eye of Mario's creator Shigeru Miyamoto. Released in 1996, Super Mario RPG was a huge detour from any previous Mario game. A deep, rich story peppered with constant humor and a stellar battle system set Super Mario RPG apart as a distinctly unique title. Its 3D rendered visuals and static viewpoint contributed to the game's matchless ascetic. Fun battle system, hilarious dialogue, excellent audio and colorful cast aside, the biggest individual pull to this Mario adventure was the inclusion of a gripping storyline that made players truly feel for Mairo and his friends as characters in a beautiful storybook world. And you get to fight a living wedding cake at one point, so there's that too!
The theme of the game starts simply as any other Super Mario title at the time, as King Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool from her palace in the Mushroom Kingdom and it's up to Mario to brave Bowser's Castle to rescue her. Things go well for the portly plumber until a massive sword monster skewers the villain's keep and sends Mario, Bowser and the Princess to the far corners of the kingdom with a mighty blast of energy. It's up to Mario to save the Princess and to stop the assembly line of new weird monsters that have appeared in the kingdom since the sword came from the sky. Naturally, it gets much deeper and more unique than that, but there are so many fun surprises, twists and new faces to meet I couldn't bear to spoil it for you!
Although Super Mario RPG is heavily focused on storytelling, atmosphere and comedy as many good RPGs should, Super Mario holds his own in the action department as well. Platform puzzles, mine cart races and Yoshi rides are just some of the many diversions along the way. Combat is extremely fluid and all of the timed attacks and defense button mashing you see in today's Mario role playing games started here. The normal and special attacks are smooth and there is nearly always a spilt second to jam the attack button to give the enemy a slight damage boost. Mario wields hammers, jumps on foes and blips fireballs with lethal efficiency that works well in the numbers and stats world of an RPG. His allies are exceptional in their own right and each has his or her special role to play in combat.
The legacy of Super Mario RPG can still be felt in modern Mario roleplaying games such as Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga's fondness for new characters and timed button pressing battles. On the other hand, none of these games are as difficult, multi-layered and as genuinely funny as Super Mario RPG. (I'm not in any way saying these RPGs are in any way bad, just not as excellent.) Although Mario may not ever encounter Geno the Star Warrior, chubby little Mallow or the evil Smithy again, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars holds its own as having the most personality of any Super Mario game to date. Step back in time to 1996 with the Wii's downloadable catalog and save the world as the first, last and best Nintendo/Square production. Bundt the cake monster isn't going to stomp itself to gooey bits, so break out the Nintendo Points!
-Arnold B. Carreiro
Developed by Square
Published by Nintendo
ESRB: E for Everyone
The Arnold B. Carreiro Rating System
A - Awesome! Why haven't you bought this yet? Go! GameStop doensn't close for another 2 hours!
B - Great game! It'll be something fun to play for a good while. It's better than most games, but shy of perfection for some reason. You should check it out!
C - Meh. It's not a BAD game, nor is it good. Enjoyment may be limited to a certain audience though. Perhaps some aspects of the title are great while others are bogged down by bad design/gameplay/etc.
D - Not too great... Too much of the game lacks polish to be appreciated to the general gaming public, but there might be enough here for someone to enjoy. Maybe...
F - A complete train wreck. Vampire Rain is the last "F" game I've ever played. The bargain bin is too good for an "F" game.