Review by Braben
"Its Mario!, it’s rpg!, it’s INCREDIBLE"
Square and Nintendo, Nintendo and Square, working together, that was a dream come true back in the old days of our beloved Snes, but it came true, and together they had a baby, a baby called Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars, also known as one of the best rpgs of all time.
Like always, Bowser kidnaps the Peach Princess, but this time Mario decides to go directly to Bowser’s castle and rescue her in no time. But after doing that, suddenly, a mysterious and huge sword falls from the sky through the castle’s roof sending Mario, Bowser, and the Princess flying in unknown directions. When Mario manages to find the way to castle again the giant swords starts to talk about the legend seven stars...
The plot is very nice and straightforward, nothing too deep or spectacular but very nice, Super Mario RPG is one of those few rpg’s where the plot is not the most important thing (like the Secret of series), but know that there is a plot and that is quite good.
I remember having read that this is a 128 megabyte game comprised on a 32 megabyte cartridge, this is a bit hard to believe, I don’t know exactly what to think, however, what it is not that hard to believe is that the graphics are some of the most impressive ever seen, and not only in the Snes. I still think that Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean have better visuals, but Super Mario RPG’s graphics have to be seen to be believed, saying that they are amazing is not enough to describe their greatness. This game is undoubtedly one of the most visually appealing games ever created.
The music, oh my God the MUSIC!!!, how is it possible to make something so nice and catchy, this may not be the best soundtrack ever but it is by far the most catchy and entertaining. The battle system theme is a classic, the boss theme is terrific, and that little tune played when you win a fight is ANTHOLOGICAL, it is the most funny and nice theme I have ever heard, man I can’t take it out of my head. I can go on forever, the Booster Tower theme, the Forest theme, the Mushroom Kingdom theme... one of the best soundtracks ever created, beyond words.
Using an amazingly beautiful ¾ perspective, the gameplay is another feature that makes this one a winner, because it is fast, intuitive, and more than anything, bloody fun.
Super Mario RPG has the third best battle system I have ever seen in an rpg, being Tales of Phantasia’s the best, and Grandia the second place. The truth is that it is that the battles are very standard, but there is one little thing, something so simple like pressing the button at the right time to make combos, that adds a lot of deep, tons of deep, not to mention fun, and this winner feature also works while using items or magical spells. With a good timing it is possible to make combos or more than 20 hits (if I am not mistaken Mario’s Jump spell can do a 40 hit combo). All the character can make combos more or less in the same way, but the spells are a bit different, very difficult sometimes, so you will have to experiment, for example some of them can do more damage if we rotate the control pad while the effect of the spells lasts on the screen. And talking about the spells, they are astonishing, they cover all the screen, or summon huge monsters, etc, and there tons of them and each character has its own and completely different from the others, which is great. Also every time you level up one experience level you will have to choose between improving your strength, defense, or magic power, that is up to you.
Together with the typical Super Mario troop there are two new interesting characters, Mallow and Geno. Mallow is a weak and so-so cloud-like thing, but Geno is a cool wizard that it seems to be made of wood, don’t know where are they now. And for the party member we not only have Mario and those two above mentioned new characters, the Peach Princess and Bowser himself will help us out to find the seven stars. But there’s something missing here right?, yeah!, where is Luigi?, that is what I want to know, where is he?, what an insult to Mario’s brother!
The character customization is perfect because it is very standard, you can buy better weapons in shops, items, armors, accessories, etc. Some weapons have magical effects or bonus points but basically they always improve your strength or skills, and the magical spells are obtained by gaining experience. Then each character has its own particular weapons and spells completely different from the others... the gameplay is simply perfect.
Hidden in the world of Super Mario RPG there are 39 treasure chests, some of them are simply impossible to find without a FAQ, while some others are pretty obvious. You will probably have to play again if you want to find them all because some of them have to be found in certain places in a certain moment or you will loose them.
There is a hidden island where you can find Yoshi and his (or her?) friends, there you can ride Yoshi and participate in a racing mini-game to win special items. There is also a part where you will have to ride a mine cart (like in the second Indiana Jones movie), and another one where you will fall from a waterfall while you try to obtain as much coins as possible, and some other things. And if all of this weren’t enough, in order for the plot to continue you will have to do a lot more things that can probably be considered as mini-games, but I don’t want to say anything because I have already talked too much.
Like in every Nintendo game aside from the mini-games and those things there are lots secrets and funny thing to discover, funny dialogues (like when you jump over the shopkeeper’s desk), secret items, secret places (there is a hidden casino), secret weapons, am ultra hard secret enemy, etc, plus the guest appearance of two tremendously famous Nintendo characters, they don’t do anything, but it is nice feature.
Super Mario RPG offers a big challenge because the game is quite hard, and finding all the secrets it is far from being an easy task.
To sum up:
Even if the plot is nothing spectacular, Super Mario RPG is one of those completely flawless games that only a few companies were able to make (Square, Nintendo) and that are no longer made. Square really outdone itself with this one, one of the absolute best games of all time, that simple.
”My lack of vocabulary and grammatical errors (if there’s any) are because I’m not from an English speaking country, sorry about that.”
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/29/03, Updated 02/27/04
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