Review by neothe0ne

"If only Nintendo and Square could be so successful all the time..."

Pros:
It'sa mee, Maario!
Real 3D on the SNES!
Combines the best of Mario with the best of Zelda & Final Fantasy
Great graphics, if slightly pixilated
Great soundtrack
Nice twist from normal Mario stories
Nice battle system
Lots of minigames
It's style is different from both RPGs and action/adventures
Doesn't get boring like other RPGs, such as.. (dare I to say it?) Final Fantasy

Cons:
Um.. can't really think of any...
Really addictive once you get started
It's style is different from both RPGs and action/adventures
Hasn't been re-released onto a modern console

Nintendo and Squaresoft are proud to present.. a project in which the best of both worlds combine. It's true. Super Mario RPG takes the action of Mario, adds a great story and adventure feel, mixes in the RPG style, adds some great music from the best of both companies, incorporates a great 3D engine, and the end result is a game so fun, so diverse, so exceptional, and so polished that one can't possibly not like it.

Super Mario RPG starts with Princess Toadstool, a.k.a. Peach, visiting Mario at his pipe house in the country. Soon after.. you guessed it... Bowser comes in his flying cart from Super Mario World and snatches her away to his castle! Mario goes to the Koopa King's castle to rescue her, and duke it out with Bowser atop two chandeliers. However, after Mario saves the princess and Bowser falls, a great big sword comes crashing down through the heavens and stars and lands on Bowser's castle! At this point, all three characters fly off in different directions, and Smithy takes control of Bowser's Castle, and starts to try to collect the Seven Stars that scattered at Smithy's arrival. The Star Road in the heavens was shattered when Smithy came down from some place, and the Stars can no longer grant people's wishes in its damaged state. Geno, whose real name is in Star language and not possible to write in English, comes down to find them, and Mario starts doing the same. The world of Mario is a big one, with forests, sewers, waterfalls and rapids, cloud land, a sunken pirate ship, and of course, Bowser's Castle. It's really just like a normal Mario world, but it's been expanded, detailed, and carried out in a way that other Mario games don't do, and not even Final Fantasy can rival this! There are 5 total characters in the game, with Mario, Bowser, and Peach as 3 of the characters. Yes, even Mario and the Princess can cooperate with Bowser to get rid of the greater evil!

Just as a teaser, Super Mario RPG also features Link, who when talked to, plays the Zelda secret-found sound effect, and Samus, who talks about getting ready to go to the Mother Brain. Also, the 3D way in which Super Mario RPG was made doesn't let you see a few places, and there are a few "unknown" people and hidden treasures to find behind houses and walls.

Visually, Super Mario RPG is amazing. It's one of the first Super Nintendo games that is rendered in full 3-D, and it doesn't look as pixilated and blocky as other 3D games. The graphics are colorful, flow smoothly, and the gameplay is so fast that Super Mario RPG can rival some of the newer PlayStation RPGs! The camera always centers on Mario, unless entering a triggered area, but no controllable camera is how the game was meant to be made and played. Mario controls well in this 3D world, and you can see shadows, different levels, and other things very clearly.

The music of Super Mario RPG is amazing to listen to. There are very few direct copies or remixes of traditional Mario songs, but even so, the music fits very well, sounds Mario-ish, and has great soul. Most of the music is composed by Yoko Shimomura, but Koji Kondo and Nobuo Uematsu both have many Mario and Final Fantasy themes in the music, respectively. Most of the music is light and upbeat, and makes the game fun to listen to AND fun to play, and almost all the music fits perfectly with the places/characters they're supposed to represent. There are a few slower pieces, some sad and some very heavy, that also add to the game, so the diversity of the music is also great.

The controls of Super Mario RPG are very unique. There's a button you hold down to run, when you're not in battles, you can jump, and this is very vital to the game. During battles, you have four buttons to press for four different commands. One for normal attack, one for magic attacks (they use Flower Points), one for items, and one for defend and/or run away. This setup utilizes all four buttons on the right of the controller, and are shown like those buttons. The battle system, besides the layout, is also very unique. A lot of your attacks can do more damage, be longer, do more attacks, ect., if you press a button at the right time. This style of fighting is very fun, and leaves boss battles very unpredictable, adding to the replay value. The magic skills you have also rely on pressing buttons at the right times a lot, and they do different things, from Mario's famous jumps to fireballs to lightning to healing to... When you use items, there's also a chance that you'll get a "freebie," where the item is used but that item still remains in your inventory. Also, battles start when you touch moving enemies during the game. If you jump on them, or smash them, you'll get first strike. Some enemies that you jump on, such as spiked enemies, actually hurt Mario on that first strike, too! In the minigames, you could be swimming down (or up) a waterfall, jumping on logs, jumping on barrels up a hill, racing with Yoshis, riding mine carts, and many other things. Throughout normal play, there are also many secrets hidden throughout the game, and normal play is not like normal RPG play at all. Jumping, running, timing things, and balance are very important.

In the end, when you beat Smithy and watch the credits roll, there's still more you can do! You can play more mini games and try to improve your scores and earn new items, you can buy more and better equipment with those coins, or you can travel around places you've been to and see what's changed. (Booster's Tower is a nice place to go see, Booster is trying to play that no-good-fraud Nimbus Land Queen, but you can't walk in on them that I've found.) Really, the game tells such a great story, finishes that story so well, and leaves so many little holes in the story that it's surprising that a true sequel has never been made.

Super Mario RPG is one of the most impressive RPGs I have ever seen. The game is so fun, so innovative, and so well polished that it's hard to believe this game is a reality. It's also hard to believe that the epic but not so polished Paper Mario games developed from this one. Super Mario RPG deviates from normal RPG-style so much that it really can't be called an RPG, and it doesn't get boring like other RPGs do. Nintendo and Squaresoft really do make a great team, and it's sad to see that they don't cooperate more and turn out sparkling treasures like this game. There is NO reason why you shouldn't buy this game to stay in your collection of classics forever.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/06/05


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