Review by Psycho Penguin

"Take Mario, put him in a RPG, and you get an overrated game"

Square Soft has always been one of my favorite video game companies, and they have produced some of my all time favorite games, like the Final Fantasy series, and Chrono Trigger. They have produced quality role playing games, shooters, adventure games, everything. They are definitely a great video game company.

Nintendo has also been one of my favorite video game companies, not only for the great consoles they produce, but also for the quality games, ranging from Super Metroid to the Super Mario Brother series. So when I heard that Square Soft and Nintendo made a role playing game together, I thought it was going to be great and classic. By the time I had completed it, only one thing was left on my mind.

Why wasn't it close to being as good as it could have been?

Yes, I was extremely disappointed with Super Mario RPG. I feel that it could have been much better than how it ended up being, and I was rather disappointed with the overall video game playing experience. It was certainly a good game, but it was rather lacking, especially for a role playing game. While I certainly did not expect the story line to be complicated, I did not know it was going to be so redundant and flat out boring. The game was a little bit too kiddy for my tastes, and I expected a lot more than what I ended up getting. Which is sad for me to say, because I really wanted to enjoy this game.

The story line should have been much better than what it turned out to be. I did not expect it to be the most complicated story line ever, but I did expect it to have a little more depth than the ''save the princess from the evil people'' type thing. It is like that for a while, and then it shifts, which is always a good thing, but still, you never really get a feel for any of the characters, which is always disappointing. The major problem with the story line in the game is the fact that Bowser and Princess are on the same team later on in the game. Can someone tell me what genius came up with that idea? Because it is a really stupid idea and does not fit in well with the Mario series story line at all.

Square Soft should have known better than to try that idea, because I know for a fact that they have some pretty creative writers, and they could have come up with some better ideas then what they did. It was a rather interesting story line for sure, but I felt it could have been done much better. I still don't understand how Square Soft could have put Bowser and Princess on the same team, and how that could possibly be their best possible idea. I would have done something where Bowser joins Mario, only to turn his back on him, but nooooo thats not good enough for Square Soft. Oh well.

When I first saw screenshots of this game, it seemed like a rather kiddy game, and lo and behold it turned out to be much more kiddier than I would have ever expected. Everything about the graphics scream kidiness, from the backgrounds to the enemy designs to the character designs, everything in the game is so kiddy, it is rather disturbing. I don't recall disliking the graphics in any Super Nintendo role playing game as much as I hate the graphics in this game. They are good, sure, but they are just way too kiddy for my tastes, especially the colorful background designs.

Square Soft has always been known to produce classic music and sound effects in their role playing games, so I expected Super Mario RPG to also feature quality music and sound effects. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with the music and sound effects in the game. It's not necessarily that they are bad, but the problem with the music and sound effects is the fact that they get pretty damn annoying after about an hour or two of playing the game.

The music has got to be some of the worst I have ever heard in a battle music. Usually, I am annoyed somewhat by the music in the Mario games, but the music in this game takes the cake by a mile. The battle theme in the game is absolutely terrible, and some of the worst I have ever heard. Now, the boss theme is all right, because you don't have to hear it every twenty sections. But you do have to hear the battle theme in the game a lot, and it gets very annoying after a while. Take it from me, the boss theme is okay, but the battle theme is annoying. The rest of the music is pretty disappointing also, I was generally annoyed by about ninty percent of it.

The overall game was actually pretty boring, because there was not much to do. Sure, you can buy weapons and items and stuff, but the problem was the fact that you did not get enough experience and gold pieces after battle. I hate the role playing games which give you like 100 experience points in battle at most, and this is one of those games. I think the maximum experience points you can get is 9999, which is absolutely a terrible idea for the most part, considering Final Fantasy 8 has you levelling up every 1000 experience points alone. I am not comparing the two games by any means, just try to figure out what I mean.

The best part of the actual game was the battle system, which tried some innovative ideas. The most innovative idea of the battle system was the timed hit method. In this game, you enter a battle in a 3/4 view. You can then choose one of four commands, each of the four commands can be controlled with a button. Like attack is A, escape is B, etc. This is really a good idea. Timed hits come into play when you attack an enemy. When you are about to hit the enemy, hitting A increases the damage. This also comes into play while defending. Magic spells are also times, like holding L or R while the meter fills up increases the attack, etc. This is a really novel idea.

Another innovative idea of the battle system is the fact that you can gain bonuses during the battle and at level up. During battle, you can gain bonuses like ''Full HP'' (which regains all your HP) and ''Attack Up'' (which increases your attack). At level up, you can choose an additional stat increase: attack and defense power, magic power, or HP. It is best to vary out these stats accordingly. I say that the battle system saves the game from being in the realm of terrible games, along with Robotrek.

Overall, this is another disappointing game in the long line of the games I have played (highlighted by Legend of Dragoon and Zekda: Link's Awakening). It is not neccessaily a terrible game, but it does have a lot of problems. Game depth and story line have never been a problem for Square Soft, but this game features problems in both of those areas. Even the graphics and music are annoyingly kiddish. The battle system is the only thing that saves this game and makes it worth buying. It is worth a purchase, but don't expect an amazing game.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 08/11/00, Updated 07/16/01

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