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Super Mario RPG Review

After 12 long years, Mario's first RPG has finally arrived in the UK

This is a shout-out for the guy at Nintendo who thought of the Hanabi Festival to give us a ring, because we want to take him out for dinner. And not just any shabby dinner either. We're willing to get him an XXL Whopper with cheese and bacon, and go large on his fries and drink too. That sort of meal in your average central London Burger King would cost around 165 quid - roughly the amount most games journalists earn in a year. But that's fine because we're that grateful to him. He deserves all the over-priced beef he can eat, and this is why.

Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars is here at last and it's about time. Probably one of the most highly requested import-only games in Nintendo history, this classic hit Japanese and American stores in 1996. The Super NES adventure was praised worldwide for being one of Square's best RPG adventures, looking absolutely incredible and showing Mario's world in a whole new 3D light. Sadly, it never got released in Europe. We want the guy who made that decision to give us a call, too. So we can throw him into a spiked pit.

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As the title suggests, it's an RPG - with Mario. It all starts off the way you'd expect. Princess Peach is round Mario's gaff, chilling out in the garden when Bowser turns up and kidnaps her. Plucky as ever and never one bit tired of Peach being so useless, Mario springs into action and, within a few minutes, you're bashing your way through Bowser's castle to punch lizard man in the eye for taking your girl.

But it all goes belly-up when a giant sword falls from space, crashing into Bowser's castle and sending Mario, Bowser and Peach flying through the air. It's a new enemy - the Smithy Gang - and Mario has to find the seven legendary stars before they do. Because he's a hero. And because no-one's invented police in the Mushroom Kingdom. Idiots.

A Star Is Born

It's pure genius from there on. It still has platforming mechanics and obstacles in it but instead of enemies dying with one swift head stomp, coming into contact with any foe enters you into a turn-based battle with a set of enemies. That means no Final Fantasy-style randomised enemy encounters. Sweet!

You choose your attacks, from standard jumps or punches to fireballs or green shells, and strike numbers (HP for RPG geeks) out of enemies' heads. All very traditional there. But Square came up with a few clever features to spice things up. The battle system packs a timing element where you can hit the attack button a second time, just as your attack connects with you foes' noggin, to enhance the damage done. Conversely, you can hit a button a split second before an enemy attack strikes you to reduce the damage taken.

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The genius of this is that it makes you more involved in the fight. It makes attacking a more visceral experience than the usual RPG, in which you usually select your attack then sit back and watch it happen. It also means you have to study enemies and their moves carefully so that you can successfully defend their various attacks.

Just as in other RPGs, the main man starts off alone but Mario meets other characters who join his party. With a talking cloud called Mallow, a peculiar doll named Geno, Peach and the lizard king Bowser on your side, there's plenty of variety and depth to the battle system, even by today's standards.

All this is knitted together with a brilliant story and trademark Mario charm. Your ears will tingle to what is easily one of the best soundtracks in Mario history. The mix of quirky Square-created melodies along with frequent throwbacks to tunes in past Mario games is seriously cool. Like, listen-on-your-iPod cool, even if doing so will get you bullied at school. The question of whether or not to get Super Mario RPG really is a no-brainer. It's a brilliant RPG that stands up even by today's standards, and you finally get to experience a top-quality slice of Mario history that has hidden from us Brits for over a decade. Whatever will Nintendo give us next? The Mother series with English text? We can only dream.

Comments

38 comments so far...
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  1. slangman Friday 19th Sep 2008 at 13:55

    About time this came over here. Great gameplay, great music and great characters. :D

  2. Dan-the-Wii-man Friday 19th Sep 2008 at 14:46

    I absolutely loved paper mario and this seems to be similar! yay! :D :D :D

  3. griffo2k6 Friday 19th Sep 2008 at 16:13

    It sounds like the battle system is like the Mario and Luigi games. Can somebody reinforce my ponderings please?

  4. VINCENT123666 Friday 19th Sep 2008 at 16:41

    DONT GET ITS EXACTLY THE SAME AS PARER MARIO FOR VC

  5. superewan Friday 19th Sep 2008 at 17:01

    well, if u can't think of any negative points, doesn't that mean it should get 100%?

  6. daddybobo Friday 19th Sep 2008 at 18:12

    seen clips of the game on youtube. Looks good will deffo get it.

  7. Golden Knight Friday 19th Sep 2008 at 19:40

    Just one word: YES!!!!

  8. Adam2112 Friday 19th Sep 2008 at 20:30

    I've never really been a big fan of RPG's but this one has Mario in it, so I may just have to get it seeing as I have leftover Wii points.
    :D

  9. cookey Saturday 20th Sep 2008 at 07:11

    Guys buy it! Its awesome, I downloaded it 2 weeks ago and love it!

    And to answer griffo2k6's question, the battle system is a lot like the Mario and Luigi games. Even the music sounds kinda the same!

  10. Poke-J Saturday 20th Sep 2008 at 08:50

    Yay im getting this! Oh, and funny review! :D

  11. Ubahquiet Saturday 20th Sep 2008 at 16:16

    DONT GET ITS EXACTLY THE SAME AS PARER MARIO FOR VC

    Only, ya know, not exactly the same as Paper Mario on the N64 VC.

    Now, this is an awesome game.

    C'mon, give us Mothers 1, 2, and 3 please, Nintendo!

  12. Adamarussell Saturday 20th Sep 2008 at 16:26

    I dont like final fantasy, but will I like this?

  13. Felixthecat Sunday 21st Sep 2008 at 12:59

    I got this the first day it came out and it has conbined two of my most favourite things:Mario and RPGs. I just want to say 3 words, GET THIS NOW!!!!!

  14. GamerKid Sunday 21st Sep 2008 at 15:51

    DONT GET ITS EXACTLY THE SAME AS PARER MARIO FOR VC

    Only, ya know, not exactly the same as Paper Mario on the N64 VC.

    Now, this is an awesome game.

    C'mon, give us Mothers 1, 2, and 3 please, Nintendo!

    We wont get mother 3 because it came only in japan gba
    2006

  15. Mama Luigi Sunday 21st Sep 2008 at 17:54

    It's been 12 years and the only fault I can think of is that it all ends too soon. This needs a true sequel developed by Square Enix now!

    It features some of the best music in a Mario game ever. I've been known to get "Beware Of The Forest's Mushrooms" in my head for days if not weeks. If you play brawl, the song is featured on one of the forest stages in SSE.

    For once, ONM gave a decent review. This game deserves the 95% it got.

  16. Mama Luigi Sunday 21st Sep 2008 at 17:55

    I dont like final fantasy, but will I like this?

    If you like Mario then yes. It's more simple and fun than Final Fantasy ever will be.

  17. bilsthorpe18 Sunday 21st Sep 2008 at 18:42

    I dont like final fantasy, but will I like this?

    If you like Mario then yes. It's more simple and fun than Final Fantasy ever will be.

    I don't like Final Fantasy but i love this. :wink:

  18. GamerKid Tuesday 23rd Sep 2008 at 15:32

    well, if u can't think of any negative points, doesn't that mean it should get 100%?

    :lol:

  19. mj scorpz Wednesday 24th Sep 2008 at 11:34

    well, if u can't think of any negative points, doesn't that mean it should get 100%?


    I thought that...? :?

  20. Sabrewulf Wednesday 24th Sep 2008 at 16:38

    I downloaded this a couple of days ago and is the only thing to make me put down my Wii remote on tiger Woods. Already it is captivating and has that 'one more go' factor that all Mario games have, it is fantastic, absolutely loving it!

    Well worth the 12-year wait :D

    And no it isn't the same as paper mario you berk (see back a bit above)

  21. kevindoc193 Sunday 28th Sep 2008 at 23:12

    i am amazed that this game is finally out.

    this proves that VC is everyones chance to play the lost classics.

  22. Tailsdreggman Wednesday 1st Oct 2008 at 18:53

    I imported this aggggggeeeeeeeesssssssss ago and its still really awesome! I've completed it though and i know the ending! what happens is *inaudible whispering* :lol:

  23. link888 Saturday 4th Oct 2008 at 18:21

    this looks SOOOOO good but i dont have the internet on my wii i feel really upset :cry:

  24. Flash7 Tuesday 7th Oct 2008 at 14:50

    DONT GET ITS EXACTLY THE SAME AS PARER MARIO FOR VC


    Fail. The only way in which it's similar is that they are both RPGs!

  25. chaosmancer Wednesday 8th Oct 2008 at 18:14

    DONT GET ITS EXACTLY THE SAME AS PARER MARIO FOR VC

    Yes it's exactly the same in the fact that it was a new idea at the time and they are both RPGS.
    I played it a few times but I can't remember where.

  26. Super_Sonic96 Friday 17th Oct 2008 at 20:18

    I have to get this!

  27. Joey788 Saturday 15th Nov 2008 at 15:17

    Mario RPG Is great it is one good rpg but i think mallow should have stayed out of the game because he is so weak

  28. tom98321 Thursday 20th Nov 2008 at 08:24

    well, if u can't think of any negative points, doesn't that mean it should get 100%?


    That's exacty correct this should be an 100% game!

  29. paperluigi Saturday 28th Mar 2009 at 16:38

    Its good but very hard

  30. paperluigi Saturday 28th Mar 2009 at 16:39

    superewan wrote:
    well, if u can't think of any negative points, doesn't that mean it should get 100%?

    Nothing is perfect

  31. Olliek Sunday 12th Apr 2009 at 16:07

    Lol!!! How can you beat smithy!!!!!!!!! He turns into like 5 different forms with like 10,000 HP each! Can sombody give me any hints on how to beat him.

    PS: My squad is Mario, Peach and Bowser

  32. tom98321 Tuesday 28th Jul 2009 at 13:05

    If there are no found negatives or faults why on earth have you marked it down, surely this should be a 100% game.

    If you then go on and say no game is perfect, well thats a load of rubish. Because if nothing is wrong with a game and works for every market then how is it not a spot on, perfect game?

    I am Very confused! :(

  33. marioandsonic Friday 7th Aug 2009 at 18:58

    I dont like final fantasy, but will I like this?

    maybe.... :roll: :roll: :roll:

  34. stegbar11 Sunday 9th Aug 2009 at 14:01

    I totally agree with this reveiw. I read it start to finish it deserved the rating it got this was the funnest game i played when i was young. well deserved

  35. SuperMarioFan886 Saturday 28th Nov 2009 at 19:37

    No negative points eh? Why not 100% then?

  36. blublur101 Saturday 13th Mar 2010 at 22:37

    great game. download it. 90%.

  37. wilrc6 Tuesday 20th Apr 2010 at 11:36

    Absolutely fantastic game. I tried to play an mulated version on my pc about 8 years back but couldn't get into it. Gave it another go on VC and absolutely loved it. Can get a bit frustrating sometimes, especially towards the end. I really liked the reference to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

    Wicked game.

  38. TaskOfMajora Thursday 26th Jan 2012 at 20:36

    In my opinion this is perhaps the worst game ever made by man!!! I downaded it after hearing how good it is and I absolutely hate almost all of it. There are so many reasons for this-the random and frustrating nature of the battles, the annoying random battle encounters..I just cannot enjoy any of it.
    Now don't get me wrong, please, i respect ONM or else i wouldn't buy their magazine, but a scrore of 95% for this game...so, so ridiculous it makes me want to be sick. I[b] hate this game!

    Just my feelings though...

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