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Paper Mario (Nintendo 64) artwork

Paper Mario (Nintendo 64) review


"If you want to own a good RPG on N64, you don't have other choices than this one. It's not the best RPG around but it's the best on N64, definitively. "



If you want to own a good RPG on N64, you don't have other choices than this one. It's not the best RPG around but it's the best on N64, definitively.

STORY
80%
It kind of reminds me of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)'s story. But this time, Bowser's not your ally, he's your opponent. So it appears, like usual, that Bowser plans on kidnapping Princess Peach. But before that, he went into the Star Haven, stealing the precious Star Rod, which grants wishes. Then, at a party where Peach invited Mario, our favorite plumber, and his bro., Luigi, he finally dared capture Peach and made her prisoner in his castle, up into the sky. So the seven Star Spirits, who were guarding the Star Rod, warn Mario about what Bowser plans to do with the Star Rod so Mario leaves on another big adventure. This time to save the princess and to take back the Star Rod, all that from Bowser. But he won't be alone on his quest, he may encounter pals -- and foes...

GRAPHICS
100%
I must admit I really liked Paper Mario's graphical style. Colorful doesn't always mean kiddy. The graphics are kind of cel shaded (the backgrounds for the most) and the characters/objects really seem to look like paper (so Paper Mario that is..). It offers something fresher than the other conventional N64 graphics from other games. There are a lot of details in the backgrounds and environments, thing I really liked. You can move around in 3D but all seem made of nice 2D. The look of the graphics is clean, clear and bright and I see nothing wrong with it.

SOUND/MUSIC
90%
This is some happy music, so you gotta like cute music and sounds. Whatever place you are, the music is always catchy. There is sure no memorable song you'll remember after playing, but while playing, it's great to listen at. Some may dislike the cute aspect of the sounds and music but there couldn't be other music to go along with this game, the music actually match with the graphics and Mario's world. But well, it's nothing special enough to cry for.

GAMEPLAY
80%
First of all, Paper Mario isn't the sequel of Mario RPG. It doesn't look the same, it doesn't sound the same, and it doesn't play the same. I'll start of with the party members system. You'll get 8 different party members in your team but not the same way as other RPGs. Mario can only have ONE friend at a time helping him. So you must choose, from the 8 party members, only one. It isn't that big of a deal and it work fine with me, but the thing is that Paper Mario's battle system is really different and 'weird'. First, you start of with 5 HP (Heart Points), 5 FP (Flower Points, which replace the MP, Magic Points) and 5 BP (Badge Points, I'll come back with that later). Isn't that weird ? only 5 HP ?? Of course, the attacks of the enemies only take you off 1 or 2 HP at the start of the game... when you level-up, Mario's stats don't really increase like other RPGs, but you can only choose to increase one stat at a time at each level-up (either HP,FP or BP) and it always increase by only 5. So when I completed the game, I had like only 45 HP at level 30 or so. Good for beginner players.. but a little off the track for advanced players.. When in battles, you can choose a command for Mario (run, defense, attack, items, special attacks, etc..) and then a command for your party member. There is no real magic system in this game, everything is like physical attacks and so. Mario can jump on the enemies to hurt them or use his hammer attack. There are timed-hits in this RPG and they are cool but after a while, it can becomes annoying. For example, if you press A just before Mario jump on the enemy's head, it'll do more damage but for the hammer, you have to hold the stick to the left during like 3 seconds to perform the timed-hit.. silly.. Later on, as you collect Star Spirits, you'll be able to use some kind of ''magic'', but it's nothing special. You can ''summon'' a Start Spirit to perform a special attack like healing or so. The battles in Paper Mario aren't random, you actually see the enemy right in front of you, so you can avoid it if you what. You can even hit him before the fight starts to be advantaged. Ok so that's enough with the fighting system.

Paper Mario offers some platform elements in field rather than real puzzle elements. It's pretty cool. Let me explain. Each of your party members has a different skill. For example : Koopa can hide inside his shell and spin on the ground to bring you too-far-to-reach items, Bombette can explode and crack the walls to uncover secret passageway, Boo can make you invisible, ParaTroopa can make you fly, Sushi can make you swim, and etc.. You can level-up by collecting Star Points but your party members can not level-up the same way ! You have to find, in the levels, level-up orbs and choose which party member to level-up by 1 level. You level-up the best party member of course. Then, his stats don't change, no, he only learns a new technique. You can also find, in the levels, Star Shards (I don't exactly recall the name), which you can trade for items. The nice thing is that to find most of them, you have to pound the ground with your hammer to discover them. In the towns, you can only buy items, no weapons or anything, Mario only has his hammer.. You can rather buy... badges... a pretty useless thing I never used. These badges use your FP and are in fact special attacks but it's useless since you cannot put all your badges at the same time, if you have only 9 BP, then you can put on only on 3 Badges if these 3 Badges take 3 BP each. Anyway, it's hard to explain but it's pretty pointless. There are a lot of different themed worlds in Paper Mario, like beach, snow, lave, jungle, cavern, cloud etc. and the bosses are really cool. After you complete each chapters (like the worlds), you then play as Peach in Bowser's Castle. It's nice, like finding secret passageways, making a cake, getting past the guards, reading Bowser's diary... but well, it's not what I liked the most.. There are plenty of sidequests in Paper Mario, some boring, other that are great, like finding this magician guy and doing his quiz and the story does expand after each chapter so it's a cool RPG, despite the flaws.

LONGEVITY/REPLAY VALUE
The game is quite lengthy. There are 7 main worlds and many side quests. MANY I said. So it should keep you busy for many hours. The main quest will take you quite some time anyway.

OVERALL
90%
This game is probably the only RPG worth getting on N64, it's original, fresh, well done and will provide you a large number of hours of fun. A great purchase in my opinion.

Rating: 9/10

wishingtikal's avatar
Community review by wishingtikal (August 10, 2003)

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