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Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GameCube) artwork

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GameCube) review

"Paper Mario: The thousand year door "

Paper Mario: The thousand year door

Intelligent Systemsí first foray into the Paper Mario universe brought forth mixed results. It seemed that Nintendo loyalists loved the innovative battle system and new ideas brought to the table; the press, however, seemed to find some faults that they thought were noteworthy, saying that it was too repetitive. In Paper Marioís second outing, the game feels polished and has some quirky moments that can truly capture you attention to the end, while crisp, clean graphics add finishing touch.

Vibrant, colorful, and elegant; all these words describe the undeniably exquisite graphics. As youíre unearthing this surprisingly deep game, youíll notice that the silky smooth visuals seem to jump out at you, entirely immersing you in the all-famous Mario macrocosm. Everything from the beautiful backgrounds to the hilarious character models just shout quality at you. Sporting a cel-shaded look similar to itís predecessor, these looks feel right at home with Mario and the gang and, quite honestly, I like the cartoonish vibe you get from playing it.

Starting out in your hometown of Rogueport, Mario is given the task of nabbing the seven crystal stars and rescuing Princess Peach. Youíll start out the game with a basic sidekick that trails behind wherever you go, Goombella. If youíve played the original, itís basically the same starting out character as before. More characters will be added to your cast progressively throughout the game and each one serves a purpose, whether it be in battle or in puzzles found inside the dungeons. Each character is used sporadically over time and it doesnít feel like youíre using the same one over and over. The blend and variety is a welcome edition to the game.

Reading previews of the game, youíve probably already heard about the unique battle system that uses mostly time based button taps to decide your fate. Itís really a breath of fresh air to the boring, drab battle systems found in the RPG genre as a whole. It never feels like a hassle to do and can actually present a challenge to have exact button presses all the time.

Chiming in on the act comes the crowd. An audience watches your every move during battle and can actually be beneficial to your team. If you miss a series of timed presses the audience might start chucking rocks and other harmful objects at you because they donít like the show. Likewise, if you execute consistently they might throw a hit-point-filling mushroom to you, increasing your chances of smiting the opponent. Itís little touchups like these that keep the game from growing stagnant.

While youíre not whipping goombas youíre sure to be exploring and finding Badges that enhance you battle abilities. Some of the badges are quite hard to find and most of them pay off in some way. Additionally, shine sprites and star pieces are randomly dispersed throughout the environment and youíll find yourself using all of your characterís abilities to find them.

Finally, the dungeons. I liked a lot of the dungeon designs and layouts, but it seemed that the puzzles were somewhat rudimentary. Donít get me wrong; the puzzles have their moments that shine, but as a whole there could have been some more intricate ones. I guess part of this can be attributed to the fact that this game is catered more to the ages of eight to twelve. This isnít a huge gripe, though, because youíll be having a blast fighting the enemies and more importantly, laughing.

The humor! The complete hilarity that runs through every second of PM adds a dimension not found in many games. I actually looked forward to each and every cut-scene because I knew there would be something to make me laugh out loud. Having a bad day? Play some Paper Mario; youíre sure to laugh. What makes it interesting is the fact that some of the humor is elementary and clearly childís banter, while other parts have underlying humor that only a teenager or older would understand. Small sound effects contribute to give it that cutesy feel.

This game is not one to make you resort to the headphones. The music is quite inspiring and I especially like the opening menuís music. Some of it has an orchestrated sound to it and some has that catchy, sing-it-all-day qualities. Donít get me started on the music that comes on after every single battle. After literally every battle I find myself humming it and will sometimes catch myself singing unconsciously during class. I honestly thought the music was one of the bright spots of this game, as it clearly took time to perfect.

Trust me when I say this: You will feel compelled to find each and every badge packed into this game along with star pieces and shine sprites, simply because of the experience. All these have good rewards and can enhance the game to a degree. Moreover, a thing called the pit of one hundred trials presents an ambitious challenge as you fight your way through a hundred floors of enemies with an extremely hard boss at the end.

This game is one that must be experienced if you own a Gamecube. Itís that good. The humor and great battle system are enough to warrant a purchase. Go out and buy it. You wonít be disappointed.

Linkamoto's avatar
Community review by Linkamoto (March 01, 2005)

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