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Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

review by MARIOMaSTeR, 3-17-98

WAV clip from Super Mario RPG intro music.
245kB, 23s, 11kHz, 8bit, Mono
Name: Super Mario RPG
System: SNES
Developer: Squaresoft
Publisher: Nintendo
Release date: May 13th, 1996
Players: One
ESRB Rating: Kids to Adults

Super Mario RPG is truly one of the greatest games of all time. The graphics are great, and the levels are long and interesting. It made people actually interested again in the thought-to-be "outdated" Super Nintendo, and did well in the midst of the 32, and eventually 64 bit systems to become a classic. It starts with Bowser kidnapping the princess, and taking her to his keep (now where have I seen THAT before?). Mario goes to rescue her, but as he is ready to untie her, a sword crashes through the keep, and they are each thrown in different directions. Mario lands in his house through a pipe in the ceiling, and Toad tells him to "get the princess back, like he always does." When he goes back to the castle, the sword tells him to scram, and that Smithy rules the world now. He then knocks out the bridge. The basic plot (from there) is to recover the 7 star pieces and make wishes come true again.
All in all, there's little frustration, EXCEPT when you climb the vines in Bean Valley. I've spent HOURS trying to collect those coins near the vines!
I've got to say the plot is very unique, unlike previous Mario games. Collecting the stars is a nice twist, and they even used an old name from Super Mario World "Star Road", keeping the Mario "traditionalists" happy. Mallow and Geno really make the party interesting, and I ALWAYS wanted to see Bowser ON YOUR SIDE for a change. (I think they drew Bowser better here than they did in Mario 64!) However the "wishes" part of the plot a bit kiddish (not as bad as its sequel will be though!). I mean, as far as wishes go, you just don't ask for them in the real world, you got to make them happen, usually. Anyway, the plot, with its twists and turns, shouldn't disappoint you.
[The ending is] about 10 minutes long, split into 2 parts, and has GOOD music. In the first part, the seven stars you collected will show you stuff that happened with some of the characters after you finished your quest (I won't spoil it). And in the second part, almost everyone in the game is in a big parade, led by Luigi. There's then a good fireworks display, and that's about it. As far as I'm concerned, one of the best endings I've ever seen. It looks like they even spent a lot of time on this. They really ended the game with a bang. I think that it was even better than Super Mario 64, not to mention WAAAAAY better than Star Fox 64.

Recover the 7 star pieces and save Princess Toadstool.


I never really thought that a 16-bit game would look this good, or be 3D. I mean, it didn't have that cheap look that the games before it (Super Mario World, Gradius 3, Super Mario Kart) had that made 16-bit gaming more-or-less an unevent. And as far as the 3Dness is concerned, no one ever expected any SNES game to have any 3D in it whatsoever, which was thought to be N64-only, and it really adds depth to the game.
I've always kinda loved game music, but this is the best I've ever heard, including the Nintendo 64 songs!! These songs are much more unique than any other Mario game EVER, and I've found that there's over 40 songs in this one game!! The Sound Effects are excellent too, but they lacked the all-too-cool personality of voices. I've seen a few SNES games (Beavis & Butthead, Star Fox) that actually USE voices, and I thought they'd do that for this game, perhaps. However, they brought back the classic "jump" sound, and had many other interesting sound effects. And, knowing how limited the SNES is, they really delivered in this department as well.
Eh, it's not to challenging if you're a good player. You don't have to go through a lot to level up, and it's easy to buy items such as the mid mushroom or maple syrup, in the rare event that you'd need them. I think it's quite easy, personally. But the game's amount and depth of levels can somewhat make up for that.
Although it's easy, I think it's the most fun game I've EVER, or WILL EVER play. There are so many different things to do, and not the same reward for doing them, either (ie stars in Super Mario 64). You can get Yoshi Cookies, Frog Coins, Flower Tabs, a Troopa Pin, a Knoknok shell, a quartz charm, and so much more for completing certain tasks. You can even go searching for invisible flags, and get the semi-useless, but expensive ghost medal! While nothing's endless, it still provides a lot of fun. And if you set the game aside for a while, and play it after that, you'll find that you've forgotten a lot, and it's fun once more.
Replay Value:
Like I said, it's very fun, and very re-playable. I, personally, had someone rent the game, and show it to me. It seemed like ETERNITY until I got to play it again and had my own copy 6 months later. The reason I think it's replayable is the sub-games, such as "Moleville Mountain", Land's end, Booster Hill or the Goomba thumping game.
Super Mario RPG is truly a game that broke major ground. Not only was it the last great SNES game, but it was also a game that broke all rules set by previous Mario games. They had different characters, and a way different, not to mention cooler, plot (and final enemy!). The 3Dness also broke every limit I'd heard of concerning the SNES. It wasn't built-in, like the N64, so they merely "emulated" it, so to speak. However they did it, they did a very fine, and commendable job. The music was a refreshing change of pace from the repetition (Super Mario World), and the no-talent eeriness (Super Metroid). It had some elements of actual instruments in it, as well as rhythm and dynamic levels (volume). And, in another major change of pace, they used many different original tunes, not made re-mixes of one or two (Super Mario World)

This review was written by Andrew Meador for Super Mario RPGer's Paradise. Used with permission.

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