Guest Blog by Ell Dee @Every Gamer Review
All of the Role Playing Games (RPGs) that I've played are pretty much unconventional so far...well mostly The Mother series. I've been wanting to play normal RPGs for a while and I got my eyes on Dragon Quest because Akira Toriyama (I love Dragon Ball Z). So this was a game I was waiting to play because I couldn’t get it on Wii Virtual Console but I don't have the Wii. So last year I asked Santa for this game on Wii U Virtual Console and Santa gave me it...on Christmas Eve. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (スーパーマリオＲＰＧ Sūpā Mario Āru Pī Jī), developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Nintendo (for the Super Nintendo) and was released in 1996 in Japan and in the US. Somehow Europe missed out on this. Why? Because of our PAL technology, it was considered far too difficult to convert it to PAL. Another reason is that it would have taken far too long to translate it to different languages. Didn't stop Harvest Moon and Secret of Mana stopping by so what's their excuse? Oh, the graphics.
So what's the story behind Super Mario RPG? Bowser kidnaps Peach and Mario goes to save her and the world revolves around a golden sun but suddenly, a giant sword crashes down on Bowser's castle and sends Mario, Peach and Bowser flying in different directions. When Mario goes back to the castle, he finds the sword who is called Smithy, as he’s unleashed his gang to cause havoc. So Mario has to go and stop the Smithy gang with the help of some friends he meets on the way, including Mallow, a cloud boy who thinks he's a Tadpole, Geno...DA BOSS! Bowser and Peach. This is when Geno comes into play. Due to the devious plots of the Smithy Gang, the Star Road has been broken so Mario and his friends must collect seven pieces of the star pieces to fix the road. Overall story is simple; it's a Super Mario game after all. It also has humour and I giggled at a few, though the majority of the humour is mostly kid-friendly but good enough for that demographic.
Super Mario RPG was made to be a beginner's RPG and it mostly is. Any child can pick up and have fun with this so you explore the world of Mario which doesn't just comprise of the Mushroom Kingdom so we at least have some variety to the world as an RPG should have. There are other places full of enemies, different characters and some henchmen of Smithy who have a star piece that you need to collect. Of course it's an RPG and this is how it goes. We have our overworlds and like Earthbound, you get to see the enemies, so 9 times out of 10 it's up to you if you want to battle them (though of course, you do have to fight bosses). We then get the battle mode, turn-based to be exact. So there will be five characters later in the game and you can only have up to three fighters when battling, with Mario being the default fighter that you can't switch him, meaning if you want to switch characters, you can only switch two and if you don't want Mario, then tough luck.
Like nearly all RPGs, there are shops in certain areas; there will be items like mushrooms to replenish your health, syrups to replenish your flower power. Other items include Pick Me Ups that will bring back a character if one fighter dies as well as different bombs to use against enemies, and many more. You will get items in any way possible and you find out what they do in the menu, giving you a chance on what items to use in battle. There are also weapons and armour that you can use in battle. Every character has their own set of weapons and armour and you get newer and better stuff as you progress.
In the battle, as you're about to attack an enemy, you can make timed button presses, so as you're about to attack an enemy, you can press the attack button again to double the damage. Here's how the characters fight, they have their own unique attacks, and they can also use powers of their own. Mario has jump, punch and fire powers, Mallow and Peach are the healers, Geno can pull off special attacks and can buff up other fighters in battle and Bowser can punch too but can also use different spells to affect enemies. Each fighter has unique spells which I guess are based on who they are. I mean of course, Mario is going to jump on enemies, of course Peach is going to send her love to those who are protecting the world, of course Bowser is going to be rough around the edges with scratches and use of an enemy as a weapon (Though I won’t tell you who).
Speaking of characters, many of them have been fleshed out, particularly Peach and Bowser. Bowser is usually deemed as Mario's arch nemesis, but he only teams up with Mario because Smithy's gang took over his castle. He's the tough guy and his personality shows it, which makes him quite funny. And most importantly, Peach, who is usually the damsel-in-distress, actually helps out just because she wants to, she actually has personality and...that's it, she's not too interesting but I'm glad she's there and is actually doing something worthwhile especially for healing purposes. So why does it take her ages for her to do stuff in a main game until Super Mario 3D World? Nintendo finds it too difficult to get out of their comfort zone and Miyamoto is George Lucas...don't worry, I like Nintendo...but you know...new F-Zero game...pretty please. My experience with this game was near enough much shorter than Earthbound or any of the Mother games, it's simple to play and explore for the most part; it's up to you to figure out where to find side-missions. It's basic as you can get but I like the game solely for the fact that after over 15 years of gaming, I'm finally ready for the hardcore RPGs, I want to start slowly, so any recommendations?
The level design and graphics in Super Mario RPG haven't dated very well in some bits and pieces of the game. The characters look like computerised wooden puppets and they look a bit off. The world designs are pretty good, though darker areas, particularly underground areas look very compressed. It seems that this was at a time when Donkey Kong Country was such an inspiration that even Square had to use similar 2D/3D graphics, though Donkey Kong Country aged a bit better in my opinion. The music was composed by Yoko Shimomura, and it's really great. It has both the essence of Mario but has uniqueness to it; it certainly makes the game feel like a proper RPG. Is it one of my favourite soundtracks? Well I like the majority of them but not particularly my favourite but it's a good soundtrack nonetheless.
Overall, Super Mario RPG is the true beginner's RPG but it's still fun one at that, though if you're experienced, this will be a complete cakewalk, but if you want to get into RPG, either play this or Earthbound. Now that I've done Super Mario RPG, I can finally get to the other Mario RPGs, continuing with Paper Mario for the N64, but that's for another day.
You can get it on the SNES and on the Virtual Console for the Wii and Wii U.
Guest Blog by Ell Dee @ Every Gamer Review
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