Super Mario RPG: Legend of The Seven Stars Review (SNES Version)
Square (Known now as Square Enix)
Super Nintendo, Wii (Virtual Console)
Super Nintendo: May 13, 1996
Wii: September 1, 2008
Action role-playing game
K-A (SNES)/ E (Virtual Console)
The Star Road has granted my wish
This review has a fascinating story behind it. After spending days looking for my long lost Super Nintendo games, I was only able to recover two of them. Feeling like all hope was lost; I gave up the task of finding the rest. Suddenly, my dad comes into my room holding a box. Little did I know that this box contained my childhood memories. He asked me if I still wanted these and when I looked in the box, I felt like I wanted to cry. Ladies and gentlemen… the word ecstatic doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt at that moment. Emptying the box and looking at all those games felt incredible. And then I spotted it: Super Mario RPG. Before I knew it, I was popping that game into my SNES and loading it up to hear that classic music from the opening. It was at that moment I knew I had to do the game justice with an extraordinary review.
Just like the title suggests, this is a role-playing game set in Mario’s universe. Featuring all the iconic characters that one would expect to see, Super Mario RPG is a game that many will come to enjoy. Starting out like most other Mario games, we find the plumber rushing to Bowser’s castle to rescue Princess Toadstool (her name before changing to peach) once again. However, the twist now presents itself as Mario has successful saved the princess when a giant sword splits the sky and scatters seven stars across the land before crashing into Bowser’s castle. The impact causes Mario, Bowser and Toadstool to go flying in opposite directions. It is now up to Mario to save the day with some new and unexpected allies and solve the mystery behind those seven stars. What about the giant sword you ask? That is why you must take the journey yourself, my friends.
Just like with pretty much any RPG, the gameplay boils down into two sections: Adventuring and Battling. As you control Mario, there are towns and dungeons that must be explored to move forward. During these segments, the platform element of Mario is left intact as you often have to jump in order to fully explore said towns and dungeons. While you are in town, you have the option of resting at an inn (which restores health and such), shopping for weapons, armor and items or just looking for the next clue. Anyone familiar with RPGs’ such as Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy will feel right at home. From the very beginning of the game, you might notice monsters running around on the screen when you enter fields or dungeons; this is where battling comes into play.
Unlike most RPGs’, where you can’t see the monsters that attack you, Super Mario RPG does the opposite. Players can see where monsters are lurking and can choose to fight. If you are a veteran at RPGs’ then you know how important it is to fight and gain experience. The same rules apply here; the more monsters you defeat, the more experience points you get which makes you stronger. Stats like HP (Health points), speed, defense and flower points are affected by how much experience you gain. Oh yes that’s right… flower points or FP are needed to use special moves like Mario’s classic fireball. Mario will also be the character you control but during battles, you are given allies that will help out. The team can only consist of three characters but you will have a total of five party members. Each of the characters has unique capabilities of their own; some members use healing moves, while others are more offensive attacks. Every battle will play out in a turn-based fashion with the addition of “Timed Hits”.
Timed Hits are timed button presses that can enhance attacks, spells, defense and even items. An example: if a monster attacks you and you hit the button at the correct moment, you can reduce damage taken or even completely nullify it. Keep in mind that certain monsters can affect your characters in a negative way. Some can poison you, have you lose the ability to use special moves or even turn you into a scarecrow/fungi! Always make sure to carry the proper items with you into battle just in case. For a more offensive use of the timed hits mechanic, players can use special moves and with the correct timing, boost the power of the move. Of course, during battles you can use items and if you’re lucky, you can even get a free item as well. At some point in the game, you may find yourself low on health and need to defend or even retreat. It just so happens you can do those things. By hitting the “B” button, you can choose to either run away or defense against on coming attacks. One of my favorite aspects about the battle system is when you defeat enemies, you are occasionally gifted with a boosting element. Whether it’s getting your health maxed out, increasing your attack power or even giving you the chance to double your exp. points/coins. As I stated before, if you are used to playing RPG’s, (or even if you never played one before) you should have no problem adjusting.
The only and I do mean the only issue I ran into was the story. Besides the initial surprise of finding out Bowser isn’t the antagonist, there aren’t any other real surprises. The story (to me) felt really lackluster and is far from great. However, when you stack the story against the amazing graphics, soundtrack (done by Yoko Shimomura, known for Kingdom Hearts and Parasite Eve soundtracks) and gameplay, there really isn’t much to complain about.
- The 16-bit graphics look amazing
- The music sets the mood for each environment
- Maintaining that Mario feel while interjecting RPG elements
- The use of timed hits makes the battles fun and entertaining
- Even though the game is 16 years old, it still holds a spot among top RPGs’
- The story feels uninspiring; cliché even
Games like Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi are even called spiritual sequels to this title. Having played one of the Mario & Luigi games on my DS before, I can now see where the humor and gameplay came from. If you have a Wii, I highly recommend downloading this title from the Virtual Console. Don’t have a Wii? Don’t fret because you can always get an Emulator and download the Rom, all free of charge. In my opinion, no one should miss out on such a timeless classic like Super Mario RPG.
Oh wow! Marcus just finished his review on the classic (and sometimes forgotten) Super Mario RPG. Giving it a score just short of a perfect one, do you feel this score is the accurate one?