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Author Topic: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario.  (Read 2370 times)

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Hoffy

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A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario.
« on: September 29, 2007, 05:47:37 am »
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A Hoffy Review:
Paper Mario




Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date:
Nintendo 64:
USA: February 5, 2001
AUST: October 5, 2001
Virtual Console:
USA: July 16, 2007
AUST: July 13, 2007
Genre: RPG
Rating: E (ESRB), G (OFLC)
Platform: Nintendo64, Wii Virtual Console
Players: 1


Paper Mario was released late in the life cycle of the Nintendo 64, standing with other such titles as The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and Conker's Bad Fur Day as a highly anticipated game which would serve to keep gamers busy as they counted down the days to the launch of the Nintendo GameCube. Widely considered as the spiritual sequel to Square's Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, the game boasts 30 to 40 hours of hammer-smashing, boot-stomping, Koopa-creaming gameplay; and the story isn't half bad either. But after over six years, does this title still stand as the greatest chapter in Mushroom Kingdom history? Or has this old story been told too many times before? And most importantly, is this super-thin adventure worth 1000 Wii Points? So join Mario, Goombario, Kooper, Bombette, Parakarry, Lady Bow... oh, let's just move on.

Gameplay & Controls: 8.5
If you were like me and you had played the GameCube sequel, The Thousand-Year Door, before you hit the original, you'd immediately notice that the successor definitely improved on several gameplay aspects. Paper Mario, though an RPG in the truest sense of the abbreviation, isn't particularly an advanced RPG. If you're the sort of guy who enjoys finding ways to best equip armor and weapons to improve your party's stats, Paper Mario isn't for you. There's no attack, defense or speed stats, just Hit Points, Flower Points and Badge Points. One of these can be upgraded whenever Mario grows a level, but otherwise, it's obvious the gameplay aspects were structured for an audience of children, with few complications.

In a way the simplicity can add to the experience. For example, it allows for fun and easy mini-games when trying to pull off strong attacks. But while these mini-games are fun, the ones in The Thousand-Year Door are much more engaging and varied. Even though it might be considered a childish RPG, there's still plenty to consider in Paper Mario, including what badges to wear (to influence the battle), as well as which party member to upgrade and use in whatever situation. For example, I found one party member, Watt, to be extremely helpful in penetrating enemy's defenses, something I didn't discover until very late in the game.

There's about 20 hours of gameplay without side quests, and about 30 to 40 with them. There's a lot to do as well. You'll find yourself going on long trading quests, helping out old annoying Koopas, finding all of the Badges and all of the Star Pieces, as well as discovering every Recipe. But, I found that most of the side quests were too boring and unrewarding to bother with. So I don't really feel bad for skipping them.

The controls on the Virtual Console aren't exactly perfect, either. No matter what controller you're using, the C-buttons are incredibly bothersome to operate. I found it annoying how I had to press down on the right joystick (or C-stick) to perform my party member's ability outside of battle. I would have much preferred it if I could simply press X or Y. Other than these minor gripes, the game still plays fine and the gameplay is still enjoyable.


Ah, Mario. Is there nothing you can't do?

Visuals & Graphics: 9.0
As the game was released late in the Nintendo64's life, it's no surprise that it would be one of the prettier games on the console. Naturally the game looks very much dated now, but there are still some really colourful textures and particle effects which add to the overall atmosphere of the title. It's a very bright game, and you'll find no area ever outdoes itself to drop the framerate, but it does drop occasionally during cutscenes. Oh, and how could I forget to mention that the art style still looks awesome today. The fact that everything is made of paper adds a level of innovation to the graphical art style, and it looks and feels terrific. Areas look excellent too, ranging from a middle-eastern desert town to an old, abandoned fortress and even to the inside of a toy box. Not only that, but all textures and models appear much clearer on the Wii, which is indeed a plus.

Sounds & Music: 7.0
Audio isn't exactly Paper Mario's strong point, but that doesn't necessarily mean there aren't some great tunes. I myself found most to all battle themes added the suitable level of intensity into the fights. Some boss battles sounded terrific (Huff N. Puff especially). There's also plenty of character theme songs, each representing their unique personalities. Sound effects are also pretty well done. That said, I did find some background music to be very annoying. The Toad Town theme got on my nerves every time I returned to the city, and the theme for the Koopa Bros. was just a little bit too loud. But there were some noteworthy songs like Mount Rugged, Toad Town Sewers and - my favourite - Gusty Gulch. But when comparing Paper Mario's themes to the likes of Ocarina of Time and Banjo-Kazooie, there could have been improvements. Keep a look out for the original Super Mario Bros. theme!


I wasn't too sure what was going on either...

Story & Presentation: 9.0
What I like most about Paper Mario is how Intelligent Systems gave a personality to the Mushroom Kingdom. Before there was a lot of "but the princess is in another castle!", but Paper Mario changed all that. In Paper Mario there are cries of bloody murder, yearnings for love, screams of fear, a load of cultural assumptions (racism against Koopa Troopas, anyone?) as well as all of that "believe in yourself" crap the Japanese are known for. Each and every NPC has something to say in a hilarious way. It's just great how the Toads can have so much life, after always seeing them with so little. Where Paper Mario messed all of this up was in the lack of facial expressions in the characters. It's not exactly fair that Princess Peach should be smiling while being tortured by the great Lord Bowser, but the amount of expression in the dialogue is enough to let this go. The story begins with Bowser rising to Star Haven and stealing the Star Rod, so he can have all of his wishes granted while all inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom remain unhappy. He then lifts Peach's Castle from the earth and takes Princess Peach hostage. Naturally, it's up to Mario to fix things up. Of course, there are other complications to the plot, as well as there being a nice little mini-story within each chapter. I found Chapter 3: The "Invincible" Tubba-Blubba to be the most engaging of the chapters, and I also found it was a shame that all of the other chapters weren't as interesting. But, the game presents itself exceptionally overall.

Overall: 9.4
Paper Mario certainly has a few noticeable flaws here and there, but they're easy to get over when you look at where the game succeeds. As I expected I would be before playing, I was very much engaged in the storyline, the characters and a few of the side quests. Paper Mario is innovative in it's graphical style, fun in it's battle system, creative in it's character work, and it's the epitome of Super Mario storytelling. If you don't get any other Virtual Console game, you should get Paper Mario. If you have never played through Paper Mario, it is most certainly worth the 1000 points. And even if you owned it on the Nintendo 64, you can replay it with the super-clean image only provided by the Nintendo Wii's component cables. It's very much worth it, your grunchiness.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2008, 04:47:45 am by 4Sword »
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Hoffy.
Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2007, 04:10:15 pm »
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Nice review..I never had the chance to play Paper Mario..at all.  If game stores around here still sold paper mario,I might actually go get it.
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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2007, 04:12:27 pm »
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Nice review..I never had the chance to play Paper Mario..at all.  If game stores around here still sold paper mario,I might actually go get it.

Virtual Console has it!
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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2007, 04:15:16 pm »
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Nice review..I never had the chance to play Paper Mario..at all.  If game stores around here still sold paper mario,I might actually go get it.

Virtual Console has it!
-_-...I do not have a Wii....
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Hammer Bro. Mike

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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2007, 04:20:41 pm »
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Nice Review. I downloaded Paper Mario a couple weeks after it was released. It is a great game and worth the 1000 Wii Points. Now I'm awaiting Majora's Mask. :(
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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2007, 04:21:47 pm »
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Paper Mario is such an excellent game, kept me hooked and entertained all the way through. It's got clever writing and fun, simple gameplay. The original is probably pretty hard to find nowadays, I know it was $30 used at the GameStop in my hometown.
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well i dont have that system and it is very hard to care about everything when you are single
Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2007, 05:14:57 pm »
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I love Paper Mario. It was really my first great N64 game. I beat it back then on my 64, and have nearly beaten it again on my Wii. Go Intelligent Systems!
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Hoffy

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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2007, 10:09:51 pm »
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I honestly prefer The Thousand-Year Door over the original, but that's probably because I played TTYD first. The original is just as good, though, especially for the N64. It really was a terrific game, and if you have access to the Wii Shop Channel you should get it immediately.
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Hoffy.
Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2007, 10:16:44 pm »
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I never got annoyed at the controls, but I haven't played any other Paper Mario games, and I only played the not-so-good-to-have version of Super Mario RPG, so maybe they control better.

I have played Paper Mario years ago for the N64, but got stuck before the first boss, and on another file somebody had already made, it was at the ending of the game, so I'd spoiled myself(but it was pretty obvious it would end the way it did, anyway).

I can't remember how well the game controlled, though, so the GC controller seems fine to me.

Other than that, I think I agree.
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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2007, 10:20:25 pm »
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I have never played this game, from your review seems really good, but no Mario RPG can win the original Legend of the Seven Stars.
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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2007, 10:28:57 pm »
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Actually, it seems a lot better than SS to me, even though it's a bit more humorous IMO.  I only played so much of SS though, about until this shark boss I can't remember the name of.
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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2007, 10:43:49 pm »
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the part after that is the best, the volcano part and bowser castle part. SS has humorous parts alot of them after that part. the shark name was Johnny something.
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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2007, 03:18:55 am »
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9.4? That good? Wow. I might go check it out...
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Re: A Hoffy Review: Paper Mario (Virtual Console...
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2007, 09:44:46 pm »
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I've played the original on my N64 (picked it up used for $30) and loved it.  There are some things that make it fairly easy (combining certain badges, having Tayce T. cook up deluxe feasts and yummy meals, etc) but it's still challenging at parts.

I still prefer SMRPG over Paper Mario, but they're both good RPG titles. 

Unfortunately, I don't have any consoles newer than the N64 so I haven't played TTYD yet.
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What do you mean I need a life?  =P  Hm... Lives... Isn't that something that you get in Super Mario Bros?  You know, those green mushrooms?  That's a life, right?



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