Retro Review: Paper Mario
Growing up, I, like many other children of my generation, played a lot of video games. Unlike those many children, I didn’t own a Nintendo Entertainment System, but I had a Sega Genesis, and loved it. I didn’t get exposed to the wonderful world of Nintendo until the Nintendo 64 was released. What followed was a point in my life where I played video games the most. Even now, I tend to only play the games of the past and enjoy them just as much as I did when I first got the cartridge. There were many games I loved and many that I still go back and play. This article is the first in a series where I will be playing the games of my past and seeing if they really hold up to their memories of awesomeness.
Paper Mario is an ongoing Mario role playing game (RPG). It started out with a game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System called Super Mario RPG. This game wasn’t really ‘paper,’ but it has many of the same themes as the subsequent games in the Paper Mario series, and is the first Mario RPG. It was also not required to play in order to enjoy Paper Mario, which is exactly what I did. It’s safe to say that this game still holds up to today’s standards of gaming. It has fun, simple game play with a funny and charming story.
At the beginning of the game, Mario gets an invitation from Princess Peach to come to her castle. When he gets there, of course, Bowser not only kidnaps Peach, but steals the whole castle! Mario tries to fight Bowser to save everyone, but Bowser has an item called the Star Rod and he seems invincible. Mario gets knocked out of the castle and finds out he must go around and save all seven Star Spirits in order to defeat Bowser and save Princess Peach. This is a simply fun story that someone of any age would be able to understand. There is never a moment in the story that is unexplainable or confusing. There is only great dialogue that is funny to read–especially the stuff that comes from Bowser. There is nothing about the story to complain about and is great for all ages.
The game play is fun and simple as well. When you run into enemies you go into a turn-based battle system where you choose attacks for Mario and a companion that vary throughout the game. Mario has the classic “jump” command and is also able to use his hammer. You can use items and even the Star Spirits you saved for special attacks, and each companion has their own special skills. Items called badges are obtained throughout the game and Mario becomes equipped with them. These badges vary in effect, from giving Mario special abilities to just changing the sound of your jump. Things called flower points are used for special attacks from Mario and his companion. Also, like most RPG’s, if your HP hits zero before the enemies does, you lose and it’s game over.
Paper Mario is a great game for the whole family. There are lessons on friendship and helping others throughout, so it’s great for kids, but even adults can have fun playing it. It’s awesome seeing a world of pure paper, and it adds humor to many scenes in the game, like when Mario falls but does it like a piece of paper. Doing another play through of this game was filled with nothing but excitement and joy. It is just as great as I remembered, and I would love to play it many more times. If you have a Wii system you can download Paper Mario from the Nintendo eShop, or you could break out the N64, get the old cartridge out, and enjoy it in all its old fashioned glory. Paper Mario is just as great now as it was when it was first released.